Archive for the ‘Shooting’ Category


Over-Penetration-1024x471

I intended to start a series on the best personal defense ammo, but once I dug into that topic I realized there is no such thing. I found a myriad of opinions, countless arguments and occasional facts but solid, undeniable evidence for one specific type of ammo was not to be found. One “expert” contradicts another and us lay readers are left confused and frustrated. Overall, I did manage to reach a few general conclusions:

home_defense_shotgun1. Shotgun for in the house

As I considered over-penetration in a home, the shotgun won hands-down. The debate still rages between birdshot and buckshot, but overall shotgun pellets went through fewer walls then handgun rounds. Regarding rifles, there were completely contradictory statements made about 5.56/.223 ammo and over-penetration/tumbling. Without testing it personally, I’m not comfortable designating it as safer than handguns in the house. However, it was intriguing to see the bullets start tumbling after traveling through just a few “walls.” Overall lesson learned: know your target and what’s beyond it. Anything strong enough to incapacitate a human is strong enough to travel through walls.

2. FMJ’s are best reserved for the range. D7K_4785-1024x678

Full metal jackets are not good rounds for home defense as they punch through the bad guy and walls far too easily. Hollowpoints are preferred for home defense as they are designed to transfer their energy into the tissue of the aggressor and thus are less likely to cause collateral damage upon exiting the body. It must be noted, however, that many hollow points will act like FMJ if they do not impact soft tissue and instead hit a wall. Hollow points can easily fill with drywall and not expand.

3. Hollow Points are Hollow PointsHandgun_gel_comparison

While there are certainly variations between brands, and vociferous defenders of each, the overarching theme was the majority performed similarly. While differences are demonstrable, I do not find the minor differences to be enough to warrant such intense scrutiny. My time is better spent on the range ensuring I can put whichever ammo I choose in the target.

basic-gun-safety-course-for-one-two-or-four-people-13699884504. Short of becoming intimately involved in the testing of various rounds, the best use of my time is to simply choose one of the top 5 hollow points and practice, practice, practice. Studying and analyzing the ballistics of a round is completely useless when you cannot put that round on target. Hours or researching and analyzing 147 vs 124 grain is completely useless if you are only capable of missing the bad guy. I would recommend we spend more time training with quality instructors and less time arguing over ammo.

Conclusion:

While I do believe it is beneficial to understand ballistics and the technicalities of the ammo you have chosen to trust your life with, I am baffled by the intense debate over ammo choices. I say research it until you are fairly knowledgeable on the ammo you need for your gun and then go practice on the range. All these arguments are useless if people spend so much time in the esoteric world of ammo options that they are out of practice when their skills are called upon. A FMJ center mass is better than a 147 gr +P Speer Gold Dot in the wall.

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For More Information (in no particular order):

http://www.chuckhawks.com/ammo_by_anonymous.htm

http://www.homedefensegun.net/home-defense-ballistics/

http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/theboxotruth.htm

http://www.ar15.com/content/page.html?id=176

http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/bot14.htm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zhW9E3PDUk

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97sjv11yesc

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gq3RVvL9ZjU

http://www.buckeyefirearms.org/node/7866

http://www.guns.com/2013/02/27/self-defense-inside-the-home-avoiding-over-penetratio/

http://www.ballistics101.com/personal_defense.php

http://www.ar15.com/ammo/project/Self_Defense_Ammo_FAQ/

http://www.firearmstactical.com/briefs10.htm

http://www.ar15.com/ammo/project/Exotic_Ammo_FAQ/index.htm

http://www.brassfetcher.com/OJ%20gunshot%20thread.pdf

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mAxkVMQHGpE

http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles2/ayoob108.html

http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles2/ayoob93.html

http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles2/ayoob130.html

gun-shop

“I’m thinking of buying my wife a gun for Christmas.” is the opening statement I heard today and  expect to hear often over the next few weeks. Concerned husbands, anxious for their wife’s protection, are searching for that elusive “good gun for a lady” and see Christmas as the perfect opportunity to buy her something she may or may not be interested in. Before you lay down $400+ on her new gun, please take the following concerns under consideration. This is the mental questionnaire I run through when a customer asks for advice on choosing a firearm.

Purpose:

First and foremost, you must determine the intended purpose of the firearm. Will the gun be used for a self-defense carry gun, home protection, competitive shooting, hunting, just having fun on the range or as a collection piece? Certain features should be prioritized based on which purpose you intend to use the firearm for.

sefl-defense-at-home

Carry Gun: Typically, light-weight is the priority for a daily carry firearm.

