In the United States the Second Amendment to the Constitution guarantees citizens the right to keep and bear arms. These include rifles and pistols for self defense and hunting. Over thirty eight state have passed "right to carry" laws that mandate the police issue a permit to carry a pistol to any adult over the age of 21 without a criminal record. There has much been said about the alleged "dangers" of keeping a firearm in the home. My opinion is that one would be foolish not to own a firearm, and that much of the nonsense about the dangers of having one are exactly that, Nonsense.
That being said, the question comes up, "what kind of weapon should I purchase".
There are many websites on the internet discussing weapons. If you have no experience in shooting I recommend a visit to the site of the National Rifle Association. I have served as an NRA instructor in both pistols and rifles. They have many excellent training courses.
I would recommend three weapons, as a minimum per household.
(1) A shotgun, pump action, 12 guage
(2) A rifle, calibre 7.62 NATO.
(3) A revolver, .38 special (these come in six and seven shot versions) No smaller caliber is acceptable. No less than a five-inch barrel.
From a personal standpoint a semi-automatic handgun is far superior to a revolver, but they are dangerous in the hands of a novice. I am a traditionalist and prefer the Colt M1911, .45, which should be carried cocked with a round in the chamber, safety on. The weapon is perfectly safe in this configuration and was designed to be carried this way. The Glock is a fine weapon also.
As for the rifle of choice there is one that stands head and shoulders above the rest. That rifle is the Springfield M1A, which has a twenty round magazine and fires the 7.62 NATO round. I have an "accurized" version that can put twenty rounds in a six inch circle at 700 meters with a special scope. I also have a night vision scope. I recommend purchasing twenty spare magazines.
You need a scope that is matched to the bullet! Such scopes have a bullet drop indicator designed to match the ammunition.
My rifle has a scope matched to Federal Match Grade 7.62 ammo, which should be purchased by the case. The standard jacketed round will penetrate the block of an automobile and will stop a truck. It will go through a brick wall. It will go in one side of an automobile and out the other.
I prefer the wooden stock because it makes the weapon seem "more civilian", however fibreglass or synthetic stocks are far superior.
Ammunition, when purchased, should have an application of "primer seal". This is painted over the primer to seal it for storage. Use gloves when handling the rounds so as not to leave a fingerprint on them that will cause corrosion. Store them in an air-tight rubber sealed ammo box willed with dissicant.
In the home shotguns should never have a round in the chamber.
Rifles should also be unloaded.
Revolvers may be kept loaded at all times. The business of "locking up the ammunition" unless you have small children around is plan stupid.
The Taurus Revolver in .38 special holds seven rounds. It has a unique safety. A little pin that must be pushed in on the handle (with a ball point pen or a handcuff key). Because of this feature the Taurus is the safest to have when there are children around the home.
7.62 ammunition comes in tracer, ball and armor piercing. Tracer and ball are sufficient for your needs. Tracer is useful for signaling. The Federal 7.62 match ammo is produced to extremely close tolerances. Thus the bullet velocity remains the same for different rounds. Do not trust your life to "old" ammunition.
The M1A also has a built in grenade launcher which can accept a line throwing accessory that will throw a safety line several hundred feet to a swimmer or up a mountain.
I am not a happy camper with the variety of M-16's and other weapons chambered for the 5.56 NATO round. If you do purchase such a weapon note that although they all look alike, the chambers are different. You need a weapon chambered for the NATO round.
(1) Bore cleaner
(2) A good gun oil (Tetra)
(3) Soft brass brush for bore
(4) Soft brass brush for chamber
(5) Bore cleaning patches
(6) Cleaning rod.. The long metal rods that consist of detachable screw-together pieces will damage the lip at the front of the rifle and compromise accuracy. Use only a "pull-through" brush and always clean in the same direction, pulling the brush from the chamber to the muzzle. Clean rifles immediately after firing.
(7) A cartridge extractor. If the wqeapon manfunctions and the cartridge sticks in the chamber it has to be removed in order to re-fire the weapon. A special tool is necessary for this.
(8) Linseed oil (if you have a wooden stock)
(9) Primer sealer
(10) Ammo storage box(s), military grade with rubber seal and dissicant
NEVER OIL OR POLISH CARTRIDGES
(11) A scope matched to the bullet you have selected. Lens cleaning paper.
