Choosing your weapons wisely

In the comments to my last post advising people not to panic-buy guns because of COVID-19, I got a request from a regular wondering how to choose a first firearm wisely, and about safe storage practices.

He said: “I’m thinking in the next year of getting a gun for home defense, and I’d like myself and my spouse to train with it. […] I have young kids, and want to make sure the gun is accessible enough to be reachable in the event of a break-in but hard enough to access that my daughter doesn’t get into it.”

Credentials for anybody new here: I have several decades of experience as a self-defense and firearms instructor. I’m grateful that I haven’t had to shoot a human being yet. I’m not a professional in this stuff, but people who are treat me as a peer. As you keep reading, I think you will recognize the common sense in my advice.

Content warning: if you are easily offended by cold-blooded consideration of violent outcomes or Damned Facts about statistical patterns in criminality, this post will offend you.

I’m going to address the second sentence first. For basic physical security, you may want to consider getting a pistol-sized gun safe with a biometric lock. However…and I cannot emphasize this enough…do not rely on this to protect your children. Children are curious and ingenious and if they consider your security a challenge to be defeated you could have a tragedy.

The only safety lock that reliably protects your child is the one you install in your child’s head by teaching him or her that a gun is a dangerous tool that should only be used with adult supervision. Explain the danger. Do not make your weapons taboo forbidden fruit or surround them with mystery; if your child is curious, take him or her to the range with you.

If your child becomes very interested, this is good. Shooting sports are an effective way to develop discipline and concentration. And very safe (safer than golf, for example) except in the extremely unlikely case that you’ve raised a sociopath or some other kind of minimal-brain-damage victim, in which case you have larger problems than I’m going to try to address here.

Now I’ll talk about intelligent choice of weapons. This depends on your threat model and where you live.

I’m going to go into different threat models more later in this post, but I’ll start with advice that is common to all of them. The single most universally useful firearm you can have – and the least dangerous in case of accident or misuse – is a reliable carry pistol which you do, in fact, carry daily.

Do not get hung up on caliber or type. Gunfolks love to argue about stopping power and bullet ballistics but it turns out that once you get out of the mouse-gun range (.22, .25 and .32) all pistol calibers have essentially indistinguishable statistics on two-shot stops.

Therefore, keep it simple. Rent several different pistols at a range. To use your time efficiently, exclude monster hand cannons like .44 Magnum; that is certainly not a good beginner’s choice. You should be looking at calibers from 9mm up to .45ACP (11mm). Shoot them all, and pay attention to which one fits your hand the best and feels most comfortable for you to shoot. That is almost certainly the one you should buy.

I myself prefer medium-caliber semiautomatics like a .40 or .45 because I don’t enjoy the snappy recoil of a 9mm. But other people can be best suited for lighter-caliber pistols or revolvers; there are a lot of relevant variables including the shape and size of your hands and what kind of upper-body strength you have.

For home defense, it’s probably a good idea to fit a laser sight on your pistol; I got an aftermarket one recently for my .45. Then you can train in point shooting using the laser – makes you faster responding because you don’t have to pause to get a sight picture.

Because this post is about choice of weapons, I’m not going to talk a lot about training methods except to say “do one”. Train, train, train. Get comfortable with firing your weapon, learn how to be accurate at normal pistol engagement ranges of 7-10 feet.

That’s feet, not yards. It’s pretty close. Accuracy at that range is easy. More important than crisply perfect technique is the ability to handle the psychological stress of clutch situations so your accuracy doesn’t go to shit when you’re tired, rattled, and in low-light conditions. Read up on “stress inoculation” and try to get some.

Don’t be daunted by the thought that it takes years to master shooting. As with all skills, the more you put into it, the more you can get out. But any competent instructor can teach you how to handle firearms safely in 20 minutes, and you can develop the competence for basic self-defense shooting in a few hours.

You should lock that in with at least semi-regular practice, though. The newer you are, the more regular it should be; eventually (after years) you may get to the point where your muscle memory is solid enough to weather long periods without practice.

You’ll need a holster so you can carry. A gunbelt – which is just an extra-stiff leather belt that helps distribute the weight of you weapon – is a good investment. Alas, choosing good gunleather is an entire topic in itself. Expect that the first holster you buy will not be optimal and that you’ll probably need to experiment a few times before finding one that suits you for long-term use.

One area in which I think the gun culture can be unhelpful is in helping you judge how much ammunition to keep around. The problem is that a lot of us gunfolks end to treat the size of our ammo stockpiles as a sort of tongue-in-cheek competitive studliness display. The truth is that for almost everyone a 250-round reserve per weapon (exclusive of what you buy and shoot at the range) is just fine – generous, in fact.

Beyond that first pistol, what else you should buy starts to diverge based on where you live and what your threat model is. I’m going to start by assuming the most common and simplest one, which I’ll call the Standard Threat Model: you want to defend yourself and your family against low-level criminal violence, with a side order of hedging against a temporary (on the order of a few days) condition of civil disorder due to, e.g., natural disaster.

In that case a lot depends on whether you live in Switzerland or Swaziland. Most of the U.S. has violent-crime statistics like Switzerland – very low base rate of crime, law-abiding neighbors, high levels of legal gun ownership. In Switzerland, even temporary disaster conditions don’t induce looting, arson, and crime spikes. Therefore they do not raise your threat level much.

Unfortunately, parts of the U.S. – some major urban cores, and some drug-corridor rural areas near the Mexican border – are Swaziland. In Swaziland base violent-crime rates are high. Rates of legal gun ownership are low. Your neighbors are unhelpful, and a high-deviant cohort of them is actively dangerous.

If you live in Switzerland (easily 95% of the U.S. by land area), rational assessment of the Standard Threat Model does not require you to be heavily armed. I’d start with a carry pistol for each adult household member, and one shotgun for fixed-point defense. Whether you should also get a rifle depends on where you live. If you’re urban or suburban there’s not a lot of physical point to it because you won’t have long enough sightlines for distance shooting to matter much.

If you’re rural, on the other hand, you want a rifle. How serious a rifle depends on whether you have dangerous critters like bears or mountain lions in your area. Most people can get away with what gunfolks call a “varmint rifle” – a light-caliber rifle that shoots cheap ammo like .22LR. This is fine if your typical animal threat is something like a rabid skunk. It will take care of threatening humans too, in the extremely unlikely event you assess enough threat to have to shoot them at distance.

If, on the other hand, you have heavy threats like cougars or bears, you need a heavier rifle and a bigger bullet. Detailed discussion of these is out of scope for this post. Besides, I don’t know much about heavy rifles and wouldn’t want to give bad advice.

If you live near enough to a Swaziland, your threat profile is entirely different. Here’s how to tell if you do: (1) you live in a rural area with the Mexican border or concentrations of illegal immigrants within a two-hour drive. (2) you live in an urban area and within 20 minutes’ walk of you are places where groups of black or Hispanic males aged 15-35 carrying intoxicants routinely gather.

Yes, I can hear you lefties screaming already. All I have to say is: study the crime statistics. We can tell all kinds of stories about why those numbers look the way they do. Some of the stories we could tell are racist and irrational (but I repeat myself). The fact that shitty people tell toxic stories about the numbers doesn’t change the numbers, and it doesn’t change what the rational response to the numbers should be.

In American Swaziland, unlike African Swaziland, there’s no dangerous-animal threat at all, so you don’t need a heavy rifle. However, you have a banditry problem – not just individual muggers and home invaders but gangs of feral predators who routinely commit crimes ranging from mass shoplifting raids upwards to savage monkey-dance beatings that cripple or kill their victims. Civil disorder in Swaziland is quite dangerous, not only because of direct threat from mobs of ferals but due to indirect threats like arson.

In Swaziland you also need to assume that any assailant will be high off his ass on something like PCP or bath salts – a disassociative anesthetic. Pistol rounds do not reliably stop such a person before they can get close enough to kill you unless you luck out with a heart or brain shot.

If you’re living in Swaziland, the best thing you can do for yourself and society is arm up to the level where you pose a credible threat not just to individual criminals but to a mob of drunk or drugged ferals with a low average IQ and poor impulse control. Because riots or natural disaster could require you to step up like a roof Korean.

That means we’re in scary-black-rifle territory. You want an AR-15 or something like one. Understand that functionally an AR-15 is not very different in how accurately can shoot and what it can stop from your granddad’s hunting rifle. However, what it does to a mob’s threat assessment is very different.

Granddad’s hunting rifle says to a mob “Stupid ofay probably hasn’t fired that thing in years.” Black rifle says “Uh oh, gun nut. Prepared. Would probably rather shoot than not.” Ironically, this means that if what you’re showing is granddad’s hunting rifle, you’re more likely to have to actually shoot it. I’d consider actually having to shoot a human a less than optimal outcome; if you don’t, I probably don’t want to know you.

And that pretty much wraps up the Standard Threat Model. Now I’ll briefly cover a couple of other possibilities you might want to arm against which group together because they push your weapons mix in a similar direction.

One is longer-term civil disorder, ranging upwards to what gunfolks and preppers call “SHTF” (Shit Hits The Fan) scenarios. Worrying about these changes your optimal weapons mix – basically, you have to assume mob-feral violence as a prompt threat even in Switzerland. You’ll want scary black rifles, at least one per military-age household member.

However…I urge you not to worry about the weapons themselves so much that you neglect other needs. One is ammunition. Anywhere near SHTF conditions ammunition is going to become scarce and valuable; you want at least a thousand rounds per weapon and 10K would not be excessive.

More importantly, however, you need to lay in serious amounts of food and medical supplies before going on any gun-buying sprees. You can’t eat bullets, and raiding your neighbors for food would get terminally risky pretty fast.

I myself do not prep for SHTF very seriously, for reasons which I could explain but which are beyond the scope of this post. However, there is a different reason for me to have a SHTF-like weapons mix: the Second Amendment. I take my Constitutional duty to be part of the nation in arms seriously, and I insist on having the weapons that would-be tyrants foreign and domestic fear and want to take away from me precisely because they want to take them.

Generalizing, a sufficient reason to keep weapons beyond what the Standard Threat Model requires is as a move in the political power game, with the goal of ensuring that they are never actually needed.

410 thoughts on “Choosing your weapons wisely

  1. For basic physical security, you may want to consider getting a pistol-sized gun safe with a biometric lock.
    Take a look at Lockpickinglawyer’s attacks on many, many biometric lock boxes on Youtube. Many have horrible security flaws such that he’s opened several with spoons and forks–It is fairly common that the combination reset button can be reached from outside the lockbox. Others open with a big magnet.

    • A far worse problem with biometric safes is that fingerprint readers are moisture-sensitive and won’t work if your fingers are sweaty — as they’re sure to be from nervousness right when you need your gun the most. Use an electronic combination lock for anything you need quick access to

      • This. My smartphone has a thumbprint detector to unlock it, which is really neat, until it doesn’t work. If my thumb is sweaty or wet from rain, I have to wipe it off. If my right hand is unavailable somehow (restrained, holding onto something, has a glove on, is covered in mud, etc.), I’m SOL. Also, a recent software patch caused my phone to recognize my thumb less than half as often as before.

        If that phone were a gun, I’d be in even deeper trouble.

        • Why do you think gun grabbers want this ‘feature’ on all civilian guns? It sure ain’t for safety.

          • I’m actually pretty sure most people who favor biometric unlocks on firearms are genuinely worried about someone being shot with their own weapon, or their child firing the weapon by accident, which an ideal thumbprint lock would avoid. Most people aren’t trying to weigh ownership down with make-work bureaucracy, twirling their mustaches all the while.

            If it worked ideally, I think it’d be a net benefit. But “if” is doing a great deal of work there.

            • >Most people [who favor biometric locks] aren’t trying to weigh ownership down with make-work bureaucracy, twirling their mustaches all the while.

              This is both true and irrelevant. Because past experience teaches us that the people who are sincerely pro-safety are driven like cattle by villains who will exploit any device they can find or exploit to strip away our rights.

          • Of course it’s for safety.

            Remember, politicians pushing gun restrictions are almost all people who hate and fear guns. They do not understand them, and haven’t thought about the real-world limitations on security features.

            If you want to see it like they do, don’t think of it as a real-world fingerprint sensor that’s got issues reading sweaty hands or getting hacked. Think of it as a hyper-competent gun-safe security guard – one who can’t be bribed or robbed or suborned. It will allow the right person to access the guns, but nobody else. It will work 24/7, in all conditions, ensuring that accidents don’t happen, robbers don’t take your guns, and that you have instant access to them if you ever need them for self-defence.

            Really, this seems like the common thread in most non-ban gun restrictions. Think about them like you’re ten years old – old enough to understand the problem that they’re trying to solve, but not old enough to have any idea of how complex the real world is and how many things can go wrong. If you look at them in that mindset, the safety features that the left asks for all make perfect sense. A lot of them are even somewhat generous – they don’t really like guns existing at all, but they’ll let that go as long as you just hire a friendly electronic gun butler. The fact that you’re not willing to do that is just a sign of how anti-safety you are, clearly.

            (Yes, this is really stupid. But they don’t know bugger all about the issue, so they believe stupid things honestly.)

            • They know enough that they’ll exempt cops from the various gun restrictions. That’s enough to push them from “Well-meaning idiot” to “Evil police-state advocate” as far as I’m concerned.

    • The point is to keep the gun out of the hands of *children*, not teenagers, not young adults, but curious 4 to 9 year olds.

      By 10 or 12 you should be able to have them sufficiently trained.

    • That youtube channel filled me with dread when I witnessed just how insecure almost everything around me is. Yes, I bought a lockpick set and learned how to use it. LPL rules ;)

    • I use a bedside safe with a codelock – the mechanicals are probably no better protected than any other shoebox size gun safe, but the non-mechanical-key-entry system is a 4-button code with a possibly 6-button key string (I don’t know what the minimum key string size is. I don’t have the manual right in front of me, and I’m not telling you what my key length is. It is, I suppose, vulnerable to brute forcing, but the key re-entry period is long enough that it’s proof against casual tampering.

      It contains a couple other items that I like to have on hand outside another safe, including extra magazines, a flashlight, and whatever petty cash is not in my wallet. Whenever I enter the safe, I function check the flashlight.

      Which reminds me. In addition to the laser (or red dot) sight, you should ALSO keep a flashlight on or next to your home defense weapon. Your House Is Not A Free Fire Zone And You Should ALWAYS Have Positive Identification Of Your Target! And you might not be standing next to the light switch. And you should be checking batteries periodically. Both on the flashlight and on your sight.

  2. I myself prefer medium-caliber semiautomatics like a .40 or .45 because I don’t enjoy the snappy recoil of a 9mm.

    You’re the first person I’ve ever heard describe it this way.

    It’s worth noting that the FBI and nearly all police depts have gone back to the 9mm because it has an easier to manage recoil profile that .40 or .45 ACP. Especially for females, small individuals, older folk, or any others not on the upper end of the physical size/strength curve.

    My advice to the new gun buyer is simple: just get a 9mm and be done with it. It’s the closest thing to a “standard” self defense caliber in existence. I’m aware of no downsides to this bit of simplistic advice.

    • >You’re the first person I’ve ever heard describe it this way.

      It’s the cycle time. The .45 has a slow cycle, the 9mm a fast one. I think you actually get more force per unit time from the hot 9mm rounds in routine use nowadays, though that may not have been true a couple of bullet generations back.

      • I am the opposite, I like the “snap” of 9mm, and find 40 to be the same only more so.

        I don’t like how “lazy” the .45 round is.

        • >I am the opposite, I like the “snap” of 9mm, and find 40 to be the same only more so. I don’t like how “lazy” the .45 round is.

          Tastes in these matters differ, which is why I didn’t flog my preferences for everybody.

      • And to think we got .40 and 10mm due to FBI blaming 9mm with insufficient penetration power from their after action report of the infamous Miami Shootout. They blamed the failure to immediately put down one of the robber when the 9mm bullet pierce but didn’t fully penetrate the heart. The robber was already dead, but he managed to swing his Mini14 around and kill his own killer. It was only with well placed .38 to the back of the head did both robbers got put down. They solicited and got 10mm, which turns out to be too much of a round for many of their agents. Thus we got the reduced version of .40 S&W.

        • The bullet tech of those times is the context within which they made that decision.
          Nowadays, the same reasoning would not apply.
          Modern 9mm defensive ammo is almost indistinguishable in performance from more powerful, bigger rounds like .40 & .45
          The 10mm is still a fucking beast though, and enjoying a bit of a resurgence ;) I may have to get one.

          • About half of commercially loaded 10mm is ballistically identical to .40 S&W.

            “Why” is one of those things I haven’t managed to figure out, particularly at the price difference between 10mm and .40.

            • A lot of 10mm seems to be effectively “-P-“…..like they put a .40 back in the longer case ;)
              When you shoot a hot 10mm load, you know what it’s about.

              • I personally like Underwood’s 10mm loads a lot.

                I use the 155gr XTP load in my nightstand pistol, though some gel tests I’ve seen have convinced me that when I next restock, I’ll get the 180gr stuff.

                That said, you definitely can feel the difference between one of these and the .40 S&W Long stuff that Hornady and others put out.

      • > You should be looking at calibers from 9mm up to .45ACP (11mm).

        I’d like to point out that the muzzle energy of 9mm NATO and USGI .45 hardball is virtually identical at about 355 ft-lbs. And 9mm pistols tend to be lighter than .45s, which (usually) increases the felt recoil.

        A lot of people think the 9mm is going to shoot softer than the .45, but that’s not necessarily so, *particularly* if you’re shooting overpressure “defensive” 9mm, some of which is loaded well up into .38 Super territory.

    • Depends on who you are, and where you are. In the semi-auto category, 9mm is the go-to choice, as the hand grip-based internal magazines means larger calibers trade capacity for power per shot. If a 9mm comfortably fits your hand, you have the ability to practice with it to where you can proficiently handle miss-feeds, jams, and the like, and you are unlikely to have to hand it to someone who lacks the same proficiency, then 9mm is an excellent choice. Otherwise, a .38 special or .357 swing-gate revolver is my usual recommendation.

      None of these are particularly common issues, but they are worth considering. In reverse order:

      If you live somewhere where you are required to hand over your firearm for any trivial interaction with the local jack-boots, they are *far* less likely to accidentally discharge your firearm clearing a swing gate than a semi-auto. Using the same model of semi-auto as the local police use probably *helps*, but just look at the number of incidents of them accidentally discharging *their own* service pistols…

      Estimates on the number of rounds you’ll need to fire to gain decent proficiency vary (and depend on the individual), but let’s assume 1000 rounds (which for a complete novice is likely *low*). That means you’re talking about $150 for the ammunition, in addition to the price of the firearm and the ammunition you need to keep on hand. Depending on who you are and where you live, that might be pocket change, or that might be a month’s disposable income. While you won’t remove the need to actually fire the pistol, the ability to use primer-driven rubber bullets means you can afford to practice more (about $30 per thousand rounds).

      If you have very small hands, you may find it difficult to find a 9mm, or any semi-auto outside a 22 short, which you can fire comfortably. Note that most people, even most women, can hold a semi-auto just fine, so don’t think that because you’re short, or a woman, you can’t handle a semi-auto. As ESR suggested, go to a local range and try it out. That said, my sister-in-law carries a 5 shot S&W, since even the standard 6 chamber version is too big to be comfortable (she’s 5’0). Her fingers are too short to reach the trigger, without stretching her palm out of position.

      Anyway, in general I tend to point people first at 9mm for the reason you list, but it’s not quite a “no downside” choice.

    • 9×19 Parabellum (luger, NATO, whatever) is the most popular (non .22lr, handgun) cartridge in the US, followed shortly thereafter by the .45 ACP.

      This has two important considerations. 1)It is the most available during “normal” periods and has the widest variety of choice of product. 2)It’s the first to dry up in a shortage.

    • I do own a Luger, and I had the pleasure to shoot a stock M1911. The 1911 has a very smooth, straight-backwards recoil, while the 9mm kicks up like a mule. The 1911 is therefore much easier on the wrist. On top of it, it’s got a much better weight distribution, which reduces sighting errors caused by incorrect trigger pull. And it sounds “better”. The crack of the 9mm is harder on the ears (even through protection) than the boom of the 45. Most of the 45 ACP bullets are subsonic, while 9mm Para is supersonic, adding an additional crack.
      The 1911 has been on my wish list since then.

      • >The 1911 has a very smooth, straight-backwards recoil, while the 9mm kicks up like a mule. The 1911 is therefore much easier on the wrist. On top of it, it’s got a much better weight distribution, which reduces sighting errors caused by incorrect trigger pull. And it sounds “better”. The crack of the 9mm is harder on the ears (even through protection) than the boom of the 45.

        These observations match my experience.

        Consequently, when I teach newbies, I often lend them a .45 as the second pistol they shoot – after a .22 if there was one available to rent (I don’t own one). Everybody loves hthe wonder nines, but I continue to judge that the shooter ergonomics of the .45 are better.

        • Completely agree – I first learned to shoot with a .38 revolver, and the next gun (same training session) was a 1911.

          Actually, a bit surprised you didn’t recommend a revolver for a first time shooter.

          I love the carry .357 revolvers – you can train cheaply with .38, .357 has ‘sufficient’ stopping power, and revolvers are nut simple.

          The downsides (less capacity – horrible reload) are less of a concern with a new shooter. A new shooter wouldn’t be ready for multiple-threat situations, regardless of weapon.

          (Not to mention that those are much better handled with a scary black shotgun – which can be had cheaply, and are probably the most intuitive weapons to shoot)

          • > Actually, a bit surprised you didn’t recommend a
            > revolver for a first time shooter.

            They are a LOT more fiddly to reload.

        • > Everybody loves hthe wonder nines, but I continue to
          > judge that the shooter ergonomics of the .45 are better.

          Have you ever fired a Browning Hi-Power or a CZ-75?

            • I can’t recommend the CZ-75 highly enough. While Glocks leave me cold and Sigs just feel weird in my hand (Berettas and XD/HS-2000 aren’t bad at all, though), the CZ-75 fit my hand like nothing else has. The only thing that comes close is the Tanfoglio Witness, which is a CZ-75 clone, but available in .45 and 10mm.

