Same Old Question, Different Time — Assault Rifles

(For part 1 of this series, go here; for part 2, here.)

3.) Assault Rifles:
There was a time when owning an assault rifle was regarded with amusement. Only the “preppers”or “blue helicopter” crowd owned them, mostly out of paranoia. Those times are gone. The way the political situation has become not only polarized but more antagonistic, and with the possibility of random ISIS attacks and /or riot-provoking organizations like the Antifa and Black Lives Matter thugs, every home should hold at least one assault rifle.

I know, we hide this rationale under cutesy names like “Zombie Apocalypse” and the like. Let’s not mince words, here: there’s no such thing as zombies, and mob violence is going to come from living, breathing human beings who want to loot your home at best, or else do you harm because of the color of your skin, the size of your investment portfolio, because Trump! or even just because it’s Friday. What we need, therefore, is to be able to deliver sustained, rapid fire into a series of human targets, and an ability to reload quickly to address their larger numbers. Reliability is absolutely critical, here — this is no time to call on a gunsmith, or have to start tinkering with components which have somehow failed since the last time we went to the range.

I know that the AR-15 and its many derivations are the black rifle of choice for many. I disagree with that choice. While the AR has been improved to where its reliability is somewhat better than average (and much better than it used to be), I still think that the rifle itself is a little too finicky, and its 5.56mm (.223 Rem) cartridge is an inadequate stopper. The low recoil of the smaller cartridge does not compensate for its lack of knockdown power.

In one of the Tales Of The Gun shows once aired on TV, one of the guys interviewed said something like, “When civilization has failed and collapsed completely, the gun I want in my hands is an AK-47.”

I agree. The AK’s larger 7.62x39mm cartridge is leagues better than the 5.56mm, the AK rifle’s reliability and ruggedness are legendary, and its perceived lack of accuracy at longer ranges (more than 200 yards) doesn’t matter at typical mob violence distances, which can be measured in feet rather than yards. Note too, that I’m not suggesting its use as an anti-burglar tool — you have a shotgun and a couple handguns for that already, right? — because the 7.62x39mm cartridge will go through internal walls like they don’t exist. But as a “crowd control” device, there are few better choices than the AK-47.

Of course, AKs are no longer the bargain buy they used to be. (Have I already thanked that socialist anti-gun prick Barack Obama for causing gun sales to explode and thereby have prices go through the roof? Allow me, then…) On the other hand, while their price has risen, they’re still a bargain compared to the stratospheric prices charged for even the most basic AR-15s.

AKs do not allow for much tacticooling, other than perhaps with the very-much-recommended addition of an Ultimak rail and Aimpoint red-dot sight, like my old one:

And the other fine thing about the AK-47 is that unlike the AR-15, which apparently requires quarter-hourly cleanings to prevent stoppages, the AK can, if necessary, be cleaned only in months (or years) divisible by seven and still be counted upon to shoot. Yes, I know that we should all clean our guns assiduously. Just remember that when civilization fails, you may not be able to find any Hoppes No.9 lying around.

One last point (which I’ve made before): the first pic of the AK shows it with the popular 30-round magazine loaded. I have no problem with that mag, but I myself prefer the 20-rounders (as seen in the second pic), simply because you can’t shoot the 30-round mag from prone without assuming some strange yoga pose. You should have an absolute minimum of two spare magazines, and four would be much better (100 or 150 rounds at hand). Metal ones, because you can drive a Prius over one and it will probably still work in the AK.

As for ammo, use whatever is cheapest. Also unlike the AR-15, the AK is not fussy about ammo and will shoot anything. I like the Brown Bear brand the best, but I’ll shoot pretty much whatever’s on sale. Buy your 7.62x39mm accordingly — a thousand or so rounds will do for starters, not because you’ll need a thousand rounds to fight off a crowd of assholes, but because you can practice with it and not be caught short during an ammo shortage when everyone starts panic buying (such as occurred during the Obama Dark Times).

Final thought: I may be pissing some people off with my preference of the AK-47 over the AR-15. Here’s my take on it: if you’re a veteran of the Armed Forces and thanks to your experience with the M4 you’re as familiar with the operation of the AR-15 as driving a car, by all means get whatever flavor of AR you wish — preferably in larger calibers like the 6.5mm Grendel, .300 Blackout, whatever — or even the AR-10 in 7.62x51mm NATO. Of course the AR platform is a perfectly viable option, and one should always go with the gun one understands, can operate, fix and all that good stuff. (That’s why I prefer the Colt 1911 pistol over all other handguns, despite its couple flaws.)

