Entry: A Need for Self-Defense Sunday, November 09, 2008

With the election of Barack Obama has come, for many people, a renewed realisation that the world is a very dangerous place; that we are still in the middle of a war against fanatical killers who deliberately target civilians. We must rely on an inexperienced, naive, UN-appeasing "world citizen" type to keep the enemy from carrying out more 9/11 style attacks -- or worse -- on our home soil. The economy is likely to increase the slide on which it's been since the Democratic takeover of Congress in 2006, which will lead to more unemployment, poverty, and desperation -- and thus to higher crime rates. Moreover, with the Democrats in charge of House, Senate and White House, it's almost certain that they'll make serious attempts to strip away our Second Amendment rights, preventing us from defending ourselves from the dangers around us. Lawbreakers aren't known for their sportsmanship -- criminals rarely wait for the police to show up, even if their intended victims manage to call 911 before they're attacked.

It's no wonder that so many people have considered buying a gun lately, most of them for the first time in their lives. Potential and veteran gun owners alike have rightly deduced that it's better to buy now, while we're still allowed to do so, than after draconian anti-gun legislation has made guns too difficult to obtain for law-abiding citizens. Most criminals honor gun laws in much the same way they obey laws against rape, robbery and murder. For the law-abiding citizen, guns are like umbrellas: it's better to have one and not need it than need one and not have it.

Guns are a tool like any other. You wouldn't use a screwdriver to hammer a nail, or a hammer to saw a plank (although I've often wanted to use one to "fix" my computer). You need the right tool for the job. Therefore, before purchasing a gun you have to define the job you want it to perform. Guns are meant to be a tool purely for self-defense, never aggression or intimidation. Besides hunting, competition shooting and collecting, the only reason to own a gun is to protect your life or the lives of others.

The first question most people ask is whether they should buy a revolver or semi-automatic. That depends on the intended use. Revolvers can be kept loaded practically forever. A semi-auto takes ammunition from a spring-loaded clip (used mostly for rifles) or mag (for handguns) that may lose strength when compressed for a very long time, which could cause the gun to jam. Semi-autos also have a higher chance to jam than revolvers due to the more complex feeding mechanism. Fans of revolvers, which usually hold six rounds, have a saying: "six for sure." On the minus side, revolvers are wider, something to consider if you intend to carry concealed. As a rule, revolvers hold fewer rounds of ammo than most semi-automatics. However, both revolvers and semi-autos can function well under any of the broad categories of weapon usage. It's a matter of personal choice.

It's important to know whether you are allowed to own hollowpoint (HP) ammunition in your state. Hollowpoints have, as the name implies, a dimple in the tip that causes the bullet to "mushroom" on impact. That means more energy is dumped into the target, reducing the chance of the bullet passing through and striking something -- or someone -- behind it. Transferring more energy to the target means there's a greater likelihood of knocking him, her or it down. Nine millimeter rounds have the reputation of being underpowered, but that's mainly due to the forced use of FMJ (full metal jacket) rounds in the military. These tend to pass through a target, making a hole but leaving him able to continue fighting. Our armed forces are restricted to FMJ rounds for "humane" purposes, but you may not have to hamper yourself in the same way. If you live in a state with such restrictions, purchase a .40 caliber or larger semi-auto, or .38 Special or larger revolver.  Alternately, you could buy "expanding full metal jacket" or EFMJ ammo, which is basically hollowpoint covered with a thin metal cap.

The following are my own way of categorising guns, and reflect my own preferences. (Since this is primarily about self- and home defense, I deliberately omitted rifles.) Keep in mind that I am not an expert or the definitive word on the subject. Your mileage, as they say, may vary.

Concealed carry weapons are exactly what the name implies. They're designed to be carried without broadcasting the fact that you're armed. Concealed carry weapons are generally light and flat, designed for carrying in a pocket or inside-the-pants holster. My choice: Kahr CW9 (9 mm) with a 7-round mag of HP. Other choices: Springfield XD 3" in 9mm or .40 caliber, Smith & Wesson Model 642 "hammerless" revolver in .38 Special.

