Self-Defense and Firearms
Click on the above image for some great material.
Firearms are used millions of times in self-defense each year in this country (see Facts Regarding Firearms and Crime for the details). I not only teach the use of firearms as a means of self-defense (see Firearm Instruction Available for more details), I have taken a number of classes and have read a great deal related to this subject. What follows are some of my favorite quotes related to the subject.
Greg Hamilton (Chief Instructor at Insights Training Center) is not only an excellent instructor he is also very funny. He puts things in a way that is not only easy to understand and remember but he says them in a way that, if you are paying attention, will make you laugh. He is well represented below.
Jeff Cooper has probably done more for the theory and practice of "modern gun-fighting" than any other single person. He started the sport of IPSC and what that alone did to advance our knowledge is probably beyond measure. His many other contributions include his school Gunsite and Jeff Cooper's Commentaries. He is also well represented below.
Another person that I really would like to have represented here is Massad Ayoob. I have the Armed Woman's Attitude Test, but there is much more that I would like to include and haven't obtained a good source for yet. Keep checking back, I'll find it eventually.
Nothing says, "Please don't rape me." like multiple jacketed hollowpoints.
It is a historical constant that the strong rule the weak, and any shade of liberty enjoyed by the weak is nothing more than the benevolence of the strong. You need guns because the world is full of the strong, and not all of them are benevolent.
Chances are, if you're ever going to be involved in a home defense situation with a shotgun, you'll be in your birthday-suit. So unless you've got ammunition Velcro'd to your ass, all the extra ammunition you'll have will be on the gun.
Yeah, I think it's a gun day.
The entire discussion of "stopping power" is both stupid and irrelevant. Statistics cannot be applied to individuals. People that need to be shot need to be shot soon and often. They need to be shot until they run out of fluid, brains, or balls.
If during the time you were reading the latest "stopping power" article you were instead practicing to save your life you would be far, far ahead.
(See also The Great Bullet Debate)
Sheep can be controlled by the sheepdog for the same reason they fear the wolf -- they are both predators. The same relationships hold with the general population, the police, and the criminals. Most people are sheep, but you don't have to be. If you have the skills and attitude of a predator the criminals will leave you alone -- because they will recognize you as a predator and there is easier game available.
Greg Hamilton (paraphrased)
If it ever becomes times to shoot someone, do they need to be shot a little? Or a lot? If that time comes you should shoot early and often -- until the threat is over. If you shoot a "set", such as a double tap, you may stop shooting too soon.
If it ever becomes time to shoot someone, shoot early and shoot often.
When it comes right down to it, you probably won't shoot anybody that you morally don't believe deserves to be shot. For the most part, your biggest problem will be pulling the trigger when you really need to rather than pulling it on someone that shouldn't be shot. You need to envision the situations that you might need to shoot someone and make the decisions ahead of time. Make your decisions independent of gender, age, and race. The little 12 year old blond kid, that looks a lot like you, with a gun demanding your tennis shoes is just as likely, or more so, to kill you as some dirty, fat, stinking, scraggly haired, scumbag.
This is the universal hand signal for GO AWAY! (Holds handgun in firing position.)
Ninety times out of a hundred it will work. If not, then you may have to give them the universal hand signal for LIE DOWN! (Holds handgun in firing position and repeatedly pulls trigger.)
In some areas of the country showing someone your middle finger is the universal hand signal for "shoot me". If you are carrying a gun and give such a hand signal you likely to be held at fault if the shooting does start. If you choose to carry, you will be held to a higher standard of behavior than those that don't.
Note that the goblins choose as victims only those they deem to be patsies. Louis Awerbuck and Chris Pollack have recently gleaned the following statement from a restroom wall:
There are no victims, only volunteers. You volunteer by looking uncertain and afraid. You volunteer by being, as grass-eaters invariably are, unprepared to confront the hazards of life.
As it used to be emphasized at Orange Gunsite, you are an easy mark in White, but you are a difficult problem in Orange.
Most people are grass-eaters with their heads down on the ground. The jackals and lions know this and think of them as that. Hold your head up and walk like you are the biggest, badest lion that walks. The jackals and lions will notice and leave you alone because they don't want to get hurt. Don't challenge them because they might feel they have to respond to it. All you want is their respect, not their dignity.
In a recent curious case the subject was struck in the left side of the face by a 380. The bullet was deflected by his jawbone down through his neck and into his torso beneath the shoulder blade. The subject did not respond to the blow, walked to the ambulance, was treated at the hospital for infection and sent home with a Tylenol. According to the account he was laughing and joking with bystanders throughout the experience and did not return for medical assistance on the following day. Moral: If you insist on using a miniature sidearm, confine your hits to the eye sockets.
We hear of an unfortunate woman who, during a nighttime asthma attack, confused the small handgun she kept under her pillow with an asthma inhaler and proceeded to relieve her symptoms. It was not a fatal mistake, partly because she used a 25 ACP, which everyone knows is not sufficient to clear sinuses.
From John B. Hubbard of Bangor, Maine
Shooting at the head is a tough one. There are really only two spots you can really do any good with a handgun. The eyes. Any higher and even if you do get through the armor you'll only take off the top half of the brain that he never uses anyway. It will be impressive with lots of blood, but it won't stop him. You have to take out the lower part of his brain, the monkey portion of his brain.
There is something about invading a person's cranial vault that takes the fight out of them.