I just think that the AK-47 is a better solution to an End Times scenario. As with everything I write here, your opinions may vary, and in this case, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Next: defensive handguns.

Same Old Question, Different Time — Shotguns

(For part 1 of this series, go here.)

2.) Shotguns:
Every home should have at least one shotgun dedicated to home defense.

This means that it should always be close at hand, whether you’re sitting in your living room watching TV late at night, or asleep in bed, or working in your garage. If your shotgun is too unwieldy to schlep around from room to room, then you can deputize your handgun as the portable one, and keep the shotgun handy in the bedroom. (And remember: all the necessary safeguards should be taken to prevent accidents.) Now let’s consider the options.

I’m going to break somewhat with tradition, here. Just about every person who talks about this subject thinks that the sine qua non for a home defense shotgun should be chambered in 12-gauge. I’m not one of them. Remember, firing a 12ga. shell loaded with 00 buckshot means that several .30-caliber pellets are going to be on their way — and while they will do yeoman service in perforating a goblin, they can also penetrate several layers of drywall — not a good thing if your kid’s bedroom is on the other side. Also, bearing in mind the “recoil” caveat for this series, I personally find the recoil of a 12-gauge somewhat excessive. (Aside: please refrain from telling me how your 120-lb wife has no problem with shooting your Remington 870, or how your 7-year-old kid does likewise. Not interested.) I’ve shot just about every kind of shotgun ever made, in all calibers, and I honestly don’t think the 12-gauge is for everyone, and especially if you want the shotgun to serve as everyone’s weapon in the house.

Likewise, most people think there’s something about the sound of a pump shotgun being “racked” (i.e. the slide being slid back and then forward to chamber a round) that creates some magical aura of fear. Well, sure it does — unless the goblin actually broke into your house to kill you, in which case all you’re doing by racking the shotgun is telling the scumbag that you’re awake, and where you are. I like the element of surprise, myself, and nothing creates trouble for a goblin’s breathing like a sudden, unanticipated shotgun blast coming out of the darkness at him. So here’s my recommendation for a primary home defense shotgun: the Mossberg SA-20  “Railed” model (with a 20″ barrel) is reliable and inexpensive, and looks as tacticool as all hell:

Note that the rail will allow you to mount a red-dot sight or flashlight on the barrel with ease. The SA-20 also comes in a shortened “Bantam Youth” model with a 24″ barrel, if your missus or teenage kid would want to use it:

I’ve only ever fired the SA-20’s big brother, the Mossberg 930 (12ga) and found it quite reasonable to shoot, but I bet the smaller chambering of the SA-20 will put a smile on your face. Come to think of it, I need a semi-auto shotgun… and oh, look! CheaperThanDirt has it for $450 and change.

You can spend more (a lot more) on a semi-auto shotgun (Benelli, Beretta, Browning, Winchester etc), but I’m not sure you need to, for a home defense piece.

Finally, we need to look at ammo for this little thing. I’m pretty sure I’d go for the #3 Buckshot, which fires 20 pellets rather than the smaller birdshot cartridges, which shoot more, but much smaller pellets. Granted, inside a typical room the shot is not going to spread much, if at all — but the larger pellets are still a better bet, I think.

As always, Reader comments are welcome.

Next: assault rifles.

Same Old Question, Different Time — The Rimfires

New Reader Wally T. asks me the perennial question:

“What do you consider a minimum number of guns for home- and self defense for me and my wife, and which guns would you recommend?”

I remember vaguely doing one or two posts on this very topic many years ago, but as the title of this one suggests, times are different so maybe, just maybe, ’tis time to revisit the question. (Wally included a couple of personal details about his family which are not relevant to the topic except that his wife hates heavy-recoiling firearms — won’t even touch them, in fact — so whatever I suggest should take that into account.) So here goes. This post will deal with the must-have rimfire (.22 Long Rifle) guns; the other options will follow in later posts.