              • I second Jade. Mine is a CZ-85 (ambi version of -75) in 9mm. Sweetest firing pistol I’ve ever owned. Comparing to my FNS .40 and 1911 @.45

                And it just *feels good to hold it*

                • >And it just *feels good to hold it* [CZ]

                  That’s a good pitch to make to me. One of my hobbyhorses as a firearms instructor and trainer-of-newbies is that good shooter ergonomics is really important and way too often underweighted when people are thinking about guns. The weapon cannot become a seamless extension of your will if you are constantly having to fight its awkwardness.

                  So, bit set that I need to try out a CZ.

                  • Let me put it to you this way:

                    My wife has a CZ-75, and one night I had it with me at an “action pistol” club. We were board and started playing PIG with bowling pins–shooting from odd positions, and if you hit everyone else had to try to hit from that same position.

                    I was hitting the *HEADS* of the bowling balls doing things like standing on one foot shooting one handed etc.

                    The only downside to the CZ-75 is that the slide sits INSIDE the frame, so there’s not a lot of slide to grip when racking. If you’ve got strong fingers the slingshot rack works, but you have to practice the overhand rack a bit.

            • JMB (pbuh) made the 1911 for practice.

              Then he made the High Power.

              Then CZ made it better.

      • > The 1911 has a very smooth, straight-backwards recoil, while the 9mm kicks up like a mule.

        Bah.

        I’ve got a S&W 629–..44 magnum. THAT kicks. The 9mm is just a little snappy.

        I’ve also got a 6.7 pound scout rifle (Savage) in .308. THAT think kicks like a mule. I’ve also got a PTR-91 (Clone of the German G-3 in civilian trim) that is certainly a man’s rifle.

      • A true Luger isn’t a good comparison IMO. The toggle-lock action is very short throw and doesn’t have much moving mass to absorb recall. The 1911 and most 9mm pistols I see have a moving slide so +10x the mass in motion reducing both recoil and muzzle rise.

  3. As an addendum to the caliber choice and ammunition stockpile issues: these are connected. And they are also connected to what I’m going to call the “baby-SHTF” scenario.

    You can get a couple 500 round boxes on .22LR (aka: the basic cheap plinking round) for $50. Or for a more practical self defense caliber a 1000rd case of 9mm training ammo will cost somewhere between $150-200. At the other extreme there is a joke in the gun community that goes something like “I thought my rifle was chambered in .338 Lapua, but turns out it is chambered in five dollar bills!”.

    Note that I said “training ammo”. The cheapest ammunition for any given caliber is always going to be “ball ammo”, just a chunk of lead with nothing fancy about it. But ball ammo has some problems when used for self defense because it tends to go through people without stopping. The first problem is over-penetration; the bullet might go through your target (or through a wall, etc.) and kill someone else. The second is that because it is going through the target it is wasting energy that could have been used to damage the target. How likely this is depends on the caliber…. .45ACP ball is not great, but not into irresponsible territory. Carrying 9mm ball for defense absolutely is.

    The standard bullet type for dealing with this problem is the hollowpoint. Good quality self defense ammunition tends towards $0.50-2.00 per round, up from .15-.30 for ball ammo. TL;DR: if you don’t want to speed time geeking out over ballistics tests for the sake of geeking out get the Federal HST or Speer Gold Dot for your chosen caliber. Be aware that a couple states ban hollowpoint ammunition. If that sounds absolutely batshit insane after what I just described, Congratulations, you get a gold star.

    Now for the “baby-SHTF”. One of the reasons for the obsession with stockpile size in the gun culture has to do with the Great Ammunition Shortage. During that time you bought what you found for absurd prices and liked it. Now a lot of people — if they don’t just go for “as large as possible” — size their “ammo forts” to cover their normal shooting for one or two presidential terms.

    A couple basic observations are relevant here:

    1. A cheaper caliber will let you have more on hand without breaking the bank.

    2. Oddball calibers are somewhat less likely to run out, but will not be produced as fast under crunch conditions.

    • AFAIK, only one state “bans” (it’s a pretty loose sort of ban) Hollow-Point ammo. That’s New Jersey. The reason I say it’s a pretty loose sort of ban is that possession of hollow-points is illegal, but with approximately the same list of exemptions as the list of exemptions for possessing a handgun. There’s one important difference, and it got Brian Aitken a couple years in prison before he was pardoned, in that you can’t transport them between residences.

      Also, the “polymer-tipped” rounds are not hollow-points per NJSP guidance (but, as some poor guy just found out, the local cops are not up on the intricacies of NJ firearms law either)

      I have a couple magazines worth of JHP, purchases and possessed quite legally, in NJ. Just, be aware of the law.

      • When one find’s oneself in New Jersey one throws the fucking ring in the fucking volcano and heads back to the Shire.

        • De gustibus. It’s a luxury good, based on my taxes, but I wouldn’t even put their worst-in-the-nation gun laws as in the top 3 reasons I would move; and I’ve got a LOT of reasons to stay here.

          (And I live in the Switzerland part of it – NJ is way more than Newark and Camden).

  4. > Granddad’s hunting rifle…

    Worth noting that any gun involved in an incident will likely be seized by police. Getting it back at all–let alone complete and undamaged–isn’t guaranteed. So the received wisdom is to not use any expensive/sentimental/heirloom guns for self-defense.

    • And from that it isn’t a particularly bad idea to have an identical backup copy of the gun you are using.

      • This is one of the things I like about Glocks.

        You can, for instance, have a subcompact and a midsized pistol that have identical manual of arms, very similar triggers and grip angle, and the little one can lock up and use the bigger one’s magazines.

  5. An additional consideration to firearms (and weapons generally) purchase, especially for first-time-buyers; give careful consideration in advance of purchase to how and where you will deny other’s knowledge about the existence of these items in your possession. Weapons, and firearms specifically, are high value items in the most placid and secure of times and places; they are justification for extreme violence against their current possessor in harder times and places. Keep it/them hidden from public view – until you have to display them (and hopefully “deliberate display” is as far down the threat response list you ever have to go). Fashion a simulated gun (cut up a cardboard box or wad up enough aluminum foil to approximate a gun shape) and practice how and where you might carry it during your day (presumably while at home, since you won’t be able to obtain a concealed carry license any time soon enough to matter in the present circumstance) and get to know your state’s firearm/weapon carry and use laws asap. One alternative holster option many overlook is the inexpensive shoulder holster. Advantages: can be worn without a belt, can be concealed under almost any shirt/hoodie that closes up the front, provides an easy means to carry reloads that help with overall weight distribution, and doesn’t (much) interfere with even quite strenuous activities during the ordinary course of your day.

    A (E? whatever :)) for effort ESR, hope this helps.

  6. Don’t forget the magazines. Most weapons come with one or two. Buy a couple more. Your weapon may hold 15 rounds. Shoving more ammo in the mag is a really bad strategy to rely on in a gunfight.

    On the education of children, the NRA has Eddie the Eagle. It is a program for children on gun safety. Well done, age appropriate with good parent guides. Kids are natural born hackers. Physical barriers are just another game.

    • There’s much to be said for having a couple extra mags on your person…as well as an extra gun (not just as a backup, but you may need to arm somebody else).
      However, the reality is that pretty much all firefights are fought with what you have in the gun. Reloads during a gunfight are rare.
      Most people just carry the pistol with its loaded mag, no extras. Quite frankly, that’s all they’re ever likely to need.
      That said, I would always advise carrying at least one extra mag. You may fight off someone using one mag (partially or fully depleting it), but you’ll want to slap in a fresh one immediately after just in case trouble comes back around…as you’re getting the heck outta dodge, of course ;)

    • Magazines are durable expendable items. You will be throwing them away from time to time as the springs weaken in use. (In Use is important here. Springs don’t care if they’re stored compressed or uncompressed, but they do age and weaken as they flex.)
      Label your magazines so you can track them

  7. Pingback:

    Vote -1 Vote +1People are eager to “cancel” ESE because they don’t agree with him … | Dr. Roy Schestowitz (??)

      • Meh…Bitcoin is way too volatile, and it’s based on nothing with inherent value. (The fiat US$ is at least backed by the power of the economy.) It also depends on lots and lots of infrastructure that nobody has any real control over.

            • William O. B’Livion> What is it’s “inherent” value?

              “Inherent value” is a concept in Classical Economics, which started with Adam Smith (1776) and was superseded by what economists call ‘the Marginal Revolution” (Alfred Marshal (1895)).

              “inherent value” refers to a an economic model that treats every good in the economy as having an intrinsic value that is independent of supply and demand. Typically, Classical Economists measured the intrinsic value of a good by the mount of labor required for making it. This view is also known as ‘the Labor Theory of Value”. It’s a special case of the inherent-value concept.

              The Labor Theory of Value had its successes. For example, David Ricardo (11817) used it to gain useful insights into the economics of trade. And thanks to the theory, he gained them without using any calculus, which has since come to pervade the field and is now considered indispensable for serious work.

              But the successes came with ugly paradoxes. For example, air would have no intrinsic value under this theory, which doesn’t pass the laugh test. That’s why economists abandoned the concept of intrinsic lue around 1900, replacing it t with what we now call the Marginal Theory of Valuie. This new theory reproduced the successes of earlier theories but got rid of the paradoxes.

              Economics aside, rejecting the concept of intrinsic value has political appeal to libertarians. That’s because Karl Marx, whose writings follow the concepts of Classical Economics, was a big proponent of the Labor Theory of Value, and thereby of the concept of intrinsic value. Rejecting Marx and his theories is a cornerstone of the average libertarian’s political identity.

              • I wasn’t asking what intrinsic value WAS, but rather what Bitcoin’s intrinsic values IS.

                I have come to believe that Ian either doesn’t believe that currency HAS intrinsic value, or just doesn’t believe in intrinsic value.

                • either doesn’t believe that currency HAS intrinsic value,

                  It doesn’t.

                  or just doesn’t believe in intrinsic value.

                  As I said by parable upthread: “intrinsic value” is a meaningless concept in an economic context.

                  I suppose one could cobble together a bad imitation of the idea from something like “things everyone values”, and call that intrinsic value. But why anyone would go out of their way to deliberately add confusion and sloppiness to their thinking is beyond me.

                • In any case even using the casual meaning of “intrinsic value” neither dollars nor gold actually have it, at least not to the extent relevant to its use as a currency.

          • Jay Maynard> based on nothing with inherent value.

            Ian Bruene> bzzzzzzzt! You fail Economics.

            I am neither authorized to speak for Jay nor skilled in reading his mind. Nevertheless, I’m fairly sure he uses “inherent value” as a shorthand for “reasonably stable use value”. :)

            And he’s right about the dollar Its use value o you is that even when all else fails, you can still pay your axes in dollars. Its use value to the government, in turn, is that it can buy goods with the tax money it took from you. The government therefore has a vested interest in preventing a catastrophic collapse of the dollar’s purchasing power.

            So the dollar’s value will be reasonably stable, especially compared to Bitcoin’s, unless and until things get so bad that the government loses its power to collect taxes, or prevent a catastrophic collapse in its tax revenue’s purchasing power, or both.

            In a scenario that bad, however, how would one maintain a reliable-enough grid to sustain Bitcoin transfers over the internet?

            • s/use value/exchange value/g

              Brain fart on my part. (The use value of air enormously exceeds the use value of gold, but no sane country would peg its monetary unit to the price of air.) After this substitution, the rest of my point still works.

            • > unless and until things get so bad that the government loses its power to collect taxes,

              Que Chaum style e-cash and Jim Bell’s Assassination Politics.

        • The US dollar is backed by the ability of the Federal Government to enforce its use as legal tender, which in turn relies to a significant extent on the strength of the American economy. At least in theory, the dollar cannot be much better than the economy for a significant period of time, but government actions can make it a lot worse, very fast.

  8. My $0.02. Get basic safety training before you buy a firearm. If you’ve never handled a gun before, you’re a lethal threat to yourself and bystanders, largely because you don’t know what you don’t know.

    • My $0.02. Get basic safety training before you buy a firearm.

      Our Gracious Host has often in the past sponsored Geeks With Guns events at various gatherings. (I was privileged to organize them for several years at Penguicon; they continue to this day.)
      I can recommend no better setting for people like us to get that necessary training.

      Otherwise, I would suggest that you ask among your friends who you know (or might think) are current shooters. In general, the gun owners community is welcoming of new members of good will, and will be happy to get you pointed at the correct training. (If not offer it themselves!)

    • Many gun ranges offer inexpensive beginner safety classes. Check out your locality and see what’s available. Some CHP classes cover the basics too.
      Pretty much anyone can be trained to a basic entry-level standard of safety within an hour – safe handling & administration of the firearm as well as correct presentation, alignment & shooting.

  9. I’m not a professional gunfighter, but I’ve spent 10s of thousands of dollars on training with some of the more aggressive and scary mother fuckers out there. I was NRA certified as an instructor for rifle, pistol, and personal protection, and I’ve talked to probably 100s of people at all skill levels about these things.

    Most military people don’t know a f*king thing about weapons and fighint–only 1 out of 15 is in combat arms, and that includes artillery and tanks. Infantry guys–including Rangers, know fuck-all about personal protection. Even SEALS, SF, etc. *MOSTLY* train to work in teams and train to *clear* houses, not repel boarders. Not that I would want to get in *any* sort of gunfight with people who regularly spend a workday loading and emptying magazines OVER AND OVER :).

    Even most cops know fuck-all about tactics, ballistics and penetration.

    Out of a 9mm handgun with NATO loading, a 12 gauge shotgun loaded with 00 buck and a M16 loaded with standard NATO hardball, which penetrates FEWER layers of sheetrock?

    The M16. It’ll go clean through a wall–almost anything will (your fist if you’re angry enough), but the 9mm with NATO Full Metal Jacket will penetrate further than the other two.

    Of course it usually doesn’t have the energy to do that after you shoot them in the head or chest, so don’t miss.

    For basic physical security, you may want to consider getting a pistol-sized gun safe with a biometric lock.

    Nah. Too likely to fail when you need it most. Get a keylock safe and put it on the key ring with your house/car keys. When you get home/ready for bed put the key in the lock and turn it. Now you always know where your keys are.

    The only safety lock that reliably protects your child is the one you install in your child’s head by teaching him or her that a gun is a dangerous tool that should only be used with adult supervision.

    This needs to be maturity dependent. At one maturity level “Do not touch unless me or $OTHER_PARENT gives permission”. At another maturity and experience level “If you find one of these unattended here is how you make it safe”. At a higher level “If bad things are about to happen, break glass and start servicing targets”.

    Gunfolks love to argue about stopping power and bullet ballistics

    Not the smart ones, not anymore. Nowdays it’s arguing about bullet design and logistics.

    Therefore, keep it simple. Rent several different pistols at a range.

    Yes.

    You should be looking at calibers from 9mm up to .45ACP (11mm).

    I’m going to get even more specific. If you’re only going to use this for “home defense”, then 9mm, 40 cal. or 45. And I’d suggest avoiding the .40 these days. If you REALLY want a revlover, then .38 or .357.

    Why? Logistics. 9mm and .45 are COMMON AS DIRT. Which means “about as cheap as it’s going to get”. The cheaper it is the less each squeeze of the trigger costs, which means for the same dollar you get more practice. .40 used to be common, but is losing favor. It’s never going away (there’s a brazillion of them out there), but it’s going to get more expensive over time relative to 9mm and .45.

    10mm is a great caliber…if you’ve got beefy wrists and a deep wallet. .357Sig is nothing to sneeze at, great round…if you’re included to go swimming in pools of gold coins.

    If you’re going to be carrying this and you feel the need to carry places where it is socially or legally unacceptable (The last several times I was in San Francisco I was armed with a handgun) then you *might* want to consider a small .380. However those really are “experts” pistols, they don’t fit your hands well, their sights are rudimentary and you have to *work* them. But you can hide them in a not very baggy swimsuit if you shave and use duct tape.

    Shoot them all, and pay attention to which one fits your hand the best and feels most comfortable for you to shoot. That is almost certainly the one you should buy.

    Before you buy your first firearm you need to decide *what it is for*. If you are going to carry concealed you do NOT want to buy a full sized Beretta 92FS, unless you’re over 6’3 and 240 pounds. It’s a royal bitch to carry around (Did it for a while because it was all I had–used “off body carry” because you DO NOT carry that thing Inside the WaistBand (aka “IWB”)).

    If you’re just going to use it to repel boarders, AND you live in “Switzerland” then whatever. It’s a talisman.

    If you live in Swaziland use the money you’re thinking about spending on a gun to rent a fucking Ryder and MOVE. If you move to Colorado and promise not to vote for lefty assholes *I will lend you a night stand gun* until you can afford your own.

    Without getting into the hoary details a firearm selected for concealed carry needs to have a operating mechanism that you WILL NOT fuck up in a gunfight. This is why a lot of people moved from the 1911 pistols (carried cocked and locked) to things like the Beretta (the original 92FS/M9 doesn’t have a “safety”, it’s got a de-cocker and you carry with decocked) and Glock which has a “safe action”. There *are* people who have died in what were almost gun fights (but turned out to merely be shootings) because they didn’t train enough to reflexively take their pistol off safe. Don’t be that guy.

    For home defense, it’s probably a good idea to fit a laser sight on your pistol; I got an aftermarket one recently for my .45. Then you can train in point shooting using the laser – makes you faster responding because you don’t have to pause to get a sight picture.

    I *STRONGLY* disagree, especially for anyone who isn’t well on their way to expert.

    The problem with the laser and defensive handgun shootings is “The enemy of the good enough is the perfect”. I have *regularly* seen beginners AND INTERMEDIATE shooters spend WAY too much time getting “perfect” shots even when on the timer. They aren’t happy with a shot chest, they’re going to put that dot ON THE X G_D DAMNIT.

    No. Inside the house distances you bring the gun up until it’s surrounded by meat and press the trigger. As soon as it settles back down, press it again. If the target is still there when it settles back down you MIGHT want to stop jerking the trigger and shoot them again.

    I won’t argue with the use of a laser as a training tool, but I think that if you’re going to hang something off your home defense pistol it should be a light.

    … I’d start with a carry pistol for each adult household member, and one shotgun for fixed-point defense.

    Shotguns are, in the words of one instructor of mine “The modern battle axe”. They really have two uses. The first is that when used as point defense they pretty much put people DOWN. Handguns don’t have *any* stopping power, rifles rarely do and when they do it’s hard to get all that energy to liberate in the target rather than moving on through. A shotgun loaded with 00 buck has neither problem. That’s 9 .38 caliber pellets moving at almost the same speed as a pistol, and they only spread out about 1 inch per yard. This means that at 10 feet you’ve got a “pattern” about 3 inches across. Across a decent sized room it’s still less than 10 inches of spread.

    The second use is a running gunfight, especially in low light. In those conditions the spread of the shotgun lets you get a couple hits on board to slow the opponent down so you can…do whatever you need to.

    Whether you should also get a rifle depends on where you live. If you’re urban or suburban there’s not a lot of physical point to it because you won’t have long enough sightlines for distance shooting to matter much.

    Disagree there. Getting reliable hits from a combat pistol at more than 30 or 40 yards is doable, it’s *hard* and not as reliable as getting three points of contact on the rifle. Also you can mount magnified optics on a rifle, which not only lets you get more precise, it lets you *identify your target* further out. Good guy running from a bunch of bad guys?

    I have a Pistol Caliber Carbine with an magnified Red Dot optic on it. I can get fist sized groupings at ranges that with a pistol I can’t even see the target (I am badly farsighted and there’s only so much corrective lenses can do). With an magnified AK I’ve put 5 out of 5 shots on a slightly larger than head sized target at 110 yards. With a pistol I’d flail away for a magazine or two.

    Also real rifle calibers (including 5.56/.223) hit a LOT harder than a pistol, especially if you avoid “military” bullets and use hunting rounds.

    Additionally, while you can get “high capacity magazines” for pistols (by that I mean 20 and 30 round magazines for firearms designed to take 15 or 17 rounds), most useful rifles are designed for 20 to 40 round magazines. The utility of being able to *accurately* fire 30 rounds is not to be taken lightly, even in the city.

    Honestly I would (and did) get a rifle before a shotgun. The Shotgun’s utility is pretty much gone by 40 to 50 yards (Unless you’re shooting slugs from a rifled barrel…and then you’ve got a poor rifle). An AR Carbine is pretty good at short ranges, and you can reliably stop people out to 350 yards trivially, and extend that to 500 with good ammo and practice (longer barrels even further, but you sacrifice mobility in structures).

    These days I would take a *HARD* look at ARs in .300 blackout rather than .223/5.56. You can get a “pistol” with a brace and a 10 inch barrel that lets you mount the firearm like a rifle (don’t tell the BATF) and works well in structures and still services targets out to 200 yards easily. There are two classes of loadings for it–heavy, subsonic bullets (good for suppressed fire, or for inside) and light supersonic–better for outdoors and longer ranges.

    If I every have money again it’s On The List, and since I live in a (barely) free state supressors baby…

    If you’re living in Swaziland, the best thing you can do for yourself and society is arm up to the level where you pose a credible threat not just to individual criminals but to a mob of drunk or drugged ferals

    No, the best thing you can do FOR YOURSELF is fucking move. Most of the “Swaziland” places in the US are that way because the people who lived there (modulo the Mexican boarder) VOTED FOR THE POLICIES THAT MAKE THEM AND KEEP THEM THAT WAY.

    They deserve to get what they voted for GOOD AND HARD. Sub-Saharan West Africans, Latinos and the rest *can* live peacefully and obey the laws. They, like certain classes of white folks, just choose not to, and because of the policies of idiot progressives they are allowed to stew in misogynistic violent and lawless cultures.

    It’s NOT race. It’s culture. Leave that shit behind.

    Granddad’s hunting rifle says to a mob “Stupid ofay probably hasn’t fired that thing in years.”

    Depending on what Granddad was shooting, they’re never going to *see* the rifle.

    .308/30-06 can Getter Done from a *long* way out. Slap a 4 power scope on that thing and you’re getting hits from 500 yards out. They’ll be dead before the sound gets to them.

    Understand that functionally an AR-15 is not very different in how accurately can shoot and what it can stop from your granddad’s hunting rifle.

    This probably isn’t true. The two most popular hunting rounds before the turn of the century (2000 in this case) was the 30-30 and the 30-06.

    The 30-30 is ballistically close to the 7.62×39, also known as the “AK round” (the traditional one, not the new one). The 30-06 is close to the .308 (or 7.62×54).