(12) Extra magazines. I recommend twenty per rifle. Purchase twenty round magazines
unless your locality restricts these. Purchase ONLY military magazines.
(13) Night vision scope (optional)
(14) Laser range finder
(15) Extra extractor
(16) Bolt dissassembly tool
The M1A is the civilian version of the U.S. army M-14, arguably the finest military rifle ever issued to our troops.
The M1A (M-14) has a well designed military spec safety. This weapon can be safely carried with a round in the chamber and the safety on. This is not recommended. The weapon will not discharge if dropped. This is another reason I like this weapon.
You can put twenty rounds out of the muzzle in ten seconds.
With the exception of military spec rifles, NO CIVILIAN RIFLE can be trusted not to fire with the safety engaged. Most likely they won't. Mil-speced rifles have been certified not to do so.
Revolvers (except the Taurus) have no safety. They may be carried at all times fully loaded.
With semi-automatics, it depends upon the brand.
The reason I like the .45 is the 240 grain bullet. The purpose of a self-defense pistol is not to kill. It is to STOP a person from performing an action such as shooting you or stabbing you or otherwising causing life-threatening harm.
Stopping power is related to the mass of the bullet. A .45 hit in the arm will spin someone around. A .45 hit in the chest will often knock a person over. On the other hand the .45 is a difficult round to shoot. There is more recoil.
A .38 special round has relatively little recoil, and is far easier for a woman to handle.
A box of blank rounds are handy to keep for signaling purposes. That way you don't have to worry where the bullet will end up. Special extra-loud "theatrical" blanks are best for this purpose.
Military blanks can kill. They have a plastic plug which will penetrate flesh at close ranges. NEVER shoot a military blank at anyone. Treat them as actual rounds.
One of the uses for such a military weapon is property protection. The mere fact you are observed carrying a weapon in itself is a deterrant.
Because of the large magazine capacity you can easily put on a "demonstration" without actually shooting anyone. This round will go through a brick wall. Destroying a brick wall near the people threatening you and your family is a great incentive for them to loot elsewhere.
The M1A is an extremely accurate rifle when accurized by a gunsmith.
A barrel can last well over 10,000 rounds.
The reciever will last for well over 400,000 rounds.
The 7.62 round is excellent for hunting.
It works well in extreme cold, rainy weather and in dusty or dirty conditions.
All the M-16 varients without exception are very tempermental and subject to jamming.
As I have stated I do NOT like the M-16 varients or the 5.56 NATO cartridge. I carried an M-16 in Vietnam and an XM177E2 submachine gun and did not care for either of them.
The wind carries this little bullet and it has little penetrating power. It also makes terrible wounds because the bullet tumbles. Most importantly, this round cannot stop a vehicle. The 7.62 round can.
I also like the M1A because I can carry it many places and not raise an eyebrow. With the wooden stock it appears at a distance to be an ordinary hunting rifle. On the other hand carrying an M-16 has a certain "stigma". You look like a nut.
These would be useful for hunting rabbits after the nuclear holocaust, but are absolutely useless for self-defense and after you put twenty rounds in your assailant he will beat you to death with his cane. Yeah, I know he will probably die from those twenty rounds....twenty hours later.
All .22 weapons (rifle and pistol) are useless as a screen door in a submarine for self-defense.
I choose the 7.62 NATO round for a number of reasons.
(1) It is a very LOUD round. There is a SIGNIFICANT FLASH. In a disaster, if you are warding off a crowd the bang and flash are important psychological components. Any of the M-16 so-called "assault black rifles" 5.56 NATO rifles make a small "pop" that the crowd probably won't hear. You are not auditioning for a Rambo movie. Because the M1A (M-14) rifle is loud the sound will carry, assisting in summoning help.
(2) Military blanks are available for this rifle that are VERY loud. Without a "blank adapter" you will have to work the operating rod each time, but the crowd will not know you are firing blanks. If you fire the rifle up in the air with LIVE ammo the round will travel a mile and come down and kill someone. Not so with blanks. You can INTIMIDATE a crowd of looters by first a demonstration with live ammo (perhaps destroying a nearby brick wall), then by firing blanks toward them. The military blank is dangerous up to about fifty feet. I am a firm believer is the value of blanks in this situation.
