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Ten Examples of the Internet’s Worst Gun Advice

If someone starts talking to you about "knockdown power" they better be talking about one of these.

If someone starts talking to you about "knockdown power" they better be talking about one of these.

Apparently I’ve taken on a task that it simply not possible without violating several laws of our physical universe—picking only 10 of the worst pieces of shooting advice from the across the vast and vacuous expanse known as the internet.

I stopped counting at 32,987,412,318. But no worries, I’ll persevere.

Here we go, drum roll please…

1. A firearm light or laser will just give away your position!

If the self-defense scenarios swirling around your brain involve moving ninja fights in the dark that emulate Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon moves, you’re absolutely right! A weapon light will give away your position, and your tactical pose hanging from the chandelier will be compromised. In real life, the benefits of seeing where and/or what you’re shooting at far outweigh any realistic disadvantages of “giving away your position.” One more thing, make it a point to tell the hundreds of thousands of military and law enforcement personnel who mount lights and lasers on their guns specifically for the purpose of fighting in the dark that this is a tactical blunder. What do they know anyway?

2. To defend your home, blast your shotgun through the front door!

We all know that politicians are (self-defined) experts in all things. Some of the best (worst!) gun advice in recent history comes from our very own vice president: “[if] you want to keep someone away from your house, just fire the shotgun through the door.” While blasting your shotgun through the door may help you drill a hole for one of those handy peep holes, it won’t help your legal cause in any way, shape, or form. Most likely, this strategy will send you straight to jail. Just ask the Virginia Beach man who actually did this when confronted with two armed and masked home invaders. The bad guys escaped, but the Biden disciple was charged with a crime. The “Biden Defense” is just not likely to yield a positive outcome. Come on, we all know politicians are immune to repercussions from bad behavior. It’s an expected part of the job.

3. Don’t use an AR-15 for home defense!

You might have heard from internet commandos that a “high-powered” .223 round will go clear through your interior and exterior walls, Margaritaville machine, and most of Montana—or maybe that if you torch off a .223 round indoors, the building will explode. Actually, most standard AR-15 ammunition will only go through a few pieces of interior drywall with any significant energy. The projectiles are light and traveling extremely fast. This combination results in rapid tumbling and fragmentation when barriers are hit. While there may be other factors in the debate on using AR-15s for home defense, over-penetration is not one of them—especially when compared to pistol ammunition and buckshot. Of course, exceptions apply if you choose to use ammunition designed to penetrate.

Here's some practical advice: Always keep one hand on the wheel while shooting a tactical rifle from a golf cart.

Here’s some practical advice: always keep one hand on the wheel while shooting a tactical rifle from a golf cart.

4. You should carry your self-defense gun with the chamber empty.

Unless your self-defense gun is a single-action revolver with a hammer-mounted firing pin, that’s almost always bad advice. If you think you can simply keep an eye on things around you so you have plenty of time to draw your gun, and rack the slide, in the event of an attack, try a Tueller drill sometime. It’s enlightening and will quickly relieve you of any security gained by carrying with an empty chamber. Also, please write Hollywood and tell them to stop racking the slide every time someone is about to fire a gun. It’s a waste of perfectly good pretend ammunition.

5. I only train for head shots.

Some of the couch commandos elite-speak of training for head shots to defeat body armor and perhaps save ammunition during these tough economic times. On the range, a cardboard target is pretty darn easy to hit anywhere you like. Now try that while running full speed. Then try that while you and the target are running full speed. Then try it when everyone is running full speed, shouting, and the target is trying to kill you. Enough said.

6. You don’t have to aim a shotgun!

The tireless persistence of this one is incredible. At any reasonable self-defense distance, a shotgun pattern is measured in inches, and when indoors, usually less. Compared to firing a shotgun, you need to aim it less if you were to swing it like a club.

7. Any advice that includes the words “knockdown power.”

Remember Wayne’s brother Isaac? As in Newton? According to him, and word is that he was really, really good at science, if your gun could knock someone down, you would also be knocked down in the process of firing it. In fairness, some people who use this term really mean “stopping power.” Even still, guns, and especially pistols, just make little holes. Rifles make bigger holes, and therefore are more likely to have “stopping power” as big holes in our bodies tend to make us stop and evaluate things. I’m thinking that cannons and howitzers do have “knockdown power,” as the last time I held one and fired it, I was, in fact, knocked down.

8. Standing downrange during training is the best to prepare for a real gunfight!

Unless you’re a special forces operator and need to train with a half-dozen of your buddies who will all be shooting in the same room, you don’t need to be downrange during training. Some schools insist on posting videos of “operators” being as “operate-y” as they possibly can by sending students and instructors downrange so they can hear they bullets fly by. If you want to learn self- and home-defense skills, avoid these schools like you would avoid Justin Bieber’s Tupperware Party.

9. You don’t need an AR-15!

If you’re ever the victim of a home invasion, you “need” about 14 miniguns, a howitzer or two, and a MK-19 Automatic Grenade launcher. Those tools are just not very practical, so you get by with what you have. Allowing people to define “need” is a slippery downhill slope that never ends well. Next time someone tells you that you don’t “need” an AR-15, ask them if they “need” a car that goes faster than 60 miles per hour, bacon or periodic bathing. We don’t “need” anything beyond air, water, shelter and calories.

10. It’s OK, you can ________, because this gun is unloaded!

There’s no scenario where playing with, or pointing, guns is “OK” because a gun is unloaded. Rule one: a gun is always loaded.

These are some of my pet peeves. What say you?

Editor’s note added March 18: This topic sure has generated a lot of discussion! Check out Tom’s follow-up article regarding “knockdown power” and continue the discussion here.

Images by Tom McHale

Any views or opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect those of OutdoorHub. Comments on this article reflect the sole opinions of their writers.
  • shiloh

    I don’t know how many times I’ve been told that a .45 ACP will knock you down wherever you’re hit, like even in the hand. I kinda snicker when I hear that. Also, another one where in a movie a shotgun blast picks up a guy and throws him several feet. It makes me wonder how stupid they think we are.

    • Lawrence Green

      Being thrown backwards by a shotgun blast in a movie is much more believable than being hit in the arm, shoulder, leg or whatever by a .45 or .44 which leaves a blood spot or nothing at all at the point of entry and no exit wound. Then a few minutes later the hero is up and running or engaged in a fist fight or even riding off into the sunset.

    • ScottieDont

      Stupid enough to pay $10 per ticket and $14 for a stale bag of popcorn…?

      • Tarnsy

        icefilmsDOTinfo

        lol

      • Jay Star

        My point exactly! See above comment…

    • Alkemyst

      I am an unabashed .45 ACP apologist. I LOVE the .45, always have, always will. That being said, I personally know at least one person who can do more damage with 1 shot of his 9mm than I can with a whole magazine of .45. Reason? TRAINING…he gots it, I don’t. Shot placement will trump caliber every time. I no longer trumpet the .45 as the end all and be all of the universe. The gun and caliber that works FOR YOU is the end all and be all…from .22 to .50BMG…but I’m not giving up my 1991A1… :)

      • Guy Smalley

        no offence but you must be a losey shot if you can’t do more damage with 8 rds of 45 than one 9 ; )

      • Ed

        these guys are suuuper tactical, they train for one shot, 10 kills, like in Wanted where angelina jolie spins the bullet and kills everyone in a circle! do you even shot placement bro? i took out a chupacabra with a .22LR, but i keep a 9mm because i want more stopping power!

      • USMC and America proud

        WoW!! I do the “One shot, one Kill” thing, but I never did the 10 kills! Wonder where I can train for that? And what did you DO with that Chupacabra?

      • Guy Smalley

        I was talking directly to your point of damage of one 9mm and 8 .45 . But really who cares? You like a 9mm great .45 are good too you shoot what you like but its really just a piece of lead

      • Alkemyst

        Just like I said, my associate has TRAINING…like 90,000 rounds worth. I can probably put rounds more or less where I want them, but I only have 1,500 rounds through my .45. Training, training, training…caliber is almost irrelevant…that and being out of the country for 10 years with no access to my weapons…

      • Guy Smalley

        Alkemyst you make a good point no matter what caliber if you don’t practice its really doesn’t if the bullets miss the mark.

    • mike cumpston

      even if hit on the tip of your pinky finger, It’ll spin you like the knob on an outhouse door.(not)

      • Steven

        I assume the outhouses near you, like those I have seen, don’t have doorknobs.

      • mike cumpston

        when we had them they had a wooden rectangle affixed with a single nail. Give them a flick and they would spin like an airplane propeller. The expression comes from the 29th century or before and apparently they were comfortable with the concept of referring to this method of closure as a “knob.” The outhouses are all gone now- burned up on various college bond fires (also gone as there are no open spaces to hold them and the whineys do not approve of open fires anyway.).

    • LouieF

      The first time I fired a 45acp, I was really surprised to find how little it kicked. I had always heard that it kicked a lot, and it was hard to hit with, when in fact, I found the opposite to be true.

      • antiliberalcryptonite

        Yup. My .45 is smooth as butter, but a friend’s .40 cal…I hate that thing. Snaps the wrist too severely. .45 is much nicer to shoot.

      • TBJWebmaster

        I’ve got a 1911 .45 and a Glock 22 in .40 (amongst other funs). I totally agree with you, the .45 is far more pleasant, even though mine has a lightweight frame (scandium alloy). I told my wife that my 1911 was more pleasant to shoot than her .38 snubbie, and she did not believe me until, after a LOT of persuasion, I persuaded her to try. Now she is convinced, and although she did not trade up to a 1911, at least I have her firing .327 Magnum out of a 4 inch Ruger SP101 – and carrying it.

      • Masta P

        I agree TBJJWebmaster. My wife insisted on her 38 5 shot snub nose Taurus until she shot my S&W .40 or the 9 MM Beretta. Her 38 can be downright uncomfortable and after seeing the flame and smoke our of the chamber, I believe it would be easier to burn yourself accidently if not careful. She has been shooting my Colt 357 and likes it much better.

      • B. Young

        My 15 year old daughter gladly picked and Colt officer’s 1911 over several 9mm’s, revolvers and a Glock 22 .40cal(which has a nasty recoil-imho) she said it had the smoothest recoil. She now has a very nice SS Colt Officer’s .45.

      • Charlie

        a .327 Magnum ?

      • USMC and America proud

        Dodge Magnum with a Chevy engine?

      • Larry Guthrie

        Yes, a 327 magnum. I have one. Ruger GP100 seven shot revolver.

        Very nice gun, ballistics between 9mm and 357 magnum.