    So the *rounds* are very similar, but the delivery mechanisms very much not so. The 30-30 was usually (but not always) in a lever action. The 30-06 was either in a bolt action or a M1 Garand.

    Both lever actions and bolt actions are *incredibly* different on all vectors from a modern military style rifle. There is a *good* reason that no serious military (no true scotsman) uses rifles with traditionally shaped stocks for general issue. The modern military weapon has better ergonomics, better recoil handling, better reliability and better accuracy.

    Also *normally* the AR-15 uses the .223 Remington and/or 5.56 NATO (these are not identical rounds and for optimal accuracy you want to use the round your rifle is chambered for. There is no *functional* difference really, we’re talking REALLY small differences in accuracy).

    The .223 is a “varmint” round. It’s used for hunting prairie dogs, wild pigs and coyotes. .308/30-06 is used for “real” game.

    One is longer-term civil disorder, ranging upwards to what gunfolks and preppers call “SHTF” (Shit Hits The Fan) scenarios. Worrying about these changes your optimal weapons mix – basically, you have to assume mob-feral violence as a prompt threat even in Switzerland. You’ll want scary black rifles, at least one per military-age household member.

    There’s two different models here. SHTF is what you were talking about up post. TEOTWAWKI is what you’re talking about here. TEOTWAWKI is a black swan event, it’s a singularity.

    We have *no idea* what form TEOTWAWKI might take and you cannot prepare for something unless you know what it is.

    What you *can* do is (1) live in Switzerland. (2) Be friendly with your neighbors. Help them, and ask them for help occasionally. (3) Keep a months supply of food and drink/water on hand. (4) Stay physically fit (5) Be armed AND TRAINED.

    What I do is stop and think for a bit about “what would happen if…” and then try to work out what I would do and what I would need to accomplish that, and how I would source it.

    As a consequence I never leave home without shoes I can walk home in.

    • >I won’t argue with the use of a laser as a training tool, but I think that if you’re going to hang something off your home defense pistol it should be a light.

      I tend not to think about lights much because I have exceptionally good low-light vision. Given that, why should I put a thing on my gun that instantly tells bad guys where I am?

      >No, the best thing you can do FOR YOURSELF is fucking move.

      I debated adding “Get the hell out” to the advice, but after I thought about it I didn’t feel good about advising people to cede ground to the ferals. That is a choice people can make, and I won’t say it’s wrong…but I’d prefer if civilized people stood their ground and defended civlization.

      • A modern tac light starts at about 200 lumens, but a decent one will be around 1000. They are absolutely *blinding*, even in daylight. So with proper use you gain a) precious time to determine if you have a legitimate target and b) a non-trivial tactical advantage.

      • How does a laser designator not point you out with a nice bright line? ;)

        Firearm academies have overwhelmingly accepted the utility of a weapon-mounted light, and have designed best-practice classes to teach the doctrine. There’s more to using a light than just illuminating the target. You can make use of the penumbra for identification and movement in low-light conditions. You can disorient with a strobe.

        From where I’m standing, it looks like pistol lasers are falling out of favor. Low-profile red dots or holo-sights seem to be the preferred tech. Personally, I’m a minimalist. My handguns are plain old iron sights with bright painted dots. No batteries required.

        • >How does a laser designator not point you out with a nice bright line? ;)

          Only if there’s a lot of dust or fog. Otherwise your eye has to be on the beam to see it. A light, on the other hand, is impossible to miss even from an off angle.

          • It doesn’t take much particulate to reveal a laser. Elevated humidity too.
            I’m not questioning your choice. If you are comfortable with the use of a pistol mounted designator, that’s great.
            However, when I’m looking for clues regarding ‘best practice’ I observe the training classes being offered by the best academies around the country. With pistols, it’s all about the light. You don’t wander around with the light blazing away all the time. You train to intermittently operate the light, use its penumbra. It isn’t the disadvantage that many believe it to be.
            Designators seem to be of more utility on a rifle…especially IR.

          • PS. Red or green?
            Red is admittedly harder to see, but green is almost cartoonish in its visibility – the retina is much more responsive to that frequency.

            • >PS. Red or green?

              Green. I’m not worried about on-axis spotting, so I chose the brighter reflection.

              EDIT: The reason I’m not worried is that I’m not going to aim at his eyes.

              • > The reason I’m not worried is that I’m not going to aim at his eyes.

                Seems a better place than most to shoot someone.

                • >Seems a better place than most to shoot someone.

                  Other than center-of-mass, you mean? But I intend to avoid the eyes precisely because pinging them with a laser would give the bad guy information I don’t want him to have.

                  Using the additional aim-point verification afforded by the laser, my shooting plan is a variation of Mozambique drill: two shots to COM, evaluate, and the finishing shot (if required) goes through the throat. 230-grain hardball through the throat ought to ruin anybody’s day.

                  • > >Seems a better place than most to shoot someone.

                    > Other than center-of-mass, you mean?

                    Nope.

                    I mean when you absolutely positively what them DOWN AND OUT OF THE FIGHT NOW you shoot them in the face.

                    Center mass is great for shotguns. Center mass is pretty good for rifles, but pistols SUCK at incapacitating people quickly.

                    If–in my own house–I have decided that I need to point my firearm at someone there is a VERY HIGH probability that the time between when the laser HITS their eyes and they realize what has happened there will also see a bright flash followed (almost imperceptibly) by a loud noise.

                    The last few years I have mostly been working with the belief that whatever I face MIGHT be wearing body armor (level II or III equivalent panels are cheap and easy to find) and that COM shots are probably not going to work.

                    • The last few years I have mostly been working with the belief that whatever I face MIGHT be wearing body armor (level II or III equivalent panels are cheap and easy to find) and that COM shots are probably not going to work.

                      If you are operating on this idea you should be using loads with armor piercing ability rather than depending on headshots.

                      And by “armor piercing” I mean actual armor piercing, not “legally defined as armor piercing”, which you can’t get as a peasant.

            • Green would be best for daylight use but remember it will destroy your night vision. That might be problematic if there’s more than one target that needs addressing.

              When I taught astronomy labs, there was a reason we used red lights.

      • > I tend not to think about lights much because I have exceptionally
        > good low-light vision. Given that, why should I put a thing on my
        > gun that instantly tells bad guys where I am?

        You don’t turn the light on and go for a walk. You move with the pistol in retention position and when you THINK you have identified a target you extend into the firing position and use the momentary switch. If it’s a problem, fire and move. If it’s NOT a legitimate target, well good thing, right?

      • An intruder in a low-light situation has a big advantage over the defender. The intruder isn’t concerned about collateral damage. The defender must have a positive target ID before firing.

        Do Not Shoot An Unidentified Target. And I don’t care how good your night-sight is (mine is pretty decent as well); if you didn’t light up the target, you can’t positively identify it at night.

        Preferably, you turn on the room lights. But you can’t guarantee you’re at the light switch when you need to be.

          • It’s one of the few use cases I can think of for putting one’s lights on a “smart” hub.
            (There’s memes about this, where one programs a command phrase that does silly stuff like set the lights to red and start playing whatever humorous playlist tickled the author’s fancy when the owner says “Stand by to repel boarders” or the like.)

            Not that I expect many A&D commentors have a smart hub…

    • The .223 is a “varmint” round. It’s used for hunting prairie dogs, wild pigs and coyotes. .308/30-06 is used for “real” game.

      Lest anyone misinterpret this as “5.56 is ineffective / a weak round / makes your genitals small”, it is a perfectly capable round. Humans are far closer to the “varmint” side of the scale when it comes to the size of living things. Military ball* 5.56 ammo is perfectly suitable for home defense, and if that isn’t good enough in the home defense role there are various fragmenting loads that do a good job of shredding whatever soft target they hit. You are not the military: you are not bound by the obsolete Hague Convention.

      Closely related to this is the reason that militaries adopted intermediate calibers in the first place, and why everyone is currently switching to 9mm pistols. Nine times out of ten you will be better off with multiple “weaker” hits on a target, and you should never bet on a one shot one kill mentality.

      * Yes, I know I railed against ball ammo upthread, rifles bend the logic a bit. M193 ball will fragment if it hits with sufficient velocity. And generally 5.56 rounds are light enough that they lose energy fast when they hit something.

      • Lest anyone misinterpret this as “5.56 is ineffective / a weak round / makes your genitals small”, it is a perfectly capable round.

        This is ABSOLUTELY true. The 5.56 is thoroughly sufficient for it’s intended purpose.

        Humans are far closer to the “varmint” side of the scale when it comes to the size of living things.

        Well, most are :)

        Military ball* 5.56 ammo is perfectly suitable for home defense, and if that isn’t good enough in the home defense role there are various fragmenting loads that do a good job of shredding whatever soft target they hit. You are not the military: you are not bound by the obsolete Hague Convention.

        This is true. I would run some sort of hollow point round because a .223 FMJ at close range is going all the way through, and I’d rather mitigate that.

        • My actual defensive 5.56 ammo is effectively hunting ammo. It’ll drop a human much like it drops deer.

          For training, of course, it’s XM193 FMJ all the way.

    • >which penetrates FEWER layers of sheetrock?
      >Honestly I would (and did) get a rifle before a shotgun.

      Interesting. Traditionally, I thought a youth sized pump action shotgun was the way to go on the grounds that: 1) it’s size/weight make it easier to use indoors than most long weapons; 2) the pump action sound remains a powerful psychological deterrent; 3) decent stopping power if you actually need to use it; and 4) (incorrect) assumptions about sheet rock.

      • > Traditionally, I thought a youth sized pump action shotgun was
        > the way to go on the grounds that:

        Mossberg SA-20. Once I start working again it’s *first* on the list of things to get.

        It’s a semi-auto with a shorter stock so my wife can handle it. I will probably try to get the barrel cut down to 18.25 inches, but it’s mostly for clearing the bedroom and then defending the upstairs.

        > 2) the pump action sound remains a powerful psychological deterrent;

        I don’t think *most* people should get pump shotguns. Firstly running a pump shotgun under stress is not easy, you REALLY have to be in tune with your weapon and your body. One short stroke and you’re *done*. I know people who can run them like they were born holding one…because they were. It’s not even “a thing of beauty” to watch them, it’s not a guy running a shotgun, it’s a shotgunning machine with no wasted motion, no variation that doesn’t *need* to be there. Until you can (as I’ve said other places) run one half asleep and mostly drunk you need to be using a semi-auto. Which are also MUCH easier to run one handed (while you use the other one to open doors, pull children/wives out of the way etc).

        Secondly the deterrent effect is mitigated or overcome by the fact that you’ve told the bad guy what your intentions are AND WHERE YOU ARE. If I were on the other end of that I would IMMEDIATELY open fire on the area where the sound is.

        > 4) (incorrect) assumptions about sheet rock.

        Easy peasy. Don’t miss.

        Also Rule #4–know your target AND WHAT IS BEYOND IT. I know where my daughter is sleeping. I know where the danger areas are–take a knee and shoot up so that a miss goes into the ceiling (our bedrooms are on the second story), or sidestep etc.

      • The AR-15 pattern rifle is lighter, more ergonomic, carries more ammo, is more accurate (yes, Virginia, you have to aim a shotgun), has lighter recoil, and is in every way superior to a shotgun as a home defense arm.

        If NFA’34 hadn’t been intended to ban anything that could be concealed on a person (and then had a sloppy patch applied at literally the 11th hour), I’d say “get an SBR for home defense.” There’s a reason the military went to the M4 for all.

        • > “get an SBR for home defense.” There’s a reason the military went to the M4 for all.

          Get a AR pistol with a brace. It is illegal to shoot it from the shoulder, so don’t put videos of yourself doing that on Youtube.

          If you live in a moderately free state, a suppressed AR Pistol in .300 blackout shooting subsonic ammo is about as good as it gets for home and property defense.

    • > sheet rock

      The gentleman who runs https://www.theboxotruth.com/ was curious about real world penetration of various walls, automobiles, “bulletproof glass”, and whatnot, and proceeded to test and document the results of various types of ammunition against them.

      What he found out was, most “cover” is about as useful as hiding behind a wet Kleenex, and that 12 gauge slugs would blow right through armor that laughed at .308.

      Worth your time, particularly if you live in an apartment or closely-spaced housing project.

      • >What he found out was, most “cover” is about as useful as hiding behind a wet Kleenex, and that 12 gauge slugs would blow right through armor that laughed at .308.

        People who are pros at this are very careful about the difference between “cover” and “concealment”.

        I stumbled across some replay footage from a sniper sim the other day. It was completely ruined for me by repeated instances of the player animation crouching down behind “cover” that would absolutely not stop the caliber of slugs notionally being thrown around. It’s like the designers believe bad guys with automatic weapons won’t think to shoot at where you ducked even when they can freaking see that it’s not hard cover. Idiots.

        • There needs to be a ‘real’ mode in such games where a “cover vs concealment” feature is enabled in the game engine.

          That might actually be worth playing.

        • Surprisingly enough some of the Call of Duty series has been fairly good about this. Not perfect by any stretch, but there is a concept of shooting through plywood and other concealment.

    • I’m curious about your .300 Blackout recommendation. My understanding that the reason an AR pattern rifle in .223 or 5.56 penetrates less layers of sheet rock is that because the projectile is very light and very high velocity. That high velocity translates to higher friction when penetrating the first layer of sheet rock, causing it to lose more of its total energy penetrating the first layer, thereby leaving proportionally less energy available for penetrating subsequent ones. Conversely, a slower, heavier round, say, a .45, would not lose as much of its energy upon penetrating that first layer.

      So then, as .300 blackout is heavier and slower (subsonic especially) than .223/5.56, would it not then have more of an over-penetration problem?

      Am I wrong about this?

      I suppose once the current situation blows over, I shall have to make a trip to the hardware store, build some simulated walls, head out to my friend’s place outside the city, and do some experiments.

      • So then, as .300 blackout is heavier and slower (subsonic especially) than .223/5.56, would it not then have more of an over-penetration problem?

        Am I wrong about this?

        Overpenetration is really only a problem if you miss, or if you’re shooting seriously malnourished zombies with really fast bullets designed to penetrate deeply after a LONG flight.

        If you use the right loadings and GET HITS it’s not a problem.

        I have trained enough, and understand the “no shoot” places in my house enough that I am not concerned about it.

  10. This is largely great advice, but for a couple of points.

    First, getting a laser to practice point shooting is a terrible idea. A laser isn’t a bad idea, but don’t waste your time with point shooting. Using the sights is hard enough. Point shooting is much more difficult to get good at, and it’s a more perishable skill. It’s relatively rare that point shooting would be any help at all, and when it is, it is only a fraction of a second faster and that will very rarely make a difference in the outcome. Statistically speaking, armed civilians win the vast majority of gunfights that they are involved in. There just flat isn’t an epidemic of civilians dying because they tried to take the extra quarter second necessary to get a sight picture. All the time you spend point shooting should instead be spent working with your sights, which is a skill that actually does stand a significant chance of helping you out. Also, what if point shooting works? Even if you do everything right, you might still find yourself in front of a jury. How will you explain to them that you couldn’t be bothered to even aim the gun? The only point shooting that any reputable trainers are teaching is when the assailant is so close he’s touching (i.e. beating on) you. Then it’s called shooting from retention. At that range, you almost can’t miss. You mostly train and practice the technique to ensure you don’t muzzle or shoot yourself.

    A laser can be useful for aging eyes that have trouble focusing on the front sight, but then a red dot sight is arguably better. A laser can also be useful if you are jammed behind some cover and can’t get the sights in front of your eyes. You could be looking under a chair and sticking the gun around the side and still be able to aim it. But then, such situations are quite rare. The downside of a laser is that it’s harder to find a holster.

    Which brings me to my second point. Leather is not a very appropriate material for a hoster. Modern hosters are made from kydex or some other plastic. If you carry (and you should!), you should carry inside the waistband. It conceals better. Most people will never notice, but most people aren’t the problem. The really scary psycopaths tend to be really good at spotting hidden guns. Carry inside the waistband (IWB). But, IWB holsters that use leather will collapse closed or will have bits that eventually start to flop over when you draw the gun. You’ll need two hands to get the gun back in without muzzling yourself. But, it’s very important to be able to re-holster one handed. What if you’re on the phone with 911 when the police show up? You definitely don’t want to be standing there at the scene of a shooting with a gun in your hand. The responding officers won’t know you’re the good guy. All they’ll know that shots have been fired and you’re standing there with a gun. A modern kydex holster doesn’t have those problems. However, the plastic is formed to the specific model of gun. If you have a laser or light on the gun, you need a specialized holster that’s molded to accommodate it. Those are harder to find, and you’re going to want a wide variety of options in order to find a holster that conceals well while being reasonably comfortable.

    What you should really be doing is carrying in the appendix position. People who don’t know have all sorts of bad arguments for why you shouldn’t carry appendix. They’re wrong. It’s the safest position. It’s the fastest draw, the sneakiest draw, the easiest place to conceal well, the easiest to defend against a gun grab, and you can still draw while seated and even when buckled in your car. Here’s John Correia making the case: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cp2L0nJ2mo

    And on hybrid holsters: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jM6ERorBLQQ

    And on three properties all good holsters have: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ox7GrdjqRXk

    • Using the sights is hard enough. Point shooting is much more difficult to get good at, and it’s a more perishable skill.

      This depends on what you mean by “point shooting” and at what distances you’re using it.

      At bad breath distances if you try to use your sights you’re going to die.

      . But, IWB holsters that use leather will collapse closed or will have bits that eventually start to flop over when you draw the gun.

      I have two IWB holsters that I use for my .380 and my Glock 43. They are sueded leather and have a metal bit in the lip to keep them from collapsing. They are MUCH more comfortable than Kydex when carrying appendix with no shirt tucked in behind them (or even with one).

      You should be holstering with two hands, slowly and reluctantly. After all, you’re done shooting.

      At 30 yards you’re not going to hit shit with “point shooting” unless you’re literally doing it every day.

      This establishes a rough continuum from “point shooting” at extreme close distance, to carefully aimed fire at a distance.

      ESR is talking about 7-10 *feet*. At that range you simply *WILL NOT* use your sights. This has been demonstrated time and time again in “force on force” training, even when using things like airsoft to simulate weapons. At up to 7 *yards* people who train for sighted fire get reasonably good hits AND NEVER SEE THEIR SIGHTS. No conscious attempt to aim, no deliberate use of the sights.

      The first time I did this I’d been training an average of once a week for about 5 years mostly using some variant of the isosceles or modified weaver shooting position (I don’t remember which, but I’d been taught both).

      At a “Extreme close range gunfighting” class we were using airsoft for force on force training. We did the “dodge city drill” where we stood 21 feet apart and on the instructors command, drew and fired. You were GOING to get hit.

      When my turn came the command was driving, and I drew and fired *ONE HANDED* blading my body. I took the shoot on the side of my chest just outside the armpit. My opponent got hit center mass (or in the hands, I don’t recall–but consider where the hands would be when shooting isosceles. Lots of people too hits to the hands in that class).

      I never saw my sights. The entire time I was focused on my opponent. At those ranges you can’t afford NOT to.

      Oh, and in that same class we *regularly* got hits to the face and head while moving. Got to shoot a federal police officer in the face. TOTALLY worth the price of training.

      Also saw one guy who was *STUNNINGLY* fast with a handgun. You never actually saw him draw his pistol. Once instant he was standing there with his hands empty the next he was in a (original) weaver with the gun spitting brass and smoke. Nothing in between.

      • Why were you getting hit in the face during force-on-force training? Weren’t you wearing some form of mask?

      • > You should be holstering with two hands, slowly and reluctantly. After all, you’re done shooting.

        I traded the ability to re-holster one-handed for comfort, concealment, and easy draw. The contortions it takes for me to get my EDC back into its holster are probably Youtube-worthy. (upside down shoulder rig)

        If I have to use it, I can put it in my pocket when I’m done shooting. Or lay it on the ground and step back when the police show up. I don’t have any need to put it back in the holster one-handed; the only time it leaves the holster is for cleaning, and I’m not wearing the holster then anyway.

      • I think that sighted fire should be taught, but that students should be put in positions where they need to get *reasonably* accurate shots off VERY QUICKLY at close range.

        Sighted fire–and lots of it–teaches your body where it needs to be to get good enough hits at the right ranges.

        I’m not a fan of *specific* point shooting techniques some people teach, and some people push the distance on those techniques WAY further than they should.

        • >I’m not a fan of *specific* point shooting techniques some people teach

          I taught myself how to do it. It was not difficult once I had formed the idea to try.

          I probably should have qualified the OP by reporting what the U.S. Marines found out. They used to teach point shooting in Basic, until they audited and found that it seems to require a knack that some people (like me) have by instinct but others can’t acquire even by training.

          I conjecture that this knack is a simple special case of the ability to do 3-D kinematics in your head, which I test in the top 1% for. Some people can’t do it at all.

          • If you can hold your pistol at waist height, just in front of your body, and consistently point at side-plate sized targets (I use a cheap laser bore sight), you’ve got the knack.

            • >If you can hold your pistol at waist height, just in front of your body, and consistently point at side-plate sized targets (I use a cheap laser bore sight), you’ve got the knack.

              Eh. Waist height feels really low to me. I get good results with a hold at mid-chest level.

              • Common IDPA-style drills involve point-shooting after rotating the pistol forward once out of the holster, not waiting until you raise the gun any higher. Pretty much waist height shooting – instinctive aiming and firing while the gun is below your ‘workspace’

          • By the time I went to basic (Mid-80s) they were not teaching “point shooting” any more at all.

            I guess what I consider “point shooting” is more like “indexed shooting” or “unaimed fire”. It uses the same body mechanics as regular sighted fire, you just don’t have the time or focus to align the sights.

            By the time you’ve shot 10 or 15 thousand rounds of sighted fire you have a really good idea of where things need to be to get the pistol aligned on target.

        • Oh I’d agree with that. 90% of our work was normal sighted targeting. We just did point and fire for up close speed work, along with techniques like firing from your hip upon draw or off your back, etc.

  11. This post eventually reaches a full discussion but the lede is maybe a little bit buried.

    Then again the first step I suggest is signing up for the free level of Law of Self Defense from Andrew Branca. A gun makes you harder to kill knowledge makes you harder to convict. The second step I suggest is making some provision for legal expenses – functionally if not legally insurance – should follow immediately after making the decision that killing someone is a possibility.

