Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Basic Three Gun Battery



Everyone who has pulled a trigger more than a few times will eventually be asked by non-shooter to recommend a firearm for home defense.  My first response has become "what have other people told you?".  If someone has already made a recommendation that is logical for a new shooter I just agree and move on unless that someone has recommended a Scandium J-frame .357 Magnum as a first handgun.  Otherwise giving a contradictory recommendation can start a never ending debate between your recommendation and the one they were given by someone else.  Therefore it is with some amount of trepidation I  intentionally stir up the hornet's nest. 


I have recently received several emails from people asking for suggestions and I have decided to come up with a recommendation for a three gun battery (pistol, rifle, shotgun) for habitats in four different environments:


1. Apartment or condo dwellers
2. Urban or suburban home dwellers
3. Rural dwellers
4. Mountain dwellers


First of all let me state that I rarely use the word "dwellers" so the opportunity to employ it four times is a vocabularic treat (although from the squiggly red underline apparently "vocabularic" is not an actual word).  Secondly, for the novice, this article contains opinions upon which you can ruminate and research to make your own decision.  For those of you who are not new to the subject let's kick up a discussion and add your thoughts via a comment posting.  Average Joe does not claim to be an expert so the polite commentary of the readership is always welcome.  However if your posting is not presented in a respectful manner do not expect that it will see the light of day on this site. 


Assumptions


In order to undertake this topic certain assumptions must be made about the person(s) these recommendations are being made for and here they are:


1. You may or may not have some limited experience with firearms but you will probably have to train-up family members or other residents of your abode so you are looking for firearms that are simple to use and easy to break down and clean.


2. You are looking for defensive firearms to protect yourself and your family from invasive pests (the four legged variety, not in-laws) or two legged predators. The defensive nature means you are not looking to make 1,000 yard shots as anything that far away could hardly be threatening you.  As such you need firearms that are handy and accurate to the field of fire existing the environment in which you are living.  


3. You are not rich.  Therefore you are looking for firearms that have a reputation for being robust, reliable, have a low break-down rate, and are economical.  Your goal is to spend about $550.00 per firearm or $1,650.00 for the three gun package.


Based upon the parameters set above the three firearms in the picture at the opening of this article do not fit the bill.  The Kimber Super Carry Pro goes for about $1,350.00, the Benelli M4 CQB shotgun goes for $1,999.00 and the VZ 58 Carbine is the cheapest of the group at about $1,000.00.  The total package at $4,349.00 is more than two and a half times the budget ceiling.  But fear not, the firearms that will be recommended are all good choices.


What Will Not Be on the List


1. Revolvers.  I know that there are legions who love their revolvers but I do not apologize for the omission.  Semi-automatic pistols are easier to shoot, faster to reload, and hold more ammunition.  Most revolvers of modern manufacture have terrible trigger pulls when compared to semi-autos and those long, heavy trigger pulls are a hindrance to their accuracy.  Please do not give me the "five (or six) for sure" rallying cry of the revolver contingent.  The use of a cliche only dooms your argument with me.  My experience with modern semi-automatic pistols from proven manufacturers such as Glock, SIG, Springfield, Smith & Wesson, CZ, Browning, Bersa, Taurus and countless others show that they do not fail.  Glocks, SIGs and Kimbers are used by most local and federal law enforcement agencies as well as elite military units.  The law enforcement agencies and the military are not going to send their officers, agents, and warriors out with unreliable equipment.


2. Military Rifles.  First off, most military rifles will break the bank of your budget, secondly they are usually not easy to strip and clean, Thirdly I am not a fan of the current military caliber, the 5.56mm/.223.  In the apartment or home environment over penetration is an issue and in the rural or mountain environment the cartridge may not be robust enough to do everything that is needed.  Yes, in those environments you could go with a vintage military rifle like an M14 or M1 Garand but they are still very pricey and they are heavy which negates our requirement that the rifle be handy.

3. Bolt Action Scoped Rifles.  Again most are going to make you go over budget and most are not exactly handy (my bolt action CZ carbine being the exception).  You also have to be a little careful not to have the scope get dinged up and knocked out of alignment.

What surprised me as I chose the firearms for each of the four different environments was that even though I was looking for 12 firearms, those that I chose came from only four manufacturers; Glock, Ruger, Marlin, and Mossberg.  However, after a few minutes of additional thought I realized that those manufacturers fit they bill perfectly as they produce simple to use, robust firearms in handy configurations that are accurate, reliable, and economically priced. 


A Word About Police Response Time

One of the factors taken into consideration in all of these environmental scenarios is how quickly the police can come to your aid.  Most police departments deploy their resources so that they respond to calls as quickly as possible and also deploy more resources in areas with higher crime rates.  This generally works out well but there may be certain situations where their resources are stretched thin.  If an officer gets shot a lot of officers will be responding to that incident.  If there is a civil disturbance in another part of the city as many resources as needed will be diverted from normal duties until the disturbance is under control.  Lastly we cannot forget that natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, or earthquakes may leave you on your own for two or three days until relief comes. 