Home Protection: When buying for home protection, weight is less relevant as the gun will only be handled for short durations. The user’s comfort and confidence with the firearm take priority. Home protection guns tend to weigh more, to make the shooting experience more pleasant.

Competitive Shooting: Accuracy, and all that affects accuracy, are what matters most to a competitive shooter. Barrel length, quality, trigger weight, overall weight, etc… are all taken into consideration.

Hunting: Type of game and style of hunting affect your choice of hunting firearm.

Fun Range gun: A gun you are just going to take to the range to have fun is probably going to be something that fits the user’s hand well, has enough weight to balance out the recoil and the user is comfortable manipulating.

Collecting: Collectors typically know exactly what they are looking for. Good luck to you if you are trying to buy for one of these.

gun-shop-stock2645

When buying a gun, the trick is to find the right compromise of features that works for you. For example, Smith & Wesson Airweights and Ruger LCPs are great for carrying all day, but are so light-weight the recoil is quite uncomfortable. Knowing this fact, I still decided the low-weight was a high enough priority for my carry weapon that I purchased the Smith & Wesson 442 revolver. Do I enjoy shooting it? No. But I can carry it all day with barely a second thought as to the weight, I can carry it in more locations on my body, and it is more reliable than my semi-automatic. Overall, I made an informed decision to put up with the kick in exchange for a comfortable carry gun.

Intended frequency of use:

I ask our customers how often they intend to practice with their firearm in order to narrow the choices down. A revolver is renowned for its ability to sit in a drawer for years and still function flawlessly when called upon. In the same scenario, I’ve seen a semi-auto jam after the first shot. Springs can lose their tension over years of inactivity and the semi-auto design relies heavily on springs. For this reason, whenever a customer says they want a gun for “just in case” and they don’t really want to come shoot it much, I unilaterally direct them towards a revolver. Revolvers are mechanically simpler and more reliable. Buying a small semi-automatic for your wife to stick in her purse but never practice with is asking for trouble.

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Comfort:
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1911

The way the gun feels in the hand and how it feels when shooting are key components in a user’s overall satisfaction with a firearm. This is where the gun buying process becomes quite subjective. The only person who can determine if the gun fits right is the user. There are some guns that just feel good to hold and there are others that are less comfortable to hold. Determining the right fit requires the user to come in and pick up lots of different guns to get a feel for what feels good and what doesn’t feel good to them.

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Small guns = tight springs = hard to rack the slide.

In terms of recoil, weight is your friend. The heavier the gun is, the less recoil your hands have to absorb and the more fun the gun is to shoot. Guys, do me a favor, please do NOT buy your wife that “cute, little .380 ACP.” Those little things have much more recoil than you think. I, personally, would rather shoot a .45 ACP 1911 any day over one of them. Just because they are small does not mean they are good for your wife to start with. Just the opposite in fact. I find beginners do much better starting with heavy firearms and progressing down to light-weight carry guns.

Previous Knowledge/Experience:

basic-gun-safety-course-for-one-two-or-four-people-1369988450Has the potential user ever received any formal instruction in firearms? I ask this question mostly to determine the user’s level of safety awareness. Formal firearm classes are great for drilling the gun safety rules into heads and habits. In general, I recommend taking classes before the firearm purchase; not only to make sure our customers and everybody around them stays safe with the new gun but classes also makes the user a much more informed consumer. For the gift-buyer, previous experience with firearms can also give you clues as to which type of firearm the person is comfortable with and enjoys shooting.

Budget:

“You get what you pay for.” This is true for most things in life and especially firearms. That cheap pawn shop gun was cheap for a reason. I have seen such guns literally fall apart on the range. You really do get what you pay for. I understand money being tight, and seeking to find the best bang for your buck, but please save up a little longer or do something to get a little extra money to go towards the firearm purchase. It is much better to have a reliable firearm that your life can depend on than a few extra dollars in the bank.

Physical Limitations:

How_to_Rack_the_slide_03Firearms are mechanical devices and each has a series of manipulations that must be accomplished in order for the device to function properly. Hand, wrist and arm strength are vital. The user must be able to rack the slide on a semi-automatic or pull the heavy trigger of a revolver. Frequently, when a person is not able to do one they can do the other. Occasionally, they struggle with both. At that point, I may suggest, using two fingers to pull the revolver trigger, trying out a .22 caliber firearm or a semi-automatic with an easier slide. If they are still incapable of operating the firearm, I typically suggest they get OC Spray instead of a firearm.

