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Critique this article

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Warren, May 11, 2004.

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  1. Warren

    Warren Member

    Apr 5, 2004
    Northern California

    Mr. Edmonds is giving advice to people on firearms. I want to see, in your view, if he did a good job.

    When I write articles in defense of gun ownership, I get emails from readers who don't own guns, but think they should. The usual question is, "what guns are the best ones, and why?" The short answer is, there's no short answer. Who you are and the circumstances you face together determine what would be the best weapons for you. That being the case, it is possible to make some general statements that readers may find useful, so here they are:

    One of the best personal weapons is a .45-caliber pistol.* The primary advantage of the .45 is its stopping power. With an expanding (hollow-point) round, the .45 will make a .45-inch hole where it enters a person, and a large hole where it leaves the person – if it leaves him. The bullet travels relatively slowly, giving it time to expand; and it has a lot of weight, which helps literally stop the forward motion of an attacker. It packs a huge punch. More "powerful" handguns, such as a .357 magnum or my 10mm pistol (effectively a .40 magnum), by contrast, send the bullet at too high a speed for it to expand much when it hits a person. These more "macho" weapons are not as effective at stopping an attacker as a .45.

    Disadvantages of the .45 include its size and weight; its relatively low ammo capacity compared to, say, a 9mm pistol; and the fact that it's a pistol, which means maintenance is more time consuming and complicated than for a revolver. Hence, a 9mm pistol is a good alternative. Its higher ammo capacity helps make up for its lower stopping power, and its lower weight and milder recoil make it more suitable for folks with smaller forearms.

    With pistols and revolvers alike, smaller caliber can (but doesn't necessarily) mean greater ammo capacity, milder recoil, and smaller overall size – an advantage for concealment. You, perhaps with the help of a personal advisor, must decide which tradeoffs are best for you.

    Revolvers will almost always be able to hold only six cartridges, compared to (usually) around nine for a .45, and 10 to 16 for a 9mm pistol. Also, revolvers, for a given level of power, tend to have greater recoil than pistols. Pistols absorb some of the recoil by using it to load the next round. The advantages: Revolvers tend to be smaller than pistols, and tend to require only simple, speedy maintenance.

    The next question is whether you need a handgun at all. If you want something you can carry on your person, then a handgun is the only choice. If you want something strictly for home defense, a handgun is a pretty bad choice. In the heat of the moment, it may be very difficult to hit your target. For home defense, you want a shotgun. The best ones for home defense have short barrels and no choke.** You want to paste the biggest area possible. The only reason a shotgun isn't the best thing for carrying on your person is its large size.

    What sort of shotgun you want is the next issue, the question being whether you want a pump-action or semi-automatic shotgun.

    I prefer the pump shotgun for my own house, and I don't keep a round in the chamber ready to fire. This offers two advantages: The sound of you pumping the shotgun to load a round will give a warning, which will usually be enough to send an intruder fleeing. More important, in the case that a member of your own family shocks you awake, you give them a chance to say "it's me." (Don't get the idea that this ever really happens – given the mainstream media bias against guns, we'd hear about it every time a homeowner shot a family member in the middle of the night, mistaking him for an intruder. Such cases are exceedingly rare.)

    Ex-military types have written me to say that pumping the shotgun is a bad idea – it gives away your position and your strength. That is absolutely correct in combat situations. If you've crept into a building in enemy territory, you don’t want to give away your position. You might find yourself surrounded by the enemy. At home, however, if the lights are off, you DO want to be sure whom you're shooting, and you are not likely to be surrounded by intruders. If there's more than one intruder, they're still likely to flee at the sound of the pump action. If they don't flee at the sound of a shotgun, you're in an extremely unusual and dangerous circumstance. Consult people with more expertise than I have for those situations, but common sense is a partial guide.

    For example, if you and your wife are the only adults in your home, and you see an adult-sized silhouette across the room while you can feel your wife next to you on the bed, the silhouette is very likely to be an intruder. Still, this is a serious subject and deserves the most serious consideration. Only you can decide the probability of your making a bad decision in a heated moment. I can say this much: Learning, discussing, and rehearsing will vastly improve the likelihood of your making a good decision if the occasion ever arises.

