Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine. A police officer, working in the small town that he lives in, focusing on family and shooting and coffee, and occasionally putting some people in jail.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Oh, no. HELL no.

I don't know what these jokers in Tucson wanted from their intended victim, but I know that they were willing to commit aggravated robbery to get it, and have little doubt that they would have stopped at murder. Fortunately for the resident that they were attacking, they were not equipped with a plan to accompany their carbine. Had they been, the homeowner likely couldn't have driven them off with merely a handgun. (Video of the robbery attempt here.)

Even while he had them on the run, the homeowner had trouble scoring decisive hits, only wounding one bad guy that we know of, and creating new business for windshield repairmen. It's hard to do good, fast, effective work with a pistol against multiple attackers under stress. But when out and about, a pistol is at most all you're likely to have on you.

In your own castle, though, you should be able to have access to something a bit more substantial.

Apparently much hay was made about the fact that a house across the street was hit by errant bullets. May I suggest a reliable old semi-automatic shotgun? Your local pawn shop and Gun have a multitude of them for under $250, if you're not picky about the way it looks. Make sure that it's reliable, hack off the barrel to just over 18" (measure twice!!), and stick some high-visibility sights and a side-saddle on it. Don't be married to 12 gauge-- the semi-auto 20 gauge is the best-kept secret in home defense.

Practice your order of arms with it, and learn for good and all that you can't depend on the pattern spread to make hits; you need to center your targets. Once you can do that well, practice changing targets faster. Then faster. Then FASTER. The good news about a shotgun is that, if you center-punch your non-armored target at tennis court distances with even #6 bird shot field loads, that target has been effectively addressed. You may move on to the next target. If your adversary is wearing body armor, might I suggest holding on their face?

This is pragmatic, and admittedly bloody talk, I know. But we, here in the United States, must not accept home invasion. It is abhorrent. If a citizen is safe nowhere else in the world, he should feel safe in his own home. If your state does not allow you do effectively deal with the problem, ask yourself these two questions: (1) Are you actively campaigning to change this fact? (2) If you're not so active, then why, exactly, do you still live there?

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At Saturday, February 14, 2009 10:05:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Birdshot is for birds. Buckshot is for idjits that come to my home uninvited, packing guns and ill intent.

At Sunday, February 15, 2009 1:44:00 AM, Blogger Don M said...

Number 1 shot is 0.30 inches in diameter, and will penetrate through and through a human. With a 3 inch magnum you have 25 chances to penetrate a perpetrator's spinal chord. A double barrel is nearly the equivalent to a 50 round burst.

At Sunday, February 15, 2009 9:03:00 AM, Blogger KD5NRH said...

And slugs are for anything the other two don't stop.

OTOH, my Mossberg's last round is 3.5" magnum 00, and having seen what that does to plate racks, (does knocking the rack over count as one target hit and five surrendering?) I hope I never meet anything it won't immediately stop.

At Sunday, February 15, 2009 3:25:00 PM, Blogger Wayne Conrad said...

I think that tests show that anything reliable against people will reliably penetrate walls, and anything that won't reliably penetrate walls can't be depended upon against people. I don't know first-hand, but I've read that bird-shot cannot be relied upon to stop people.

I'm glad I didn't have to defend myself against four armed invaders. I hope I never do.

At Sunday, February 15, 2009 5:09:00 PM, Blogger Matt G said...

While I agree that buckshot is more effective at penetrating humans, I am also a citizen of my neighborhood. High-brass intermediate-sized bird shot certainly will stop and probably will kill a man my size (and I am not small), between my front door and the street. The last round in my house shotgun, admittedly, is a slug. (I do wear belts and suspenders at times.)

7/8 oz of #5 or #6 shot leaving the barrel of my shotgun at 1300 to 1500 fps is not something most people would be able to withstand. That's hitting harder than a .45-70, even out of a 20 gauge. As I say, center punch the chest, or the face, for that matter. It does a poor job of penetrating a lot of sheet rock, and even poorer of a job of penetrating clapboard. I'm talking about firing very, very quickly against multiple intruders.

You might be surprised how capable a novice can become in a short amount of time practicing with an auto 20.

