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Carrying a gun is a social responsibility.

A citizen who shirks his duty to contribute to the security of his community is little better than the
criminal who threatens it.

Even though most people do not carry guns, the mere possibility that an intended victim could be
armed with a handgun eliminates millions of crimes every year

According to the FBI, states with “shall-issue" right-to-carry laws have a 26 percent lower total
violent crime rate, a 20 percent lower homicide rate, a 39 percent lower robbery rate and a 22
percent lower aggravated assault rate than those states that do not allow their citizens to legally carry guns.

Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Florida State University, Gary Kleck, in Point Blank: Gun Violence in America found that robbery and assault victims who used a gun to resist were less likely to be attacked or to suffer an injury than those who used any other method of self-protection or those who did not resist at all.

Policemen are nobody’s personal bodyguards. Their jobs are to find and arrest people who havecommitted crimes, not to prevent such potential crimes from happening in the first place. Clearly, the responsibility for victim-prevention lies with the victim-to-be.

Carrying a loaded gun with the ability and will to use it is not a casual fling meant to bring someexcitement into your boring life. It is an all-embracing lifestyle and must take precedence overyour respect for law, your fear of social criticism, your love of humanity, your wardrobe andyour drinking habits.

‘Liberty or death,’ the meaning of which is clear and absolute, is but a trivial phrase if you do not carry a gun. For freedom-loving Americans, the fivemost important words in the English language are, and always have been – from my cold dead hands.

Raging Against Self Defense:
A Psychiatrist Examines The Anti-Gun Mentality

By Sarah Thompson, M.D.

   "You don't need to have a gun; the police will protect you."

   "If people carry guns, there will be murders over parking spaces and neighborhood basketball games."

   "I'm a pacifist. Enlightened, spiritually aware people shouldn't own guns."

   "I'd rather be raped than have some redneck militia type try to rescue me."

How often have you heard these statements from misguided advocates of victim disarmament, or even woefully uninformed relatives and neighbors? Why do people cling so tightly to these beliefs, in the face of incontrovertible evidence that they are wrong? Why do they get so furiously angry when gun owners point out that their arguments are factually and logically incorrect?

How can you communicate with these people who seem to be out of touch with reality and rational thought?

One approach to help you deal with anti-gun people is to understand their psychological processes. Once you understand why these people behave so irrationally, you can communicate more effectively with them.

Defense Mechanisms


About a year ago I received an e-mail from a member of a local Jewish organization. The author, who chose to remain anonymous, insisted that people have no right to carry firearms because he didn't want to be murdered if one of his neighbors had a "bad day". (I don't know that this person is a "he", but I'm assuming so for the sake of simplicity.) I responded by asking him why he thought his neighbors wanted to murder him, and, of course, got no response. The truth is that he's statistically more likely to be murdered by a neighbor who doesn't legally carry a firearm1 and more likely to be shot accidentally by a law enforcement officer.

How does my correspondent "know" that his neighbors would murder him if they had guns? He doesn't. What he was really saying was that if he had a gun, he might murder his neighbors if he had a bad day, or if they took his parking space, or played their stereos too loud. This is an example of what mental health professionals call projection – unconsciously projecting one's own unacceptable feelings onto other people, so that one doesn't have to own them.

 In some cases, the intolerable feelings are projected not onto a person, but onto an inanimate object, such as a gun, so that the projector believes the gun itself will murder him.

Projection is a defense mechanism. Defense mechanisms are unconscious psychological mechanisms that protect us from feelings that we cannot consciously accept.5 They operate without our awareness, so that we don't have to deal consciously with "forbidden" feelings and impulses. Thus, if you asked my e-mail correspondent if he really wanted to murder his neighbors, he would vehemently deny it, and insist that other people want to kill him.

Projection is a particularly insidious defense mechanism, because it not only prevents a person from dealing with his own feelings, it also creates a world where he perceives everyone else as directing his own hostile feelings back at him.

All people have violent, and even homicidal, impulses. For example, it's common to hear people say "I'd like to kill my boss", or "If you do that one more time I'm going to kill you." They don't actually mean that they're going to, or even would, kill anyone; they're simply acknowledging anger and frustration. All of us suffer from fear and feelings of helplessness and vulnerability. Most people can acknowledge feelings of rage, fear, frustration, jealousy, etc. without having to act on them in inappropriate and destructive ways.

Some people, however, are unable consciously to admit that they have such "unacceptable" emotions. They may have higher than average levels of rage, frustration, or fear. Perhaps they fear that if they acknowledge the hostile feelings, they will lose control and really will hurt someone. They may believe that "good people" never have such feelings, when in fact all people have them.

This is especially true now that education "experts" commonly prohibit children from expressing negative emotions or aggression. Instead of learning that such emotions are normal, but that destructive behavior needs to be controlled, children now learn that feelings of anger are evil, dangerous and subject to severe punishment.To protect themselves from "being bad", they are forced to use defense mechanisms to avoid owning their own normal emotions. Unfortunately, using such defense mechanisms inappropriately can endanger their mental health; children need to learn how to deal appropriately with reality, not how to avoid it.

(This discussion of psychological mechanisms applies to the average person who is uninformed, or misinformed, about firearms and self-defense. It does not apply to the anti- gun ideologue. Fanatics like Charles Schumer know the facts about firearms, and advocate victim disarmament consciously and willfully in order to gain political power. This psychological analysis does not apply to them.)


Another defense mechanism commonly utilized by supporters of gun control is denial. Denial is simply refusing to accept the reality of a given situation. For example, consider a woman whose husband starts coming home late, has strange perfume on his clothes, and starts charging flowers and jewelry on his credit card. She may get extremely angry at a well-meaning friend who suggests that her husband is having an affair. The reality is obvious, but the wronged wife is so threatened by her husband's infidelity that she is unable to accept it, and so denies its existence.

Anti-gun people do the same thing. It's obvious that we live in a dangerous society, where criminals attack innocent people. Just about everyone has been, or knows someone who has been, victimized. It's equally obvious that law enforcement can't protect everyone everywhere 24 hours a day. Extensive scholarly research demonstrates that the police have no legal duty to protect you and that firearm ownership is the most effective way to protect yourself and your family. There is irrefutable evidence that victim disarmament nearly always precedes genocide. Nonetheless, the anti-gun folks insist, despite all evidence to the contrary, that "the police will protect you", "this is a safe neighborhood" and "it can't happen here", where "it" is everything from mugging to mass murder.

Anti-gun people who refuse to accept the reality of the proven and very serious dangers of civilian disarmament are using denial to protect themselves from the anxiety of feeling helpless and vulnerable. Likewise, gun owners who insist that "the government will never confiscate my guns" are also using denial to protect themselves from the anxiety of contemplating being forcibly disarmed and rendered helpless and vulnerable.

Reaction Formation

Reaction formation is yet another defense mechanism common among the anti-gun folks. Reaction formation occurs when a person's mind turns an unacceptable feeling or desire into its complete opposite. For example, a child who is jealous of a sibling may exhibit excessive love and devotion for the hated brother or sister.

Likewise, a person who harbors murderous rage toward his fellow humans may claim to be a devoted pacifist and refuse to eat meat or even kill a cockroach. Often such people take refuge in various spiritual disciplines and believe that they are "superior" to "less civilized" folks who engage in "violent behavior" such as hunting, or even target shooting. They may devote themselves to "animal welfare" organizations that proclaim that the rights of animals take precedence over the rights of people. This not only allows the angry person to avoid dealing with his rage, it allows him actually to harm the people he hates without having to know he hates them.

This is not meant to disparage the many wonderful people who are pacifists, spiritually inclined, vegetarian, or who support animal welfare. The key issue is not the belief itself, but rather the way in which the person experiences and lives his beliefs. Sincere practitioners seek to improve themselves, or to be helpful in a gentle, respectful fashion. They work to persuade others peacefully by setting an example of what they believe to be correct behavior. Sincere pacifists generally exhibit good will towards others, even towards persons with whom they might disagree on various issues.

Contrast the sincere pacifist or animal lover with the strident, angry person who wants to ban meat and who believes murdering hunters is justified in order to "save the animals" – or the person who wants to outlaw self- defense and believes innocent people have the obligation to be raped and murdered for the good of society. For example, noted feminist Betty Friedan said "that lethal violence even in self defense only engenders more violence. The truly spiritual, pacifist person refrains from forcing others to do what he believes, and is generally driven by positive emotions, while the angry person finds "socially acceptable" ways to harm, abuse, or even kill, his fellow man.

In the case of anti-gun people, reaction formation keeps any knowledge of their hatred for their fellow humans out of consciousness, while allowing them to feel superior to "violent gun owners". At the same time, it also allows them to cause serious harm, and even loss of life, to others by denying them the tools necessary to defend themselves. This makes reaction formation very attractive from a psychological point of view, and therefore very difficult to counteract.

Defense Mechanisms Are Not Mental Illnesses

Defense mechanisms are normal. All of us use them to some extent, and their use does not imply mental illness. Advocates of victim disarmament may be misguided or uninformed, they may be stupid, or they may be consciously intent on evil, but that doesn't necessarily mean they are "mentally ill".

Some defense mechanisms, however, are healthier than others. A safe general rule is that a defense is healthy if it helps you to function better in your personal and professional life, and unhealthy if it interferes with your life, your relationships, or the well-being of others. Young children utilize projection and denial much more commonly than do healthy adults. On the other hand, "if projection is used as a defense mechanism to a very great extent in adult life, the user's perception of external reality will be seriously distorted.

Defense mechanisms are also frequently combined, so that an anti-gun person may use several defense mechanisms simultaneously. For example, my unfortunate correspondent uses projection to create a world in which all his neighbors want to murder him. As a result, he becomes more angry and fearful, and needs to employ even more defense mechanisms to cope. So he uses projection to attribute his own rage to others, he uses denial that there is any danger to protect himself from a world where he believes he is helpless and everyone wants to murder him, and he uses reaction formation to try to control everyone else's life because his own is so horribly out of control.

Also, it's important to remember that not all anti-gun beliefs are the result of defense mechanisms. Some people suffer from gun phobia, an excessive and completely irrational fear of firearms, usually caused by the anti-gun conditioning they've been subjected to by the media, politicians, so-called "educators," and others. In some cases, gun phobia is caused by an authentic bad experience associated with a firearm. But with all due respect to Col. Jeff Cooper, who coined the term "hoplophobia" to describe anti-gun people, most anti-gun people do not have true phobias. Interestingly, a person with a true phobia of guns realizes his fear is excessive or unreasonable, something most anti-gun folks will never admit.

Defense mechanisms distort reality

Because defense mechanisms distort reality in order to avoid unpleasant emotions, the person who uses them has an impaired ability to recognize and accept reality. This explains why my e-mail correspondent and many other anti-gun people persist in believing that their neighbors and co- workers will become mass murderers if allowed to own firearms.

People who legally carry concealed firearms are actually less violent and less prone to criminal activity of all kinds than is the general population. A person who has a clean record, has passed an FBI background check, undergone firearms training, and spent several hundred dollars to get a permit and a firearm, is highly unlikely to choose to murder a neighbor. Doing so would result in his facing a police manhunt, a trial, prison, possibly capital punishment, and the destruction of his family, job, and reputation. Obviously it would make no sense for such a person to shoot a neighbor - except in self-defense. Equally obviously, the anti-gun person who believes that malicious shootings by ordinary gun owners are likely to occur is not in touch with reality.