1a.) .22 Rifle:
As Longtime Readers know, I have always considered a .22 rifle to be not a gun, but a household item like a frying pan or microwave oven — i.e. every home should have one — and .22 ammo is a household commodity like flour, sugar or salt. If you are starting from scratch in your home defense equipment, do not think the little .22 rifle is inadequate. Certainly, if your house is outside a town and therefore prone to critter invasions, a .22 rifle is a must — and if it can be fired rapidly (e.g. a semi-automatic or pump-action), that’s even better. Ditto home defense: even the most hardened goblin is going to change his plans if you or your wife has just popped two or three .22 bullets into his midsection. Here’s the thing: he may not die immediately after being thus shot (as opposed to getting a 12-gauge blast to the chest), but make no mistake about it, without immediate medical attention or else astounding luck, he will die from three rounds of .22 in his body. The .22 rifle is not the optimal home defense weapon, but if there’s nothing else, it’s far better than a baseball bat or tennis racket.
My recommendation for a .22 rifle is either a magazine-fed semi-auto like the Ruger 10/22, tube-fed rifle like the Marlin Model 60, or else a pump-action rifle like the Henry:


The first two collectively have sold more than any other two guns on the planet, and the third should be equally as popular, but isn’t (it’s kinda spendy, but that’s quality for you).

And seeing as you’ve just bought 5,000 rounds of .22 Long Rifle ammo (you have, haven’t you?), you might as well get the next must-have item.

1b.) .22 Semi-Auto Pistol or Double-Action Revolver:
The nice thing about a little .22 handgun is that it’s handy [sic], especially if your wife is proficient in its use, because it’s light,  has no recoil to speak of, and like the .22 rifle, can serve as a back-up self-defense option. Again, a goblin coming into your bedroom will change his plans when hit in the face with a couple rounds of .22 Long Rifle fired by your wife while you’re getting your bedside gun (see a later post) out of the drawer.
A compelling reason to have both a .22 rifle and a .22 handgun is that they are fun — and also good practice tools if you can’t afford to spend gobs of money on self-defense ammo. I leave it to personal choice as to whether you get a pistol or revolver, although I lean towards the semi-auto.
My recommendations for a pistol and revolver are either the Ruger Mk IV (see here as to why it’s my top pick), Browning Buckmark URX Standard (better trigger), and for a double-action revolver, the S&W Model 63 (because of its 8-round cylinder capacity):

And just so we’re all clear on this: these recommendations are not comprehensive, nor are they definitive. There are hundreds of choices out there that can fill these two slots quite adequately, and as with all things, personal choice, price and preference (how it “feels” in the hand or in the shoulder) should be the principal part of of your final decision. Here, for example, is my Ruger Mk IV, in the 22/45 configuration:

I would humbly suggest, however, that none of the above recommendations will disappoint.

Next: home defense shotguns.

Please note:
There is a recall notice for all Ruger Mk IV pistols with serial numbers lower than 50xxxx




I have a terrible confession to make.

While I do have a couple of bolt-action rimfire rifles (Marlin 880SQ in .22LR and Marlin 882 in .22 WinMag, see below):

… I do not currently possess a semi-auto .22 plinker.

Now, I am fully aware that I am probably breaking some Texas law by such a glaring omission. But my defense to prosecution, Yeronner, is that I gave/sold all my rimfire plinkers away to people who at the time had greater need of them than I, and I don’t think I should be arrested for altruism/poverty.

That said, when I return from my sabbatical in Britishland, I intend to remedy the situation. My conundrum is that while I’ve fired just about every brand and type of rimfire plinker ever made — old ones, new ones, you name it, I’ve fired it — I’ve been thinking about it long and hard and I’ve ended up with Choice Paralysis. So I’m going to need the assistance of you, O My Readers.

The essence of a rimfire semi-auto plinker is that it be cheap (under $250), reliable and reasonably accurate (“reasonably” because no semi-auto can compete with my 880SQ; I’ve got the accuracy part covered).

The cost criterion, sadly, excludes such beauties as the Winchester Model 63 and its Taurus counterparts:

This pains me because I learned to shoot rifles with my Dad’s Mod 63, but sadly, it’s way too spendy, and so are the Taurus (discontinued) copies, when you can even find one. Another spendy but beautiful one is the CZ 512, but it’s way spendy (albeit drop-dead gorgeous, and maybe the most accurate of any semi-auto .22):

Just to make matters more complicated, I also don’t want to get a .22 semi-auto rifle I’ve owned before, which rules out the Marlin Mod 60 and Ruger 10/22. (See? I may be conservative, but I can embrace change…)

A cursory look at the various local retail outlets’ websites shows that my choices are limited to these (in no particular order):

Remington 597 (scoped):

My only quibble with this one is that it doesn’t have iron sights, in my opinion a sine qua non for plinkers.

