They Missed A Few

You might find an article entitled “40 Things Every Self-Respecting Man Over 40 Should Own” to be of interest.  (Hat tip to Glenn.)  The list is woefully incomplete, as the author didn’t mention firearms at all!

So what should every self-respecting man over 40 own so far as guns are concerned?  There are three that simply should not be overlooked.  The first on the list is, of course, a shotgun.

double barreled shotgun

browning auto 5

remington 870 pump action shotgun

Double barreled, semi-auto, or pump action.  It doesn’t really matter which type you choose, as they all have their advantages.  What really matters is that it is the most versatile firearm ever devised.

Need to hunt big game, such as deer?  Load your shotgun with solid slugs.  If birds are your thing, then get some shells loaded with bird shot and even the most delicate of fowl will be able to grace your table.  If concerned about home defense and two-legged predators, then buckshot will cure what ails ya!

Merely select the correct ammunition, and the shotgun will perform extremely well.  Same gun, widely different jobs.

The only role a shotgun won’t do is precision shots over a distance.  In fact, even with the best ammunition it is very problematic to hit a target beyond the 120 yard mark.  But consider that anything up close and personal can be handled with a shotgun.

What does every over 40 man need next?  That would be a handgun suitable for concealed carry.

taurus pt111 with magazine

I know what you are thinking.  There are plenty of places where it is against the law to pack a concealed firearm.  Heck, there are plenty of places in the world where it is illegal to own a firearm at all!

This is true, and many people are prohibited from the right of self defense due to factors beyond their control.  But as armed self defense is the main focus of this blog, I will keep with the theme and stand by my guns.  (Get it?  “Stand by my guns!”)

As with the shotgun, the exact design is not really important.  It will do as long as it is a multi-shot variety that is chambered for a caliber large and powerful enough to engage violent criminals as they try to harm the innocent.  Revolver, autoloader, whatever.  Just about any will do.

So far, that is only two.  I said earlier that there are three guns to own.  So what is the third?

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I Didn’t Even Know They Were There!

Thirty years ago, I gave up fencing.

two fencers goin at it

This wasn’t because I didn’t enjoy the experience, because I most certainly did.  There was just something about a martial art that dominated the battlefield for thousands of years, building or toppling empires and changing the very course of human history, that spoke to me ALL IN CAPS!

There was a problem in that I was interested in fencing as a martial art, while just about everyone else was dedicated to making it a non-violent sport.  Electric jackets and swords with extension cords.  Brush the tip across the garment and make a buzzer sound.  Hey, you won!  Never mind that there wasn’t enough force behind the attack to pop a soap bubble, the buzzer doesn’t lie!  All hail the buzzer!

Oh, there were a few people around who claimed that they were recreating historical combat techniques, but the extreme use of padded rattan and duct tape in the construction of their gear clearly showed that such claims were tenuous at best.

sca armor with broad gaps in the breastplate and hocky gloves

That armor has some pretty serious gaps!  Even so, it is perfectly suited to stop blows from wooden rods that were about an inch thick.

sca swords made from rattan and duct tape

Not very martial artsy, is it?  Still, it was the only game in town.  So I dabbled in it until I grew weary of the dissonance, and then drifted away.  I thought that Columbus, Ohio would forever be an empty and yawning void so far as Western martial arts were concerned.

Boy, was I wrong!

the instructors demonstrate a move

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Equipped For The Day

People ask me what I carry every day for my defense.  My usual answer is that it doesn’t matter, because everyone has to choose their own gear based on their own needs.

This doesn’t seem to satisfy anyone, as they tend to act as if I’m withholding vital information.  So here goes.


The gun I carry most often is a small, compact 9mm that holds 10 rounds.

taurus pt111 9mm

The gun is made by the Brazilian firearms firm of Taurus.  The basic design is called the Millennium Pro series, and the PT 111 is the version that is chambered for the 9mm Parabellum round.  Put all that together, and I would say that I carry a Taurus Millennium Pro PT111.

Or I could just say that I carry a compact 9mm.  Saves a lot of time.

I mentioned above that the standard magazines for this particular gun holds ten rounds.

taurus pt111 with magazine

I always carry a spare, so that brings it up to twenty.  Some people like to carry more than a single reload, and that is just fine.  But only one for me.