The Common Thread: Rage

In my experience, the common thread in anti-gun people is rage. Either anti-gun people harbor more rage than others, or they're less able to cope with it appropriately. Because they can't handle their own feelings of rage, they are forced to use defense mechanisms in an unhealthy manner. Because they wrongly perceive others as seeking to harm them, they advocate the disarmament of ordinary people who have no desire to harm anyone. So why do anti-gun people have so much rage and why are they unable to deal with it in appropriate ways? Consider for a moment that the largest and most hysterical anti-gun groups include disproportionately large numbers of women, African- Americans and Jews. And virtually all of the organizations that claim to speak for these "oppressed people" are stridently anti-gun. Not coincidentally, among Jews, Blacks and women there are many "professional victims" who have little sense of identity outside of their victimhood.

Identity as Victim

If I were to summarize this article in three sentences, they would be:

   (1) People who identify themselves as "victims" harbor excessive amounts of rage at other people, whom they perceive as "not victims."

   (2) In order psychologically to deal with this rage, these "victims" utilize defense mechanisms that enable them to harm others in socially acceptable ways, without accepting responsibility or suffering guilt, and without having to give up their status as "victims."

   (3) Gun owners are frequently the targets of professional victims because gun owners are willing and able to prevent their own victimization.

Thus the concept of "identity as victim" is essential. How and why do members of some groups choose to identify themselves as victims and teach their children to do the same? While it's true that women, Jews, and African- Americans have historically been victimized, they now participate in American society on an equal basis. And other groups, most notably Asian-Americans, have been equally victimized, and yet have transcended the "eternal victim" mentality.

Why, for example, would a 6'10" NBA player who makes $10 million a year see himself as a "victim"? Why would a successful, respected, wealthy, Jewish physician regard himself as a "victim"? Conversely, why might a wheelchair bound woman who lives on government disability NOT regard herself as a victim?

I would argue it's because the basketball player and the physician believe that their identities are dependent on being victims – not because they have actually been victimized, but because they're members of groups that claim victim status. Conversely, the disabled woman was probably raised to believe that she is responsible for her own success or failure.

In fact, many people who have been victims of actual violent crime, or who have survived war or civil strife, support the right of self-defense. The old saying is often correct: "a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged."

Special Treatment and Misleading Leaders

Two reasons for these groups to insist on "victim" status seem likely. First, by claiming victim status, members of these groups can demand (and get) special treatment through quotas, affirmative action, reparations, and other preferential treatment programs.

Second, these people have been indoctrinated to believe that there is no alternative to remaining a victim forever. Their leaders remind them constantly that they are mistreated in every imaginable way (most of them imaginary!), attribute every one of life's misfortunes to "racism" or "sexism" or "hate crimes", and dream up ever more complex schemes for special treatment and favors.22 These leaders are the ones who preach that the entire Black experience is slavery and racism, or that Jewish history before and after the Holocaust is irrelevant, or that happily married women are really victims of sexual slavery.

Likewise, the NAACP is suing firearms manufacturers to put them out of business, and is especially opposed to the inexpensive pistols that enable the poor to defend themselves in gang-ridden inner cities. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) proposed evicting anyone who dares to keep a tool of self-defense in any of its crime-infested housing projects. Jewish leaders, especially those in the politically correct "Reform" branch, preach that gun control is "a solemn religious obligation", contrary to the teachings of their sacred scriptures and their own history. Law enforcement agencies falsely teach women that they are safest if they don't resist rapists and robbers, while women's organizations advocate gun control, thus rendering women and their children defenseless.

Victimhood is good business for organizations that foster victim status. As victims, the members depend upon the organization to protect them, and the organization in turn relies on members for funding and political power. In the interest of self-preservation, these organizations work hard at preserving hatred and bigotry and at keeping their members defenseless – and therefore dependent.

Anti-gun groups love victims!

From my observations, pro-victimhood is a feature of all of the anti-gun special interest groups, not just the ones mentioned here. Every organization that supports gun control apparently wants its members to be helpless, terrified and totally dependent on someone else to control every aspect of their lives. It doesn't matter whether it's a religious, racial, ethnic, political, social, or charitable group. From Handgun Control, Inc. to the Anti- Defamation League to the Million Mom March, they all want you to live in fear. In this scheme, soccer moms are "victims" just as much as are inner-city minorities.

If these organizations truly cared about the people for whom they claim to speak, they would encourage safe and responsible firearms ownership. They would help people to learn how to defend themselves and their families so that they wouldn't have to live in fear. They would tell everyone that one of the wonderful things about being an American is that you have the right to keep and bear arms, the right to defend yourself, and how these rights preserve the right to be free.

The psychological price of being a victim

In our current society, victimhood has many perceived benefits, but there are some serious drawbacks. Victims tend to see the world as a scary and threatening place. They believe that others treat them differently, unfairly, and even maliciously – and that they are helpless to do anything about it. This belief, that they are being mistreated and are helpless to resist, generates tremendous rage, and often, serious depression.

But for victims to show rage openly can be dangerous, if not outright suicidal. For example, a battered woman who screams at or hits her attacker may provoke worse beatings or even her own murder. And a person who successfully defends himself loses his status as "victim." For someone whose entire identity is dependent on being a victim, the loss of victim status is just as threatening as loss of life.

So, unable psychologically to cope with such rage, people who view themselves as victims: (1) use defense mechanisms to displace it into irrational beliefs about neighbors killing each other, and the infallibility of police protection, and (2) attempt to regain control by controlling gun owners, whom they wrongly perceive as "the enemy".

Say NO to being a victim!

But no one needs to be a victim! Quite simply, it's not very easy to victimize a person who owns and knows how to use a firearm. If most women owned and carried firearms, rapes and beating would decrease. Thugs who target the elderly and disabled would find honest work once they realized they were likely to be looking down the barrel of a pistol or shotgun. It's nearly impossible to enslave, or herd into concentration camps, large numbers of armed people.

Communicating with anti-gun people

How can you communicate more effectively with an anti-gun person who is using unhealthy defense mechanisms? There are no quick and easy answers. But there are a few things you should keep in mind.

Anger and attacks do not work

Most gun owners, when confronted by an anti-gun person, become angry and hostile. This is understandable, because gun owners increasingly face ridicule, persecution and discrimination. (If you don't believe this, ask yourself if anyone would seriously introduce legislation to ban African- Americans, women, or Jews from post offices, schools, and churches. Even convicted felons aren't banned from such places – but peaceful armed citizens are!) But an angry response is counterproductive.

It's not helpful to attack the person you're trying to persuade. Anything that makes him feel more fearful or angry will only intensify his defenses. Your goal is to help the person feel safe, and then to provide experiences and information that will help him to make informed decisions.

Be Gentle

You should never try to break down a defense mechanism by force. Remember that defense mechanisms protect people from feelings they cannot handle, and if you take that protection away, you can cause serious psychological harm. And because defense mechanisms operate unconsciously, it won't do any good to show an anti-gun person this article or to point out that he's using defense mechanisms. Your goal is gently and gradually to help the person to have a more realistic and rational view of the world. This cannot be done in one hour or one day.

As you reach out to people in this way, you need to deal with both the illogical thought processes involved and the emotional reactions that anti-gun people have to firearms. When dealing with illogical thought processes, you are attempting to use reason and logic to convince the anti-gun person that his perception of other people and his perception of firearms are seriously inaccurate. The goal is to help him to understand that armed citizens and firearms are not threats, and may even save his life.

Reversing Irrational thoughts

The Mirror Technique

One approach that can be helpful is simply to feed back what the anti-gun person is telling you, in a neutral, inquisitive way. So, when replying to my anonymous e-mail correspondent (above), I might respond, "So you fear if your neighbors had guns, they would use them to murder you. What makes you think that?" When you simply repeat what the person has said, and ask questions, you are not directly challenging his defenses. You are holding up a mirror to let him see his own views. If he has very strong defenses, he can continue to insist that his neighbors want to murder him. However, if his defenses are less rigid, he may start to question his position.

Another example might be, "Why do you think that your children's schoolteachers would shoot them?" You might follow this up with something like, "Why do you entrust your precious children to someone you believe would murder them?" Again, you are merely asking questions, and not directly attacking the person or his defenses.

Of course the anti-gun person might continue to insist that the teachers really would harm children, but prohibiting them from owning guns would prevent it. So you might ask how using a gun to murder innocent children is different from stabbing children with scissors, assaulting them with baseball bats, or poisoning the milk and cookies.

It's important to ask "open-ended" questions that require a response other than "yes" or "no". Such questions require the anti-gun person actually to think about what he is saying. This will help him to re-examine his beliefs. It may also encourage him to ask you questions about firearms use and ownership.

The "What Would You Do?" Technique

Once you have a dialogue going with an anti-gun person, you might want to insert him into a hypothetical scenario, although doing so is a greater threat to his defenses, and is therefore more risky. You might ask how he would deal with a difficult or annoying co-worker. He will likely respond that he would never resort to violence, but "other people" would, especially if they had guns. (Projection again.) You can then ask him who these "other people" are, why they would shoot a co-worker, and what the shooter would gain by doing so.

Don't try to "win" the argument. Don't try to embarrass the person you're trying to educate. Remember that no one likes to admit that his deeply held beliefs are wrong. No one likes to hear "I told you so!" Be patient and gentle. If you are arrogant, condescending, hurtful or rude to the anti-gun person, you will only convince him that gun owners are arrogant, hurtful people – who should not be trusted with guns!

Defusing Emotional reactions

The "You Are There" Technique

Rational arguments alone are not likely to be successful, especially since many people "feel" rather than "think". You also need to deal with the emotional responses of the anti-gun person. Remember that most people have been conditioned to associate firearms with dead toddlers. So you need to change the person's emotional responses along with his thoughts.

One way to do this is to put the anti-gun person (or his family) at a hypothetical crime scene and ask what he would like to have happen. For example, "Imagine your wife is in the parking lot at the supermarket and two men grab her. One holds a knife to her throat while the other tears her clothes off. If I see this happening and have a gun, what should I do? What would happen next? What if after five minutes, the police still haven't arrived?"

Just let him answer the questions and mentally walk through the scenario. Don't argue with his answers. You are planting seeds in his mind than can help change his emotional responses.

The Power of Empathy

Another emotion-based approach that is often more successful is to respond sympathetically to the plight of the anti-gun person.

Imagine for a moment how you would feel if you believed your neighbors and co-workers wanted to kill you and your family, and you could do nothing at all about it except to wait for the inevitable to occur.

Not very pleasant, is it?

This is the world in which opponents of armed self-defense live. All of us have had times in our lives when we felt "different" and had to contend with hostile schoolmates, co- workers, etc. So we need to invoke our own compassion for these terrified people. Say something like, "It must be awful to live in fear of being assaulted by your own neighbors. I remember what it was like when I was the only (Jew, Mormon, African-American, Republican) in my (class, football team, workplace) – and even then I didn't think anyone was going to kill me." It's essential that you sincerely feel some compassion and empathy; if you're glib or sarcastic, this won't work.

Using empathy works in several ways. First, it defuses a potentially hostile interaction. Anti-gun people are used to being attacked, not understood, by advocates of gun rights. Instead of an "evil, gun-toting, extremist", you are now a sympathetic, fellow human being. This may also open the door for a friendly conversation, in which you can each discover that your "opponent" is a person with whom you have some things in common. You may even create an opportunity to dispel some of the misinformation about firearms and self-defense that is so prevalent.

