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Thread: Home Defense Weaponry (Long)

  1. #1
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    Home Defense Weaponry (Long)


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    Since this seems to have become a point of contention over the last few days...and the discussions have degenerated into condescension and outright flames...I thought maybe I'd try another thread in hopes of keeping things both civil and on-track. The exchange has been fun for the most part...and I admit to woofin' a few members during the discourse...in fun...but this is intended to address the issue head-on in a more serious light.

    I hear a lot of talk about this caliber and that ammunition and whatever bullet type, etc.etc. ad infinitum/ad nauseum...mostly from people who have never fired a shot in anger...have never seen anyone shot...and probably never will.

    First, let's take a look at the "Birdshot vs Buckshot" question. I have no argument over the terminal effects of either one. Buckshot is the choice if you want the best chance of putting an assailant down....BUT...inside a house with other people present, and possibly in an unknown location...drywall penetration is a very important consideration in your choice of ammunition...if not moreso.

    At average bedroom/living room engagement distance...a standard charge of 00B will shoot through the average-sized man and at least one layer of drywall...exiting with enough retained energy to seriously injure or kill. For what have you gained by killing an invader if you also kill or cripple one or more of your children? If they wake up and realize that someone is in the house...are you willing to bet their lives on following even the most well-rehearsed drill? If you are, you've never seen how some people react in a highly-charged situation. Their response can range from following the drill to the letter to feeezing up to doing all the wrong things at all the wrong times.

    I'll leave you with that thought, and a final point about the so-called ineffectiveness of a 1.25-ounce charge of #6 at 15-20 feet. Invest in a large ham, and drape a heavy cloth over it to replicate the effect of a heavy coat...and shoot it at 20 feet...and see if you still think that birdshot is ineffective...or that it will be stopped by a heavy coat...or of you think you could ignore the rathole wound that it produces and continue on with your agenda. An ounce and a quarter of lead striking a human body at 1200 fps is no laughing matter.

    The Miami shootout has been tossed into the argument, and the seemingly superhuman efforts of Matrix and Platt after being wounded multiple times. Yes. Sometimes that happens, in spite of the gun/caliber/bullet type/bullet placement. Under the same circumstances, both men would have likely responded in the same way if they'd been hit with anything short of a .50 caliber BMG round...and possibly even with that. Desperate men who feel that they're cornered and probably dead anyway very often fight like tigers despite grievous wounds. That's why we don't corner animals...and men...and we always leave them an escape route. That's also why we don't go on Rambo-esque Search and Destroy missions within our homes. If he feels cornered and threatened...he will likely kill you, and then proceed to kill everybody in the house in order to eliminate witnesses. Remember...your objective isn't to close with the bad guy and take him out. Your objective is your survival and that of your family. Nothing else matters. Nothing.

    I've taken a good-natured barb over my choice of nightstand guns...namely a Model 10 Smith & Wesson revolver...despite the fact that I have one of several .45 autos and .357 and .41 Magnums to choose from. I also load up with standard-pressure ammunition...just to add fuel to the debate. There are three reasons for that. One is penetration. The other is muzzle flash. The third is noise. I'm confident enough in my abilities with the revolver to place 3 fast shots into the torso of a grown man at 10 feet...firing one-handed...in low light that I don't feel at any disadvantage whatsoever.

    Even a low intensity cartridge like the .45 ACP is louder and brighter than the standard .38 Special loading...and there's no question on the penetration. The revolver is my secondary or quick-response weapon anyway. If I have time and ample warning, I'll reach for the shotgun...every time. Only an idiot brings a pistol to a gunfight unless there's no other choice.

    Like the birdshot question...if you think that a .38 Special is a joke at close quarters...you haven't actually seen anyone shot with it. The same applies to .45 hardball. I promise that you'll only need to see what it can do to a human body at close range to change your view.

    Lastly...From reading the comments here and on other gun boards...it seems that several people actually hope for a chance to shoot somebody. That's a bad way to approach the question of self-defense. I can promise that if the day ever comes that you have to shoot for blood...it won't be anything like you imagine it will...even if your actions are 101% justified, and even if the grand jury hands down a No-Bill or nolpros in the matter. Your life will never be the same, and your friends and family will never look at you in quite the same way. Many will abandon you. You've demonstrated your willingness to kill. That makes people uncomfortable.

    Others will want all the gory details, and you really won't want to go into those details...but they'll continue to press for them until you tell them to stuff a sock in it...and then they'll be offended and stay away from you...citing that you've been just a bit hostile ever since you killed that guy.

    Or...as the wise, wise man noted:

    "Shoot. Don't shoot. Either way, you'll probably regret it."

    Be well. Gotta git crackin'.

  2. #2

    Have you hugged your dog today?
    Yep, sure have. Dog sittn' for my brothers dog for three days...hugged it too. After all, they did "help" me feed and water the hoofed barnyard critters and chickens this morning.