    “choose a first firearm wisely” But notice the eventual suggestion is a golf bag of different firearms.

    I also suggest considering a pistol caliber carbine or bull pup such as the Steyr AUG or my own choice a Tavor; I have both 5.56×45 with a Zeiss illuminated low power variable and suppressed 9×19 with a T2 and 3x magnifier for indoor or range use. Harder to secure than a handgun but I live alone.

    and about safe storage practices. safe storage is on body or in a safe equivalent. Off body but not in a safe is not safe with children or really other people around. In particular purse carry has a track record of getting people killed.

    “He said: “I’m thinking in the next year of getting a gun for home defense, ” Two is one, one is none and the time and money fortifying the home will give a better return than half-ass armed home defense as an individual. Home defense as part of a fire team is another matter.

    “and I’d like myself and my spouse to train with it.” Should be with them to each his own.

    […] I have young kids, and want to make sure the gun is accessible enough to be reachable in the event of a break-in On body. Run a drill with say a brown uniformed trainer at your own front door handing you a stylus and pad to sign then while your hands are full spraying you with CS/pepper while you make a break for a concealed off body firearm.

    but hard enough to access that my daughter doesn’t get into it.” On body

    The hardest task I’ve ever faced in teaching is folks who think point the firearm only counts as a conscious process. When called on it the student will deny pointing the firearm because they are not conscious of pointing.

    That is almost certainly the one you should buy. and the way for your spouse to choose his/hers

    Many people find that in handguns of the same size the .40 recoil is snappier the .357 Sig is louder and the 9×19 has the least noise and recoil of common semi-automatic pistol cartridges. I have verified this for my own use with a switch barrel pistol that will shoot any of the three with the appropriate barrel. Locally one armed response group added a woman to the team and downsized from .40 to 9mm because the same pistol shifted in her hand from recoil with the .40 load. The Ruger revolvers in .327 Federal are among the lowest recoil firearms I would and do use myself

    “For home defense, it’s probably a good idea to fit a laser sight on your pistol; I got an aftermarket one recently for my .45. Then you can train in point shooting using the laser – makes you faster responding because you don’t have to pause to get a sight picture.”

    Still need a sight picture; it’s a different sight picture and makes aimed shooting from odd positions e.g. flat on the back shooting around an obstacle more practical. A red dot sight is useful in different lighting and at different ranges. Activating the laser is a safety concern. People have died shot when the shooter was trying to activate a light or laser

    Assuming an interest in home defense and not parking lot muggings I suggest looking at the longest distance inside the house.

    • I also suggest considering a pistol caliber carbine or bull pup such as the Steyr AUG or my own choice a Tavor;

      The Steyr AUG and the Tavor are expensive and rare–meaning that parts are a week to months away. They offer no real world advantage over more traditional firearms (especially with the “pistol brace” hack) and suffer from some people having problems when going left handed to get around corners.

      I can get two AR style firearms of the same build quality for the same price and build quality as the Tavor and have reasonable parts interchange with about 10 million other rifles. The AUG is even more expensive.

  12. I’d like people with children to talk about this– I don’t have any and neither does Eric. My impression is that children become energetic, ingenious, and amazingly mobile before they’re very trainable. If this is correct, then Eric’s advice is good (if your 12 year old is going online to figure out how to break into your gun safe, you’ve probably fucked up) but incomplete. You still might need to make sure your 3 year old can’t get at your gun.

    • >You still might need to make sure your 3 year old can’t get at your gun.

      Yes. That’s why I recommended a biometric safe. A determined 12-year-old might crack that – others have correctly pointed out that it’s not very good security – but a 3-year-old won’t.

      • Where I grew up, a 12YO won’t need to break into the safe unless it’s their safe and the biometric is faulty.

        I’m not kidding, either. My youngest nephew got his own shotgun at age 10 (he’ll be 16 this year IIRC). Christmas gift from his father. I watched him unwrap it, and watched them go shoot it together. If he wanted a gun, he’d just get his.

        That said, where I grew up was rural Texas, and kids commonly got guns at that age, and had lots of land to practice in. It may be possible to get your kid a gun at age 10 in the suburbs or downtown and drive to the indoor range to try it out, but it’s not as practical IMO to raise them in an environment where guns are carried around on purpose as defense against real threats, because the real threats are wild or rabid animals, and those aren’t the threat in town. Rabid people are, and if they are, then as William O. says, that money’s better spent on a moving van.

        I honestly wonder how suburban or urban parents typically teach gun safety and culture to their child, without that type of everyday exposure. Frequent shooting is just easier in the country.

        ETA: …and yes, even if your own kid is wise, you can’t always rely on their friends being so.

        • My impression is that children become energetic, ingenious, and amazingly mobile before they’re very trainable.

          Aptly describes my memories from age 3 up to about age 4 or 5. I was aware of personal responsibility (including my conscience, fairness, reciprocity and implications on others) from age 3, but afair I didn’t entirely prioritize them over my inquisitiveness and fireball of energy until roughly age 5 or 6.

          A determined 12-year-old might crack that – others have correctly pointed out that it’s not very good security – but a 3-year-old won’t.

          I cracked my father’s safe at 5 years old. Might have been near to my 6th birthday. My mother said I was the only kid she knew who took apart all his toys to see how they worked.

          That said, where I grew up was rural Texas, and kids commonly got guns at that age, and had lots of land to practice in.

          Yup. I had a BB gun and then a 22 rifle before age 10. But I stopped when we moved back to the city.

          that money’s better spent on a moving van

          That’s my objection to a pistol. Some of you might be aghast as this reasoning, but if I’m under such threats that behoove me to be strapped to a firearm, then I’d prefer to move. Shotgun for on-the-road encounters and home attacks seems to be about what I would tolerate. And in the SHTF scenario where there’s no option to move, the wouldn’t a shotgun would be a reasonable entry-level choice? Then potential adding an AR-15 later for maximum deterrence in worst case scenarios.

          • A shotty is a great choice. However, a 12ga tactical pump isn’t the most comfortable thing to wield for smaller women/children.
            A .223/5.56 AR15 is kinda like the ‘9mm Glock’ of the rifle world, in my opinion – it gets the job done and most anyone can use it effectively.
            My whole family has ARs, but I only have one tactical shotty.

          • I suggest a BB gun emulating a modern (frex 1911) pistol is a great buy for anyone, especially an adult, right now.

            Even if you can’t get to the range to practice you can practice while sheltered-in-place at home.

            Even if you have never done any shooting, you can begin learning and practicing the 4 Rules and acquire sight pictures, etc.

            Got to start somewhere, and while it’s too rainy to patch the roof right now, it’s certainly rainy enough to start investing and studying up on shingles.

    • I have one, but she’s never really been all that interested in guns.

      I started teaching her to leave them alone when she was 6 (We lived in Australia when she was 3 to 5, so not much to train with).

      I’ve left (deliberately and unloaded) firearms on the table for her to “find” just to see what she did. She never touched them, and at least once came to let me know I’d done it.

      It’s really other people’s kids that are the problem. Here again the biometric safe does the job–if your child is present they know DO NOT DO THAT. If your child isn’t present and they’re forcing a safe it’s theft.

      • For reasons that undoubtedly made sense to them, my parents put the family gun rack in my room when I was [juggles where we lived, what grade I was in…] about eight years old. They stayed in my room across multiple moves, until I moved out on my own.

        Through all the angsty late childhood and teen years, I had a shotgun and a semiautomatic rifle in my room, with ammunition, available simply by walking a couple of steps and taking them off the nice gun rack my Dad had made for them.

        As far as I can remember it never even occurred to me to load one up and start shooting people.

        • Maybe there was a bit of ‘forbidden fruit’ psychology going on there, with a sprinkle of the respectful trust of adult responsibility?

          All around me are rural people from the youngest generation going back several. It is perfectly ordinary to hear of all manner of firearms being hung someplace, propped up behind doors, in a cupboard, in a drawer, on a closet, in vehicles….and nobody would have dreamed of abusing them to commit mass murder.

          Something else has broken. I have my suspicions, but that’s for another thread ;)

    • I have kids, and when I bought my first gun I was living in a not-huge apartment in a state that specifically denies the 2nd Amendment in the state constitution. So I can give advice in the context of relatively urban living with children in a gun-hostile environment.

      You will likely not be able to manage a ‘gun safe’ in the sense of a 600lb smallish-refrigerator sized object with thick metal walls, that you will find in very many suburban and rural homes. You don’t need one, it’s ok.

      Little ‘pistol safes’…I do not like them. Many of the designs are notoriously unreliable and/or insecure, the worst possible combination – can’t get it open when you need it, can’t rely on it NOT opening when you need it to stay shut.

      The baseline of what you NEED is a locking cabinet. Stack-On is so well known for those the brand name is like ‘kleenex’ in this space. Get a stack-on cabinet. One of those is on par with a portable gym locker. Get one, put it in a closet. Any gun that is not under your personal control gets locked in there. Always.

      If you’re in a gun-hostile state you’re not getting a carry permit. So less to worry about. When you get home, you take a gun out of the cabinet. Keep it on you, or at the very least NEAR you, in a holster or carry case. Look up ‘Wilderness Safepacker’ for an example of what is basically a little gun tote bag/holster. That’s an excellent thing to keep a home defense pistol in. When you are ready to leave for work, lock the gun in the cabinet.

      Easy peasy. Off to a good start. You’re compliant with Constitutionally-challenged state law, and your little ones are safe.

      As people have mentioned, the next step is to teach your children how. Consider it an extension of basic fundamental parenting, because it is. But that’s a slightly different topic.

    • What has worked for me w.r.t. training children….

      Explain to them that guns exist, and are tools not mysterious talismans. Avoid setting guns up as forbidden fruit. Let the kids handle them when they want (which gives you the best possible ready made chance to teach each of the 4 Rules in turn).

      Teach the 4 Rules of firearm safety asap.

      My kids are boys. They do Nerf blasters, which are also training tools. Whenever we are not ACTIVELY engaged in a Nerf war (which are clearly indicated in a ‘time in/time out’ manner when one is happening) the 4 Rules apply. At all times. Kids, to a really surprising degree, will live up or down to your expectations. Expect them to take seriously what needs to be taken seriously, and be consistent.

      As soon as they have the hand size/strength required, I’ve taught them the basic manual of operation of all the handguns I have. Especially the one that is MY ‘nightstand’ gun (in a Wilderness Safepacker btw). They know how to check its status, and **how to make it safe**. Cause they’re little insanely curious munchkins they also now know to field strip and reassemble Sig P series, but that’s really easy by design.

      • >Whenever we are not ACTIVELY engaged in a Nerf war (which are clearly indicated in a ‘time in/time out’ manner when one is happening) the 4 Rules apply. At all times. Kids, to a really surprising degree, will live up or down to your expectations.

        Kids crave the respect they perceive adults to get, crave to be treated like adults, taken seriously. By applying the 4R to nerf guns you are involving them in something adult, they feel like they are being taken seriously. Of course they comply. This is very good child psychology.

        • 4 Rules apply during a Nerf War as well.

          Rule 2 (never point a gun &c) is just “adjusted” because there’s quite a lot of stuff you “want” to be shooting. But the non-participants are still no-targets.

          • Once when I was doing a technical support gig in Palo Alto my co-workers were really into nerf guns. I wasn’t because I was into real guns and had *all* the wrong sorts of reactions for that.

            I was standing in a co-worker’s cube while talking to him one day fiddling with his gun. I caught another co-worker coming up the aisle behind me, and pointed the gun at him without stopping my discussion or breaking eye contact with the first coworker.

            Apparently it badly weirded him out because I was tracking him closely enough that he was looking down the barrel the entire time, and never once looked his direction.

            I’m not as hard core about the four rules as some people. I’ve known people from tier one units in other countries that (at least used to) have very different operating principles–like when you’re moving to contact you ALWAYS have your finger in the trigger guard, you’re just constantly pressing it forward against the guard until it’s time not to.

            Also it is demonstrably false that all guns are always loaded, stop pretending.

            Sometimes you will point your firearm (especially pistols) at things you don’t want to shoot. Life is like that.

            However you should always know your target and what is beyond it.

            • I had mixed emotions about buying toy guns for my son, actually.

              I ended up using them to hammer 4 Rules into his skull, and when he’s on the range he’s the best of his age group about them. So it worked out.

            • The 4 Rules are for the hoi polloi (like me) – simple & effective to help save lives. The “guns are always loaded” isn’t a literal statement (of course they’re not loaded when I have just unloaded and checked them) – it is merely an adopted attitude to treat all firearms as if they are loaded….the intent being to try to prevent the kind of dumbass that points guns around while saying “it’s OK, it’s unloadBANG!”.
              The NRA has been at the forefront of hammering them home for decades, and the positive results speak for themselves.
              Armed pros, by nature of their training and experiences, often come to understand that there is ‘more to it’ and that reality doesn’t fit neatly into 4 perfect Rules. That’s not an excuse for being cavalier about anything though. I would never muzzle anyone unless the circumstances of my situation (confines etc) made it unavoidable – but I would be damn aware of what I was doing.

  13. Again you posted to address what the aforelinked hardware store owner and I were discussing earlier this evening.

    What about a sawed off shotgun? He and I concurred that might be the best for home defense because aiming can be less precise. And for carrying in the back of the vehicle in case of a roadside or roadblock situation. He also added that compared to a pistol, there’s less chance of accidentally firing through a wall at your neighbor.

    He explained that a pistol is important for carrying around and can be concealed in some States. He provided the recent example of some lunatic armed with a shotgun on a shooting rampage inside of their church and one of the clergy killed the shooter with one pistol shot to the head. They don’t like to expose their weapons in the church presumably because it would frighten some and dampen the vibe.

    We also concurred that an AR-15 would only be necessary is a near war-like situation. Yet you have pointed out it may be superior to a rifle when dealing with gang attacks, because you may not actually have to shoot it. I presume your point also applies versus a shotgun. Thank you for that insight. Also the AR-15 is as you say a final insurance in the SHTF scenario. My friend says he thinks it’s the third firearm to buy, not the first.

    I mentioned to him that a potential disadvantage is that the AR-15 is a politically contentious weapon. Yet admirably you’ve decided to take the patriotic, Constitutional stance.

    • I would refer you to Clint Smith of Thunder Ranch to disabuse you of this “aiming” myth of shotguns.
      The AR15 is an excellent home defense rifle. Firearm academies offer extensive training in its appropriate use. Shorter carbine-length models with a collapsible stock are superb choices for mobility in confined spaces, and (with quality defensive ammo) are highly lethal.
      Check out theboxotruth.com for a wealth of interesting experiments.

      • >Shorter carbine-length models with a collapsible stock are superb choices for mobility in confined spaces, and (with quality defensive ammo) are highly lethal.

        I debated recommending a CQB build of an AR-15, but decided that was an advanced topic out of scope for this introduction.

    • > What about a sawed off shotgun?

      Federal law.

      If you buy a shotgun it must retain at least 18 inches of barrel and be 26 inches in overall length, or you get FBI snipers shooting your dog, your kids and your pregnant wife.

      There is a loophole in the law that allows shorter shotguns where a firearm *built from the factory* on a shotgun receiver with a pistol grip and a smoothbore barrel is consider “Any Other Weapon” and can have a shorter barrel.

      https://www.mossberg.com/category/series/590-shockwave/
      https://www.remington.com/other-products/v3-tac-13

      However you DO NOT get much more spread than with a regular shotgun AND they are harder to use.

      AND YOU STILL HAVE TO AIM.

    • > sawed off shotgun?

      The minimum legal barrel length for a rifle, like an AR-15, is 16 inches. The minimum legal length for a shotgun is 18 inches. You *can* go shorter, but it requires $200, fingerprints, photographs, local “law enforcement” signoff, and filing with the ATF. Oh, and several months’ wait on the paperwork.

      A 12 gauge shotgun has a bore diameter of about 18mm. Across an average sized room, it might be 20mm; in many cases, all the shot will still be in the plastic cup it’s packaged in. For practical purposes, a shotgun is no different from a rifle or pistol for indoor use, other than being longer and more awkward to handle. (yes, there are folding stocks and bullpups, but you can do the same things to a rifle)

      There’s a lot of lore about the psychology of shotguns, but you also have to consider that anyone who breaks into your house probably has rats in their head and can’t be depended on to behave as you might wish.

      • Also, anyone who’s ever heard, f’r’ex, the bolt going forward on an FN FAL can attest it has every bit as much of the “everyone knows what that sound is” as a pump shotty does.

        And if the fur does start to fly, I’d much rather be holding the FAL. Sure, 12ga #1 buck puts a man down with authority, but so does a 155gr JSP in .308 Winchester, and I’ve got 19 more where that came from, semi-auto like, if need be. And spare mags.

        (Granted, I wouldn’t recommend the FAL over the AR for most folks, but hey.)

        • I only know one person I’d suggest something like a FAL for over an AR.

          And he’s 6’7″, over 250 pounds and in relatively good condition. An AR in his hands would be like a Gorilla playing with a nerf gun.

  14. On the topic of lasers as training tools: I’m a big fan of laser training pistols like SIRT in conjunction with electronic reactive targets. After appropriate training you can run pretty sophisticated drills in your basement without spending your whole paycheck on ammo. Plus most people don’t have a tactical range in their back yard.

  15. I only disagree on one minor point: when to step up to a modern sporting rifle from a shotgun. My answer: almost always. A carbine like an AR-15 is just easier to shoot accurately under stress. Less recoil, easier follow up shots, typically better sights and optic mounting options. If you are willing to take any level of training or any amount of practice, this is the better option. The manual of arms is slightly more complicated, but it’s so easy to teach someone to shoot accurately with one.

    I live near Newark, NJ. I can’t carry a handgun because of being in NJ, so my AR is my go to weapon for home defense.

      • “A pistol is for fighting your way to the rifle you should have been carrying”.

        Yes, preferably you should be carrying a pistol at all times. But if the threat isn’t over immediately you get the AR.

        • >“A pistol is for fighting your way to the rifle you should have been carrying”.

          I wish to note that I think this is wrongheaded advice for civilians.

          Yes, it’s good doctrine if you’re line military and carry a rifle as a normal thing…but if I bopped down the main drag of my town with a rifle slung on my back it would cause a degree of panic I don’t want to deal with.

          The settings a civilian is likely to need to use a firearm in divide into home defense and everything else. Only in the home-defense case do I realistically have the option of a rifle. I think it’s better use of my training time to get good with a pistol, because that’s the option I can always have.

          The exception is if I’m planning for SHTF; that justifies more investment in rifle skills.

          • Yes, I was speaking entirely in the context of home defense.

            Though pedantic mode requires me to point out that an AR pistol is legally a pistol, if you somehow manage to conceal one of those……. Sheriff will probably want to have some words with you though.

            • AR pistols are illegal (at least) 2 ways under NJ’s AWB.

              They’re all over 50 oz (never seen one lighter), and they have a magazine well outsize the grip. Either one is a no-go.

              • Well, you wouldn’t do anything foolish like actually telling the NJ ‘authorities’ that you own such a thing, would you? ;)

                  • Can we agree to avoid openly advocating commission of felonies in the ‘suggest a weapon choice for newbies’ thread?

                    • Amen, So Say We All, and This Is The Way.

                      (Or whatever else you prefer in that vein).

                      Likewise, “move, you idiot” isn’t very helpful.

                • a semi-automatic pistol that has an ability to accept a detachable magazine and has at least 2of the following:
                  1. an ammunition magazine that attaches to the pistol outside of the pistol grip; 2. a threaded barrel capable of accepting a barrel extender, flash suppressor, forward handgrip, orsilencer; 3. a shroud that is attached to, or partially or completely encircles, the barrel and that permits theshooter to hold the firearm with the nontrigger hand without being burned; 4. manufactured weight of 50 ounces or more when the pistol is unloaded; and 5. a semi-automatic version of an automatic firearm

                  So it needs both the 50 oz and magazine outside grip.

                  https://www.state.nj.us/lps/dcj/agguide/3assltf.pdf
                  (Note, this is NOT AT ALL what the law says – the law says $LIST_OF_SCARY_WEAPONS$ “or substantially similar” and the courts very nearly struck it down for “void for vagueness” until the NJ AG “Rescued” the law by saying the federal AWB features list was what “substantially similar” means.

                  • I know there’s not usually (or ever) any logic behind these things, but what’s the supposed rationale there?

                    • The reason various AWBs added weight limits was to catch AR pistols, and to a lesser extent scary things like the Desert Eagle.

                    • NJ AG copied the federal AWB’94. Why the federal AWB had it, I got nothing. I wasn’t paying a lot of attention at the time. Though the AWB’94 galvanized me, like it did a lot of gun-rights folks my age

        • > “A pistol is for fighting your way to the rifle you should have been carrying”.

          Col. Cooper said that, and it’s one of the few things he was wrong about.

          Most of his fighting experience was in the Marines in WWII. When he said the above he had not yet internalized that *civilian gun fights never last that long*.

          When it is time to fight you fight with what you have on you. By the time you get to your rifle it’s over–or you’re in WAY over your head. You ain’t John Wick.

          There are VERY VERY few incidents (like single to low double digit annually, world wide) where you have multiple committed attackers that DO NOT run at the first sign of armed resistance.

          If it happens to you when you’re trained and have a pistol you’re either exceptionally lucky or you have done something to make YOU their target.

          Rifles are for enforcing your will on other people. Pistols are for telling other people that they are NOT going to enforce their will on you.

          • Again, I was speaking in the context of home defense and using a pithy quote in the process.

            Dealing with a home invasion you grab the pistol you are carrying (you *are* carrying, right?).

            Hearing something go bump in the night you grab the rifle. Probably as part of a pre-rehearsed sequence where one person grabs the rifle, another gets the kids into a designated location, and everyone holes up in that defensible location while calling the police.

            That most scenarios outside of this do not allow the use of a rifle does not mean that pistols don’t suck.

            • > Dealing with a home invasion you grab the
              > pistol you are carrying (you *are* carrying, right?).

              No. I’m sitting at my desk. Over there –> is 5 loaded AK magazines and an AK with a RDS. I also have a loaded assault dog ready to go upstairs.

              > Hearing something go bump in the night
              > you grab the rifle.

              If the dog isn’t behaving in certain ways I’m not getting out of bed. He’s in the house and he is pretty good about alerting to people and raccoons.