This empathy technique is also useful for redirecting, or ending, a heated argument that has become hostile and unproductive. It allows you to escape from the dead end of "guns save lives" vs. "the only reason to have a gun is to murder children." With empathy you can reframe the argument entirely. Instead of arguing about whether more lives are saved or lost as a result of gun ownership, you can comment on how terrifying it must be to live in a country where 80 million people own guns "solely for the purpose of murdering children".

You should not expect any of these approaches to work immediately; they won't. With rare exceptions, the anti-gun person is simply not going to "see the light," thank you profusely, and beg you to take him shooting. What you are doing is putting tiny chinks into the armor of the person's defenses, or planting seeds that may someday develop into a more open mind or a more rational analysis. This process can take months or years. But it does work!

Corrective Experiences

Perhaps the most effective way to dissolve defense mechanisms, however, is by providing corrective experiences30. Corrective experiences are experiences that allow a person to learn that his ideas about gun owners and guns are incorrect in a safe and non-threatening way. To provide a corrective experience, you first allow the person to attempt to project his incorrect ideas onto you. Then, you demonstrate that he is wrong by your behavior, not by arguing.

For example, the anti-gun person will unconsciously attempt to provoke you by claiming that gun owners are uneducated "rednecks," or by treating you as if you are an uneducated "redneck." If you get angry and respond by calling him a "stupid, liberal, socialist", you will prove his point. However, if you casually talk about your M.B.A., your trip to the Shakespeare festival, your vegetable garden, or your daughter's ballet recital, you will provide him with the opportunity to correct his misconceptions.

If you have used the above techniques, then you have already provided one corrective experience. You have demonstrated to the frightened, anti-gun person that gun owners are not abusive, scary, dangerous and sub-human monsters, but normal, everyday people who care about their families, friends and even strangers.

As many gun owners have already discovered, the most important corrective experiences involve actually exposing the fearful person to a firearm. It is almost never advisable to tell someone that you carry a concealed firearm, but there are ways to use your own experience favorably.

For example, if you're dealing with an anti-gun person with whom you interact regularly and have a generally good relationship – a coworker, neighbor, church member, etc. – you might indirectly refer to concealed carry. You should never say anything like "I'm carrying a gun right now and you can't even tell," especially because in some states that would be considered illegal, "threatening" behavior. But you might consider saying something like, "I sometimes carry a firearm, and you've never seemed to be uncomfortable around me." Whether to disclose this information is an individual decision, and you should consider carefully other consequences before using this approach.

First-hand experience

Ultimately, your goal is to take the anti-gun person shooting. Some people will accept an invitation to accompany you to the range, but others are too frightened to do so, and will need some preliminary experience.

First, you want to encourage the anti-gun person to have some contact with a firearm in whatever way feels most comfortable to him. Many people seem to believe that firearms have minds of their own and shoot people of their own volition. So you might want to start by inviting him simply to look at and then handle an unloaded firearm. This also provides you the opportunity to show the inexperienced person how to tell whether a firearm is loaded and to teach him the basic rules of firearms safety.

Encourage the newcomer to ask questions and remember that your role is to present accurate information in a friendly, responsible and non-threatening way. This is a good time to offer some reading material on the benefits of firearms ownership. But be careful not to provide so much information that it's overwhelming. And remember this is not the time to launch into anti-government rants, the New World Order, conspiracy theories, or any kind of political talk!

Next, you can invite your friend to accompany you to the shooting range. (And if you're going to trust each other with loaded guns, you should consider yourselves friends!) Assure him that no one will force him to shoot a gun and he's free just to watch. Let him know in advance what he will experience and what will be expected of him. This includes such things as the need for eye and ear protection, a cap, appropriate clothing, etc. Make sure you have a firearm appropriate for your guest should s/he decide to try shooting. This means a lower caliber firearm that doesn't have too much recoil. If your guest is a woman, make sure the firearm will fit her appropriately. Many rifles have stocks that are too long for small women, and double-stack semi-autos are usually too large for a woman's hand.

Remember that just visiting the range can be a corrective experience. Your guest will learn that gun owners are disciplined, responsible, safety-conscious, courteous, considerate, and follow the rules. He will see people of all ages, from children to the elderly, male and female, enjoying an activity together. He will not see a single "beer-swilling redneck" waving a firearm in people's faces.

In my experience, most people who visit a range will decide they do want to try shooting. Remember to make sure your guest understands all the safety rules and range rules before allowing him to handle a firearm. If you don't feel competent to teach a newcomer to shoot, ask an instructor or range master to assist. Remember to provide lots of positive feedback and encouragement. If you're lucky, you'll recruit a new firearms enthusiast.

But even if your guest decides that shooting is "not for him", he will have learned many valuable lessons. He will know basic rules of firearms safety, and how to clear a firearm should he need to do so. This may well save his life someday. He will know that guns do not fire unless a person pulls the trigger. He will know that gun owners are friendly, responsible people, not very different from him. Even if he chooses not to fire a gun ever again, he will be less likely to fear and persecute gun owners. And who knows – a few months or years later he may decide to become a gun owner.

Why these techniques do not always work

You should remember that you will not be successful with all anti-gun people. Some people are so terrified and have such strong defenses, that it's not possible for someone without professional training to get through. Some people have their minds made up and refuse to consider opening them. Others may concede that what you say "makes sense," but are unwilling to challenge the forces of political correctness. A few may have had traumatic experiences with firearms from which they have not recovered.

You will also not be successful with the anti-gun ideologues, people like Charles Schumer and Dianne Feinstein. These people have made a conscious choice to oppose firearms ownership and self-defense. They almost always gain power, prestige, and money from their anti-gun politics. They are not interested in the facts or in saving lives. They know the facts and understand the consequences of their actions, and will happily sacrifice innocent people if it furthers their selfish agenda. Do not use these techniques on such people. They only respond to fears of losing the power, prestige and money that they covet.


By better understanding advocates of civilian disarmament, and by learning and practicing some simple techniques to deal with their psychological defenses, you will be much more effective in your efforts to communicate with anti-gun people. This will enable you to be more successful at educating them about the realities of firearms and self- defense, and their importance to our liberty and safety.

Educating others about firearms is hard work. It's not glamorous, and it generally needs to be done one person at a time. But it's a very necessary and important task. The average American supports freedom of speech and freedom of religion, whether or not he chooses to exercise them. He supports fair trials, whether or not he's ever been in a courtroom. He likewise needs to understand that self- defense is an essential right, whether or not he chooses to own or carry a gun.

© 2000, Sarah Thompson.
Dr. Thompson is Executive Director of Utah Gun Owners Alliance, and also writes The Righter,, a monthly column on individual rights.

"Valuable Wisdom From A 20-Year Peace Officer"
"...I have seen a hollow point bullet that flattened out on a skull;
the victim lived...."

by R.K. Campbell

I have seen a shift from faith in experience toward questioning of values we have held for years. Some feel the "big bore" crowd is full of self interest. Misconceptions concerning handgun calibers may cause a person to make the wrong choice, and end up dead. I have no problem finding the bad guys gone or incarcerated, but do not wish to hear of the good guys and girls among the enumeration of the dead. My approach may not be scientific, but I think of it as empirical observation. After two decades as a peace officer, I realize that when a cop says has seen something, he means he arrived just as the fight ended and he "saw" the aftermath; the flesh warm and the victim still screaming. We state that the assailant who took five 9mms was still mobile. The fellow with one .45 in his chest remained mobile and decided to die just before we arrived. These are observations on the state of weaponcraft.

I have applied my education, and observational powers to many areas. I have written extensively on liability and training issues and dealing with the mentally ill. I am working to pass legislation to limit access by sex offenders to certain public areas. In general, I like to make the miserable lives of criminals more difficult. Some research is unpleasant. Police journals are not eager to publish articles on wound ballistics because the debate is one of uncertainty. Information must be verifiable, and any experiment must be repeatable. This is not the case with books and articles on handgun caliber effectiveness. We have a desire to learn. I suspect there is a yearning to hear that our pet caliber--a .32 or a .45--is just great. I have studied gun battles for the better part of thirty years and listened to anyone who has been in combat. I have looked over both ends of the gun barrel to defend the public and myself. There have been difficulties and permanent injuries and scars gained along the way.

As for what I have learned, take this with what you have learned elsewhere and apply it to your situation. Most importantly, the slacker will not get anywhere. There are more in uniform than among civilian shooters. The officer at risk often regards qualification as a chore. If you work in an occupation that requires certification in haz/mat or other boring subjects you feel you know well, then you understand. Officers do not regard qualification as a learning experience, but a chore. The cop who practices on his own time and on his own dime is rare.

Civilians enjoy shooting more, and often become proficient. The civilian usually has a broad choice of handguns while the cop goes with the company gun. What I know about bullet performance is learned from real world experience. Some has been gained from shooting game animals. I shoot animals only to eat or to feed others. A deer approaches the size of an adult human male. Either is about as hard to put down although man is much more susceptible to shock. I do not hunt deer or boar with a 9mm. We stalk and kill cleanly. If we need a weapon to defend ourselves against an attacking animal the weapons would be more powerful than we use for defense against people. Those who sneak up on humans and rob them get by with .32s and the like. When attempting to stop a motivated attacker we need more power. There are several types of attackers. There is the fellow who falls into a swoon at the sight of an armed victim, and runs. He may lose his composure when he realizes the victim is armed and he will run away if possible. The second is the most common type: he is dangerous but will fight only when cornered or when there is a profit in it. The man who takes punishment and keeps coming, his only mission that of murder and mayhem, is a rare breed--but he exists. Among peace officers, the ratio is the same; with the average fellow keeping the peace. I once accepted the resignation of a young man who had his first run in with a burglar. The civilian will have no choice when the bad guys choose him or her as the victim.

We need a handgun that is reliable above all else, and in a suitable caliber to face such warped men. Modern handguns are more reliable than ever. But in some cases, Technical has taken precedent over Tactical. Questions centering upon handgun caliber performance are the most common. Testing is difficult. Flesh is not translucent like gelatin, and even harvesting an animal doesn't tell us much if the bullet exits. But we can make generalizations. We want penetration to vital organs, and a bullet that is not deflected by bone. Our bone structure supports our body and protects the vital organs. Bone can deflect projectiles. High velocity bullets may fragment. Bone does funny things to bullets. I have seen a hollowpoint bullet that flattened out on a skull; the victim lived. Other hollowpoints did not expand at all, but hardball rounds sometimes deform.

The old saying that something is better than nothing is true. But we have some good choices and we would not be very bright if we did not take advantage of them. I would not feel uncomfortable with .45 caliber hardball, but I deploy hollowpoint loads to take advantage of their properties.

Bullet placement is very important. We do not need to obliterate the heart or annihilate the liver to stop a felon. We only need to hit and damage these organs. Let's relate the big bore to the small bore. We have all heard stories of a . 2 caliber bullet slipping into the chest cavity and severing an aorta, immediately stopping an attack. I am certain it has happened, but I am equally certain there have been many failures to stop with the .22 (and larger cartridges as well). But the advantage of the big bore is present in literature and confirmed events for over one hundred and fifty years.

