Carrying a Gun
How do I Protect Myself With a Gun
If you are going to use a gun, get some knowledge and training about the consequences of using it with particular emphasis on your locality and state. Laws vary widely. If you don’t intend on actually using a gun, don’t get one. It will be taken from you, stolen and used on you or someone else. I can't come right out and tell you to get a gun. I don't know you. There are certain people who are not emotionally suited, or just not ready to use a gun in self defense. However, here are some of my thoughts on the 5 most often asked questions on using a gun for self defense.
Question 1: ”What type of gun do I get?”
There are advantages and disadvantages for each type of firearm. You will have to weigh which of these you prefer. However, you will want to choose one with which you are comfortable handling (loading, unloading, checking, cleaning). The gun size should be tailored to the person who is to handle it. That means, if multiple people are expected to use this gun, you get something which the smallest, least physical capable person can use. An example is that a large man can easily handle a 20 gage shotgun while a small woman would be awkward in handling a 12 gage shotgun. In a handgun I would recommend .38/9mm or larger. The heavier the gun, the lighter the recoil. The rule of thumb is that you should choose the most powerful gun that can be controlled in accurate rapid fire by the least physically capable person who is authorized to use it.
Question 2: ”What type of ammo do I use?”
Home defense rounds should be hollow points (HP). You should run at least 200 rounds through a handgun after break-in to be sure they work consistently. Some exotic ammo will work but they are expensive. Find something that works in your gun… every time. Once you know that your ammo will work consistently; for practice I’d use Full Metal Jacket (FMJ) and then get some trigger time.
If you are protecting yourself from animals such as bear and snakes you can mix different types of ammo in the clip like shot and slug.
Question 3: ”Can you give some common sense rules?”
I suggest you read “In the Gravest Extreme: the Role of the Firearm in Personal Protection” by Massad Ayoob. This is a very good book. Teach your children and grand children the basic rules of firearm safety. “You can’t safety every gun, you can teach gun safety”. Strictly follow and enforce the basic safety rules.
The safety rules I teach:
- Treat a gun as if it were ALWAYS LOADED.
- Never point the gun at anything you don’t want to DESTROY.
- Keep your FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER until you are ready to shoot.
- KNOW your TARGET AND what is BEYOND.
In today’s society, I suggest you keep your gun holstered (concealed) until you or someone has already been threatened with deadly force AND YOU NEED TO STOP THE THREAT WITH DEADLY FORCE. We live in a gun paranoid world. I know this puts you behind the power curve, but when you pull… you shoot… it IS self defense and there is an element of surprise. Obviously, a kid stealing a bicycle is not a deadly threat you need to stop. A thief with a knife is. Of course, this does not apply if you are at home; if someone is breaking in, you should have your gun out and ready to shoot. Convicted burglars case their jobs carefully. The ones who hit when they know you are there have to be considered dangerous. They carry a weapon of their own (or pick up something once inside) and are prepared to dealy with you forcibly.
NEVER SHOOT A WARNING SHOT!
Finally, there will be legal consequences each and every time you fire a gun. You are responsible for every bullet that leaves it's barrel.
Question 4: ”Where do you aim?”
For many years, Massad Ayoob (police officer and now trainer) made a point of leveling the gun at the pelvis of everyone he took at gunpoint. He states, “The main reason is that this point of aim allows you to see the suspect's hands. If you aim at his head or chest or belly, your gun and your hands block your view of his hands. Man is the tool-bearing mammal, and therefore by definition the weapon-bearing mammal. A man will kill you with his hands. Thus, the Golden Rule of law enforcement: ‘Watch their hands!’“
With the gun leveled groin high, you'll be able to see if the suspect reaches for a weapon in his belt or in his pocket. If you can’t see his hands, your first indication that you need to shoot will be when HIS BULLET punching into your body.
When a man perceives a firearm aimed at his private parts, a tremendous psychological effect is engendered. A lot of bad guys have been shot or stabbed before, and have a lot of ego invested in showing off the bullet scars. This reduces their fear of being shot. Instinctively, NOTHING reduces a man's fear of being shot in the genitals. This point of aim will definitely get their attention.
If you do have to fire, a shot at the pelvis is angling downward. This reduces the chance of an exiting or missing shot striking a bystander. Finally, the pelvic area tends to produce dynamically "man-stopping" gunshot wounds. They tear up the lower abdominal viscera frightfully, and if the pelvis is smashed, the cross-member of skeletal support is compromised and the body usually collapses.
Some advocate aiming the gun at the ground or floor ahead of the offender. They say that it reduces your chances of being charged with the crime of Aggravated Assault to that of Brandishing a Firearm. I say that's “BS”: it is no crime to point a gun at a felon you have caught in your home, or an armed criminal about to attack you on the street. A reasonable argument for aiming at the ground is that if your gun accidentally discharges, the shot hits the ground and not a human being who has not yet done anything to warrant his being killed or injured YET.
That part is a good argument as far as it goes. Criminals are predators, and predators are seasoned observers of body language. Pointing the gun at the ground instead of at him can lead him to believe, "You won’t shoot… you can’t even point the gun at me!" Any deterrent effect of the gun is lost.
When you pull a gun aimed toward their private parts some will run; a cop can pursue, but as a civilian you do not have the right to shoot a fleeing criminal. Most criminals taken at gunpoint have surrendered. Continue to aim the weapon on the opponent's pelvis while waiting for the police. (At home you already have 911 on the line.) When the police arrive follow their directions. You don't want to get shot by the police.
Question 5: ”Where do I keep my gun to keep it safe?”
During waking hours, simply carry the gun. On your person, it is at once always immediately accessible, and always inaccessible to unauthorized hands. If your state requires a CHL (Concealed Handgun License) or police authorization gets it FIRST.
A gun should be locked up when not in use. When asleep, keep the weapon at bedside. If there are children (or adults) in the home who can not be trusted around firearms 100%, the handgun should be in a locked security box close to where you are. Get a design like the Gun Vault, which can be released by feel in the dark by punching a simple combination. If you live alone you can keep it in a dresser drawer beside the bed. They also have holsters which can be placed beside the mattress concealed from any intruder's view.