Some thoughts on DEFENSE guns and gear... firearm choices that make sense
this page content focuses on smart, simple solutions for defensive tools.
How many spent way too much for guns from political-pressured/fear tactic sales
in firearms and accessorizing? Is there still some ego obscuring clear thinking?
FN SCAR above averages $2,600. It comes with: one magazine. -overview of SCAR, ACR-
Instead of sinking all that into one rifle, what else could one buy for that sum of money?
And, would allow one to build more skills, helping others become familiar with firearms?
Getting others comfortable with more firearm types - even motivated to get their own?
Do people really think their 'superior ultimate' gun makes bullets fly straighter or faster?
Here's an efficient, cost-effective lineup of firearms that would make more sense:
Any basic 5.56 AR15 by a multitude of reputable manufactuers out there; around $900
(they're virtually all the same! internals, uppers and lowers, basic furniture and barrels)
Arsenal 7.62x39 SLR AK: consistently the best built AK inside and out; around $900
(absolutely worth the $900 after years of 'disappointing' AKs in the $500 range)
Smith & Wesson MP22 .22lr $400 Glock 19 Generation 4 9mm $600
Total cost for the four basic semiauto firearms above: $2,800
Maintain at least 5 mags per rifle, 3 mags per handgun, cleaning gear, spare parts
Have a comfortable inventory of ammo 1000 ~ 3000 rounds per common caliber
(additional necessities above are easily budgeted when not messing with unnecessary purchases!)
- examples of how money can be wasted on impractical thinking -
- examples of extra costs when accessorizing AR15s and AK47s -
Various name brand stripped lower receivers are smart commodities
Many possibilities; many of the name brands had lower prices during 2012 than 2 years before.
Go thru the process, secure a bunch of them now; they can be finished and built into rifles later.
Three of them at $100 each would be a smart $300 to set aside for a rainy day.
Importance of having solid, proven magazines and guns to match those qualities
...steel AK mag is so pitted that it has rusted thru and it still works. Just can't beat steel AK mags!
...that's not mud on the ammo - it's rust! It will still chamber and cycle reliably thru the AK system.
...when chips are down, which rifle mag (and rifle system) would you truly have more faith in?
...a fragile FN PS90 (5.7x28) mag or can-physically-beat-the-enemy with AK (7.62x39) mag?
Here are serious reminders delivered in pictures and sensible facts
Everyone thinks of it, speaks of it - have we forgotten how important firearm ownership freedom is and how crucial it is to maintain our responsiblity and ability with such tools?
Many think themselves ready - are we? How about vast numbers of those who aren't?
Water/food/shelter is important, but other considerations include: defense - mindset -
clear thinking - capability - environment - and have nots that may become a liability.
Many ask themselves 'what if..?' and discussions run every which way
Here is what everyone should consider, and recognize there is never enough time...
So plan and help each other so that more people will be prepared and less without
Let's get clear answers out in the open for the inevitable questions of useful tools.
Most can achieve firearms pictured in each category in a reasonable year or two.
Easier to attain when unnecessary additions or useless firearm models are avoided.
Yes, there will be disagreements and opinions. It is the year 2012, think practical.
Unnecessary gadgetizing and additions to proven basic firearms will only cause
delays/mistakes when one must pick up and utilize someone else's similar gun.
If you could only have three centerfire firearms to cover a broad range of tasks,
and have a secure location, which three would make sense? Also, cutting tools.
Glock 19 9mm Ultimate Edge sharpener Benchmade Ultra Presidio folder Cold Steel SRK sheath knife
Consider price and performance for their cost Commonality, availability, ease of use, proven track record
AR15 5.56 by any reputable manufacturer(s) Surefire light Trijicon Compact 3x ACOG [reticle image]
ARs shoot consistently and are common, Surefires & ACOGs perform; that's why we should own these
AR10 or equivalent 7.62x51 (.308) Leupold scope or equivalent 4-12x magnification [reticle image]
AR type .308s ideal for medium to far (300~600yds+) distances where 5.56 loses too much energy.
When one wants to teach others various handgun types commonly encountered
and needs to bring them up to speed quickly, efficiently in shortest possible time.
Which six covers most operating systems on limited firearm budget/safekeeping?
