© 2012 | Dynamic Force Institute, LLC | All Rights Reserved

If you should happen to have unlimited financial resources, or feel that firearms alone will be all you’ll need, this article is not for you. Most of us are on a budget, and understand that it’s probably a good idea to assemble those things that will require protection, before the means of protection choices are made. In no way am I dismissing the importance of firearms in your overall preparedness plans, for without them, the odds are excellent that all your planning, purchasing, and praying will be for naught.

There are bad, bad people in this world of ours, who will have little regard for the possessions, beliefs, or lives of those whom they’ve targeted as having something they want. They will have both the ability and the means to ruthlessly execute their plans, and I can promise you, they will not be calling first to let you know they’re coming.

Should you be one of those souls who really doesn’t want a firearm in the house, believing that you can talk, bribe, bargain, cajole, or otherwise avoid a confrontation, I’m here to tell you that you will be game on the hoof for the evil of this world, and what they’re going to do to you, and your family, et al, is going to cause you great consternation for the rest of your life, or the next ten minutes, which coincidently and mercifully, will more than likely be one and the same.

I would urge you to reconsider your position, if in fact, that is your state of mind. I believe we can all agree that violence is seldom the answer, but when it is the answer, it is the only answer.

There was a time in this country, when almost every home in America had either a shotgun, or .22 (or both) in it. The ammunition for these two can be purchased in places you probably wouldn’t expect to find it, like hardware stores and gas stations. Individually, and collectively, they are the most widely distributed and used long guns in the world. Unless you go on an accessory buying binge, there will be nothing unusual or overtly threatening about these two, unlike “black” battle rifles, bristling with accessory rails laden with 10 pounds of do-dads and gizmos. Purchasing, or owning these innocuous tools will not raise any red flags or eyebrows, nor will it place you on anyone’s radar screen. The fact that either can be instantly pressed into service in a defensive, or offensive role with little more than a shift in the operator’s mindset, is what makes them such perfect choices.

These are two unassuming, inexpensive, and totally capable tools that should be on the top of your firearms list. They will meet your immediate, and long term needs should they ultimately wind up being your only firearm purchase’s. If you never get beyond these two, you will have within your means, the ability to both harvest game, defend what is yours, and keep safe those under your protection. If, when, you are able to add one, or more handguns and centerfire rifles to the mix, all the better, but first things, first. To create anything that will stand the test of time, you must begin with a solid foundation, and few will stand you in better stead than these two. Please... Move the shotgun, and .22 rifle to the top of your list.

For most people, a handgun can be used effectively out to about 25 yards/meters. Can you get good hits beyond that range with a handgun? Yes, you absolutely can. But I'm talking about MOST people. Moving to a long gun extends that effective range out to 100 yards/meters and beyond. Handguns by nature and design, are short range defensive weapons (with certain exceptions). Long guns can serve the same purpose, but extend your capabilities to longer range defensive/offensive weapons if need be. That third contact point at the shoulder, and longer sight radius, make all the difference in the world when you have to reach out and touch someone. A 12, or 20 gauge shotgun firing slugs will give you that capability, albeit with less accuracy than a rifle. But, any decent shotgun should be able to group 3+ rounds within 8 inches or less at that range if you find a round it likes and do your part. These are not precision weapons in this role, but they don't have to be. An 8 inch group is "minute of bad guy," and that's all that's required to bring an abrupt and definitive end to the altercation when you’re lobbing big, heavy lead slugs downrange. Many of the guns being discussed here can have their smoothbore barrels quickly changed to a rifled barrel. A rifled barrel, together with saboted slugs, will improve the long range accuracy potential of the platform considerably, but should be changed back to smoothbore if buckshot, or birdshot is going to be used. Standard, or “Foster” slugs can be used in either barrel, but were originally designed for smoothbores.

Try to resist the urge to buy too much gun. If there are other family members in the loop, the gun must ideally, be usable by every one of them. I’ve seen enough unprepared, untrained, and under sized shooters touch off a round with a 12 gauge, and come to the immediate conclusion that they never want to do it again. Size the gun and gauge for the smallest shooter in the group. Everyone larger will have no problem with it. The biggest, heaviest, nastiest gun will be of little value if no one is willing to carry, or fire it. Buying different gauges for different members of the family really doesn’t make sense when you consider that you will now have to purchase, and stock ammunition that is not interchangeable, or usable by everyone across a single platform. The whole purpose of the exercise is, after all, some semblance of standardization. Keep it simple. The one gun fits all mentality will serve you well now, and in the future.