With all of that in mind, lets begin.


Apartment/Condo Dweller


Urban Environment
Threats
Estimated Police Response Time
 Apartment/Condo
·        Small four legged pest
·        Human predator
2 to 15 Minutes

This environment implies that over penetration is a concern, police response will be fairly quick, and long guns will rarely be taken out of the apartment as their appearance would attract too much attention.  Your field of fire in this scenario is mostly the interior of your apartment.


Recommended Firearms


Glock Model 19


Hardware
Brand/Model
Caliber/Gauge
Pistol
Glock Model 19
9mm
Ammo
Velocity
Energy
Federal Guard Dog 105 g
1230 feet per second
353 foot pounds

When I began reading Gun magazines in the early 1970's the most recommended handgun for home defense was the Smith & Wesson Model 10 revolver in .38 Special with a four inch barrel.  It (or other S&W K-frame revolvers) wer also the handgun most often found in the holsters of police officers around the country.  


Today I consider the Glock model 19 to be the Smith & Wesson Model 10 of our day.  Glock, in one caliber or another, can be found in the holsters of about 65% of the police officers in America.  They are simple to use with no external safeties to employ and their internal safeties, most notably their trigger safety, provides the necessary level of safety.  The model 19 gives you a capacity of 15 + 1 rounds and the 31 rounds that you will have available in the two magazines that it comes with should allow you to fend off any miscreants until the police arrive.  It is large enough to shoot well and small enough for concealed carry if you decide to obtain the license.


When I first started reading those gun magazine in the  '70's no self respecting pistolero packed a 9mm.  They were considered weak and ineffective.  Those times have changed.  We live in the "Golden Age of Ammunition" and different bullet configurations with different bullet weights have been a game changer for just about every caliber available.



My recommended load for the apartment/condo environment is the Federal Guard Dog 105 grain bullet moving at 1230 feet per second and obtaining 353 foot pound of energy.  The Guard Dog load is a full metal jacket non-hollow point bullet that is filled with an expanding polymer substance that makes it less likely that it will over penetrate.  The bullet it designed to to hit and dump it's energy as it expands very quickly and very reliably.  When Federal was testing the bullet they fired it into a sheet of dry wall which had layers of ballistic gelatin behind it.  The Guard Dog load penetrated the wall but did not enter the gelatin.  Conversely other defensive hollow point ammo penetrated the wall and 15 inches of the gelatin.  The Guard Dog will thump your attacker but not over penetrate and hit the person behind him.  And should your round go into a wall it is not going to kill someone on the other side.  This is the perfect round for the person who lives in an apartment, condo, and a good load for anyone who keeps a pistol on their nightstand.


Ruger 10/22


Hardware
Brand/Model
Caliber/Gauge
Rifle
Ruger 10/22
.22 Long Rifle
Ammo
Velocity
Energy
CCI Velocitor .22 LR
1435 feet per second
183 foot pounds

The Ruger 10/22 has been the starter .22 caliber rifle for a whole generation of new shooters.  It was the first .22 rifle I purchased.  They are accurate, easy to maintain, and fun to shoot.  Back when I bought mine there was only one model available although after-market accessories such as 25 & 50 round magazines and folding stocks were soon being produced by many manufacturers.  Now Ruger has has brought out more models than I can keep track of but the standard model I purchased some 30 years ago is the basic foundation of all variations.


The 10/22 is on this list for several good reasons:


1. Training. If you have to train family members on safe firearm handling and the basics of marksmanship the 10/22 is a very good place to start.


2. Pest Control.  If a rat gets caught underneath the sink or some other varmint wanders into your apartment the 10/22 is your go to extermination tool. The are a whole host of pest control loads available from shot shells to sub-sonic low noise rounds.


3. Self Defense.  I am not here to argue that a .22 is an efficient cartridge for self defense but: 

  • Nobody likes to bleed
  • The assailant might not realize it is a .22 and only  recognized that you are holding a carbine
  • The size of the 10/22 is not unwieldy in the confines of an apartment/condo
  • The CCI Velocitor round travels at 1,435 feet per second and hits with 183 foot pounds of energy which is 182 foot pounds more than I would care to absorb
  • The low recoil of the .22 in the Ruger will make follow-up shots very fast and still maintain a good amount of accuracy
  • A 25 or 50 round extended magazine will make a lot of noise and make most intruders rethink why they assessed you as being an easy target.
  • Over penetration is not going to be as great a concern with a .22 where is would be with a larger caliber rifle.


A .22LR carbine is hardly a great first choice for self defense but the 10/22 is a handy tool for pest eradication, a great family training firearms and, in a pinch, a rifle that is quick to get into action, accurate, has low recoil, is fast on follow up shots, and can lay down a lot of lead in a hurry if needed.  Hard to think that anyone wouldn't want one of these around.