Browning Buckmark Micro 22lr Glock 17 9mm (DA striker fired) Beretta 92FS 9mm (DA/SA type)
Full-height frames are important, you are teaching a wide array of people, full size guns offer more control.
Smith & Wesson 66 DA .38/.357 Kimber/equivalent 1911 SA .45acp Taylor Co traditional SA .22cal
Double and single action revolvers are out there, all should know how to run these systems smoothly.
Which six semiauto military type rifles would be most commonly encountered
and might have to be utilized quickly and efficiently in time of need or crisis?
For one's ability to operate ANY firearm like second nature: (1) own the gun,
& (2) conduct purpose-driven training that pushes one past their comfort zone.
One cannot become skilled with a firearm just by reading about it, watching videos
or merely target shooting with a particular gun week after week in range mentality.
AR15 / M16 type 5.56 cal rifle:
Pictured is the best dedicated crossover rifle to fill the role of introducing AR15s to new shooters. S&W M&P15-22
has identical controls and is
very lightweight, building confidence faster for anyone starting/reviewing the system.
AK47 type 7.62x39 cal rifle:
AK74 type pictured; less recoil
in 5.45x39 caliber, sometimes ammo costs less than 7.62x39.
Either chambering very prolific
around the world. 7.62x39 cal
may still remain most efficient cost-power-weight cartridge.
Ruger Mini14 .223 cal rifle:
Incredibly popular, originated
America's 'ranch rifle'; design limitations however can never approach shooting consistency of even the most basic AR15.
FN-FAL pattern .308 cal rifle:
Very common worldwide.
Heavy as all .308 military rifles would be, yet modern additions
to FALs improve capabilities
over original iron sight limits.
M1A / M14 .308 cal rifle:
Externally similar to Mini14 but
slightly different gas system.
Vastly consistent & repeatable accuracy over Mini14 design.
HK G3 pattern .308 cal rifle:
Many versions worldwide.
Most heavy for its size among .308 military rifles. Complex, costly & dirty roller-locked
bolt system. $$$, limited optic mounts/requirements not ideal.
Other than single shot falling block or break-action type rifles,
what other types of rifles should everyone be familiar with?
Bolt action rifles - Remington Model Seven shown above. Companies
Ruger, Marlin, Remington, Winchester, Browning, Savage, Mossberg...
different safeties, bolt removal/disassembly, optic mount requirements.
Different type/location of safeties. Floorplate types
can vary among bolt rifles.
Lever action rifles - pictured is a Marlin 336. Marlin and Winchester
lead the numbers among many mfgs; some of similar design, some not.
Ex: Mossberg, Rossi, Puma, Uberti, Henry, Browning BLR, Ruger 96.
Differences between them include handling/loading and optic mounting.
Most levers have reciever loading port, some at front. Earlier guns no safeties.
Many now have a safety.
Semiauto or pump action, magazine-fed 'hunting type' rifles. Remington's
7400 semiauto series (currently model 750) and 7600 pump is popular.
Other common mfgs: Browning's BAR, Ruger's 44, Uberti's pump rifles.
Detachable magazines or
tube-fed magazine types-
both have pros and cons.
Two all-purpose .22 caliber firearms
Buckmark .22lr Ruger 10/22 .22lr: Volquartsen extended charging handle, Choate side folding stock
For teaching, for extra firearms to hand off in emergencies. These two are proven, can run dirty as heck.
There is no need for this category of .22 caliber firearm to operate with 'other' CB/short/long .22 ammo.
Another .22 caliber handgun proving itself to be a very good alternative is Smith & Wesson's M&P22.
Two truly fun, recreational .22 caliber firearms
Taylor SA .22cal Henry lever action .22cal rifle (full size shown, shorter stock youth model is also good)
Both of these can run weaker CB/short/long .22 ammo along with the 22 long rifle cartridge.
More of a novelty, admittedly fun - low noise/lighter power .22 ammo has limited advantages.
Their cost is higher than .22 long rifle. .22Mag cost is so high it is not a worthwhile endeavor.
Ammunition: get some. Be sure to have your own comfortable inventory.
** June 2013: difficult-to-get firearms and ammo situation across the US **
Supplies are limited and slow re-supply will probably continue throughout 2013.
