After a Hurricane, Armed Defense May Be OK

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Yesterday The New York Times ran a surprisingly sympathetic account of New Orleans property owners' using guns to prevent looting. I say "surprisingly" both because of the paper's usual aversion to firearms and because I remember how the local press in L.A. (especially the L.A. Times) treated armed self-defense as if it were a violation of law and order during the 1992 riots.

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  1. I've been planning to buy a gun for some time, and this only reinforces my decision. I joined a range and this weekend I'm going shooting with a friend for the first time. I'll probably buy a .357 soon.

    However, before I can buy a weapon I need to buy a gun safe. We have a few little nephews who come to visit now and then, and so priority #1 has to be keeping the weapon secure.

    (You might say I should buy the gun and safe at the same time, but I'm paying off some debts and budgeting carefully right now. Only one weapons-related purchase per month right now.)

  2. Continuing from the other thread, property owners using guns is not a silver bullet to solve the problems in NOLA.
    We should focus on shinier bullets.

  3. As I said in another thread, this has made me decide to buy a shotgun, too. (Catastrophic flooding is highly unlikely where I live, but catastrophic social breakdowns can happen anywhere.) I just need to figure out a way to mention this to my boyfriend.

    Maybe he's learning it here. Hi, honey! We'll talk later.

  4. Civil disorder like this strikes me as the only good reason to keep a gun in your house for protection. If you've got a gun that's sufficiently available for use in a break-in type of situation, you're putting yourself at greater risk, and you're better off keeping the thick end of a pool cue near your bed.

    But to protect against civil unrest, you can keep the thing locked away, or even disassembled, and bring it out when you see bad things happening on the news.

  5. "I remember how the local press in L.A. (especially the L.A. Times) treated armed self-defense as if it were a violation of law and order during the 1992 riots."

    How the hell can you talk about law and order when there is none? That's why we have the right to bear arms: for when the law can't protect us or when it seeks to harm us.

    To quote Trey Parker: "I hate conservatives, but I REALLY hate liberals," or something like that.

  6. I've been waiting to make this comment. I'm sure you'll all appreciate it:

    Every time I read Hitler's description of England as "a nation of shopkeepers," I think of that Korean guy on the roof of his store with an AK during the LA riots.

  7. Any gun aficionados care to offer advice on which model of shotgun would be best for a very small, skinny, weak woman whose shoulder is only four inches wide from the base of the neck to the edge of the shoulder? I'm concerned with issues like "recoil," and any other issues you may know about and I don't.

  8. Thow-row, depending upon the ages of the kids, you may not need that gun safe yet. A high shelf coupled with an unloaded weapon in the master bedroom with the door closed and/or locked is probably enough. Most little kids can't pull the trigger on a handgun anyway (light pressure hair triggers excepted).

    I think WalMart offers a steel gun safe at a reasonable price. It bolts to the wall and is doubled keyed (top and bottom) to discourage burglars from carrying it off or prying it open with a crowbar.

    Jennifer, my gun-nut friends recomend a 12 or 20 guage shotgun with a short barrel. 20 guage is lighter and easier for smaller people to handle. They seem to prefer Winchester or Remington to Mossberg, which several call "klunky".

    I like a shotgun because you don't have to aim too well and most bad guys recognize and speak shotgun. IOW, they recognize the klunking sound of pumping a round into the chamber.

  9. Thoreau

    If you buy a safe, buy one with a quick release mechanism for easy access when you need it.

    Joe

    You're so wrong. Having a weapon available in your bedroom in a quick release safe when you hear the "bad guys" break in downstairs is way more effective than a pool cue. When you're 52, thin, and relatively weak, a 9 MM is a great equalizer against young thugs looking to harm you, your wife, your daughters, etc. Any time you want to match your cue vs. my handgun, I'm ready.

  10. joe-

    The range that I joined sells safes that unlock with a fingerprint. That seems to me like a good balance between security and emergency accessibility.

    TWC-

    They range from 2 years to 4th grade. I think I need a safe. Like I said above, the range sells locked boxes that you can open by fingerprint. I'd probably bolt it to the bedframe rather than the wall, since I'm not sure how my landlord will feel about me bolting things to a wall. The only catch is that I need a model that holds 2 guns, since I plan to buy a .22 at some point for target shooting.

  11. Don't forget SUVs.

    SUVs always play a major role in keeping transportation functioning when severe weather strikes.I can attest personally that when the fecal matter strikes the ventilation impeller it is much better to have a large, powerful, fully enclosed vehicle with decent clearance like a Chevy Suburban than a Miata or a Prius.

    People are safest overall when individuals have the maximum number of tools to control their own immediate environment. Letting individuals make the determination of whether they need personal weapons or a large vehicle is the best way to go.

  12. Jennifer armed....

    Folks, do NOT mess with her!

    An armed forum is a polite forum!

  13. Thow-Row, 4th graders are certainly old enough to create havoc, particularly since in modern America we have isolated our children from weapons and that makes the weapons all the more interesting to curious little people.

    fecal matter strikes the ventilation impeller it is much better to have a large, powerful, fully enclosed vehicle with decent clearance like a Chevy Suburban than a Miata or a Prius

    Shannon Love, you come up with some great stuff sometimes.

  14. Thoreau--

    BLAM!!

  15. But to protect against civil unrest, you can keep the thing locked away, or even disassembled, and bring it out when you see bad things happening on the news.

    Or, even better, you can join a gun club, practice incessantly and gain some goddamned respect for the weapon in your hands, because we don't need another numbskull out there who thinks that all you need to do is point it in a general direction and pull the trigger when there are bad things happening on the news.

  16. "If you've got a gun that's sufficiently available for use in a break-in type of situation, you're putting yourself at greater risk, and you're better off keeping the thick end of a pool cue near your bed."

    No.

  17. "Or, even better, you can join a gun club, practice incessantly and gain some goddamned respect for the weapon in your hands"

    Yes, of course. It's not a Polaroid, after all.

  18. Jennifer,

    The problem with shotguns is that the legal barrel lengths are difficult to maneuver indoors. Keeping distance from an attacker and bringing the weapon to bear can be a problem. On the other hand, their intimidation factor is very high. If you go with a shotgun, I would recommend a 10 gauge with a collapsable stock. (If they still make them.)

    For urban dwellers, I think that 9mm handgun offers the best protection. Remember that 90%+ of the time, the mere display of the weapon will cause an intruder to retreat. Being able to quickly lay hands on the weapon and bring it to bear is usually the most important practical consideration. You will need to invest some time and money into learning to use a handgun. A flashlight attachment and laser sight are also good investments although you should not base your training on their availability.

    Regardless of the weapon you choose, the most important factor will be your actual willingness to use it. You must know yourself well enough to be absolutely sure that when you aim the weapon you are at that exact moment willing to kill. If you do not have that willingness, you may fatally hesitate or your body language and attitude may prompt the intruder to make a grab for the weapon.

  19. OTOH, the enclosed spaces and speed with which somebody can get on top of you make the shotgun's smack-you-upside-the-head-ibility a useful consideration when you think of defending yourself indoors. Sort of like a pool cue.

  20. pool cue?

    fuck that. machete! it's short, weighty and fucking scary as shit to look at.

  21. True, dhex, but like a firearm, it's a little to easy to have an accident with. Long sharp blade and all.

    It's pretty tough to accidently draw your own blood with a pool cue.