At Monday, February 16, 2009 10:07:00 AM, Blogger Wayne Conrad said...

Shotgun terminal ballistics:

At Monday, February 16, 2009 11:20:00 AM, Blogger Matt G said...

"Ballistics" is actually the incorrect term to describe terminal penetration. "Ballistics" is the study of falling objects, or of projectiles in flight.

I certainly would like to stop attackers without over-penetration in and around my house, in my suburban neighborhood. Buckshot is unfortunately capable of penetrating almost as deeply as pistol bullets do. As I say, I have an increasing sized shot load in my shotgun magazine: #6, #6, #4, and slug. (My chamber lives empty.) Somehow I shall manage to perservere, I suppose. Seeing as how I shoot plate matches, perhaps my A-zone should become the head.

At Monday, February 16, 2009 12:15:00 PM, Blogger Wayne Conrad said...

"Terminal ballistics" is, I'll admit, something of an oxymoron. It is well understood to mean "the subset of ballistics having to do with what happens when the project impacts something."

At Monday, February 16, 2009 8:38:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've never had to shoot someone with a shotgun, and God willing, I never will.

That said, I have done plenty of research and lots of reading on the subject, and after much deliberation on the subject, I have changed my ammo choice over the years.

My HD shotgun currently holds 00 and 000 buck, with slugs on the side saddle.

If you've never read the Box O' Truth, 'tis an interesting site.

Same goes for John Farnam.

Just food for thought.

At Friday, February 20, 2009 4:17:00 AM, Blogger KD5NRH said...

The last round in my house shotgun, admittedly, is a slug.

That would be the case for my cylinder-bore 12ga that usually lives in the car; I figure that if my car is disabled and an assailant's isn't, it has a better chance of negating that advatage if I can put a couple slugs into the engine compartment.
It's the house gun (Mossy 835, 28" barrel) that has the grapeshot cannon shell last up :)
(FWIW, I don't even bother trying to practice houseclearing with that monster; it's purely for hiding behind the bed or in the closet and stopping anything that tries to get into the room.)

It does a poor job of penetrating a lot of sheet rock, and even poorer of a job of penetrating clapboard.

Fortunately, all the houses in my neighborhood are brick. I'd expect some penetration of a single layer, but assuming no windows are involved, it'll have to penetrate two to get into somebody else's house. Even assuming innocents outside, soft lead buckshot isn't likely to be very effective after that degree of deformation.

At Friday, February 20, 2009 7:09:00 AM, Blogger Tam said...

I've often thought that at "across the room" distances, a heavy turkey load would be a serious day-messer-upper.

Personally, though, I've ditched the HD shotgun for an HD carbine...

At Friday, February 20, 2009 8:56:00 PM, Blogger KD5NRH said...

I've often thought that at "across the room" distances, a heavy turkey load would be a serious day-messer-upper.

I have turkey loads for 12 and 20 in case I run out of buckshot, but for the Mossberg, my preference would be the 3.5" goose loads - magnum T steel shot through that gun is nasty at 15 yards.

OTOH, gelatin tests don't show great penetration from anything less than #4 buck, so you're still counting on pain and blood loss to do the job. It'll happen faster than any handgun, but not as fast as severe nerve damage. When the penalty for not incapacitating the attacker quickly enough is likely to be death or serious injury, I'd rather err to the side of massive overkill.

At Sunday, December 27, 2009 1:34:00 PM, Anonymous bogie said...

Did some testing about 15 years ago when a friend was rehabbing a house. At 15-20 feet, cylinder bore, you get about an 8" "group" with #6 el-cheapo wally world special shells. It'll punch through one side of a sheetrock wall, but pretty much just dimple the other side. #4 buck sails right on through - 25 pellets per shell.

I wouldn't want to be standing in front of either. A heavy coat may help with some of the birdshot, but still, I'm figuring more than a bit of discouragement would be administered.

I keep birdshot loaded for the first round in the house gun - everything after that is 00, but we don't have hugely close neighbors here in Cat Whiz. If things are freaky, and I venture outside, I take my .357 lever carbine.


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