I recently studied a feature on aerial shooting. I did so mainly for enjoyment but I was struck by the recommendation of using a big bore for exhibition shooting. The author was successful in shooting moving silver dollar size targets with the .44 and .45 caliber double action revolver. He found hitting with the .38 was much more difficult. While super human ability may play a part, hard work is required. Hard work is something defensive shooters should get acquainted with. The 1.6 inch frontal diameter of the .45 gave a much better chance of hitting a small target. The same is true when vital organs are the target. When we are firing at a moving target far removed from the one dimensional stationary target on the range, I want every advantage. The big bore gives us a better chance of damaging tissue as the bullet travels through the body. Bullet placement is vital as there are parts of the body that, if damaged, will cause an immediate shutdown. These areas include the brain case and the spine. These targets are difficult to hit quickly and are not high on my list of aiming points. The center mass hold works. When you are fighting, your hands shake and your vision is blurred, so a fine bead on the cerebral cortex is not possible. Concentrate on marksmanship and rapid [gun]handling. If there is any shortcoming universal among students it is a lack of familiarity with the handgun.

There is an argument that those who are not able to practice regularly should deploy the 9mm. Handgun skills are perishable, and the small bore is easier to shoot well. If you cannot practice monthly with the semi- automatic pistol you need to be using a revolver. A full size .45 is controllable by men and women of average height and build. Caliber is as important as hand fit and feel. There is a certain amount of prejudice toward one weapon or the other that is easily dispelled at the range. I have enjoyed range sessions with men and women of varying ability. You do not have to be well heeled to be well armed. Being well armed is a product of proficiency not the price of the handgun. During a recent class I found that shooters of modest means did not have to be modest concerning their ability. Most of my students had chosen their firearm based upon their likes and perceptions. I discovered that Highpoint pistols will outshoot the Smith and Wesson SIGMA every time. The inexpensive FEG 9 x 18 has a better feeling grip than the Walther PPK. A couple of students had Glocks, but the Ruger 9mm shooter present had practiced with his handgun.

While we all have our preferences, the person behind the pistol is the real weapon.

Shooters swear by a certain caliber of load and sometimes I am dubious of their recommendation. Those who have real experience in the field recommend powerful cartridges that have worked for themselves and others. The .357 Magnum revolver has a tremendous reputation. I have seen the effect over my own sights. An acquaintance hunts with a four inch barrel .357 Magnum. He swears by the Federal 180 grain JHP. This is a heavier load than many would recommend for self defense but this gentleman often carries his Smith and Wesson concealed on his "town" trips loaded with the 180 grain JHP. He has complete confidence in his choice. Do you have the same in yours?

I own many handguns. I would not have gotten this far in the game if I did not enjoy firing different types. The realist in me knows to carry the proven Colt 1911 when the situation warrants. Old, worn, and reliable I am familiar with the zero with the chosen load and I know exactly how the piece handles in all situations. Some feel that if the .45 is good then the .44 Magnum is better. I have respect for this caliber. I have seen two .44 Magnum wounds just after the fact, and each was immediately effective. In one case the bullet entered the kneecap and traveled through the muscle of the leg exiting the ball of the foot. This was an unintentional self inflicted wound. In another incident a homeowner fired at a person he was arguing with. The 240 grain bullet pulped the victim's liver but exited and struck the homeowner's wife in the shoulder, crippling her for life. The .44 Magnum doesn't strike me for personal defense, and the factory loaded .44 Special is less effective than the .45 ACP.

The size and shape of the handgun mean much. A 9mm may be small and light while the .45 needs weight for good control. I often deploy a light weight frame Springfield .45 but I am under no illusions that I will fire it as accurately as a steel frame pistol. I feel that many of the super light weight handguns available today are too light; while I enjoy big bores, I do not enjoy guns that hurt.

The final word is: choose a handgun that fits your hand size, and then practice often. Choose a load that is completely reliable (good quality control), demonstrates a full powder burn, and offers a good balance between expansion and penetration. The caliber is your choice, but the big bore is proven. Old wisdom really is the best.

R.K. Campbell is a writer with twenty years police experience. He holds a degree in criminal justice and has studied firearms and their use for nearly forty years. He is the author of three books and over six hundred articles, columns, and reviews.

After The Shooting
"...there are some things that you need to remember..."
by Larry Correia

As self-defense oriented people, we tend to think about the actual encounter a lot, and seldom, if ever, about what we should do in the aftermath. If you are unlucky enough to be involved in a violent encounter, there are some things that you need to remember to maximize your chances of a successful outcome.

Call for help immediately. Even if you produced the gun and your assailant retreated with no shots fired, call the police. If there is somebody out there worth pulling a gun on, then the cops need to know about it. They may have just gone around the corner to pick an easier victim.

As soon as it is safe for you to do so, call 911. Always ask for an ambulance. If somebody has been shot, whether injured or even if you are a hundred percent sure that they are dead, I still want you to ask for medical attention. First off, killing people sucks, so if I've got an injured assailant, I don't want him to die, I just wanted to make him leave me alone. Second, if you don't ask for medical attention, then there is a good chance that fact will be brought up during any potential trial. Basically it is just another tool of a prosecutor trying to portray the permit holder as a blood-thirsty vigilante.

If humanly possible, have your weapon secured before the police arrive, at least in your holster, but definitely not in your hand. The responding officers do not know you, and the information they got from dispatch was probably sketchy at best. The last thing you want to do is survive a violent encounter only to get shot by the cops because they think you're the bad guy.

If you are ever in a situation where you still have the gun in your hands, and the police arrive, they are going to order you to drop the gun. Comply with their instructions because otherwise they may think you are the threat and very well may shoot you. Do not start talking or trying to explain what is going on. Don't be offended because they are treating you like the bad guy. This is not the time to get indignant. This is the time to keep from getting shot.

If you have medical training, and you have just shot and injured an attacker, you may be tempted to administer first aid. Keep in mind, however, that a minute ago this person was trying to hurt you bad enough that they were worth shooting. That threat may still be a threat. Your primary advantage is the fact that you have a firearm. If you then put yourself close enough to administer treatment, you are giving up that advantage. He may not be as incapacitated as you thought, and when he wakes up and sees the person who just shot him within arm's length, you have a real good chance of getting your head twisted off your shoulders. He may have a folding knife that you won't know about until it cuts your kidney in half.

Keep in mind that when the police shoot somebody, the paramedics do not rush in and give immediate aid. The police always secure the individual before the paramedics move in. That is for everyone's safety. If you have been through first responder training, keep in mind one of the very first examples that was given to your class. If you come across a car accident, and the car is on fire, you do not have to climb into the burning car to try and help, because now you are just one more injured person to treat. You never want to endanger yourself to administer aid.

Never tamper with the crime scene. You may have heard the old myth, usually given by an imbecile that does not understand self-defense law, "if you shoot the guy on the porch, drag him in the living room." Bad idea. Do not ever do that. Once you shoot someone, wherever it happened is now a crime scene. If you tamper with the evidence, the authorities will figure it out, and this will now create doubt in the minds of the reasonable people looking at your case. If you felt the need to tamper with the scene, they will believe that you are trying to hide something. The only thing you may do is to make the area physically safe for yourself, but other than that, leave it alone.

On that same note, do not flee the scene. Your personal safety comes first, so if you need to get away to keep from being injured, that is one thing, but make sure that you then call the police as quickly as possible. If you flee the scene of a shooting, that once again raises the specter of guilt with the authorities, and that will color their investigation accordingly.

The responding officers are going to question you. I want you to give a brief statement, and then shut up, accent on brief, with little or no details. As in, "Officer, he attacked me, I was in fear for my life, so I shot him." That is it. Do not start to babble to the police. Do not try to explain everything at the time. They will continue to question you. At that point you will politely tell them that you are not going to answer any more questions until you have your attorney present.

When you shoot somebody, unless you have ice water in your veins, you will be going through various stress reactions. Some of you may be in shock, others will be distraught that they just took a life, others may be enraged that some bad guy just threatened their children, but whatever your reaction, you will not be in a calm state of mind. It is a medical fact that adrenalin affects our higher brain functions. You will tend to forget details, some of which may be very important, or even worse, your brain will fill in the forgotten blanks with facts that will later be shown to be incorrect.

Wait until you have an attorney present before you make your complete statement. This gives you the time to compose yourself and calm down. Also, the Bill of Rights gives us the right to legal counsel. Take advantage of it. A good attorney will keep you from saying anything stupid that will be used against you in court later.

Now some of you may not like this. You may have the mistaken belief that it is the bad guys that need the defense attorneys, not us good guys. Unfortunately that is not how it works in real life. We work in an adversarial system, and anything you say during a statement, can and will be used against you in a court of law.

These are just a few basic tips to keep in mind. Your primary consideration in a violent encounter is to first survive the attack, but doing these things may help you survive the aftermath.


-Larry Correia is an author, firearms instructor, and one of the owners of Fuzzy Bunny Movie Guns in Draper, Utah. FBMG is a gun store, specializing in self-defense needs, training, and full-line smithing. Their online store is at The author can be reached at

Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law

Title 18, U.S.C., Section 242

This statute makes it a crime for any person acting under color of law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom to willfully deprive orcause to be deprived from any person those rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution and laws of theU.S.

This law further prohibits a person acting under color of law, statute, ordinance, regulation or custom to willfully subject or causeto be subjected any person to different punishments, pains, or penalties, than those prescribed for punishment of citizens on account of such person being an alien or by reason of his/her color or race.

Acts under "color of any law" include acts not only done by federal, state, or local officials within the bounds or limits of their lawful authority, but also acts done without and beyond the bounds of their lawful authority; provided that, in order for unlawful acts of any official to be done under "color of any law," the unlawful acts must be done while such official is purporting or pretending to act in the
performance of his/her official duties. This definition includes, in addition to law enforcement officials, individuals such as Mayors, Council persons, Judges, Nursing Home Proprietors, Security Guards, etc., persons who are bound by laws, statutes ordinances, or customs.

Punishment varies from a fine or imprisonment of up to one year, or both, and if bodily injury results or if such acts include the use, attempted use, or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, explosives, or fire shall be fined or imprisoned up to ten years or both, and if death results, or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.

Holster Safety and the Four Rules
"...Never point the gun at anything you are not willing to destroy..."
by Kathy Jackson

I received an intriguing question in my email the other day. In a nutshell, my correspondent wanted to know, "How can the Four Rules apply while the gun is holstered, since many holsters seem to point the weapon in unsafe directions?" Here is my answer:

The Four Rules

1. All guns are always loaded.
2. Never point the gun at anything you are not willing to destroy.
3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on target (and you have made the decision to shoot).
4. Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.

The second of the Four Rules is the main focal point of this article: "Never point the gun at anything you are not willing to destroy."

This rule applies every time you pick up, hold, or put down a firearm. While you are holding the gun, you never deliberately or cluelessly let it point at stuff you don't want holes in.

But what about muzzle direction when you are not directly holding the gun?

I am of the opinion that a gun, by itself, is an inert object. There is no rational reason to fear a loaded gun lying on the kitchen table as long as no one is touching it. (See footnote1) Gun shop customers do not need to worry about a gun of unknown state (loaded? unloaded?) which is behind a gunshop counter, no matter which direction the gun is pointed, as long as no one is touching it. An untouched firearm is only a thing. It is not a living creature with a mind or a will of its own.

The risk comes when human beings enter the picture. Because human beings are prone to accidents and mistakes, the gun must be pointed in a safe direction whenever human hands touch it. If you cannot pick a firearm up without pointing it in an unsafe direction (or if it is already pointed in an unsafe direction), you should not put your hand on it. If you cannot put a firearm down without pointing it in an unsafe direction, you should not put it down. This is necessary because the mixture of human hand and unsafe direction can cause bad stuff to happen.