I have nothing at all against revolvers, and even think they are kind of neat.  But autoloaders are just more efficient, as they usually hold more ammo than revolvers of comparable size.  It is also a great deal less difficult and time consuming to reload an autoloader, which is a really big point in their favor.

Some of my students prefer wheelguns over autos, and they have questions concerning their choice.  To make sure that I can answer those questions accurately, I will carry revolvers for at least one month out of the year in order to gain the needed experience.

The revolvers I own hold six rounds each, and I am never really comfortable with a mere half-dozen rounds before I run dry.  So I cheat a little bit by carrying two guns.

hard used 357 magnum and 38 snubby in seoia tones

The top gun, all shiny and silver, is chambered for the .357 Magnum cartridge.  I carry that one in a shoulder holster.

The snub-nosed revolver is chambered for the .38 Special cartridge.  I carry him on my belt.

The idea is to avoid the time needed to unload the spent cartridges, then put fresh in the gun.  So, should I become forced to defend my life with more rounds than one gun holds, I will shoot one dry before simply drawing the other.  This is called a New York reload, after the habit police officers had in that fair city during the 1960’s and 1970’s.

Crime was rampant in New York City during those decades, and the cops found their standard issue revolvers to be outgunned by the criminals who favored autoloaders.  Forbidden by official policy to upgrade to more efficient designs, the police would secrete a non-regulation snubby somewhere on their body.  If the situation should turn dire, they would shoot their issued revolver empty before drawing the snubby to stay in the fight.

Consider, if you would, that both of these revolvers together hold twelve rounds of ammo.  That isn’t all that much more than the ten my autoloader holds in each magazine, and my auto is significantly lighter!

So I carry two revolvers instead of one autoloader at times.  Do I carry any reloads for the wheelguns?

Yes, I do.  Two speedloaders, each of which are loaded with six rounds of .38 Special cartridges.

357 magnum with some spent brass and a speed loader

snubbie with speedloader and spent brass

So two guns and two reloads equal 24 rounds total.  Or I can carry a single autoloader with one reload for 20 rounds, and save a great deal on weight and bother.

I think you can see why I only carry revolvers one month out of the year.

Make And Model, Please?

Every time there is a shooting, people interested in armed self defense want to know what guns were used, and what calibers.

Case in point is this news report from Houston, Texas.  A man was returning a video when two criminals tried to carjack his ride.  They forced the victim to the ground, took his phone and wallet, but missed the legally carried self defense handgun.

The result was an unscathed victim, a dead robber, and another wounded.  But which gun?

Dunno, but the following screengrab from the video shows some type of gun lying at the crime scene.

screengrab of a houston news report

(Click on all pics for larger version.)

The gun looks to be in pretty poor shape, most probably one of the guns the cash-strapped robbers were using.  But it resembles my own defensive tool.

taurus millenium pro

taurus pt111 9mm

Mine is in excellent working condition, you can be sure.

(Hat tip to Glenn.)

Another 9-11

twin towers on 9-11

They test the emergency sirens in Columbus, Ohio at noon every Wednesday.   When I was four years old, at the height of the Cold War, someone explained to me what purpose they served.  They neglected to mention that it was perfectly normal for them to blare away every week, and that it didn’t mean World War III had started.

The days rolled by and, as you might imagine, Wednesday started on schedule.  The civil defense sirens, also on a schedule, started their mournful song at twelve o’clock.  But this time they were more than a large noise in the background of the afternoon.  This time it meant that there were men wearing fur hats flying high above in airplanes, and that I was about to die screaming as I burned.

That was pretty much the Cold War for you.  We were all going to die in fire, a rather grim image to place in the head of an impressionable four year old.  But everyone knew it, everyone dreaded it, and no one could figure out how to keep it from happening.  We were just wrong, is all.

Nowadays I expect an American city to suffer a nuclear attack, but it will be from religious fanatics instead of Communist fanatics who reject all religion.  At least it will be one city, or two at the most, instead of every place in the US where more than 10,000 people live.  The smaller scale doesn’t make me feel any better.  I just hope it doesn’t happen until after I have died from natural causes, so I won’t have to live through the aftermath.

You know what does make me feel better?  The fact that everyone was wrong about how the Cold War was going to turn hot.  I hope I am wrong about this.