Mossberg Model 500 Cruiser in .410 Gauge


Hardware
Brand/Model
Caliber/Gauge
Shotgun
Mossberg 500 Cruiser
.410 Gauge
Ammo
Velocity
Federal Self Defense 000 buck
4 “000” pellets at 950 feet per second

The .410 shot shell became all the rage when Taurus figured out how to stuff five of them into a revolver cylinder that was interchangeable with a .45 Long Colt Cartridge.  Of course they weren't the first, but they were the most popular.  The old out-of-production break-top, single shot, Snake Charmer came out many years ago and was moderately successful.  Several firms brought out Derringers in .410/45LC and were certainly successful enough to still be players.  Although I feel there are better choices for concealed carry I do recognize that Bond Arms produces very well made big bore blasters that are solid as a rock and very good looking to boot!  Mossberg has two .410s out for self defense and I chose the pistol grip Cruiser model for apartment/condo defense.  The .410 is not the alley sweeper that the 12 gauge is but that's OK; you're in an apartment, not an alley.  Over penetration is still a concern and that is why you are not using a 12 gauge.  Speaking of the 12 gauge, I owned a Mossberg 500 back in the late 1980's and was foolish enough to put a pistol grip stock on it.  They were, after all, Ricardo Tubbs favorite entry weapon on Miami Vice.
The pistol grip was removed from my Mossberg immediately after the first shooting session.  Pleasant it was not.  However in .410 the punishment of the 12 gauge is not a factor.


So here's why the .410 Cruiser makes the list:

1. Although maligned by some the .410 shot shell at close quarter ranges, which would easily fit the field of fire within an apartment/condo, does pack a punch.  It is difficult to get velocity and energy data on shot shells as they are hard to measure.  However there is velocity data on the Federal Premium Personal Defense Load which is stuffed with #4 Buck Shot and travels at 950 feet per second.  There are also many double and triple ought loads for the .410 as well as rifled slugs.  The Quick Shok .410 slug from Federal bursts out of the muzzle at 1,175 feet per second with 762 foot pounds of energy.  A couple of years ago I read a review on this model in which the author said that it had the recoil of a .22 and packs the punch of a .44 magnum.  That's a bit of an exaggeration on both ends as the recoil is heavier than any .22LR and the punch is not exactly that of a .44 Magnum.  Still it will get the job done.

2. The .410 Cruiser is a small, handy shotgun to have  when maneuvering through the apartment to secure the family once something has gone bump in the night.

3. This little Mossberg pistol grip shotgun will be a good trainer for novice family members in the operation of a pump shotgun.  The firing of the shotgun will take a fair amount of practice as it is not quite a pistol and not quite a full sized shotgun with a butt stock.  However, when maneuvering through a tight apartment you are not going to miss the additional length of a full sized long gun.

4. Regardless of the fact that this model is a .410 it still makes the same attention getting and unmistakable sound as it's bigger brothers when you rack a round into the chamber.  That sound alone has stopped many a perpetrator right in their tracks.  And if it doesn't you can give them several doses of buckshot very quickly to show them the error of their ways.


City or Suburban Homeowner  


Homeowner
Threats
Estimated Police Response Time
City or Suburban
·        Small to Medium four legged pest/varmint
·        Human predator
4 to 20 Minutes



This category was the most difficult for me because homes in a city or suburban area can be so different.  To try to put this into perspective; I am envisioning a "Brady Bunch" domicile rather than the estate of someone making $500K a year or more.  The four legged pests may be a little larger.  Caution must be taken because most municipalities have ordinances prohibiting the discharge of a firearm within the city limits so find that out before taking a shot at the raccoon who keeps upending your garbage can.

So, here we go:

Hardware
Brand/Model
Caliber/Gauge
Pistol
Glock Model 19
9mm
Ammo
Velocity
Energy
Speer 124 grain JHP +P
1220 feet per second
410 foot pounds
Glock Model 19

Well you have already read my missive above extolling the virtues of the G19 so I will dispense with that.  What has changed is the ammo.  The Speer 124 grain JHP +P is my favorite self defense load.  With the 410 foot pounds of energy it offers there is very little in terms of two legged predators that cannot be handled with this load.  However if you feel you have to have more there are also +P+ loads available.  While I think the recommended Speer load is a very capable round I have also found it to be very accurate in my Glock Model 19. 

Marlin 1894 CSSS .357 Magnum

Hardware
Brand/Model
Caliber/Gauge
Rifle
Marlin Model 1894
.357 Magnum
Ammo
Velocity
Energy
Remington 125 grain JHP
2038 feet per seconds
1153 foot pounds

Now you may question my choice of a lever action but I already ruled out military semi-autos and bolt actions so what did you expect?  Hear me out on this and let me explain why lever actions are on the list from here on out.

1. A lever action carbine is one of the handiest long guns available.  They are also fast to get into action and quick to make follow-up shots.  

2. Lever actions are easy to operate and training-up family members will be a snap.  Anyone who has ever watched a cowboy movie only need to be taught how to use the safety, they have seen the rest of the rifle's operation demonstrated by John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Randolph Scott, and countless other Western Stars.

