One of the latest tactics of the anti-gunners seems to be to try to demonize all semi-automatic firearms, not just rifles like the AR-15 or AK-47. The propaganda war to achieve a ban on such weapons is already under way. For example, the anti-gun Washington Post claims:
But the latest available polling shows that, in fact, more than half of Americans say they would support an across-the-board ban on all semiautomatic weapons. And academics who study gun violence say that such a ban would be an effective way to combat mass shootings and gun violence overall.
Those in favor of such a ban tend to be overwhelmingly from the left-wing, liberal and progressive side of US politics. The Washington Examiner reported last month:
... a YouGov survey released this week ... shows a significant number of self-identified Democratic respondents support the idea of total gun confiscation.
The poll, which was conducted between Feb. 25 and 27 and has a margin of error for registered voters of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points, surveyed 1,500 adults.
Of that number, YouGov found that 73 percent of self-identified Democrats “strongly” favor banning semi-automatic firearms. The survey found that an additional nine percent “somewhat” favor a ban of that sort.
Translation: 82 percent of surveyed Democrats say they favor a ban on semi-automatics, which would include not just rifles like the one used in the Feb. 14 Parkland massacre, which claimed the lives of 17 people, but also most handguns.
That’s a hell of a ban.
There's more at the link.
Of course, the poll(s) asking those questions tend to be one-sided, use leading questions, and be taken among respondents who are less likely to own guns than others. Nevertheless, they make good propaganda, and we can expect to see more of them. Some localities (e.g. Deerfield, IL) are already trying to implement at least partial bans on semi-auto weapons as a category, rather than for specific models. Nor is this something new; Providence, RI tried to do so as long ago as 2013.
I received an e-mail this morning from a reader who was concerned about this might mean for his ability to defend himself. He wanted to know whether there were any alternatives "as good as" a semi-auto pistol and semi-auto rifle to defend himself and his family. I was able to assure him that there were, indeed, very viable alternatives. The revolver and the lever-action or pump-action rifle have protected Americans for generations.
The West was won with the revolver, the lever-action rifle, and the double-barreled shotgun. They were effective then, and they're just as effective now. They may not hold as many rounds as modern semi-autos, but then, many users of semi-autos adopt a "spray-and-pray" approach to marksmanship; they launch lots of rounds without bothering to aim properly, in the hope that some will connect. This is as true of police as it is of civilians. For example:
- NYPD: 9 shooting bystander victims hit by police gunfire
- New York City Cops Shoot 84 Bullets, Hit Perp Once
- Waukesha Police Fire “Dozens” of Rounds at 76-Year-Old. And Miss.
There are many more news reports one could cite, but you get the idea. More ammunition is not necessarily a fight-winning advantage. You have to put them where they need to go to shut down your opponent. From that perspective, a single accurate, well-aimed, effective round from a revolver is more productive than a dozen inaccurate, poorly-aimed, ineffective rounds from a semi-auto pistol.
If readers wish, I can do another blog post on the wide selection of available revolvers and rifles that are out there. My basic recommendation is to go with a big-bore revolver, if at all possible; one chambered for .44 Special, .45 ACP or .45 Colt. If you can't carry a lot of rounds in your gun, make them the biggest and most powerful you can manage! Ammunition is freely available, and some premium brands (e.g. Buffalo Bore, which I personally carry) offer outstanding performance (albeit at a premium price - but what's your life worth?).
I do NOT recommend a Magnum round, because if you have to use your revolver inside a house, the blast and muzzle flash will be deafening and disorienting. In a confined space, it'll have the same effect as a flash-bang or stun grenade. If you don't believe me, you can test it for yourself anytime; but I don't recommend it - it's hard on your furniture, fittings and floor - and besides, it's illegal in most jurisdictions. Of course, if you're sure you can handle that aspect of a Magnum, they're very effective rounds; but I'll stick with my big-bore cartridges instead, thanks. They operate at much lower pressures than Magnums, so their blast and sound is considerably reduced.
In a smaller cartridge, I do NOT recommend the .38 Special snubnose revolver as a primary weapon. It's difficult to shoot well, hard to control (although that can be addressed with replacement aftermarket grips), and is more of an expert's gun than a novice's. However, for a trained shooter, they offer good options for concealed carry. A 3" or 4" barreled revolver, chambered in .38 Special or .357 Magnum and loaded with an effective anti-personnel round, is a very useful primary weapon, and is not too hard to conceal, given appropriate holsters and clothing.
If you're interested, here are the defensive loads I carry in my revolvers:
- .38 Special: Buffalo Bore 150-grain hard-cast wadcutter (in revolvers not rated for +P ammunition).
- .38 Special: Buffalo Bore 158-grain +P lead semi-wadcutter hollow point (in revolvers rated for +P ammunition, and in .357 Magnum handguns).
- .44 Special: Buffalo Bore 200-grain hard-cast wadcutter (in lighter-weight revolvers that are difficult to control with heavy recoil).
- .44 Special: Buffalo Bore 200-grain TAC-XP lead-free hollow point (my general-purpose defensive load in .44 Special and .44 Magnum revolvers).
- .45 ACP: Federal HST 230gr. jacketed hollow point.
- .45 Colt: Littlestone 240-grain Sierra jacketed hollow cavity.
There are plenty of other good choices out there. Do your own research, and choose one or more that suit your needs.
As for lever-action rifles and carbines, these add greatly to the efficiency of standard revolver rounds, and offer much greater accuracy at medium ranges (100-125 yards). I have Marlin 1894's and Rossi R92's chambered for various cartridges (.357 Magnum, .44 Special/Magnum and .45 Colt), and like them all. For use inside a building, or in your vehicle, the 16" barrel versions are preferable, because they're less likely to catch on obstacles as you move with the gun. For outside or general-purpose use, the 20" barrel gives a longer sight radius and slightly higher velocities, but in a handgun cartridge, doesn't make that much difference, ballistically speaking.
If you want more power and greater range, the venerable .30-30 is available, a favorite of the Texas Rangers and other frontier lawmen in the old days. It'll let you reach out to 200 yards or more with the right ammunition (although its additional power also increases the risk of over-penetration, which is not desirable in an urban area). What's more, one can get a lever-action rifle in .22, or even in Airsoft, that makes training very easy and low-cost. Skills with the training weapon will translate almost seamlessly to being able to use your larger-caliber defensive gun more effectively.
What's even nicer about a lever-action weapon is that it "looks right". It's something people associate with Western movies, or kids playing in the yard. It's nowhere near as menacing to many onlookers as an AR-15 might be, but within its usable range, it's just as effective. That's not to be sneezed at, in many urban areas where gun owners are demonized.
I do recommend that, even if you live in an area where semi-auto firearms are accepted and commonplace, you still buy and familiarize yourself with a good revolver or two, and a good lever-action rifle or carbine. If some jackass engineers a ban on a State-wide or nationwide scale, you may find yourself suddenly unable to (legally) use your semi-auto weapons. If so, it's very helpful to have a legal, effective backup option available.
This was just a quick article to address my reader's concerns. If any of you would like me to write more about it, let me know in Comments, and I'll put something together.