  22. Shannon Love,

    with all due respect, a 10 gauge will knock Jennifer through the air if the physical description she gave of herself is accurate.

  23. I occasionally wonder about my own gun kookiness. It is a hobby for me, but I'd be lying if I said that preparedness weren't a part of my thinking.

    Riots and the like help bring things into perspective. Humans are animals with television sets. Every time the lights go out, complete Lovecraftian insanity ensues. Any island of civility can only be defended by force.

    The idea that things would be better if there were no civilian firearms seems to me to be as far off the mark as you can get. Every rapist gets his way. Every looter gets his way. That is a high damn price.

  24. A pool cue would do the average woman absolutely no good against a male aggressor. Why is the anti gun fantasy that it is so easy to take a gun away from someone without being shot, but a frikkin stick makes you Thundar the Barbarian?

  25. Shannon,

    A 10 gauge for a self described skinny, weak woman is a good way to dislocate a shoulder. 18.5" is the required barrel length if I recall but any gun store will know the exact and will not sell you any shorter.

    Jennifer,

    You should visit a site such as http://www.packing.org for further recommendations based on your state laws and current accommodations. I am large and male so my favorite, the mossberg 590, may not be the best for you. Obviously finding a place / friend that would let you try before you buy is ideal.

  26. Jennifer needs the largest gun possible. Anything less will be lost in her clutter. Even if it is stored in a dedicated place, that place will be obscured by piles of other things. Comments like "Honey, have you seen my gun?" would be common.
    And yes, a standard 10 gauge would send her airborne.

  27. Hmm, I suppose if Jennifer just wants to make a fast getaway, a 10 gauge would be useful.

  28. I think we are missing the real story behind this story. There are quite a few armed Americans conducting urban warfare inside NO. Round them up and send them over to Iraq were they can be much more useful. They seem quite adept to brandishing weapons and calling their own shots inside a power vacuum. Sounds like a good posse to go sniff out insurgents!

    As for the Americans who are defending their homes, keep 'em on our home soils, they are true defenders of America.

  29. Jason, this:

    "Humans are animals with television sets. Every time the lights go out, complete Lovecraftian insanity ensues."

    ...is absolutely freaking brilliant.

    As is referencing "Thudar the Barbarian."

    And yes, you point out a legitimate weakness to having a non-firearm weapon, one that needs to be factored in, and weighed against the absolute certainty that no child can shoot himself or somebody else with a pool cue, and no disturbed person can kill himself with it.

  30. Jennifer,

    Whatever you decide to buy, my only advice is that you do not wait until you need to use to shoot it the first time. Get some practice with it. For lower recoil, a 20 gauge might work for you. Just load it with something nasty like buckshot or magnum slugs. Chances are you'll never need to fire it at a person though. Just the sound of a round being chambered is enough.

  31. and no disturbed person can kill himself with it.

    Tell me again why that's any of my, or the government's, business.

  32. machete is a good middle point between pool cue and bang bang, methinks. i mean, i guess if you're dumb you could cut yourself, but it's so easy even a woman could use it!

    just don't tell my wife. she's dangerous enough as it is.

    don't forget to check out http://www.machetesbydhex.com for more information! free shipping for the next 30 minutes.

  33. I weigh about 106 pounds, so I need a gun that I can fire and remain standing without first tying 50-pound weights to my feet.

    Shannon, so far as I know about my state's gun laws (I'll admit I haven't researched them yet), getting a shotgun would be FAR easier than a legal pistol. Hell, becoming a lawyer would be easier than getting a pistol, and I've never been to law school. My apartment has very large, wide rooms, so I don't think barrel length would be too much of an issue. Also, as I understand it shotguns are better for home defense in the sense that pinpoint accuracy in aiming is not a factor.

    Joe--

    A pool cue wouldn't do me a goddamned bit of good against a thug looking to do me harm. If I were big enough and strong enough to defend myself with nothing more than a pool cue or baseball bat, I wouldn't need a gun. And I'm not worried about "a disturbed person killing himself;" I'm worried about a disturbed person killing me.

    Jeff-

    Well, if you're making snarky comments then perhaps our future gun discussion won't go too badly. I'll wait until after I buy twenty gallons of water tonight to bring it up, though.

  34. This current disaster reinforced the need to

    1) Keep a week's worth of food and water on hand at all times if I have to hunker down in my house.

    2) Keep a "bug-out" bag with basic gear if I have to leave on foot.

    3) Keep in one place (for easy grabbing if I can leave via car) copies of all the financial info plus a "cheat sheet" of that info for the bug-out bag.

    4) Get a shotgun (if staying at home) and a handgun (if have to walk out 'cause it is easier to hide from authorties who might want to take it away to keep the public 'safe')

    5) Never ever go to a gov't shelter unless all else is hopeless.

  35. least surprising revelation ever: joe is not pro-gun.

    joe, is there any liberal caricature that you don't embody? I almost wonder if you are a group construct, maintained by a collection Daily Kos regulars or something like that.

    nmg

  36. This is probably stereotypically European, but is there not at least a case here that you need a halfway competent Federal government more urgently than you need firearms?

    sorry. I'll just get my coat...

  37. Pol,

    I would suggest that this is a case for both.

  38. "joe, is there any liberal caricature that you don't embody?"

    quite a few, actually. why do you think we keep him around?

  39. You would have to be completely high to conclude that I hold an "liberal characature" position on guns. Go argue with the liberal in your head, nmg, just don't drag me into it.

    Jennifer, you'd be surpised by the damage you could do with a pool cue. I'm certain you could put one through the wallboard without even setting your feet. Their balance (you only use the thick end), the hardness of the wood, and their lightness combine to make it very easy to generate a lot of power at the end even if you have 105 pound woman arm strength.

  40. "Laws that forbid the carrying of arms... disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes... Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man."

    -- Cesare Beccaria (On Crimes and Punishment, quoted by Thomas Jefferson in Commonplace Book)

  41. And Kos is quite pro-gun.

  42. joe's a good egg, really, but along the lines of the "road to hell is paved with good intentions." He wants to do the right thing and he wants other people to do the right thing. But usually if it involves self-reliance or personal choice he believes there's a better solution.

    Around here, on the other hand, I've noticed the majority of folks tend to be of the more traditional American viewpoint that you should be the one responsible for looking out for yourself and your loved ones. I think, sadly, we're seeing a grotesque example of how people who prefer to rely on the kindness of others - or who have no other choice due to illness or age - are suffering for it in New Orleans.

    For the record, keeping a pistol locked and loaded in a quick access safe is far more safe than expecting your kids not to hit each other with a pool cue.

  43. Jennifer, this is what I got for you from one of my gun nut friends:

    NOT SURE WHAT SHE IS GOING TO WITH IT, BUT, IF IT IS FOR SELF DEFENSE, I WOULD SUGGEST THE WINCHESTER MODEL 1300. THIS IS A 12 GA. PUMP ACTION SHOTGUN. IT IS SHORT, FAST, DEPENDABLE, HOLDS ENOUGH SHELLS, EASY TO LEARN TO USE, REASONABLY PRICED, READILLY AVAILABLE AND DOES NOT REQUIRE A LOT OF EXTERIOR CARE. AT 100 LBS. SHE WILL LEARN TO LEAN FORWARD RAPIDLY. HOPE THAT HELPS. PS: I LIKE IT BECAUSE IT WILL HOLD ALL THE SHOTGUN SHELL LENGTHS EVEN IF YOU LOAD IT WITH DIFFERENT LENGTH SHELLS AT THE SAME TIME. SOME GUNS WILL ONLY TAKE A CERTAIN LENGTH SHELL.