Have ammo. Use it, replenish it, always maintain a comfortable amount of your primary calibers.
It may be smart to maintain inventory of popular calibers you might not even have guns for yet.
One should have stock of .22lr, 9mm, .223/5.56, 7.62x39. .45acp and .308 may be good too.
If you have decades-old ammo, start using it and replace it as you go. Brass weakens with 20+ yrs age.
Powders can deteriorate, loadings might be discovered weak/inconsistent/duds. Not good when needed.
Sealed can .30 carbine had headstamp 1953(!). Regardless of vintage, US .30 carbine is non-corrosive.
When starter tab was rolled to crack the seal, the 'hissss' and outward-flexing of steel can was awesome.
For those who are in the know / have keen interest in classic (US) militaria; above picture is "oooooh."
Firearms, spare parts, magazines, ammunition, essentials -
Absolutely better to have and not need than to need and not have...
Competitive Edge Dynamics range bags
Very well-designed range bags to organize and hold your gear
Compact Range Bag, 16"x7"x11", padded compartment for pistols, 3 exterior zippered compartments,
mag/tool/pen holders and sewn elastic loops, bag is slim; designed to fold flat when empty, $70
Medium Pro Range bag, 17"x14"x11", 3 padded compartments for pistols, removable pistol sleeve,
one brass sifter, 5 exterior zippered compartments, mag/tool/pen holders and sewn elastic loops, $80
Large Pro Range bag, 21"x14"x11", 3 padded compartments for pistols, removable pistol sleeve,
two brass sifters, 5 exterior zippered compartments, mag/tool/pen holders and sewn elastic loops, $90
Allen Attache Soft Cases
Soft cases that can transport a lot in a compact 10"x8" bag
Simple padded cases with exterior pocket can fit 2 large handguns to 5 medium-sized handguns, $23
Uncle Mike's Military Rifle Cases
Nylon carry cases for your rifles - in short and medium lengths
33" length, 4 outer mag pouches, perfect for most 16" AR-15s, sidefolding/full retracting stock rifles, $33
41" length, 5 outer mag pouches, fixed stock 16" AKs, 16"-20" barreled AR-15s w/ longer stocks, $36
More thoughts on DEFENSE guns and gear...and some 22s as well...
Defensive Handguns and getting started in shooting - the simple truth
Why is there constant confusion about what to have in a self-defense semiauto handgun?
Above are examples of popular (tiny .25 is not best answer) handguns in several calibers.
Why would one use or expect a loved one to use a .25, .32, or .380 auto when it is clear
that a 9mm or .40 in a larger framed, easier-to-control handgun is truly advantageous?
For those who insist on "tiny is good enough", consider a motivated, aggressive attacker
ARMED with knives/guns and has caught you unaware in your home or confined space.
Now envision that attacker (or several) bent on taking your or other people's lives.
How effective is that tiny, stress-induced-forgot-how-to-use-this-cute-gun going to be?
Get a simple medium framed 9mm as a minimum caliber, get around progressive and
professional environments of true training and avoid stagnant and excessive plinking.
What is a simple semiauto? One where you insert mag, rack slide, and it is ready for use.
No external hammers, decocking levers and/or safety levers, two different trigger pulls.
Thankfully, simple is very attainable between $500 to $700 (Kahr, Glock, XD, M&P).
Guns that have two different trigger pulls, decocking levers, safeties, sharp edges,
short frames that risk pinching skin on every magazine change and so on - WHY?
Beretta pocket pistols (in .22 & .25) and Walther
PPK variants (in .32 & .380) are frequently pitched
at more shops nationwide than you'd believe.
Salespeople will use misleading and unethical ideas.
Too small for best control when accessing in high
stress situations / from locations on body, and not best caliber to bet one's life on in life-threatening situations. And, these types do not aid in psycological deterrence.
Kahr handguns (in 9 & .40) and Glocks (in 9 & .40)
are much better choices. These have much simpler operation than types on left, provide much better control during presentation, manipulation, firing.
'Tiny' calibers in 'cute' pocket autos still recoil.
Also, often forgotten - is how much .25, .32, .380
ammo costs compared to 9mm or .40 - and there are more variations of 9mm or .40 caliber ammo available.