3. Lever guns are fairly easy to breakdown for cleaning.  Not as easy as a bolt action but the Marlins are easy enough for anyone to learn with only a few steps being required.  The Marlin lever action carbines are also robust so they aren't likely to stop working when you need them.

4. They are available in a plethora of calibers: .22 Long Rifle, .45 Long Colt, .357 Magnum, .44 Magnum, 30-30 Winchester, 35 Remington, .308, .338 Marlin Express, 444 Marlin, 45-70 Government, and 450 Marlin.  Most places that sell firearms and ammunition will be able to fix you up with cartridges in any of these calibers with the possible exception of the specific .338, .444, and .450 Marlin calibers.  Somewhere in there you ought to be able to find something that meets your needs.

5. The lever action is more than accurate enough for it's defensive mission.

Now you might be questioning the selection of one in .357 Magnum.  Well, if you are worried about it being under-powered I think you would be hard pressed to find anything in a suburban environment that would not respond well to a 125 grain hollowpoint arriving at over 2,000 feet per second and bringing 1,150 foot pounds of energy along for the ride.  If you are now concerned that it is too powerful then it can be loaded down with lower power .38 Special ammo including the specialty loads from Glaser and Mag Safe that pack a punch but won't penetrate through wall board.


(Now, as you probably know I am not a revolver man but I will concede that a good solid .357 Magnum revolver such as the Smith & Wesson model 686, the Ruger GP100, or the Taurus Tracker would be an obvious companion to the Marlin .357 carbine.  Simplicity is a wonderful thing and the ability to purchase one type of ammunition that would service both your handgun and your rifle is a logistical advantage.)

Lastly, there are a couple of tactical advantages with the lever action.  The first is speed of fire.  Most people find that lever actions are faster to shoot than bolt action rifles. You may also want to watch some You Tube videos of cowboy action shooters who are known for being lever action speed demons; what you hear almost sounds like automatic fire.  Now, none of us are probably going to reach the level of the professionals (who are probably shooting low power ammo) but by watching you can see the potential and safely practice speeding up your rate of accurate fire.  Notice that I said "safely"--don't get carried away and recklessly endanger your self or anyone else.  Also notice that I said "practice speeding up your rate of accurate fire--it does you no good to increase the rate of fire if you have no control over your weapon.  Remember Wyatt Earp's sound explanation of learning to shoot in preparation for armed encounters "You have to learn to slow down in a hurry" meaning don't shoot any faster than you can accurately do so.  


The second small advantage is the ability to do tactical reloads.  Let me give you a scenario that tells you what I mean.  Some doped-up miscreant come crashing through your front door at 3AM.  You grab your Model 1894 and shove your significant other into the closet.  You lay prone or perhaps kneel behind a chest of drawers you upended.  Said miscreant is storming down the darkened hallway ignoring your commands to halt.  He begins slamming his body against your locked door until you unleash three rounds into the door.  The slamming against the door stops but you can hear that the miscreant is still out there.  If you had a semi-automatic rifle you would be down three rounds in your magazine that you could not top off unless you changed magazines.  With a lever action you can simply push three more rounds into the loading gate while you keep your eyes on the door.   You are now loaded back up to capacity and ready to slam 9 more rounds into said miscreant if he should reengage prior to the cavalry arriving.

Mossberg Home Defense Model .410 Gauge

Hardware
Brand/Model
Caliber/Gauge
Shotgun
Mossberg Home Defense
.410 Gauge
Ammo
Velocity
Federal Self Defense 000 buck
4 “000” pellets at 950 feet per second

The Home Defense Model is basically a Mossberg model 500 .410 with a full butt stock.  This is going to make aiming more accurate.  For added intimidation they added a 12 gauge hood over the end of the barrel so that it looks to any home invader like they are staring down the barrel of a 12 gauge.  Along with the #4 buck shot mentioned in the apartment/condo scenario you also have the ability to step it up with a triple ought load that sends four pellets down the hallway at 950 feet per second.  If you have a family member that cannot handle the .357 Magnum carbine this shotgun will be just the ticket and this load or a slug leaves them very well armed.


Rural Dwellers

Rural
Threats
Estimated Police Response Time
Farmer, Rural Homeowner
·        Small to large four  legged pest/varmint
·        Four legged predator
·        Human predator
30 to 120 minutes

The rural environment supposes that your threat might present itself outside.  In this scenario you might inadvertently run into the threat outside and have to handle it with your handgun or it may become known to you while you are inside and have access to either of your long guns.  If the threat is of a human nature you may have anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours to fend for yourself.




Glock Model 22 in .40 S&W

Hardware
Brand/Model
Caliber/Gauge
Pistol
Glock Model 22
.40 Smith & Wesson
Ammo
Velocity
Energy
Speer 155 Grain GDHP
1200 feet per second
496 foot pounds

I have already explained the virtues of the the Glock platform so let's examine why I chose this model, caliber, and selected the Speer 155 Grain Gold Dot Hollowpoint as my ammo of choice.