    For some reason he always writes in caps. : =)

    Sage, I once saw a 12 guage come apart firing 3" magnum loads. Yes, it was old. Besides, you fire a magnum load inside the house and your burglar AND your mother-in-law sleeping in the next room are going bye bye. Wait, that might not be a down side.

    I tend to lean to the 20 guage for midget chicks. I also asked a couple other gun nut buddies of mine too. Stay tuned.

  44. Pol,

    You show me a European state with a halfway competent Federal gov't and we can open that line of discussion.

  45. TWC,

    I took my 12ga out this weekend and shot up a couple of boxes of light game loads. My shoulder is almost done yellowing. Of course, in a home defense situation it will be no more than a couple of rounds anyway. And yes, magnum loads hurt both the shooter and shootee. And bystanders. I love 'em.

  46. Jennifer, if I may:

    Remington 870 20-gauge

    Remington 1100 (a .410 shotgun with a shorter barrel)

    Both are quite easy to take care of, and .410s are often marketed as home-defense weapons. Plus, it's not big enough to recoil you off of your feet.

  47. I own a 12 gauge, and I practice with it enough to be proficient at short distance. But I certainly don't take it to the range to shoot for fun. Like sage points out, it takes a while for the bruise to go away after I run through a box of slugs. I'm opposed to pain, unless I'm dispensing it to someone who truly deserves it.

  48. Riots and the like help bring things into perspective. Humans are animals with television sets. Every time the lights go out, complete Lovecraftian insanity ensues.

    Every time, all the time, Mr. Ligon? I don't need the state to be nice to others. Do you?

    I'd expect that whenever an existing socio-economic order is ripped from under the feet of a population, chaos will result. Unfortunately, the vacuum left behind wasn't filled in with a culture of liberty. It was replaced with the opposite.

  49. Jennifer,

    I sent you a link to some nice Remingtons (everyone has his or her favorites) in an e-mail. I have no doubt that you can find all the advice you would ever want here, though.

  50. Thanks to all. I'm sure I'll find a shooting range or gun club for practice, too.

  51. people who prefer to rely on the kindness of others

    Ooh, good (and v. appropriate) "Streetcar" reference. Yes, Blanche would be fucked right now. Stanley would do OK.

    Jeez, Jennifer, you don't even weigh enough to give blood (not that they actually weigh you). Just an observation, tho -- not trying to make you self-conscious. 🙂

  52. Poco--

    Yeah, I know. When I was in college my dad had a serious accident and took gallons of blood from the blood bank, so I tried to "pay them back" by wearing baggy clothes every time my school had a blood drive and making a donation. And it worked fine the first few times, until one time (when I didn't consume enough of the post-gouging OJ and cookies, I guess) when I fainted in class. And being the type of person who faints does NOT fit with my self-image, so that's why I stopped giving blood.

    But I"m sure I can learn to handle a gun.

  53. Oh yeah, and: is it wrong that the songs from The Simpsons musical "Streetcar!" are in my head? Both the opening song about how sucky NO is ("Tacky, overpriced souvenir stores") and the ironic finale about how "a stranger's just a friend you haven't met (you have-n't met!)"?

  54. I think a .410 gauge shotgun with a spreader choke is the best choice for a small person who is afraid of recoil. Shotguns are good for home defense, especially if you live in an apartment or ajoined condominium. You can shorten the shotgun by adding a pistol grip and collapsable stock. You can use lighter load buckshot that will hurt your attacker and not go through walls. And, as was already mentioned, there is the psychological factor of hearing somebody rack the slide.

    Pistols are good too, I have one. However, I also live in an ajoined condo. and would not use it unless cornered.

    Jennifer, you'd be suprised at how little most guns "kick". Good rule of thumb is, the heavier the gun, the less recoil it will have. A 10 gauge shotgun might mess up your shoulder, but it wouldn't send you flying across the room like in the movies.

    The hardest part of learning to shoot firearms for me is dealing with "recoil anticipation". That's when you reflexively jerk the gun forward a split second before you squeeze the trigger. It's the one thing that messes up my accuracy at long ranges. You have to let the recoil suprise you each time, and just get used to it. Or, shoot with the gun rested on some surface.

  55. I am glad people are defending themselves with firearms. I am glad because this is the most ineptly-handled disaster recovery ever. It has dispelled any doubts I might have had about the competence of the current administration.

    If this is the level of cluefulness we can expect from the government as it performs one of its legitimate functions, I think it's wise if everyone who can be armed, is armed.

  56. Good catch, poco!

    However, since Stan was a rapist, he'd have been among the first to catch lead poisoning if I'd been around.

    Jennifer, my dear departed grandmother shot snakes and other varmints with an old single-shot .410 shotgun that I still own.

    It doesn't kick anywhere nearly as bad as a 12 gauge. I you get a pump gun that makes the necessary "bad guy scaring" noise and fill it with slugs, you've probably got as much gun as you want to handle.

    At least we know that most HNR posters will be picnicking while Rome burns, safe behind our own fences, guarding our own families with our own firearms. Makes me hopeful in the melancholy way that seeing the end of "Red Dawn" did.

  57. I recommend a Makarov. Well made, easily disassembled and cleaned. The 9mm rounds are slightly larger than .380 auto and slightly smaller than the standard 9mm. A box of 50 costs $10. The gun itself is a bargain at $179 to $200.
    The Russian design is reliable and many have been imported from Bulgaria. This is the handgun used by the East German STASI and the Russian military for almost 50 years. They designed it to be small and lightweight because the big gun you don't carry can't protect you.

    And I love the irony of protecting myself with a weapon made by a former enemy.

  58. Poco - It wasn't wrong until you said it out loud. Now it's stuck in MY brain too! Heh!

  59. joe-

    The pool cue may be an excellent weapon for a former varsity athlete like yourself, or a 6ft 2in guy like me who swims laps. But put me in a confined corridor with that pool cue, facing a guy with a knife and some experience with street fighting, and the other guy has the advantage. And Jennifer in confined quarters with the pool cue? I think not.

    I'm all for gun safety. Hell, my first purchase will be a safe for keeping the guns in. I have little nephews who will come by from time to time. And even if I didn't, the last thing I need is for some guy to follow me home from the range, note my location, then break in while I'm gone and help himself to a free gun, plus a DVD player. (I was told by the guys at the range that it's been known to happen.)

    I will give you this much: While you have made it clear that you aren't a big fan of owning a gun, and have argued with us on the merits of making that decision, your support for most gun laws has been rather tepid. Yes, yes, I know, there are some gun laws that joe has argued in favor of, but most of his comments on this issue are opinions on choices rather than calls for regulation. I'm sure that even Libertopia would feature a few people who want nothing to do with weapons, while respecting our right to carry, yadda yadda.

  60. If you've got a gun that's sufficiently available for use in a break-in type of situation, you're putting yourself at greater risk, and you're better off keeping the thick end of a pool cue near your bed.

    Um, no, that's wrong, Joe. Both on a macro scale as it applies to the population at large, and on a micro scale as it applies to little ol' me.