(shocking) Costs of ammo, Balance of practicality and power
- updated February 2013 - Selling prices of ammunition may vary in your area -
(suggested retail prices as of February 2013 are listed as a nationwide reference)
Suggested retail: 25acp: $26.09 32acp: $27.99 .380auto: $21.49 9mm: $17.19
regardless of manufacturer, this is typical (shocking) price differential 25 auto to 9mm.
therefore, with most home defense plans or carry defense in legal locations, why again
25, 32, even 380 auto? many quality, proven handguns in reasonable, controllable sizes
are available in 9mm that employing 25 and 32 auto pocket pistols are nearly pointless.
Sugg retail: 9mm $20.95, 40cal $30.95, 45acp $37.95:
caliber to price comparison from one manufacturer;
note the reality of price jump from 9mm to .40 cal.
Most shops' prices for Blazer will be lower than ret.
Proven track record handguns; med to lrg frames in
respectable calibers make more sense vs handguns
in small calibers with questionable stopping power.
Most cases, one can & should use 9mm minimum.
Interesting comparison in sugg retail for .38 special:
Blazer $26.95, Fed Eagle $30.95, Win USA $24.39
Gee, I wonder why so many are now accepting of
Fiocchi, Magtech or similarly priced ammo? Many
were not in favor of such brands 5 years ago...
For home defense AND enjoyment when practicing;
which of the above is a more controllable revolver?
Which also builds confidence the more you shoot it;
instead of causing more flinching and pain?
Larger frame handguns provide more firing comfort.
Suggested retail comparison for some .380:
BrnBear HP$21.95, Magtech $21.49, AmEagle $32.95
Brown Bear is steel cased; I've run hundreds of BB
and Magtech thru KelTecs and LCPs; no failures.
Many demanding Fed, Win, Rem, go for value now.
Both are .380 caliber; tiny Ruger LCP has more movement & less control during firing. Beretta 85F
has a smoother firing characteristic and less recoil.
No mystery why; larger handgun, more mass, taller frame to fit the majority of hands securely.
Suggested retail comparison for a few types .22 LR:
Blazer $3, Federal Game Shock copper plated $4,
Fed Gold Medal $13, Wolf Match (German) $10.
Blazer is often sold out nationwide. It was not desired 22 ammo 5 years ago. Now everyone wants?
Both are .22 LR; yet the best choice for introducing handguns to those interested in learning firearms,
target shooting, building confidence - Ruger MK III
is a versatile and smart choice. Beretta 21A is too small. It honestly can not fill the role of a target gun.
What really is practical and effective for target shooting; for defense use?
Having an assortment of .22 handguns is fine, but most enjoyable & practical among those in picture above
would be the bottom two: a Sig Mosquito and Ruger MK III. However, the Sig Mosquito has always been
ammo-sensitive, requiring pricier types of .22 while Ruger's offering can take a wider variety of .22 ammo.
In defense situations, solid hits with .22 ammunition is certainly better than misses with any larger caliber...
A secure, full-framed aggressive grip of handgun is better than an unsecure grasp of a tiny gun for defense.
A commonly controllable 9mm semiauto is a better idea than pushing someone to fire .357mag or .45acp.
Forcing anyone to proceed too quickly with abrupt/snappy/heavy recoil/larger caliber handguns for defense
is not a good idea; having absolute confidence and familiarity of the chosen gun/caliber is the right answer.
Best crossover 22 pistol to date: S&W M&P22
Finally! A full-sized, feeds-all-kinds-of-ammo, very reliable, easy-to-maintain, fun .22 handgun!
- Link: Awesome choice for a teaching pistol: S&W's M&P22; a dedicated polymer framed .22 -
Ruger MKIII polymer frame model 22/45 in 4" or 5.5" barrel lengths
Ruger MKIII model 22/45 basic polymer frame
Ruger MKIII 22/45: A pistol with many decades of successful track record, fits budgets at just $300!
Many say the Ruger disassembly is too hard; make excuses for laziness in learning disassembly (just ask dealers/salespeople to demonstrate disassembly upon sale & see how they avoid it! heck, avoidance is a
sure sign they don't care to learn it or they simply don't know. I'll take time to show buyers disassembly.)