Stopping Power:

woman_with_gunMuch is said about the acclaimed stopping power of this round or that round. As I’ve researched it and looked at the statistics, I’ve come to realize what you are carrying is less important than that you are carrying. Many, many bad guys are stopped by .22s. There is something called a psychological stop. Basically, it boils down to the fact that people don’t want to get shot.  Typically, bad guys are looking for an easy victim and shooting them suddenly converts you from “easy victim” to “more trouble than it’s worth.” Yes, there are those times when the bad guy is shot multiple times with .45 ACP rounds and keeps coming, however, the large majority of bad guys are cowards looking for easy prey. Odds are in your favor that you will not encounter that zombie-bad guy that just keeps coming, and if you do, good shot placement will help you more than missing with a larger caliber. My conclusion: carry what you can shoot well. If you can shoot a .45 ACP well, carry a .45. If you can only shoot a .22 LR well, then carry a .22.

Concluding Thoughts

Before you buy that gun you think will be perfect for your loved one, make sure its designed purpose lines up with its intended use. Do your best to accurately estimate how often they will be using the gun. Try to avoid buying a complicated gun for a novice. Keep it Simple. Be sure to consider any physical limitations they may have. Balance the pro’s and con’s of each firearm to ensure a good match of user and firearm is made. A mismatch may make the user uncomfortable, insecure, and mistrustful of guns in general.

A little tip for all you gift-buyers out there, we see a much higher rate of success when the intended user is involved in the decision-making process. If you can successfully buy her a pair of shoes then you stand a pretty good chance with buying her a gun. If not, please bring the intended user in with you. Only she will know what feels right to her.

woman_examiner_2

Concealed-Carry-in-Waistband

So you’ve looked at the statistics. You’ve read the testimonies of survivors. You’ve dug up your state laws. You may have hinted around or just bluntly asked your church leadership. You may or may not have included your spouse in on your decision. I trust you also turned to the Bible and sought God for His direction and counsel. (Since it’s His house, that would seem the respectful thing to do.) Finally, after all that soul-searching, you’ve decided. If you decided not to carry in church, then nothing really changes for you. Aside from a new mental awareness of your situation, your habits are unchanged. However, if you decided to carry, then there are practical concerns you need to take into consideration. While concealment can be difficult enough with daily carry, there are specific challenges that are unique to church attendance. 