(3) The rifle is extremely accurate. And the round is accurate. Properly scoped You can literally shoot a gun out of a man's hand. The M-16 round goes all over the place. Even with a scope. The wind blows it. Leaves knock it around.
(4) The jacketed round makes a clean hole in and out. Thus you can choose to wound or kill. The 5.56 NATO "M-16" round make a small hole in and devastates the tissue. It is a wound that maims. It is an inhumane round for civilian purposes.
(5) The M-14 (m1a) is built to mil-spec's. It will function in rain, snow, sleet or driving hail, and the safety on this rifle will absolutely positively function.
(6) The appearance of the rifle with magazine is intimidating.
(7) Inexpensive military-grade tracers are available for this weapon. The tracers are hard on the barrel (they destroy accuracy) and should not be used unless absolutely necessary, but they are extremely intimidating at night.
Now a word or two about magazines. They tend to be expensive and my recommendation for twenty may seem excessive. Feel free to purchase only one, if you choose. Or don't buy any. Trust in prayer.
Bear in mind that you are going to lose magazines. Just like you lose your car keys. You will drop them in the water during a flood, for example. You will back your car over them. The springs will become weak. And the weapon is totally useless without them. You'll have a ruck chock full of loaded magazines and you will put it down and "poof" it will be gone. You'll go to get a sandwich, put down the bag of magazines and again...."poof". You'll forget them or someone will take them.\
Trust me. You can never have enough magazines.
The lips of the magazines are delicate. If they are damaged the magazine becomes useless. You can essentially throw the magazine away if this happens. Keep them in a pouch with the lip where the bullet shows covered and protected.
In a situation where you need the rifle you cannot be loading ammunition! You need to have constant situational awareness! Look down while you finger rounds into that magazine is not what you want to be doing.
Only purchase the mil-spec twenty round magazines. To avoid excessive spring compression many soldiers only load them to 15-18 rounds.
The small capacity magazines will lose spring tension if loaded to capacity. Thus a ten round magazine is actually a five round magazine.
There are also what are called "stripper clips" with an accessory available to rapidly load the magazines.
As for the pistol, it's purpose is to fight your way to your rifle, which you shouldn't have put down anyway.
If you are on speaking terms with your neighbors, I recommend that two neighbors, and preferably four or more PURCHASE EXACTLY THE SAME WEAPONS. Same make, same calibre, firing the same ammunition.
Purchase it by the case and seal the primers. This way you will have a case with exactly the same lot number. Because of production variations different lots vary somewhat in velocity. If every round has exactly the same velocity your scope will work perfectly. Your gunshop will try to get rid of loose ammo and sell you boxes from seven different lot numbers. And only purchase ammunition that has been manufactured within the last twelve months.
The M1A rifle is the civilian version of the U.S. military M-14. It can fire semi-automatically only. It is a gas-operated semi-automatic shoulder weapon. It is available legally at most gun stores in the United States.
Weight: 9.3 pounds
Length: 44 inches
Barrel length: 20 inch standard. Stainless steel barrel available. Other lengths available.
Magazines: 5 round, ten round, twenty round and thirty round.
Ammunition: 7.62 NATO or .308 Winchester
Grenade launcher (smoke) and line throwing accessories available
For a twenty round magazine add two pounds for each fully loaded magazine (20 rounds)
Comes with a web canvas or leather carrying sling
Bipod accessory available.
There are many brands, all acceptable.
I use Federal Gold Medal 168 grain HPBT, muzzle velocity 2545 FPS
What kind of accuracy"
There are several models available. The "standard" and the "national match".
The standard is a little less accurate, but has looser tolerances and can stand up to more dirt in the action.
In general you can expect to put twenty rounds in a two inch square at 100 yards in ten seconds. With a little practice, of course.
At four hundred yards you should hit four inch clay targets 18 out of 20 times.
Of course accuracy is debated and debated on the various firearms forums.
The weapons are expensive, but hold their value and are easily re-sold.
Be cautious in purchasing a used weapon because the barrels may be worn out.
A lot of thought was given to suggesting these specific weapons. I am clearly not advocating that violence be a first resort, but the protection of your family and property should be a priority.
In selection of this particuliar rifle the following considerations were considered.