      • http://mygunculture.com/ My Gun Culture

        I’ve always wanted to shoot one of those. Would love to have one with maybe a 4″ barrel…

      • Larry Guthrie

        As you know the GP100 is a heavy frame gun, so the ballistics being what they are it is really great to shoot. Just a little more kick than a .22lr. And it is a 4″ barrel. When I bought it I bought 500 rounds of brass, since I figured ammunition was going to be high.

      • US Army (retired)

        I spent 24 years in the US Army and I carried a 1911 for most of those years. It is reliable, has sufficient energy to convince the bad guy to reconsider his intentions. I did not like the Beretta 92 at all. My training was always focused on hitting your target, firing 2 rounds. In Vietnam it didn’t fail on the one occasion I had to use it. I bought a “Baby” Desert Eagle in .40 a few years ago and ended up giving it to my son-in-law as a wedding present. It is also reliable and pretty accurate. I just never liked a DA/SA type of pistol. My old .45 is still with me and I hit what I shoot at.

      • Douglas Maurer

        Uh oh… another tough guy

      • US Army (retired)

        No, not tough just somehow made it through in one piece and grateful to God for it.

      • Brian Kelsey

        Uh oh…another smartass.

    • durabo

      We are VERY stupid, having been conditioned by Hollywood and its know-nothing “operators.” How often do you see Lance Lovely or Brad Beautiful racking the slide while approaching danger? Or a close-up zoom shot of the faces of BB or LL with their fingers in the trigger guard? Or a column of operators single column, each pointing his MP-5 or M-4 at the neck of the preceding operator? The list goes on…

      • carlcasino

        I like the closeup showing the flinch from firing caps!

      • dangerouspatriot

        The only actor I’ve seen that does his pistol the correct way is Steven Segal. When he’s going after a bad guy, he checks his pistol by opening the breech just a little to make sure there’s a round in the chamber so he doesn’t have to rack the damn thing every time he needs to shoot somebody, lol.

      • durabo

        Have you seen the trailers in which Seagal s-l-o-w-l-y rides the slide on his 1911 to seat a round? This may keep the round out of battery, essentially turning a fine 1911 into an impact tool. John M. Browning designed the pistol 103 years ago to be violently charged, not gently stroked. Scummywood again!

      • Earlybird

        Seagal is highly trained in all forms of defense.

      • James

        Most modern handguns will gave a loaded round indicator. No need to check.

        Steven Segal is not exactly the best one to look up to.

      • USMC and America proud

        That’s because Steven is one of a select few ‘actors’ that actually is trained in mortal combat, is actually a member of Arizona Law enforcement, and HAS had to fight to the death!

        One of my other old ‘favorites’ is Audy Murphy, a real war hero from WWII, of whom the story goes that he was asked to participate with other well known ‘cowboy’ film actors in a ‘fast-draw’ contest to see who the ‘best’ was! He declined, but they kept after him until he finally said “Well—OK, with ONE condition!” They asked what, and Audy said “That we use live ammo”! They quit bothering a man that had seen real death up close and personal!

    • Jay Star

      Horrorwood always thinks we are stupid. Look at some of the movies out now if you dont believe me….

    • Paul Dragotto

      SHILO, READ MY POST BUDDY. YOU SAY STUPID , I SAY IGNORANT AND MISINFORMED.

      • Douglas Maurer

        Naw… stupid

  • jollyrogerf14

    I love it! At every gun show I hear “9mm isn’t any good. It won’t stop anybody. You need a 45!” I always want to say that 45 isn’t any good, you need a 44 mag, or a 40mm grenade launcher! Or, I like to ask them if they’ve ever been shot with a .22, and did it hurt if they were? My favorite argument is that hits with anything, hurt more than misses with a 45.

    • ScottieDont

      THANK you. A buddy of mine once argued that .40 S&W was the best round (EVAR, YOU GUYS), and that anything less was incapable of any appreciable “stopping power” (like no one ever died before .40 was invented…/facepalm). I have a dumb buddy.

      I calmly agreed with him, and offered to prove it by telling him I’d take my 10-year-old daughter’s Cricket .22 and shoot him in the chest, so he could brush it off like a flyswatter against a Sherman tank. You know, to prove “science” wrong, and whatnot.

      Oddly, he declined. Go fig.

      • Mark

        I’ve used a similar argument many times: “I’ll let you shoot me twice with your (insert superior ‘knock down’ cartridge here) if you will first let me shoot you twice with my .22LR.” Similarly, again, no one has taken me up on it. BTW, I do carry a .40 cal as my CCW. But just because you have the numbers doesn’t mean you get to believe dumb stuff.

      • ScottieDont

        Well played. I’ll be stealing that tactic.

        I used to carry a Glock 23 for defense, but I gave it to my dad for his carry when I got my Shield 9mm. Caliber doesn’t matter when you can put shots on target.

      • David

        I am a big believer in the little 22. People don’t realize how dangerous it really is. The little bullet has the bad habit of ricocheting around in the if it hits a bone (proven fact), it also will travel up a main artery and “can” end up in the heart, (proven doctor facts). So you could hit them in the heart but be off by a foot or two if it hits right. Also, in close encounters, ever get hit in the face from a 22 loaded with varmint or rat shot? It will give you a case of permanent acne and easy for the cops to find. Never underestimate anything that goes bang no matter how small it is. Also for the snipers out there, one shot in the neck with any kind of hollow point will do the job.

      • Azbearhuntr

        David, not saying a 22 can’t kill but when you look at actual real life shootings the 22 is about 1/4 to 1/3 as effective at incapacitating a person compared to a 9mm, 40, 45, 357, 10mm, etc. Regardless of neck shots or artery traveling bullets ;)

      • Manuel

        In Birmingham Al a friend of mine named dude was shot three times in the chest with a 22 in and around his heart.. Dude still beat the stuffing out of the guy who shot him on a Friday night.. and went to work on Monday. He did have the bullets removed in a hospital as he couldn’t spit them out.

      • Kathryn

        Australian jogger killed by “bored” punks in Oklahoma was shot with a .22 revolver. They stopped him with the first shot then finished him off while he was down on the ground. I imagine he would disagree with the argument that a .22 wasn’t lethal enough.

        Do I carry a .22 for protection? No, but if that was all I had I would prefer it to nothing at all. Getting shot hurts no matter the caliber. If you want to use the “hopped up on drugs” argument, remember that those people can sometimes keep going after being shot by larger calibers as well.

    • Guest

      I agree. I think I need a 40mm grenade launcher. Preferably one with an automatic rate of fire. If it were ever legal to do so, I’d be all over that like white on rice.

    • Cougar Smith

      My .40S&W is my best weapon and that has nothing to do with the caliber. The reason is that i’m most accurate, fast, and confident with my Beretta. (note: I own 22’s, magnum revolvers, several 380’s and 1911 45’s) It’s ALL about shot placement, NOT caliber, and NOT brand of firearm)

    • carlcasino

      Never been shot but I will unload avery magazine I own on a guy weilding a knife. You want pain? Don’t try it and the infection was worse than the pain.

  • Lawrence Green

    :) Movie actors or directors find pleasure in “racking the slide” as a sign they are ready for action. Even more obvious in Westerns with a lever action. Have you noticed they rarely let the hammer down before handing the rifle to a child, or leaning it up against a tree.

    • Connor Brewer

      How about when they rack it in one scene, then rack it again in another scene immediately following, and no shell is ejected. GAHHH

      • Katherine Kingsbury

        or they fire forty rounds from a six-shooter

    • Thomas Petrik

      May favorite is the pump action sound on a double barrel sawed off shoot gun especially when they actually show it being reloaded after every 2 shoots.

    • velojym

      Or, when they don’t rack it, yet the sound effect still happens when the actor raises the piece. Always got a kick outta that one.

    • tkdkerry

      I think my favorite was a terrible B sci-fi movie where an AR-15 was charged every time it was fired, AND it was obvious there was no magazine inserted.

  • Azbearhuntr

    When someone new to shooting asks an “expert” what gun they should get. This”expert” then tells them an exact make, model, caliber, and finish. Drives me nuts, you don’t know if it will fit their hand or even what the newbie plans on using it for among other things.

    • Dave

      Yep. Better to get something that you can shoot accurately and comfortably.

      • MikeS

        Well said and very important. I took my wife shopping for a cc weapon. We had looked at pictures, articles and reviews. We had a notion on what I thought she might like. We spent an entire day visiting half a dozen gun stores and speaking to people we encountered before we settled on a quality product that fit her hand correctly and comfortably. It was not what we had originally envisioned. She qualified well with it.

      • USMC and America proud

        Or at ALL! I have a female friend that is getting her CCW, and they advised her to get a Glock 19! She thought I was kidding her when I busted out laughing! “Well YOU have one!!” she retorted! We were out and about, so I took her into Academy Sports, and went to the firearms counter, asked the guy to let her see the Glock! He handed it to her, and I said “Rack it!”
        Needless to say, if you CAN’T rack the pistol……..

      • Dave

        If I may,

        When it comes to racking the slide, most men do it wrong. Because we usually have plenty of upper body strength, we tend to do the cross-body check or rack. Women often don’t have the upper body strength to do this without some practice. However, this points the firearm in the wrong direction.

        Instead, try this: Keeping the firearm pointed forward, tilt the top of the handgun toward the secondary/support hand. Grab the slide with the secondary/support hand. Now, using the shoulders, simultaneously push forward with the primary hand and pull back on the rack. When you hit the slide stop, let go with the secondary/support hand. One of the keys is to use the shoulders — men will try to muscle it using arm strength — but if the shoulders are used, it creates a natural cam action and allows just about anyone, regardless of strength, to rack the slide. I have used this method to teach a lot of women and other people without a lot of upper body strength, including younger kids.

      • tired of extremes

        Not sure how many remember service days when 45 was the gun, and how yahoo’s shot selves or nearly did with a tricked up “rack it in the holster”, and act often done by various guards etc during boring midnight hours playing Wytt. Note many in service they that fired 45’s due to some reg, ended up thinking “45”, meant max range to hit something 4-5 feet as range guns not that great.

      • Austin Mabry

        Exactly. There’s no reason that even a young child can’t be taught to properly rack the slide of most automatic handguns.

        Unless, of course, their ‘teacher’ either doesn’t know, or doesn’t care to show them.

      • Azbearhuntr

        Great point! With a stock recoil spring weight of 17 or 18 pounds almost anyone should be able to rack the slide of a glock.

    • Katherine Kingsbury

      that is a very good point. someone always wants to tell me what to buy (almost always involves the term “knockdown” power) but I have very small hands. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve fired a fully automatic .50 cal, but for a carry weapon, I want something that fits me well, and won’t break my arm every time I want to target practice.

