Armed self defense is a hot topic these days, and with good reason.
Muggers, rapists, burglars and the whole spectrum of violent criminals are ever-present in today’s society. If that weren’t enough, radical Islamic jihadists are actively stalking us to bring death and mayhem in the name of Allah.
We have a choice. Either we can go about our lives refusing to recognize dangers around us, or we can prepare to defend ourselves and loved ones from the possibility of attack.
If we choose armed self defense, we need to consider state and local laws and ordinances. Texas state laws are among the most gun-friendly in the nation, and recent open carry legislation has expanded legal carry regulations. Even so, you should familiarize yourself with state law to avoid legal conflict that could lead to criminal prosecution.
Having done that, you might already have an idea of what sort of gun you’ll use for personal protection. If you are a gun enthusiast, you may already own one or more firearms that you intend to use for personal protection.
If you are new to firearms and have decided to acquire one for personal protection, you probably need advice on what type of firearm to arm yourself with—and the cartridge it should be chambered for.
However either way, it is too early in the planning process for you to make any final choices. For the moment, we’ll set aside the question of when you can legally use deadly force against an assailant.
Deadly force is a very important and complex subject that you had best understand thoroughly if are to avoid criminal prosecution and possible imprisonment for using your defensive firearm. However, today’s subject is how to plan for armed self defense.
Back to the subject at hand.
Before deciding what firearm you need, you must evaluate your personal situation with an eye to the probable threats you might expect to face every day. This might range from defense of your home to road rage encounters to workplace violence to attempted muggings—or other life-threatening scenarios.
Let me hasten to say that whatever you plan, the best possible case is that you’ll never have to use your firearm in self-defense. If, however, you find yourself facing a person or persons intent on doing harm to you or your family, your choice of defensive firearm can make the difference between life and death.
Without exception, a person’s most fundamental need is to feel secure in one’s home. If you have a family to think about, this becomes even more important to your peace of mind. However, this is a much more complex subject than you might think.
If you live in a high-rise apartment building, the issues you face are considerably different from someone who lives in a single family home in a suburban neighborhood. If you live on a farm or acreage in a rural area you face a whole different set of challenges in defending your home and family.
If you live in an apartment, your challenges might range from a quarrelsome neighbor to outright home invasion or burglary. You probably must keep your car in a parking area reserved for residents. Is it well-lit at night? Is there a security presence? If you dial 911, will law enforcement respond in a timely manner?
Suburban living in a neighborhood of single-family homes offers a more laid-back life style than an apartment dweller experiences. It also presents new security concerns along with some of those above. An apartment offers the bad guy(s) only one or two plausible entry points—the entry door and a patio/balcony (if present). On the other hand, a single-family home has a number of windows to complicate security planning. In addition, front and backyard landscaping shrubbery might offer concealment for potential intruders.
Living on a farm or acreage away from a town or city brings additional concerns. Law enforcement response time will necessarily be longer—maybe a whole lot longer.
If you raise chickens or other livestock, you might need to protect your home from four-legged intruders as well as the two-legged variety. In some locales, larger predators such as coyotes, bears—even mountain lions—can threaten humans as well as livestock, especially children.
And the list goes on.
Turning to armed self-defense outside the home, do you have a long commute where traffic frustrations can lead to road rage? Car-jacking might be a problem at convenience stores, gas stations, ATMs, etc. How is the security where you park at your workplace? Do your working hours require you to approach your car after dark?
What’s the point of all this? Simply that when it comes to armed self defense, One size—or more correctly—one type of gun does not fit all. Depending on where you live, how much driving you do, and many other highly personal variables, the right firearm for your personal defense might not be what you think.
The fact is, that a handgun, whether it is a revolver or semi-auto, has very little going for it as a defensive weapon. Its sole virtue is its compact size. Even that can vary considerably. A .50 cal Desert Eagle is a bit harder to carry (concealed OR open carry) than a .22 rimfire Walther TPH.
However, if concealed carry is what you need, you’re pretty much locked into a handgun of some kind. For almost any other purpose, a rifle or shotgun will probably be a better choice. If this sounds like an oversimplification, it is.
For concealed or belt carry, should you get a semi-auto or a revolver? If you choose a semi-auto, should it be double action? compact or full-size? What cartridge should it be chambered for?
What about revolvers? Double action only? What barrel length? Cartridge chamberings?
If a long gun better suits your needs, should it be a rifle or a shotgun? If it’s a rifle, should it be a bolt or semi-auto? What kind of sighting equipment? Iron? Riflescope? Red Dot? Holosight?
Then there’s shotguns: double barrel, semi-auto, pump. Which type best serves your needs? Is 12 gauge the correct choice?
In the coming months, I hope to explore these questions in greater depth with you, our readers. I have some strong opinions on these issues, and you might agree with me—or not. Either way, drop us a line at <[email protected]>.I am eager to hear from you.
—by Stan Skinner
—BY STAN SKINNER
The AR15-style rifle is the most popular and best selling model firearm in America. The liberty-hating, anti-gun crowd wishes to brainwash the masses with the lie that the AR15 is a “killing machine made only for war and mass murders.” But the fact of the matter is that the AR15 is a simple, easy to build design that allows us law-abiding firearm owners to customize a rifle to fit our needs. This includes training and teaching our children to use such a platform.
At my youth Marksmanship Camp we use the Smith and Wesson M&P15 .22 lr for several team-based competitions and marksmanship training. What makes this rifle ideal for smaller kids is the collapsible carbine stock, which allows any size shooter a proper length of pull by simply depressing a lever.
I recommend only the S&W M&P15-22. I have not been impressed with other manufacturer’s rimfire ARs as of yet. Colt’s has fake fire controls, Mossberg’s doesn’t look like a real AR even from a distance, and the controls are different. Although the H&K 416 rimfire is very solid and accurate, it has a horribly heavy 11-pound trigger.
There are also .22 lr conversion kits for AR15s that you can consider, but I found they do not run as reliably and accurately as a dedicated firearm. The M&P15-22 accepts a standard AR15 fire control group, which allows the user to upgrade if desired. It easily allows the user to hone and polish the sear and hammer or to install an ambidextrous safety.
The primary advantage of an exact AR15 rimfire clone is being able to learn the controls. Running a firearm properly is much more than just placing a round where it’s needed. It’s about running the entire weapon system with perfection. This includes loading, magazine changes, safety manipulations, stock length changes, and trigger control.
Being able to practice and train on less expensive ammunition will hone the young marksman’s overall skills. Train your young students in the entire loading process. Have them load their own rounds into magazines, practice proper loading of the firearm, all the while being aware of their muzzle and trigger finger. This is how we engrain safe habits.
After working with the S&W M&P15-22, the youngster will be able to transition seamlessly to a full size AR15 when it is time. Rimfire rifles are great training tools to instill the fundamentals of marksmanship without punishing recoil or the deafening intimidation of muzzle blast.
In the case of my seven-year-old who wishes to hunt, I can train him on the rimfire AR, then set up a .300 Blackout on our hog hunt. He won’t experience any intimidation when he presses the trigger. I just have to make sure he is able to deal with recoil safely.
At the Youth Marksmanship Camp we outfit our M&P22-15s with Meopta illuminated scopes. Set at one power, these optics work almost like a red dot with a small amount of parallax.
Iron sight training is always recommended before upgrading a kid’s optic. Red dots are the best way to train for quick shooting and are always the best choice for low light self-defense situations. Teaching these skills to youngsters might someday save someone’s life.
—by Dustin Ellerman
—BY DUSTIN ELLERMANN