Concealment Challenges at Church
  1. hug-in-churchHugs: Some churches have huggers, others do not. Personally, I love hugs. I think they are a wonderful thing. However, hugs are also one of the best ways to unobtrusively frisk someone. And while I have a hard time imagining Grandma Betty is trying to frisk anyone, the results can be the same. She feels your firearm and says, loudly, “what’s this?” Suddenly, you’re made. Now you’ve got to talk your way out of it. I personally pass it off as a “personal health device.” However, this whole awkward situation can generally be avoid by keeping your arms low and close to your body, causing the other person to reach up and around your arms to hug you, thus shielding your firearm under your arms. *This technique does not necessarily work if you are carrying somewhere other than where your arms will shield.
  2. Attire: Depending on the church you go to, clothes conducive to conceal carrying may or may not blend in. Suits are great for hiding firearms, however skinny jeans and T-shirts are not (and yes, I have been in a church where the common dress for 12 to 30 year olds, of both genders, was skinny jeans and T-shirts). Of course, you can always be fearless and dress whichever way you like but suddenly dressing in a suit when you’ve worn jeans for years may get a few raised eyebrows. An additional challenge for women are the flimsiness of dressy clothes. We women, often find it far more difficult to carry in dressy clothes than our everyday clothes, unless our holster is independent of our clothing.
  3. worshipHand raising: If you go to a hand raising church, make sure you raise your hands in front of the mirror before you go off in that cute little outfit. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve been surprised by how high my shirt will raise just by lifting my arms. And you do not want to inadvertently show off your new S&W 642 while you worship Jesus. You never know who’s eyes are open… You may just hear, “Mommy, look!!! Ms. Smith’s got a gun!!”
  4. Bowing: As a minimum, bowing will cause a small-of-back, behind-the-hip, or possibly even on-the-hip carry gun to print. Depending on how far you lean over, the cover garment may also completely slip off of the gun. Additionally, an appendix-carried weapon will be rather distracting and discomforting at that point. A carry method somewhere off the waist would probably be the more preferred method if bowing is a regular occurrence for you.
  5. praying_man_at_altarKneeling: Depending on the position, kneeling is great way to reveal ankle and/or back holsters. If you expect to over, the cover garment may completely slip off of the gun. An appendix-carried weapon will also be rather distracting at that point. A carry method somewhere off the waist would probably be the more preferred method if bowing is a regular occurrence for you.  
  6. Prostrating: Laying on the ground on your stomach will not be very comfortable if you are carrying anywhere on your front,  your cover garments will probably print badly if you carry on your back, and an ankle carry could easily be revealed. Pocket or shoulder carry may be the only options available to address this situation.
  7. Blues_Brothers_2000_14884_MediumDancing: My or my, how do you get a hard, heavy, metal object to bounce, jump and move with your body instead of away and to the floor? Pocket carry may work. A holster designed for joggers would probably go a long way to keeping the gun on your person instead of on your toes. A good shoulder holster would keep the firearm in place, but I imagine it wouldn’t feel too good to have that banging into your ribs. I have never tried dancing while carrying so I can’t say for sure, but I’m thinking a belly band would probably be the only way to go.
  8. Falling out/Slain in the Spirit: There are a couple of concerns with this one: 1. The firearm being in a painful place once it is between you and the floor. 2. it needs to be so deeply concealed that nobody will see it even when you are not conscious enough to keep your cover garments aligned. Bodies can end up in some very unusual positions and the last thing on their mind at that moment is keeping covered. 3. the ushers/catchers getting caught up in it as the lower you to the ground. A belly band with the firearm in the appendix carry position might be the best answer for this one.
  9. religious-revival-meeting-TULSACatching: If you are an usher and part of your job includes catching people, then I would recommend against a large gun carried in an appendix or shoulder holster. The back of a person’s head does not make a very spiritual sound when it connects with the butt of a gun (or worse, the hammer). You could probably get away with it if you carried on your hip or just behind, but remember the remainder of the congregation is typically behind the prayer line. They may all get a real good look at your Colt 1911 if you are not careful.
  10. abdresbisonnistrekkerut_file_81742__t2Leading the Service: If you are going to be front and center for any duration of time, and you want to keep it a secret that you are carrying, may I recommend pocket carry, the flash-bang holster, or a holster shirt… something for deep-concealment? Because every eye will be on you at some point and humans, being humans, their attention will be looking for something to wander off on. An intriguing bulge on your hip will be just the thing their attention was looking for. I can hear it now… “Hmm, lets forget about this true and powerful Word I need to hear and lets focus in on this lump under his coat. Has he gained weight? Nope. The lump is only on one side. Hmmm. Cell phone? Nah, he never has his cell phone on…”
What are your challenges?

in_church    OR0

Depending on the church you go to, none or all of the above may apply to you. There may be some other challenge you struggle with at your church. I developed this list based on my past experiences in my churches. Some of the churches I’ve attended would have been quite easy to carry in. Hardly more difficult than daily carry. Others would have been extremely difficult to adequately conceal carry in (if I had not been too young to own a firearm at the time). I’d love to hear feedback from everybody on this topic. What have you found that works? What doesn’t work well? Any other situations you can think of?

Thanks for Reading.

303762_t607

Does conceal carrying in church provide a level of protection and security for individuals, families and the church as a whole? Does the very act of carrying a loaded weapon into a place of worship violate the very peace that building represents?  Is it a responsibility and duty to protect family and friends or is it a sacrilegious mistrust of God’s protection? Does surrounding violence and criminal activity make obligatory the carrying of firearms? Are small churches in peaceful neighborhoods exempt from such considerations? Are members paranoid for desiring to carry in church? Are current or former Law Enforcement Officers the only ones to be allowed to carry in church? Can “regular” CCL holders be trusted to be trained well enough to not cause more harm than good when reacting to an incident in such a chaotic environment?