With me so far?

When considering whether a holster is "safe" or "not safe," I don't worry much about muzzle orientation while the user's hand is not on the gun. A gun held securely inside a trigger-covering holster, and which is not being handled by a human being, is as safe and as inert as one which is lying on the table untouched.

But notice the italics in the paragraph above. The real danger comes when the gun is being placed into, or withdrawn from, the holster, because that is the point at which human hands get involved in the process. With some holsters, this risk can be avoided entirely. For instance, with a dropped and offset OWB holster on the point of the hip, it takes a near-determined effort of will to cover oneself with the firearm (though I've seen it done!). Yet this sort of rig isn't easily concealed and thus isn't practical for those who want to carry a concealed firearm.

The risk of pointing the gun in an unsafe direction during the process of getting the gun into or out of its holster can be greatly minimized so that it is nearly avoided. This deliberate action takes a very conscious effort of will, and should never become a matter of complacency.

One example of minimizing the risk would be the careful process of safely holstering and unholstering with a shoulder holster. Most smart folks I know who carry with one of these rigs make a conscious effort to place the left elbow high into the air while drawing with the right hand. This moves the brachial artery far away from the risk of inadvertent discharge. (See footnote 2)

Any time you absolutely must come close to violating one of the Four Rules, it should be a red flag to slow down and pay special attention to all the other rules. The safety rules should be so engrained in your habits and thoughts that it should take a really conscious act of the will to do anything near the line.

Another example. Since I carry my IWB holster in the appendix carry position, I never reholster while sitting down. Ever. If I did so, the gun's muzzle would be pointed directly at my femoral artery while I handled the gun -- a very dangerous combination of circumstances! Even standing up, I'm always very conscious of where my trigger finger is while I am reholstering, and hold my trigger finger far outside the trigger guard at all times. And I don't simply stand up straight. Instead, I put my right leg slightly to the rear, suck my gut in as far as it will go, and lean back slightly while reholstering. This allows me to angle the muzzle away from me during the process. Doing it this way, if a shot were to fire it would most likely strike the ground in front of me rather than hitting any of my favorite body parts. Nevertheless, I'm always very conscious of the risk while reholstering, and never reholster in a hurry.

My point here is that the combination of human hand plus loaded gun is dangerous. Every carry method you might choose will probably allow the gun to point at stuff you don't want shot during the day, and there's simply no way around that fact. For safety's sake, remember that if the gun is pointed in an unsafe direction, you must never be the one doing the pointing.

If you are uncertain whether you have been using your holster safely, please be sure to read the "Safety Matters" article on the Cornered Cat website that corresponds to your holster type, and contact a qualified instructor to discuss any specific concerns you might have.

Safety Matters: Using a Belt Holster -- ster/belt.aspx
Safety Matters: Using a Shoulder Holster -- ster/shoulder.aspx
Safety Matters: Using a Waist Pack Holster -- ster/waist.aspx

Stay Safe!

Footnotes 1. Please note the exception! If there is a possibility of children, the criminal, or the clueless picking the gun up, it's not safe just lying there. But as long as none of those pesky and unpredictable human beings come on the scene, the gun isn't going to do anything on its own. 2. It does not, however, reduce the danger to people standing behind or to the left side of the person wearing the shoulder holster. For this reason, these rigs are rarely allowed on crowded ranges -- though you may be able to find an instructor willing to work with you to learn safe drawing techniques under carefully-controlled conditions.

Kathy Jackson is the Managing Editor of Concealed Carry Magazine. This article is from her website. She has an incredible amount of information for those who carry concealed at Go check out her website and bookmark it. You will definitely want to revisit!

Preventing Mass Murders in School And Elsewhere "

"...Guns were specifically not allowed on the
premises by official policy or by law...."

by Gabriel Suarez;
Reprinted From:
Concealed Carry Magazine- Introductory Issue

Law says you can't (carry a gun)? . . .I'll point out some dead people who would love to be living outlaws.

Some people will be shocked at the tone of this article. They should be.

February 2, 1996 - Moses Lake, Washington: Two students and one teacher killed, and one wounded when 14-year-old Barry Loukaitis opened fire on his algebra class.

March 13, 1996 - Dunblane, Scotland: 16 children and one teacher killed at Dunblane Primary School by Thomas Hamilton, who then killed himself. 10 others were wounded in the attack.

February 19, 1997 - Bethel, Alaska: Principal and one student killed, and two others wounded by Evan Ramsey, 16.

October 1, 1997 - Pearl, Mississippi: Two students killed and seven wounded by Luke Woodham, 16, who was also accused of killing his mother. He and his friends were said to be outcasts who worshiped Satan.

December 1, 1997 - West Paducah, Kentucky: Three students killed, and five wounded by Michael Carneal, 14, as they participated in a prayer circle at Heath High School.

There you are with a gun held to your neck. Do you have the skills to save yourself?

March 24, 1998 - Jonesboro, Arkansas: Four students and one teacher killed, ten others wounded outside, as Westside Middle School emptied during a false fire alarm. Mitchell Johnson, 13, and Andrew Golden, 11, shot at their classmates and teachers from the woods.

May 21, 1998 - Springfield, Oregon: Two students killed, and 22 others wounded in the cafeteria at Thurston High School by 15-year-old Kip Kinkel. Kinkel had been arrested and released a day earlier for bringing a gun to school. His parents were later found dead at home.

June 15, 1998 - Richmond, Virginia: One teacher and one guidance counselor wounded by a 14-year-old boy in the school hallway.

April 20, 1999 - Littleton, Colorado: 14 students (including killers) and one teacher killed, and 23 others wounded at Columbine High School in the nation's deadliest school shooting. Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, had plotted for a year to kill at least 500 and blow up their school. At the end of their hour-long rampage, they turned their guns on themselves.

April 28, 1999 - Taber, Alberta, Canada: One student killed, and one wounded at W. R. Myers High School, in first fatal high school shooting in Canada in 20 years. The suspect, a 14-year-old boy, had dropped out of school after he was severely ostracized by his classmates.

May 20, 1999 - Conyers, Georgia: Six students injured at Heritage High School by Thomas Solomon, 15, who was reportedly depressed after breaking up with his girlfriend.

November 19, 1999 - Deming, New Mexico: Victor Cordova Jr., 12, shot and killed Araceli Tena, 13, in the lobby of Deming Middle School.

December 6, 1999 - Fort Gibson, Oklahoma: Four students wounded by Seth Trickey, 13, at Fort Gibson Middle School.

May 26, 2000 - Lake Worth, Florida: One teacher, Barry Grunow, shot and killed at Lake Worth Middle School by Nate Brazill, 13, with .25 caliber semi-automatic pistol on the last day of classes.

March 5, 2001 - Santee, California: Two killed and 13 wounded by Charles Andrew Williams, 15, firing from a bathroom at Santana High School.

March 22, 2001 - Granite Hills, California: One teacher and three students wounded by Jason Hoffman, 18, at Granite Hills High School. A policeman shot and wounded Hoffman.

March 30, 2001 - Gary, Indiana: One student killed by Donald R. Burt, Jr., a 17-year-old student who had been expelled from Lew Wallace High School.

November 12, 2001 - Caro, Michigan: Chris Buschbacher, 17, took two hostages at the Caro Learning Center before killing himself.

February 19, 2002 - Freising, Germany: Two killed in Eching by a man at the factory from which he had been fired. He then traveled to Freising and killed the headmaster of the technical school from which he had been expelled. He also wounded another teacher before killing himself.

April 26, 2002 - Erfurt, Germany: 13 teachers, two students, and one policeman killed, and ten wounded by Robert Steinhaeuser, 19, at the Johann Gutenberg secondary school. Steinhaeuser then killed himself.

April 24, 2003 - Red Lion, Pennsylvania: James Sheets, 14, killed principal, Eugene Segro, of Red Lion Area Junior High School before killing himself.

September 24, 2003 - Cold Spring, Minnesota: Two students killed at Rocori High School by John Jason McLaughlin, 15.

March 21, 2005 - Red Lake, Minnesota: Jeff Weise, 16, killed grandfather and companion, then arrived at school where he killed a
teacher, a security guard, 5 students, and finally himself, leaving a total of 10 dead.

November 8, 2005 - Jacksboro, Tennessee: One 15-year-old shot and killed an assistant principal at Campbell County High School
and seriously wounded two other administrators.

August 24, 2006 - Essex, Vermont: Christopher Williams, 27, looking for his ex-girlfriend at Essex Elementary School, shot two teachers, killing one and wounding another. Before going to the school, he killed the ex-girlfriend's mother.

September 13, 2006 - Montreal, Canada: Kimveer Gill, 25, opened fire with a semi-automatic weapon at Dawson College.

Anastasia De Sousa, 18, died and more than a dozen students and faculty were wounded before Gill killed himself.

September 26, 2006 - Bailey, Colorado: Adult male held six students hostage at Platte Canyon High School and then shot and killed Emily Keyes, 16, and himself.

September 29, 2006 - Cazenovia, Wisconsin: A 15-year-old student shot and killed Weston School principal, John Klang.

October 3, 2006 - Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania: 32-year-old Carl Charles Roberts IV entered the one-room West Nickel Mines Amish School
and shot 10 schoolgirls, ranging in age from 6 to 13 years old, and then himself. Five of the girls and Roberts died.

Quite a list, isn't it? Four school shootings in the last couple of months. Add to that the Islamic terrorist in Seattle. We can only speculate why these events happened. We cannot fathom what goes on in the mind of evil. And make no mistake my friends. There is in fact evil out there. But let's see if we can solve this problem of evil men targeting the weak.

What did these places and events all have in common?

1. Guns were specifically not allowed on the premises by official policy or by law. Some locations have specific legal prohibitions, while others rely only on "company policy." Murderers will ignore signs telling them that something is prohibited. Clearly, if the state prohibits guns on campus, the good people will obey and leave their guns at home. But quite clearly, these signs did not dissuade the killers. Think about it. The only people obeying the law and the signs were the good people...the victims.

Skills with weapons of opportunity, and edged/pointed weapons are essential in our days of restricted environments and soft targets.

What is the reason behind the "no guns" policies? Many in authority seek control above all else. They want to control things, and people walking about armed cannot be controlled as easily. Obviously, they lose control when the sign-ignoring, armed killers come.

2. Those inside were unarmed and totally helpless. The terrorist would call these gun-free places "soft targets." Notice how none of
these terrorists ever pick a gun store, a police station, or even a shooting course?

3. The police were called to each one of these events. But unless the police happen to be exactly there when the shots are fired, and
have the mental perspective and courage to run to the sound of the guns for the sole purpose of locating and killing the gunman outright, the delay in response will be several minutes in the best case scenario. And once there, even with the extensive "active shooter" training in police circles, the overriding goal is to control and capture, rather than to locate and kill the gunman, which is the only real way to prevent the death of innocents.

4. The events were eventually resolved by the police presence, but not without some victim deaths. Repeatedly, we see that in the
majority of these events, the killing is done fairly quickly in the beginning moments of the event.

5. There has been some discussion about arming teachers. As my good friend, the late, great Col. Jeff Cooper said, "One is no more armed because he possesses a pistol than he is a musician because he owns a piano." In such events, teachers and principals will be useless unless they have self-selected themselves to cultivate the very opposite of what their job is. How many teachers or principals have the internal strength to pull a trigger on one of their students? How many would do the things that we would do? I'm sure there are some, but they are certainly not the majority.