  61. "My apartment has very large, wide rooms, so I don't think barrel length would be too much of an issue. Also, as I understand it shotguns are better for home defense in the sense that pinpoint accuracy in aiming is not a factor."

    Apartment is one of the key words there. You may want to check out a home defense course before making your decision on what to purchase. Both of my roomates went through one a couple of months ago and said it was well worth it.

  62. Maybe if Jennifer gets a gun with enough recoil, she could fire it and thereby get free air passage to the Libertarian meeting in Las Vegas.

  63. It's pretty tough to accidently draw your own blood with a pool cue.

    Joe, you must be one clumsy motherfucker.

    Jennifer-

    Consider looking at some of the youth models in 20 gauge that Remington offers. They do a youth model 1100. Personally, I've been soured on pump-action shotguns in favor of autoloaders. The one caveat is that you *must* test it with whatever you plan to use.

    I have no idea what Shannon is smoking with regard to a 10 ga. with a folding stock. You'd have to spend quite a bit of money on a custom gun to do that today.

    Last year I helped a co-worker pick out a shotgun for home defense. He had, at one point in time suffered a stroke and didn't have the manual dexterity to operate a pump action, and was unsure if he would be able to handle a 12 guage. He ended up going with a 20 gauge Saiga which is loosely based on Kalashnikov rifle. It's big and scary looking, easy to operate, and reloads faster than a standard shotgun. Plus it has the added bonus of causing Joe's sphincter to pucker.

    The only downside was that if failed to cycle birdshot. Like I said before, always test what you plan to load it with.

    If you decide not to go with a shotgun, consider an AR15. They're scary looking, but have a small amount of felt recoil, are easy to learn how to use, and can be hand in more flavors than Baskin Robbins.

  64. Thoreau: You can also find plastic pistol cases that come with a bracket that screws to the wall and padlocks to the case. Certainly wouldn't stop a robbber with a few minutes to spare, but more than adequate for curious little ones. I mounted mine on the wall behind the pants in my closet so it's somewhat concealed.

    The shotgun, on the other hand, is kept in a pop-up rack in the headboard of my bed. (Designed and built it myself!)

    Jennifer: Also consider a 20 ga with #4 shot rather than slugs/buckshot. Less likely to go through walls and hit someone else.

  65. "My apartment has very large, wide rooms, so I don't think barrel length would be too much of an issue. Also, as I understand it shotguns are better for home defense in the sense that pinpoint accuracy in aiming is not a factor."

    Yes and no. You can't just point a shotgun through the door and pull the trigger. Long arms are much easier to employ effectively than pistols, but you still have to aim them.

    Also, since you're in an apartment, you absolutely *must* make considerations for overpenetration of the rounds. Consider reduced recoil stuff, and maybe frangible ammunition. The last thing you want to do is send a round sailing through the wall only to hit your neighbor.

  66. is there not at least a case here that you need a halfway competent Federal government more urgently than you need firearms?

    They are no mutually exclusive, you know.

    As for pistol calibers, you should get the heaviest caliber you can handle. My wife is recoil-shy, so she shoots a 9mm. I am not, so I shoot a .45. The .45 is a much more effective killing round than the 9mm.

    OTOH, a .44 magnum or a .50 AE is even more effective than the .45, but at that level of hand cannon I start getting flinchy, too.

    You own a self-defense handgun for one reason - to kill people.

    Not to scare them, to kill them. If you scare them and don't have to kill them, that's great, but don't bet on it. If you are not capable or willing to engage in lethal self-defense, don't get a handgun.

    Since the purpose of the gun is to kill people, get the most lethal one you can handle.

  67. TWC - Mossberg? Mossberg!!?! Those are shit. The Remington 870 and 1100 are top of the line and worth it, but only if you are going to do something with it other than stroke it as you fall asleep.

    A 20 gauge is good for grouse, but can be used for big stuff like turkeys but not geese. Grouse hunting is a civilized, gentile sport. I, *ahem*, have a 20 guage.

    A 12 guage is an all purpose hunting gun. Great for deer. Deer hunting is a foul-wood-smoke-odor, booze-breath male bonding sport. An old, broken down trailer home and an outhouse are appropriate accomodations for this sport.

    The Remington and Winchester are both fine, but if you are adventurous like me, you'll want to check out the unfairly disparaged Spanish guns.

    But if you are just going to kill people, I'd go with a harpoon.

  68. And BTW, I keep my riles and guns locked in a closet. Not too handy during a break-in, but I can safely say that any intruder can expect to get a swift kick to the nuts.

  69. Shannon wrote:
    SUVs always play a major role in keeping transportation functioning when severe weather strikes.I can attest personally that when the fecal matter strikes the ventilation impeller it is much better to have a large, powerful, fully enclosed vehicle with decent clearance like a Chevy Suburban than a Miata or a Prius.

    I prefer a 650cc dual-sport motorcycle. No bullet protection, but quick and maneuverable, 250+ miles on less than 6 gallons of gas, and able to pick its way through tight spots. Plus, it's got enough room for me and all my friends! Wind is a problem, but not so much the rain.

    Fully agree on the "willingness to use" requirement of firearms, however. I saw a TV show once that included a segment on the usefulness of firearms. They had two guests, one for each side of the issue. The one who was against claimed that she tried to protect herself with a firearm and it only led to harm. When they showed the re-creation, she was pointing a pistol at the bad guy saying, "Don't come any closer or I'll shoot. I mean it. No, really!" They guy walked up and took it from her. People can't depend on firearms as some sort of magic shield.

  70. A Mossberg 500 with a pistol grip is like $225, and a perfectly fine tactical shotgun. Buckshot is the preferred way to go--it's a load designed to take down a sizeable mammal, which is what you'd be using it for. Overpenetration is overhyped; get a reduced recoil "tactical" load if it worries you--it's what the cops uses.

    A rifle would be even better in a SHTF situation like NO--you want accuracy at a distance to keep the bad guys away. You can get an already cleaned up mil-surp Yugo SKS for less than $200. The ammo, 7.62 x 39mm, is cheaper than anything this side of .22LR, and sufficinetly deadly--it's the same round used by the legendary AK-47.

    A handgun--get the most powerful you can handle AND afford to practice with. As a practical matter this is, for revolvers, a .357 (which can also shoot cheaper .38 rounds) or, in a semi-auto, a 9mm or larger. I prefer .45, 357SIG and 10 mm myself, but 9mm is just fine for a semi-auto if hollow points are used for anything other than practice (unfortunately, our troops don't get to use HPs in their damned Berettas).

  71. Nice thing about the 870, mediageek, is that you can get a used one just about anywhere for spare change, and there's twenty years of parts for them if you need to switch something out.

    And an AR for home defense? If you need a Bushmaster to defend your house, you live in a scarier neighborhood than I.

  72. "Mossberg? Mossberg!!?! Those are shit."

    Even though I own one, I won't take exception to this remark. I must wonder though, what makes a "quality" shotgun. IMO, if they fire when you pull the trigger, they're a good gun. I mean, are you worried about how tight a group you're going to shoot with one? Concerned about "accuracy?" Geez at less than ten feet you really can't miss.

  73. Since hunting shotguns can see thousands of rouns, a quality gun is one built for (a) durability and (b) ease of handling/"pointability". Your fancy handmade shotguns are astonishingly durable and point like your finger.