Sikh-Temple-Shooting

2012 Sikh Temple Shooting

These are some of the questions, both bluntly stated and implied, I encountered while reading up on this topic. Reading through the comments sections on numerous sites revealed most of these questions. Most people seem to have a very visceral reaction to the idea of loaded firearms in places of worship. Many recoil in horror at the very idea of violating a sacred place of peace, worship, and refuge with a tool of death. Many others emphatically state case after case of violent actions in churches, synagogues and other places of worship in the USA as an urgent and pressing demand to remove the “gun-free-zone” label off of these places. Very few comments were in the middle. Though I’m not a  psychologist, I believe people react so strongly because the act of joining together to worship our God is a deeply personal one.

For many, churches represent the one place they feel secure, loved, hopeful, and peaceful. It is their escape from the chaos around them. Their shelter in the storm. To borrow a little from the New Testament, it is a well-built, protected sheep-fold for them to come to for safety and shelter. To consider bringing weapons into the sheepfold is asking them to consider their sheep-fold as vulnerable to predators. To some, discussing the possibility a wolf might enter the fold is to dishonor their Shepherd. Preparing defenses against the wolf attack is to not have faith in God’s protection.

OneWorldChurchMUG

Atlanta 2012 Shooting

Others look at the violent attacks that have occurred in churches in the US and around the world (see the links below) and earnestly seek to defend the lives of their loved ones and church family from such horrific actions. They see a firearm as no more of a violation to the sanctity of worship than a cell phone. Both are used to bring firepower to a situation; one immediately, the other to call the cops.

201104_114_GunChurchHere in Georgia, it is currently illegal for me, and all other, non-LEO, Georgia citizens to carry in a place of worship. Many other states leave it up to local church boards, pastors or other religious leaders. Due to the wide variety of rules and regulations governing conceal carry in houses of worship, I highly recommend you research the laws for your area. Whatever your current practice is (carry in church or not), it is always good to know the laws governing something as important as concealed carry. You never know when something may change and to paraphrase, fore-learned is forearmed.

More on this topic next week…

 

What Others Are Saying…

http://www.arizonaccw.net/should-you-carry-concealed-in-church/

https://backwoodshome.com/blogs/MassadAyoob/2012/04/01/a-thought-for-a-sunday/

http://www.standardnewswire.com/index.php?module=releases&task=view&releaseID=7978

http://churchexecutive.com/archives/pistol-packing-pastor

http://churchexecutive.com/archives/prepare-for-the-worst-pray-for-the-best

http://churchsecuritymember.com/carrying-a-concealed-firearm-in-church-should-you-do-it/

 

A few of the Recent Church Attacks in the US

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/07/24/gunman-confronts-catholic-priest-outside-delaware-church-steals-his-car/

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/12/21/4-dead-including-gunman-in-rural-pennsylvania-shooting/

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-57594120-504083/gregory-eldred-pa-man-sentenced-to-life-in-prison-for-murdering-organist-ex-wife-in-church/

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/07/21/gunman-fires-shots-in-southern-mo-church-subdued-by-attendees/

http://www.examiner.com/article/st-louis-church-congregation-robbed-at-gun-point

http://www.goupstate.com/article/20120325/ARTICLES/120329781/1112

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/10/24/one-person-shot-inside-atlanta-church-authorities-search-for-gunman/

Excellent Videos of a Church Massacre Survivor

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ga-dwP8gME (Survivor of the St. James Massacre Speaks to Virginia Citizen’s Defense League)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHs8a88GEH8 (More from Charl van Wyk)

The Fight in Georgia to get the right to carry in churches… Georgia Carry.org v Georgia 2011

http://enrichmentjournal.ag.org/201104/201104_114_Guns.cfm

 

armed-robbers

A robber bursts into the restaurant, shooting twice into the ceiling. “This is a robbery! Don’t Move!” he shouts. You are sitting 15 feet away. Your adrenaline surges. Your heart catapults into warp drive. Your vision tunnels in on him. Fear courses through your body. You are conceal carrying. What do you do? Do you immediately draw and shoot? Do you wait to draw until he is distracted by collecting the money? For most reading this blog, the instinct is likely to immediately enter the fight. We have trained both physically and mentally to eliminate threats. Faced with a very urgent, violent threat the reaction is one of equal violence. Threats to our life and the lives of those around us must be stopped. But what if immediate fight will only get you killed?

