Last week The Ready Project returned from Las Vegas where we had a booth at the Survival 2012 Expo. There were a couple other exhibitors at the show selling food storage but judging by the majority of exhibitors you would guess that most people are planning on getting by with bullets rather than beans.
At some point in the road of Prepping, the topic of using a gun for self-defense comes to mind and the only thing more widely varied than the options for use are the opinions on which guns are best. There are many less-lethal choices available on the market which we’ll look at in a later post, but for now we’ll assume you’ve taken a close look at the mental and moral commitments required to own and use a gun along with the legal requirements in your local jurisdiction and have decided to purchase a gun.
There are three main types of guns that can be used for self-defense: handguns, long-guns and shotguns. Each have their pros and cons and your choice will ultimately depend on your specific situation and needs. Today we’ll take a quick look at the most compact and concealable choice, the handgun.
Handguns come in two main varieties: revolvers and semi-autos. The first true revolver was developed in 1814 and is a repeating firearm that has a cylinder, which revolves around the barrel. Most revolvers have a cylinder that holds six rounds that have to be manually ejected once the bullets have been fired. Then new rounds have to be inserted into the cylinder one by one. It makes for a somewhat tedious and slow process. Revolvers are known for being tough and very reliable but advancements in the late 1800’s brought along the development of a new type of gun with increased firepower, the semi-automatic pistol.
Semi-automatic pistols do away with the cylinder and have a slimmer profile, which is important if you decide to carry your firearm. They have the advantage of using exchangable magazines that can hold up to 2 – 3x the number of rounds of a traditional revolver. After pulling the trigger and firing a shot, a new round is loaded into the chamber. Semi-automatic pistols can quickly be reloaded by inserting a new magazine. Over the past twenty to thirty years, semi-autos have become the gun of choice for law-enforcement offials throughout the world for their increased firepower, ergonomics and solid track record.
The decision between purchasing a pistol or revolver ultimately comes down to personal choice, what feels and
balances best in your hand and what you can hit most accurately with. Seek for advice from family or friends that have experience with firearms, visit a gun store to handle and, if possible, shoot with a number of different guns. Additionally, a number of online resources can point you in the direction of finding training and information such as the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Next week we’ll discuss the pros and cons of shotguns and rifles and why each may or may not be a good purchase as your first self-defense weapon.