This is why I love “The Box O’ Truth” website. Old_Painless does a lot of “put up or shut up” to really see how things work, how things will behave, and puts myths to the test. No, it’s not the most scientific of things, but he goes in with an open mind, willing to be surprised and have his stances changed if the evidence presents itself. It’s certainly better than a lot of people who just go on myth, on hearsay, and other Internet chest thumping “I read it on some forum so it must be true”.
The latest article? Educational Zone #143 – What is the best weapon for home defense?
I’ve written before about home defense tools and referred to the BOT for supporting evidence. Old_Painless doesn’t use this article as a way to spout his opinion, but rather to report on numerous FACTS about home defense weapons, specifically choosing between a handgun, a shotgun, or a carbine (rifle).
He talks about each weapon platform, the advantages and disadvantages they have. Plus he busts some common myths. He’s pretty sound throughout most of the article, and you’d do well to read it. I’m not going to reprint it here, go click and read.
I did want to comment on a few points.
* Pistol advantage of them being convenient. This is true and really the main (only?) reason for a handgun (vs. a long gun). He states how this convenience factor is good because you can carry them on your person. Very true. And that you can conceal them out in public. Also true. But that concealment isn’t a big factor in home defense. Strictly speaking, that’s true. But one consideration implied here is that because you can carry them on your person — you should. Even if you’re not licensed to carry them in public, you can carry them on your person in your home (tho check your local laws). Why do this? Because the most useful tool is the one you have when you need it. You cannot know when someone will bust down your door. Not everyone is able to have a gun spaced every 3 feet in their house. For most people, getting to a dedicated home defense gun will take some time, or maybe some planning and money to ensure enough are laid around the house in accessible places. Tho of course, if you have kids, that accessibility may have to be limited and that could also increase cost. All those precious seconds to get to the shotgun could be costly. But if you have the gun on your hip, you have it right here, right now, no time wasted.
A little story. A few days ago I was home alone. Sasha (our Kuvasz) was downstairs barking at something outside. She came up to my office and parked it in a way to say “Dad, there’s something down there”. I said “OK girl, let’s go check it out”. I let her go down the hallway in front of me. Usually she does not stop at the top of the stairs, but this time she stopped — and started barking. This was peculiar behavior. My immediate reaction? I drew my gun to a retention ready position. An instant later, my brain processed that the alarm wasn’t going off so no one should be in the house. Still, I kept my gun drawn and away we investigated. Turned out to be nothing of consequence, but still… I was set into a high degree of condition orange and didn’t have any time wasted going back to fetch my AR-15. Don’t just think of a handgun as a concealment piece. It’s a tool you can carry thus you should carry. A tool is only useful if you have it when you need it.
* Shotguns – ammo. Yes, the Federal FLITECONTROL is the only stuff worthy of consideration. See my investigation of shotgun ammo. Tom Givens prefers the 8 pellet 00 buck. I’ve been using 9 pellet but will probably switch to 8 once I run out of my supply.
If you can, get the low recoil version. If it’s not labeled as such, look at the velocity. The regular loads will be something like 1300-ish fps, and the low recoil is something like 1145 fps.
Oh, and perhaps a controversial stance but, while I personally prefer a pump action, it’s a more complex manual of arms. If you are selecting this weapon for someone who may not be willing to train that much, you might want to consider a semi-auto shotgun. They generally generate less recoil than a pump. Plus, the manual of arms is generally simpler: point and click, and click again, and click again. Sure if they malfunction it’s a bigger mess, but hopefully if you’re entrusting your life to this gun you’ve done the work to ensure it’s reliable and can feed through with a high degree of confidence. If you can get the low-recoil buck to work with it, great, but it may not cycle… so yes, you better do a lot of testing beforehand.
* Shotguns – reloading. After taking Rangemaster’s Defensive Shotgun course, you realize a big part of working a shotgun is reloading. Practice it. A lot. Get dummy rounds.
* “4. Myth – You should use the firearm you are most comfortable with.”
I’ll agree with his general premise here, because while we’re all most comfortable with a little .22, that’s not the most effective stopper thus you ought to get more comfortable with better systems.
But that said, we should accept that not everyone can work a big rifle or shotgun. Some little arthritic elderly woman may only be able to handle a little .22 pistol. If that’s all she can do, just make sure she gets a heck of a lot of practice with it. So sometimes “comfort” matters.
Really tho, that’s more a matter of ability than comfort. Old_Painless’ point is to not use “comfort” as an excuse, because getting seriously injured or killed will be much more uncomfortable.
Anyways, it’s a good article. Presents the facts well. Alas, I’m sure the myths and misinformation will still float around. But please, do your part to be informed and stop the spread of bad