65% of the police officers in the U.S. strap on a Glock at the beginning of each shift and most of them wear the G22 in .40 S&W.  That's a bold testament to Glock in general and this model in particular.  The .40 S&W is no slouch in the realm of stopping power and should be quite comforting to anyone tending a farm or taking care of a large amount of rural property.  Need more convincing?  Well let's go back to Christmas Day 2007 in San Francisco when a 359 pound Siberian tiger got loose from it's habitat and killed one Zoo patron while putting everyone else in quite a state of panic.  The SFPD arrived and, being San Francisco where they are not issued shotguns or patrol rifles because of their negative public image, the officers spread out with nothing but their Glock 40s and whatever extra ammo they carried on them.  Three brave officers encountered the tiger and put him down and out with their pistols.  Now I haven't read an official account of how many shots they fired and I would image they expended quite a few rounds but they got the job done.


My pet load for the G22 is the Speer Gold Dot Hollow Point 155 grain bullet.  It travels at 1,220 feet per second carrying almost 500 foot pounds of energy.  If that is not enough then you can go to one of the specialty manufacturers such as Buffalo Bore or Double Tap for some hotter stuff.  Double Tap makes a 135 grain JHP that leaves the barrel at 1,420 feet per second and brings 605 foot pounds of energy.


I do not consider any .40 S&W round adequate for big game but for most of what you would encounter in rural American it should perform quite nicely.


Marlin 336BL 30-30 Winchester

Hardware
Brand/Model
Caliber/Gauge
Rifle
Marlin Model 336 BL
30-30 Winchester
Ammo
Velocity
Energy
Remington 170 grain
2200 feet per seconds
1827 foot pounds

As with the Glocks I have already commented on the advantages for the Marlin lever action carbines so let's get to the caliber and chosen load.


The 30-30 Winchester as been a mainstay in lever action rifles for many years and for good reason; it is a great all purpose round easily taking four legged animals up to the size of deer.  The Remington 170 grain cartridge zips along at 2,200 feet per second and hits with 1,827 foot pounds of energy.  This will drop most threats you'll meet in rural America with one good torso shot. If you really need a smaller caliber to use on Racoons, Possums, Skunks and other pests Remington still carries the 30-30 Accelerator in their Express line of ammunition.  The Accelerator is a .22 caliber 55 grain bullet wrapped in a polymer sabot and fired from a 30-30 shell casing.
The accelerator sends the 55 grain projectile out of the barrel at 3,400 feet per second with 1412 foot pounds of energy.  That should take care of any of your small pest necessities.


Mossberg Model 590 Special Purpose 12 Gauge

Hardware
Brand/Model
Caliber/Gauge
Shotgun
Mossberg 590
12 Gauge
Ammo
Velocity
Federal Premium Personal Defense 00 Buck 9  Pellets
1145 feet per second

Quite frankly there a quite a number of quality shotguns available for less that the budgeted $550.00.  Marlin makes a train load of different models at or below this price point as does Remington, Winchester and even Weatherby, a name synonymous with high quality/high priced firearms, is marketing lower cost pump shotguns designed for defensive purposes.  Some of the shotguns marketed by both the brand names and not-so brand names are actually being made in Turkey which has silently become a major player in the manufacture of small arms for export.


I chose the Marlin 590 because I like it's looks.  This shotgun is all business and brought to bear in a defensive situation the bad guys immediately know that they are dealing with someone who chose a professional grade defensive shotgun over some cheap pseudo-tactical no-name imitation.
They may wonder if you are a former SWAT team member or stood a post as a U.S. Marine at an embassy in a hot zone.


If the looks of the Marlin Special Purpose Shotgun doesn't change their intention to do harm then you have nine rounds of Federal Premium Personal Defense shot shells that can each throw 9 double ought pellets downrange at 1145 feet per second.  Again, that should put down any two or four legged threats that you might encounter in rural America.


The Mountain Environment

Mountain
Threats
Estimated Police Response Time
Rancher
·        Small to extra large four legged pest/varmint
·        Large to extra large four legged predator  
·        Human predator
40 to 180 minutes (or longer)

The mountain scenario presupposes that police response time will be measured in hours or perhaps even days and that along with human threats there are also extra-large four legged animals that might attack.  Most of the time these animals just want to be left alone but there have been reports of agitated Elk and Moose attacking humans for no other reason than the fact that they were there. (Although I don't know how you agitate an elk..."Hey elk, Bambi called and said not to worry, performance anxiety is common in elks your age".)   


Now, there is one caveat with this grouping that is different with all the others and that concern is recoil.  In the prior firearm packages there has been at least one firearm in each grouping whose caliber was either a low recoil caliber or low recoil rounds were available in the chosen caliber.  Not so much with the mountain package and the very nature of the possible threats requires large, hard hitting ammo.  To a certain extent anyone living in this environment has to be a hardy individual to want to live there and be able to take care of themselves.  Anyway here are the three firearms I would select if I was moving to the mountains. 


There are, of course, lower powered rounds available for both the 10 mm pistol and the 12 gauge shotgun but they won't do much good against the kind of aggressive wildlife you might end of facing.