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I watched this very scenario play out on a force-on-force training video. Bad guy burst into the “restaurant,” immediately shoots the first good guy with a gun while the second good guy with a gun is drawing his firearm and taking aim. They erupt into a firefight and the good guy is shot multiple times in lethal areas (head and torso). While good guy eventually drops bad guy, it was only after sustaining multiple life-threatening, if not lethal, hits. Like GunSmartBlog.com, I must ask: would it have been better to stay concealed until an opportune moment? As the bad guy bursts through the door, he is expecting resistance. He is looking for those who will fight back and is obviously ready to kill them. Would not hiding in plain sight, acting like the rest of the patrons, give him a false sense of security, enabling you to wait for that opportune moment? Some real-world experience would indicate yes.

Kenya Mall Attack

However, this approach certainly has its limitations. Can you determine in a split second if the bad guy is there to rob the store or there to kill everybody? Waiting for him to get distracted may only get you killed with your gun still in your holster if the intention is mass murder.

Force-on-force training is indispensable for realistic, reality-based training. It weeds out the unnecessary and reinforces the good. It reveals the unrealistic and instills reactions. The only downside I see is that all participants know a fight is coming (while not knowing from where or when) and thus ingrain an “immediate fight” reaction. Overall, the ability to quickly react with equal violence is a very valuable skill and much needed in many situations. However, there may be times when immediate fight will get you dead.

sunglassesrobber

 

ThomasJefferson

Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear. ~Thomas Jefferson

201352474951-22magselfdefense_mI recently stumbled upon a rather intriguing debate on Facebook. It all started when one person bemoaned the recommendation of a .22 LR firearm as an optimal self-defense firearm, others chimed in voicing their disparagement, and one lone person challenged the status quo… Let the fireworks begin. Countless justifications and numerous resumes later and his challenge still was not answered. Nobody stepped up to dispute his facts. They  vehemently disliked his conclusion, but where were the facts on their side of the debate (other than the diameter of the bullet)? All this got me wondering… what happened to the principle of questioning everything? Are we not, as mature adults, expected to firmly know the reasons behind our choices? Why do so many in the gun community automatically (and vociferously) denigrate the .22 LR for self-defense? Have they so little confidence in their knowledge of why they choose their calibre that they get defensive at the first suggestion there might be other ways? Or are they genuinely concerned for the life of the other person and believe they are embarking in a false sense of security? Why do these civil debates turn into personal attacks? Do large calibre proponents not have a solid foundation to stand on? Is there nothing more to their arguments than calibre diameter, “stopping power,” and name calling? Why do they get so defensive?  Can we not have a rational discussion? There are logical and justifiable reasons for people to carry .22’s, 9mm’s, .40’s, etc… Can we not acknowledge that what works well for us may not work well for others?

Do all calibre discussions have to devolve to this?

Do all calibre discussions have to devolve to this?

The calm questioning of the status quo stood in stark contrast to the rote reiteration of that .22 LR gun store conversation we’ve all heard. It piqued my curiosity. Was there something to his claim? Is the .22 LR a viable self-defense gun? I’ve been just as guilty as all of those on that post of unerringly maintaining the status quo and firmly discouraging .22’s as defense guns. “They don’t have the stopping power.” “The bullets are too small to do enough damage.” “They really aren’t effective as self-defense guns. etc…” I must confess, I am parroting what others have said. I never looked it up for myself. I’ve never questioned the lines. I’ve stood there, issuing statements that I personally had no knowledge of.

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My only experience with shooting any living thing with .22’s, came one late summer night when I attempted to kill an eastern diamondback. It was moving through tall grass, illuminated only by an overhead utility light, and I had never shot at a moving target… It did not go well. I refuse to admit how many rounds I shot that night, but suffice it to say that while the snake did end up with many holes in it, a shovel proved to be much more effective in the long run. From this experience, I concluded .22’s are worthless at killing things and only good for plinking (a better conclusion would have been: buy snake shot). Getting further involved in the gun community only served to reinforce that belief.

Empire-State-Building-shooting_1_1-e1346168287857

However as the gentleman pointed out, .22’s are capable of causing extensive damage. Multiple lives have been saved by .22’s and lives have been taken by .22’s. It is used far more for self-defense than I realized. One potential reason for its popularity is the convenience of carrying one. .22’s designed for conceal carry are often very small and lightweight. That’s definitely one major point in its favor. And keep in mind, in a gun fight, any gun is better than no gun. Also, one recent study of lethal force encounters seems to imply that calibre isn’t as important as simply having a gun, any gun. It seems people, even criminals, don’t want to get shot. It’s painful. This psychological stop is a potential outcome in every lethal force encounter. Yet, not everybody stops just because they’ve been shot. Some keep coming. Can the .22 stop that one?  As many stories as there are of .22’s successfully being used in self-defense there are other stories (and rumors) of .22’s failing to penetrate. Many voice concerns that thick jackets and other objects may dramatically slow or even stop a .22 LR bullet. Can a .22 be trusted to physically stop a threat? Can a .22 be trusted to incapacitate the person before they can incapacitate you? There are lots of questions that still need to be asked and answered. Let’s not stifle questions by throwing out rote clichés, but encourage debate by listening and maintaining civility. Surely, if we are willing to bet our lives on it, our calibre selections should be capable of withstanding a few honest questions.