Mossberg 702:

This one I haven’t fired before, but Doc Russia has one of these and the next time we hit the range, I’ll try it out.

Marlin 795:

Over the years, I must have fired a dozen 795s, and they are just fine.

Savage 64:

I haven’t fired many of these — as I recall, one belonging to a Reader, at a range somewhere — but also as I recall, it’s a lovely thing. And it’s a Savage, so it’s not going to be a bad choice. None of them are, I think.

(If I buy the “scoped” Savage 64 package, it’s still under the $250 limit, as is the Rem 597 above. With my failing eyesight, it’s a consideration.)

Of course, I’d prefer to buy a wooden-stocked plinker (because wood feels better than plastic in my hands), but it seems that the only ones available are the disqualified Mod 60 and 10/22 or the expensive Winchester/Taurus and CZ [sigh]. Remember, I’m looking for a knockaround rifle, not a safe queen or pinpoint shooter.

All suggestions, recommendations, war stories/tales of woe, warnings and such in Comments, please, and will be much appreciated. Don’t chide me for being in this situation; I’m greatly mortified as it is.



I know that in days past, I expressed my love for the new Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, which delivers over 500hp from a 2.9-liter V6. This list, however (via Insty) seems to take the whole thing over the top. Cases in point:

— Does anyone think that Dodge can make a car which can handle well enough to push out over 700hp without killing the driver and everyone else within a quarter-mile of its crash?
— Will anyone who wants to tow a boat even look at the BMW X5 (567hp, $100k+) as the horse?
— A 640hp Cadillac? What are these guys smoking?
— I make no comment about the Shelby Mustang, Camaro or Corvette because their owners, like those of the Dodge Hellcat, are probably not long for this world anyway.

I know, I know: we’re a nation founded on power and excess and all that good stuff. But at some point, someone at a car manufacturer has to ask the question: “Why?” (And listen to Jeremy Clarkson — the world’s foremost “POWAAAAHHHH!!!” speed freak; even he has admitted on occasion that a car can be too powerful.)

Most people can barely handle 150hp in their cars, let alone more than 500hp — use your favorite search engine to look up “Bugatti Veyron crash” for a simple flavor, and this in a million-dollar-plus car which has far less than 500hp and handles like a dream — which makes me think that these powerhouses should probably come with a mandatory driving course entitled: “When your IQ is less than a sixth of your car’s horsepower.”

I once watched a guy trying to reverse his McLaren F1 out of a parking space at Eatzi’s in Plano. It took him several minutes, multiple tries and half a dozen near-collisions with other parked cars because he had no idea how to handle the F1’s power for what is, after all, the most mundane of tasks we ask of a car.

My only consolation from all this is that the consumer market for the above will be refreshingly small, kept that way by cost, commonsense and, sadly, attrition.

I still want the Quadrifoglio, of course, because a.) it’s beautiful and b.) it’s an Alfa Romeo, but I’d still want it even if it had half the stated horsepower. How many of the other cars on that list would remain as desirable under that criterion, I wonder.

Plutocrat Problems

Seen in a recent real estate listing here in West Plano:

Not sure about the Ford GT on the right, but otherwise I don’t think you can fault the man’s taste.

The house looks out onto the Gleneagles Country Club golf course, and is listed at $1.2 million which, in that neighborhood, makes me wonder if there’s something wrong with it.

But that’s not what I want to talk about, because it’s Saturday and I’m not a realtor.

Here’s the question: let’s assume you’re that guy, and the Fast & Furious crowd stole all your cars one night. The insurance has paid out, and you want to fill your garage with different ones of about equivalent value (i.e. the sky’s pretty much the limit). Which four cars would you buy? (Assume you need at least one SUV as a “guns ‘n groceries” conveyance, just to make it interesting. And please:  I don’t want to hear any guff that you only need one car, and you want to use the rest of the garage as a workshop. Play the game.)

Answers in Comments. My choices are below the fold, but make your choices first before looking at mine, lest I influence your selections. Read more