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

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To kick off a new series on Home Defense Ballistics and Over-penetration, take a look at these two videos and let me know what you think…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQ1kREDfHpE 

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

nra_rules

Over the last few weeks, I witnessed a variety of unsafe gun handling and it spurred me to write a letter to all gun store customers. Essentially, I asked everybody, for the safety of all, not to handle a loaded gun in a gun store. Based on a recent news story, I’m now thinking I need to expand that topic a little bit. If you do not intend or expect to handle your firearm in our store and thus you leave it loaded for the duration of your shopping experience, make sure it’s in a quality holster!! An off-duty cop in Ft. Lauderdale had a negligent discharge from a pocket gun as he was dining near the bar. The shrapnel wounded six people. There are only two  ways I can see that happening. 1. He was not using a holster at all or 2. The gun slipped out of the holster enough to reveal the trigger. Either way, I consider it to be negligence. A quality pocket holster would have solved either problem. Not putting anything else in your carry pocket would also help reduce the chance of something like this happening. Firearms are serious and deadly weapons, we must constantly fight our over-familiarization of them so as to maintain a level of respect that will in turn prevent tragedies.

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guns sign int

 I would like to take this opportunity to request a small token of consideration. Before you enter our store please ask yourself this question: will I need to handle my currently loaded firearm at any point during the course of business in the store? If the answer is yes, for the love of humanity, please unload your firearm before you enter the building. Those of us behind the counter and your fellow customers are loved by friends and family alike. Out of respect for them and us, please do not handle a loaded firearm while surrounded by so many lives. Life is a precious gift, highly valued by most of us. Please do not treat the value of all the lives around you so lightly as to draw a loaded firearm in a store. While you may feel completely confident in your capabilities of handling a firearm, please understand we have guns pointed and waved in our direction all the time (1st NRA Safety Rule broken). Frequently, those guns are loaded and the finger is on the trigger (2nd and 3rd Safety rule broken). Forgive us for reacting strongly but we have numerous examples of negligent discharges permanently embedded in our range and therefore do not trust anyone with a loaded gun in their hand. Even employees do not handle a loaded firearm in the storeroom. To do so violates all safety rules. We understand it is your Constitutional right to carry. Truly, we do. Rare is the gun store employee that does not support the 2nd Amendment. However, please realize by handling a firearm in an unsafe manner you are providing fodder to the anti-gun crowd and thus damaging the pro-2nd Amendment efforts.

Sincerely,

Gun Store Employee

 

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Some stores post up this sign whereas we choose to ask nicely.

business-insider

The past week was certainly a learning opportunity for those of us in the Atlanta area. Winter Storm Leon was unreal. I see many internet commenters asking how 2 inches of snow could possibly shut down a major city for so long and while I don’t have a good answer for that question, I would like to share some of the lessons we learned.

Prepare!!

So many were caught unprepared and suffered through the cold night. On the other hand, preppers were instantly vindicated in the eyes of their friends and family. Many a spouse began suddenly thanking their wife or husband for insisting on keeping supplies in the car for “just in case.” Blankets, coats, food and water made the night so much more bearable. Even with these common preparations, though, one oft-forgotten issue slowly came to the forefront. How’s a lady to go to the bathroom while gridlocked on the interstate or highway? Of all the problems that arose from the gridlock, the bathroom issue was the single most discussed problem I heard mentioned on the radio or on social media. The utter misery and humiliation this caused countless people convinced me to procure a means of addressing the situation. I will soon be adding a urinal to my emergency kit.

emergency-kit-07-0312-lgn

Supplies people wish they had: blankets, warm clothes to walk in (snow boots, hat, mittens, coat, etc…), food (and not just a snack bar or two; some people were stuck for 22 hours or more), water, a way to modestly go to the bathroom without uncovering in the frigid cold, toilet paper, a battery charger for their cell phone, a list of phone numbers for when the cell phone died, flashlights, pillows, hand warmers, items for other occupants in the car (children or pets), a change of clothes, etc…

atlanta-traffic-dark-1

The car itself needs preparation: a full gas tank, good tires, good wiper blades, an ice scraper, an empty gas can, de-icing washer fluid, sand or kitty litter, shovel, etc…

Plan ahead: Map out alternate routes (but keep in mind once the highways are gridlocked, the side streets shut down too), discuss options and plans with loved ones  ahead of time to best determine your course of action and once the situation arises keep loved ones informed of your progress.

Stay Home!!!

UnknownIf at all possible, stay home and off the roads. Georgia as a state has proven itself incapable of dealing with snow storms and Atlanta drivers met all the expectations their reputation demanded. Of course, when it’s a regular occurrence for a fender-bender on one side of the highway to cause traffic on the entire highway to back up, what else should we anticipate when an unusual weather event occurs. Learning how to drive in winter conditions would certainly help us next time (applying the brakes right as you hit that patch of ice is really not a good idea). For Atlanta drivers though, simply learning how to drive safely on a clear day would be a step in the right direction. The combination of crazy drivers, horrific rush hour and ice all combined to give us #SnowJam2014. The only part of that equation I can personally change is to not be one of the crazy drivers. Just stay home. I hope schools and inside-the-perimeter employers will be more lenient when the next storm comes around. Cutting down on the massive number of vehicles on the road would tremendously assist in reducing the gridlock.

Join Together

Rebecca-WattersPeople opened up their homes to strangers. Some packed up food and water and walked it out to the gridlocked interstates. Stores re-opened to give the stranded drivers a warm place to stay and a bathroom. Untold numbers of people reached out to help their “neighbor” in the greatest showing of Southern Hospitality I have ever seen. Reading the stories of compassion and kindness reveals the heart of God moving upon so many people to help their fellow man. It was truly touching to see.