Glock Model 20 in 10mm


Hardware
Brand/Model
Caliber/Gauge
Pistol
Glock Model 20
10mm
Ammo
Velocity
Energy
Double Tap 200 grain FMJ
1275 feet per second
722 foot pounds
You already know all about the Glock so let's talk about about it's use for protection against large predators.  It may interest you to know that the Finnish National Guard that Patrols Greenland arms their forces with the Glock 20 10mm.  Is it the best choice for defense against a raging polar or grizzly bear?  Absolutely not, that would be the rifle we are going to talk about next, but the 10mm pistol using a full power round like the Double Tap 200 grain FMJ with a couple of extra 15 round magazines is better protection than your Buck knife if you don't have your rifle with you.  The Double Tap 200 grain bullet travels at 1,275 feet per second and hits with 722 foot pounds of energy.  The ability to put 3,4,5,6 rounds on target fairly quickly could mean the difference between having a great story to tell at the pub or ending up as Grizzly chow.

Marlin 1895 GBL, 45-70 Government

Hardware
Brand/Model
Caliber/Gauge
Rifle
Marlin Model 1895 GBL
45-70 Government
Ammo
Velocity
Energy
Hornady 325 grain FTX
2050 feet per seconds
3032 foot pounds
If venturing away from your mountain homestead this is the piece of hardware you want to make sure you have with you.  The Hornady 325 grain FTX cartridge will burst out of the barrel at 2,050 feet per second bringing 3,032 foot pounds of energy to your defense.  That should take care of any threat posed by an agitated Moose, Polar/Grizzly bear, or a big ole' Dodge Ram.

Mossberg Special Purpose Model 590 Shotgun

Hardware
Brand/Model
Caliber/Gauge
Shotgun
Mossberg 590
12 Gauge
Ammo
Velocity
Energy
Fed Premium Power Shok Slug
1610 feet per second
2518 foot pounds
The versatility of the 12 gauge shotgun really shine through here.  With this one weapon you can load it with bird shot for angry birds (keeping my fingers crossed for some product placement cash from the game developers) and small pests and you have the versatility to upload to buck shot or a slug load for the really big game.  If you have taken the Marlin 45-70 out into the woods the folks back at the homestead can still protect themselves from large four legged creatures and four wheel drive pick-ups with a load such as the Federal Premium Power Shok Slug that travels at 1,610 feet per second and smacks down on the threat with 2,518 foot pounds of energy.

At Last

I have run out of wind on this topic but there you have my three gun choices for the four different environments.  As I mentioned earlier please comment on where your choices would differ and if you live in the mountains tell us what you use.  I think we'd all be interested to hear.


16 comments:

Minister "Padre Casey" Lama Rinpoche, Theoretical MetaphysicsPhD said...

A .45 ACP S&W with two 10+1 mags, 12ga. Rem. 8 shot pump and Marlin 336CS in 30-30the Carbine does well for both in and outside. A handy Rem. 597 VTR takes care of everything . (sorry-keyboard trouble )... You have it 100%out and I've bee n living it here and Nebraska for well over 50the years. THANKS JOE, 10 of 10the on your intro to the newly acquainted.
Padre Mike".that a River 10-22 does including. 22 LR "Bird shot" for the diamondbacks and ground squirrel population that can break a horses leg with their relentless tunneling. The coons VS chickens, opossum, fox and coyote are just as bad. Occasionally the mtn. lions come to eye the goats and the 336336histor

Anonymous said...

As always, great article! Really enjoy your views, reasons, justifications, and recommendations. It's great as I always seem to find your reviews and recommendations fit my needs and lifestyle!

Anonymous said...

Great article and analysis.

Don't know if this is a true story or not. Believe I read it in a gun rag several yrs ago. The story goes that the homeowner heard a disturbance outside and saw thieves breaking into his tool shed. He called police and waited as the thieves continued their pillaging of his shed. He called back and reported that he thinks he shot one of the thieves. Police reponse time after that report was less than a minute. Apparently he did not shoot anyone but wanted the police to hurry up.

I guess the moral of the story is that reported gunfire shortens the response time considerably. Obviously I would not recommend this process as the police may actually be involved in something more serious than a shed break-in as you pointed out but of course if you do have to fire your weapon most definitely report that when you call as legitimate use will speed up assistance (so will illegitimate use).

But a confrontation over loss of tools from an out building may not be worth it even if you have the right to defend your property. At 2 am outside in the dark you have no idea what you are up against.

Another homeowner was ask if he kept a firearm in his house.
"Sure do," he replied.
"Well, I certainly hope it isn't loaded."
"Yep, it is."
"Are you afraid of someone?"
"No, and I ain't afraid of my house burnin' down but I keep a loaded fire extinguisher, also."

Matt L. DeTectre

Anonymous said...

You're discussion of the Glock in 10mm reminded me of one of my dream guns. A mid size Glock in 10mm. One about the size of the Glock 19/23/32. Glock makes a baby 10mm but no mid size to my knowledge. I think Glock has the 10mm market about sewed up but maybe its a dying caliber and not enough profit in it.