    Neither durability nor pointability matters much in a self-defense gun. For those, simplicity and reliability are all important.

  74. My 12 gauge is a Mossberg. It's a pain to take apart and clean compared to what I would have bought for myself. (It was a Christmas gift.) I prefer Remington and Browning, and even the shotguns a friend brought back from Turkey (hand crafted, yada yada).

    I think this is the best advice: Don't buy a gun for defense unless you're willing to put someone down with it. If you shoot to wound or to scare, the odds dramatically increase that they'll end up with the gun and you'll end up dead. (Or worse, fighting off your assailants lawyers in court...)

  75. Jennifer and Thoreau,

    Before you buy anything, find out about the laws in your state about shooting intruders in your home. This is definitely something to know before the cops show up to cart a body out of your house.

    Go to a shooting range and ask the guys who work there about guns for self-defense. They'll suggest a few appropriate models and you'll likely be able to rent shotguns and handguns of various calibres to fire on the range for just a few bucks (plus ammo). After you've blown a few holes in some targets and you know how the guns feel you'll be in a better position to choose one to take home with you.

    Once you get the gun home, RTFM! You should also get a cleaning kit and break the gun down and clean it after use.

    Something else you'll want to think about is whether you'll keep the gun loaded in your home. Joe will probably tell you that's an awful idea, but most people who have an accidental discharge did so because they thought the weapon was unloaded at the time. My philosophy is, if it's always loaded there's never any question about whether's it's dangerous or not. I own a shotgun and a .45 and both are loaded at all times.

    Statistics show you're much more likely to be woken up in the middle of the night by a fire than a burglar, so while you're thinking about home defense, you might want to consider keeping a flashlight and a fire extinguisher next to the bed as well as a weapon.

    Jennifer,

    Ninety-nine times in a hundred a home intruder is going to quickly head back out the way he came in as soon as he hears the unmistakable sound of a shell being jacked into the the chamber of a typical pump-action shotgun. Even so, you'll probably want to load the gun with something like birdshot, which will go through burglars but not very well through walls. Get a case for the gun to protect it from all your piles of stuff when it's laying about your home.

    Lastly, you should get yourself a bandolier that holds about 50 shells. It won't be any good for home defense but Jeff will think it looks great on you.

  76. Jen, here is another opinion from a guy I really trust.

    If she's that small the typical pump will be hard to manipulate, and the auto will be too heavy.

    I'm assuming this is for self-defense?

    I'd steer her to a Baikal "Bounty Hunter". These are short barreled (legal) double shotguns made in Russia. I own two of them, one in 20 and one in 12 gauge. I carry my 12 for bear protection when fishing, the 20 I use for rabbits in thick cover. For her, I'd recommend the 20 gauge - less recoil.

    There are several advantages to a gun like this for a novice, or a small person - for anyone really... The compact size makes them easy to use indoors where you have obstructions around you. There is no pump or anything to manipulate. They are simplicity in themselves; pull the trigger it shoots, pull the other trigger, it shoots again. And, a double barreled shotgun pointed at you is extremely intimidating - it may mean you don't have to shoot.

    Lastly, these guns look like antiques. They are engraved, 19th century reproductions. This can work for you in court where a DA, or a lawyer in a civil case, is going to try and paint you as some kind of paranoid gun nut. This can work when they wave around a plastic and stainless steel "killing machine", but looks silly when they wave around something that looks like the gun over Grandad's fireplace.

    As with any firearm, the owner needs to get out and shoot that gun. A lot. If she's a novice, she needs instruction. For practice buy the lightest loads you can find - ask the shop owner.

    Here is a link to the Baikal and several similar models. I'm only familiar with the Baikal, but any of these are probably fine. Buy a "Hammerless" model! The ones with the exposed hammers present a safety problem because you either have to shoot it, or let the hammers down with your thumb - if it slips... That problem isn't there with the hammerless design - you simply put the safety on and unload.

    http://www.popularmechanics.com/outdoors/firearms/1277346.html?page=3&c=y

  77. The .45 is a much more effective killing round than the 9mm. This is an oft touted "truth" for which I have yet to see any true evidence for. The evidence superior stopping power of the .45 vs. the 9mm is anecdotal at best. Double tap nearly any human center of mass with a modern hollowpoint pistol round and you'll more than likely stop them, regardless of caliber.

    Nice thing about the 870, mediageek, is that you can get a used one just about anywhere for spare change, and there's twenty years of parts for them if you need to switch something out.

    True that. There is nothing wrong with the 870. They are well made, abundant, and easily repaired. My recent affectation for semi-autos is a personal preference.

    And an AR for home defense? If you need a Bushmaster to defend your house, you live in a scarier neighborhood than I.

    Heh. Actually I was thinking more in terms of what's happening in NOLA right now. An AR for home defense would tend to be overkill. But in the event of the breakdown of society, I'd pass the shotgun up for the rifle in a heartbeat.

  78. TWC - Mossberg? Mossberg!!?! Those are shit.

    Saw Whet, I think you misread. I was recomending against Mossbergs. Politely. : =)

    ....prefer Winchester or Remington to Mossberg, which several call "klunky"....

  79. Thoreau,

    I don't know where you live, but I'll assume that they allow you have a handgun on your person within the confines of your property (or at least your dwelling).

    It's true where I live, and instead of putting my handgun in a safe, I put it in it's holster under my arm. I find it more secure than a gun safe, because nobody can get to it without me knowing.

    And no, I don't sleep with it there. At night it's on the nightstand. The bedroom door has an alert the wakes me if it's opened.

  80. Semi auto Benellis or Franchis really do make a difference in a fight. If you don't want to pay the premium for one of those, I remain unconvinced that one pump is practically too much better than another.

    Mossbergs will not survive a ton of rounds in the way a Remington 870 will, and there are tons of add ons you can get for 870s, but honestly by the time you dress up an 870, you will be close to the cost of a Benelli. I've never understood the notion of paying Scattergun Technologies $1000 for a pump shotgun (customized Rem 870), when the most important improvement you can make to a pump gun is to lose the pump.

    Don't get the rem 1187 semi looking to get a semi on the cheap. Piece of poo.

    We are in a wierd market right now for these, but the weapon mounted light on the defensive 12 ga is a huge improvement. The ones from surefire cost too damn much and the rest don't hold up to shotgun recoil very well.

    On caliber - get 12 ga and load Hornady TAP 8 pellet 00 buck or the TAP #4. If you are concerned about recoil, several companies make reduced recoil tactical loads. They work very well even in semi autos. For moderate recoil, I've never seen or heard of anything that patterns like TAP 8 pellet - regardless of barrel.

  81. Like mediageek, I've not yet seen anything compelling to differentiate 9mm from .40 from .45. There is compelling evidence that .357 magnum is a step up from these and .380 is a step down, though.

    I shoot 9mm until convincing evidence turns up.

  82. Jason-

    I'm not going to buy anything until I've bought a safe and tested a few different models at the range, but I've been told that a .22 is a good second purchase because they're fun to practice with and ammo is cheap. Any recommendations there?

  83. Thank you all for the advice, and to the people who sent me e-mails on the topic (though I haven't had the chance to look at them just yet). I just found out I'll be taking a pile of work home this weekend, so I may not be able to start learning in earnest until next Tuesday, but I DEFINITELY plan to do so.