Lessons To Be Learned

There are many other lessons to be learned from an event such as this, but these are the ones that I gleaned from the whole mess. I certainly hope the city and state have learned their own lessons from this snafu. More than the government learning its lessons, I truly hope the Atlanta populace has learned not to rely on government to do the right thing but will prepare themselves for such a weather event next time it comes through. Only time will tell, but I pray there will not be a repeat of this past week.

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Other Resources:

http://www.instructables.com/id/READY-2-GO-emergency-porta-potty/

https://www.sportys.com/PilotShop/product/15040 Electric 12v Blanket

https://www.sportys.com/PilotShop/product/13089 Travel John-absorbent pouch

https://www.sportys.com/PilotShop/product/13087 Little John urinal

https://www.sportys.com/PilotShop/product/13088 Lady J adapter for Little John urinal

http://blog.allstate.com/survive-a-night-in-your-car/

http://beprepared.com/insight/6790/how-to-build-an-emergency-car-kit/

http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/how-to/products/the-ultimate-emergency-preparedness-kit-for-your-car-8#slide-1

http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2014/01/30/simple-winter-car-survival-kit/

http://www.myfoxatlanta.com/story/24444321/be-prepared-have-a-winter-weather-emergency-car-kit

http://www.ajc.com/news/news/next-time-put-these-in-your-car/nc8x5/

http://www.prisonplanet.com/if-3-inches-of-snow-can-cause-this-much-chaos-in-atlanta-what-will-economic-collapse-look-like.html

http://www.lewrockwell.com/2014/02/daisy-luther/a-harsh-lesson-in-winter-survival/

gun-shop

I came across an intriguing question the other day. Why do people buy guns? It got me thinking; what is the motivation for people to buy guns today? Is it just for fun? Is it for defense? Just to have for “just in case”? Why was there such a surge in gun buying over the last few years?

From what I see on a daily basis, I’ve deduced there are typically 4 main reasons a person will purchase a firearm:

1. Self Defense1348599034949gun

2. Sport (hunting, competitive shooting, etc…) th

3. Investment (collecting)guncollection3

4. The Love of Firearms

What is a Self-Defense Gun?

th

A competition gun

Of the four reasons, numbers 1 and 4 are the most common in our store. While recreational firearm use, collecting and simply enjoying firearms are certainly valuable components of the firearms industry overall, I find the majority of our customers are looking for self-defense firearms. What is a self-defense gun? I define a self-defense gun as a firearm specifically designed to aid the user in utilizing it effectively, efficiently, simply and quickly in an immediate threat situation. Self-defense firearms do not need a lot of the bells and whistles that most competitive firearms have. Normally, they aren’t covered in camo like most hunting firearms. Nor are they as finely stylized, refined and expensive as a collector’s piece. Keep in mind however, there can always be some crossover between these different subsections of the firearm industry. I have used my carry gun in shooting competitions and history is full of people defending their lives with their hunting rifles. I find, however, a gun specifically designed for a purpose will fulfill that purpose far more effectively and efficiently than a gun designed for another purpose. For example, the long-barreled hunting shotguns are great in the field but would be awkward as a home defense gun. I can just picture knocking over a lamp as I swing to face the door. Home defense shotguns typically have 18.5 inch barrels to avoid just that scenario.

 Reasons for Buying a Self Defense Firearm

As I dig deeper into my customer’s motivation for buying a self-defense type of firearm I typically encounter one of the following concerns:

Fear or an Awakened Sense of Vulnerability

criminalThis is, by far, the most common reason I hear. “My neighbor down the street was broken into… I have to walk a distance to get to my car at night… Our country appears to be on the verge of societal collapse and I want something to defend my family.” At the root of each reason is the innate desire to defend one’s person and loved ones. Frequently, that instinct has been dormant for years, only to be awakened by a violent encroachment into a person’s sense of normalcy. Many customers come in fresh from that defining moment, others wait and expand their knowledge before coming into our store. Some think about it for a long time and others go immediately and purchase a defensive tool. While I label this motivation as “Fear,” many others would label it as: “Preparation,” “Doing Your Duty,” “Precaution,” “Planning Ahead,” etc… I label it as “Fear” simply because that is the way it is most often presented to me, in the eyes of my customers.

freedom slaverySupporting the Constitution

Some of our customers feel it is their constitutional duty to own a firearm. With key voices in government speaking in terms that threatened the very possibility of firearm ownership last year, countless thousands purchased firearms as a peaceful protest. To many Americans, the ability to own arms is what separates free citizens from subjects, masters from slaves, and differentiates a free people from an enslaved nation.

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A Sad Awakening

While I find it intellectually stimulating to analyze the motivations of our customers, the results sadden me. The predominance of fear and vulnerability as a motivation for purchasing firearms is an indictment of the state of our country. When so many of its citizens are feeling so threatened by both street thugs and government actions that their only perceived recourse is to take up arms, a country is far farther down the proverbial slope then we all realize. Yes, firearms are, among other things, a great equalizer of force, an invaluable tool, and a worthy investment. After all, a gun is the quickest way to empower a 120 pound women to ward off a couple 250 pound thugs. Yet, what kind of society have we become that we knowingly allow such thugs to walk the streets? The thin veneer of peaceful society is wearing through and many people are waking up to realize it. These are the ones walking through our doors.

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Wow. Incredible interview with EJ Owens revealing the truth about dealing with death and self defense. Only available until 9 am PST.

http://thesurvivalsummit.com/the-darker-side-of-self-defense-protecting-your-mind-from-the-effects-of-traumatic-violence/