How can we prevent the next one? (And there will be a next one.)

1. Understand that your safety is your own responsibility. Carry a weapon... everywhere. Company policy says you can't? Hide your
gun better. Law says you can't? Tough choice, isn't it? But I'll point out some dead people who would love to be living outlaws.

Can't have a gun under your circumstances? Then carry a knife and learn how to use it offensively. Spend money and get trained with
your knife. Buying another competition .45 will do you no good if you cannot carry it with you 24/7/365. Are there metal detectors?
Carry something deniable as a weapon but easy to stab with. You need to be armed. If the rules prevent you from doing so, find a way around them. Think like a criminal. A knife may not be equal to a shotgun, but you have a choice. You can die on your knees defenseless, asking yourself why you obeyed the sign, or you can die killing the crazy gunman. You might even prevail against him.

2. Make those who pass these stupid "no gun" laws responsible for their decisions. The parents and family members of the victims
should sue the pants off of the institutions that support such stupid policies. Sue the Jewish Center. Sue the school. Sue the principal of the school, the board of education, the police chief, the mayor, the governor, everyone. I'm certain that there are plenty of pro-gun attorneys here. Put your skills to use. If these people do not understand morality and the Constitution, perhaps they will understand poverty.

3. If teachers and principals aren't interested in CCW, push for an armed cop at the school during all school hours. If this takes some extra tax money, consider it cheap insurance. In police circles, the job of a "school resource officer" has always been characterized as a cushy job suitable only for those who don't want to work on the streets. This needs to change, and it needs to change right now.

If the city has money to fly the mayor around, and work incessantly on perfectly good streets, they can put a police officer on duty at every school during school hours. And by the way, we need an armed and trained officer who will run to sound of the guns, not some fat, donut-eating slob who is three weeks away from retirement. You pay the tax that employs them and the customer is always right. Take a page from the liberals. MAKE NOISE!

4. Many of the kids were actually corralled by the school officials into rooms ready for the gunmen. This lock-down concept is again the product of "controllers." A locked door will not dissuade anyone who really wants to get in. As your kids get older, teach them that rules are relative. My kids are told to ignore orders if the orders seem stupid. How easy is it to break down a door and kill a classroom in
lock-down? Their standing orders are to run like hell if they hear shots in a school. I have promised them that they will not get in trouble.
Teachers would also be better served by telling the kids to run. One teacher mentioned that they cannot "lose control of the classroom like that." I told her that when the bad guy kicks the door in and begins shooting, she will have already lost control. Teach kids about cover, and how to RUN!

Also, as they get older, teach them about ferocity and how to put an attacker down for good with what they have. Teach them how to bludgeon his head with a chair or a sack of quarters. Teach them how to stab a pencil into the gunman's eye. Their safety is eventually their own responsibility, as well as yours.

Gabriel Suarez is an internationally recognized trainer and lecturer in the field of civilian personal defense. He has written over a dozen books and taught courses in several countries.
Suarez International, Inc.
303 E. Gurley St., Ste. 461
Prescott, AZ 86301 USA
(Office) 928-776-4492

Three Battles

It is important for students of self defense to recognize that there are three battles that need to be won in order to
be successful, and in fact loosing any one the battles is loosing the “war.”

The Physical Battle. This is the one that gets the most attention. All of the shooting, striking, grappling, knives and pepper spray happens in this battle. Losing the physical fight in a self defense situation could mean being killed, and the other two battles become moot. We need to win the physical battle in such a way that it sets us up for
success in the other two. If you decided to end all social disagreements with gunfire you would win the physical battle and quickly lose the other two.

The Legal Battle. In our modern society if you use force above a certain threshold you will be exposed to the legal system. This exposure could be with both the criminal and civil courts. The old saying “better tried by 12 than carried by six” is true, but getting “tried” isn’t some kind of picnic. We tend to imagine some very obvious good/bad scenario where it is immediately clear to the jury that we were acting in self defense and anyone would have acted in a similar manner. By the time you are in front of a jury you have already paid huge sums of money (especially if someone was killed.) If you bankrupt your family and end up in jail cell for the long-term then you have “survived” but you really haven’t “won.”

The Moral and Ethical Battle. This battle is the most easily dismissed by people who haven’t thought this through.
The gun community is full of references to “Scumbags” or “Goblins” and people who think they can kill them without remorse. Maybe that is so, but how will your friends and coworkers view the events? How will the other parents at your children’s school? None of them were there and they are getting the story from the media after the fact.

I recall one story of a private citizen that really did everything right in reporting a crime and only got involved when he felt he had to. He ended up shooting an adolescent male that had already beaten and shot a police officer. If the private citizen didn’t act that cop would have been killed. The local paper in this man’s community then released a fluffy piece about the troubled youth (with prior assault and drug convictions) who was so full of promise and love for his friends and family. This private citizen didn’t want to be a hero, he didn’t want to be a ‘gun fighter’, he didn’t want to shoot a teenage kid, but he wasn’t going to watch a cop get killed and do nothing to prevent it. His reward was having his hometown paper speculating that he was some kind of racist vigilante.

Self defense requires you to have an ethical framework that will let you look in the mirror everyday and know deep down that you did what was required. The actions you took were both appropriate and necessary. I imagine that most people with some kind of conscience will constantly reexamine such an event wondering if there was anything else that could have been done.

What Gun should I buy?

Thanks for the opportunity to write and ask some questions. I am sorry for the long e-mail. I have spent most of my time bow hunting,
but do get out occasionally with my muzzle-loader or shotgun during deer season. I have shot a few hand guns in my years, but really do not have any expertise there.

I am a member of the NRA and realize I need a hand gun for personal and family protection.

I have been researching hand guns and have visited several stores looking at guns and asking questions. My wife and I are hoping to be able to take a local handgun safety course here in town when I can afford to do so, since I cannot afford to do any of this right now.
However, my hopes are to have a hand gun and for both of us to know how to safely use them!

After that I am thinking of getting my concealed carry permit. I can feel already that I will feel like a cop is after me now, and that people are looking at me, but I guess you get use to carrying it after a while knowing you have the right to!

Now for my big question… simply put, what should we be looking for in a hand gun that has enough knock-down power, …that I can hit my target and yet conceal carry if need be?

I hope to be able to join after my financial situation changes. I enjoy all the information I am getting very much! I hope it does soon, as I feel I am running out of time with my purchase due to an anti-gun Govt.

God Bless and thank you in advance!

Best Regards,


Reply #1

Hi. I have been a recipient of this newsletter for almost 5 years now and I truly enjoy the stories and find the information available to be very helpful, especially in my line of work. I operate a family owned gun store and trading post here in Midland, Texas. Since the election, as a matter of fact since the nomination for candidates, gun sales having greatly increased.

Most of my new customers are folks who have never owned a gun before or even shot one, and the question posed by your reader
Rick is one I hear often. My advice is this, find the gun that feels comfortable to you, in a caliber that you are comfortable shooting.
Some folks like the small conceal carry 380's and then there are those who like the 9, 40 and 45. All of which can be obtained in a compact size.

If you choose to go with the smaller size 380, be sure to find adequate ammunition for personal defense. I carry mine loaded with RBCD 380 PD ammo, it turns a get off me gun into a "I'm gonna hurt you bad gun". But most importantly, find one that feels "right".
A good salesman can talk you into any kind of gun on his shelf, but if you don't like the way it fits your hand and you a re not comfortable in holding it or possibly using it, then it will become a piece of metal sitting in your gun safe, and it won't matter what caliber or how much knock down power it has.

There are many options available, so try then all. If you have a local shooting range in your town, join up and get to know the others who go there regularly, gun folks like to teach and some will allow you to shoot their guns so that you can better decide what is right for you. Good luck!

- Jo

Reply #2

Concerning the reader's question about what is the "best choice" for a self defense hand gun. Wow.... this discussion has been going on for years. As a retired state trooper and firearms instructor for over twenty years; accuracy and volume of fire beats caliber.

Select a handgun that "fits" your hand and one that you can function and shoot "combat accurate". Buy that gun, train with that gun and carry that gun. There are many well made handguns and good self defense calibers. What works for me may not "fit" you. Go to a local range; try as many as you can and buy the one that fits your hand that you can shoot well.

Reply #3

If possible and available find a local range that loans or rents different guns and try some out for feel & operability. Your wife may not
have the strength to operate many semi-auto slides or DA revolvers. You will both have different needs here. While a .45 might be a popular first choice, operability is very important.

Recoil from a .45 may mean lack of accuracy under pressure for a second shot. A well placed series of 9mm HP or +P rounds will stop most attacks cold. 38+p likewise. Whatever you choose..go to a range and practice frequently until you develop a comfort level and reasonable accuracy.

If you decide to conceal/carry practice with your holster and dry firing to develop muscle memory and become "automatic". Our experience found a Taurus 24/7 9MM to be a good choice for my wife in terms of size, light trigger pull, easy slide operation and 4" barrel helps accuracy. 17+1 capacity is a plus.

Larry/ Texas

Reply #4

It is different for everyone. Go to a nice locally owned gun shop and hold them ALL until you find the one that just feels right. It is probably going to be different for you and your wife. Sorry but that is just usually the way it is. If she is not comfortable with the one you end up with she will not practice.

A hit with a 380 is better than a miss with a 45. And when you find the weapon that fits at that local gun shop please buy it from them.
Don't go online to save $50. As more and more people do that the local guy will go out of business then there will be nowhere to go do the "how's it feel in my hand" test.

Carrying a weapon is an act that should never be undertaken lightly. If you are not confident that you can hit your target (miss innocent bystanders) then don't do it. You are responsible for every round that leaves your weapon. Whatever weapon(s) you end up with PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE. You asked so that is my $.02

Reply #5

My answer to Rich's question would be to get a Glock model 22 or 23 if a more compact weapon is desired. A .40 S&W packs enough knock down power, can be controlled fairly well by the ladies, and the ammo is not overly expensive and is readily available. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.


Reply #6

Answer to Question: Revolver-Ruger SP 101 in .327 Federal Magnum. It has a 3" bbl. 6 shot, more power than any .38 Special +P, and an excellent double action trigger.

Reply #7

I would suggest finding a gun store with a range. Most cities have one. If they rent guns, it is usually $ 5-10.00 per session. Find something you're comfortable handling so you are not buying in the dark. Try to buy the best you can afford, but keep in mind that you do not have to have $ 1,500.00 pistol to effectively carry and protect yourself. Springfield Armory makes very affordable pistols, as does Ruger. Both are dependable and easy to use. Good luck.

Reply #8

If I were just starting out, having never owned a handgun before I'd also be bewildered by the myriad choices available today. Knowing what I know now after over 40 years of owning and shooting handguns I think I would have to recommend one of the smaller Glocks in .40 Smith and Wesson or larger caliber and naturally, loaded with hollow points.

They are small enough to conceal, easy to use, have enough firepower (capacity and ballistic capability), controls that are straightforward
without having to remember a lot of things and not terribly expensive. If the price of a Glock is out of the question there are several
inexpensive, bomb-proof, imported former military handguns on the market. I would suggest maybe a PA-63 in the 9mm Makarov caliber loaded with hollow points.

