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
.

 

 

More Guns

So apparently Americans are still buying guns in record numbers:

The FBI just reported that the number of gun sales background checks for May was the highest ever for that month, 1,942,677, a trend that will make 2017 the first or second highest year for gun sales.

Why? Well, duh:

“People are nervous about their safety, and rightly so. It’s a dangerous world we live in and American citizens know that we’re not immune to terrorist attacks. They’re taking the necessary steps to defend themselves. Frankly, the most recent terrorist attack in London underscores the importance of an armed populace. Remember that when seconds count the police are only minutes away.”

There was a time when even I would sometimes go out without a gun (quick trip to the store to buy lottery tickets, gassing up the car, daily walks, etc.), but now I never leave the house unarmed. Never.

And I carry more than one backup magazine for the 1911, because I might just need them (warning: annoying autoplay):

Armed officers responding to the London Bridge terror attack fired an “unprecedented” number of rounds at the three attackers because they were wearing what appeared to be suicide belts, police said. Eight officers fired 50 shots at three attackers to ensure they were neutralized.

When all I might worry about was being mugged or whatever, I’d always said that one mag, or two at most, would suffice.  Now that there’s the possibility of confronting a greater threat, I carry three extra mags. Granted, I doubt that I’d need thirty-two rounds of .45 ACP (never mind fifty) to put down three terrorist assholes, but who says there’d be only three? And you can be sure that I won’t “run, hide and call the police” as the British cops told people to do, unless by “hide” you mean “take cover prior to opening fire”.

And yes, I could be accused of having some kind of “Rambo fantasy”. I’d still rather be prepared to do something, as opposed to looking like this:

 

Fuck that bullshit.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to the range to make sure that I don’t need more than four 8-round mags to end a bad situation in my favor.

Welcome Back

Back when I was a consultant, The Mrs. and I went through several periods of “chicken and feathers” — wealthy one minute, impoverished the next. During the chicken times, we’d travel, treat the kids and save, but during the feathers times, we’d be in trouble. In many cases, the trouble was a short-term problem: waiting for a client’s check to arrive, or for the check to clear, that kind of thing. There was always a credit card to tide us over, and then life could resume once the funds were released.

Then there were the longer periods of feathers, such as when a couple of our start-up business ideas failed. The first cost us about a hundred and fifty thousand dollars, which we paid out of our savings; the second cost us well over a third of a million — we had salaries to pay even though no money was coming in, and on that occasion we lost everything: savings, retirement accounts, and almost, the house. (I have no idea how we averted that disaster, but somehow one of us or the other always managed to get a small consulting gig which was just enough to keep a roof over our heads, but with nothing left over to pay bills. I even had a car repossessed during this time.)

So I had to sell off my guns. Pretty much all of them went, except for a junky old 16ga side-by-side which wasn’t worth diddly to anyone, and Connie’s little NAA Mini revolver. Most of them I sold to good friends, on the understanding that they could sell the guns if they wished, but that if they did so, I could at least get first refusal, as it were. Gradually over the past couple years, I’ve been able to buy a few guns back here and there, and a couple of really good friends even lent me a gun or two to tide me over — “on the non-return basis”, so to speak, because they couldn’t bear to see my family defenseless. These angels know who they are, and I’m not going to embarrass them by revealing their identities.

I won’t go into details of each of the guns thus sold and recovered because it’s unnecessary to this story, but here’s a pic (taken on a trip to the range with Mr. Free Market many years ago) of some of the guns I had to sell:

But one of those guns in the picture has stuck with me, because while it pained me to dispose of various beautiful Colts, Browning High Powers, Rugers and so on, my most anguished sale was the rifle at the top of the pic, this little thing:

To give the rifle its official name, it’s the Taurus Model 62C (.22LR) Pump-Action Carbine. To anyone who has ever shot one, its actual name is “OMG I haven’t had so much fun in years!”, always followed by a firm refusal to release the gun back to its rightful owner and a demand for more ammo.

As I’d mentioned a few days ago, I was seeking a semi-auto plinker — basically to replace this little darling — but all the time in the back of my mind, I kept thinking, “I wonder if [name redacted] would consider selling the Taurus back to me?”

There was really only one big concern: that its new owner would have fallen in love with the piece, as I had done, and would refuse to do so. (I should point out that this has happened to me with several of my friends; they’ve fallen in love with the guns and refused to part with them, even back to me.)

You see, the Marketing Department at Taurus are basically a bunch of morons, because several years ago they decided to drop this line from their catalog — all the Model 62 variants — which meant that a replacement would be difficult to find.

Happily, my kind friend decided, after considerable and doubtlessly-tortured reflection, that the rifle’s proper place would be back with its original owner. So today I can announce that I no longer need that .22 plinker: I’ve got my baby back. It’s resting by my chair, as I write these words.

