Editor's Notebook: "All-the-Time" Gun
Editor's note: this is from our companion service, The Tactical Wire
For the 'home invasion defense,' the carbine isn't always the best idea. Powerful and with plenty of ammo, will you have it at hand with the play starts?
It seems that, increasingly, burglars are less put off by "violent and tumultuous entry" into an occupied residence. I remember a time when the official narrative about residential burglars was "they're as scared of you as you are of them" – a comment often made about dangerous critters of various sorts.
It was crap then too – sharp burglary investigators liked to process the residential kitchen, particularly the cutlery drawer or butcher's block. It was common knowledge that career offenders, especially in "3 strikes" states, would take a knife first, then look for plunder. Upon leaving, the knife would be replaced.
Still, we're seeing more about home invasions and this leads us to some critical issues surrounding the preparation for defense in such situations. A friend and colleague prefers "buckshot or carbine," this based on a case from a few years back when a home defender ran out of ammo in his handgun when facing multiple home invaders and was killed.
Of course that raises an immediate "Rule 5" issue.
The defense shotgun, like this
Robar modified Remington 870 "Thunder Ranch" model, is a superb choice -- if you have it with you when the door is kicked in.
For those who came in late, Rule 5 was given wide exposure by Stephen Wenger, Defensive Use of Firearms
-- originating with Arizona attorneys Michael Anthony and Robert Brown – Anthony was on the "CCW Committee" for Arizona DPS when the CWP program was organized and he was assisted by Robert Brown. Brown did a study of lawsuits against gun owners and was surprised to learn most gun owners - and most of the successful lawsuits against gun owners - did not involve wrongful shootings but unauthorized access, through improper storage, resulting in misuse of the firearm by someone other than the owner. The lawsuit angle is only one problem, the chance for criminal prosecution a different side to the same coin.
More problematic is the tragic injuries and loss of life, often victimizing children – this is the critical reason for adherence to Rule 5.
Now, that Rule – "Maintain control of your defensive gear" – is even more of a problem when the gun is a rifle or shotgun. They're large, unwieldy and can't be carried on one's person all the time like a handgun. I agree with being able to respond even if there are multiple offenders but these affairs aren't static standing-on-the-range things: if you're at the 7-yard line and you're ammo is on the bench back at the 25 yard line, you have a problem. But fights tend to be fluid and you don't have to stand fast.
How about keeping handguns stored around the place?
Do what you want, but I'm uncomfortable with the concept. Again, Rule 5 rears its ugly head. Will you remember every one, where it's at, have them all policed up and secured before strangers or family with children show up?
The ultra-small defense pistol is often the worst choice -- until it's the best choice. The Ruger LCP is hard to hang onto, but with some range work to figure it out, you can have it to hand all day/any day around the house when you might not have more formidable hardware with you.
What about your children? I read an interesting piece on the blog Growing Up Guns
. Keeping a gun up high – like keeping a semi-auto chamber-empty or keeping a so-called 'double action only' revolver or pistol due to the trigger being "too long and heavy" for a child to press – is a non-starter. These techniques don't work and tragic stories demonstrate the failure of that kind of thinking on a regular basis.
You have to analyze your own situation. In mine, I don't have an uninterrupted visual distance of more than 20 feet in the whole house. Unlike those keyboard commandos who've never worked a homicide, suicide or ever attended an autopsy, I can tell you that a load of 7/8 ounce number 7 ½ birdshot at that distance makes one big hole at that distance. Of course you have to get to the shotgun to use it.
While I don't have youngsters hanging around and I have little tolerance for strangers on the place, I don't leave guns laying around. When I'm dressed, I wear them -- always having a gun on, a service type "compact" handgun with revolver backup, like on the street.
Just having it on your person isn't enough -- if you can't use it. This five round string was fired at a quick pace from 30 feet. That's further than any uninterrupted line-of-sight location at the residence it guards.
If I'm not dressed in street clothes, those guns are a problem. I was privy to a conversation about just that problem. The proposed solution – a small gun. One correspondent referred to a very small gun with one of the frame-mounted clips to go over a waistband. He uses that or the DeSantis Clip Grip #T07
on a Smith & Wesson J-frame revolver for his "all-the-time" gun at home.
Five, six or seven shots not enough? Maybe, but it is a gun and it is a start.
I'm using the Ruger LCP with the Crimson Trace LaserGuard
for those 'around the house' duties. With six rounds in the magazine plus one in the chamber and using the Elite Survival 1-L pocket holster or the Galco Stow-N-Go Clip-On IWB
holster, it's just a little bit of gun but enough to start the play. I don't have to stay in one place, planting my feet: if I can respond instantly, this is one time I can work to the secure area for the 'ready guns' or to the shop for the bigger artillery.
What fits for you? Examine your physical layout, including security, the nature of your location and proxemics – distance to points-of-entry from your likely location within the house. Don't just accept my plan or the long gun plan – and especially not the "hide guns around the house" plan – without thinking it through.
Then, you pay your nickel and take your chances.
-- Rich Grassi