    • Kathryn

      I just love the salesmen who point women new to shooting toward the pink LCP. I have stopped while walking by and advised them to shoot one before they decide that is what they want. The recoil combined with the diminutive size makes accuracy with an LCP pretty poor for most shooters. “Because it’s pink and fits in my tiny purse” is not the best reason to choose a gun for self-defense.

  • Monty Davis

    I was taught and taught my childern 1) never pick up any firearm without checking to see if it was loaded and never point at anything you don’t intend to shoot. I too have heard most of what is posted in the article. Most are either liberal politicalcorrect speak easy, specially about discharging your firearm out the door.

    • MSC

      Great just what I needed … A LOT more range/class/hands on/listen to those who know .. time !! Very informative .. Thanks guys.

  • Dan Schott

    Great words, Tom. Every guy that works behind a counter at the gun store, PLEASE read this article — commit it to memory — and end the nonsense. I’m sharing this one.

    • Steven

      If they NEED to commit it to memory, the shouldn’t be working at a gun store. I am nowhere near qualified for such a job, and none of this is news to me.

  • Sean Sorrentino

    I’ve always liked the “lasers/lights give away your position.” No, jackass, me screaming “I’ve got a gun and I’ll shoot your ass if you don’t get out of my house right now!” is what’s going to give away my position. I want them to know clearly where I am and what I’m about to do so they can make informed decisions about their future actions.

    Now, if I was planning on fighting in the jungle against a hostile force of VC, I might try to be stealthy so I could get the drop on them. In my own house, I’m just trying to get them to run away before things get ugly.

    • http://mygunculture.com/ My Gun Culture

      This!!! ^^^

    • Mike Irwin

      My problem with weapon lights is that they generally tend to blind both your target and dazzle you. I’m more of a night sights fan, myself.

      • http://mygunculture.com/ My Gun Culture

        Mike – I saw a new product from Princeton Tec that was a great solution to the home defense “too much light” problem. It was a weapon light that was only about 20 lumens. Plenty to light up a room (enough) but not so much that it glares back at you. Interesting approach.

      • Dave

        However, if the light is to be used as a weapon, you want something on the order of 65 lumen or more. One trick, keep one eye closed while the light is on. Open both when the light is off or when shooting.

      • GolfKartDrivingZombieKiller

        I like the; keep both eyes open routine with the light on and both eyes closed when firing with the lights off.

      • Mike Irwin

        That’s a step in the right direction. What might be an even better solution would be a light with variable light levels to allow you to select the appropriate amount of light for the situation.

  • DaSarge

    A person hit with a shotgun will sort of tumble really hard, and to the unready it may actually look like they got “thrown thru the air” about ten feet. In reality, they got knocked sidewise really hard, or frontwise, or thrown backwards, whatever. Shotguns DO have a lotta knockdown power and when they hit at close range they cause incredible damage. It may take several shots from a “high powered” handgun to do the job on an assailant, but not with a shotgun. That CAN tear off a hand, or a part of an arm, or even leave your lower leg hanging literally by a thread of flesh. I was a Paramedic for 30 years, and I HAVE SEEN IT. But a .38, at 110 grns, traveling at app 1150fps will hit you with enough energy to travel about 10″ or so thru the human body. No special round, nothing fancy there. That is a lotta energy staying within the human body; kinda like getting smacked in the breadbasket with an 80 lb dumbbell really really hard.
    IS THIS what we are talking about? That might serve to clear up “knockdown power”. But you ARE correct about the Internet and couch commandos. That’s gotta stop. Only listen to those people who you KNOW may have accurate facts to give; and always remember to trust, but verify. There is no room for mistakes of any kind when shooting. By the way, I carry a .45 acp all the time, for about 38 years now. Been serious handgun target shooting since age 11.

    • Connor Brewer

      ^^This might be the definition of keyboard ranger. Im not saying you did or didn’t do, but to those of us who don’t know you, it all looks the same.

    • Jasen Phelps

      Please explain this “knockdown power” to all the birds I’ve shot in my life. The damn things owe me a much better show than they’ve been giving me. I was a Boston paramedic and I’ve never seen anybody travel from the point of impact, unless they moved by their own power.

      • ScottieDont

        I suggest watching the relevant “Mythbusters” episode. They hung a dummy on a hook so lightly, a stuff breeze would’ve knocked it off, but round after round, it just stood there, until they finally dropped it (DROPPED, not blasted out of its socks) with a .50.

        Myth: busted.

    • tired of extremes

      many worship 9MM but look down on 38 as loser round, but forget that 45 was replaced by military due to NATO 90mm uses. Reality is 38 hits harder then 9, and the over overlooked 38 super is ideal auto. But not for carry as the hot loads should not be used in public areas, just to much energy floating about. Also overlooked is 44 spl, probably one of most accurate cals going. Ideal carry round would never exit what it hit,

      And by the way, big over paranoid reaction to the smart guns. They do have their place in homes, etc, Way to many kids shot with guns at home and is great safety idea. But some of the posts on site about the smart guns were really over the edge. Lot qui9cker to use then a gun lock

    • Bill Blake

      I’ve seen videos of people who were shot that appeared to be knocked down, but in truth it was the movement of the victim’s own muscles. The brain, muscles, and nervous system do a lot of work just for a person to stand up, when you put stuff that’s not supposed to be there in that system at high speed, you can occasionally get some pretty odd reflexive reactions. Even a toddler can push harder than the largest shoulder fired gun, they simply do not carry enough energy.

  • Ross

    “One more thing, make it a point to tell the hundreds of thousands of
    military and law enforcement personnel who mount lights and lasers on
    their guns specifically for the purpose of fighting in the dark that
    this is a tactical blunder. What do they know anyway?”
    The sad fact is that most police officers are far from firearms experts. Many, if not most, carry the gun issued or required by their department. Many, if not most, shoot only once or twice a year when required to requalify. Most casual gun enthusiasts know far more about guns than most of the LEO’s that I have spoken with.

    • Connor Brewer

      The LEO standing behind Senator Kevin de Leon (CA) during his speech on “ghost guns shooting 30 caliber magazine clips in half a second” keeping a straight face really inspired confidence…

      • MamaK

        He proved he had enormous self-control and extreme situational awareness…

    • Siobhan_McCallen

      I once WATCHED as a LEO did his quals at a local range. He fired a full load of 9mm at a paper half-size silhouette about 10 yards downrange. Then he pulled the COMPLETELY UNTOUCHED target back, stared at it, then used a pencil to punch holes near center of mass in a nice pattern. Then he took it down, signed it, dated it, and put it in his gear bag. I also had to duck once when a LEO decided to talk with his hands while holding a handgun, waving it all around. When he muzzle-covered me across the face, I dropped to the floor, screaming at him to stop. He looked at me with utter incomprehension.

      Many cops do not know jack s**t about guns, except that they have to carry one, this is the bang switch, and you point THAT hole at the bad guy.

    • Jeff Acheson

      More importantly the military largely owns the darkness through the use of night vision devices not lights and lasers. They do use laser and illumination systems, but those are often keyed to operate in conjunction with the NVDs in non-visual wavelengths. This is specifically so they don’t give up their position to an enemy force not equipped with night vision.

      • http://www.m4040.com/ M40

        Agreed. Using a tac light held in front of you (the way they do in the movies and TV) is a recipe to get yourself killed. Likewise for mounting the light directly on the weapon. Searching for a hidden target by flashlight allows them to see you coming long before you spot them, and that gives them the edge. All they need to do is aim for the light and open fire.

        This is how I was taught (by a guy who taught tactical shooting skills to the state police for 30 years or so). I’m left-handed, so my gun is in my left hand in front of me where I can see the sights. When using a light, it’s in the off-hand (my right hand) and extended as far to the right as my arm will reach. In closer confines where I can’t extend my arm to the side, I’ll hold it above me as high as I can. Anyone shooting at the light source is pretty much shooting at air (with only a small chance of hitting my off hand).

  • Doc_AH

    I agree with most of what you have said. With the exception of knock down power. With a rifle the acceleration is built up over the length of the barrel. On impact the deceleration is inches, and the target is usually not bracing for it. That being said I’ve seen deer and elk flipped on their backs when hit by a rifle round. And I’ve seen inexperienced shooter knocked on their butt while shooting too. Secondly any gun can kill, but that does not mean any gun is good for home defense, a 22 is one of those.

    • Guest_39280035

      I’ve never seen an animal ‘flip’ when I or someone else has shot it (aside from tumbling when shot on the run), but they definitely don’t fall toward the shooter either.

      • Roger Bence

        i have a springfield 9 mil dx sub compact and shoot copper jacketed hollowpoints 140 gr at 1200fps and 421 ft lbs impact at 30 yards and believe me a center mass impact will definitely knock any attacker on their ass and if they dont go down they will certainly be backed up point of entry is less the 1 inch diameter but exit if it goes thru is 3 to 4 inches

    • Tarnsy

      The tumble those animals take is due to their own muscles. It’s the muscles in the body tensing and firing way harder than they do under conscience direction.

      Take the equal and opposite reaction thing for what it is, a truth of physics. Shooter would have to be knocked back equally and no amount of bracing is going to account for the target flying off somewhere.

      • http://mygunculture.com/ My Gun Culture

        Exactly my point. Damage and “energy” are very different things. The pure energy at the target is the same as what pushes back at you – no “energy” is created during bullet flight. Because Physics ‘R Physics…

      • Dave

        Taking the damage vs energy thing further, a buddy who is far better versed in ballistics and wounding than I am likes to separate terminal ballistics from terminal performance. He likes to explain energy and damage by comparing to a car with lots of power and ratty tires vs a car with moderate power and great tires — guess which one will accelerate better.

      • Foo

        Less energy, actually, since the bullet loses velocity due to the air. But the guest above has a good point, Force = mass * acceleration, so the force the bullet imparts on the target would only be the same if the bullet accelerates from speed to zero in the same distance (penetration) as it accelerates from zero to speed in the length of the barrel.

      • Dave

        Actually, when it comes to knocking something down, the figure to use is momentum, not kinetic energy.

    • Dave

      “That being said I’ve seen deer and elk flipped on their backs when hit by a rifle round. ”

      What you have seen is a physiologic reaction cause by nerves and muscle, not a physics reaction. A bullet cannot flip a deer or elk, but if the deer or elk jump, they can flip.

  • GatFacts

    I’ve cataloged just over 400 of these “nuggets of wisdom.” Check out my Twitter for more @therealgatfacts!

  • Robert C

    How about those fancy pointy edged that are supposed to work like an ice pick mounted to a blender, or some equally incredulous BS?