Anyone who studies the matter will reach the conclusion that good marksmanship, per se, is not the key to successful gunfighting. The marksmanship problem posed in a streetfight is ordinarily pretty elementary. What is necessary, however, is the absolute assurance on the part of the shooter that he can hit what he is shooting at - absolutely without fail. Being a good shot tends to build up this confidence in the individual. Additionally, the good shot knows what is necessary on his part to obtain hits, and when the red flag flies, the concentration which he knows is necessary pushes all extraneous thinking out of his mind. He cannot let side issues such as fitness reports, political rectitude, or legal liability enter his mind. Such considerations may be heeded before the decision to make the shot is taken, and reconsidered after the ball is over; but at the time, the imperative front sight, surprise break must prevail.
Thus we have the paradox that while you almost never need to be a good shot to win a gunfight, the fact that you are a good shot may be what is necessary for you to hold the right thoughts - to the exclusion of all others - and save your life. This may come as a shock to a good many marksmanship instructors, but I have studied the matter at length and in depth, and I am satisfied with my conclusions.
You've just dumped a scumbag. Don't put your gun away. You scan the area. Jackals and lions travel in packs. You probably will never be involved in another shooting in your entire life. This is it! Make the most of it. This is a target rich environment. See if there is someone else that needs to be shot.
You can't shoot somebody just because they are a scumbag. They have to have the ability, opportunity, and have put an innocent person in imminent jeopardy of life or serious bodily harm. If you are looking to just shoot somebody go to some other country and buy a Tag.
From Chechnya via Time magazine:
"They are simply afraid of us. We saw it in their eyes during battle. They have very strong weapons - but not very strong spirits." As always, it is the man, not the gun, that wins.
I heard a story the other day from a long time cop in New York City. The
cops don't give first aid to anybody when they arrive at the aftermath of a
crime scene anymore. The roll up their windows and yell at the victims to sit
down on the curb and wait for the paramedics to arrive.
I don't know if you saw the movie "Terminator", but the ruthless, single mindedness of the cyborg played by Arnie in that movie must be adapted by you. The difference is that for dramatic effect in the movie the cyborg was rather slow moving. You must move with all the speed you have. In your mind you ate T-Rex babies for an appetizer and when mommy ran away this scumbag got in your way. Now you have to go through him to get to the main course -- and you're pissed. You are going to tear him into little pieces so you can have mommy T-Rex for lunch.
The following nifty anecdote from our old friend Ian McFarlane, the professional hunter from Botswana:
"About 0:300 we received a radio message that a Bushman tracker had returned to one of the camps with a chest shot from an AK and was brought into Runtu Hospital by helicopter. On notification that the patient had arrived and was in theatre, we found him standing there smoking a cigarette. He had a wound on the left chest in front and in the back. We took x-rays and found indeed that it was through and through. We cleaned and closed the wound, and kept him for a week in case of infection. This did not happen, but during that time we found out that the Bushman had been wounded early in the morning of the previous day. He tracked his antagonist during the day for about twelve hours. He said he could have shot his man a few times during the day, but he wanted to shoot him in the abdomen so that he would die painfully and slowly. Just before sundown, he got his shot properly placed, and then walked another eight hours back to base."
The wound, of course, was delivered by the 30 caliber Russian Short cartridge of the AK47. Presumably the bullet had an iron core and a copper jacket, allowing no deformation. Still, getting shot through the chest with a 30 caliber Russian Short might be thought to be enough to spoil one's appetite, but these Bushmen are great little guys. I have associated with them just enough to appreciate their admirable qualities.
I have often preached that the proper antidote to fear is anger, and I see no reason to change my opinion on this. However, there is another mental condition that serves as well or possibly better, and that is concentration. I have discussed this matter at great length with people who are in a position to know, and I am not without experience of my own, and I can state positively that when you find yourself facing deadly danger, your ability to concentrate every mental faculty upon doing what needs to be done to save yourself leaves no room for fear. If it happens that return fire is the best solution to your danger, you are fortunate, because if you have organized yourself properly your total preoccupation with your front sight and trigger control will have become automatic; and therefore you cannot fear your enemy's bullet since you are simply too busy concentrating on hitting him. I think this truth is incontrovertible, but we certainly see that large numbers of people who get involved in street fights, on either side of the law, have never heard of it.
We have discovered a marvelous use for the laser pistol sight. It is a nifty toy for pet dogs, who can spend many happy hours chasing that orange dot all over the living room.
An attorney who in specializes in self-defense told me that of the 300 clients who said something to the police before talking to him, only two managed to NOT hurt their case. Those two didn't help their case, they just didn't hurt it any. If you are involved in a shooting, call the police, physically cooperate with them, but don't say anything except you want to call your attorney.
You know what they teach you in the military about what you use a handgun for? You use it to fight your way to a rifle.
A handgun is a reactive defensive tool that's only redeeming value is its size.
A shotgun is a sporting weapon pressed into service as a combat arm and is pretty effective within its range and penetration limitations.
When you know you are going to a fight and you want to be able to stop it, you take a rifle.
When you are not planing on getting into a fight AND you can't carry a rifle you compromise and carry a handgun. Notice the AND. When you're not planning on getting into a fight and you CAN carry a rifle you should do so.
An unarmed person is a slave, or is subject to becoming a slave at any time.
Bumper Sticker in Florida
Reliability in a handgun is extremely important. If you point it at someone and all it does is go CLICK when you pull the trigger you don't have much leeway in talking your way out of the situation. I mean, what are you going to say? "I wasn't serious when I pulled the trigger?"
From the Greg Hamilton to English Dictionary by Meredith Robinson:
"Universal Unloading Place"
"They probably won't kill you"
"Verbal Target Indicator"
"The art of fork fighting"
"Mass Launcher" also "Behavior Modification Device"
and/or "Reactive Defensive Tool"
"Steely eyed dealers of death"