              > Probably as part of a pre-rehearsed sequence
              > where one person grabs the rifle, another gets
              > the kids into a designated location, and everyone

              You have to get past my door to get to the kids room. All I’m going to do is verify the bump isn’t Dog or Gurl Child. Then the hallway becomes a free fire zone.

              Right now my chosen firearm to clear houses is a pistol–mostly because it’s what I have time and money to practice with most often.

              Thing is I just don’t live in the sort of neighborhood that kind of thing happens in. The *cops* on my street leave their garage (with two harleys, a couple tool boxes, etc) open all day when it’s nice. A neighbor left his garage open *for a month*. Had a sign outside that said “not a garage sale”.

              If someone is coming in my door it’s PROBABLY a mistake. Of course if it’s SWAT and they shoot my dog…

            • > (you *are* carrying, right?).

              “Am I wearing pants?”

              Then I’m carrying. I’ve seen people disarm and rearm every time they went through the door, which seems like a silly hassle to me. If it’s that uncomfortable, buy a better holster…

              • Amen.
                Good carry solutions (concealed or otherwise) should mean that you are comfortable to the point of almost being unaware of it.
                Many people assume that they can just add a gun to their current wardrobe. They might get away with it, but I frequently see an awkward mashup going on.
                I’m not very knowledgeable about womens’ needs beyond some of the crossover between men & women, so I would like to hear advice from any female commenters about their preferences.
                For men, you need to pay attention to your choice of pants, belt, holster and concealment garment. Dress pants are out. There are ‘dressier’ options available with proper belt loops that will accommodate a gun belt. Of course, there are any number of more casual pants that are suitable. My $0.02 says stay the heck away from tacticool stuff – you’re just announcing to the world “look at me, I’m not saying that I’m armed, but I’m totally armed!”.
                Gun belts – classic double thickness hide is great but not the be-all-end-all any more. There are options that are of similar dimensions to regular ‘jeans’ belts yet have all the rigidity of the double thickness leather belts….and they look utterly unobtrusive. I happen to use a Liger gun belt. You’d never guess it was a gun belt.
                Holsters – too easy to kick a hornets nest here ;) I’ll say this. When I first started carrying I was jokingly told that I would collect holsters like chicks collect shoes. It wasn’t a joke. After about 15ish years I tossed a small trunk of holsters in the trash. Over the years since then, I believe I’ve reached satisfactory conclusions about what a ‘good’ holster is. You get what you pay for. You should expect to pay at least $100 for a decent holster. Both my current holsters are in that ballpark – cowhide OWB and horsehide IWB. I prefer OWB for everyday carry, but my IWB for gun-melting concealment when needed. Both are effortlessly comfortable….and when I say ‘effortlessly’ I mean that I don’t have to keep fucking around with its position.
                Concealment garments – again, a big topic. I have found that I prefer upper garments that have a bit more heft to them, so they hang vertically better, and don’t float around in the wind and ‘print’ my rig. You can even get summer shirts that are a heavier fabric that work very well….not perfect, but ‘good enough for gubmint work’. Otherwise it’s vests and sports jackets for me, most of the time.

              • If and when I can and do legally carry outside the house, I will be in the “am I wearing pants” school, and adjust my lifestyle, wardrobe, and weapons locker to conform.
                (Probably a small adjustment, but I really can’t say until I do it)

  16. When I read the “just rent a uhaul and move away” type comments, I’m always reminded of Bertolt Brecht :

    What if they gave a war and nobody came?
    Why then, the war would come to you!

    (it always amused me that the hippies adopted the first line, failing to realize that the poem was anti-pacifist )

    What if they gave a war and nobody came?
    Why then the war will come to you!
    He who stays home when the fight begins
    And lets another fight for his cause
    Should take care:
    He who does not take part
    In the battle will share in the defeat.
    Even avoiding battle will not avoid Battle,
    since not to fight for your own cause really means
    Fighting in behalf of your enemy’s cause.

    • While I fully understand your position, the simple fact is that in Swaziland *EVERYTHING* is against the person who wants to have their stuff and be able to defend it. The local laws and mores favor the criminals, the cops will harass you and take your gun at every opportunity (Look what Jersey, Denver and Sacremento have tried to do. Although Denver isn’t *quite* Swaziland yet).

      It’s not so much a matter of moving to avoid the war, it’s finding your tribe so when the war comes you’re not defeated in detail.

      • Apparently in some urban areas cigarettes are sometimes sold individually instead of by the pack. The reasoning being if someone had a whole pack, they’d be expected to “share”, by force if necessary. So by buying two or three “loosies” at a time, they avoided being robbed and/or beaten.

        • If you’re seeing the street sale of ‘loosies’ around you, you’re in Swaziland, and you need to hit the gas ;)

    • There’s also the simple tragic fact that if you live in Swaziland and aren’t one of the ferals yourself, you are are actively PAYING to support your own oppression and oppressors.

      Swazilands are expensive, high-tax environments. You pay a great deal for the privilege. There’s one very simple way to vote against everything Swaziland represents in a very meaningful way- with your wallet. And that’s move away.

      • >Swazilands are expensive, high-tax environments.

        The urban ones, yes. Not so the bandit-corridor areas near the Mexican border, or the parts of the Central Valley in California that have been overrun by illegals. If you want, you can tell the people who live there to let themselves get run off the family ranch or farm they inherited. I won’t.

        • Is there any part of California that isn’t an expensive, high-tax environment?

          That aside, yes, everyone has to make their own choices and then be responsible for them. One size does not fit all. I knew a bunch of folks in NJ who would be a better fit elsewhere but who couldn’t leave for personal reasons. Feel bad for them.

          Doesn’t change the facts.

          And as someone pointed out elsewhere, if the wheels do come off do you want to be alone behind enemy lines? But that’s pretty bad topic drift.

  17. Over the last few years I’ve come to really like getting a rifle that uses the same ammunition as my handgun. So I have a semi-automatic rifle in .40sw that even takes the same magazines as my handgun. And having recently picked up a .357 magnum revolver, and really liking its performance and the ability to use .38 special as cheaper practice ammo, I’ve picked up a bolt-action rifle to match.

    I don’t know how useful this would be as advice for beginners. I can see it going both ways.

    There is taking this too far, as when I picked up a handgun in .30-30 to match my hunting rifle. It is a lot of fun to shoot, though.

    • > Over the last few years I’ve come to really like getting a rifle that uses the same ammunition as my handgun.
      It’s an idea that comes and goes.

      There are obvious benefits to it, but the biggest downside is that pistol rounds make really poor rifle rounds.

      If you need to shoot past about 75 yards with a high degree of accuracy, or you need to turn cover into concealment you need something with more punch.

      And why did you get a bolt action .357 (they make those?) when a lever is MUCH better suited to that sort of thing?

  18. Gimme a sec to strap on my asbestos pants…

    The lazy “I don’t know you but here’s a one-size-fits-all” solution for a “first gun” is :
    9mm Glock (17, 19, 26…whichever model fits your hand best)

    The inconvenient truth is that it’s usually a good choice. The Glock is ubiquitous for a reason ;)
    The majority (all sexes, ages, sizes) find it easy to shoot – comfortable recoil, simple operation, accurate, reliable. Your family can all train to make use of it (beyond a threshold age/maturity, of course). They may even end up wanting one of their own ;)

    No. I don’t own a Glock. Never have. But I will…..kinda. I’m waiting on the PSA PS9 Dagger to ship ;)

    • I’ve got 3 glocks–19, 26 and 43.

      The thing about a lot of pistols is just like ESR said–how it fits your hand. My wife has a CZ-75, and I also have a couple other handguns. Beretta 92FS, HK-P7. The P7 fits my hand like Ares ordained it. The Beretta fills my hand pretty well. The CZ is an extension of my will.

      I have to work at the Glocks. They don’t fit quite right–I get a callous on my right middle finger from the trigger guard etc.

      So why do I run them? Because they’re EXACTLY what a combat hangun needs to be. Reliable. They run for *decades* without cleaning, and still go bang. The only time I’ve had a Glock fail to run right was when I grabbed a box of .380 instead of 9mm (and it would still fire, just not cycle properly) and once when I got some FOD in a magazine and it blocked the chamber. Oh, and when I had some dodgy ammo.

      Honestly the Beretta has been almost as reliable, but it’s a freaken boat anchor.

      I also “adopted” the Glock in like 2002/2003 before there were a lot of other choices in the polymer 9mm department.

      There’s a lot more choices today, and *almost all* of the firearms out there are thoroughly sufficient for someone who’s going to shoot 50 rounds a month to stay “in tune” and then use it “for realz” once in their life for one magazine.

      Jumping out of the back of a C-130 into some shitcanistan, or going Wolverines in the mountains would be a different thing, but that’s not what we’re talking about here.

      Hell, a 6 shooter double action revolver is perfectly fine for the GTF off me use. I wouldn’t want to run into a school after a pack of terrorists with one, but if all you have is a Detectives Special and a couple reloads, just pick your shots and don’t miss.

    • The only place a Glock falls down is the ‘buy what’s comfortable for you to hold and use’ rule. Glocks have grip sizes/shapes that can be very uncomfortable- many people find them so. Myself included.

      If you like the feel of a Glock you won’t go wrong by just buying it. If you don’t like the way it feels there are many fine ergonomically superior but functionally equivalent options.

      • >The only place a Glock falls down is the ‘buy what’s comfortable for you to hold and use’ rule. Glocks have grip sizes/shapes that can be very uncomfortable- many people find them so. Myself included.

        One of the reasons I run .45ACP is that the size and shape of the grip on a classic single-stack 1911 fits my hand perfectly.

  19. First, if you live in a risky neighborhood, move somewhere safer (find a way). Second, most people will never experience real existential threat in their lives (and in particular, during their young developmental years). This is a huge loss of robustness augmentation opportunities in our current era of civilized affluence. Acquiring a serious self defense mindset is best brain-wired early in life, usually as a result of a “scary” event. Habit is your best defense for lifelong protection and habitual situational awareness outranks everything else. When you sense real danger, run away fast if at all possible. If you’re cornered and must fight, your facial expression and body posture is your first line of defense. Your mind and body should present as a mortal threat to potential attackers. Last, carrying a firearm imbues you with confidence and empowerment, and helps keep you on edge with routine situational awareness. All of the above is far, far more important than being able to pull a trigger. The best threat is the one you never encounter.

  20. I’m gonna wade in with my own recommendation:
    If you’re going to carry, start by renting a couple of Glocks in 9mm. Specifically, either the 17, 19, or 19x. Unless you cannot handle the size/recoil, these are practically the platonic ideal of “handgun. self-defense, 1 ea.” You will never have difficulty finding accessories, parts, etc for this family of firearms. There are competitors in the class, and there’s nothing wrong with them, either.

    If these are too big or have too strong a recoil for you, the Smith & Wesson M&P in .3*0 ACP is an excellent smaller handgun with lower recoil.

    If you’re not going to carry, don’t mess around with a handgun. Go to a Pistol Caliber Carbine – Ruger has a very nice one that takes Glock magazines that’s in the same price range as a quality service handgun. If you’re up to it, an AR-15 in 5.56mm is also good. Try both before buying.

    • Skip the 19x. The full sized grip is harder to conceal and offers no advantage.

      They also don’t fit everyone’s hand well (including mine, see my comments above).

      Someone whose not “in” to guns is better off finding something they can shoot comfortably than a “better” gun that they have to work at harder.

      • De gustibus. I know people who claim it’s the bee’s knees for concealment based on how they carry and how they shoot.

        (Me, I own a G17L – not carrying or concealing THAT)

        • It’s not a matter of taste, it’s a simple matter of geometry.

          The vast majority of people carry one of three ways:
          1) Strong side
          2) Appendix
          3) Cross draw.

          In these three positions the barrel is vertical parallel to the body and up against it. The grip extends outwards from the body, and as the body moves the longer the grip is the more likely it is to protrude out from the body in such a way as to “print”

          The only two carry styles that this is unlikely to be true in is shoulder holsters and small of the back. Shoulder holsters are a niche carry because you *always* need a heavy jacket or shirt, and no one in their right mind carries small of the back anymore.

          The 17L and the 19X have the same sized grip, the extra inch of barrel is only a problem for appendix carry…if you’re short waisted (like me).

          • Since concealed carry is not an option for me, I haven’t bothered to rent a 19X. I have handled a 19, and I found the grip was just a hair too short for me. This is fixed by putting the magazine grip extender on, but then it’s the same grip length as a 17.

            I own an OWB holster for the 17L; the barrel is long enough that it is uncomfortable to sit in my desk chair in and the barrel end rubs on the frame. (Which may have torn up the material a bit when I tried it out).

            For grins, I looked them up on Glock’s site:
            G17L Slide Length 225 mm | 8.86 inch
            G19X Slide Length 174 mm | 6.85 inch
            The 17L is almost exactly 2 inches longer (which is why the G34 exists, to fit “inside the box” of one of the gun games org’s rulebooks.)

            • From what I have read the primary use case for the Glock 19X (or its black equivalent, the Glock 45) was duty-carry for military or law enforcement users, not concealed carry. The G17-sized grip increases ammo capacity over the standard G19. The G19-length barrel is more comfortable when sitting and a bit faster to maneuver.

              Ian – why did you choose the G17L over a standard G17? I am curious as to what benefits are worth the headaches caused by the extra barrel length.

              • >Ian – why did you choose the G17L over a standard G17? I am curious as to what benefits are worth the headaches caused by the extra barrel length.

                That’s going to increase muzzle velocity, thus foot-pounds delivered to target. It’ll also improve accuracy at distance. If it were me, I’d be chasing the former.

                • > That’s going to increase muzzle velocity, thus foot-pounds delivered to target.

                  Footpounds are irrelevant, handguns don’t do energy, they do hole poking. Secondary wound trauma from a handgun bullet is trivial (not, however, expanding gasses from contact shots).

                  It’s inertia that carries the day. No pun intended.

                  > It’ll also improve accuracy at distance. If it were me, I’d be chasing the former.

                  It’s the increased sight radius that makes it useful. With a red dot sight up top that isn’t as big an advantage.

                  • >Footpounds are irrelevant, handguns don’t do energy, they do hole poking.

                    And this is different how? Kinetic energy delivered at target is what you poke the hole with. More energy, more hole. Since kinetic energy is mv**2, increasing muzzle velocity (e.g. with a longer barrel) is a more efficient way to poke a hole than increasing the bullet weight.

                    I shoot .45 because I like the way it rides, not because I have any illusions about big slow bullets being better.

                    • > And this is different how?

                      M * V = P
                      v.s.
                      .5 * M * V^2

                      With energy velocity REALLY matters. With Momentum not as much.

                  • You are overconstraining. ESR has already poked the obvious definitional hole in the pistols don’t use energy argument, so I’ll leave that be.

                    But the only reason this meme exists at all is that 95% of pistol calibers are designed around a heavy slug traveling at leisurely speeds. Yes, that includes 9×19.

                    Pistol calibers that are designed around speed turn out to be quite effective at shredding what they hit. Usually leaving the detractors spluttering contradictions (“it won’t penetrate!”, “it will go clean through with no other damage!”), because their philosophy of bullets has a massive hole in it.

                    • >because their philosophy of bullets has a massive hole in it.

                      /me is tempted to have a T-shirt made that says “What part of mv**2 did you fail to understand?”

                    • I don’t suffer from those.

                      I think that anything from .380 to .45 is fine for common “defensive” use.

                      I know some people that will carry a .32 in *specific* social situations–the sort of events where you wear cuff links, drink Manhattans out of proper glasses and if you need to draw and fire you’ve got the holster in your cummerbund, so they carry things like this http://seecamp.com/products.htm.

                      The thing is that in THOSE situations you’re not shooting someone at 3 yards, you’re shooting them at arms length.

                      Most of the time they’re wearing cargo pants,. columbia shirts, merrel boots and have a tuned up glock in an appendix holster.

              • The G17L was the first handgun I shot (the instructor for my NRA Basic Pistol brought one as a demo), and when I went to buy my first handgun the store had one. I bought it primarily for target shooting, so the extra sight radius over a standard G17 was how I rationalized it, but I didn’t give it all that much thought. (It may have had a lower price out the door, but I do not recall now, 15 years later).

                I deeply dislike shooting .40, and .45 (at least on the 1911 platform) didn’t do anything for me that 9×19 didn’t also do.

                I don’t have anything but the factory sights on it right now; though I keep meaning to do something about that. I have decent accuracy with them at the 7-10 yards I typically shoot paper at the range at, and I can push to 15 yards. I was going to make this year I made it to the range more often than once or twice a year…

            • > I have handled a 19, and I found the grip was just a hair too short for me.

              Da Fuq? You have catchers mitts instead of real hands?

              Did you grow up as a *real* machinist?

              I’ve got L to XL hands and the 19 has a little room at the bottom.

              • I wear a size 8 glove (Size L). I can comfortably hold and shoot a Gen3 G17L with a hogue grip wrapped around it. When I held a friend’s G19, my pinky just barely did not fit entirely on the grip. I found it uncomfortable.

                Maybe I could have adjusted my grip slightly to avoid this. And if I ever get a toting permit, I’ll try a G19 again.

                • Odd, because my palm is a size 9, and I have size 10 fingers, and I can run a Glock 19 without any grief at all. I bought one because I was running a 26 and it was beating me up pretty bad in high round count classes (after 200 or 300 rounds a day it’s a little tiring).

  21. Strange sentiments.

    Half of Europe is confined to home. Very little to nothing about violence and gun craziness. If anything, the police have much less crime to fight.

    What a weird country the US is, where the prime response to an epidemic is buying guns. Not seen that elsewhere.

      • But even in a very deep crisis, Italians did not need to buy guns to defend their homes.

        I see all these insults as an admission that you have no arguments.

        • Please, spare us the nonsense. You don’t just walk into a store in Italy (or the rest of Europe, for that matter) and buy a gun. There’s a lead time to obtain a license.

          I suspect that right about now those with licenses already have a gun, while quite a few of those without really wish they had one.

          • “I suspect that right about now those with licenses already have a gun, while quite a few of those without really wish they had one.”

            You suspect, I suspect not. So what is your evidence Italians wish they had a gun? I have seen nothing like that.

    • That’s because you’re peasants born and bred.

      Currently the only violence is people shoving each other over toilet paper and a couple allegations out of California about Asians being harassed.

      The whole issue is that people are afraid because they have lost whatever control over their lives they thought they had, and are responding in fairly stereotypical ways to fear of the future–stock up on essentials, protect yourself against societal breakdown.

      • @William O’Blivion
        “The whole issue is that people are afraid because they have lost whatever control over their lives they thought they had, and are responding in fairly stereotypical ways to fear of the future–stock up on essentials, protect yourself against societal breakdown.”

        Afraid,? Who is more afraid, the one stockpiling guns and ammo or the one stockpiling.toilet paper and pasta?

        With our population density and experience in two WW, we know that you hang together or will hang separately.

        • > Afraid,? Who is more afraid, the one stockpiling guns and
          > ammo or the one stockpiling.toilet paper and pasta?

          Neither is “more afraid”, and I’ll bet there’s a significant overlap between the two.

          Shall we note that your precious Euroweenies are engaging in similar behavior:
          https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-03-04/-hamster-buying-depletes-supermarket-shelves-on-virus-fears

          Of course purchasing power parity and the free market says that middle class folks in the US (outside of socialist strongholds) live in 2000 square foot homes, not 150 square meter apartments, so we have room to store stuff.

          For the record I have bought no guns, ammo, or toilet paper since the panic began. We did buy some pasta today (it’s not something we normally eat, so we bought a single packet of it for a special dinner).

          > With our population density and experience in two WW,
          > we know that you hang together or will hang separately.

          What you *continue* to refuse to accept about America is that since AT LEAST since the late 1960s the left in this country has tried to disaggregate people into different pressure groups and set them against each other.

          Right now there is *NO* violence going on that wasn’t going on last year. Yeah, a couple old ladies got in pushing contests in the toilet paper aisle. One or two arguments broke out.

          But it’s the fear that “they” are going to do something. The Blacks, The Latinos. Antifa. The Government–these are fears stoked by conspiracy theorists on both sides, and sometimes by otherwise sane (but evil) people.

          Look at what Krazy Ken posted–that Granny Winebox is going to *invite* the Chinese in to help control Americans.

          As if.

          • “Neither is “more afraid”, and I’ll bet there’s a significant overlap between the two. ”

            Fear of running out of toilet paper is on a different level from fear of being murdered in your home.

            “Of course purchasing power parity and the free market says that middle class folks in the US (outside of socialist strongholds) live in 2000 square foot homes, not 150 square meter apartments, so we have room to store stuff. ”

            2000 square foot = 185 square meters. That is only 25% larger than your 150 square meters. But the average house size in Europe is much smaller. See here:
            http://shrinkthatfootprint.com/how-big-is-a-house

            On the other hand, the density of shops is much higher in Europe, so we do not have to store as much. Just as in the US, the stockpiling had nothing to do with lack of products, but with panicking. Everything is fine in the shops I visit.

            The difference is that everyone in Europe has health insurance and there is social security for most.

            • > Fear of running out of toilet paper is on a different level from fear of being murdered in your home.

              See, this is the problem with arguing with people like you, you have a preconceived notion about things AND WILL NOT THINK OR LEARN.

              So I will repeat myself in a slightly different way in hopes that you’ll engage your brain:

              They aren’t afraid of running out of toilet paper, they aren’t afraid of “being murdered in their homes”. They are *afraid in general* because they perceived their lives as being relatively ordered, and now they see clouds of chaos, so they react as people have SINCE THE BEGINNING OF TIME–they hunker down.

              Why just toilet paper and bottled water? It’s not. Canned goods, rice, beans etc. are also being snapped up (or possibly the supply chains are getting a little stressed and can’t fill them enough). Wife wanted some flour (we don’t normally have that at home), and we got the last (expensive) bag in the store yesterday, however the vegetable section (which had been depleted the previous week) was now pretty full. The meat section was spotty–fresh stuff was still there, but the frozen section was spotty. Milk was fully stocked, but eggs were almost gone.

              So people are panic buying across the board, and after the media’s *FALSE* portrayal of what happened in New Orleans after Katrina, and how they over hype any sort of violence during *any* breakdown of local governments of COURSE people who have been fed a steady diet of TEOTWAWKI movies and fiction (28 days, the Postman, I am Legend, 12 monkies, https://www.imdb.com/list/ls031791837/ etc etc.) tell people that arming themselves is a reasonable thing to do.

