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Handguns and firearms for home defense
Handguns & Firearms
For Self Defense

By Dan S. Defense

We live in a world were violence is unavoidable. We may not like that fact, and some of us may even choose to ignore it, but violence exists and that fact in unavoidable. You don't need to take my word for it, just look at your local newspaper or headline news-it's out there and it won't go away. This is where firearms in general and handguns in particular come into play.

Firearms in the hands of the law abiding citizen save lives. Handguns, whether in the home or in concealed carry, save lives every day. Unfortunately, you will rarely see a headline for a rape that was prevented by an armed woman, or a gay man fending off hateful idiots who wish to beat him up. Firearms and handguns save lives of law abiding citizens all the time. In this article we'll look at some information about firearms and handguns with the aim of getting your thinking going.

Firearms and handguns are out there. They are tools. They can't do anything without human interaction. Firearms are not good or evil. Handguns don't have volition. Firearms won't turn an honest man into a murderer. Handguns don't sneak out of the safe to do harm. Firearms and handguns won't clean your home or groom your pet. They are simply tools. And think of this -every day millions of legal concealed carry handguns roam the streets, as they get carried by law abiding citizens. I'm sure you noticed that those handguns didn't turn our streets into slaughter houses of millions of unarmed people.

Always bear in mind that firearms and handguns are tools -nothing more or less. Handguns are inanimate objects. Firearms don't go walkabout. Handguns and firearms are tools and here we will discuss how you can use handguns or firearms for self defense.

I mention handguns and firearms as two separate sets of tools. Handguns refer to smaller weapons that can be fired with one or two hands. There's a legal definition for handguns, but I'll skip it because I think the term we use to describe handguns, in this context, is self-standing. Firearms cover a much wider range of self defense tools. In the context of self defense, firearms cover handguns, rifles and shotguns. And in this context, rifles will usually be semi-automatic self defense tools such as the AR 15 but can also include other forms such as the bolt action (which I do not recommend for home defense). And with that said, let's looks at handguns and firearms and how they can be used to save your life.

Since handguns and firearms are tools, we need to understand the scenarios in which those tools come into play. By defining the usage scenario, we can suggest the optimal self defense tool for the job. I think that we can look at two high level usage scenarios for handguns and firearms-in the home and outside of the home. I think that we can assign firearms to the home defense scenarios and handguns to the out of the home scenarios. While I'd be delighted to carry my rifle when hiking out doors in the wild, I suspect the mere sight of a "black rifle" will kick off a small scale Shakespearean tragedy.

I can picture the reaction to my rifle, in a given Northwest city, where folks deem black rifles to be evil sentient entities. Therefore, outside the home, legally concealed handguns are called for because they are acceptable to society--because they are concealed (i.e. out of sight of hysterical beings). In the home on the other hand, you can select the firearm of your choice-a rifle or shotgun can be used to defend yourself and your loved ones from an evil perpetrator. And clearly, using a handgun for home defense is good too. In the home, you can choose to defend yourself and handguns or firearms.

Now that we looked at the usage scenarios for handguns and firearms, let's look at weapon selection. We'll start with handguns and then look at firearms. I wrote articles about the pros and cons of revolvers and semi automatic handguns, which you can find on this site. Here I'll focus on the essentials of a good self defense handgun. If you want to carry a handgun for self defense you need a concealed weapon license. Each state has different laws which you must obey. I'll assume that you obtained one and have taken the time to train and understand the heavy responsibilities that come with concealed carry.

Things to consider here:

1. The handgun of choice needs to be with you. Clint Smith says that the gun that's with you is always better than the one you have locked in your home safe. As a side note, I'm a big fan of Clint Smith and his logical approach to self defense -I wish we had more voices of reason like Clint's. In order for you to have a gun with you, it must be one that you can conceal and carry with some level of comfort.

2. The handgun needs to be of sufficient power to be effective. I wrote an article about the 9mm vs. 45 ACP and the bottom line is that both could work, if you get good bullet placement and are sufficiently competent with you handgun. I would suggest that any caliber smaller than 9mm (e.g. the very popular 380 ACP) should only be sued in a backup handgun.

3. The handgun needs to be in a good holster, riding on a good belt -this will assure a proper platform for presentation, as well as proper concealment and consistency.

4. The handgun needs extra ammunition-self standing thought.

5. The handgun could use a friend in a form of a backup handgun--here the caliber can be smaller but whichever caliber, a backup handgun will give your stronger support and comfort.

For the home defense scenarios, you can select from a wide range of firearms, which include handguns, rifles and shotguns. You have more flexibility in selection but that does not translate to "anything goes".

Some firearms are designed for hunting large game. Some firearms are designed for long range engagements. Some firearms, while being great for some mission specific activity, may be too dangerous to use indoors because they may be too powerful. For example, a 50 caliber rifle will not be a good home defense rifle. Consider the power of the bullet and what happens if you miss, or what will happen when over penetration happens. Do you really want to have that 50 caliber bullet flying out of your home and into a residential neighborhood?

This same logic will apply to most hunting rifles, as well as big caliber or high power black rifles. Always think about the end result of sending a very powerful bullet, when your home has paper walls. The solution here, in my mind is to use a shotgun with low recoil ammunition, or a black rifle with mission specific (CQB) ammunition.

Things to consider here:

1.The firearm or handgun must be one that can be used in doors without fear of imminent over penetration.

2. The firearm or handgun needs some sort of weapon mounted light. I wrote an article about this, and you can read more about this in that AC article.

3. The firearm or handgun must be accessible to you but safe from your kids or untrained residents.

4. The firearm or handgun needs to have some extra ammunition (e.g. shotguns can have extra rounds on the weapon).

5. You must be proficient with your firearm or handgun of choice and must keep the 4 golden safety rules-above all else keep your finger off the trigger and be sure of your target and what's behind it.

I hope this article helps in getting your thinking going about the usage of handguns and firearms. I hope it will lead you to read more about this topic and educate yourself on the proper and efficient usage of firearms in general and handguns in particular.

Until next time, stay safe by being alert!

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