For this Hump Day we have an educational look at an actual attempted home invasion — from the intended victim himself; some resources for learning how to deal with an active shooter; some historical revolvers from a famous revolver shooter; trying to shoot a hole through titanium; a seasoned shooter finds out difficult it is to shoot a small gun; a blogger takes me up on a challenge; Greg Ellifritz analyzes what to do if you’re seated in your car when attacked; a look at the history of the intermediate rifle cartridge; and a short essay about fights and self defense. Lots to read and think about!
An attempted home invasion — and while mistakes were made, learning occurred
I got a great note this week from David, the writer behind the True Blue Sam the Travelin’ Man blog, pointing me to his recounting of a recent attempted home invasion. He details what happened, his responses, and the mistakes he made (and correctly identifies the solutions.) This is a very worthwhile article to read, as it shows both a pretty good understanding of the issues involved with defense in the home and a better-than-average awareness of his own failings. Overall I think he did very well both in his response and hid analysis; the only thing I’d caution is the blanket recommendation to always have the “house gun” loaded. I recommend that any gun you’ll access in the middle of the night be unloaded, but with a magazine or speedloader stored next to it (preferably in a quick-access safe if you have kids.) Waking up from a sound sleep leaves one in a rather confused mood for a minute or so, and having a loaded firearm in immediate proximity during that time is an invitation to a mistaken identity shooting. Slapping in a magazine and racking the slide is just enough time to start thinking clearly but not so much that it is likely to affect your ability to defend yourself, if you’ve taken sensible precautions regarding early warning systems and barriers to entry. (Oh, and kudos to the police officer who held his fire when he recognized that the bad guy had a tripod and not a rifle!)
Resource list: how can you deal with an active shooter?
It’s rather sad that there are so many evil and/or disturbed people in this world that we need to worry about such things as an active mass murderer. Yet, whether in a church or school or shopping at a mall, the fact is that these things do occasionally happen. While many people think the solution is for large numbers of citizens to be armed and ready, that’s just not the reality in our society — especially in areas which are “non-permissive” regarding defensive tools. This article from Personal Defense Network is a collection of some of the resources that PDN has available to help you learn how to deal with an attack in a public place, whether you’re armed with a gun or not. Definitely worth reading and bookmarking.
Ed McGivern’s revolvers on display
Ed McGivern is one of the greatest revolver shooters to ever live, eclipsed only by the amazing Jerry Miculek. At SHOT Show 2016 the NRA had a small museum set up which included several of McGivern’s famous guns. All Outdoor posted this article and video showing some of them.
What does it take to penetrate a 1-1/2” block of titanium? You might be surprised.
Titanium is really an amazing metal; extremely light yet very strong, it’s used in everything from medical implants to the armor shielding on the pilot compartment of an A-10 “Warthog” airplane. In that latter role its job is to protect the pilot from danger from ground fire, but just how well can such a light material protect anyone? Our favorite crazy veterinarian, Matt at Demolition Ranch, put a small block of it up against everything he had. See how little damage common rounds do!
Small guns are tough to shoot, even for an expert
I’ve often counseled inexperienced people looking for their first carry pistol to shy away from the very small guns, as they’re much harder to shoot than even just slightly larger models. Still, people continue to buy the things (they tend to be the best sellers in many manufacturer’s catalogs) and sometimes actually take them to the range. It’s there that they find out just what I was talking about; I’ve met more than one who sold off their itty-bitty pistol to get something easier to shoot! So, what does an accomplished shooter think of the things? Rich Grassi, not exactly a stranger to the shooting world, tried one out on a well-known course of fire. He did pretty well, but as he points out it was neither all that easy nor all that comfortable! If you take nothing else from his article, remember this: the smaller the gun, the more expertise it requires.
What can you learn about yourself from doing something opposite of what you usually do? One man finds out by taking me up on a challenge.
A while back I proposed an experiment which startled some people and confused others: try not carrying your gun every once in a while, and see how it affects your perception of danger in your life. Lots of people thought it was interesting, a few completely missed the point, and one or two actually tried it. John Daub, who writes the “Stuff From Hsoi” blog, took me up on my challenge — and what he learned from that little activity was really quite interesting. I encourage you to read my original article, then go and read the results of his experiment. Very interesting and very introspective.
You’re attacked while in your car. What do you do?
Many defensive shooting courses will teach you all kinds of cool ways to shoot while in your car, and some of them will even let you shoot through the windshield at your “attacker”. Things are rarely that simplistic, however, and Greg Ellifritz analyzes a dashcam video of a traffic stop where the driver came out shooting at the pursuing officer. While it’s obviously police-specific in some ways, there are take-aways for the private citizen as well; this same scenario could easily play out during a road rage incident or an attempted carjacking. As he points out, when the guy is already shooting there may be better options than trying to get your gun out while the bullets are flying. This should be a sobering read for anyone who thinks the gun is always the answer to all shooting problems.
The more things change, the more they stay the same
If you’re a gun person you’re probably familiar with the concept of the “intermediate cartridge” — that is, the round that made the “assault rifle” the modern infantry tool it is. Lodged between full-power rifle cartridges on one side and submachine gun cartridges on the other, the intermediate cartridge (like our own 5.56×45) are designed specifically to give lots of firepower at reasonable ranges. The idea didn’t start in WWII Germany, however; it’s been something of a grail quest for militaries for a long time, and encompassed many now-forgotten cartridges. Nathaniel over at The Firearm Blog has a great round-up of some historical intermediate rounds, many of which you probably won’t recognize.
If you start it, or even perpetuate it, you probably can’t claim self defense
I’ve told more than one class of students that I don’t like to use the word “fight” to describe a self defense incident. “Fight” implies that there is some consensual aspect to the encounter, with both parties participating to some extent. The word suggests an arranged or tacitly approved interaction between two people who want to settle something, even if the interaction is very one-sided. Instead, I prefer the term “attack” — where one party uses force against another for a specific reason, and which is why we train to defend ourselves. In this article, author Alain Burrese explains that a fight is rarely self-defense, and if you willingly engage in mutual combat you lose the legal ability to claim that you were simply protecting yourself. It’s a short but thought-provoking article.
– Grant Cunningham