Most of these don't cost over $140.00 from CDNN and others. The bullets won't travel much over 1000 fps but, considering that most
personal protection/gunfights are not over 20 yards you'll still have the knock down power to do the job. Another inexpensive former military weapon is the Czech CZ-52 in 7.62 x 25 caliber, again with hollow points or at the very least, jacketed soft points. These handguns are VERY sturdy with the only problem being a slight tendency to break the original firing pin.

A machined steel firing pin only costs $10.00 or so and getting someone to install it (or doing it yourself as it is a pretty simple job if you
have any mechanical aptitude at all)wouldn't be all that difficult. The darned little jacketed pills can be bumped up to about 2000 fps if
you or a friend reloads and the factory hollow point ammunition is still loaded to 1500 fps or so.

I have a friend on an Indian reservation that has shot deer (one shot to the head) at just under 100 yards with a CZ-52! Go for the Glock
or maybe a Springfield Armory weapon in a substantial caliber if you can afford the cost or if you can't go for one of the military pistols.
Of course, you could always get a used police revolver but then you are stuck with only 5 or 6 shots.
Why would you want to do that when more firepower is better, especially if you are new to handguns? Whatever you get, ALWAYS get some professional training and practice all that you can afford to do so that your muscles remember what to do even if you don't! The USCCA website and magazine is an excellent source for information and for finding someone to train you.
If you can't afford professional training find someone who is sensible, SAFE and willing to go to the range (or some draw out in the hills that has a safe backstop) with you and help you learn the rudimentary steps in gun safety, sight picture, trigger pull/press, etc. and practice, practice and practice some more for both you and your wife.

Best wishes;

- Kim T

Reply #9

Nothing firing a caliber less than 9mm Parabellum. Other than that, there are too many variables regarding this gentleman's financial
restrictions, physical stature, hand size and physical condition to make a solid recommendation. For home defense he can use his shotgun for now. He can always pick up a shorter barrel for that purpose without spending a lot of money. For personal carry, he needs more training.

Any reliable mid-sized handgun will work as long as the shooter is competent with it. The mechanics of shooting do not care what make
or model the weapon is and the bad guy doesn't stop to ask if you shot him with a 9mm or a .45acp. Since he seems to have financial
 limitations which directly impact his ability to progress with the process of concealed carry, I recommend that he get more information while he saves his money.

I will pay for a year of his USCCA membership if he is unable to afford it at this time. This way he can keep learning and avoid making
a potentially bad decision. Many people who carry a firearm think that the first rule of a gunfight is to have a gun. I do not subscribe to
this nor do I teach it. The first rule of a gunfight is to have the mindset to use a firearm to violently end a human life.

CCW is a mental, emotional and physical undertaking. Ignore any one aspect and the person will be poorly trained and acting irresponsibly.
Please feel free to contact me if I may be of any assistance. Let's teach them the proper way up front so we don't have to fight bad habits later.


- Scott

Reply #10

My recommendation is to shoot the largest caliber handgun you can be accurate with, in the smallest frame you can possibly manage. I carry a Sig 220 in .45 but I am a very large man and it is not easily printed on me. I think a Taurus P111 or P140 would work great for both of you.

I have a P111 in 9mm and my kids can shoot it with ease and accuracy. Go to your local range and shoot lots of guns and calibers. But what you can afford and what you shoot best. Good Luck!

Reply #11

I am fond of a new Kahr PM9 9mm. It is small and light enough for a front pocket carry. Nine millimeter sufficiently powerful. I have applied for yet not received a concealed handgun permit. Handgun experience: two year All - American Award from U.S. Revolver Association as a member of United States Naval Academy pistol team (.22 HiStandard semi-automatic); highest score with both .45 and M1 in
graduating class; Marine expert rifle and pistol.

Reply #12

Regarding Rich's question in Friday's email as to what handgun to buy for personal protection, my advice would be a 38/357 double action revolver with a 2"-4" length barrel. Some will disagree with that choice, but the revolver is simpler to deal with than an auto, isn't ammo finicky, and allow a good defensive caliber in a small firearm.

If his wife is also going to shoot it , if she has small hands the revolver will be much more likely to fit her also. Barrel length will be decided by comfort/feel and how much they're going to carry it and how they carry.

Reply #13

My best advice, comes from experience. A local Plano, TX indoor range, that has CHL training/certification, also offers an "Introduction to Handguns" class. This class costs $140 per person; however, wait until you hear what you get: three hour class (1.5 hours in classroom and 1.5 hours on the range) covering revolver and semi-automatic handgun basics - parts of the gun, how they function, grip, stance, sight picture, breathing and trigger control, ammunition and how they all play a part in shooting your firearm.

On the range students fire both revolvers and semi-automatic handguns in .22, .38, .357 and 9mm caliber. We even had the opportunity to shoot a couple of rounds with a .45! I'm retired military and have considerable comfort around handguns, but I hadn't shot in over 13 years. My wife used to "plink" around with a .32, but that too was 20 some odd years ago.

With both of us taking the class, we both ended up getting our CHL certification training (from the same place) and purchasing a Glock 9mm.
Yes, the prospect is costly, but isn't your family worth it? I just budgeted for the classes, and everything fell into place. Hope this helps...
Frank Z. MSgt, USAF (Ret)

Reply #13

In my opinion, there is a perfect handgun for everyone, the problem is finding it. There are so many factors involved including price (and the price of ammunition) that there may be no simple answer other than the process used to discover your perfect handgun. Rather than buy, re-buy and on and on simply do this: Buy something, even if it is second-hand.

Then go to phase 2. Phase 2 is going to a range and getting to know some people and asking them their opinion. Any reasonable and
decent person will give you the reasons they decided on their Glock, Smith & Wesson, Sig, Kahr, 1911, whatever and if you offer them a
chance to fire a few rounds of yours, they will offer you a chance to fire a few rounds from their weapon.

(This may only happen after you have been observed for a while and you prove you are not a complete idiot, safety wise.)

Hitting an assailant with modern personal defense ammunition of reasonable caliber will have the stopping power, but you have to get reliable hits. Reliable hits require practice and comfort. Reliable hits also require an element of surprise, so concealability is essential. Too big, no surprise, and too small, no effect, so balancing the two is the problem.

A 98 pound woman may have trouble controlling a 1911 and be too slight to easily lug it around. The same goes for men. The climate
where you live may provide limits, in the South, temperature in the summer is a factor because anyone wearing a jacket is nuts or at least real sweaty after about June 15.

Talk to people at the range. I have done this countless times. "Whatcha shooting?" goes a long way. You do have to be careful to keep away from idiots, but fortunately the idiots are easy to spot. Over the course of a couple of months, you will start to form your own opinions,
handle quite a few handguns, and start to converge on something that fits.

Lately, I have fired three models of Sig, two models of Springfield XD, a .45 caliber revolver, and several 1911s. I am beginning to gravitate to the Sigs and XD. I could not tell you how many 1911s I have handled, some of which are astoundingly nice. In the process I
have met some great people and only one complete idiot who got ejected from the range anyway (safety violations and a lot of them.)

My wife (a retired 8th grade teacher, and nearly fearless, the kids have called her Rambo) found that she was much better off with a
Ruger LCR using the same method. With personal defense +P ammunition, I pity the poor fool who tries something with her as the planned victim. The bonus is that you get to meet some very nice people, all ages, races, economic situations, all bound together by the fact that they are after life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and just plain common decency.

Once you have a suitable weapon, just do the same thing when it comes to picking the holster, but count on a couple of tries to get it right! Fortunately, holsters a a lot cheaper!


Reply #14

If you are tight on funds, but know you have a need to carry a gun for protection, I would suggest a Kel-Tec or similar in weight and stature.
I have both the .380 and the 9mm and if I could only buy one, it would be the .380 because I can carry it all the time unless I am going in the shower or for a swim. Fred in Colorado

Reply #15

In response to the gentleman regarding the selection of a handgun that he should acquire for carry. I would recommend one of the many fine 9mm sub-compacts on the market. I have found the 9mm to be a good caliber for both men and women and the gentleman stated that he and his wife were looking. I personally carry a Walther PPS in 9mm with 7 in the mag and 1 in the pipe.

I also carry two additional 8 round mags. If I step out of my home I have these items (along with my knife and tac light). The gun choice is
personal. The Rorbaugh 9mm is excellent as is the Walther PPS, the Springfield XD Sub-Compact, the Glock 26 and many others.

Find a local range with a wide variety of sub-compact 9s that they will let you shoot. Find the one that you are the most comfortable and proficient with, make sure that it is very reliable, and make your purchase. That's how I selected my Walther PPS. (I used to carry a Glock 19 or a 380 acp in warm weather.)

The sub-compact 9s can be carried by almost anyone year round. Then train, train, and train some more. I especially recommend force on force training if you will be carrying daily. Join USCCA and the NRA. Good luck, best wishes and stay safe. Kid S., Proud USCCA member

Reply #16

Peoples opinions will vary, so will get several different views on the subject, all will have some good points that may help you, read them all and use this as more research to come to an informed decision. I am a gun owner and have held CCW permits in Texas and Montana,
I own some 15 hand guns and as many long guns, my main carry gun is a Taurus Millennium 9mm, I've carried this gun in a pager pal holster for some 6 or 7 years, both gun and holster handle a large amount of abuse (I carry everywhere and all the time, I put on right after my pants and take it off, and put under my pillow, as I go to bed).

My Taurus only cost $400.00 when I got it new and the price is still not to much more I'm sure. It has never jammed or failed in anyway no matter what condition it may be in (being inside my jeans it does gather alot of lint) I've pulled out at the range without cleaning it and fire 50 or more rounds without fail, 9mm has good stopping power (hollow points help) and is easy for a novice to handle,(my kids have shot it from about 4 years old), if you need more power it also comes in .40 and .45 cal, it has a child safety lock built into it (as do most
Taurus pistols) my 9mm holds 10 in the mag. and still very concealable.

Para-Ordanance makes the Wart-hog this is a compact 1911 style .45 it is no larger than my Taurus, but it is a little more expensive, but it's worth the money, I don't carry that one daily as I'm accustom to my 9 and do not want to retrain myself for a different gun yet, also I would need to buy another pager-pal.The Pager-Pal is an inside the pants cross draw holster that has a mock pager(or cell phone holster) that clips to your belt outside the pants, to draw you simply grab the pager with one hand and lift, as soon as your gun clears your belt line you draw the weapon with your
other hand. you can check them out at I hope this helps you in your efforts to arm yourself, welcome to the polite and
armed society.

- Scott

Reply #17

Rich, that's the $64 question when it comes to carry guns. I haven't even really settled on my carry piece yet. I have a .45 ACP Colt Combat Commander, but it has a compensator that makes it as big as a full-size 1911! I love the knock-down power of the .45, and do carry it sometimes, but the size is a problem. Then there's the question of single or double action.

"Cocked and locked" is the approved carry method for an SA gun, but it can be a little worrisome with something like the Colt, with it's
external hammer. DA-only is an appealing compromise for me, but I don't own one (yet). A lot of people denigrate the .380 cartridge, but a lot of smaller guns are chambered for it, and good HP ammo is available.

My primary carry gun is a Bersa chambered in .380. It's basically a knock-off of a Walther PPK-S, and is pretty accurate. The bottom line really is, what you can shoot well and carry comfortably (.380 minimum, IMHO) is the best gun for YOU. And practice, practice, practice! Regards, Joe

Reply #18

As a new concealed carry permit holder (less than three months), I would err on the side of carrying a full size pistol - in my case, a Springfield XDM 9mm. Why? Like any reasonably intelligent person, I did my research on various guns that were "concealed carry friendly".