    • Robert C

      Er, bullets. Fancy pointy edged bullets.

    • http://mygunculture.com/ My Gun Culture

      Now if I could only figure out how to fire a blender with ice picks attached :-)

    • velojym

      Well, a fancy bullet that spreads out with the pointy sharp teeth (like the Black Talon of lore) still only spins at the rate of the pistol’s rifling. To keep it simple, let’s say 1/10″.
      So… if the bullet penetrates 10″ into the perp’s body, it’s only turned around once. Hardly a buzz-saw effect, though the points may do more damage than those “safe” bullets… you know, the ones that come with their own little condoms.

      • Dave

        “So… if the bullet penetrates 10″ into the perp’s body, it’s only turned around once.”

        In reality, that is not how it works out. Forward velocity is shed faster than the rotational velocity when the bullet enters a denser media, resulting in a faster rate of twist. That 1 twist in 10 inches in the barrel or in the air can become 1 twist in 1 inch when the bullet enters denser media.

      • Roger Bence

        it aint the rotation that causes damage to the attacker/target it is the mushrooming/ flair of the pointy segments, bullet enters body just starting to mushroom, on impact mushrooms to the extreme tearing and shredding everything in its path and exiting out the back leaving a 4 inch hole if enuf velocity still exists to carry it thru

    • Dread Karl

      Those things are a jam looking for a weapon to happen in.

  • Jack Nextdoor

    I had somebody try to tell me there’s no such thing as “stopping power”…

    • greree

      I would be one of the ones that would tell you that. Which has more stopping power, a.44 Magnum, or a .22 pistol?

      • Jack Nextdoor

        A 44 magnum. That isn’t to say that you can’t kill someone with a 22. That isn’t to say that shot placement isn’t important. That isn’t to say that .22 isn’t dangerous, and it doesn’t deny that a lot of people die from being shot by .22 (largely because of how widespread the round is and how concealable it is).

        But if you were hiking out in bear country, would you rather have a .44 magnum revolver or a .22 pistol? If you do think a .44 magnum will stop a grizzly, and you don’t think a .22 pistol will stop a grizzly, then you’ve already made a decision on which one has more “stopping power”.

      • Ted

        Nicely said Jack!

      • Roger Bence

        .44 hollow point copper jacket will take ur whole head off at 50 feet with center impact

    • MamaK

      I think this, and most of the comments here, are semantic arguments. If we all defined our terms clearly and agreed on their proper usage, most of the posturing and nitpicking would go away. Not all of it, though; some will always stick to erroneous beliefs even in the face of incontrovertible logic.

      • http://mygunculture.com/ My Gun Culture

        We all get wrapped up in that, don’t we? “Stopping power” is a perfect example. People “stop” for all sorts of reasons. Physical incapacitation, fear, lack of will, and just because they don’t want to get shot anymore! It’s impossible to assign performance of any projectile to “stopping power” without considering all the other factors that cause someone to “stop.”

      • Jack Nextdoor

        I define stopping power as muzzle energy and don’t limit its application to defensive firearm usage against people. Muzzle energy is measurable. If you look at hunting, and the different rounds considered acceptable for hunting different types of game, then it’s clear that there is a hierarchy of caliber/gauge and “stopping power”. You don’t hunt deer with #7 birdshot. You don’t hunt coyotes with .460 Weatherby Magnum. Clearly different rounds have different levels of stopping power.

        That being said, there’s a wide range of latitude in which caliber will be effective for defensive firearm usage against humans. “Stopping power” is not the only factor to consider. You also have magazine capacity, overpenetration, concealability, comfort to use, familiarity, and so on. I would argue that, demonstrably, a .44 magnum 6 shot revolver has more stopping power than a 9mm Ruger P95. But if all 6 shots miss and the recoil knocks the damn thing out of your hands, that doesn’t help you much in a firefight.

        Stopping power *is* a thing, but it’s also not something that matters if you miss.

      • Dave

        I think that considering “stopping power” and kinetic energy (muzzle energy is merely KE calculated at within 10 ft of the muzzle) leads to a lot of confusion and bad assumptions. People put way too much emphasis on KE.

        Stopping power is merely damage + placement. KE is the POTENTIAL to do damage, but bullet design is going to be a big factor in real damage and is what taps into KE. Like my buddy says, KE is like the horsepower of a car and things like the transmission and the tires are the bullet. You can have lots of horsepower, but with ratty tires or incorrect tranny, your performance may be less than a car with much less horsepower and the correct tranny and great tires because it can hook-up better on launch. Same for real damage — tons of KE are great, but if you can’t ‘hook-up’ via a good projectile, your damage will not be as great as a better projectile with lesser KE. And then the damage has to be in the correct spot to cause the bad guy to stop. Hit him in a vital zone with a lesser damaging load and he will likely stop — hit him in a non-vital zone but with a lot of damage, you may still have a threat on your hands.

        This is opposed to “knock down power”, which is actually momentum.

  • Mike Irwin

    Everyone knows that the .45 is so powerful that, if it hits you even in the little finger, it will cause such effects that all of your organs, bones, and other bodily contents are ejected through your ears, leaving nothing but a skin bag on the ground.

    • http://mygunculture.com/ My Gun Culture

      Of course you know that a stray .45 ACP round destroyed the city of Dresden in WWII right? I heard it was true :-)

      • Mike Irwin

        Yep. The Allies had to send in over 1,000 heavy bombers to cover up the .45’s capabilities and power.

  • Gunsafetypro

    Nice. Thanks.

  • Dave

    To be honest, a lot of the lasers used by the military are not visible spectrum, except during house clearing operations when giving away your position is not a huge concern. BTDT.

    • Roger Bence

      laser site is intended for fast target acquisition and fire negating the position give away.you locate target assume general aim, activate laser, center on central mass, fire 2 quick rounds and kill the laser target is down and no one else has chance to locate direction of shot except from muzzle flash

      • Dave

        “laser site is intended for fast target acquisition and fire negating the position give away.”

        Correct. Lasers giving away position may be a factor in open area military battles (which is when the military tends to use non-visible lasers). In clearing operations, the dynamics are pretty much as you stated and therefore giving away your position is not a concern. For defensive shooting, the laser is not really an impairment. Though I do agree with another poster here that relying on lasers can lead to some bad habits.

  • Thomas Petrik

    Why I do love trolling ammo fan boys especially the 9 mm for 2 reasons I am a .45 fan boy and they are as easy to spin up as glock fans are. But in reality the caliber of the bullet doesn’t mean a darn thing if you can’t control the gun. What is more effective a direct hit with a .22 or a miss with a 500 S&W magnum that hurts you to bad to fire again.

  • Guest

    I’d question #1 on the point of military uses of lasers. These lasers use a frequency outside of the visible light spectrum and are meant to be paired with night vision goggles. This is done for exactly the reason listed: you do not want to give away your position at night. But not giving away a fighting position when facing a horde of screaming Chinese is a different scenario than home defense, and I can’t criticize the point too much.

    I’d also question whether you need to aim with a shotgun. I have AR-15s for home defense. There are about two spots in my home where I can draw a line greater than 20 meters. Most places have a lot less space. In any spot I could hit my target by aiming down the barrel. I’d think a shotgun would be somewhat similar in this respect.

    Good article.

  • http://www.the-eggman.com/ TS Eggleston

    Dear Hollywood: Hiding behind a drywall partition, or a turned over barroom table won’t protect you from anything bigger than a pellet gun.

    I’ve been hit by a .38 spl. while wearing a vest and, it IS like getting hit in the chest with a baseball bat. Whether it’s a light fast round, or a slower, heavier one, it’s the total energy expended in the target that “knocks down.” A .50 Cal steel jacket probably won’t “knock you down” as it passes through, but it will sure as hell stop you in your tracks.

    • Rucker61

      Question on getting shot – were you fully mission capable right away, or did it take you some time to get going again?

      • Dave

        It depends on the body armor and the threat level it is rated for. Some people don’t even know they have been hit until after things calm down. The biggest issue will be the amount of backface deformation — high threat level armor will have less than lower threat level armor and rigid armor will have very little. If you are wearing level IIa, a .38 Special is going to hurt. If you are wearing level III, you might not even notice.

      • Rucker61

        Thanks, good to know. Try to avoid further experimentation.

  • oldbill

    I’m uncomfortable with a loaded single action gun sitting around on safe. I carry a DAO .380 or 38 Special snub. By the bed I have a DA/SA 45 with no round in the chamber. I would keep a double barrel by the bed but the 20 gauge is a single action with a safety and the 12 gauge is a sidelock. I have kept a single shot 20 gauge by the bed and a pump 12 gauge with no round in the chamber. If I had time to prepare for a home invader in the middle of the night, and knew he was coming, I would get in my Mercury Grand Marquis and be several hundred miles away. I have a S&W 500 Magnum that has never been put by the bed. The idea that a 22 LR is just as good as a 45 ACP flies in the face of history. I have an 18 1/2 unchoked barrel on my pump 12 gauge and it patters a foot at 10 feet with buck shot. It’s easier to aim in poor lighting at a human outline in a doorway. It does have to be aimed, but I only need to see the end of the barrel.

    • Dave

      If you are uncomfortable doing something, then I am not going to tell you to do it, but most modern SA handguns with an external safety can be safely carried with one in the pipe. Same thing for DA/SA handguns. DAOs and their pre-tensioned/partially c cked variants such as the Glock or XD are extremely safe with one in the pipe. As for your pattern from a straight cylinder (unchoked) shotgun, at 10 feet it will be more like 5 inches.

  • oldbill

    The load I shoot in the 500 Magnum has 2,500 foot pounds at the muzzle. At 25 yards, this is down to perhaps 1,900 foot pounds. If it hits a target at 5′ above the ground, that generates 9,500 foot pounds of torque relative to the feet on the ground. I use 440 grain gas checked lead flat nose bullets made of wheel weight lead (almost pure lead), so it is possible that all or most of the energy is absorbed by the target. A 200# man is going to do more than say “Ouch” and shake his arm. The heavier the round and the faster it is moving, the more energy the target must absorb, if the round does not pass through the target (wasted energy).