Find a Certified Instructor that will teach you firearm safety, proper handling techniques, and allow you to fire a number of different guns before you make your purchases. Many Instructors/Training Facilities, offer courses pertaining to employing these guns in a tactical role, and both have proven to be very effective in the hands of a trained, and skilled operator.

I urge you to consider the 20 gauge in place of, or at the very least, in addition to, the obligatory 12 gauge. For women, youngsters, the elderly, people of smaller stature, and for most everyone, the 20 gauge just makes more sense. Notably, it delivers 75% of the payload and energy on the target, with 50% of the recoil of the 12 gauge. That's an amazingly intelligent tradeoff. The shells are smaller, lighter, and therefore easier to carry and store. All the rounds you’ll need are available for the 20 gauge (birdshot, buckshot, and slugs). Most 20's are built on smaller frames than 12's. That makes them lighter, easier to maneuver, and easier to handle. And in comparison, they’re a pleasure to shoot.

Should you have both a 12 gauge and 20 gauge in your possession, under no circumstances carry the ammunition for both at the same time. A 20 gauge shell, if accidently inserted into a 12 gauge chamber, will drop through that chamber and lodge in the barrel. If you should chamber a 12 gauge shell behind it, and fire that weapon, more than likely, it will be the last thing you do. ALL 20 gauge shells, and NO 12 gauge shells are yellow in color. That color difference is to prevent the accident we’ve just discussed. Yet even with that, the mistake is still made, so do NOT carry them together. You’ve been warned.

The easiest way I’ve found to carry 12, or 20 gauge shells with you at all times, is to use an inexpensive elastic loop nylon 50 shell cross body bandolier. They are available at Cabela’s, and from several other outfitters for around $12. The rifle cartridge version will work just fine for the .410/.45 Colt. Pick up the gun, and throw the bandolier across your shoulder. It’s that fast and easy.

A Mossberg 500 Bantam in 20 gauge with an 22" personal defense/field barrel, interchangeable choke tubes and adjustable stock, for instance, can be purchased new for around $280, and used for even less than that. You can add an 18” cylinder bore tactical length barrel to the mix for less than $75.00 A multitude of special purpose barrels can be ordered from Mossberg, and other makers for various purposes, in various gauges, at very reasonable prices, and all can be changed out in a minute or less. As I write this, Gander Mountain’s current flyer has H&R pump guns on sale for $179 in both 12 and 20 gauge, including the youth model. The Remington 870 is every bit as good as the 500, as are the Winchesters, Brownings, and many others, but I prefer the Mossberg for a number of reasons, not the least of which, is the safety location. There are any number of pump guns available for even less money from the likes of H&R, Savage/Stevens, Charles Daly, and several others.

Loaded with bird shot, every small critter within your realm is fair game. Loaded with buckshot or slugs, everything within 100+ yards/meters of you that walks, flies, or crawls in the lower 48, regardless of the leg count, falls within your purview with one or the other. The shotgun always has been, and alway will be, a gun for all seasons. If you're just starting out, make your first gun a shotgun. If you never make it beyond that one gun, you will be well armed, well protected, and well equipped to deal with most of the speed bumps on the highway of life.  You will never regret the choice.

Used guns are abundant. Search for one in excellent to unused condition which can be acquired for considerably less than the cost of new. I recently saw a used H&R Pardner 20 gauge pump at a local gun shop that was in perfect, unfired condition for $124.99. They had an H&R 20 gauge single shot youth model, also in pristine condition for $70.00 as well. Both of these guns could have been purchased for under $200.00. Gun shops and pawn shops provide excellent selections of used firearms well within the budget of even the most frugal among us.

You may be curious as to exactly how the gauge of a shotgun is calculated. Shotgun bore sizes have always been measured in a somewhat roundabout way, which is a derivative of how cannon balls were originally measured. You would think that the "12" in a 12-gauge shotgun corresponds to some linear measurement, but, such is not the case. Gauge is determined from the weight of a solid sphere of pure lead that will fit the bore of the firearm, and is expressed as the multiplicative inverse of the sphere's weight as a fraction of a pound of pure lead (e.g., a 1/12th pound ball fits a 12-gauge bore), thus there are twelve, 12 gauge balls per pound of lead, or twenty, 20 gauge balls per pound of lead. The smaller the gauge number, the larger the diameter of the bore, with the old 4 gauge being the largest, although there are a few old 2 gauge guns out there. The .410 shotgun, the smallest, is the exception to the rule. It's actually, a .410 caliber, and is measured like a rifle, or handgun round in thousandths of an inch, or millimeters in Europe.