    And I agree that the idea of getting a gun that looks like a cute little antique is a good idea.

  84. If it's just the sound of the pump action that scares 'em away, can't I simply get an mp3 of it, kinda like the barking-Dobermans alarm in L.A. Story?

  85. I've been told that a .22 is a good second purchase because they're fun to practice with and ammo is cheap. Any recommendations there?

    I'm hesitant to recommend Ruger .22's for two reasons: they leave the factory with excessively heavy triggers, and they're a pain in the rear to field strip for cleaning.

    Browning Buckmarks are alright, and I hear good things about the SIG Trailside, though I've not shot one.

    If you feel like dropping some bank, look into a Smith & Wesson Model 41. They are the best domestically produced .22 pistol. Fantastic plinkers, and with the addition of a set of Nil Grips make for a good Bullseye competition gun. But they are expensive.

    Pistols like the Ruger Mark II, 22/45, or the Browning Buckmark can be had for very reasonable prices on the used market.

    Also, a number of companies offer conversion kits for the more popular semi auto models. Kimber offers a .22 conversion kit for their 1911 style pistols, Ciener sells kits for 1911's, Glocks, and a couple of other models, and CZ sells the Kadet kit which can be used with the CZ-75 and CZ-85 line of pistols.
    Ciener Glock Conversion
    Kimber .22 Conversion
    CZ Kadet conversion kit

  86. Any recommendations there?

    If you want a rifle, Ruger 10/22. Reasonable price and excellent rifle. If you don't want a semi-auto consider their lever gun. Costs more but I've heard its good.

    http://www.ruger-firearms.com/Firearms/P-CategoryRiflesRA.html

    I'm more of a rifleman so I assumed...

  87. Thoreau, check out JAC. They make a .22 rimfire conversion for the Beretta, and perhaps other models. Beretta makes one as well, but the JAC unit is half the cost. I haven't tried it personally, however, so maybe someone else can chime in on quality. The benefit is that you get to practice with the same pistol.

  88. All this talk of guns has FINALLY, caused me to flashback to my Marine Corps days: Why shouldn't Jennifer get a 106 Recoilless Rifle? No recoil whatsoever.
    Anybody here fired one? I farted.
    You pull the little saucer thingy and it shoots a tracer 50 caliber. If you're happy with the tracer trail, then you PUSH the saucer.
    Actually better if you can hire somebody to push the saucer.

  89. thoreau:

    I'm not a .22 guy for the same reasons I'm not a revolver guy. Shooting a .22 is a fundamentally different exercise from shooting a 9mm semi auto just as shooting a revolver is a fundamentally different exercise from shooting a semi auto. Revolvers are useful for shooting huge bullets and .22s are fun to plink with.

    Honestly, 9mm bought in bulk is pretty cheap. From Natchez Shooting Supplies, you can get 9mm delivered to your door for about $4.80 / 50 rounds. Recoil on 9mm is light enough that you can shoot it all day. Yes, .22 is both cheaper and lighter, but it should not IMO be thought of as a training tool. In particular, new shooters need to get over the psychological flinch in anticipation of felt recoil. If you shoot .22 all the time, you know that you won't have recoil, but that will make the .357 seem that much more beastly from a flinch perspective.

    I would again caution against both the choice of a revolver and the choice of .357 as primary defensive options.

    All that said, if you want a .22, there are many that look way cool. Because they don't have recoil, there is a tendency to make them 'space guns'. Check out the one from Walther (P22), for example. Cheaper that still works is the Ruger 22 series.

    If you are set on a .357, I would go Smith & Wesson and would specifically avoid the ultralight frames. There is little in life more unpleasant than shooting a Scantium framed full house .357. You won't train with it enough.

  90. Thoreau:

    The .22 conversion kits for autos work pretty well, too, as D-Fens mentions.

    For a safe, look into these: http://www.gunvault.com/

  91. Some good shotgun links:

    Mounting a shotgun. (Hey, get your mind out of the gutter!)

    Shotguns and emergency preparedness

    How much ammo to keep on hand?

    Dave McC has been shooting shotguns for sport and defense for longer than I've been alive. He is someone who I consider to be the voice of experienced authority on the matter.

    Shotguns: Hardware vs. Software (Thoughts on mindset and training)

  92. Jennifer:

    Another thing you will learn in a good gun class is how to handle the cops when they show up. I'm told that, obviously, it is best to say ABSOLUTELY nothing except that you will be seeking a lawyer. I wouldn't even give them the time of day or the weather.

    thoreau and I had a friendly disagreement about the handling of an intruder. My feeling is that if a fucker is in your house, that is cause enough to fucking blow his head off. I'm furious by the notion that anything else has to be proven.

  93. Shooting a .22 is a fundamentally different exercise from shooting a 9mm semi auto...

    Shooting a .22 vs. shooting a centerfire gun is a different exercise, but not fundamentally so. The skills needed to shoot a .22 well are the same needed to do well with a 9mm or any other pistol- sight alignment, trigger control, grip, stance, etc.

    Supplementing centerfire shooting with .22 helps in a big way. At least it has for me.

  94. Jen,

    I would avoid any tacticle lights and laser scopes. They may compensate for not practicing enough, but they'll sink you in court.

    Jen, Thoreau, and everyone else,

    The sound of a pump-action is scary indeed, but not nearly so much as a loud burgler alarm. If you have to shoot a rapist in your bedroom, you've already failed the security test. Nobody should be able to breach the parimeter of your home with setting an alarm off. If you're in an apartment that doesn't have a fire escape, then the only way to break in is likely the front door. This makes for a very inexpensive alarm system (less than $100). Also important is having quality (and multiple) door locks (if you fear a door-bashing).

    I can't stress enough that a firearm should be you last line of defense, not your first.

  95. Forgive all the typos, please.

  96. wsdave:

    Obviously it takes quite a bit of time and effort, but for single women I think having a big, mean dog is an excellent idea, too.

  97. Mr. Nice Guy,

    Actually, having a big, mean, "Beware of Dog" sign is a great deterent, even without a dog. Who wants to gamble whether it's real or not?

  98. As for joe's pool cue idea, I think everyone should have a pool cue: You can use it to play fetch with your big, mean dog on the way to the gun store.

  99. Every time I read Hitler's description of England as "a nation of shopkeepers," I think of that Korean guy on the roof of his store with an AK during the LA riots.

    joe, that is a pretty picture.

    I think my favorite photo from the LA riots was in Time or Newsweek. It showed a skinny but determined-looking young Korean guy with a handgun (I think it was actually a home-made zipgun; it's a shame if he wasn't able to buy the real thing) and wearing a T-shirt with a portrait of Malcolm X and the words "By Any Means Necessary" on it. It made me proud.

    Truly, one of the great things about this country is the way it serves as a great marketplace and swapmeet, where the lives of one culture can be improved and enriched by the ideas from another.

  100. For gun advice, let's not forget SNL's Gay Communist Gun Club.

    Bob: Hi, and welcome again to the "Gay Communist Gun Club", the organization dedicated to gayness...

    John: ...Communism..,

    Bob: ...and guns. Let's get right to our first caller...

    Caller: I have a two-part question --- with a 12-gauge, do you prefer the Winchester or the Mossburg... and, uh... secondly, are you two lovers?

    John: Personally, I like the Mossburg, it's a little heavier, has less recoil... and, we aren't lovers, but we have had sex on regular occasions. Wouldn't you say, Bob?