              But it’s like planting a tree–“The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, the second best time is now”. You don’t start practicing for a marathon the week before, you don’t start “prepping” for the Zombie Apocalypse when the dead start rising.

              Your main problem is you think that the problem with Gun Violence is the gun. There are at least 100 million gun owners legal gun owners in the US, and about 15 thousand murders involving a gun. Not all of those involved legally owned firearms. If guns were the problem you’d see a LOT more killings.

              • “Your main problem is you think that the problem with Gun Violence is the gun. ”

                No, the problem with gun violence is that the wrong people get guns. And the wrong people include those who are afraid of a virus. And the homicide statistics in the USA show it slso includes too many American gun owners.

                • > And the wrong people include
                  > those who are afraid of a virus.

                  They aren’t anymore afraid of the *virus* than anybody else (frankly if you’re NOT afraid of a virus you’re a fool…but…)

                  What they *have* been made afraid of is that the social order will break down. They are afraid of this because the press keeps reporting on it when you have other disasters, usually either reporting rumors over and over, or taking spot incidents and blowing them up out of proportion…like it has the numbers for the existing crisis.

                  > And the homicide statistics in the
                  > USA show it slso includes too many
                  > American gun owners.

                  The best data I have been able to find is of those arrested for murder *about* three quarters of them have been previously arrested for a felony.

                  That means that the OVERWHELMING majority of murders are NOT legal gun owners.

                  They are also not generally people who generally follow the law.

                  Which means that unless you have a magic wand which can render guns harmless, criminals are going to get them. We see this in Australia, the Philippines and the Kyber Pass where there are underground factories making firearms and firearms parts. We see this in England where police occasionally confiscate Glocks–a make that didn’t exist when such pistols were made illegal, and thus had to be smuggled across the channel.

                  Hell, it happens in AMSTERDAM: https://nltimes.nl/2020/03/11/loaded-gun-schiphol-airport-three-arrested

                  • “They are afraid of this because the press keeps reporting on it when you have other disasters, usually either reporting rumors over and over, or taking spot incidents and blowing them up out of proportion…like it has the numbers for the existing crisis. ”

                    Switch news source. Fox News is not a news source, but entertainment. The same for Talk Radio.

                    “That means that the OVERWHELMING majority of murders are NOT legal gun owners. ”

                    Who can get guns because there are so many guns going around.

                    “Hell, it happens in AMSTERDAM:”

                    But not as often.

    • That’s what ESR said. Buying guns is good, but not as an epidemic response. No, Europeans should be buying whatever guns we can (shotguns are often relatively unregulated, at least here in Austria) not as an epidemic response, but as a response to e.g. Turkey consciously and openly weaponizing young male military age immigrants on the Greek border. They will eventually get over and then go to other countries. https://twitter.com/BasedPoland/status/1243124006598868992

      I must emphasize that even if many former cases you saw as “asylum seekers”, you cannot see it this way, because Erdogan clearly and openly meant them as a *weapon* against Europe.

      • Hungary is Europe as Mississippi is the US.

        And what the Eastern Europeans call “gun craze” is on a different level than in the US (look at the numbers). According to the article, it is mostly shop owners that want guns.

        But you are right. If there is any place in Europe where society could collapse, it would be the populist countries in the East. They have weak institutions, health care, and law enforcement.

    • Americans are, on average, more violent (both the criminals and the law-abiding folks) than Europeans.

      In American Switzerland, this is kept in check by social conditioning. In American Swaziland, this is encouraged by social conditioning. You can’t look at “America” and compare it to any single nation in Europe, though; at best you can compare it to the entirety of Europe west of the Urals. You have to drill down to the locality data to get a good idea of what’s going on.

      The important thing to remember about American is that there are a lot of Switzerlands either immediately next to or within driving range of Swazilands.

      • >The important thing to remember about American is that there are a lot of Switzerlands either immediately next to or within driving range of Swazilands.

        That is correct. I should have been clear in my original post. When I gave the criteria for “in Swaziland” I really meant “within the danger zone created by having Swaziland nearby”. The actual Swazilands, the places the ferals live and gather (and bear in mind they’re a small percentage of the people who live there) are geographically quite small.

        Hm. Perhaps I should slightly amend the post to make this clearer.

        • Been in Switzerland recently?

          Most of Switzerland is like a USA nuns convent. Corruption, LEO abuse, and crime in Switzerland are nowhere near the best levels in the USA.

          You would have to compare whole states with nations in Europe. But even on city level, the comparison is a lost battle. Both London (UK) and Sydney (AU) are big cities with crime levels lower than any mainland US city with over 1000,000 inhabitants. The exception is Honolulu, which has a really low crime rate.

          • It’s a metaphor for the stark difference in rates of violent crime. It’s not meant to be taken literally in the way you’re taking it.

            Also, you’d probably be surprised at how low crime is outside the hotspots in the US.

              • As ESR says – state-level stats are not granular enough, either because the state has significant poor areas, or because the population is so low that a few of murders in a year cranks the per 100k numbers.

                County-level numbers (outside of like Wyoming) are the best available balance between granularity vs accounting for spillover.

                • “County-level numbers (outside of like Wyoming) are the best available balance between granularity vs accounting for spillover.”

                  That is just saying that the US is unable to produce a safe city.

                  The UK can keep a city the size of London much safer than any city in the US with more than 300,000 people.

                  Get your head around that. London with 8 million inhabitants, is safer than Santa Clarita (Ca) with less than 300,000 inhabitants.

                  Yes, you can generate gated communities in the US where there is little crime, but that does not make a society safe.

                  • I started the discussion admitting that Americans are more violent than Europeans. So don’t be surprised when I agree with you. They do it in ways that Americans find intolerable (and I’m not just talking about gun control).

                    However:
                    https://www.statista.com/statistics/380963/london-crime-rate/

                    I’m not currently able to find the equivalent NYC stat page, but it looks like NYC is around 332/100k in 2017 according to https://www.baruch.cuny.edu/nycdata/public_safety/crime-selectcities.htm

                    But NYC’s rate has been plummeting since the mid nineties, while London’s has been rising.

                    • “I’m not currently able to find the equivalent NYC stat page, ”

                      “Looking at 2017, the homicide rate per 100,000 population stood at 1.2 in London and 3.4 in New York.”
                      https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-43628494

                      These are low numbers with a lot of statistical fluctuation. However, murder rates in NYC are consistently 2-3 times those of London.

                    • I call your attention to the “violent crime rate” in the statista link and the cuny link.

                      For a variety of reasons murder gets all the attention, but violent crime rates overall are relevant to the decision to be one’s own first responder.

                    • “For a variety of reasons murder gets all the attention, but violent crime rates ”

                      The reason for that is that every body is counted unambiguously everywhere. For other crimes the statistcs are utterly incomparable.

          • > Corruption, LEO abuse, and crime in Switzerland are nowhere near the best levels in the USA.

            You’re actually wrong about that – Switzerland is a more literally correct analogy for our low-crime areas than you know. However, it is an excusable error until you have actually looked at county-by-county statistics; even most Americans have no idea how tiny and concentrated our crime hotspots are. Media coverage creates a prominence fallacy that leads Switzerlanders to heavily overestimate their local crime rates.

            An ironic consequence of this is that misled Switzerlanders buy more guns than the crime statistics of their neighborhoods would suggest are strictly optimal.

            • “However, it is an excusable error until you have actually looked at county-by-county statistics;”

              Switzerland, the UK, Australia, etc., are able to produce cities with millions of inhabitants that have lower crime rates than US provincial backwaters.

              Yes, everyone can produce a low crime area in a monastery, or a high income gated community. The challenge is to create one that includes a fully functional society.

              • Not in my experience. My experience is that big cities today have more in common with each other than any of them do with their own hinterlands. For an anecdote from the UK consider:
                Manchester United sign a new hotshot striker from Rwanda and in his first game he scores a hat-trick of brilliant goals. He phones his mum as soon as the game finishes, to tell her his news. She starts crying as soon as he speaks. He asks her what is wrong, and she says, “This morning your sister was attacked by a gang of thugs and your little brother was savaged by a pack of wild dogs. Then your father was shot by a sniper and I was mugged and beaten while on my way to the store!” Heartbroken, the footballer says, “Mum, I’m so sorry!” “You should be!” shouts his now very angry mother. “It’s all your fault we had to move to Manchester!”

                The Laughing Soldier: The British Armed Forces Jokebook (p. 38).

                Switzerland can’t show a single city with millions of inhabitants. Zurich the largest is maybe half a million, Geneva second largest at a quarter of a million and so on down.

                For granularity, when I lived in The Back of the Yards in Chicago the last year I was there there were as many shootings within a one block radius of my front porch as within any of the Kansas cow towns during the heyday of the wild west. That is 5 total reached once in Dodge and once in Ellsworth. With Chicago locked down today and everybody staying home there were maybe a dozen the day after we started this thread. In rural Idaho where I now live, a stone’s throw from the Henry’s Fork, there hasn’t been a shooting in years despite everybody having a gun and many carrying both on body and in the pickup cab rear window. Much like Switzerland when there is violence it’s mostly inside the family. A shooting in Switzerland is much more likely to be an upset spouse than a drive by Chicago style. Although notice that drive by shootings were practically invented in California. Chicago gangs were traditionally turf limited, a true street gang e.g. Blackstone Rangers and mostly lived within walking distance. Hence the true hot spots here called Swazilands and the adjacent crime free here called Switzerlands.

                • >Hence the true hot spots here called Swazilands and the adjacent crime free here called Switzerlands

                  I think one of the reasons the divide between Switzerland and Swaziland is so sharp, and the Swaziland-adjacent areas of elevated risk relatively small, is that Swazilanders stand out like sore thumbs in Switzerland. It’s not just the skin color, it’s the clothes and the attitude – law-abiding blacks and Hispanics are themselves afraid of ferals, and for very good reason..

                  That conspicuousness tends to keep Swazilands (especially the black urban ones) socially contained.

                  • “That conspicuousness tends to keep Swazilands (especially the black urban ones) socially contained.”

                    The word you are looking for is “Apartheid”.

                    • Nonsense. “Apartheid” is imposed from without by law. This particular disaster is largely self inflicted.

                    • “This particular disaster is largely self inflicted.”

                      With segregation build into everything from housing, schools, health care to law enforcement, I beg to differ.

                    • Those are on a state by state level (and so vary). Apartheid was set by the central government.

                • “My experience is that big cities today have more in common with each other than any of them do with their own hinterlands”

                  The statistics tell a different story.

              • Yes, it’s amazing the effect police willing to ignore Muslim grooming gangs have on crime statistics.

            • Yeah, and if you leave out the high-crime areas of Switzerland — or Germany or Sweden or England or the Netherlands — you get even lower base crime rates.

              You can torture the statistics to say whatever you want. But taken as a whole, the nation fares very poorly when it comes to crime and corruption.

              • Would you be willing to build a statistic that has a “diversity correction” in it just to see what happens?

          • > Corruption, LEO abuse, and crime in Switzerland
            > are nowhere near the best levels in the USA.

            And where do you get your comparative data?

            > Both London (UK) and Sydney (AU) are big cities
            > with crime levels lower than any mainland US
            > city with over 1000,000 inhabitants.

            Not where violent crime is concerned:
            https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-london-43610936
            https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/10/20/london-now-dangerous-new-york-crime-stats-suggest/

            Or crime overall:
            https://www.numbeo.com/crime/compare_cities.jsp?country1=United+Kingdom&city1=London&country2=United+States&city2=New+York%2C+NY

            You are right about Sydney being lower though:
            https://www.numbeo.com/crime/compare_cities.jsp?country1=Australia&country2=United+States&city1=Sydney&city2=New+York%2C+NY

            Just for fun though, let’s pick a small town in central Australia and compare it against New York:
            https://www.numbeo.com/crime/compare_cities.jsp?country1=Australia&country2=United+States&city1=Alice+Springs&city2=New+York%2C+NY

            Hmm…I wonder why Sydney is so peaceful and Alice isn’t?

            (yes, I cherry picked that).
            Hmmm…

        • Even in the “danger zone” (I technically live on the border of a town containing Swaziland and within driving range of a couple more) of “nearby Swazilands,” the danger is still pretty low. When your base rate is infinitesimal, doubling it is still … infinitesimal.

          Actual Swazilands are “blocks across” in NJ, outside of Camden and maybe Newark. Their shadows are larger, of course, but they still drop off quickly.

      • If you statistically control for the Swazilands, Americans are, on average, as peaceable or moreso than europeans.
        The swazilands are so disproportionately violent that they skew the national average to the point where it does not paint an accurate picture overall.

        • Yeah, and if you statistically control for the crime hotspots in actual Switzerland, Switzerland looks better still.

          • That’s not the point. The point is to identify the source of the problem.
            America is awash with guns, but not awash with violence.
            Violence is a distinctly localized problem, which is what the statistically-legitimate practice of ‘controlling’ is designed to reveal.

        • “If you statistically control for the Swazilands, Americans are, on average, as peaceable or moreso than europeans.”

          America is good in segregation. We know that.

          And if you segregate the poor from the well-off, and partition Law Enforcement well, you can indeed create safe pockets. The real challenge is to create whole cities and countries that are as safe as American gated communities.

          That is where some countries are good at, and the US is failing.

          • > America is good in segregation. We know that.

            You *do* remember where the term Ghetto came from, right?

            • “You *do* remember where the term Ghetto came from, right?”

              Wikipedia:
              “The word “ghetto” comes from the Jewish area of Venice, the Venetian Ghetto in Cannaregio, traced to a special use of Venetian ghèto, or “foundry”, as there was one near the site of that city’s ghetto in 1516.[6] By 1899 the term had been extended to crowded urban quarters of other minority groups.”

              Which has nothing to do with the fact that the US is currently good at segregation.

              • Compared to the rest of the world we’re rank amateurs. Unlike some, we don’t have generations of immigrants living here with no citizenship and no franchise.

                • “Unlike some, we don’t have generations of immigrants living here with no citizenship and no franchise.”

                  So, the descendants of the former slaves have all the same chances as those of the former slave owners? All the statistics say otherwise.

                  • “So, the descendants of the former slaves have all the same chances as those of the former slave owners? All the statistics say otherwise.”

                    Both of those groups have worse chances then Eastern European Jews who arrived in the 1880s or Indians who arrived in the 1990s.

      • > Americans are, on average, more violent (both the criminals and the law-abiding folks) than Europeans.

        What’s the American equivalent of a soccer hooligan?

        • >What’s the American equivalent of a soccer hooligan?

          Sorry, William, compared to South Side gangbangers, soccer hooligans are model citizens. I lived in Great Britain at the time the hooligan gangs were most visible in the 1960s, which is how I know this. Lethal violence is rare among them and they’re generally not a threat to people who aren’t in other football gangs. The exceptions are a very small high-deviant cohort, the same vicious 3% you get in crowds anywhere.

          American Swazilanders are far more dangerous. They use lethal violence more often (whether or not they have firearms) and they are a prompt threat to people not in their subculture, usually other blacks or Hispanics who aren’t “street” and don’t have gangs backing them. The lethal subset of them is a lot bigger than 3%.

          It’s not hard to see the effects of a 15-20 point difference in mean IQ here. Football hooligans are still mostly white working-class boys and have much lower time preference than American Swazilanders, though the difference may be decreasing slowly as the football gangs recruit more Afro-Caribbeans, Indians, and Pakistanis. The hooligans remain much less likely to commit crimes that will land them in permanent deep shit.

          So no, you don’t falsify Winter’s argument by pointing at football hooligans. What you do, if inadvertently, is point out how he trips over his assumptions because he lives in a society where the IQ spread is narrow and single-peaked. Winter says a lot of ignorant shit, but it is not entirely his fault that he doesn’t grasp what the double peak implies. You don’t really get it either, or you wouldn’t try to equivalence a group drown from a mean-80-IQ population with a group drawn from a mean-IQ-100 population. Right there that’s good enough reason to expect a rather large difference in criminal propensity.

          • “[winter] lives in a society where the IQ spread is narrow and single-peaked. ”

            Good education helps a lot as the genetic component in IQ spread is much lower than you want to acknowledge.

            But I would not over emphasize the uniformity of London, which has crime rates even provincial backwaters in the US can only dream about.

            • >the genetic component in IQ spread is much lower than you want to acknowledge.

              Do try to keep up.

              Wikipedia: “Twin studies of adult individuals have found a heritability of IQ between 57% and 73%[6] with the most recent studies showing heritability for IQ as high as 80%[7] and 86%.[8]. IQ goes from being weakly correlated with genetics, for children, to being strongly correlated with genetics for late teens and adults. The heritability of IQ increases with age and reaches an asymptote at 18–20 years of age and continues at that level well into adulthood.”

              So, I have updated my priors; I thought the heritability was only 85% before. But I’m not surprised the estimate has gone up; that happens every time people figure out how to design better separated-twin studies. On historical trends it might reach 90% in the next round of studies.

          • > Sorry, William, compared to South Side gangbangers, soccer hooligans are model citizens.

            The statement was:

            Americans are, on average, more violent (both the criminals and the law-abiding folks) than Europeans.

            .

            Americans ON AVERAGE, Both criminals AND law abiding.

            I lived in Chicago in the 90s. I have lived in Saint Louis.

            Yeah, the criminals In Swaziland are violent, but the “average” American? Not any more than the average Brit or the average German.

            The only way I’d go along with this statement is that the average American is if you include *self defense*. If you want to say that Americans are more violent because they fight back against crime, Ok. I’ll take that. You SHOULD fight back against criminals.

            I lived in Great Britain at the time the hooligan gangs were most visible in the 1960s, which is how I know this. Lethal violence is rare among them and they’re generally not a threat to people who aren’t in other football gangs.

            When I wrote my comment I was thinking more of the contemporary sorts who get in the news–the yobs who show up to footie matches get drunk and start fights.

            In the 1950s and 1960s the street gangs in America weren’t as lethal as they are today, and even today they are MOSTLY engaged in gang on gang violence (IIRC something like 85 to 90 percent of murder *victims* have felony records). Of course the 1960s is when colleges really started recruiting smart people from bad neighborhoods and assortative mating REALLY kicked in.

            London has a violent crime rate HIGHER than NYC. Street violence is NOT uncommon in Europe–the same sort of crap that goes on here, drunks in and outside of bars, muggings etc.

            Hell, there’s even ASSASSINATIONS IN BROAD DAYLIGHT:

            The overall number of murders decreased from 159 in 2017 to 108 in 2018. In Amsterdam, two of the murders were gun-related assassinations occurring in public areas during the day.
            Despite the decrease in murders, in 2018 Amsterdam experienced a rise in the use of explosive devices, gun violence, and knife attacks, averaging one incident a week; these incidents occurred primarily at night. Authorities attribute the attacks to organized crime posturing for profit off the drug trade, the “red light district,” and other criminal schemes.

            https://www.osac.gov/Country/Netherlands/Content/Detail/Report/5ff8bbb1-6150-4a4b-a3a5-15f4aea9537a

            American Swazilanders are far more dangerous.

            See, here’s the problem. If you pointed out all the rapeiness of “Germans”, all the proclivity to riot of French “Youths” and etc. your “average” European would be quick to point out that that’s not “Europeans” doing that. It’s “Asian” or “Turks” or whatever term is currently in vogue.

            But the problems in the southwest borders aren’t “Americans”, and a number of the more problematic folks in the Swazilands *aren’t* Americans, or rather they aren’t USAINS.

            Dan Nemi was patrolling the edge of Swaziland when he was murdered. He wasn’t killed by a “fellow” American, he was killed by a several times illegal immigrant with a stolen pistol.
            Dan Nemi was a friend of mine. A friend who died.

            MS-13 was started in Los Angles, but it wasn’t started by or for Americans.

            This is true of a LOT of the street gangs in the US–they were started by some sort of immigrants (also a lot of them were started post WWII by returning vets, often as social or athletic organizations that went bad).

            The increasing immigration in the late 1960s through the 1980s was (part of) what made street gangs more and more violent (in addition to the assortative mating really kicking in AND the growing popularity of Gangster Rap). I remember in the 80s the threat of the Jamaican gangs who SERIOUSLY did not have any fuqs to give and were grabbing new turf buy levels of brutality causing existing gangs to step up.

            Heck, the most famous gang in America, Cosa Nostra, is an import from *Italy*. Well, Sicily and most of the original members weren’t American.

            Football hooligans are still mostly white working-class boys and have much lower time preference than American Swazilanders,

            So they have even *LESS* excuse.

            You don’t really get it either, or you wouldn’t try to equivalence a group drown from a mean-80-IQ population with a group drawn from a mean-IQ-100 population.

            Didn’t really think about that, because I wasn’t thinking of the violence IN American Swazilands v.s. European Swazilands, but rather the violence *outside* Swaziland.

            • “The only way I’d go along with this statement is that the average American is if you include *self defense*. If you want to say that Americans are more violent because they fight back against crime, Ok. I’ll take that. You SHOULD fight back against criminals. ”

              Thank you for catching my oversight. Yes, by “Americans are more violent” I include the use of legitimate force in self defense.

              • “If you want to say that Americans are more violent because they fight back against crime, Ok. I’ll take that.”

                Some people prefer to use the police to keep crime down io doing it all themselves. Using professions would in the end results in lower crime than with amateurish DIY.

                • That works until the authorities tell the police to stop punishing criminals (known in America as the 1960-70s).

    • Try to see it as a game-theory thing. There multiple kinds of different equilibria, local optima. If a place already has very few guns, it can be a good equilibrium to keep it so. But if a place has a lot of guns and many of it in bad hands, then the only workable equilibrium is if all the good people get armed, too.

      Seeing the Dutch line up for emergency marijuana purchases is a bit weird, too. But that permissive legislation does have a reasoning behind it, namely if people want it anyway then better get it this way than from some super shady underground dealers. That sort of stuff is also something that has two different equilibria, local optima. If a country can completely supress it, like Dubai does, good. Or it can be out and legal. But the middle way, that it is technically illegal yet it is super easy to buy from shady underground dealers, like how it is in the rest of Europe, that is not good.

      • “That sort of stuff is also something that has two different equilibria, local optima.”

        You can always plan a path to move from a bad equilibrium to a better one. The point in the USA is that there are vested interests that do not want to move to a better equilibrium with lower violence.

