Your Hump Day Reading List for October 31, 2018

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It’s Halloween, and I’ve got some great stories to help you tackle frightening topics! 

 

Some people don’t want to learn

In the self defense world, many people seem to have comfortable ideas of how things happen in defensive incidents. That was fine back in the days when we didn’t have objective evidence, but today we do — and yet many misconceptions still exist. Cecil ...

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Your Hump Day Reading List for September 12, 2018

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Sorry for not having a Hump Day List last week, but I was down with a nasty cold. What’s worse than a cold in summer? I don’t know and I don’t want to find out! 

 

Handguns and arthritis

I get lots of questions from people who are just starting to suffer from arthritis, scared that their shooting days are coming to an end. It doesn’t ...

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Interchangeable chokes for defensive shotguns? Why not!

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Georges Rahbani with shotgun, kneeling

Instructor Georges Rahbani showing a kneeling position with the defensive shotgun

If any firearm could be said to be overlooked, it’s the defensive shotgun. While not a tool for the inexperienced, it must be acknowledged that the shotgun loaded with a defensively-appropriate shell (preferably in the buckshot category) is a force to be reckoned with. As a tool for ...

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Your Hump Day Reading List for October 19, 2016

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Welcome to Wednesday! Here’s some more great personal safety and self defense information: someone survived a hurricane because of common-sense preparation; a Halloween horror story with a happy ending; winter holidays have many opportunities for crime; poker and its relation to self defense; a look at the shotgun as a home defense tool; a warning shot goes horribly wrong; Greg Ellifritz looks at the .22 revolver in a different light; taking your trauma kit with you while shooting. Enjoy and ...

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Defensive Shooting Myths and Misconceptions: “If I’m limited to 10 rounds, they might as well be .45”

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I remember the days of the 1994 “assault weapons” ban: new magazines over 10 rounds were illegal, and even large double-stack 9mm pistols were required to come with 10 round magazines — and any replacements or additionals we bought were limited to 10 rounds, too. “There era of the ‘wondernine’ is over”, opined writer after writer.

Along with that came a new phrase from those picking which gun to buy: “if the government says I can only carry 10 rounds, they ...

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Defensive Shooting Myths and Misconceptions: “I shoot that gun really well.”

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If you spend any time around the internet, whether on gun forums or social media, sooner or later you’ll see someone defending a sub-optimal choice of defensive firearm by saying “I shoot it well.” Now of course everyone is certainly free to carry what they deem fit, and I don’t want to suggest they’re not, but my job is to present factual information to people so that they can make intelligent decisions. I don’t really have any stake in what ...

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Self defense, stopping power, and caliber: Part 9

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Stick with what works.

You’ve all heard of the “Gun of the Week” club, right? That’s the term used to describe an “enthusiast”, the guy (gals are too smart to engage in such nonsense) who carries or competes with a different gun every time he goes out. (Closely related is the “Holster of the Week” club. I’ll post an amusing story about that, soon.)

There is also the “Bullet of the Week” club. Some folks read the gun magazines assiduously, loading up ...

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Self defense, stopping power, and caliber: Part 8

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“So, smarty pants – what the best self-defense caliber?”

I receive many emails asking, in essence, what the “best” self-defense caliber might be. (Those emails, in fact, have served as the motivation behind this series.) The correspondents are probably expecting sage advice, the wisdom of years, a sort of Ballistic Oracle. What they get is a non-committal “it depends!”

If you take nothing else from this series, take this: there is no such thing as “best” – there is only “suitability for ...

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Self defense, stopping power, and caliber: Part 7

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There Is No Such Thing as a Magic Bullet

What does that mean, you ask?

One of the last bastions of the snake oil salesman is in the field of ammunition promotion. Claims that would make Professor Harold Hill blush are the norm, and are repeated in gunstores, shooting ranges, and deer camps across the country. They sometimes even make their way into magazines and the internet – though the latter’s instant exchange of information has helped to quell the worst of ...

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Self defense, stopping power, and caliber: Part 6

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“What would I want with a reputation? That’s a good way to get yourself killed!”

– Jason McCullough, as played by James Garner, in “Support Your Local Sheriff” (my favorite movie of all time!)

What about “reputation”? Some cartridges or loadings have reputations for better effectiveness than others. Sometimes that’s valid, but other times it may not be.

Let’s take the mighty .357 Magnum, one of my favorite cartridges. The 125 grain semi-jacketed hollowpoint loads have the reputation of being superbly effective; ...

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Self defense, stopping power, and caliber: Part 5

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More energy can be a good thing – as long as it actually does something useful.

Last time we discussed the concept of the hollowpoint as a way to increase the frontal diameter of the bullet in the target. I also introduced the idea that it takes energy to expand the bullet, energy that is also needed to push the projectile into something that it needs to reach.

There is no such thing as a free lunch. If we want the bullet ...

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Self defense, stopping power, and caliber: Part 4

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The bullet is more important than the caliber.

We know that our bullet needs to do damage to whatever important thing it manages to find. How, exactly, is that going to occur? It just so happens that most animal tissue (including that of the violent felon who has just attacked you) is remarkably elastic, and consequently difficult to damage. Most tissues have a tendency to “close up” around puncture wounds, in the same way that they close up after a hypodermic ...

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Self defense, stopping power, and caliber: Part 3

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Once it gets there, it has to do work.

In today’s installment, we’re going to look at the second of the Twin Tasks:

2) The bullet has to do rapid and significant damage to that thing when it arrives.

It may not be self evident, but kinetic (moving) energy is either used or conserved (stored.) In the case of a bullet, it starts being used simply by fighting the friction caused by traveling through the air. Unless it encounters a target, the bullet ...

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Self defense, stopping power, and caliber: Part 2

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If it doesn’t get somewhere, it can’t do something.

OK, so we know about the Twin Tasks, the two things that a bullet has to do in order to stop an attacker:

1) It has to get to something the body finds immediately important, and
2) It has to do rapid and significant damage to that thing when it arrives.

Today we’ll be taking a look at Task #1: getting to something important.

Let’s start by pointing out that the user of the bullet ...

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Self defense, stopping power, and caliber: Part 1 of a series.

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I’ve gotten a bunch of emails recently regarding the choice of an appropriate self-defense handgun caliber and/or bullet. Around this one topic swirls more misinformation – and outright inanity – than any other I can think of. And now, here’s mine!

What follows is a layman’s understanding, backed by research of available literature and years of hunting and shooting experience, of the practical mechanics of wound ballistics. It is not intended to be a complete and exhaustive study of the subject. ...

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