(1) The safety on the rifle had to work every time. Absolutely and positively. The only rifle safeties that fall under this category are on those rifles evaluated and adopted by the U.S. military. There are many excellent hunting rifles sold that cannot be relied upon in this respect. The M1A (M-14) is head and shoulders above all else in this respect.
(2) The weapon had to have a capacity to fire blanks. And those blanks had to be loud and with a large flash. The purchase of blanks is an absolute necessity.
(3) The weapon had to operate in all weather conditions from well below zero to extreme heat, and also when wet or dirty. Only a mil-spec rifle has that capability.
(4) The weapon had to have extreme long distance accuracy.
(5) The weapon had to be simple to operate and maintain.
(6) The cartridge had to be powerful enough to stop a vehicle. Only the 7.62 NATO has that capability.
(7) The weapon had to have a "warlike" or "intimidating" appearance.
(8) The weapon should have a line-throwing capability.
(9) The weapon must be fully legal in all states.
(10) Ammunition should be readily available.
If you elect to purchase a rifle or other weapon every adult should go through a training program and qualify on every weapon in the household.
You should develop a plan to use your weapon to protect your home and property.
As an example of such a plan, think about a position from which one can observe and have a good field of fire. Be especially conscious of the dangers of a rifle bullet, and restrictions as to where and in which direction you might not be able to fire. Always be conscious that that bullet will travel almost a mile once it's out the muzzle.
In general, it required two people to stand guard, and they should relieve one another at no more than two hour intervals. The same rifle can be exchanged between parties.
Think about providing a "demonstration" to looters of your ability to defend your property. One dramatic way is to purchase exploding targets at a gun shop. These explode with a bang and smoke when hit. Place them at a safe distance in an area where a bullet hit will not cause injury to others. Shooting at these targets will create a great impression on marauders, and perhaps eliminate the need to injure them. The last thing you want to do is to actually hurt someone.
Rifles should be "zeroed". At least once a year.
In all liklihood, if you appear well-armed and prepared, looters will simply go on to the next house rather than risk harm.
There are other uses in a survival situation after a natural disaster or riot for the M1A rifle.
The weapon comes with a built-in grenade launcher. The muzzle is designed to be a launcher for several types of military grenades. There is a special "grenade-launching" cartridge, more owerful than a regular blank available at gun shows.
Aty these gunshows and on the net you can purchase inert practice rifle grenades and replica grenades. These look like rockets with tail fins.
The replica grenades are solid rubber. Hmmmmm.
If you load a grenade launching blank and slip on a solid rubber "simulated" rifle grenade....voila...you have a PERFECT NON-LETHAL WEAPON.
You will knock the looter right down on his butt without hurting them.
The surplus training grenades can be used as is, or capped with rubber and filled with paint or sand.
The line-throwing attachments are hard to find, however you can duct tape 400 feet of light clothesline to one of the dummy grenades and....you have a line thrower.
But it gets better.
The rifle can be used to breach doors and locks.
The 7.62 NATO (.308 winchester) cartridge is the only cartridge that will absolutely positively destroy a padlock or a lock on a door.
NEVER EVER SHOOT AT A LOCK WITH A PISTOL, SHOTGUN OR ANY OTHER RIFLE!
This all "movie myth nonsense". The rounds will richochet back and kill you.
The 7.62 NATO round used in the M1A (M-14) will penetrate 3/8 inchs of steel.
To shoot off a padlock go as far back as possible and remember that if you miss that round will travel a mile. INSURE the area behind the padlock is clear. It helps to tie the padlock down, tape it with duct tape or wedge it so it doesn't fly around. Helpful, but not always necessary.
Chhamber the round, take aim, pull the trigger, and no padlock.
Let's say you find someone is in the water or out on the ice and you need a twenty foot pole to reach him. The M-14 will easily cut down a small tree. Remember the round will penetrate 3/8 inches of steel. You can cut down a traffic sign in the same manner.
Most of the survival and weapons discussions on the internet deal with the lethality of the various bullets. While this is helpful information, I think differently.
(1) The most important round for a civilian to have on hand are blanks.
(2) One of the reasons I choose an M1A (M-14) Springfield and a 12 guage shotgun is that these weapons are capable of using the loudest blank ammunition manufactured.