    Finally, with a pump shotgun, you can have a round in the chamber, and fire without the pump-action announcement. With a semi-automatic shotgun, you don't have the option of making the pump noise before firing. And in the dark, you can always pump the shotgun and then quickly and quietly move a couple of paces to one side, separating you from the location the noise came from. You don't even have to be extremely quiet; a shotgun pumping can just about make your ears ring in the middle of a quiet night.

    High-powered rifles are not good for personal or indoor home defense. I still say homes should have them, as they are a persuasive last line of community defense against foreign invasion or your own government coming to take your guns away, à la Waco. High-powered rifles pack an extreme punch, and have a very long range compared to handguns and shotguns.

    So those are the options: handgun, shotgun, and rifle. There is a best weapon – or, more accurately, best of each category – for you. But a columnist can't advise you by email. You must learn for yourself, and the fastest way to do that is go to a gun shop and ask questions (in addition to doing some reading). The guy at the gun shop can look at you, listen to you, and ask his own questions.

    A columnist can't even advise you whether you should buy a gun at all. For example, you may be manic-depressive, or live with someone who is. A gun in the house might present an unacceptable suicide risk. The only thing I can say with certainty to someone I don't know is this: An armed populace will experience lower crime rates, less risk of foreign invasion, and less risk of being subjects of a totalitarian government than a disarmed populace. I own a pistol and a shotgun, and am shopping for a rifle.

    *A pistol is a semi-automatic handgun. When you fire a semi-automatic handgun, the weapon uses the recoil from the discharging round to load the next cartridge and cock the hammer. All you have to do is pull the trigger. A revolver, by contrast, requires you to cock the hammer manually after each shot. When you cock the hammer, that action revolves the barrel that holds the ammunition, positioning the next cartridge for firing.

    **"Choke" is a narrowing of the inside of the barrel near the muzzle (the end of the barrel you point at the target). Choke produces a tighter pattern of the shot you're firing, which is great for hunting, particularly if you're a good shooter, but bad for home defense.
  2. Mulliga

    Mulliga Member

    Jan 13, 2004
    Gainesville, Florida
    He makes some fairly strange claims here.

    A .45 ACP cannot physically "stop" a man - the momentum of the bullet is miniscule and not enough to "push back" a person (otherwise, by the laws of physics, the gun would do the same to you!).

    I simply don't agree with those who claim a .357 hollowpoint is worse than a .45 hollowpoint (well, unless said .357 is fired from a .38 special case ;) ). The .357 magnum has more energy which means more expansion and more shock delivered to the system. "Dwell time" in the body does not cause expansion, energy does.

    A shotgun probably is one of the best weapons for home defense, but a handgun has advantages, too - easier to retain in a struggle and easier to maneuver with.

    Letting the intruder know where you are and what you are armed with MAY or MAY NOT be a good idea (there was a thread in "Strategies and Tactics" that dealt more thoroughly with this: http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?s=&threadid=69625&highlight=rack)

    Many here have picked in AR for home defense. Loaded with hollowpoint .223, an AR actually penetrates LESS than standard 9mm ball. In addition, the tacticality of all the gizmos and gadgets on your M4gery may cause the attacker to either run scared, or die laughing. ;) Seriously, though, many people train extensively with their ARs - and like the old saying goes, "It's not the gun, but the man behind the trigger..."
  3. priv8ter

    priv8ter Member

    Dec 25, 2002
    Poulsbo, Wa
    Gonna Disagree a bit:

    While it seems to be decent, like all articals where a person needs to generalize, I do have some issues with it.

    First, I'm not sure that I would pick a .45 over a 10mm, given equal ammo availability and costs.

    Also, since I used to be in the Navy, I guess I'm one of those 'ex-military types' who would not recommend 'pumping' the shotgun. All I want to do with my guns is flick off the safety to use them.

    The only other thing I would say, since he is so intent on talking about silouhettes, GET A FLASHLIGHT!

  4. Baba Louie

    Baba Louie Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    While it's easy for me to sit here and play critic, I'd only offer that topics I pound on newbies who ask me about guns and gun ownership... before I even begin to talk about "dese" or "dose" I always begin with safety, training and responsibility of gun ownership, a brief history of firearms and our rights, then jump into the why's and what's best... for me. YMMV

    But writing an article has different parameters, editor's assignment of specific topic, word length, editing by others... when newbies are involved, always a mention of safety, training and personal responsibility at the fore.
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