    Bob: Wellllll.. actually, I'm starting to lean toward the Winchester.

  101. On an unrelated note:

    I wonder if the state will declare Eminant Domain in NO and sell it to the highest bidder....

  102. "I think my favorite photo from the LA riots was in Time or Newsweek. It showed a skinny but determined-looking young Korean guy with a handgun"

    Stevo Darkly,
    Small World.
    That guy's mother used to live in Sinincincinnati. It was she who introduced me to kim-chi. It was a bottle of her personal brew.

  103. "I would avoid any tacticle lights and laser scopes. They may compensate for not practicing enough, but they'll sink you in court."

    I don't think these two things are in the same category. A mounted light is not a sighting device so much as a target ID and dazzling device, and going to court saying "I shot him but couldn't see him clearly," may not be fun, either.

    A laser sight serves almost no purpose on most weapons. It belongs in a 1988 time capsule for the most part. You could dig it up and say things like "Are you Sarah Conner?"

    mediageek, re: .22s

    Eh, different strokes, I guess. I find most .22s to be alien in design and 9mm cheap enough to let me train with centerfire all the time.

  104. going to court saying "I shot him but couldn't see him clearly," may not be fun, either.

    That's my take on it too. When the prosecutor asks "How did you know he was pointing his gun at you?" it might be nice if you can say "Because he was fully illuminated by the powerful light mounted on exhibit A."

    I imagine that a tactical light might also help avoid a few tragedies here and there. A maintenance man is sent to do an emergency repair in your building, he enters the wrong apartment by mistake (the landlord gave him a master key), he doesn't speak much English, and he has a tool in his hand. Better to have him fully illuminated before you make any decisions.

  105. I would avoid any tacticle lights and laser scopes. They may compensate for not practicing enough, but they'll sink you in court.

    I've seen discussions along these lines on a bunch of gun boards, and have yet to see one instance where a person who was involved in a justified defensive shooting was sent to prison because they used an ugly gun, laser sights, hollowpoint ammo, hand-loaded ammo, or a gun with a trigger job.

    I've looked, too, and couldn't find anything. I generally agree with Clint Smith and is admonishment "Thou shalt not put any lasers, phazers, or wind-speed indicators on your gun."

    However, for a home defense shotgun, I think that a surefire forend is a good idea. Surefire's products aren't cheap, but they are very well made.

  106. *is = his

  107. What's up with all the Mossberg bashing? There's nothing wrong with a Mossberg, particularly for folks who don't care to shell out the 3x it would cost to get a shotgun that won't make people turn up their noses at you. You pull the trigger and it goes bang reliably; that's what counts. Maybe it won't go bang reliably 100,000 times, but it wasn't intended to be an heirloom, it was intended to be a low-cost tool.

    I also have to disagree with the recommendation of a pistol grip for a shotgun, except maybe for a .410 or something. A pistol grip makes it that much harder to deal with the recoil - first time I fired one I gave myself "shotgun lip". Yes, it's a little harder to maneuver with a longer gun, but you really shouldn't be doing house-clearing anyway; find a decent spot where you can cover the entryway and stay there.

    To step back to the larger picture, what's appropriate depends on what you're doing. For just home defense, I'd say a shotgun, but yes indeed, if it comes down to that, your defense has already failed in other ways. For holding off mobs from your business when law'n'order has completely broken down? I'd say rifle and shotgun and pistol are warranted. 12-gauge has the advantage that it's easier to find shells for than any other kind. As for rifles, many would recommend an AR, but I don't care much for them; an AK type is cheaper, just as easy to get ammunition for, and less finicky.

    Oh, and Joe's sawed-off pool cue recommendation is just goofy. Yeah, now that Mr. Up-To-No-Good has gotten past all your other defenses, you should complete his work for him and let him get within arm's reach of you. Brilliant.

  108. Eh, different strokes, I guess. I find most .22s to be alien in design and 9mm cheap enough to let me train with centerfire all the time.

    And I'll admit to being biased towards .22. My primary form of practice is bullseye style at a nearby indoor range that only allows rimfire.

  109. You own a self-defense handgun for one reason - to kill people. - R C Dean

    Actually, RC, the purpose of a defensive firearm is to stop something bad from happening to you and yours. The death of an bad guy in a situation like that may be one outcome, but it's not the main thing.

  110. Good points all, and thanks again. And I'll look into the self-defense laws and police-handling techniques, too. Although I suspect that if it came to that, being a wispy-looking woman gives one a certain advantage over a big-n-husky man. Lord knows it got me out of lots of milder trouble, back in the day.

    Or maybe I've just seen too many movies.

    Ruthless-

    I think I'll go for something a little milder. The idea is that if I find myself in a bad anarchic situation like New Orleans, I stay inside with the shotgun at hand and one of those You loot--we shoot signs outside (although I hope I could come up with something more original). I'm not planning to be Rambo and single-handedly restore order to the area.

  111. Packing.org is a great resource on state-to-state gun laws.

  112. Also, I hope this doesn't make any of you sick, but I'm sort of leaning toward the Baikal for the sole reason that I like the idea of having a gun that's all pseudo-Victorian and pretty.

    And the whole Cold-War-enemy vibe is pretty cool, too.

    By the way, I know that you have to aim shotguns, I'm just saying I don't want to need pinpoint aim. So far the only real shooting experience I've had is with the air rifles at those animatronic arcade galleries. I suppose I got the shots about 80 percent of the time. And that was when I was totally calm, with little adrenaline in my system. Maybe I'll turn out to have some latent Annie Oakley talent, but I wouldn't bet on it. With a shotgun, you can still get a hit even when your aim is off by an inch or two, am I right?

  113. I've always thought that the .30 caliber M1 carbine was just about the ideal defensive weapon. It's short, light, holds lots of ammo, light recoil and can dial long distance with decent effectiveness.

    It may have been mentioned here already but this might help finding a place to shoot for those new to the activity.

  114. Jennifer,

    These are eyeball estimates:

    12 ga with birdshot out of an open choke on an 18" barrel (about as short as you can legally get) will create a pattern something like:

    at 10', a pattern in a single hole about 2.5" in diameter

    at 15', a pattern about 5-8" in diameter

    at 20', a pattern maybe 20"

    from there, the pattern gets really out of hand with bird shot.

    Buck shot will shoot much tighter patterns.

    The lesson? You are very likely to be in the 1' - 15' range. At the ranges in question, it is unlikely that you will have a pattern much bigger than 3" with birdshot and even less with buckshot.

    What you really need IMO, and this flies in the face of your Baikal aesthetic, is a super bright ass front sight that you eye can pick up quickly. As ghetto fabulous as it sounds, some of that rave kids style nail polish in bright orange is a great way to enhance your ability to hit with a 12 ga. They also make fiber optic front sights that are handy that way.

  115. I know that you have to aim shotguns

    Just to be a pedant, you aim a rifle and point a shotgun, but I suppose a defensive shotgun could have proper sights thus allowing for actual aiming. Mine just has a single bead but if you can get one with a ghost ring, go for it.


  116. Why is the anti gun fantasy that it is so easy to take a gun away from someone without being shot, but a frikkin stick makes you Thundar the Barbarian?