(3) Blank ammunition comes in various loads. Do not purchase the smokeless kind. You want the loudest load with the most smoke and the biggest bang.
There are many different scenarios to think about when a disaster strikes and civil order breaks down. As for the police being present to assist you "fuggadaboutit".
There are many shooting courses available that teach you how to take down an intruder. And these courses are valuable if someone attempts to enter your home, for example.
But my theory is that the last thing you want to do is to shoot someone. And you are more likely going to encounter people who are simply trying to survive. In the event of a riot, rioters give a wide space to places where people are seen to be visibly armed, and stay even further away when they think they are being shot at.
For the 12 guage shotgun I do not recommend birdshot. Only double-0 buck or deerslugs for genuine defense and loud blanks with extra flash and smoke. Birdshot is not harmless. It maims and can blind someone.
NEVER EVER FIRE ANY WEAPON INTO THE AIR WITH A BULLET IN THE CHAMBER!
If you have to fire warning shots which such ammunition fire them into the dirt at a 60 degree angle. You can fire into macadem, also at a 60 degree angle. At a shallow angle the bullet will richocet from macadem. A bullet will also "skip" and richochet off placid water, such as a lake. Shooting at water, or floating targets, can cause the bullet to "skip" and kill someone a mile away on the other shore.
The basic plan should be:
(1) Weapons display at the ready around the area to be guarded. Preferably with two people.
(2) Post signs warning of an armed guard.
(3) If danger threatens, "demonstration" fire is my recommendation. Be extremely aware that a round from a military rifle can travel over a mile! You have to know where that round will end up. Demonstration fire can be with blanks, up in the air, or with live rounds directed at a target you know the intruders can view. NEVER WITH LIVE ROUNDS IN THE AIR!
(4) If a crowd attempts to surround a car, first presentation of the weapon (such as a shotgun out the window), and then discharge of blanks. They won't know the difference. If they are visibly showing weapons, then this is another situation.
(5) Don't tell everyone in the neighborhood you are using blanks.
Of course, live ammunition should be handy for when it is really needed. In a magazine fed weapon the change can be made swiftly. Mark the magazine(s) carrying blanks with a small strip of luminous tape.
If I was a person who did not want to purchase a firearm for philosophical reasons I would consider purchasing an exact-look alike dummy replica.
A non-working .38 revolver, for example, or an automatic, preferably two or more, plus a good holster to keep it visible. The good holsters are quite expensive.
I know someone who quite successfully kept his store from being looted during a riot that devastated his city by arming his employees with non-working replica pistols and posted them in front, looking mean.
I have some replicas used for photographic work that are so good you have to get within an inch of them to tell they are not real...and most people still cannot, at that distance.
Just wear them in ane emergency, don't draw them, and bear in mind that if you draw such a weapon, you might recieve justifiable fire back from someone who has a real one.
For most people, however, you standing in front of your store with your make-believe hog-leg visibly buckled on, they will find another place to loot. The store next to you, where the owner is waving his prayer book at them.
Another type of pistol to consider is the "blackpowder" kind. In the United States they can be purchased over-the-counter without permit.
The best is the out-of-production stainless steel Ruger Old Army .44.
You can keep six rounds in the chambers with the Ruger. All other blackpowders leave one cylinder under the hammer empty.
It's as lethal as a Glock, shoots a two-inch shot group at 25 yards, and is a gun that is "the cat's meow". And you don't need a permit in most states in the United States.
Canadians and those elsewhere eat your hearts out. Note that the "right-to-carry" laws in America have been a resounding success. Under these laws a police department must (they have no discretion) issue a carry permit for a concealed loaded weapon to anyone over the age of 21 with no criminal or mental history. There are exceptions in certain localities.
There are a variety of other blackpowder pistols available in .36 calibre, all deadly (We did fight the Indian Wars and the Civil War with these weapons) , very inexpensive, and better than nothing in an emergency.
On August 13, 2009, shortly after 3 P.M., four thugs armed with at least one 9mm pistol, entered "Blue Flame" at 523 West 125th street, a restaurant supply store in Harlem, New York City.
There were no customers in the store. The thugs produced plastic handcuffs and proceeded to pistol whip an employee.