* MKIII models have been near extinct since Spring 2012. How Ruger allows this is beyond puzzling *
Sept 2012: With the year nearly over and no supply, I will not bother to inventory any Ruger MKIIIs.
If favored, Ruger MKIII 22/45s and Browning Buckmarks are excellent choices for .22 pistols;
both feed all kinds of .22 ammo, are slim enough for many hand sizes and are fun target pistols.
Browning Buckmark URX models with slabside profile barrel, 4" or 5.5" barrel lengths
Browning Buckmark URX: best frame improvement to a popular .22!
The Buckmark has been a very proven .22 pistol since its introduction in 1985, successor to the Browning
Challenger pistol from 1976 (and for firearm history; Ruger MKIII's heritage was the MKI back in 1951!).
Browning's 'Camper' .22 model has been popular till this day - though the frame has been too big for some.
The URX frame slimmed front-to-back dimensions and added the finger-grooved rubber grips, making this
version of Buckmark the best yet! The slabsided barrel versions are slimmed bull barrels and a joy to shoot.
* Browning, like Ruger, has also been foolishly out-of-supply with many of these otherwise proven .22s. *
Sept 2012: With the year nearly over and no supply, I will not go out of the way to inventory Buckmarks.
URX frame on left, standard frame on right URX frame below, standard frame above
Look at the excess thickness for standard model's aluminum frame - bottom & side view. URX rubber grip cannot fit on standard Camper model thicker frames. URX frame style is truly friendlier to more shooters.
A compact electronic red dot optic can be added for easier .22 target shooting.
Shown above on a Browning Buckmark .22, a Burris FastFire is small & lightweight.
4" Buckmark Micro URX is a perfect .22 pistol for fun and introducing new shooters.
Henry .22 lever action rifle matched with proportional-sized Millet red dot optic makes
it almost 'too easy' for the fun afternoon of plinking. Getting new shooters to enjoy
firearms from the first minute on a firing line is crucial. Always start with .22 caliber.
It may be better to get new shooters hitting targets easily first, then learn iron sights.
If it seems like cheating, so be it! Shown on the popular Ruger 10/22 .22 semiauto rifle,
a scope that magnifies target image and has crosshairs as an aiming point makes sense!
Building confidence and acclimating new shooters with .22 rifles & handguns is smart.
Do that before continuing on to defensive calibers and new shooters build skills faster.
Very fun and rewarding shooting with a cost-effective Savage MK-II .22 bolt action rifle -
with a 3-9x or 4-12x magnified scope, new and seasoned shooters can build and review
trigger control and 'follow-thru'; fundamentals that must be revisited for consistent results.
(Smith & Wesson) 4" revolver in .22 then moving on to a same frame/weight .38 special
with a 4" barrel is a better method versus starting off with .38 special or .357 magnum!
Diminutive defense guns should be a minimum of .380, and pocket pistols sure get small.
Balance of defense platform and caliber is often overlooked and sales-pitching commercialism takes over.
Left: Ruger LCP in .380 caliber (lacks the psycological deterrence) Right: Beretta 85F in .380 caliber
True, any bullet in a vital zone might stop an attacker, but should we risk more by betting on such odds?
Since most are physically capable of firing a 9mm Glock 19 sized like the 85F; use a Glock 19 instead!
Where is the defense gun to be kept and who would be expected to (know how to) use it?
Left: Beretta 85F in .380 caliber (home defense gun? use 9mm instead..!) Right: Beretta 92FS in 9mm
Also, the model 85F retails for $750 while the 92FS in 9mm retails $650. Why? That's Beretta's pricing
and don't forget, .380 ammunition is not as commonly availabile as 9mm and also costs more than 9mm!
As an important note; these Beretta handguns have controls in their manual-of-arms that
must be understood and operable by the owner without hesitation or second thought.
Beretta 85 has decocking lever that goes upward to lower hammer and select 'safe'.
Beretta 92 has decocking lever that turns downward to lower hammer and select 'safe'.
Another concept in this series of pictures of defense gun choices - both above are .45ACP
and are to scale with the similar format pictures above. Glock 30 and Colt Defender have
similar size & weight, but price, recoil characteristic and maintenance requirements differ.
Glock 30 retails at or under $650 and Colt Defender around $950. Colt is also more complicated in design.