Although all the shotguns referenced above are pump guns, other action types can be employed with equal effectiveness. Semiautomatics for instance, will usually help reduce the recoil to some degree, however slight, but use far more complicated mechanisms, and are prone to a higher failure rate. Side by side, over and under, and single shot top break guns are the most robust designs, but will limit your ability to put as many rounds on the target as quickly. However, if you’ve trained with them, you can reload them with amazing speed. The only caveat that should be stressed in regard to pump guns, is learning not to short stoke the action (not cycling the fore-end fully to the rear, and fully forward when racking the slide). Should you purchase a 12 gauge and find it too difficult for everyone to handle due to recoil, you have the option of installing a Blackhawk Knoxx Spec-Ops recoil reducing stock, if a model is available for your chosen gun. They are quite effective, and will bring the felt recoil impulse of a 12 down to 20 gauge levels, or a 20 down to .410 levels. Additionally, they will provide a 4 inch length of pull (stock length) adjustment for multiple users. I have these stocks mounted on both 12 and 20 gauge guns, and can attest to their versatility and effectiveness.

If even the 20 gauge is too much to handle, the .410 will serve admirably with the proper ammunition. I would urge you to consider the .45 Colt/.410 Shotgun carbine called the Circuit Judge, from Taurus/Rossi. A light (4.8 pounds), short, easy to handle and shoot, five shot revolving carbine which makes perfect sense in a lot of applications, and offers maximum versatility in a dynamic environment. Everyone in the family should be able to handle it easily (although the stock may have to be shortened to accommodate smaller shooters comfortably). Its sights are excellent, and very easy to use. A weaver accessory rail is mounted for the addition of optics, or accessories. It provides, among other things, the simplicity and reliability of a revolver, along with its ability to be fired either single action, or double action. Additionally, the swing out cylinder is quick to load and unload, particularly if speed loaders are being used. Lest you think the .410 is inadequate for personal protection, let me put the new self defense loads in perspective for you... Offerings from Federal, Winchester, and several other companies have elevated the little .410 to the realm of a formidable close quarter defensive weapon. For instance, the Federal shells carry 4 or 5 (2-1/2” and 3”), 000 balls of buckshot leaving the muzzle at 850 to 900 FPS. A single 000 ball is the size of a .36 caliber, 70 grain bullet. Four, or Five of these impacting simultaneously with each press of the trigger will deliver almost 500 foot pounds of energy on the target, and create 4, or 5 deep wound channels per shot. The #4 buckshot load is equally devastating, and every subsequent press of the trigger will do it all again. In a close quarter engagement, they provide a definitive solution for the problem at hand. For longer range engagements, or harvesting large game, the heavy, .45 Colt is a powerful, and proven cartridge. Birdshot loads will allow the harvesting of small game on the wing, or on the run. Two screw-in tubes are provided to allow the switch from rifle to shotgun, and back again. (The handgun versions of this gun are of questionable value as a general use firearm. The carbine on the other hand, is an incarnation with a great deal of potential, and is certainly worthy of your consideration. Once again, the long barrel and shoulder stock make all the difference.)

If circumstances require it, bird shot loads can be easily converted into improvised slugs. These “cut shells” have a few limitations you should be aware of. They should not be used with full chokes, nor should they be fed through tubular, or other magazines. They must be loaded into the chamber individually. That all having been said, they offer the option of quickly converting a shell only suitable for birds and small game, into a formidable thumper, dumping the entire load of birdshot inside the target. These are man stoppers.

What was that noise?

The little .22 rimfire is the most widely distributed and used cartridge on earth. It is dismissed out of hand for it's assumed lack of power, and relegated to second class status by many. With the proper ammunition, it is far more than just ‘adequate,’ and I can assure you, it is a heart breaker, and a life taker. If it were all I had, I would indeed sleep well at night. More miscreants in this country have been stopped, and/or dispatched with the .22 rimfire since its introduction in 1858 than any other caliber. The ammunition is abundant and inexpensive. The round is inherently accurate in the hands of a skilled operator. I am a true and genuine fan of the .22 rimfire, and I believe it to be the most under-rated cartridge in the world. It is the cartridge most of us start with, and many of us end with. Firearms that chamber it are inexpensive and well made. In the hands of someone who has trained with it, it will consistently shoot very tight groups out to 100+ yards/meters, and well beyond from a good rifle. One or more of these in your face at that range will absolutely ruin your day and bring your participation in the proceedings to an abrupt and permanent conclusion.