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http://armedcitizensnetwork.org/our-journal/260-april-2012

http://peachtreecorners.patch.com/groups/police-and-fire/p/police-release-911-tape-reporting-duluth-shooting-6

http://www.guns.com/2013/09/20/use-22-self-defense-must-watch-video/

http://www.humanevents.com/2012/10/28/mighty-rar-of-the-mousy-22/

http://www.americanrifleman.org/articles/the-22-mag-for-self-defense/

http://survivalblog.com/2012/02/22-handguns-and-other-options-for-self-defense-by-rfd.html

http://www.activeresponsetraining.net/using-the-22-for-self-defense

http://americanhandgunner.com/defensive-carry/

http://gunssavelives.net/blog/trends-in-self-defense-part-2-the-mighty-22lr/

http://www.buckeyefirearms.org/handgun-stopping-power

http://www.wnd.com/wnd_video/for-self-defense-22-beats-45/

stuck-in-a-rut

Ever get stuck in a rut? Do you ever do the same thing over and over, simply because that is how you have always done it? Not good. What’s worse than being in a rut? Being in a rut and not knowing it. I didn’t realize until I read this article last night that I was in a carry rut. I always carry my gun in the same place without consideration of which type of gun I am carrying and if my chosen placement is the best concealment for that particular firearm. As my first daily carry firearm was an XD-40, I quickly determined the best place on my body to conceal a firearm was inside the waistband, behind the hip. Fast forward multiple years, I am 40 lbs less and I recently added a J frame revolver to my short list of possible carry guns. Out of habit, I stuck the revolver behind my back.

face palm

A thinking person would have realized a reevaluation of carry positions was in order. A thinking person would have recognized the size and form difference between an XD-9 subcompact comfortably carried behind the hip and a S&W 442 theoretically capable of being carried in more locations. A reevaluation was absolutely imperative upon finding the revolver was not secure or stable behind the hip. Unfortunately, I did not behave as a thinking person and I simply relegated the revolver to a back-up position in my work bag. I neglected to even attempt problem solving. I was in a deep, deep rut and did not even realize it.

Wake UP!

The smack-upside-the-head came as I read Active Response Training’s blog. Carrying the revolver in front of the hip (appendix carry inside the waistband or AIWB) solves most of my problems (minus holster issues) and others I had not thought about. The AIWB method has several advantages over my preferred behind the hip carry.

Advantages:
  1. summer-conceal-shortsConcealment: Shirts, especially for women, tend to be looser in the front than the sides or back. This provides a perfect place to hide a gun. Many blog writers and forum participants claim they are able to conceal medium to large sized firearms in this position. For me personally, I saw today that my revolver printed very little under a tight T-shirt, and what little it did print, I was able to disguise by putting on a belt. The belt buckle added just enough texture and shape to the area that the butt was no longer noticeable. The revolver printed horribly when carried behind the hip.
  2. Drawstroke: In the same way that IPSC and USPSA competitors position their gun in front of the hip to gain a faster draw, so AIWB carriers gain a slight advantage in draw time. Draws from in front of the hip generally test faster than draws from the side or behind the hip.
  3. Accessibility: By being in front of my body, the firearm is much more accessible to my non-dominant hand in case my dominant hand or arm is injured. Reaching around and behind my body to draw with my left hand is a very challenging maneuver I hope to never have to perform in a hurry. Carrying in front makes it drastically easier. It may also be easier to access if I am grappling with an opponent.
  4. gun-grab-coverFirearm Retention: It is much easier to protect the firearm in a crowded environment with it in front of you than on your side. It is the same reason ladies pull their purses in front of them when they get on a crowded bus. It is easier to control an object in front of you (with both hands if necessary) than on your side with only one hand. Our strength tends to be focused more towards the centers of our bodies than our sides. Have you ever noticed how we pull a jar in to our centers when we struggle to open the lid? The gun on your side or behind you is in a weaker position should you have to protect it. Only one hand will be able to reach it and the strength you will be able to apply to keep the gun in the holster is less than what you could apply to a gun in front of you. (Of course, you will likely only have one hand on the AIWB gun too. The second hand will probably be doing something to your opponent.) It is also much easier to maintain awareness in a crowded environment of anyone making a motion towards your gun if the gun is in front of you (for the simple fact that your eyes are also in front of you).
  5. Encourages good posture: On a personal note, I also found it encourages good posture. As I am rather short-waisted I quickly found bad posture resulted in the butt of the gun digging into or getting under my ribs.
Disadvantages:
  1. D0UgkMuzzle Direction: This is the number one concern for most people. As the firearm sits in the holster, the gun is typically pointed either at the groin or the femoral artery. Most men have a visceral reaction to the very idea of having a loaded gun pointed in that direction, but the femoral artery is actually the worst option. You will likely bleed out if that is shot. Either way, messing up is a very, very bad thing if you carry AIWB. For this reason, careful holstering is absolutely imperative! Many of the links below share techniques and tips you can use to keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction while holstering.

