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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tactical Tuesdays!

Well, like the title says above, Tuesday will be devoted to tactical/arms/shooting/home defense and that sort of thing. Today we will be talking about choosing a weapon for home defense and what features you should look for. What is the best gun for home defense? This question is asked a lot and there are many answers to this question. It seems that everyone has their favorite. However, if you are new to shooting or guns in general for self defense, then you may not know what to look for. So, I'm going to try to give you some general tips that will help you make a choice. In do so, I'm mostly going to be quoting from The American Rifleman and talking about some of my own personal choices. 

Now, according to the American Rifleman, when looking for a gun for home defense, "Gun buyers should be looking for a firearm and ammunition combination offering an optimum level of stopping power. Overpowered guns produce excessive amounts of recoil, noise and muzzle flash that can leave the home defender deaf, blind and pointed in the wrong direction. More importantly, hot rounds are more likely to pass through the intended target, travel through thin wall or window materials and keep on going to cause unintended damage to others. At the other end of the spectrum, underpowered guns will not stop the threat effectively."  

According to the American Rifleman, one of the best ways to choose a gun for home defense is to look law enforcement agencies and see what they are using. This is a good tip. Law enforcement has basically the same goal in mind as the person looking for a home defensive gun. The goal is to stop the threat without hurting yourself or innocent bystanders, neighbors, etc...So looking at what law enforcement carries is a very good way of helping you choose a good home defense weapon.
Now, the American Rifleman there are three types of weapons that make good defensive weapons for the home.

·  Shotguns
·  Rifles
·  Handguns
When choosing a shotgun you need to think not only of the stopping power, but also the recoil. You don't want to choose a shotgun that has a big recoil unless you have the body frame that can handle it! Trust me I know this. I have a small frame and when I first shot a 12 gauge I had the biggest bruise on my arm that I have ever gotten! I don't want to scare you off from this weapon however, if you are a man this gun is probably fine for you. For a smaller framed person or woman a shotgun with less recoil is preferred. The 20 gauge will work just as well as the 12 gauge and have less of a recoil. Having a stock that fits securely to your shoulder is also very important. A person trying to shoot a gun that has a stock that is too long for them is going to have a hard time, not only with the recoil, but also with aiming accurately. However, shotguns with just a hand grip are not recommended because of the lack of accuracy when aiming.
Now let's look at rifles. I'm going to quote here from the American Rifleman again because they seem to say it best! "If you want a rifle for home-defense, then consider a tactical semi-auto or pistol-caliber carbine.
In the last few years, the popularity of tactical rifles, also called modern sporting rifles, has skyrocketed. The most popular seem to be those based on the AR-15 design. Other examples of this breed include the AK-47, M1 Carbine and Ruger Mini-14. These rifles are light, easy to shoot, produce low levels of recoil and provide plenty of ammunition.

Rifles are powerful defensive firearms with some models offering stopping power similar to a shotgun, but without as much recoil. For home defenders who live in rural areas, rifles can provide the added range and accuracy needed to deal with pests of the four-legged variety. Like the shotgun, a rifle's length may make it difficult to maneuver in tight spaces. The other drawback to tactical rifles is the high price tag. In some cases, you can buy two or three defensive shotguns for the price of one tactical rifle."
Now let's move on to handguns. According to the American Rifleman, "Handguns continue to be among the most regularly purchased home-defense firearms for several reasons. They are the easy to maneuver in confined spaces, and they can be held and fired with one hand, leaving the other hand free to operate a flashlight, open doors and so on. They can be held close to the body to help prevent them from being grabbed or knocked away by an intruder. A handgun's compact size allows it to be stored in a small space, like a strong box in a dresser drawer. The market is currently replete with excellent defensive handgun options.
The two most common types of defensive handguns are double-action revolvers and semi-automatic pistols. Double-action revolvers have a cylinder that swings out to one side for loading and unloading and usually have a five- to six-round capacity. Revolvers are easy to learn to operate and very reliable. They do not have buttons, levers or switches. Just pull the trigger and the gun fires. Defensive revolvers are most often found chambered in .38 Spl. and .357 Mag. Loading a revolver with .38 Spl. +P ammunition can increase the revolver’s stopping power without the flash and recoil associated with .357 Mag. loads. A 3- to 4-inch barrel is usually recommended for use in the home.
Semi-automatic pistols use a box magazine to load the ammunition. These pistols can be more complicated to operate but they have a lighter trigger pull, hold more ammunition and can be reloaded more quickly than a revolver. Some of the most commonly available semi-automatic pistol cartridges for defense include the 9mm Luger, .45 ACP and .40 S&W. Full-size, also known as duty-size, pistols offer larger magazine capacities and longer grips for more comfortable practice than the compact and sub-compact pistols favored for legal concealed carry.

Although handguns are useful for home-defense, they are, on the whole, weak stoppers when compared to rifles and shotguns. The rule of thumb when selecting a defensive handgun is to choose the most powerful cartridge you can comfortably handle. The exception to this rule is the high-power hunting handgun calibers like .44 Mag., .454 Casull and .500 S&W, which should be avoided. Just like a hunting rifle, the flash and report of these cartridges will leave home defenders deaf and blind when they need their senses the most, and the bullet is very likely to over penetrate the target."
The article that I have quoted from above can be found here. http://www.americanrifleman.org/articles/best-gun-for-home-defense/

Now, be careful with your selection of a firearm for home defense. I would recommend going to a range and firing the types that interest you and then picking the one that feels the most comfortable. Besides, whichever gun you pick you need to practice with to become proficient in its use. A gun is not going to do you any good if you don't know how to use it safely and effectively. Practice makes perfect!
Feel free to offer your suggestions and tell us your favorite gun for home defense!

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