Shot placement with the .22 is critical (as it is will all rounds), but it's an easy cartridge to shoot well, with a low noise signature (which can be lowered further still, with the proper sub-sonic ammunition and/or a legally purchased suppressor). Recoil is nonexistent. The .22 requires multiple hits to be absolutely effective (as do more calibers than most will care to admit), but those hits are easy to make very quickly if you’ve practiced shooting triple taps. It is the round of choice in most alphabet agencies for close up and personal "wet work" for a good reason. It works. It was used to great effect as a suppressed, shorter range sniper rifle in Vietnam (which brought a whole new meaning to the term, “trail gun”), and a scoped, suppressed version is currently in use by Israeli Special Defense Teams. A brain shot though the eye with a .22 will put down everything from a mouse to an elephant.

It is not the firearm, the bullet design, or the amount of money you can spend, but rather training, dedication, and skill that elevates the .22 from plinker to life taker... It is as always, shot placement, together with applying the medicine until the cure is found.

Personally, I would much prefer to be fighting alongside someone who can quickly put 10 rounds of .22 rimfire into a soup can lid, (or the bad guy’s very expensive, but very cool, designer sun glasses) at 50 yards/meters, than someone who can't hit the broad side of a barn with a big old centerfire, or is spraying 30 round magazines full of battle rifle rounds in the general direction of the threat with high hopes and a low probability factor.

The .22 is only an ineffective, short range round in the mind of someone who will not acknowledge its potential, or won’t/hasn’t trained to take advantage of its capabilities. .22’s, more so than many other guns, will prove to be incredibly accurate over long distances with one particular brand/type of ammunition. Put as many different brands/types of ammunition through you gun as you can under controlled conditions, until you find the one it loves for long range work. The differences will be dramatic, so pay attention. Your preferred defensive rounds should be reliable, heavy for caliber (40 grain), fast hollow points. CCI Velocitors, and Aguila Interceptors both meet this standard (proper expansion and the required penetration). There are other brands that are equally dependable and effective, as well.

If you choose the proper ammunition for a self/home defense scenario, each of those bullets will be producing close to 200 foot pounds of energy on the target from a rifle length barrel in a close quarter engagement. That’s centerfire territory, including the .380 ACP, light 9MM’s, and light .38‘s. The difference is that you can do it ten times with a semiautomatic shoulder mounted .22 rifle in the time it will take you to do it two, or three times with the centerfire handgun (if my onboard calculator is functioning properly, that would be approximately 2,000 foot pounds of energy on the target in about a second and a half). I can certainly live with that, as long as I’m on the quiet end of the rifle.

The range of available .22 semiautomatic rifles is broad. Makers such as Marlin, Mossberg, and Ruger, among others, offer compact, light, and highly effective guns that range in price from about $125 to $250 new. Should you choose to purchase a .22 rifle for every member of your family (and you should), don’t make the mistake of buying several different types, or brands. You should strive for the standardization of magazines, parts, cleaning and maintenance procedures, and manual of arms, for everyone. Used .22 rifles are available in mind boggling numbers if you just look around. Only buy used guns that have been well cared for and appear to be in excellent condition. Test fire them as soon as possible. If a problem presents itself, return it whence it came and have it rectified. Manuals for used guns can be downloaded in PDF format from most manufacturer’s websites free of charge.

Learn to maximize its advantages and minimize its disadvantages, and it will serve you well all the days of your life.

Lest you think that the little .22 will be ineffective, let me, once again, make the point that shot placement is far more important than caliber, and caliber will never be an acceptable substitute for the incompetence of the operator. Should you doubt me, I suggest you reread the story of a young man named David (1 Samuel 17), who immortalized the theory by making his one small stone count... With perfect shot placement.

The shotgun and the .22 rifle together, with sufficient stores of ammunition for both, will provide you with the tools to help keep you out of the victim’s column. I urge you to make the necessary adjustments in your lifestyle to acquire at least these two firearms, either new, or used, as soon as possible, and add ammunition for them to your stores on a regular basis. They are the cornerstone of any assemblage of firearms. Rest assured, that you will be sufficiently armed to put meat in the pot, and defend yourself and those you are responsible for, and that's a feeling money can't buy.

Should you choose a .22 that uses magazines, buy as many as you can, budgeting for them one, or two at a time. There is no such thing as too many. If your rifle is tube fed, I would urge you to purchase two, or more Spee-D-Loaders for it. Pick up an inexpensive arrow quiver, and you’ll always have your Spee-D-Loader with you.