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    It works great for some people.

  2. May or may not work well for overweight people. Many people on the forums reported that appendix carry was not comfortable for those with “large bellies.” But each person is different and what does not work for some may work for you.
  3. May or may not be comfortable while sitting: While I have not had much chance to investigate this personally, I read many conflicting reports of how comfortable sitting is while appendix carrying. Some say flat-out it is uncomfortable, others say it is fine if you get a good holster that is specifically designed for AIWB.
  4. Unconcealed reach for the gun: Again there were conflicting reports. Some blogs argue that it is easier to cover up a draw from AIWB than from the hip by using a magazine or a bag to cover your hand motions. The movement of drawing from an AIWB holster may be minimized to the forearm and hand. However, the full arm is engaged in a draw from the hip or behind the hip, thus revealing to the opponent that an item is being drawn. However, a person may also pretend they are reaching for a wallet in their back pocket when in reality they are going for their gun. That subterfuge would hardly work for AIWB. So each has their pros and cons.

Overall, AIWB is the preferred method of carry for many well-renowned instructors, has been around for decades, is used by thugs worldwide, competitors have used it successfully in the past, and is the most comfortable position I’ve tried yet. While there is a lot more for me to research and really dig into, before I begin daily carrying this way, mentally getting out of the “behind the hip” rut and exploring possibilities is exciting and refreshing. Please share in the comments below your thoughts, experiences, and beliefs regarding AIWB carry. This is a whole new world to me and I would love to hear from those of you who have adventured forth into this brave new world.

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As a side note, many years ago I developed the habit of keeping the gun in the holster as I put the holster on or take it off. I always figured everything was safer that way… no chance of a negligent discharge if the trigger was always covered. Basically, the only time my guns are ever out of a holster is at the range or dry-firing. Seeing as how holstering is one of the major concerns with appendix carry, it seems like that would be a recommended manner of putting your gun on for the day; yet only one of the sites I went to mentioned it as a possibility. Anybody know of a potential safety hazard I am not aware of when I do this? Thanks!

ava_appendix_carry_1

http://www.activeresponsetraining.net/appendix-carry-thousands-of-thugs-cant-be-wrong

https://www.usconcealedcarry.com/ccm-columns/features/learning-to-love-appendix-carry/

http://www.calccw.com/Forums/holsters-carry-methods/13521-benefits-appendix-carry.html

http://theprepperproject.com/top-5-reasons-i-carry-in-the-appendix-position/

http://www.corneredcat.com/article/holsters/holster-safety-the-four-rules/

http://www.corneredcat.com/article/holsters/straight-talk-about-curves/

http://www.warriortalknews.com/2010/05/appendix-carry-comfortable-concealable-and-quickest.html

http://pistol-training.com/archives/7768

http://pistol-forum.com/showthread.php?120-AIWB-%28Appendix-Carry%29&p=87911&viewfull=1#post87911

http://pistol-training.com/archives/7234

http://www.handgunworld.com/episode-63-continued-appendix-carry-benefits-fanny-pack-and-purse-carry/

http://churchsecuritymember.com/appendix-carry-church-security-safety-gun/

http://monderno.com/monderno/getting-started-with-appendix-carry/