However, I was of the opinion (and I trust that I'm not alone here) that I shouldn't carry a gun that I wasn't absolutely comfortable shooting. And if shooting it (during practice, of course!) wasn't going to be enjoyable, I probably would not be inclined to practice enough to really become proficient.

As it happens, I also own a Bersa Thunder .380 (purchased from my dying father-in-law) that conceals fairly well but doesn't shoot nearly
as well (at least not for me) as a Glock (which I used during some firearms instruction at a range) or my before mentioned Springfield XDM.
Most people seem to agree that .380 is a bare minimum when it comes to "stopping power", but I chose 9mm for the availability and price of ammo (not that I can find any right now).

You need to practice. Why fire .45 down the range if you don't have to? Besides, I want my wife to learn with me and the recoil of the 9mm is tolerable for her. Interestingly enough, The full size Springfield is also more comfortable to carry because of it's nearly flat surfaces. The smaller gun tends to jab at me here and there while carrying it in an IWB holster.

Granted, I could spend more money on holsters to alleviate that sort of problem, but like you, I'm on a budget. The Uncle Mike's Sidekick is gonna have to do for now. It is worth mentioning that for work (where I wear a uniform), the only gun I CAN carry is the .380.

The 9mm won't fit inside my uniform pants. :( All other times (and I mean ALL THE TIME!), I carry the 9mm in an identical (but bigger size) holster. Some day I'll purchase a better holster for my 9mm so that I can re-holster after drawing - something that appears impossible with a
soft holster like the one I currently use. ...But don't listen to me! I'm really new at this.

I just thought I'd throw a few opinions out there for some people to digest. No doubt I'll be changing my views as I gain experience and insight
from others.

Best wishes,


Reply #19

Dear Rich, For you and your wife, I would recommend a revolver capable of shooting 357 Magnum, which will provide you with sufficient stopping power, but will also allow you to practice with 38 Special, which is a little less powerful and more pleasant to shoot.

Revolvers are more reliable than semi-automatic pistols because they are simpler in function and also can offer the shooter the option of
aimed single action and/or pointed double action. In small barrel (2-3") versions, the revolver is very concealable, and can also be very light to carry, depending upon the model you choose.

The traditional maker of excellent revolvers is Smith & Wesson or Colt, but Taurus makes a variety of revolvers in the S & W genre that are excellent, and considerably less expensive with no real loss in quality. A small concealed carry 357 Magnum will be uncomfortable to
shoot; hold either 5 or 6 rounds, but in the heat of a confrontation, you will be totally unaware of the discomfort, and if you hit your target, will provide you with all the protection you require.

The one caveat, no matter what pistol/revolver you choose; you both must practice, practice, practice to become proficient with your firearm, familiar with its use and availability in your selected concealed carry, and you need to become comfortable with daily carry. When or if the confrontation occurs, no amount of practice will help you if the firearm is at home in the safe.

Good Luck!

- TW3

Reply #20

I would point out to him that he already has a good home defense weapon in the rifle and/or shotgun he uses to deer hunt. The hand gun question is a little harder to address without knowing the part of the country where he lives and the availability of used guns at reasonable prices, or his budget. I would suggest he consider a used .38 special or .357 revolver for starters.

The .38 special cartridge served valiantly for many years as the caliber of choice for most of the law enforcement agencies in our country.
It is still thought to be potent to stop most threats and the revolver is easier to learn to operate than an auto loader. Another plus is that used revolvers are probably going to be more affordable than the used pistols will be.

Contrary to the advice given by some gun shops, I would shy away from the snub nose revolver for beginning hand gunners as they are harder to shoot accurately, and are not a lot of fun to shoot at the range. Good luck to Rich. Rich essentially asked a question we have all asked ourselves on a frequent basis, and that is if I ever do have to use a handgun to defend myself or my family, will I have the proper tool for the job? That is an excellent question.

Thanks for operating such an informative website.

- Sincerely, Robert

Reply #21

There is no gun that can teach you and your wife the things you need to know and the kind of skills you will need to have in order to be competent with a gun for personal defense. While I'm optimistic that your experiences in the field as a hunter have at the very least, touched on such fundamentals as the cardinal safety rules, these cannot be seen as substitutes for attitude, awareness, training and practice in self-defense.

I would advise you to learn as much as you can from free sources of information; (USCCA and NRA can direct you) before obtaining
formal training, but not as a substitute for that training. The timeline is dependent on you financial circumstances and your respective l
earning curves. Good intentions are not enough; you both must have the knowledge and skills necessary to fulfill the duties responsibilities that armed defense imposes. When you are both prepared- mentally and physically, the selection of an appropriate platform and caliber is not difficult.

Best Wishes,

- T. Nicholeris USCCA member and CCW holder since 1973.

Reply #22

I hope I help you Rich, I was a a Marine and SRT (swat)Team member and a LEO for for close to 6 years I guess, and carried concealed for a few of those years. It took a few years after to stop covering the fire arm that was no longer there.

I have not carried in over 13 years now & just took my CCW class in AZ ( due to a back log it has been 7+ weeks to date waiting) I have not fired a pistol in many years. I went to the range w/ a friend and shot the Springfield XD9 in the 4" and the sub-compact, & the XD45acp 4" it was hard to miss the black.

I am now an official fan of all the XD's I am shopping for the 45acp compact for myself as well as a sub comp. 9mm. Take your bride to
the range and rent some different models, make it a date and have some fun! that's what I am planning as well.

Best wishes,

- former but still USMC semper fi God bless

Reply #23

Stopping power is over rated as far as I'm concerned. You could be carrying a 44 meg and if the BG is high on meth it might not stop him.
You could be carrying a .22 and if you struck the BG in the eye it could rattle his around in his head till it's like mush on the inside. ou need a carry weapon that can and will do 2 things, one is be on your hip (or where ever you carry it) all the time.

You leave it on the sink when you shower, you carry it to the bed room to get dressed and when you are dressed it's on you again. It sleeps ready and willing when you are in bed. Next it must be a weapon that you can control. Maybe a 45 ACP will have to much kick, so go for a 9MM. If you have to sue you carry gun you must be able to hit the target and be abel to control the gun to hit the target
again or the second target if there are more than on BG.

Now with that being said, if you can carry a 44 MAG or a 357 more power to you but like most of us that is not an option. I honestly fell
anything above a 9mm will have the power you need. Go to the range try and find one you can RENT a few guns and test out what fells good in your hand. Fire them, see how they fell before, during and after you shoot them.

Price AMMO and check stock, it'll do no good buy a gun if AMMO is over priced or you can find it. Next buy the gun and get 250 rounds or so of personal defense ammo and get back to the rand and fire 200 rounds your first day. Get used to the weapon and see how it works.

Field strip it, leave to clean it and treat it well and it'll never let you down. I prefer Glocks and I bought a G27 for my carry gun. I also
own a Smith & Wesson (to big for me to carry). Read everything you can get your hands on. Carrying a weapon is a lifestyle and you
need to make sure it something you can do.

You must ask yourself one very important question. That is "Do I have it in me to take another persons life". If you answered know to this question save yourself a lot of head aches and buy a bat or pepper spray and pray like hell when you call 911, they might not make it in time to save you or a love one.

-Robb R. Utah

Reply #24

I would like to quote Dr. Ignatius Piazza of Front Sight: "Any gun will do, if you will do!" I, too, am new to guns
(41 years old, never owned or shot a gun until 8 months ago.) After doing extensive research on all of the "popular" gun web sites, I concluded that I needed a .45, and that anything less would be like carrying a rubber band and paperclip for self defense. Well, "they" were right.

The .45 is a wonderful weapon. Handles well, shoots very well, feels good in your hands. But, unless you live in a cold
environment or wear a suit jacket every day, it's not necessarily the most convenient piece to carry. I am usually dressed "business casual" for work (dockers and a button-down shirt).

I found I was unable to conceal the .45 (mine is a compact Springfield XD .45, 4" barrel) on warm days (no jacket.) Now I know that there are a number of deep concealment options, but I wanted the gun on my waist in an inside-the-waistband (IWB) tuckable holster. Since I couldn't conceal it, I carried it IN THE GLOVE BOX. A great place to have it so long as you get attacked in the car and have time to reach over, open the glove box, remove the gun from the holster, point it, etc.

This is not concealed carry, it is having a gun in the car. After joining USCCA, I found that it was OK to carry whatever worked for me. There is no judgment here. No one belittles you for choosing a smaller gun. No one tells you "that's not the right way to protect yourself." USCCA is truly a family. As a bonus, the advice that this family gives out is GOOD!!! In the end I decided to carry a Kel-Tec PF9. Not nearly as nice a gun.

Not nearly as easy to aim and fire. Not .45, but 9mm. Not the smooth, short trigger pull that the Springfield has. You know what it does have? A PERMANENT home on my hip. I wear it everywhere. It conceals quite easily under just a business shirt. Even easier is to conceal it under a T-shirt on the weekend. I put a spare magazine in a pocket, and I'm good to go.It is a thin, light-weight gun that quickly becomes a fixture in your hip. (You'll know that you are getting accustomed to conceal carry the first time that you forget that it is there. The first few weeks you'll feel like everyone sees it, and you may spend a bunch of time ducking into restrooms to adjust its position on your belt. Stick with it.

You'll find the sweet spot and it will become second nature to have it with you.) I have read the following two lines on hundreds of web sites, but they are good lines and are worth repeating: "Better to have a gun and not need it, rather than need a gun and not have it." "Any gun that you have ON YOU is better than the gun left at home or in the glove box because you couldn't carry it"

In conclusion, I'd rather go out with a .25 mouse-gun in my pocket than go out without a gun. Carry what is best for you, but most importantly, CARRY!

- Michael H.
Proud USCCA Member

Reply #25

After 'carrying' for two years I have come to the conclusion that simple is best. I have several guns for different purposes. I have carried different guns depending on the situation of the day. Most of these situations are dictated by dress of the day. I am a big guy and can hide almost anything under an untucked shirt, which is my standard dress.

However, a full-size 1911 or my M&P 40 with fifteen rounds tends to get a little heavy after 10 or 12 hours at work and everyday activities. For Sunday dress clothes, the Charter 38spl in the front pocket of dress slacks is a nice option. My two favorite guns for
concealed carry are a Kahr CW40 or a Ruger SP101 357 2.25in bbl.

If you shop around you can get either one used for about four hundred bucks (that was pre Obama days). Back to simple is best. If I could have only one gun for all concealment purposes, I think I would go with a snubbie in 357 magnum. This gun has plenty of knock down power, yet is concealable and simple to operate, especially for the novice armed citizen.

You pull the trigger and it goes bang! Nothing to think about in a stressful situation but your target. You don't have to worry about
issues like, Failure to Feed, jamming with certain ammo, magazine springs wearing out or trying to remember if you jacked a round in the chamber last time it was unloaded.

My best advice for the novice armed citizen is to join a local Gun club or get to a firing range at least once a month and practice your
draw from concealment so you will be familiar with your weapon and be able to hit your target. Practice different scenarios so you will

be prepared if the need to use your weapon in a life-threatening situation. Get used to having your gun with you at all times.
I never leave the house without my wallet, my cell phone, or my gun. Anyway, that's my two cents worth! I love your website. Keep up the good work. My favorite rule is: The most important thing in a gunfight is to have a gun! Keep the faith!

- B.A. in Arkansas.

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