  • Dave

    When it comes to things/people/animals being “knocked” around, one of the most fundamental mistakes people make is to assume that the kinetic energy is the number to use. The actual figure that people need to look at is momentum, not energy.
    A typical .357 magnum 125 gr bullet moving 1300 fps has a KE figure of 487 ft. lbs, but a momentum of only 0.722 lbs ft/s. People incorrectly assume that the KE figure means this will throw a person back a couple feet. Here is what really happens:

    That 125 gr bullet works out to 0.01786 pounds. When converted to mass, it is is about 0.000555 pounds (yes, I know lbs are a measurement of weight, grams are mass, but we’ll stick to one unit to make things easier — it will work out the same in the end). Momentum is simple mass x velocity, rendering a momentum of about 0.722. Now, if said bullet hits a 170 lb object, such as a person, and dumps all of its energy without exiting, we can figure out the following. 170 lbs works out to about 5.2844 lbs mass. Add the mass of the bullet to bring it up to about 5.285 lbs mass. Because of the laws of conservation of momentum, we can work the 0.722 momentum and 5.285 lbs mass backwards to get the resultant velocity of the person (+ bullet since it did not exit). That velocity is 0.137 fps, or about one foot in 7.32 seconds. IOW, it can’t possibly throw people around like the movies portray. The best you can hope for is that it pushes someone off balance just enough that they fall.

    • Dave

      So, what happens to that 487 ft. lbs of energy? Well, since energy cannot be created or destroyed, it has to be converted. The vast majority of the energy figure is converted into heat as the bullet deforms and tears into the target. Only a fraction of it is actually translated into overall movement of the target.

  • John Van Stry

    I disagree with #1, but only for flashlights, not necessarily for lasers. A light gives people a target to shoot at. Back in the day I was taught that if you HAD to shine a light, you held it at arm’s length. Police and such are usually inside a building, or other more confined space where everyone probably has a good idea where you are, or the police are responding with overwhelming firepower.
    The only light I will ever mount on a gun is a infrared one, and I’ll just use a night scope. I don’t like hanging targets on myself.

  • http://www.rangehot.com Hunter

    All great examples.
    One that always gets me is, get a pump shotgun and if someone is breaking into your house just rack the slide, that will scare them away. I am all about the pump shot gun if that is what you like but if it is your defensive firearm and you have an empty chamber just waiting to rack the slide and scare off the intruder, you are way behind the 8 ball.

    • Dave

      You are 100% correct. The racking of a shotgun myth is probably one of the most annoying ones I encounter. Relying on sound for defense is foolish.

      • http://mygunculture.com/ My Gun Culture

        I might have to respectfully disagree with the premise that sound cannot be an effective defense. What if I played Justin Bieber’s Greatest Hits really, really, really loud? Bet you didn’t think of that :-)

      • http://www.rangehot.com rangehot.com

        Well, you have me there with the Bieber music (and I am using the term music very loosely here), but if I were shooting super sonic ammunition would not the round reach the target before the offending music reached my ears?

      • http://mygunculture.com/ My Gun Culture

        OMG! You just inspired the greatest invention idea ever! A Bieber Suppressor. And the best part is that it probably wouldn’t need a BATFE Tax stamp!

      • http://www.rangehot.com rangehot.com

        You are too late, I applied for a patent but it was turned down as combining a destructive device with cruel and usual punishment.

  • Mike Ackermann

    What say I? Excellent advice and thank you!

  • coreyr1

    I hear y’all, talking about shot placement and the like. I think a lot of you, when you hear people arguing .45 over 9mm are probably hearing veterans arguing the Army’s adoption of 9mm, and thereby forcing it on everyone, over the tried and true .45. Especially since 9mm failed field trials every time it was evaluated.

    Now, it is true that in the hands of a super shot and with great shot placement, even a .22LR may get the job done. However, for general issue to the military, nothing beat the .45.
    Oh and the 5.56 rifle is a total joke. To quote one of my favorite authors, “Our republic started going to hell in a hand bag when our army switched from a round designed to kill the enemy to one designed to merely piss them off!”
    You have to remember that there is a big difference when your day to day job description includes the phrase, “…to close with and KILL the enemy…” and what everybody else wants for defensive carry or home defense or even for police work.

    • http://mygunculture.com/ My Gun Culture

      The big difference to consider between military and civilian self defense is the ability to use modern expanding ammunition. “Ball” full metal jacket 9mm passes right through things incredibly easily, which (in my opinion, key word being opinion) explains most of the issues the military has experienced with poor 9mm performance. In police use, 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP have just about the same statistical “one shot stop” performance. Then again, police can use modern expanding ammunition.

      • coreyr1

        If you want to look at “one shot stop” ratios then please do. The FBI keeps stats on this and .45 in Hydro shock, at least through a couple of years ago was coming out, hands down, above 9mm. Something like 99.5% OSS, for .45 to around 88.3% for the best performing 9mm round, I am thinking that was Golden Sabers but do not quote me it has been awhile since I read the FBI’s report there.
        Yes, the military uses “ball” ammo and civilians and police tend to use any one of a number of “expanding” ammunitions. I have worked both proffessions all of my adult life and have some practical experience here. Let us look at the military use of ball ammo for a moment.
        When the Army first field trialed 9mm and .45, during the Philipine insurection, around 1900, it was found that it took numerous 9mm rounds to stop a charging Moro tribesman where one .45 round would do the job nicely. In todays conclicts, in Iraq and Afgahnistan, our troops are finding the same thing. This translated into how much kinetic energy the round is transmitting into the target. .45, even in ball form, dumps virtually all of its kinetic energy into the target. This is where you get the phrase “knock down power.” 9mm, even in an expanding round, tends to pass through the target transferiing little or no kinetic energy.
        I do not claim the .45 ACP is the “end all, be all” by any means. It has its detractors, being aweful BIG for concealed carry being one of the biggys.
        Of course, as you said, “shot placement” makes up for a lot. Even with little energy transfer, if the round passes through the heart or another vital organ…well, even a .22LR can put someone down. I just prefer a little more, shall we say, “leeway?”
        BTW, if you have the most recent FBI stats, I would love to see them, my job used to involve looking that up and it does not anymore. I just have not had casue to until this discussion. I doubt they have changed much though. They had held pretty steady since the FBI started keeping them.

      • Dave

        Much of your information is incorrect. For example, “9mm, even in an expanding round, tends to pass through the target transferiing little or no kinetic energy.” — this statement is completely and utterly false. Take a look at the massive amount of information available for the 9 mm and you will see that expanding 9 mm do not tend to pass through and will dump massive amounts of KE.

        “during the Philipine insurection, around 1900, it was found that it took numerous 9mm rounds to stop a charging Moro tribesman where one .45 round would do the job nicely. ” — you are thinking of the .38 Long Colt, not the 9 mm.

      • coreyr1

        Please do not be so bold as to tell me what I am “thinking of.” No, I am specifically “thinking of” 9mm. Yes, .38 Long Colt, and several others also failed the the field trials in 1900. 9mm Also failed the ones held in the mid 80’s yet was adopted anyway.
        As I stated, my statement about 9mm, not transferring KE into the target, is based on the FBI’s “one shot stop” stats and empirical evidence from troops in the field, both a century ago and today. Yours is based on what, other than just, “your wrong?”
        Just out of curiosity, have you ever actually seen the wound caused by 9mm round? A .22LR? A .38 Special? or a .45 ACP? I have, up close. I know what I am talking about here.
        I have seen a drug dealer shoot another dealer 5 times in the chest from 5 feet with a 9mm. I do not know the ammunition but the were hollow points. Every round fully penetrated and embedded in the eall behind the victim. Yes, the man died, most of the round passed through his heart and lungs. I suppose we can call that one “shot placement.
        I have also seen a 19 year old girl shot with a .45 from so close that there was stipling around the wound. The ammunition was 230gr Hydro-shok. I disarmed the shooter while her father yelled, “you’ve got to save my little girl” and I thought, “you’ve got to be kidding!” I was stunned to find that there was no exit wound. Just a look of total surprise, frozen on her face that will stay with me forever.
        I am not speaking from some armchair, “i read this in guns and ammo” viewpoint. I have been there and seen it in person.
        Write your stupid “article” all you want. I have offered my experience and I know what I have seen.

      • Dave

        I have seen people hit with a number of different calibers and loads including 9 mm and .45 ACP. Which is why I can state with some certainty that your info is wrong. You confuse “FBI’s “one shot stop” stats” and energy transfer. “Troops in the field”, would imply military, who only use FMJ. I have seen .45 FMJ pass right through and 9 mm FMJ pass right through. When you start looking at decent ammo such as carried for defense or by police, the 9 mm does not pass through any more than .45.

        You also confuse the Philippine fighting when the Moros were shot with the trials. In the Philippine fighting it was the .38 Long Colt, not the 9 mm, that the US used and found lacking.

        Quite frankly, you are exactly the kind of blow hard who spreads bad information and refuses to learn even when the anvil falls on your head.

        Learn some history and read some of the outstanding material put out by Drs fackler and Roberts and Duncan MacPherson.

  • arealpatriot

    It is funny to see all of these diehard .45 fans that think there is nothing better. The truth is that there is very little difference between most handgun ammunition as far as effectiveness. I have 9mm’s, .40’s and .45’s and I always carry my Glock 19 9mm. Todays modern ammunition technology has closed the gap between these three and most of the others. I also always carry two extra 15 round magazines giving me a total of 45 rounds at all times. I would much rather have more of 9mm then fewer .45’s. It is also easier to shoot a 9mm well. Shot placement is the key.

  • Mark Davis

    “If you have to shoot someone in your yard, drag them into the house before you call the police.” That little gem is pure poison. Forensic science being what it is, if you choose to follow this advice, you’ll most likely be going to prison for a long time even of the shooting was justified.

  • Iron Mike

    Good article except no. 10 should be no. 1.

  • Kurt Cook

    I keep the bayonet fixed on my Mosin-Nagant. i hear that the spike will penetrate kevlar. i don’t know if that is true or not, but i will gladly put the theory to the test on anyone kicking in my door.

  • skeeter

    The only one I have a moderate disagreement with is knockdown power. I knocked a moose down to the ground with my .300 Winchester Magnum at about 75 yards. I grant you that it is not my first weapon of self defense but I guarantee that it would knock you down if I hit you center of mass. My pump shotgun is my first choice for self defense.

    • Dave

      The moose was not forceably knocked down.

      • skeeter

        So did it fall down because it was dead?

      • Dave

        If you hit the spine, it will fall down. If you break the shoulders, it will fall down. If it is dead, it will fall down. But it won’t be forceably knocked down. Not by a .300 Win Mag.

    • Dave

      BTW, shotguns are over rated for self-defense. My first choice would be an M4 length AR-15. Handgun would be my second choice.

  • wes graham

    I agree with most of your advice; however, I stand by my opinion of lasers. In a home defense situation they ABSOLUTELY give away your position. Also, they breed poor habits – like using your laser instead of your sights. Batteries go dead when you need them most, and if you haven’t trained with your sights, you’re in trouble.

