Your Hump Day Reading List for May 11, 2016

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I love putting together the Hump Day Reading List, because I get to learn too! This week: aftermarket parts aren’t all they’re cracked up to be; the popularity of suppressors; concealable guns drive concealed carry; how to recognize when you’re being played; shooting through aluminum isn’t as easy as you might think; you are still not the police; what’s in a trauma kit and why; how to tame the recoil of the shotgun; and Greg Ellifritz looks at a favorite terrorist tactic, the secondary device. Some information for protection, some for planning, some for entertainment — and all in the Hump Day Reading List!


“Thou shalt not hang sh*t on thy gun”

My best friend, Georges Rahbani, shared that with me many years ago. In the last week I’ve had occasion to repeat that several times, and this article on an accidental discharge caused by an aftermarket trigger brought it to my mind again. Sometimes an aftermarket gadget addresses a real deficiency in the gun, but too often they’re installed because of a perception or a want. If your firearm is a defensive tool, a serious device that you seriously expect to save your life in that worst-case scenario, think long and hard before putting “go-fast” parts in it. For the vast majority of people today’s firearms are more than sufficient to efficiently serve that need. I’m not saying “never”, but if your first priority with a new gun is to start adding parts you might want to take a deep breath and think first.


Simon and Garfunkel would understand. Well, maybe not.

For those of you who were born after 1980, that’s a play on one of the duo’s best-known songs “The Sounds Of Silence” — referring, in this case, to the popularity of suppressors these days. It seems you can’t swing a dead cat without running into an article or a video on the latest sound-modifying device, but are they really more popular than they used to be? As it turns out, yes they are and by a large margin. I’d buy one too if I weren’t such a tightfisted cheapskate!


Small guns are popular. Tell us something we don’t know!

One of the unintended side effects of the 1994 “Assault Weapons” Ban, which expired in 2004, was that the artificial limitation on magazine capacity for handguns spurred a huge increase in the number of small, concealable pistols that could be made to hold exactly the government-mandated ten rounds. Up to that time manufacturers had tended to focus on larger, higher-capacity pistols; with the 10-round limit, it didn’t make sense to produce guns that were much larger than the magazines dictated, so they started concentrating on fitting those rounds into the smallest form factor possible. The result of that was to encourage more people to carry a concealed defensive firearm, and so applications for concealed carry permits nationwide skyrocketed — and they’ve done nothing but increase since. According to this article at Breitbart, today’s surge in concealed carry is being driven once again by the new micro-sized .380ACP and 9mm pistols. I guess history really does repeat itself!


Don’t be fooled by people trying to get into your space.

Part of self defense is learning to recognize the social engineering that criminals often use to get inside your safe zone and get you to lower your defenses. Attackers of all kinds are quite good at learning how to prey on your fears, aspirations, hubris, or kindness in order to catch you off guard. While this article talks about defeating aggressive panhandlers, the lessons and descriptions of their ploys are applicable to a wide range of attack attempts. Definitely a must-read.


Just what does it take to shoot through an aluminum block?

Our favorite crazy veterinarian is back at Demolition Ranch, this time attempting to pierce a 7-inch cube of solid aluminum. Sounds easy, right? You might be surprised just how tough aluminum can be! (Why do I share this stuff? Because it’s fun!)


Another concealed carrier who doesn’t understand that a permit is not a badge.

In Coshocton County, Ohio a woman came home to see some “home invasion” suspects leaving the residence. (I put that in quotes because a home invasion is a specific type of crime, but the term is starting to be used generically and incorrectly for any burglary where there is more than one suspect.) She got out of her car, gun in hand, and ran after the suspects to hold them at gun point and march them back to the scene. While it worked out for her, the move was beyond stupid; the story doesn’t indicate that the suspects were armed, so let’s assume they weren’t. She was at that point holding a gun on at least two unarmed subjects. What was she going to do if they had simply turned around and walked away — shoot them? What if they were armed; did she have the training and knowledge to know how to deal with that situation? What if she happened on a couple of people who weren’t, in fact, the suspects; holding someone at gunpoint and taking them somewhere else is called kidnapping.

Your concealed carry firearm is to protect your life and the lives of other innocents from immediate danger of death or grave bodily harm; once that threat is gone, so has your legal standing (and, I would argue, your moral imperative.) Defend yourself certainly, but leave police work to the police. This could have turned out far worse than it did, and there have been recent cases of armed citizen intervention which have turned out for the worse simply because the people involved didn’t understand that a carry permit is not a badge.


If you shoot, you need a trauma kit. It’s really that simple.

I’ve talked many times about the need for everyone (whether you have a firearm or not) to know how to deal with life-threatening trauma and have a kit with the supplies you need to do that. Where do you find these kits, and what should they have in them? This article over at Ammoland looks at what a trauma kit should have and gives some resources to buy a kit or the supplies you need. (Do I need to remind you that you also need the training to know how to use your kit properly?)


How to handle the shotgun’s recoil.

Chris over at LuckyGunner has some tips for dealing with the fierce recoil that the defensive shotgun is capable of generating. Frankly, I agree with him about simply switching to the 20-gauge shotgun. No matter how well you shoot a 12-gauge you’ll shoot a 20 better, with less recoil and equivalent effects on the bad guy. If you’re serious about a shotgun as a defensive tool, I think the 20-gauge is the best combination of shooting ease and threat incapacitation which exists.


The first blast isn’t the real killer. Beware the second.

I share a lot of Greg Ellifritz’s articles because he puts out some of the best advice I’ve seen for the prepared citizen — and that’s because he’s not always focused on the gun. In this article he looks at the threat of the secondary device, a favorite terrorist tactic: explode one bomb to kill and trigger an emergency response, then time a second hidden device to explode once first responders are on scene and onlookers have started filtering in. This is an old tactic; I’ve heard of it being used in the Middle East back in the 1970s, and it catches people off guard even to this day. If you survive the initial blast, get out of the area; Greg has some thoughts on how to do that properly, too.

– Grant Cunningham

Opening photo: “Camelus dromedarius at Tierpark Berlin” by Agadez – Own work. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons



About the Author:

Grant Cunningham is a renowned author and teacher in the fields of self defense, defensive shooting education and personal safety. He’s written several popular books on handguns and defensive shooting, including "The Book of the Revolver", "Shooter’s Guide To Handguns", "Defensive Revolver Fundamentals", "Defensive Pistol Fundamentals", and "Practice Strategies for Defensive Shooting" (Fall 2015.) Grant has also written articles on shooting, self defense, training and teaching for many magazines and shooting websites, including Concealed Carry Magazine, Gun Digest Magazine, the Association of Defensive Shooting Instructors ADSI) and the popular Personal Defense Network training website. He’s produced a DVD in the National Rifle Association’s Personal Firearm Defense series titled "Defensive Revolver Fundamentals" and teaches defensive shooting and personal safety courses all over the United States.
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