  22. Eric, I think you’re missing one important point:

    The reason to get a firearm now is not because this is a particularly dangerous crisis.

    The reason, rather, is that FIREARMS WILL NEVER BE AVAILABLE AGAIN.

    We are already seeing the first steps in this direction. State governors are forcing gun stores to “temporarily” close.

    Next will be the door-to-door confiscation of all firearms, made easy by stay-at-home orders.

    Finally, with both Trump and Pence eliminated, whether through impeachment, assassination, “death by coronavirus,” or “resignation” via abduction, President Pelosi will “request” military intervention by Red China.

    The future is a Chinese boot stamping on the human face forever.

    • >The future is a Chinese boot stamping on the human face forever.

      Yeah, good luck with that, sport. PRC doesn’t have the air- or sea-lift capacity to get troops to Taiwan, let alone the U.S.

        • Please. Both the governor of IL and the governor of MD specifically noted that gun stores would stay open under their “social distancing” lockdowns.

          NJ and CA both acted as expected.

          I got nothing for why the PA governor ordered them closed and their courts agreed, so we’ll see what happens when the federal judiciary (note that SCOTUS did not punt the NY case even though they could have on mootness).

          The frigging US government and every law enforcement agency in the country doesn’t have enough people to enforce a confiscation order, much less a door-to-door one.

          • > I got nothing for why the PA governor ordered
            > them closed

            Did he specifically say “Gunstores must close”, or was it “All non-essential businesses/retail outlets must close” and did not include gun stores as “essential businesses”?

            Note that PA *also* shut down all their (state owned) licquor stores.

            > and their courts agreed,

            From a certain perspective gun stores aren’t essential businesses in the short term. From a strictly statistical perspective more people are likely to die from catching the Wuhan Virus while browsing a gun store than are likely to die from not being able to buy a gun in the next couple weeks. Especially as the rest of the stuff–learning how to shoot, practicing–is going to be a LOT more complicated by shutdowns.

            As long as gun stores aren’t being treated any differently than any other business that isn’t delivering food and medicine, then there’s really no room for complaint.

            When the gun stores are explicitly called out, that’s another story.

            • Hmm.

              I dug this up, which also has notes about CA, PA, and NJ.

              https://www.thetrace.org/2020/03/coronavirus-gun-store-closures-state-map/

              And, if you’ll permit me to exercise my inner political angry young man, the individual right to possess a functional firearm at home is a fundamental right guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the Constitution, per the Heller and McDonald decisions. “Functional” means “ready for use” which ought to mean “loaded.” So the stores should be open to sell ammo, at the very least.
              (I’m radical enough that I think people ought to be able to buy a firearm under that right now, not in a few weeks or months.)

        • >Like I said, it will be by request. They won’t be facing a hostile landing.

          They can’t get here, fool. The transport capacity for it doesn’t exist, friendly landing or no. And if by some unicorn-fart miracle they could get here, they couldn’t be kept in supply here. The logistical chain for that doesn’t exist.

          The number of countries that have the capability for over-ocean expeditionary warfare is 1.5. The U.S. can do it. The British can do it with U.S. support. Nobody else can do it at all.

          • Then there’s that whole “rifle behind every blade of grass” thing…
            That said, I still enjoy watching Red Dawn on my birthday.
            The original one, not the gay one.
            ( Whose fucking retarded idea was it to mix RD with Zoolander and Tropic Thunder? )

          • Interesting, Eric. Do you mean it in the sense of merchant navy pressed into troop transport and supply transport roles, too? That they or generally not many other countries have such merchant navies either? Or you mean it in the sense that it requires specialized ships?

            • Merchant ships need ports. There are, what, 4 ports on the entire West Coast of any significance? LA, SFO, Portland*, and Seattle. (Portland is upriver). And ports are easy to break.

              I’m worried about foreign interference in a hypothetical ACW II, because dropping off a couple TEUs of small arms and ammo addressed “to whom it may concern” keeps the pot boiling.

              Absolutely nobody can successfully invade the US as currently constituted, not even the US. And any attempt to change how the US is constituted will boil over to civil war before that changes. At which point nobody will want to invade.

            • >Interesting, Eric. Do you mean it in the sense of merchant navy pressed into troop transport and supply transport roles, too? That they or generally not many other countries have such merchant navies either? Or you mean it in the sense that it requires specialized ships?

              China comes up short in every area you mention. It’s instructive to look back at the logistics of over-ocean troop surge movements the last time it was done, which was in the run up to D-Day. They used requisitioned passenger liners. Which is a problem, because that class of passenger liner has been effectively dead for decades.

              You might think “cruise ships”. The problem with that is most cruise ships are designed to be coasthuggers – they don’t deal with open-ocean conditions very well. When cruise-ship companies do repositioning moves (shifting a cruise ship from America to Europe) they take passengers, but they don’t encourage bookings. Tends to be a rough ride, especially in the North Atlantic. An experienced captain would blanch at the thought of taking one of those things trans-Pacific – as far as I know that just isn’t done.

              Gets worse if you have to deal with an opposed landing. In that case you need roll-on/roll-off capability like WWII landing craft. Civilian ships won’t do that. Only a handful of navies have even token capabilities of this kind – USN, RN, the Russian Navy, and the Hellenic Navy. And even the U.S., the world’s hegemonic military power, has only two (2) ships kitted out for over-ocean expeditionary warfare. Both operated by the Marine Corps.

              That should be a clue that this stuff is harder than it looks. You can’t just stack troops and AFVs in a bulk freighter like cordwood, not if you want them to arrive in any shape to fight. Roll-on/roll-off capability is expensive, difficult to maintain, and difficult to hide. China has none.

              • I actually was looking up trans-pacific cruises recently, and there are both Honolulu-Sydney and San Francisco-Sydney cruises (17 and 28 days, one way) as well as pacific island cruises.

                They don’t appear to run often, but they do run.

                The Pacific is a good deal calmer than the Atlantic.

                • >I actually was looking up trans-pacific cruises recently, and there are both Honolulu-Sydney and San Francisco-Sydney cruises (17 and 28 days, one way) as well as pacific island cruises.

                  That’s interesting. There must be a few ships left that are specialized for over-ocean passenger trade, then. I didn’t know that – I thought the last of those were decommissioned in the 1980s.

                  Next question would be whether they’re scaled down versions of classic liner designs or cruise-ships that have somehow been refitted to be better for open-ocean routes.

                  Judging by the ports of call, the PRC doesn’t own any of these ships.

                  • There is also still somewhat regular (if spaced out) trans-atlantic cruise service, though I haven’t looked that up recently.

                    I would expect those vessels to be cruise ship interiors in an ocean-going hull.

                    (Caribbean cruise vessels are basically bricks of air with mondo stabilizers; I have taken several cruises out of Bayonne in years past, and even in the Atlantic Ocean legs they’re not nearly as unstable as the ferries between the Pillars of Hercules I rode on as a youth.)

              • >China has none.

                I spoke too soon. Turns out the PLA has two RORO ships – they’re very new, commissioned in 2013, which is why I didn’t know about them.

                They’re not going to invade Taiwan with 2 ROROs. With 200 of them, maybe. But those are awfully big, slow, soft targets.

              • > That should be a clue that this stuff is harder than it looks.

                It’s not harder than it looks, it’s just not the way we fight anymore.

                The Marine Corps does it because we…I mean they won’t give up the notion that sometimes you have to do a full frontal assault across the tidal zone into the teeth of entrenched enemies. By preserving the notion that they may have to do this (and bayonet training OORAH!) they instill the mindset got Marine *attacking* at the Chosen Reservoir in -20f degree weather AFTER starving and freezing for three or four weeks. Guys dead on their feet *attacked into the teeth of a numerically superior force* and won because FUCKING MARINES.

                But no one else is that crazy or that stupid.

                Besides, like you said we are a Hegemonic Military Power, which means you’d have to sail those ships in places where we might interdict them.

              • Actually Eric, the Chinese PLAN has scores of amphibious transports of various types ; LST thru LHD. They have been actively preparing for that sealift to Taiwan issue.

                • >Actually Eric, the Chinese PLAN has scores of amphibious transports of various types ; LST thru LHD. They have been actively preparing for that sealift to Taiwan issue.

                  Must be recent builds. I researched this specific thing for the SF story “Sucker Punch” that I wrote and sold a couple years back. It was about a near-future PRC invasion of Taiwan.

                  • There have been a lot recently commissioned especially LHD equivalents but there were plenty dating back decades. As much as I despise Wikipedia there is a good table there.

                  • The more important question is how fast could the Chinese build them. In 1941 the US didn’t have many amphibious transports either.

        • The person who places the request won’t live to see them land.

          You’re assuming that the US Military will go along with this. Not the soldiers, sailors and Marines I knew. Maybe the Air Force weenies, they’re half communist anyway.

          And yeah, it’ll be a hostile landing.

          • Not the soldiers, sailors and Marines I knew.

            How long ago were you in? I was in the Navy in the late 80s and early 90s, and from what I’ve read about incidents like the Fitzgerald and McCain collisions, the standard, at least in the Navy, of both professionalism and willingness to put patriotic duty ahead of politics has deteriorated quite a bit since then.

            • I served in the US Marine Corps in the 1980s.
              I was in the National Guard in the early 1990s.
              I spent a few years in the Air Force Reserves in the 2000s, and in 2009-2012 was a civilian contractor in various capacities on other continents (including Iraq–computer contractor, not a shooter) working with DOD Personnel.

              The best man at my wedding went *back* into the military at 39 years of age and passed SFQ. My cousin was a Special Forces operator until he had a jump go bad. A buddy of mine was invalided out of the Marines in the mid-2000s because a training accident fractured his spine.

              So I’ve spent a *bit* of time around the military and the people in it.

              And you’re not wrong–there are some real shitstains at certain points, but I would like to think that General “Mad Dog” Mattis fixed a little of that, and I think there’s still enough patriotism and belief in if a president declared war against the American People he’d not have a functional military to wage it with, and whatever he did would be facing a lot tougher weapons than they thought.

              • Your experience is more recent than mine, so the fact that you saw good patriotism and professionalism is very encouraging. It might well be that the incidents I referred to were more isolated incidents than evidence of a systemic problem. I certainly hope so.

                • Don’t misunderstand me, there was a LOT of systemic problems and fuckups.

                  But there’s a LOT of people who will at least try to do the right thing. And I think there’s a movement back in the right direction.

    • Chinese boots are too small for stamping on faces.
      It’d be like an Oompa Loompa invasion.
      Only less masculine.

    • Are you ok man?

      Because that’s some weapons grade delusion you’ve got going on there.

      Governors are not (generally) ordering gun stores to close, rather they are not classifying them as “essential businesses” to allow them to remain open–they are being treated like most other retailers. They just aren’t special casing gun stores like grocery stores and restaurants. That is a very different thing from ordering them closed–because when the peak passes in a couple weeks they’re going to start opening stuff back up, and the gun stores will open right along with them. At least in states where they were closed to begin with.

      As to “door to door confiscations” that’s even more batshit insane. Let’s for a second ignore that a *significant* percentage of police are 2nd amendment advocates, there’s only about three quarters of a million cops in the US *IN TOTAL*. There’s also only about 450 thousand National Guard–again ignoring that MOST of them are neutral to pro-gun on this issue and sort of take their oath to the constitution seriously.

      The rest of your post is similarly paranoid conspiracy theory.

      Take your meds.

      • >Governors are not (generally) ordering gun stores to close, rather they are not classifying them as “essential businesses” to allow them to remain open–they are being treated like most other retailers.

        And even that isn’t universal. Some states have classified gun stores as essential.

        EDIT: That includes PA, by the way. The gun store we use is open.

        • What I’m reading is that the PA SCOTUS has agreed with the Governor that gun stores are non-essential, and that the order shuts them down, but many are ignoring that.

          • The city of San Jose, CA–but consider the state it’s in–not only declared gun stores non-essential, but apparently sent cops over pretty much first thing to make sure every gun shop knew it had to close, first thing on day 1.

          • The info I had said that the governor’s office had backed off the shutdown requirement. I’ve seen speculation that they were advised the case was a sure loser on appeal.

          • PA Governor reversed his decision, apparently:

            Governor Tom Wolf has issued guidance allowing gun dealers to operate on an appointment-only basis in order to “complete only the portions of a sale/transfer that must be conducted in-person under the law.” The governor’s original order shuttered gun stores, but he issued the revision after several Pennsylvania Supreme Court justices urged him to allow the shops to reopen.
            Via The Trace

            https://www.thetrace.org/2020/03/coronavirus-gun-store-closures-state-map/

      • Because that’s some weapons grade delusion you’ve got going on there.

        Late-stage Conservatism is a hell of a drug. The absolute requirement to be on the losing side at all times forces the person away from reality very quickly.

        • That’s not late stage conservatism–I started reading National Review when I was in my late teens–that’s straight up paranoia.

    • @Ken
      “Finally, with both Trump and Pence eliminated, whether through impeachment, assassination, “death by coronavirus,” or “resignation” via abduction, President Pelosi will “request” military intervention by Red China.”

      The stupid part of this “constupiracy” theory is why on earth a US president with the most powerful army in the world at her command would give all her power away fro nothing in return?

      And then we have all the other objections of other commenters who still can think rationally.

      Neil Stephenson’s Fall describes this type of constupiracy peddlers very, very accurately.
      https://slate.com/culture/2019/06/neal-stephenson-fall-book-review-dodge-in-hell.html

      In the 12th chapter of Neal Stephenson’s new novel, Fall, a quartet of Princeton students set out on a road trip to Iowa to visit the “ancestral home” of one of the students, Sophia. This part of the novel is set about 25 years in the future, in an age when self-driving cars are the default and a de facto border exists between the affluent, educated coasts, where Sophia and her friends live, and the heartland they call “Ameristan.” The latter is a semi-lawless territory riddled with bullet holes and conspiracy theories, where a crackpot Christian cult intent on proving the crucifixion was a hoax (because no way is their god some “meek liberal Jesus” who’d allow himself to be “taken out” like that) literally crucifies proselytizing missionaries from other sects. You have to hire guides to shepherd you through this region, men who mount machine guns on top of their trucks “to make everyone in their vicinity aware that they were a hard target.”

      How did things get so bad? For one thing, residents of Ameristan, unlike Sophia and her well-off pals, can’t afford to hire professional “editors” to personally filter the internet for them. Instead, they are exposed to the raw, unmediated internet, a brew of “inscrutable, algorithmically-generated memes” and videos designed, without human intervention, to do whatever it takes to get the viewer to watch a little bit longer. This has understandably driven them mad, to the degree that, as one character puts it, they even “believed that the people in the cities actually gave a shit about them enough to come and take their guns and other property,” and as a result stockpiled ammo in order to fight off the “elites” who never come.

      • Yes, you would think that, wouldn’t you.

        That part of Fall is by far the least plausible thing in the book. You could convince people living a thousand miles away – like the typical New York Times reader – that a small town in Utah had been nuked, when it hadn’t. You could not fool anyone in Utah with such a tale for more than a few days, not when people could literally walk into the town in question and see it for themselves. (And in the book, the hoax is exposed within hours. The absurdity is supposing that the Utahns would continue believing it for decades out of mistrust of “the media” – they, of all people, wouldn’t need to learn what happened from strangers!)

        Indeed, the whole “Ameristan” business is just a photonegative of the Switzerland/Swaziland divide ESR has already mentioned. It’s about as credible as the Balkanized USA in Snow Crash, but unlike that book I have the dread suspicion that Stephenson meant Fall to be taken seriously.

        • “You could not fool anyone in Utah with such a tale for more than a few days, not when people could literally walk into the town in question and see it for themselves. (And in the book, the hoax is exposed within hours. ”

          I do not believe you. Experience tells us otherwise.

          As David Letterman said:
          “America is the only country where a significant proportion of the population believes that professional wrestling is real but the moon landing was faked.”

          People were telling Buzz Aldrin in his face he never visited the moon.
          https://eu.floridatoday.com/story/tech/science/space/2019/07/19/lunar-landing-denier-we-never-went-moon/1702676001/

          Then we have Sandy Hook, Denver Airport, 9/11, Sutherland Springs, Fluoridation, Chemtrails. All things you can simply go and visit or speak to eye witnesses. And if you read the book of Mormon, you must adapt your fantasy detector quite a lot.

          So, I think that Neil Stephenson intended some exaggeration, but not much. I heed the famous quote: Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about th’universe!

            • “Sure, David Letterman and a nutjob Floridian are totally reliable, statistically accurate sources for US demographics.”

              Compared to who, you? Or all those conspiracy theorists commenting on this blog?

          • > I do not believe you. Experience tells us otherwise.

            No, it doesn’t. Experience tells you EXACTLY that. That things that happen far away are easier to fake than what is in your back yard.

            Look at the delusions you have about America because of the press.

            Look at what Americans think about YOUR country, again because of the press.

            What you aren’t willing to do is to take what Americans think, then reverse the filter to understand how that works.

            As David Letterman said:
            “America is the only country where a significant proportion of the population believes that professional wrestling is real but the moon landing was faked.”

            About 7 percent of the US population thinks that the moon landings were faked. At least one poll tallies 52 percent of the British public think so https://www.iflscience.com/space/52-percent-of-the-british-public-think-the-moon-landings-were-faked-claims-survey/

            As to “Professional Wrestling”, almost no one thinks it’s “real” anymore. 30 or 40 years ago when it was just men in tights throwing each other around? Yeah, maybe. I had an uncle who insisted it was, but he was old, alcoholic and an immigrant (e.g. different culture). I also had a cousin who thought it was real, but he was like 12.

            But see, your biggest fuck up (in this) was to quote a *hard left* comedian who is picking on the only people that he’s allowed to pick on–poor whites. Because everyone knows that it’s only rednecks that watch professional wrestling, and those inbred hicks who believe in conspiracy theories like the moon landing was faked and vaccines cause autism…

            • “That things that happen far away are easier to fake than what is in your back yard. ”

              Like, you know that the local Pizza joint would not hide children in their basement? But then some guy shows up with a gun to liberate them. People walking around Sandy Hook telling the parents they were lying about their children being murdered?

              “Look at what Americans think about YOUR country, again because of the press.”

              The difference is that I speak English, have been in the US many times, know people living there, and have relatives who live there. I even discuss things online with Americans who disagree with me on a fundamental level. I do not encounter any real interest to understand the world in the people on this blog sprouting nonsense about, e.g., Europe and China.

              “At least one poll tallies 52 percent of the British public think so ”

              Did I say non-Americans were different? “Remember Moab” is not about Americans, it is about the internet. Ameristan is about people hoarding guns and ammo and live an anarchistic life.

              It is clear that you are in denial. But that too is a message of Ameristan.

              “But see, your biggest fuck up (in this) was to quote a *hard left* comedian who is picking on the only people that he’s allowed to pick on–poor whites.”

              Hard left, you have no idea what “hard left” is. And I know that the US is deeply racist. But I could also have quoted Alex Jones, or Rush Limbaugh:
              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CdCtYtYIYeA

              And I did listen to Rush Limbaugh on talk radio when I was in the States decades ago. It was amusing entertainment, but in the end it was just boring.

              • *sigh*

                If I told people here that the dikes in Holland had broken and Amsterdam was flooded, they might believe me. But you wouldn’t if I told you that, because you can go to Amsterdam and see the unflooded streets for yourself. “Remember Moab” is on a level with the people of Holland believing in a nonexistent Great Amsterdam Flood of 2020 for years afterward. Such things just don’t happen – anywhere.

                • Creationists refuse to visit museums with human relics. Flat earthers still insist the earth is flat. Americans deny the climate changes.

                  You underestimate the willingness of people not too look when they do not want to see.

                  • Creationism is a peasant heresy; they are not the sort of people who travel to see the New York Metropolitan Museum.

                    Flat Earthers have less members then bronies.

                    American’s deny humans output of CO2 is causing the climate to change. Er, heat up by a significant amount, no one disputes it is increasing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.

                    The roots of this are complex, but given the strong correlation between alarmists and opposition to nuclear power, it is just a shake down of the economy.

              • Like, you know that the local Pizza joint would not hide children in their basement? But then some guy shows up with a gun to liberate them.

                You have no idea what you’re talking about do you.

              • Sort of like believing the ridiculous conspiracy theory that there are Muslim grooming gangs in major European cities and the local police are looking the other way for fear of being labeled “racist”. Where do people get those crazy ideas?

      • I tried reading Snow Crash as basically everybody I know praised it, but I could not put up with its tone. Cyberpunk is adolescent, I grew out of it. I don’t think Stephenson can write a book I would enjoy. I won’t be reading Fall.

        Instead, in the genre of political-conspiracy novel, I recommend Hans G. Schantz’s A Rambling Wreck. https://www.amazon.com/Rambling-Wreck-Book-Hidden-Truth-ebook/dp/B073D2JNJN

        You will not like it, Winter. Jeff Read might, as it is strongly against SJW types.

        A newer book of his, A Hidden Truth is getting some cool reviews, “Ayn Rand meets Dan Brown” http://aetherczar.com/?page_id=3834 but I haven’t read that yet.

        I just wanna say Schantz is /myguy/ and Stephenson is not.

        • >I tried reading Snow Crash as basically everybody I know praised it, but I could not put up with its tone. Cyberpunk is adolescent,

          Oddly, I just re-read it and can see where you get this.

          But other Cypherpunk novels were not nearly so childish, and several of Stepenson’s other books do hold up on re-reading.

          > I grew out of it. I don’t think Stephenson can write a book I would enjoy.

          You might give Cryptonomicon a look, and if that suits your tastes the The Baroque Cycle might be to taste.

          If you read the Wikipedia entry for Fall, it doesn’t sound anything like what is up-thread.

        • Snow Crash (and some of the early bits of The Diamond Age) is Stephenson ripping cyberpunk a new one. It basically was to cyberpunk what Harvey Danger’s “Flagpole Sitta” was to grunge music.

          Of course, that was in the days before we realized that William Gibson was right all along…

  23. Another consideration is ammo selection.
    My opinion has shifted over the last 10 years, due to the innovations in bullet tech that enable smaller calibers to be remarkably effective.
    I recently switched to the Hornady Critical Defense line when my old go-to ammo reached nearly 3 bucks a pop. The soft ‘plug’ acts much like my ballistic tip hunting ammo, and that shit is brutal.
    FMJ of the same weight for practice.