    • http://mygunculture.com/ My Gun Culture

      If you haven’t yet, I would suggest finding an opportunity to run (literally run) around in the dark, finding and hitting targets. Some ranges and local matches may provide this opportunity. It just might change your opinion. Or it may not. Either way, it’s an incredibly enlightening experience, pardon the pun :-)

  • Kory Trummer

    I say your list and definitions are perfect.

  • Kromm

    If it’s too dark for the intruder to see where you are, it is probably too dark for you to be shooting, since you can’t identify your target. You need to know: 1. Does the person have the ability to hurt you? (Is he armed?) 2. Does the person have the opportunity to hurt you? (If he has a knife, for instance, he doesn’t have the opportunity if he is far away.) 3. Is your life in jeopardy? (Is he surrendering, or charging at you?) Having a light on your gun for home defense is a brilliant idea. A laser could potentially be useful too, especially if you’re holding your gun like a flashlight, and not aiming with the sights.

  • Scottie La Botte

    Ok i shoot you with a 22 it hurts and there is some hydraulic shock not much. Now i shoot you with a 45 acp, It hurts alot and has alot of hydraulic shock makes you drop to your knees for a second. Now what would you call that. Yes it is stopping power but if it makes you go to your knees I would call it knock down power. Oh I chose that cartridge because that is what it is designed for.

    • Dave

      Shoot a person in the heart with a .22 and they will drop. Shoot someone in the heart with a .45 and they will drop. Shoot someone in the shoulder with a .22 and they probably won’t drop. Shoot someone in the shoulder with a .45 and they probably won’t drop.

  • Rick

    I Agree, I got on yahoo answers and quit a week later, the reason was at first I wanted to help, then I found out that ALL the people on line didn’t have a clue. I am a veteran shooter with many national titles and most of my answers were put down due to the the stupid people asking

  • Steven Diedesch

    Biggest pet peeve is internet gun guys recommending an AR15 for home defense, personally. They’re fun, cheap to shoot, lightweight, accurate, easy to maintain, but they train Marines to fire five shots into a target’s center-of-mass, then immediately fire another five if the target hasn’t stopped moving. 5.56×45 was designed to penetrate body armor, not to impart kinetic energy, and to get ideal results, you need very specialized and very expensive ammunition, and would be better off with a 9mm upper.

    My ideal weapon would do as much damage in as little time over as little distance as possible, TO me, that means semiautomatic shotgun.

    The God Weapon for home defense is not an AR15, it is a Saiga 12C.

    • MichaelZWilliamson

      Your statement regarding training and purpose is utterly wrong. May we add this to the list?

    • Dave

      ” 5.56×45 was designed to penetrate body armor”

      Wrong.

      “to get ideal results, you need very specialized and very expensive ammunition, ”

      Also wrong.

  • gunnysgt

    A 45 ACP will not “knock you down” and AK WILL NOT knock you down. The shock from being him may make you fall or lay down. This is comming from a man who has been shot twice with and AK. Back and Leg and once with a 45 in the hand. The leg I had no idea I was even hit till after the firefight due to adrenaline. And I assume it would be the same in a sence to a criminal. Yes different calibers do have different stopping power “knockdown power”. But if you shoot they way you train and hit center mass “the A Zone” it does not matter what you’re shooting. I have a cousin in-law who is a CQM instructor for the guard and all he preaches is a 9mm is trash the most pointless round…… It goes on. I ask the simple question ” what was you secondary firearm when you were in Afghanistan”. Answer. Bretta M-9. I said after you were confident that it would help save your life then. Why not as a CCDW. He had no answer. My personal method of shooting is the “failure drill”. Two round to the A Zone and one to the O Zone. “two center mass, one to the head.

  • sonney

    I like the extra rounds so I use a 9 or the 40, I don’t ever have any unloaded guns except when I check for rounds in the mag or tube then take apart and clean. Then as soon as I get done cleaning it, it becomes a loaded gun.

  • Thorn

    I am with you 100%…..especially #10……learned through experience…..A GUN IS ALWAYS LOADED!!!!……even if you, yourself unloaded it…..its still loaded……my landloard my never forgive me for the hole in the floor(ground floor apt.)…..

  • Scott Forster

    I hate ” guns kill people”…..No, it’s NOT the gun…

  • Stealth

    I think these ’10 Rules’ apply to most…but not to everyone. And…let me tell you something… A Colt .45 SAA sure as hell WILL knock you down if your hit in the torso (breast bone)…

  • Charles K.

    Number 4) I always carry empty chamber, because just the sound of a hammer rolling back or an auto loader being racked gives notice the culprit has just lost his edge. number 5) There are six vital areas outside body armour, and Number 6) You don’t aim a shotgun you point it.

    • Dave

      Carry with one in the chamber and try yelling. It’s faster.

      At typical indoor distances, a shotgun’s spread is so small that merely pointing is not a good idea.

      • Charles K.

        With answers like that maybe you should unplug your computer, take it back to where you bought it, and just tell them your too stupid to use it.

      • Dave

        LOL… stick to jousting with windmills Don Quixote, leave the firearm handling to us adults.

      • Charles K.

        I have been handling firearms before you were born, now take that computer back to the store. I have handled from .17 to 50 bmg and a lot in between. smokeless and black powder. you just think you know what you your an expert, but you put a lot of totally stupid and misleading comments in the top ten.you must only think you an adult.Now be a good little boy and go play with your tinker toys.

      • Dave

        Keep talking little Mr Blowhard. You really think you are the only person who has ever handled .17 thru .50 BMG? You are truly full of yourself and you merely repeat typical tough guy hearsay. I see guys like you all the time spouting your crap at gun store counters, trying to sound like you know what you are talking about. You may impress the newbies and wannabes, but anyone who actually knows anything about firearms just smiles and walks away from folks like you. But hey, take a chance and prove my first response to you incorrect. Go ahead. Refute my points. Or maybe all you really have are insults.

      • Charles K.

        I have had enough of your brainless thoughts, now take that computer back where you bought it and tell them you are too stupid to own one before you make a bigger ass of your libtard self . When I go into a gun stores the ask my for my opinion or the call me to get answers.I know what I’m talking about if you would have read my first post it said I carry with an empty, I don’t care what other people do. Read completely before you make any comments,but Obozo voters just read what they want.

      • Dave

        I’d loan you a shovel, but you are digging quite the hole without one.

      • Beowulf

        I have never any one as stupid as you and be around guns, I have had enough of your BS so Iam going to flag you.

      • Dave

        How about you put your big boy pants on and try to disprove anything I have said instead of acting like a petulant brat.

      • Beowulf

        Ok I’ll admit it you are an expert on all guns you have all the answers nobody else knows anything.

      • Dave

        Thanks for proving my point.

      • Beowulf

        I shared your article with the members of my shooting organization ,around 4,000 members, and they let them know when you post another bit of comedy.

      • http://mygunculture.com/ My Gun Culture

        ??? I’m not sure who either of you are, but just for the record, it’s my article :-)

      • Dave

        He just has hurt feelings because you wrote stuff that refutes the hearsay and old wives tales he has been listening to and repeating.

      • Beowulf

        All I said is like to carry empty chamber even my double actions I roll the hammer back for the first shoot. I have also experience the sound of a hammer rolling back or an auto getting rack makes the other person think.Head shots nay an shot in the open body will have a major effect if you hit an artery, two in the neck two in the groin either arm or knees. You are right you don’t aim a shotgun you point it. Do you understand what I am saying.

      • Beowulf

        I am sorry I though the other person was claiming to be the author by the way he was responding. I just was add my simple thoughts and I hope you understand. A lot of my friends and I agree with what you said, especially number 8 for some people.

      • Dave

        1) It isn’t my article (reading is not your forte, apparently)

        2) Is this supposed to intimidate or impress me? Sorry, but internet punks don’t have that affect on me.

        Like I said before, instead of lame grade school attempts at put downs, if you think I am wrong about something, put your big boy britches on and try refuting anything I said, because anything less is just wannabe tough guy posturing on your part.

  • Steven

    Definition of an unloaded gun: If the gun is disassembled for cleaning, and the firing pin is at least 2 feet from the chamber, it MAY not be a loaded gun.

    My biggest peeve is anyone that states a specific gun is best for a stranger online. The best gun for YOU is worthless for ME if I can’t actually hit the target with it. Short of sending lead downrange, that detail can’t be known.

  • hangman57

    I like my AR-15 and I like my Remington 887 Tactical Shotgun . This what I will be using if some breaks into my home . I want to make sure I don’t miss ,when there is a Home Invasion .

  • SF frank

    if you want a simple, rugged rifle that will fire in the worst of conditions, get an AK.

  • Cinci Tiger

    I want to thank Tom McHale for the myth debunking. I see a lot of bad advice from armchair tactical commandos. All ten pointers are good. Take cover and if you can’t at least use concealment. Also if you use a shotgun you must aim it to avoid hitting innocent bystanders and to end the threat on your life which means that you don’t shoot through the door as the bumbling Biden advised. Not having a round in the chamber can end your life as you are under stress and may forget to chamber a round even if you do chamber a round the time it takes may get you shot.

  • Old Curmudgeon

    I’m an old retired copper who got trained in as a rookie back in the mid 70’s. Your No. 1 scenario with the light was actually taught to us when doing night shooting training. Of course we didn’t have lights that attached to our .38 revolvers (yes, I’m that old) and we were taught to hold the flashlight in the non-shooting hand with the arm extended up and away from the body. The idea was that the bad guy would shoot at the light and not at the good guy….Oh how things have changed!!! Most of my carry guns and all the house guns wear lights and lasers…

  • Red Steiner

    Did Biden or Obama write these?

  • Paul Dragotto

    VIETNAM ARMY RANGER. MY EXSPEARNCE WITH MY 1911 45. MY M60 RAN DRY AND CHARLIE WAS JUMPING INTO MY DITCH. I SHOT HIM IN THE CHEST AND IT KOCKED HIM BACK ABOUT 5 FEET. 45ACP IS A HARD HITTING ROUND. I SAW A SMALL VIET KONG GET SHOT WITH A SAWED OF PUMP SHOTGUN AND IT LIFTED HIS LIL ASS OFF THE GROUND. UNLESS YOU HAVE BEEN I COMBAT, DON’T ASSUME WHAT A CERTAIN FIREARM WILL PERFORM WHEN IT COMES TO STOPPING POWER.

    • Dave

      Sorry, but NO personal small arm can physically do what you describe.

  • msskye

    You just got to love Hollywood. It spreads more misconceptions than the old time comic books. I used to just love it when the Lone Ranger, used to fire his 6 gun over 100 times with out ever reloading. He even chased the bad guys past the same rock every episode. Yes I keep a gun in my purse, it’s 100% legal and 100% loaded. I am not going ask the bad guy, “May I rack a round in the chamber so I may shoot you?”