Glock once touted their Glocks in .357 Sig as the answer to the .357 Remington mag., maybe they still do but most of the ammo in .357 Sig is not much better than the 9mm round which has had significant performance enhancements. PPU has a round in .357 Sig claiming muzzle energy of 660 ft. lbs but most ammo is in the 500 ft lb range. The 10mm would come closer to the answer to the .357 Rem. mag in an auto.

Matt L. DeTectre

Anonymous said...

I really enjoy your thoughtful comments. I too love the 10/22 and have used them mulitple times as a first gun for non shooters at the range. Now that my boys are getting bigger I might have to get the one that breaks apart. I enjoy listening to you on Gun Nation and you are the only reason I listen.

Theresa said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
S.L. Dickinson said...

Cannot say as I disagree with any of your inclusions, nor the reasons for them. I am a big fan of lever action rifles, and Mossberg shotguns. And I have and shoot many pistols and revolvers both, the Glock is a fine choice even though I am personally not a fan of them, they just do not fit well in my hand.

That said I will say that there are several instances where I feel that a revolver is the better option. They are where the encounter might be at extreme close range, where grappling can be part of the protection process. I would include these in a bedside gun, and a woods walking handgun where in both instances trouble might literally be upon you before you can shoot.

In those instances a revolver is more likely to be able to shoot multiple times where the slide may be interfered with on a pistol, causing a jam.

Yes it can happen in any situation, but when one wakes up to a burglar, or a stealthy cat pounces from bad breath range the revolver just MIGHT have a slight edge for you.

Doc Wesson said...

Great comments!
Come hear AJ and I talk about this LIVE tonight at 9pm EDT on The Gun Nation....
We will be taking calls.. so call with your choices and opinions!
http://live.gunnation.us

Eclectic Breakfast said...

Thanks for another well-written post. I do have a few comments...

With regard to pistol choices, while the needs of a defender may change depending on locale, the ability of persons to operate the pistol may not, especially for those with no training or little opportunity to practice. According to your criteria a 9mm Glock is a fine choice because of its simplicity, reliability, and affordability. A 40 may offer an incremental increase in effectiveness but at the cost of greater recoil. The 10mm Glock is too large for many shooters to operate effectively, the ammunition is scarce, and the recoil with full power loads more than many can handle.

While a 410 shotgun may be sufficient to dispatch pests in the garden (in locations where you're allows to shoot firearms in your back yard) I'd recommend a Remington Synthetic Youth Model 870 in 20 gauge if fighting is a consideration. The smaller receiver and shorter stock allow the small-statured to operate it with comfort but it is still permits adult men to use it. There are Bantam versions of the Mossberg 500 as well but our household is most familiar with Remingtons. While not as potent as a 12 bore, there are Brenneke 1 oz slugs made for the 20 gauge that will close the gap between the two. I do, however, strongly disagree with the idea of a pistol grip only shotgun; the quality of your hits and the speed with which you make them always suffers. If you doubt it test yourself and other shooters in your household with a PACT shot timer.

When it comes to rugged, reliable, easy to use rifles you skip one very important military-style rifle. The AK-47 was designed for precisely the sort of user you are describing, is sized for small to average statured shooters, and costs half what a pistol cartridge or 45/70 lever action does. You might find 30/30 leverguns for about the same price but given an equal amount of instruction an AK clone is easier to use than a hammer gun with a tubular magazine.

If you buy the Glock as a used police trade-in you can buy all these guns for under $400 (the shotgun for under $300) each, leaving enough savings to purchase a weapon-mounted light for each.

Average Joe said...

Eclectic Breakfast,

Thanks for sharing you opinions they are all valid and well taken. Regarding pistol caliber, I did not increase the power of the pistol caliber until I got to the rural and mountain environments as I felt that people in those locales are more familiar with shooting, and shooting larger calibers out of need. The 10mm is no more difficult to shoot from a handgun than are .41 and 44 magnums and larger calibers which were very prominent with people when I lived in Idaho. Similarly, when I lived in Chicago and Los Angeles I never saw a 45-70 cartridge in any sporting goods store or gun shop. But, when I moved to Idaho, 45-70 ammo by several different manufacturers in different weights and bullet configurations were available every where ammunition was sold.

As for pistol grips on a shotgun, the only one I included was the .410 in the apartment/condo environment. As for your comment about testing shotguns with grips...I have. I do not recommend firearms unless I have some experience with them. In the late 1980's I put a pistol grip on my Mossberg 500 12 gauge and fired it exactly once because it was not a good experience. The shoulder stock went right back on. I currently have a Mossberg .410 Cruiser and find it just fine to use an indoor shotgun.

Your recommendation on the 20 gauge youth model is certainly valid. I have a friend in Idaho who bought a youth model because it fit both him and his wife much better than adult models. He also selected the 20 gauge as he had arthritis in his shoulders and the 20 gauge with a heavier recoil pad and a very good shoulder pad in a shooter's vest allowed him to practice without getting too banged up.

Thanks for writing and providing your input and options.

