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Home Protection Part 2

Posted Wednesday, January 12, 2011, at 11:29 AM

Something has gone terribly wrong and you become aware that a stranger is in your home. What to do?

The most important thing is the safety of you and your family. The most likely way for someone to get hurt is to have a face-to-face conflict. Convincing an intruder to leave without coming into face-to-face contact is always best.

You should have someone dial 911 as soon as it is safe to do so. Even if you don't have the opportunity to speak, leave the line open. The operator will listen to what is going on while dispatching an officer to investigate. This puts a time limit on the situation; if the intruder does not leave shortly, law enforcement will be there to assist. If you are armed, or you believe the intruder is armed, you should inform law enforcement. This speeds up response times and helps law enforcement to know what to expect and avoid accidental tragedies.

Under Indiana law, you do not have a duty to retreat before using force to defend yourself in your home. Additionally, you do not have to determine whether the person intents to harm you before using force. HOWEVER, this is not the Wild West. It is far better to convince the intruder to leave than to have an armed conflict. If an intruder is shot in the back, it is entirely possible that the law will believe the intruder was retreating, thus no longer posing a threat, and you would potentially be subject to criminal and civil sanctions.

The decision whether or not to own a firearm is a very personal one. Among the things to consider should be whether or not you believe you can shoot someone. The taboo against killing another human being is so strong, historically, 25 percent of solders never fire their weapon at the enemy and another 25 percent either chose to not aim or intentionally fire above the enemy's head. Displaying a weapon you cannot or will not use may result in the intruder taking your weapon or using his own against you. If you chose to own a firearm, it should be something that you are comfortable using and you should practice at least until you are proficient with it.

The number two rule with firearms is to be aware of what is behind your target. (Number one is to always treat a firearm as though it is loaded.) The higher power the weapon, the more likely the projectile will travel past the target striking whatever is behind. Walls may look solid, but the vast majority of them have large empty spaces within and are relatively easy to penetrate. How tragic would it be to fire a weapon at an intruder in the hallway and kill your child sleeping in her bed or the neighbors' child in her own home?

This is not a time for trick shots. You should not try to shoot at the head or feet. In a stress situation, the changes of missing your target are tremendous. You should always aim for the center of body mass. In real life, the purpose for using a weapon is to make an opponent disengage from conflict. A hit in the center of mass is most likely to do that. If you miss the bull's-eye, you retain increased odds of striking the intruder in a different location.

If something can go wrong, it certainly will. This is especially true during times of high stress. That means, "More simple is more better." The two best choices of firearm for home protection are thus the most simple and reliable to operate: The pump action shotgun and the revolver.

There is no other sound in the world like someone racking a shotgun slide loading a shell into the chamber. This sound should give an intruder a sudden urge to leave your home and change his shorts. If the weapon must be fired, a shotgun makes a boom louder than most other weapons, which both intimidates adversaries and alerts neighbors.

Whether 12 gage, 20 gage, or 410, the weapon should be loaded with skeet or light bird loads. Slugs, buckshot, and other heavy loads are likely to go through several walls striking who or what ever is on the other side. Additionally, use of a shotgun does not relieve you from the obligation to aim the weapon. The pellets spread much less than you think; especially at short ranges (like within your home).

If you rely on a handgun, it is my opinion that it should be revolver, rather than an automatic. An automatic needs to have the slide operated to put a round into battery. Under stress, this can be forgotten or difficult to do. Additionally, no matter what any manufacturer or your buddy says, all automatics are susceptible to jamming. Finally, the vast majority of loads for automatics are high velocity giving rise to the issue of over penetration and hitting beyond your target.

My personal bias is toward "heavy and slow." Heavy slow bullets are less likely to over penetrate. This also means that they are more likely to transfer all of their energy into the target they strike. My personal recommendation would be to use either a .44 special or a .38 special, preferably with light charges. Additionally, using "hollow nose" expanding bullets also increases down range safety. As the bullet expands, it sheds energy into the target at an accelerated rate and is less likely to exit a target and continue down range.

Hopefully, this is information you will never need to know. However, as the St. Louis store clerk said to people starting down the Oregon Trail, better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

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Your paragraph about automatics vs. revolvers was a little short on information.

A double action revolver is "always loaded". Pull the trigger and you cock the hammer and it fires. There is always a cartridge in "battery" as you put it.

Automatics, however, must be loaded first, like you say, however, when you load the clip, you rack one in, put the safety on (single action). Now its ready to go. Your requirement to rack one when the bad guy shows up is, frankly, stupid. If you expect to use it on the bad buy, have one racked in already.

There are 4 types of automatic, or more. This is the reason I recommend revolvers to people who aren't experienced in firearms. The 4 main types are:

1. Single Action.

2. Double Action.

3. DS (double single) Action.

4. Hammered DS with halfcock.

Personally I prefer hammered DS with halfcock. By far *THE* safest to carry. (I carry a S&W Mod. 59, 9mm, 15+1, DSH - Double Single Halfcock.) On a shelf, though, it probably really doesn't matter.

With automatics, just load the clip, rack one in, put the safety on and put it in the drawer, behind the book or under your chair (I've got a Ruger P95 about 12 inches from my fanny now.) With double action or double single action, rack on in then put the hammer on half cock. Now, you're just like a revolver. No safety, just a big pull and you cock the hammer and it drops and boom!

If you're using a single action (I have several Hi-Points) just have it ready to go then put on the safety. When you need the gun, drop the safety, and you're ready to deliver the message.

Your advice with a shotgun is ABSOLUTELY correct. If you're in town, lite loads using #8 or #9 shot are best. About all you'll do at your neighbors is break a window. I hear a lot of people talking buck and slugs. STOOPID!!! Imagine that your slug or a buckshot pellet (that are usually .25 or larger) goes through your bad guy, penetrates the wall, your neighbors wall and the head of your neighbors 12 year old daughter or newborn baby? Your neighbor may not thank you for using lite skeet loads but you'll thank Mr. Hear for recommending them if you have to use it.

Your personal bias is a bit faulty. Heavy and slow tend to just keep on going. Heavy and fast actually tear themselves up better. The key is that you want that bullet to expend all its energy inside the first target it hits.

One of my home defense guns is a rifle. Yes, a rifle. A Ruger Mini14. 223. I have it loaded with M192 Ball ammo. (FMJ) It goes against everything you say, however, I'm almost a quarter of a mile from anything else that doesn't have tree cover. Its all about expansion. One could use a 30-06 safely in town if one used very light bullets and super fast speeds. If the bullet touched anything it would immediately disintigrate. I have loads like that. They're amazing. But, the average person doesn't have access to such things, or do they?

I'm a big fan of the 9mm Parabellum. Its really a magnum round designed way beyond the technology of the day. Those Germans! They are something! There are several manufacturers that make "frangibles". This is, essentially, loosly bound lead powder in a copper bullet jacket. Whatever it hits, it falls to pieces instantly. A 9mm with 147gr frangibles is pretty safe. Exchanging a fragment with the neighbors would be unlikely.

This comment may have been far more technical that many can digest, however, the information is there. Ask a qualified firearms expert if you have additional questions. You can ask me too. Send questions to theconcit@gmail.com and I'll do my best.

-- Posted by ClayPrepper on Sun, Jan 1, 2012, at 12:47 AM

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