  • Mike Butler

    My biggest complaint is not what Hollywood shows, but what the internet shows. True firearm websites do not show people doing stupid things with firearms or ammo. I recently saw a guy shooting a fully automatic at a small lake, why do you think it is illegal it duck hunt with a rifle? Two things that come to mind that I found out the hard way, 1. do not shoot at an old tire sticking up out of the ground. The sound of things whizzing by are rounds coming back at you. 2. a 55 gal. barrel with the top cut out does not make a good target shooting at the side, 3 of us shooting at one with 6 shots each, we found 18 holes in the side we were shooting at, 4 out the back side, and 5 in the bottom of the barrel. God only knows where the others went, There were tracks around the inside the barrel, but which direction they went I have not idea, Thankfully none of us were hit. By the way we were shooting .357 magnums.

  • Billca

    Guys, some of your comments are great. Keep it up. My favorite pet peeve is the gunshop “operator” who tells someone that a 12-gauge pump is the perfect home defense gun. Not because it’s a shotgun or what shotgun shells do. No. It’s because that “schtuck-schtuck” noise of pumping the shotgun will “scare any intruder [spitless] and he’ll run for the hills”. Ahhh… no. If I think an intruder is in the house, I’ll charge the shotgun in the bedroom behind a closed door, not standing in the hallway where I’m a juicy target. If he’s inside my house, the first and last thing he should hear is a loud noise. And btw, a 20-gauge loaded with either #2 or #3 buckshot is easier to use indoors, especially for women and teens.

  • FSHNT21

    Want the opposition to duck & cover…?
    You have no idea how many times the firing lanes get quiet and everyone looks around the partitions after one .44 Magnum round gets sent downrange with the “What the f*ck was that” look on their face…
    NONE of the nefarious types want to be an option for the second round…
    “Stopping power”…? Uummm… Yes….
    Hit someone with it and they will definitely be there when the police finally arrive.

  • n9zsv

    The guy sitting on the trail of the cannon must need more iron in his diet. He -will- be eating it.

    • http://mygunculture.com/ My Gun Culture

      He’s just sighting it in. Everyone stands way the heck back when the chain is pulled :-) And you’re absolutely right, this beast jumped back several feet when fired. It was awesome! The concussion in all directions was pretty impressive too. Will definitely wake you up in the morning!

  • Paladin

    Pretty good list. And while I would agree with you on most points doing something because a cop does, it isn’t one of them. I don’t find most of them very intelligent, well trained, disciplined or trust them to use proper judgment…. maybe its just me…

  • Dave

    For those who STILL mistakenly think that their favorite load will knock someone back or off their feet, do this: Build a wooden box and fill it with enough sand to stop the bullet and until it weighs about 170 lbs. Hang it from two ropes from an overhead support. Shoot it dead center with your favorite load. Tell us how much (actually how little) it moves. Simple ballistics pendulum. You’ll find that it barely moves.

    • http://mygunculture.com/ My Gun Culture

      Dangit Dave! That was my next article! I’m going to do it anyway, even though you’ve let the cat out of the bag. Only I was going to use a 50 pound bag of sand to stack the deck in favor of the myth. Spoiler alert! It still will barely move. Physics ‘R Physics and all, but you already know that :-)

      • http://mygunculture.com/ My Gun Culture

        I might even put an old bullet proof vest on the sandbag. Just because that would be entertaining!

  • WALLYWORLD8

    Tom,
    Good article. I like the comments about knock down power and training for headshots. After reading several articles by guys with practical experience and logical advice, I have convinced myself that proficiency for accuracy and real world type training are the only real solution to practical self-defense. This being said, I have helped my wife select guns she is comfortable with and stayed on her to practice, practice, practice at the range. I want her to feel totally comfortable with the guns she shoots and intuitively accurate. I’ve had to draw my own gun twice in my life. Once against a fox which came out of nowhere in the dark when I was getting out of my truck to hunt. And once against 2 wild dogs that charged my wife and I on a dark early morning walk with our dogs. In both instances instincts and reaction took over and I shot before the situation was fully realized. In the first case the fox yelped and ran off through the woods (he was less than 10 feet from me when I fired). In the second the 2 dogs turned instantly and ran (I didn’t hit them but they too were about 10 feet away). The point is, that it happened so fast, that I know it was muscle memory and training that took over. In the first case I had an old Nagant revolver, and in the second a 9MM Keltec. While I have never had to draw on a person, the point to make here is comfort with the weapons, and training is what resolved the issue, not Knock down power. It has sharpened my training reselve and tactics and helped me instill these skills in my wife. BTW she uses a Sig 380 for carry, but still prefers the S&W .357 revolver at home.
    I watched a guy one time who bought his wife a Taurus Judge as her first gun. She fired it once and literally threw it down. She was frightened, intimidated and angry with him. It took us a while to calm her down. When we did, we managed to convince her to practice with a .22. When she was comfortable with that gun, her friend convinced her to try her Sig 238 in .380. That’s all it took to make her feel comfortable. Before it was over she convinced her husband to buy her the Sig. The point is, her need was real, but bad advice almost destroyed her resolve.

    • http://mygunculture.com/ My Gun Culture

      Aren’t .22 handguns the absolute best way to get a new shooter confident and interested? Can’t tell you how many people I know who have had the same experience you describe, but when they start with a .22, they develop confidence and quickly move to larger calibers on their own accord.

  • tired of extremes

    “All folks with CCL are well trained in the law and guns, well qualified with the gun they carry and have shot at least 50 rounds to qualify and re-qualify each year.”, that is biggest myth going. We, for the sake of all responsible gun owners, really need to tighten up concealed permits and put some muscle into the “Reciprocal carry laws” so state that require real education and qualification do not allow, “Fill out form and carry” types into area. Scary how little some know and run about with concealed. Ran into on that was not real sure how to safely lower hammer on 1911, another who was carrying 44Mag, but never fired any handgun. Scary people and up to real shooter to set the standards, not others. Note AM NOT anti gun, been shooting for 50 years, extremely well qualified with handguns. Let’s clean up that area now, before it bites us./

    • USMC and America proud

      Already HAS bit us! Like you, I am a highly trained firearms user! I’ve been using firearms since I was a kid! My training has now led me to the conclusion that most of today’s LEO’s are under trained and downright dangerous! I read constantly of a LEO discharged his weapon at: ___________(fill in the blank with your choice of; Teen, Old man, man holding a cellphone, KID holding an iPod, Child with b b gun, or here in my immediate area, War Veteran reaching for his cane, or the best ((worst)) of them all?–Black man who was trying to get help after having a car wreck and hitting a tree, has 10 rounds emptied into him by ONE officer while others stood and watched!) ALL of these guys show lack of training because someone ends up dead that shouldn’t have! A kid playing in HIS backyard with his Airsoft rifle is gunned down because “THE OFFICER DIDN’T KNOW??
      SEVEN people shot by officers on the streets of NYC because they opened fire on a man who had just shot up an office where his ex-whatever worked!!! They emptied their mags at the guy striking him (if I remember correctly) 4 times killing him! This means that nearly 100 rounds are discharged into the public space!! They’re lucky that no one else died, and only seven other innocent bystanders were hit!! Too many rounds fired at one suspect, especially where people are walking in the area!!
      Or my FAVORITE of ALL “Police gone wild” stories?
      The SWAT team is dispatched to a house with a ‘No-Knock’ warrant, acting on a TIP that the house is being used as a METH lab! Figuring the best way to ENTER the house, is to fire a flash bang into the window, and bust in the front door! Of course the house was NOT being used as a meth-lab, a fact that is LUCKY for the officers that are ‘highly trained professionals’, who should KNOW that you NEVER EVER want to have a spark NEAR a meth lab??? Can we say Level an entire block if it goes??!! Every one of them could have been killed if it really WAS a meth lab!!
      But the worst part?? The flash-bang landed on a 12 year old girl’s chest who was sleeping on the floor of her friends bedroom!!!
      No! We’re way past “bit”! We are hiring what I would classify as ‘thugs’ with guns for LEO’s now, and it’s pretty sad that ‘We the People’ have to protect ourselves from “Idiots with guns and badges”!

      • tired of extremes

        I fully agree as seems to many cops watch to much TV and cops now going paramilitary with to little training. Seems what used to be sane issues and values involving guns, laws and enforcement are now becoming some sort of odd armed camp, No one is really safer with more guns, heavier law fire poiwer (art least equal to what civilians have) s some sort of virus loose in USA on guns-safer and when how to defend selves, corp or civilians. i have pretty much quite going to ranges and will probably build my own on property as fed up with “that would take them down, got these guns in house, killing/fire power etc n relation to the unnamed “them”. Worse yet such paranoia in gun areas is being passed on to kids, with little regard to impacts there. Some how the attitude towards, guns has grown meaner, much more about gunning folks then hunting or target. Sadly fact is more folks buy guns now for defense then other uses, but fear is easier to sell then sanity.

        Do have on theory that since draft ended more folks want to play soldier/spl ops/recon etc then really want to take effort to join up and do so as latter might be dangerous and no strutting about impressing home town girls/folks other then on leave. O never met WW2/Korean War vet and few NAM vets that wanted military type gun ever again, more so WW2 types. They had seen war, the same applied to lots of NAM vets. Now day gun ads full of “Sops, Spl ops, tactical, Commando, etc, why the paramilitary lingo, suspect most is for tough guy images, strurt stuff, not endanger self. Never say one post @@2/Korean War civil guns with such nomenclature. Sane for combat CAMO’s, 30 or more mags, even knife ads for killing type not practical for hunting and holsters same way.

        Seems we have entered a post draft era where many want to play soldier/TV/movies cops or Sops. The stuff they see on TV about cops is 90%+ fantasy, s most cops will tell you, but a certain number loves that pretend world as Utube more then proves as do some posters. But while law enforcement is going a wee bit John Wayne (in military use of term) so are the CCL folks. A majority of which are NOT well or even remotely qualified to carry or shoot gun in public or private situation..