Eclectic Breakfast said...

Average Joe,

"The 10mm is no more difficult to shoot from a handgun than are 41 and 44 magnums and larger calibers which were very prominent with people when I lived in Idaho."

Understood and agreed. In fact the 10mm has some advantages over the revolvers if defense against persons is more likely than defense against animals. The problem with the Glock in 10mm is that it's too big for shooters with medium or small hands. As for popularity many more people own large bore magnum pistols or revolvers than can shoot them well.

I've given more thought to recommending lever action rifles instead of other action types. In its many ways the levergun is the revolver of the rifle world, essentially obsolete since the dawn of the 20th century and offering few if any advantages over designs that replaced it.

Of course that doesn't keep pople from doing good work with them. I've owned several lever actions and still hunt with "Mjolnir," my 1895 Marlin 45/70 Guide Gun, but they are nowhere near as easy to strip for cleaning as the average bolt action, let alone a military-pattern selfloader. The manual of arms may be intuitive to anyone who's seen a cowboy movie, but it calls for fine motor control under stress (to operate the hammer and to reload), which is not a recipe for success unless one's training is extensive and practice routine.

An entry-level package boltgun (Savage, Mossberg, Marlin) will eventually be compromised by the cheap variable that comes mounted on it, but they cost less than any but the 336, are simpler to use, and are easier to get hits with than any leveraction. If full-power ammo is too much of a good thing Remington's Managed Recoil ammunition is a blessing to both new shooters and the recoil-shy. $0.02

Again, keep up the fine work, Average Joe.

PS, I offer a variety of opinions on hunting and shooting at http://eclecticbreakfast.blogspot.com/ Put the word "hunting" in the search box to be directed to most of my posts on such subjects. Be well.

Average Joe said...

"As for popularity many more people own large bore magnum pistols or revolvers than can shoot them well."--Very well put. In fact it seems that handguns that require the most practice seem to get the least whether they be large bore magnums, or lightweight, snub-nosed, .38 specials.

As always the individual shooter needs to try as many different options as they can and invest in the largest caliber they can shoot well weather that be a handgun, rifle, or shotgun. Even if they are purchasing a .22 caliber firearm some will fit them better than other.

Anonymous said...

I like the CZ75 and it's clones in 9mm - it seems to have a particularly friendly grip which fits all sizes of hands and is well suited to people with small hands especially. Sasy to shoot, relatively cheap and reliable as anything you are likely to find.

Pump action shotguns. I can see the "tar and feather" brigade limbering up but I'd recommend a semi auto. Here's why. I used to teach martial arts and one of the things I stressed that in practice, you exaggerate the movements because under stress, the movement will become normal. Itf the movement is "normal" then it will fade away to a gesture.

Transferring this to shotguns, the kind of people that this article is aimed at are unlikely to practice and are liable, under stress, to short stroke the pump action which could be somewhere between embarrassing and fatal.

I've put my money where my mouth is and own a Mossberg 930 with an 18" barrel. Reliable, easy to shoot, and cheap for what you are getting.

I agree with a .357 mag rifle but unless/until Marlin sorts its quality issues out, it will be a Rossi. Used to own a .357 Mag marlin and loved it. With target loads in .38 spl (which I can reload cheaper than buying .22LR) it is devastating on small game like rabbits and it WILL do from a rifle what people think it will do from a revolver. Ideal for small deer and goats. And goblins.

Phil B

Anonymous said...

Good article; A couple comments. You need to talk to more Marlin/Rossi/Puma lever action PISTOL caliber owners. They are NOT reliable feeders. Period. Google Marlin Jam 1894. So....although they are maligned by some, a hi-point carbine in 9MM or .40 S&W to match your Glock would be a more reliable choice, in my opinion. The .30/30 lever actions ARE highly reliable, and make sense to me, as most folks in deer country will have a box or 2 in the house, and they will be in every store that has ammo. Please go ASK all of those cops carrying Glocks what is the ONE pistol they would take in a SHTF situ ..... I bet well more than half say they will take the old revolver that has been gathering dust in the bureau, drawer .....NOT the Glock. I'll put money on that one. Keep up the good work!

Average Joe said...

Anonymous,

I have never had a feeding problem with the two pistol caliber lever action carbines I have own (one in .357 Mag. and one if .44 mag) but I respect your opinion as my sample of experience is relegated to those two carbines mentioned. However in regards to your assertion that most cops would prefer their old revolver to a Glock I just tend to doubt it. My guess is that most cops who joined the force in the last 15 to 20 years have never laid their hand on a revolver. Especially those in the larger cities where the pool of recruits comes to the academy with no shooting experience whatsoever (which is a sad state of affairs in my book).

troop said...

In a .22 revolver what seems to be the better. A Taurus 990 or 991 or the new Ruger SP 102. There was an article in a recent American Rifleman about the Taurus 991 having two cylinders, one for .22 Mag and .22 lr. Seems like a recent review in Guns and Ammo gave a less than stellar read out on the double action trigger pull on the Ruger SP 102 rimfire.