    That's a good and sensible Home Defensive Weaponry post Johnny, just as I knew it would be! Thanks for your contribution.


    C&L

    In spite of a bad knee, busted ankles, too many years and a slowed reaction time, I'm just as fast and dangerous as I ever was.



    NRA LIFE MEMBER

  3. #3
    Good point... but all I have to say is birdshot, slug, birdshot, slug, birdshot, slug, birdshot, and then slug. If he get hits any of the little birdshot pellets, he has a chance to run or fight, if the bad guy chooses to fight, he's gonna get the slug.

  4. #4
    I'm a buckshot guy, but only because over-penetration is not a big issue for me where I live. I share a house with another man, and he's pretty tough, I don't figure a couple pellets will kill 'em. (wink)
    I could chose this or that for HD, but a 20 ga./buckshot coach gun is my "next to the bed" firearm.

  5. #5
    1911Tuner, what are you basing your thoughts on? Have you shot that many people, do you work on shooting autopsies or something?

  6. #6
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    NCX..I've seen more than I care to remember. That's why these kinds of discussions draw my attention and my concern. Make me a little sick, actually. Aside from the times that I was actually on hand to see people die, I used to hang out in the guard station of Forsyth Hospital, where my ex brother in-law was head of security on the midnight shift. If you want to see the effects of gunshot wounds...that's the place to see'em. Got to know a lot of the docs, PAs, and RNs on duty there in the triage area and the ER. They give accounts of what they've seen. One surgeon on call made a statement that a close-range shotgun would with small pellets is a surgeon's nightmare. Pretty much a non-repairable mess....if the victim survived long enough to reach the OR.

    So, yeah. I've seen a little too much. And before you ask...the answer to that one is "Yes, I have."

  7. #7
    I'm with Tuner on this. I have had to work on a few GSWs, both bullets and buck/birdshot, both are awful. I hope I never have to inflict such things on another person.

  8. #8
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    Anyway, to get back to one of the points of my long-winded rant...

    The feeling that I get too often is that many people are waiting...hoping for somebody to make a serious threat so they can shoot'em with their new toy. Not everybody, of course...but a good many. Too many.

    Shooting a man...even if it's 101% justifiable, both legally and morally...carries a lifelong stigma. You'll be asking yourself if there was anything that could have changed things and made it unnecessary...if you could have done anything that would have made things different.

    The short answer is...Maybe. Probably. Maybe not. You'll have no way of knowing for sure...but you'll torment yourself about it for years.

    Aside from that, the legal nightmare that will follow will make you wish you'd run like a rabbit instead of standing your ground. Inside the home, I wouldn't feel the need to run. I'm in my castle. I'm not leaving. On the street? That's a different matter. If I can leave...even if I have to leave running...in order to avoid having to shoot the stupid SOB...I will.

    Years ago, I knew a guy down near Baton Rouge who did shoot. Two knife-armed cretins accosted, then attacked. He killed them both. He was within walking distance of his home. He had a half-dozen witnesses who testified on his behalf...that they really gave him no choice. Like me, at the time, he was too old to stand and fight and too tired and stove up to run. So...He shot both of them down. He told me later that each round that he fired wound up costing him 5,000 dollars...and he was completely justified...with witnesses to back him up...and none of his shots missed. (That was 1970s dollars, by the way.)

    Nobody was endangered besides the guys that he killed. In the 6 months before it went to trial, he lost an average of 4 hours sleep a night, and over 25 pounds. He said that when he ate, it knotted up in his stomach and made him sick. On top of that, there was that voice that kept asking if there was anything that he could have done to avoid it.

    Now...Imagine what it would have been like if he'd accidentally shot an innocent person who was unlucky enough to be in the wrong place. Imagine if he'd have shot through a wall and hit one of his kids...or a neighbor...because the gun and ammunition combination was truly too powerful to use inside a house.

    While we absolutely want the most effective weapon and ammunition combination that we can get when our lives are at stake...there are other aspects to consider that are at least as important. Are there any among us who would trade the life of their child in order to blow the bad guy out of his shoes with the Double-Throwdown Kick-Ass gun of the month? If your kids are on the other side of that wall in an unknown location...do you really want the shell in the shotgun to be 3-inch 000Buck...or would you be a little more comfortable with something a bit less? .357 Magnum...or .38 Special?

  9. #9
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    I've seen people with six .38 S&W shots to the lower back and are paralyzed for life.

    I've seen people with a single .22 shot die.

    I've seen people with 7.62 holes and 5.56 holes still breathing.

    I've seen people with 00 and 000 buckshot holes still breathing.

    I've seen people die from birdshot.

    The human body is resilient yet surprisingly easy to kill, especially if given a long enough timeline.