  24. Ah…also…be prepared for some permanent hearing loss if you ever have to use a firearm in your home.
    Not deafness, but you will notice a degradation.

  25. “I’d consider actually having to shoot a less than optimal outcome; if you don’t, I probably don’t want to know you.”

    “probably”, interesting…

  26. One suggestion I’d add: consider getting a .22 rimfire pistol in addition to, or a .22 conversion kit for, your larger caliber pistol.

    As you mentioned, you should practice a lot, especially when starting out, but this can get kind of expensive. .22 LR ammo is cheap; often less than 1/4th the cost per round compared to something like 9mm or .45 ACP.

    Personally, I’ve also found it a nice way to debug technique. I remember not realizing I was slightly flinching when shooting larger caliber guns; lower recoil helps make your mistakes more obvious to yourself.

    • I found a way of training out flinch / preventing it from ever forming that worked for me: I set up a target that has a 3×4 grid of 3″ bullseyes, and alternate a .22, and the heavier caliber gun, firing one magazine into each bullseye.

    • >.22 LR ammo is cheap; often less than 1/4th the cost per round compared to something like 9mm or .45 ACP.

      Nope to the nope. I’m a very strong believer in training with the weapon you’re going to carry for self-defense and the ammunition you’re going to use. It’s more expensive, but my life is worth it.

      • The only time it MIGHT be worth it is if you’re focusing on higher level tactical work–room clearing, working as a team etc.

      • There is an argument for one gun, one holster, one load – not to eliminate a backup pistol and an in possession weak side holster in case of injury to the strong hand and such but I might choose to carry an N frame open in the woods or maybe a .460 Rowland in an old competition holster wandering around in season.

        I like a Service Ace – I have two because the factory magazine is so expensive the whole second kit wasn’t much more than just a magazine – For many years I carried a smithed 1911 with a thistle chambered in 9×23 in Alessi leather. Although I did shoot both the available Winchester factory loads the rimfire was more fun and diagnostic then dry firing and could be fired many more places than full power ammunition.

      • > I’m a very strong believer in training with the weapon you’re going to carry for self-defense and the ammunition you’re going to use.

        I agree! (And should have emphasized that.)

        That being said, I’m still of the opinion that practicing shooting, say, 3 N large caliber + 4 N .22 rounds will get you up to speed faster than 4 N larger caliber rounds.

        Practicing dry firing is also great.

  27. My own choice on a laser is green where I have a choice; I have couple in red. I can use the extra visibility and I also use red dot sights. The parallax offset on the laser and on the red dot is different so I prefer the different colors to remind me to make the appropriate correction. When the parallax correction matters it may really matter. On/off on the laser is mostly a tight grip – if it’s a firing grip any potential visibility from downrange is pretty moot.

    For an always flashlight I use Surefire 2211 Luminox wristwatch/flashlight combination oriented for a two handed firearm grip. It’s more risk than say Gabe Suarez (the “Faceshooter” and other improved handguns from Mr. Suarez have a great deal going for them) suggests off hand operation and momentary contact; not really possible on a wrist watch worn weak hand but mine is always available – I do live in low risk rural Idaho. I don’t much want a light on a carry pistol but do want a light on a spare, New York reload handgun worn on a vest that backs up a longer firearm

    For my house gun the 9×19 suppressed – it’s not very quiet but good enough for indoors with no extra hearing protection and it’s a neat installation as the muzzle device diverts gas down and back into the forend so OAL is 26″ and a bit – Tavor – mine are even pricier than suggested above because each has a Geissle trigger(fire control group and separate finger piece) – I have a 1000 lumen light with remote switch for the off hand normally set for momentary and a green laser along with a T2 red dot backed up by a flip-over 3X magnifier. I’d pick the Tavor 9×19 over a suppressed AR pistol with brace in .300 Blackout for a house gun though not necessarily for a hushpuppy role.

    For another take on the original topic I suggest Thoughts on SHTF Guns on MichaelBane.tv

  28. …but it turns out that once you get out of the mouse-gun range (.22, .25 and .30) all pistol calibers have essentially indistinguishable statistics on two-shot stops.

    I believe the .30 should be .32.

  29. As noted getting a handgun out of the hands is vital in the context of an after action police armed response. An appropriate holster is handy for one handed operations. There are techniques such as reversing the pistol – loose – in the holster as extra hand to hold the pistol for putting a magazine in with only one working – usually weak or left – hand. Putting the handgun on the ground is acceptable at need but easy reholstering is still a good and in a multi-student high round count class holding the class up between strings will draw a lot of frowns.

    The 1911 is the product of a genius and is ergonomic for the average service member. It is also about as small as a .45 ACP pistol can be. Many people like a 2011 for .45 ballistics and 9mm capacity. But notice that John Dean Cooper (r.i.p.) the foremost exponent of the 1911 acknowledged that a 1911 is too big for many people and Ted Yost and others did a good business at the Gunsite Armory in grip reductions. Hence the Glock short .45 and a common preference for 9mm grips from the HiPower, P38 and S&W Model 39 indent. Then too the 1911 can be modified with thin stocks and short triggers. Ergonomic is personal and one size is far from fitting all.

    Most people find the 9×19 softer shooting in a 1911 than the .45 in the same pistol. Slide weight matters and so does cocking effort and leverage. In a 1911 the mainspring weight and radius on the bottom of the firing pin retainer affect recoil feel for some people and not for others. That’s my experience and with the compensator the .460 Rowland can be soft shooting too.

    On the children issue, I was living in Texas when my mother gave me her own childhood child sized Savage Stevens Favorite single shot rim fire about first grade and about 4th grade I was passed down a Winchester 1890 original in .22 short pump action repeater. A take down .22 slide action paired with a take down pump shotgun – mine is nice well balanced family hand down model 12 – was once a common American battery.

    BUT children are liable to flock and no matter how well trained and cautioned a given child may be swimming pools must be fenced and preferably alarmed and guns are an even more attractive nuisance. FREX a kid with a Beretta complete with loaded chamber indicator put a bullet in his best friend’s heart because dropping the magazine didn’t unload the pistol. A little knowledge….The family sued Beretta for lack of inscribed explanations and warnings. Mixed verdict 3 voted Beretta at fault 7 found no fault. As the saying goes when an Idaho hunter realizes he’s lost he sits down and reads his Ruger and by the time he’s through he’s calmed down.

    In a world full of terrorists and suicide bombers face shooting or other central nervous system targeting rather than center of bomb vest should always be a consideration. Not my zoo not my monkeys and bugging out with any dependents may be, or maybe not, the wiser choice if faced with such choices.

    • > As noted getting a handgun out of the hands is vital in the context of
      > an after action police armed response.

      There are so many variables there that I’m not sure where you’re going. If the gun is in your hand when the cops show up you grab the slide with your “off” hand, raise hands up and away from your body and wait for them to give you further instructions. DO NOT DO NOT DO NOT MOVE UNTIL TOLD TO DO SO.

      Note that we have seen incidents where two police were giving contradictory instructions. In that case DO NOT do anything until they sort that out. Just stand their with your pie hole shut. If there is a break in the shouting speak as slowly *and quietly* as you can and still be heard. Be polite, and be as calm as you can. VISUALIZE THIS SORT OF THING IN ADVANCE. If you know a police officer HAVE HIM ROLE PLAY WITH YOU (condoms and safe words optional).

      > An appropriate holster is handy for one handed operations.

      Most of these are more Walter Mitty than real life. If you’re in so deep that you have to reload with your off hand because you’ve been shot in your dominate arm you’re going to see first hand if there’s an afterlife.

      Ain’t none of us John Wick.

      • >Ain’t none of us John Wick.

        Which is why I don’t carry spare mags. Having looked at the statistics on real-world firefights against single opponents, you either get a 2-shot stop out of your first mag or you’re in shit deep enough that an extra mag won’t improve your survival odds much.

        Likewise, your odds of ever being in a multi-opponent firefight, with a pistol, when you’re not line military or some other kind of full-time violence specialist? Derisory.

        You are not John Wick. You are not in an action movie. If you ever have to use your pistol, it is near certain that you’re going to be in a very short and ugly fight, at close range, with just one bad guy, in which your survival depends on getting a two-shot stop before he can fuck you up. More bullets than you need for that will be dead weight, and you will not get time for a tactical reload.

        I think the reason these hard truths are not more widely understood is that most pistol training is way too optimized for police and military threat profiles unlike anything a civilian shooter is likely to encounter.

        One exception: if you have to deal with an active shooter you’re likely to need to engage from intermediate range rather than 7-10 feet, but the other parameters are unlikely to change.

        Hm. This may deserve a followup blog post.

        • I carry *a* spare magazine because we live in the age of the Jihadi, and I *know* I can take two of them, and I’m willing to bet my life that I can take four.

          That may involve techniques that no civilian instructor will teach you, and they’d be right not to.

          It doesn’t cost me anything to carry that second mag, so I do.

          Also when hiking in bear country the gun is stuff with 9mm hardcast (Buffalo Bore), and a spare mag of JHP.

          • >I carry *a* spare magazine because we live in the age of the Jihadi, and I *know* I can take two of them, and I’m willing to bet my life that I can take four.

            So tell me why this isn’t a better argument for a higher-capacity double-stack mag in the stock than it is for a spare?

            I think the only way a spare mag works out for you in the multiple-jihadi case is if you can get to hard cover. Otherwise you’re likely going to get taken down while you’re reloading.

            >That may involve techniques that no civilian instructor will teach you, and they’d be right not to.

            Now you’ve made me curious. What sorts of techniques?

            >Also when hiking in bear country the gun is stuff with 9mm hardcast (Buffalo Bore), and a spare mag of JHP.

            See, now with that threat model I think a spare mag makes sense in a way it doesn’t if you’re facing a human with a firearm. Your odds of a pause long enough for a tac reload are better.

            • For the people who live in magazine-size-restriction jurisdictions or are otherwise in non-permissive environments, and must prize concealability over capacity, a spare magazine might be advised.

              • >For the people who live in magazine-size-restriction jurisdictions or are otherwise in non-permissive environments, and must prize concealability over capacity, a spare magazine might be advised.

                OK, that’s a reasonable point.

                EDIT: I think I spoke too soon. Just because you can’t use a higher-capacity mag doesn’t mean the “no time for tactical reload” problem goes away.

        • Not here to argue further, nor defend my position so please don’t tell me how wrong I am; I can stand being wrong. For your consideration and for the bystanders.

          I suggest near certain is way too strong. Ask Tom Givens for the experience of his students. See e.g. Seattle where a good samaritan was killed by a wingman who was hanging back unobserved by appearing uninvolved. Ask Tessa Majors ” a witness who spoke to the NYPD said Majors was confronted by four or five men during an initial dispute in Morningside Park.”

          Ask Greg Ellefritz: “I’m also worried about a potential accomplice. About 40% of armed robberies are perpetrated by multiple assailants. Think about what would happen if a second bad guy was in the room or came in from the outside. If that happened, the bad guys could use the exact tactic that the cops used to their advantage instead.” discussing the recent gone viral husband and wife both LEO eating in a restaurant intervene when an armed robbery goes down in front of them

          Your Tactical Training Scenario-Look Out for Lookouts“Take a look at the case linked below. Two unarmed “high responder” young men decided to take an active role attempting to capture the criminals. They chased the robbers, first in a car and later by foot. The two men caught one of the robbers, tackling him to the ground. As they fought with robber number one, robber number two shot them both.”

          • >See e.g. Seattle where a good samaritan was killed by a wingman who was hanging back unobserved by appearing uninvolved.

            Would Good Samaritan have had time for a tactical reload? I don’t think so.

            I think this, and the “potential accomplice” problem in general, are an argument for higher-capacity mags, not a spare mag.

            >They chased the robbers, first in a car and later by foot. The two men caught one of the robbers, tackling him to the ground. As they fought with robber number one, robber number two shot them both.”

            Now that’s just shitty planning and poor situational awareness. Has zero to do with the spare-mag issue.

            • Sorry, really not here to argue just to present material for consideration but once more into the fight among I hope friends.

              Everybody this side of Jelly Bryce will have poor situational awareness once the fight starts. With no real stress a myriad of folks have missed the gorilla on the basketball court. See e,g, Grossman.

              This shows up in after action reports from even the most successful.

              My point in each of those examples was that as per Greg Ellefritz 60/40 is far from “near certain”. It’s the way to bet but not to put your life at stake.

              When I carried seriously I carried a nicely smithed 1911 with thin ivory grips and short trigger in 9×23 – in Alessi leather including GWH for IWB and ACP for OWB in the same location and presentation and a snap-off OWB for visiting restricted areas – for a combination of extra capacity, but not that much in a 1911, and enhanced penetration against light armor.

              What an extra magazine offers that the highest capacity Glock magazine doesn’t is that if tap rack isn’t followed by bang then strip reload rack and rack and fire probably will be. Again if that occurs under fire you’re likely dead but again it’s a better plan than crying King’s X. Shooting the gun empty is common. Mostly by the time the gun is empty the fight’s over but again staking your life and that of your dependents is not a bet I choose to make for me and mine.

              I am by no means criticizing anybody’s opinions and beliefs especially as they make their own decisions for themselves. I am suggesting that anyone new to an armed lifestyle consider all these especially mine as opinion FWIW YMMV. I have a JD but I’m nobody’s lawyer. I carry a gun but I’m nobody’s bodyguard.

              • >Everybody this side of Jelly Bryce will have poor situational awareness once the fight starts. With no real stress a myriad of folks have missed the gorilla on the basketball court. See e,g, Grossman.

                A spare mag won’t fix that.

                >My point in each of those examples was that as per Greg Ellefritz 60/40 is far from “near certain”. It’s the way to bet but not to put your life at stake.

                Even a higher estimate on the probability of a multiple-assailant encounter is not a good argument for a spare mag unless you expect to have time for a tactical reload. That’s the fantasy I’m really attacking here.

                • I don’t believe I’ve had anything at all to say about tactical reloads good bad or indifferent although I have suggested if carrying a semi-automatic then carrying a reload just might be a good idea.

                  I quite agree that the number of times a reasonably sensible ordinary citizen in the U.S. has needed a tactical reload can be counted on the fingers of one hand while wearing mittens. Though that’s an existence proof of occasional, very very occasional, need.

                  Of course the number who needed it and didn’t have an extra magazine is unclear.

                  Never the less I suggest carrying a reload deserves consideration. Sheriff Jim Wilson and Tamara Keel each have an article found on the NRA web advocating a second or more magazines for ordinary citizens who carry concealed (or open for that matter) for many many reasons.

                  For folks who carry a 1911 cocked and locked attention to wiping the safety off in the holster might pay off – as always it’s only my opinion but I chose to have a sweat shield on my own primary IWB holster(s) (I alternate leather not wearing the same concealment holster or shoes two days running) with an indent to hold the safety against wiping off though not on the corresponding OWB worn in less intimate contact with the body. Similarly and especially with an extended or enlarged magazine release button or maybe a trough in the stock panel the magazine can be ejected inadvertently in the holster so the magazine in the gun falls on the ground at presentation. Just possibly the bad guy may not immediately die laughing.

                  Tom Givens, who has a new book Concealed Carry The ABCs of Self-Defense Tools and Tactics which is as good as any, reports recent engagements by his students in which 8, 11 and 12 shots were fired by the respective student. He suggests that having won the battle and made time for maybe a reload with retention that the student reload proactively with a second full magazine and scan.

                  Then too I like having a rotation of magazines handy and always available for use. My class/game gun is a Wilson CQB in .45 ACP and I like to have a few magazines in rotation because the Wilson 47D lasts me about two years before rebuilding with a new spring and follower. Magazine feed lips are often eventually pounded apart. Again especially with +1 or more magazines and the more powerful magazine springs that feed a cartridge while the slide velocity is a little higher from +P loads.

        • I disagree on the spare magazine, not because of a need for 30+ rounds but because there are some malfunctions whose corrective action requires a spare magazine.

      • You’re right there are many variables. I am nobody’s trainer. The original post was in the context of a n new user with no relevant experience or training. My intent was to suggest that a reinforced holster or with loops or snaps directly over the pistol rather than offset left or right may, or may not, be a better alternative. For your consideration.

        Every one of us is making suggestions not dictates.

        Almost certainly for most group classes ease of reholstering is an issue. For BUG (backup gun) classes not so much. AIWB and ankle not so much. In any event we may or may not agree that if the firearm is not in the hands things may go better or maybe not.

        Notice a recent police shooting with contradictory commands including conflict on who is taking control of the scene. The poor fellow with an air rifle was not standing there he was flattened on the ground crawling and dragging his trousers off when he reached down to pull his pants up and so was shot – a similar incident with pulling the pants up happened recently involving pajama trousers when the poor fellow was more or less dragged out of bed.

        Retired and living in a small town in Idaho my hope is that any armed response will involve the uniformed officer saying Hi Clark stand over there but maybe not.

        Completely agree we’re none of us John Wick and at my age it may not be a bad way to die. That said, and agreeing that it will never happen where I live I do have a plan, following the advice by Kyle Lamb – he voices the “b” not “lam” to Stay in the Fight – each of his books is well worth reading. When the alternative is to give up I’ll have a plan. I may not follow it exactly, but I’ll have it. It will save me from the two pests Hurry and Indecision. In more detail I might include I’m not shooting, I should be moving, distance and concealment are good cover is better and communicating may be included but not distracting. I suspect but have no idea that the more likely scenario is that I lose a Tueller Drill and trade my right hand for the knife followed by further group action. Just because I’m dead doesn’t mean I can’t be a distraction or an obstacle.

        Locally one of the officers training with the big board and fancy cutouts popularized by Lamb for shooting from odd positions put one over the berm and into a high power line so following Lamb has its own risks.

  30. esr> Choosing your weapons wisely

    Bearing in mind that no choice of weapon will do you any good unless you have the skills to be dangerous to armed thugs and safe for everybody else: What shooting exercises do you recommend for beginners to build the appropriate skill set? And how, if at all, is the appropriate choice of weapon influenced by one’s choice of exercises?

    • >What shooting exercises do you recommend for beginners to build the appropriate skill set?

      Almost every instructor will start you with pistol target shooting. What you may think you’re doing is training for accuracy at distance, but that comes later – what you’re actually doing is just learning how to take proper stance, get a sight picture, smoothe your breathing, and do a clean smooth trigger pull.

  31. Offtopic but it is right up your alley, ESR, and is gonna be the mother of all memes. Neil Ferguson on Twitter:

    “I’m conscious that lots of people would like to see and run the pandemic simulation code we are using to model control measures against COVID-19. [1] To explain the background – I wrote the code (thousands of lines of undocumented C) 13+ years ago to model flu pandemics…”

    Next Tweet:

    “I am happy to say that @Microsoft and @GitHub are working with @Imperial_JIDEA and @MRC_Outbreak to document, refactor and extend the code to allow others to use without the multiple days training it would currently require (and which we don’t have time to give)…”

    [1] in the UK, I think.

  32. Recently, I was reading a fiction book in which the police, responding to a shooter in the middle of a city, were using some sort of “tactical” handgun ammo – many lead pellets held together with resin, maybe inside some light shell. They were light and fast compared to a solid bullet, and don’t ricochet or penetrate much – they just blow a baseball sized hole in whatever they hit. If there is such a thing, they could be good for use inside one’s house.

    • >many lead pellets held together with resin, maybe inside some light shell.

      Variation on what’s called a “frangible round”. The concept is sound, but they’re expensive and have reliability problems.

      • Yeah…as far as I can see right now….frangible is something that I wouldn’t even waste my money on at a range.

        • “tactical” handgun ammo – many lead pellets held together with resin, maybe inside some light shell.”

          “The Glaser Safety Slug® was designed in 1974 in response to the possibility of having to use a handgun on an airplane by the Sky Marshals. The concerns at that time were over penetration on soft tissue and ricochets on hard surfaces and possible excess penetration. In 2002, we [Corbon] purchased the company, because we knew that Safety Slug would be a perfect compliment to the COR®BON family of products and a great home defense round. With a bit of engineering enhancement, today, Glaser® offers this excellent performing self defense round for civilian use. It’s the perfect round for apartment complexes, and close quarter security areas such as; courthouses, hospitals, amusement parks.

          Bullet Anatomy

          Glaser Safety Slug® is designed as a pre-fragmented projectile using a traditional copper jacket. Instead of a solid lead core like conventional hollowpoint ammunition, it has a compressed core of lead shot. It’s capped with a polymer ball that ensures flawless feeding and rapid follow up shots.

          Glaser Silver is designed for greater penetration than Glaser Blue. Glaser Silver is loaded with a compressed load of larger #6 lead shot. Glaser Silver is designed for colder climates when heavy jackets and coats are the norm.”

          I’ve known only one person who carried Glaser by choice. A high risk shopkeeper for in store use.

          The problem is they don’t blow a baseball sized hole. They do make a nasty looking but surface wound. Think of trying to fight with a sharp ice cream scoop against a Bowie knife. Jeff Cooper’s response to the first Glaser Slug publicity was to the effect that if the design was so effective in a handgun cartridge then a Glaser in .30-’06 was the an elephant gun – and of course it isn’t.

          Frangible generally is useful for training see e.g. Wikipedia for an extended discussion including aerial gunning. For small animals, varmints, bullet blowup is both safer (backstop and ricochet are often undervalued in the field) and effective. There’s an advertisement showing a rifle bullet going to pieces on a single suspended grape.

    • For most houses some sort of buckshot is going to have a similar effect.

      Remember that the spread on a shotgun is about 1 inch for every yard (given a unchoked barrel). This means that down a 30 foot hall, if your back is to the wall you’re going to get about a 10 inch spread. It’s rare that even upper middle class houses have a sight line that is more than 35 or 40 feet, and the chance that you’re at one extreme and need to shoot to the other is not impossible, but it is implausible.

      • I remember once watching a documentary on how houses are built in the US. Walls first constructed from relatively thin looking wooden boards usually in an X shape, then filled in with other things. Was definitely different, apparently more lightweight than the brick, aeronated concrete brick or in-situ concrete used more over here. I suppose because A/C is more common in the US, thermal mass is less of a concern. I suppose bullets go through those houses easily.

    • Anything that delivers enough energy to blow a baseball size hole in a human will go thru sheetrock and stucco too. Look at theboxotruth.com for real-world testing and discussions about penetration.

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