One final word of explanation is probably necessary. The Taurus 62 is a pump-action, not a semi-auto rifle. Why, then, would I not need a semi-auto plinker, still?

The answer is obvious if one knows me well: I prefer to operate machinery rather than just use it — stick shift over auto transmissions, bolt-action over semi-auto rifles, revolvers over semi-auto pistols, and so on. I get added pleasure from working an action — it’s a feeling of control which is difficult to explain, but to people like myself, all too easy to understand.

I cannot wait to get out to some open country, toss a few cans or oranges onto the ground, and start shooting. And if you want to know how much I want to do this: I’d rather do this for a few hours than spend the same amount of time in Nigella Lawson’s boudoir. Yes, that much.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m not going to the range. I’m off to find some open country…

The Cost Of History

I’ve always loved the little WWII-era M1 Carbine, because it’s so much fun to shoot, it doesn’t weigh a ton, and the ammo isn’t fearfully expensive (relatively speaking, in today’s market).

In my various travels about Teh Intarwebz, I came across a YouTube video which looked at the ” Most Overpriced Mil-Surp Rifles On The Market”, in which the host opined that the M1 Carbine is the second-most over-priced. (I think that ALL guns today are overpriced, thank you again, Urkel Obama and Hillary Bitch Clinton, but I’ve ranted about that before.)

I’m not going to argue much with the man’s take on the M1 being overpriced; it is, and horribly so. (A refurbished Korean Inland M1 Carbine for over $1,200? Are you shitting me?)

However, welcome to the gun nut’s Rock (fun to shoot etc.) and Hard Place (damn spendy). It’s a problem as old as time, and one we gun nuts have always had to deal with — only now, it’s worse than ever.

Let’s just assume, however, that the Rock has won you over, and you just have to have this lovely little gun in your safe. How can you get some kind, any kind of a cost saving out of this? Here’s the rundown, as I see it:

  • Rifle: $1,200 (which seems to be about the cost of a decent mil-surp M1 Carbine these days; less, and buyer beware; more, and you’re looking at IBM and Rock-Ola rifles, most probably)
  • Three spare 15-round mags @ $11 each: $33
  • Bulk .30 Carbine ammo (250-round bulk pack): $85
  • Total cost: $1,318 (ignore shipping and FFL transfer costs, because they’ll be a constant no matter what you buy)

Here’s a thought. What you’re paying for with one of those WWII / Korean War M1 Carbines is history — the fact that some GI might once have used this rifle to whack Nazis and/or Commies (always a Good Thing, IMO). But if you can forego that nostalgia (and it’s hard, believe me), you can get a newly-manufactured M1 Carbine from Thompson/Auto-Ordnance (Kahr) for about $765… which means if you forego the history and end up spending the same $1,318 for the whole package, you’d essentially be getting the same shooting fun — only now with three free mags and 1,250 rounds of ammo.

Or, if you can’t shake all aspects of nostalgia and you want a carbine which can take the good old M3 bayonet, you can get a new Inland M1 Carbine (yes, they’re making them again) for about $980, which would mean your “package” cost of $1,318 would get you three spare mags and 750 rounds of ammo.

Or you could just pocket the savings, either way.

As with all my opinions on matters such as these, please don’t pepper me with “I can get this cheaper at X” or my favorite: “OMG I paid $250 for my Carbine” comments — yes, so did I… back in 2004. Unfortunately, we’re living in a different world now, where panic buying (did I forget to thank Barack fucking Obama again?) has caused prices of all gun-related stuff to skyrocket. On the one hand, I like the fact that more guns are in private hands today than there were in 2007, but on the other, those additions to armed citizenry have come at a cost to us Old Gun Nuts in the form of higher gun prices. Intellectually, I’m cool with the outcome, but the dollar-cost reality makes my nuts ache.

Also, don’t think you’ll be able to snap up an M1 Carbine for $600 at a gun show. One, there are no more decent deals to be had at gun shows anymore which leads to two, your $600 “cheap” Carbine will most likely require five hundred dollars’ worth of parts and quality gunsmithing to make it work properly.

So, if you have a spare grand and a half (shipping and FFL transfer costs, ugh), here’s one way to spend it.


One last thought: the regular .30 Carbine round with its little 110gr. bullet has always been knocked as being underpowered. Well, Buffalo Bore now makes these puppies with a 125gr. bullet, and with BB’s amped-up power, the muzzle energy of the .30 cartridge has been increased by over a third — more than twice as much, in other words, as a .357 Magnum firing the same bullet from a 6″ revolver barrel — which turns the .30 Carbine into a bona fide stopper. (Don’t ask about the price of Buffalo Bore ammo; but if you want the best, ya gotta dig deep, as any fule kno.)