    Shooting someone with a rifle cartridge tends (as an average) to stop them quicker than shooting someone with a handgun cartridge from everything I've seen or read. The same is true of buckshot over birdshot.

    Any gun is better than no gun. Any ammunition is better than no ammunition. But deliberately downloading or downgrading your defense capability, without a hell of a good reason, does not make sense to me. I will never likely see a "good enough" justification for birdshot in a 12 gauge. If you're scared of shooting through a wall and killing a neighbor or loved one, then test pattern your ammo and actually take careful aim on your shots. Buckshot spread is not that pronounced at distances under 25 meters.

    I use 5.56 or 7.62 as my "Please exit my domicile" invitations and will never downgrade my chance of survival.

  10. #10
    Anyone have stats on the number of neighbors, bystanders or family members killed during home invasion defense by friendly fire?

  11. #11

    1911tuner

    you sir are on point,i agree with you 110 percent,how is the dogs

  12. #12
    I don't have a problem with someone using a 38 spec for home defense; six rounds ought to take care of most hostile intruder situations. I have a G19 near the bed but my primary is a 12 Gauge with buckshot.

    The penetration problem:
    I assume that a miss from the 9mm will likely penetrate more wallboards than the 12 gauge. Is this correct thinking?

    Also at close range the buckshot will not spread out and probably stay within the COM of hostile? Miss with the shotgun and one or more of the shot goes thru several fiber board walls.

    Again we are stuck with the shooting rule: Know what is downrange.

    No real good book answer
    "Some of the quotes attributed to me on the internet are made up." - James Madison

  13. #13
    I'm not normally too worried about overpenetration in a carry weapon, I think the concerns in that regard are a little overhyped at times. But inside a home I am concerned. The geometry of the close quarters makes the odds of an over penetrating round hitting someone else much more likely.

    I like the pistol carbine for HD for a lot of reasons, but a significant one is that loaded with light bullets the higher vel makes them expand more violently with less penetration. I've never subscribed to the FBI reqirement of 12" minimum penetration. Always felt like that was an effort on their part to blame the 9mm for their poor performance in Miami.

    Thanks for the post and reality check 1911T. Sure hope I never have to live the rest of my life with something like that on my mind.
    "In the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot." ~ Mark Twain

  14. #14
    This is my opinion on the matter

    First and foremost, I have no "desire" to ever kill another person. The only things I have desires to kill are clay pigeons, paper targets, and tasty game animals when I go hunting. The idea of having something more than what you consider optimal from HD makes someone a blood-thirsty Rambo wannabe is something right out of the page from the Brady Center.

    Second, ANY service caliber will penetrate like crazy through dry wall.

    Third, Military/LEO backgrounds. I have tremendous respect for your service, and you can count on a round of beers on me. That said, I know/known guys with real deal combat experience be on every different side of this debate.

    Lastly, we are all going to decide what is comfortable for ourselves. While some may think its overkill for me to have a 870 with 8 shells of 00 buckshot, others may think its underkill because I don't have a carbine with 30 round magazines.

    My advice is to read into current terminal ballistics reports, and make a informed decision for yourself. I personally will not choose a defensive load that will not get 12" of penetration.

    YMMV
    If you can read this, you are now aware you are breathing.

  15. #15
    I was in the USMC for 2 years before I was medically retired. I spent 5 months of those in Afghanistan. I have shot, I have killed, take it from me, your life will NEVER be the same. Even in a LOD situation as I was in, where its either you or him, you will always remember it, and dwell upon it. I hope that for the rest of the time I spend on this Earth, I NEVER have to do it again. But I can't make that decision, so I will be prepared so if it does happen, I am ready.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowcountryfire View Post
    I was in the USMC for 2 years before I was medically retired. I spent 5 months of those in Afghanistan. I have shot, I have killed, take it from me, your life will NEVER be the same. Even in a LOD situation as I was in, where its either you or him, you will always remember it, and dwell upon it. I hope that for the rest of the time I spend on this Earth, I NEVER have to do it again. But I can't make that decision, so I will be prepared so if it does happen, I am ready.
    On the other hand, your life will never be the same if you allow someone else to kill you.

  17. #17
    Demon, trust me.. I will not go down without one hell of a fight...

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowcountryfire View Post
    Demon, trust me.. I will not go down without one hell of a fight...
    Good. If they didn't want to chance the consequences then they should've stayed home.

  19. #19
    Basically.. I like the way you think..

  20. #20
    I have a confession to make about this post. I don't want a gun. I wish I had no need for them. I will not, however, let someone invade my property and let them do whatever they want. I don't want to ever use my guns, but if I do, it will be the responsibility of the person or persons who came here to attack me. The legal aspects are bad, but, I do not worry about them, because whatever the law finds I will know that I have done what I need to do to defend myself and my family.

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