Home defense weapons tend to be a bit larger and heavier. Weapons designed as sidearms for military or police forces are ideal for this purpose. The increased weight gives more stability when aiming. My choice: SIG-Sauer P226 (9mm) with a 15-round mag of HP. Other choices: 1911-style .45 (Colt, Springfield, SIG-Sauer), Springfield XD 5" in .45, .357 Magnum revolver (Ruger, Colt, Smith & Wesson).

Emergency weapons are simply home defense guns you can keep loaded in your nightstand or behind the bed. Revolvers are best for this purpose. This is a superfluous category if your home defense weapon is already a revolver. My choice: Ruger Service-Six .357 Magnum with six rounds of .38 Special HP ammo (and a speed-loader for faster reloading). Other choices: Colt .38 Police Positive, Colt Cobra .38 Special.

Target practice weapons are a must, since even an hour's worth of shooting once a week with a large gun can be tiring to both hand and wallet. A lighter gun is needed with which to practice effective aiming and firing techniques (although occasional practice with all of your guns is necessary). A .22 caliber is the best choice for regular target practice. My choice: Harrington & Richardson "Sportsman" top-break .22 revolver which holds 9 rounds. Other choices: Colt Diamondback, Smith & Wesson model 41.

Shotguns are also handy for home defense and emergencies, and one can even obtain a shotgun for hunting in many states that won't allow handguns. 12 gauge is probably the most common size for a shotgun, and one can load it with solid bullet-like rounds (called "slugs") or buckshot pellets. (Bird shot is, of course, strictly for the birds.) The smaller the gauge of the shotgun, the larger the diameter of the barrel. Semi-automatic and pump-action shotguns hold extra shells in a magazine tube under the barrel. As with semi-automatic pistols, leaving them loaded for long periods of time may eventually weaken the spring slightly. A single- or double-barreled "break action" shotgun can be left loaded, but must be reloaded after each barrel is fired. My choice: Mossberg 500 "Persuader" pistol-grip 12-gauge shotgun which holds 8 rounds of 00 buckshot (plus one in the chamber). Other choices: Remington 870 pump-action, Rossi Overland double-barreled "coach gun."

The best course of action to take if you're considering a gun purchase is locate a range near you and visit them. Most ranges welcome questions, allow visitors to pay for range time by the hour, and keep plenty of rental guns on hand to try out.


Sparky the Stun Gun
November 11, 2008   04:03 PM PST
How true it is to defend yourself from crime. The best way is with a weapon, though some people can't, or won't buy one.

Will they even be available after Obama takes over? We don't know, so stock up now if you can.

There are many other lethal self defense tools like Tasers, Pepper Sprays, and Stun Guns that will do the job if you are not able to own a gun.

No matter what you carry, a gun or pepper spray, just carry something to stop the punk...

Spray first and ask questions later...

Sparky the Stun Gun
December 12, 2008   04:45 PM PST
You, Sir, are certainly entitled to your opinions, but I have to add that you are, in my opinion, one scary paranoid dude.

You go make love to your guns, I prefer laughter, wine & women.
January 20, 2009   05:02 PM PST
you forgot Rock River AR15 .458 SOCOM.

Good editorial though. I can back you on this one.

Have you shot the Springfield XD3?

I want that gun.
January 20, 2009   05:04 PM PST
This comment is for Chris who said:

"You, Sir, are certainly entitled to your opinions, but I have to add that you are, in my opinion, one scary paranoid dude.

You go make love to your guns, I prefer laughter, wine & women."

-- You mean like the French who barely have a country anymore... Smart !!
Dick Nixon
February 23, 2009   01:02 PM PST
Chris, if society breaks down, you won't keep your women or your wine with that attitude. Doubt you will be laughing either. Each of us is charged with protecting our family and self. Do as you wish.

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