The 72 year old proprieter, Charles Augusto Jr., told them "We have no money. Put the gun away and leave."
The thugs waved a gun and continued to beat his employee.
Mr. Augusto took from beneath the counter a pistol-grip 12 gauge shotgun, chambered a round and opened fire threew times on the thugs, killing two and gravely wounding two others. All had lengthy police records. The magazine of the shotgun was kept loaded at all times, according to Mr. Agustus. He did not, however, keep a round (double-0 buck) in the chamber.
The 12 guage shotgun is an excellent home defense weapon.
New York City Police Commissioner Kelly, one of the best the city has ever had, stood firmly behind Charles Augustos's decision to fight off the four robbers with his shotgun.
"Mr. Augusto had an absolute right under New York State law to defend himself and defend his co-workers with deadly force. It looks like his co-workers could have been killed or seriously injuried had he not acted," stated Kelly.
The New York City District attorney, Robert Morgenthau, agreed.
"No charges are being filed against Mr. Augusto," stated the district attorney.
The point of this addition to the thread is to demonstrate, that, contrary to the opinions expressed by many, a firearm in a place of business has a place. There are people in this world who are not very nice and are prepared to kill for money. The presence of a firearm, handled by a trained civilian, can result in the saving of human life.
The weapon used by Mr. Augustus was a parkerized six-shot 12 gauge Mossberg 500 tactical shotgun with an 18.5 inch barrel and a pistol grip. This shotgun is an excellent, reliable choice for emergency defense, with a bead sight, anti-jam elevator, and dual extractors. They sell for about $350 locally, and in almost all jurisdictions in the United States (with a few exceptions) these shotguns and ammunition can be purchased and owned without a permit. Appropriate defense ammunition includes solid slugs and double-0 buck. A video is currently available (august 2009) on u-tube demonstrating the use of this shotgun.
Last week, during August of 2009, two residents of Lexington, Georgia (U.S.A.) were attacked and killed by a pack of wild dogs. The male, Lothar Schweder, 77, was a retired professor. His wife Sherry, 65, was a librarian. Special agent Jim Fullerton of the Georgia Bureau of investigation stated the attack was unprevoked, with the pack attacking the woman first, and then killing her husband as he tried to fight them off.
While such attacks are unusual, in the event of an earthquake, for example, there is a high liklihood of problems from feral domestic animals hunting for food.
It is reasonable and prudent to keep a firearm available for such contingencies.
For a handgun for a beginner, and especially a family with small children around, the Taurus series of revolvers and automatic have a unique safety device. You get two small keys with each pistol and when you lock the pistol with the key, it absolutely positively cannot be used.
One of the nicer survival pistols is called "The Judge" and fires both a .410 shotgun ahell and a .45 Colt cartridge. It's called the "judge" bacause many United States Judges carry it. The .410 is very nice for small game.
They have a seven-shot .357 magnum (series 617/618) that also has their famous key-lock safety.
I proudly suggest the Ruger 10 22 Stocks for those who doesn't have any idea or background in firearms industry. It has the quality that worth your money and it will impress you when it comes to performance.
A good training program is essential, as well as knowledge of existing laws. In the United States there are several varieties of handgun legislation. First there are the "right-to-carry" laws, guaranteeing the right for any adult over the age of 21 without a criminal record to carry a loaded concealed pistol. Not all States have such laws. There are 38 states that have mandatory "shall issue permit" laws, and the United States Supreme Court has established that the right to own a pistol and/or rifle is absolute and may not be infringed upon. That being said many states that issue "concealed carry" permits prohibit the carrying of a pistol openly. That is to say the handgun MUST be concealed at all times except when required for self-defense. To complicate matters a few jurisdictions permit handguns to be carried without a permit only if worn openly. That means, in a state that authorized "concealed carry only", a pistol may not be worn openly. Clearly, in a disaster where a businessman is protecting his property an argument may be made that wearing a pistol in a visible holster is appropriate, but in some states this is legally impossible. In such a state, a citizen with a "concealed carry permit" may in fact be arrested and forfeit his permit for wearing the pistol in an open holster. Curiously enough, in some jurisdictions you can get a concealed pistol permit easily enough, but there is no way to get a permit for a large knife. Thus, it is important in the United States for a citizen to know his state laws concerning concealed weapons intimately.
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