I suggest you equip each of your long guns with an inexpensive sling, so that like a handgun, it can be with you when you’re hands are full, and you’re busy with other things. With a little practice, you can learn to bring a long gun to high ready, or shoulder point from either the American carry (muzzle up), or African carry (muzzle down) slung position very, very quickly.

There you have it, two guns, and a very short list of easily acquired and affordable ammunition to inventory.

There are many who will decry the advice given herein, and urge you to make your first purchase an assault rifle in one caliber, or another. I cannot, and will not dispute their usefulness in a force on force encounter. But, that will hopefully be a rare occurrence. Your day to day needs will more probably be protecting livestock, children, and family pets from predators and vermin, or putting a little extra meat in the pot. When you have the resources to add that battle rifle, several dozen magazines, and several thousand rounds of ammunition to your inventory, by all means, do so. The guns referenced here are not the end all, be all of firearms. They represent a reasonable, and relatively inexpensive starting point for individuals and families with limited resources and a desire to start at the beginning. Become skilled in their use, learn to appreciate their versatility, and you will have the means at hand to deal with most all of what may come your way.

Should you believe that these two guns are insufficient to fend off an attack, or defend innocent life, I will again remind you that there are very few among us, regardless of the firepower they have accumulated, who will be able to prevail with firepower alone in a full on assault by a group of individuals comparably equipped, and dedicated to the mission. These tools are just that, tools. You would be better served by understanding that the only weapon in your inventory that will provide a true advantage, and help level the playing field, is the one God endowed you with. The one between your ears. Planning, practice, training, and a comprehensive understanding of tactics and their implementation have usually been, and will usually be, the deciding factor when the dust finally settles. More tools may help, but will never be the final answer. Study, and practice employing/deploying alternate firing positions, perimeter warning systems, non-lethal booby traps, fall back defensive positions, sniping hides, the willingness and commitment to act decisively without hesitation, and all of those things that will give you the home field advantage. The easiest fight to win, is the one you can avoid with preemptive action. Improvise, adapt, and overcome. Out think them, instead of trying to outgun them.

We must all, unfortunately, accept the fact that life is not fair, nor is it always kind to the righteous of this world. Being a good and honorable person, and trying to do the right things, in and of themselves, will not keep you from harm’s way. Accept, and plan for the eventuality of having to protect and defend who and what you are, what is yours, and those who look to you for protection and comfort in a world that may be fraught with danger.

Contrary to the afternoon talk show, soap opera, reality TV crowd, there are still those among us who understand that, “the Right to bear arms,” has nothing to do with a movement on Facebook to ban long sleeve shirts.

What seems to escape far too many, is that this is not merely a Right, but an obligation we all must consciously choose to accept. Not the government, nor the police, nor anyone else is going to step in at the last moment and save you. Your God given, Constitutionally affirmed Right to self protection, your very Right to live, carries some baggage, and it begins with acknowledging, and accepting responsibility for the safety and well being of both yourself, and those innocents under your protection.

There are the laws of God, and the laws of man. The first is a birthright which you have been endowed with by your Creator, the latter have been imposed upon you by those who foolishly believe they possess the wisdom to override, or circumvent those of your Creator.

If you never learn anything else, learn this... The laws of man, and justice, have very little in common...

Aide-toi, le ciel t'aidera.” (Help yourself and Heaven will help you, too).

Life is a never ending series of choices. Every action we take every second of every day, is a choice we’ve made, either consciously, or unconsciously. Some choose wisely, others choose poorly, but the choice was always ours to make...

Choose not, “to go gentle into that good night.”

Be well and stay safe.

© 2012  •  R.F. De Mott, CFI
Two For The Money ~

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Many in these troubled times have come to the conclusion, either through an evolutionary process, or a rude awakening, that things are not as they appear to be, nor are they going to be improving much anytime soon, despite the outlandish claims of the government and media.

As most of us begin to come to the realization that it may be prudent to prepare for those events, large or small, that may profoundly affect our way of life, the list of things to do, and things to acquire, ultimately will include firearms. Even the most gentle and unassuming among us will have no choice but to eventually conclude that bad people will be doing bad things to good people, and that ‘home defense’ will take on a frightening new meaning when the rule of law begins its unstoppable downward spiral into darkness.

•   Cut Shells      Shotshell Bandolier      Knoxx Spec-Ops Stock        Spee-D Loader      Taurus/Rossi Circuit Judge  

Recommended reading in James Wesley Rawles’ SurvivalBlog.com ~ August, 2012


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