    Jason L - I may have to quote you on that! Yeah, for some reason it is never explained why a gun will be taken away from you and used against you, but a can of pepper spray, baton, bunch of keys, etc., won't. Perhaps their thought is that the average American woman won't have the resolve to actually shoot - she'll just squeak "I have a gun!" - whereas she might actually use a lesser weapon, but all that that says is that no weapon is a good one if you use it like a damn fool. (It also says far more about the minds of the antis than it does about reality.)

  117. I'm not familiar with the light/laser sight/hi cap mag making a difference in the jury verdict either, but your mileage and prosecuter may vary. Depending on how your locals (jury of your peers?) view guns, it could go bad. I wouldn't take the chance on the East coast, from what I hear of the attitudes there.

    As for: "I shot him but couldn't see him clearly," and "A maintenance man is sent to do an emergency repair in your building, he enters the wrong apartment by mistake (the landlord gave him a master key), he doesn't speak much English, and he has a tool in his hand. Better to have him fully illuminated before you make any decisions."

    I can only restate that before you buy a gun, or even a gun safe, you should get a security system. If the repair person lets himself in, the alarm will trip (whether you're home or not, if you're smart, and it will notify you when it happens) and it's a safe bet that the person won't continue inside. Add to that the strobe light in his face (next to the door), the horn blaring in his ear, and the spot light (75 watts is good, 150 is better) shining on him from down the entry hall, and even a determined criminal will think twice.

    Illuminate the intruder? Every light in the house can be turned on (except your bedroom, so he can't see you) with the alarm.

    Everything I've mentioned can be had for less than $150, and are readily available from Radio Shack and Home Depot (more or less). And can be installed by anyone who can change their oil.

    If you're interested in finding out more, E-mail me.

  118. Also, I hope this doesn't make any of you sick, but I'm sort of leaning toward the Baikal for the sole reason that I like the idea of having a gun that's all pseudo-Victorian and pretty.

    No worries.

    🙂

  119. Thanks for the laughs guys. Especially you, Ruthless.

  120. So, Mr. Nice Guy and I went shooting this morning. We rented a S&W 686 revolver shooting .38, and a Sig P228 9mm.

    I didn't like the heavy trigger pull on the revolver, and my shots were less accurate. I was more accurate with the Sig. I'm not going to rush out to buy anything yet, I still want to test more models, but my inclination is now in favor of a semiauto. The recoil was significant, but it was more fun to shoot.

    I'm also thinking that if I get a semiauto I might get one for which I can buy a .22 conversion kit. That way if I want to shoot .22 I don't have to buy a second gun.

    Somewhere down the line I'll probably buy a shotgun. Aside from its home defense uses, I like the taste of duck.

  121. But it's WABBIT Season!

  122. Jennifer,
    I got this e-mail from Number 1 Daughter late today. She's probably about your age. Note how she just hauled off and bought the vile thing giving no thought whatsoever to recoil. (She's skinny too.) She didn't even take advantage of my opinion re: the trusty 106 Recoilless Rifle.

    Note how she says I can "play" with it?
    She never let me ride any of her motorcycles.
    Smart girl, she.

    "I bought a shotgun today, just to have. It's my birthday gift to
    myself. Watching all that New Orleans stuff going down just got me
    thinking about disasters and emergencies and bad folks so I done got me
    a gun. I'd always thought of getting one, and they told me shotgun was
    best for home defense. You can play with it when you and mom come out
    to visit! It's right nice. I plan to take it to the local range and get
    familiar with it, then just keep it at the house. weeee!"

  123. New here, but became enthralled by this thread just picked up this thread (have been thinking these exact issues for the last week or so) and have a few comments. It's possible nobody will see them because it looks dead as of 5 days ago, but hey, I'll go for it anyways.

    First off, I don't think I'd give my 110 pound girlfriend a 12 gauge as her primary defense weapon. It's fairly well documented that birdshot might not penetrate an attacker with thick clothes at 15 feet, and that 00 buck is probably the best defensive load, which leads to even more recoil. If it's got to be a shotgun for a small girl I'd say 20 gauge and alot of practice.

    Handguns are certainly more maneuverable in defense situations, but definately don't have the immense stopping power that a shotgun does (insert endless debates over 9mm vs. .45 vs .40 vs whatever). Easier to handle for a woman, easier to conceal....

    It might not sound rational, but my vote for home defense weapon (other than shotgun....) is a semi-auto rifle in .223. One of the big advantages of .223 is, believe it or not, less chance of overpenetration and harming those you don't intend to. Study after study has shown that .223 is caught by walls/barriers MUCH more often than 9mm, which generally passes straight through. Also, it certainly stops an attacker more readily as it carries a much greater amount of energy.

    So hey, if you (Jennifer) can handle the 12ga, awesome. If not, think about a .223 carbine or 9mm. You'll be surprised out how little the .223 kicks and how easy it is to handle. The best bet is one of each :>

    Cheers and sorry if that was ranty!

  124. interesting discussion. I've never owned a gun. Like others, I was waffling over the decision to own a gun until watching the SHTF in New Orleans. Looking to spend hopefully around 500 or under... I did a lot of research and decided to start with a Taurus .357 mag using .38 ammo and working my way up to .357 mag ammo after some practice...

    ...then I hung out with a friend and two of his ex-army friends. They turned me around. Their argument was that although a revolver is "simpler," a 1911 .45 acp has several advantages:

    1. durability/dependability -- An extremely dependable design... and he made the argument that if a revolver DOES jam up, it's a very serious jam that you can't recover from while with a 1911 you just work the slide and keep going.
    2. more shots/easier to reload
    3. superior stopping power
    4. actually EASIER to learn to fire than a 357... the slightly more complicated mechanical aspects become second nature through practice, which is what you should be doing anyway, and in all other aspects an easier (extremely stable) gun to fire

    so then I was a .45 fan...

    then I did some more research and found out you can't uncock it without risk of it going off! As a beginner I simply don't know the ins and outs of it... what type of variant is built to not fire if dropped, how safe/unsafe it is to have one in my nightstand chambered and cocked, safety on, that sort of thing....

    then I read good things about the sig.... sounds like it would have the advantages of an automatic with the simplicity of a pistol... now I'm seriously considering that....

    ....then I'm won over by the shotgun enthusiasts for obvious reasons... then I started thinking hey, with a flashlight and a laser sight on it, just point and shoot! I see a laser sight on a shotgun as being there for SPEED not prescision shooting at longer distances... you can very quickly center the dot on the torso and pull the trigger. Hell, even with NO shooting experience and badly freaking out, if the dot is in the center of the torso when you pull the trigger, you're going to hit. Sounds pretty idiot-proof. I'm a total tyro on this, so I look forward to the response on THAT one.... show me my ignorance....

    as for out-there, y2k stuff... protecting your shop from a mob of looters, the choice seems obvious to me.

    A thompson .45 sub-machine gun (semi-auto to be legal of course, but still)

    http://www.auto-ordnance.com/ao_t1_f.html

    with a 50-round drum.

    http://www.auto-ordnance.com/ao_t1_f.html

    MUCH more shots than a shotgun. All the stopping power of .45 ACP ammo. More accuracy than your 1911 sidearm, which of course can share ammo, so you only need to keep one kind. Assuming you're in a suburb/city environment you won't be able to SEE farther than 50 yards. If you're going to spend 1,000-1,500 on a really nice shotgun, wouldn't this give you more value for the same $? (lol)

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