        I think as vets, real ones not wanna be, the gun thing is going out of control, with a hard paranoid core of extremists. I have prety much retreicted my shooting to circa 1830-60 fro0nt feeders and while do have several other “real guns”, if I had to would prefer my ole Mdl 11 Rem 12 for any “home defense with nr4 shot. Worn out by extemes on both sides of gun issue as seems nay move to saner center is “selling out” by both sides. Sure wish there was real center organization supporting safe sane gun llaws, not taking the guns, not enhancing gun sales at any cost to society. Sadly it seems those days are gone. I think way past time “we the people” as you call us, need to protect ourselves from all nuts with guns and who are not qualified or trained to carry them. The question is how in an unceasingly armed paranoid society. Sorry for length, but the whole gun issue needs serious rework by sane folks

  • Rick

    Tom, I have to take issue with your #1. Your advice is fine IF and ONLY IF you pull the trigger immediately after lighting up your own position. Military guys use lasers only to quickly sight their shot. LE guys use their light to find their potential targets. And is is easier than using a four cell huge flashlight. In my house, anyone upon whom I train a light or laser will have the recognition of it as his final memory. And I don’t search with a light, as I have night vision devices which make that obsolete, and dangerous.

  • B. Young

    Ever seen those B&W gangster movies of the 1930-40’s where if you got shot you just went straight down and if you got in fight and punched a guy he just stumbled back a foot or two and didn’t fly 15 feet across the room?? Pretty realistic stuff compared to today’s movies if you want to check some out. James Cagney comes to mind.

  • Rob Price

    Tom, after 22 years in the Army and over 9 of those on Embassy security I would have to disagree with you on #1. Why? Laser or lights make YOU a better target, especially if there are more than one intruder. Nightlites in every room are essential. Why because then all you need is good fiber optic sites on your gun. your command a better field of view also.

  • Dan da man

    My favorite Internet gun wisdom is that “just the sound of racking the pump on a 12 guage will scare off most intruders.” If there’s an intruder in my house, I want a loaded and ready weapon at my hands – not one I have to remember to rack when I’m woken from a deep sleep/scared sh*tless/yelling at the wife to call 9-1-1. Why put yourself at a tactical disadvantage? I don’t know anyone who carries a self-defense pistol without carrying a round in the pipe, so why would a home defense shotgun be different?

  • Jonny Gib

    #9’s closing state is the best… Ive been preaching the same thing for YEARS. Nothing is more frustrating than one person telling another what the need! AIR, WATER, FOOD (in that order) is all you need. But shelter and some sort of weapon system to help keep your water, food, and shelter could actually be considered a NEED!

  • midogman

    never hurts to err on the side of caution.

  • araxas

    Some good points, but as usual there is always the “rest of the story”. Point No. 1 – entirely correct except that as a trained military sniper with 33 years active-duty, I will drill you right between the eyes if you’re using any kind of light target acquisition device or blow you to pieces with a command detonated device as soon as I see your little red or green signatures criss-crossing inside a building. With proper quick-kill training, almost anyone can acquire a target faster without the use of laser-assists. Point No. 3 – Ludicrous. An AR-15 is perhaps one of the worst choices for home defense, and you should say so! Not only do you have to lock and load letting everyone know where you’re at (unless you want to have a round chambered all the time), but you also have to usually deal with 55-75grain bullet. Most people do not buy expensive high-end soft or hollow-poing bullets; they get military grade FMJ which WILL go through walls, doors etc. A shotgun of ANY kind is better. Point No. 7 – give it a rest. Have you killed as many elephants as Pondoro Taylor, stopped as many lion charges as Peter Capstick, or killed as many buffalo as Ivan Carter. ALL of them packed large 40-50 cal, express guns. The problem is in sematics. If if you ridicule “knockdown power”, you are also ridiculing such concepts as stunning power, stopping power, penetration power, killing power, and all the other variables associated with being able to stop a 5 ton creature whose intent is to ground you into jelly. There is a good reason why most PH’s in Africa carry 470 nitros or larger as back-up guns. The same applies in comparisons of the .45 ACP versus the 9mm. Common sense dictates that if you get hit in the head by Barack Obamas fist flying at 50mph versus Mike Tysons fist flying at 50mph you will probably be “knocked down” much more efficiently by Tysons. Its as simple as that. Techno-babble on the merits of sectional density, kinetic energy etc. by the new genre of ballistics experts will continue to kill hunters now just as they did in Taylor’s day who confront animals with bullets that are not big, heavy, and contain deep penetration power. Point No. 9 – NOBODY who is immature, reckless, untrained, mentally unstable, or dumber than a bag of hammers needs ANY kind of firearm, least of all an AR-15. People who fit in the above categories also do not NEED any kind of firearm to confront a home invasion since they will most likely have it used against them or kill their kid coming in from the school prom late at night. “Mini-guns, grenade launchers”??? How about alarm, big dog with teeth, and a double-barreled 12 gauge?

    • Dave

      “Point No. 3 – Ludicrous. An AR-15 is perhaps one of the worst choices for home defense, ”

      Actually, it is one of the best choices. Shotguns are actually one of the worst choices.

      “they get military grade FMJ which WILL go through walls, doors etc”

      Actually tests have shown that in many cases an FMJ fired from an AR-15 will penetrate less than a 9 mm hollow point. Just about ANY firearm will penetrate a drywall and 2×4 wall. Handguns have the advantages of mobility and capacity, but disadvantages in penetration, recoil, and terminal performance. Shotguns can have an advantage in penetration and terminal performance (depending on the load), but suffer in being unweildy and in capacity along with recoil and in the case of something like a pump, in the operation. AR-15s, especially the M4 carbine length versions are less unweildy than shotguns, have low recoil, high capacity, good terminal performance/incapacitation, easy to operate, though their penetration is more of a problem than with shotguns.

      “There is a good reason why most PH’s in Africa carry 470 nitros or larger as back-up guns.”

      few carry .470s or larger. The reason they carry things like .375s and .415s is penetration, not the ability to physicly knock things down.

      “Common sense dictates that if you get hit in the head by Barack Obamas fist flying at 50mph versus Mike Tysons fist flying at 50mph you will probably be “knocked down” much more efficiently by Tysons.”

      Common sense dictates that if both have the same weight, both will result in the same amount of “knock down”.

      “since they will most likely have it used against them or kill their kid coming in from the school prom late at night”
      Typical myth.

  • Dunderton

    Well, as for “You don’t need an AR-15,” I agree with you and the nameless denizens who say that. Sadly, the majority of people who say that are saying “you don’t need that automatic assault ghost gun of death,” rather than simply “you don’t need an AR-15.”

    However, to play Devil’s advocate, you don’t “need” it to defend your home in the sense that it is not required above other similarly pragmatic tools like a good 12 gauge w/ appropriate shot, or, more accurately, a firearm that YOU THE HOMEOWNER/OCCUPANT are well-trained with. An AR-15 in the hands of a couch commando is about as useful as a survival book in my hands were it written in Mandarin. Read; not useful at all.

    My buddy is a former CBP officer and infantryman and would regale me with stories of other border patrol agents who would buy AR-15’s and tech them out but never shoot them. The laser sights weren’t properly sighted or calibrated, etc. He sold off his AR-15 and one of his fellow officers said “why would you do that?” his response was epic: “I’ll just take yours when you’re dead. You don’t know how to use it anyway.”

  • Austin Mabry

    I like the persistent internet fable about a .50BMG being able to tear somebody’s arm off, or suck their brains out through their ear, simply by passing within a few feet (or inches).

    Only hits count, even with a .50 BMG.

    • Dave

      Very true. This is a myth I hear frequently. As someone who has shot .50 BMGs right past living beings, I know for an absolute fact that even a miss by a few millimeters will not cause any damage to a living being.

  • peterK

    I say amen. To all of them.

  • KS-UT

    My favorite pet peeve about firearms. “Don’t bring a knife to a gun fight.” This false sense of security will get you cut up or stabbed. Martial Arts Master Dan Inosanto did a film over 35 years ago proving a man with a knife can successfully attack a man with a gun from up to 21 feet away. He was able to simulate several cuts and stabs on an opponent from that distance, even with the gun out and ready.

  • Newcomb

    RE Point #6: All I can say from the view of a person who trains with the shotgun for an avocation: You really DO NOT aim a shotgun unless you are using slugs or sabots or taking a turkey. It is not because of some theory about pattern spread either. You aim using sights, and the shotguns most of us shoot are not equipped with sights, including the hammer coach that your mother might use. A shotgun is instinctively pointed, indexing from the cheek weld and shoulder mount while both eyes steer the barrel onto the target. Any competent bird hunter will know that, and even the 3-gun gang points their shotguns if they care about their times.

    • http://mygunculture.com/ My Gun Culture

      Of course you “aim” a shotgun. The concept of “aiming” is making sure your bore is aligned with that you intend to hit. In wingshooting, and proper shotgun technique (with which I am well acquainted) the rear “sight” is your eye. Your front sight is arguably your eye too. But this misses the entire point of the “bad internet advice” and home defense application mentioned in #6 anyway.

      Too many people believe that you don’t have to aim a shotgun because of the “massive pattern” and that is the fallacy addressed here. At indoor home defense distances, patterns are 1 to 3 inches give or take, so it is really easy to miss with a shotgun. You can’t simply point it in the right direction and clear out everything in front of you. At indoor distances, you can only clear out a 1 to 3 inch circle directly in front of your bore, so you better be “aiming.”

    • Dave

      You confuse dedicated sights with aiming. To aim, one can line up the barrel, a rib, the front bead, etc. Pointing really doesn’t involve any visuals at all, in fact, in “point shooting” with handguns, the firearm never even approaches the sight line. While you can “point” a shotgun at across the room distances, the chances of hitting anything, particularly a vital or incapacitating area, are not great — much the same as pointing a rifle. The idea of not needing to be accurate with a shotgun is based entirely on spread of the shot, which, at across the room distances will be between 1 and 5 inches depending on the choke.

  • aware

    I believe that all of these real violent gun ovies which star anti-gun liberal from hollywood were designed to make gun use repulsive to the uninformed and is why so many think gun violence in real life is like they portray in their movies. Here is a thought, listen to the audio without watching for several minutes and you can hear the bs being protrayed in the dialog.

  • AZ Training Counselor

    A firearm is *not* always loaded – however – it should still *always* be pointed in a safe direction. This, of course, varies, based on where you are and what you’re doing.

  • Stevo

    Keep your finger off the damn trigger until you are ready to fire. I still see people who should know better breaking this rule.
    People in gun shops or gun shows who sweep the barrel towards unsuspecting customers. I don’t care if everyone knows it’s unloaded, it’s a very bad practice and leads to some very bad habits. I cringe every time I see this.

    Other than that, good list.

  • Red Eye Robot

    11. NEVER trust a liberal when they use the words “common sense gun control”

  • Gus

    I actually found a guy on facebook who recommended snake loads for in home defense because they wouldn’t over penetrate. I informed him that they wouldn’t over-penetrate, because they couldn’t penetrate. He thought I was the idiot!

  • nickdqwk

    Thumbs up!