OPINION – We’re constantly told that they make us less safe. Politicians relentlessly try to find ways to restrict our access to them. One thing is crystal clear; the American public continues to arm itself at an unprecedented rate.
Gun sales in Utah alone are poised to set new records this year and applications for concealed weapons permits are also off the charts. Whether this is in response to mass shootings or simply pushing back against gun control advocates, who would try to restrict gun ownership, doesn’t really matter. Those choosing to purchase a firearm for the first time must learn to sort reality from fiction.
Here are some simple rules of thumb to consider when choosing a weapon for personal defense.
For a person who wishes to be armed while going about their daily business, a handgun is the best tool because it is highly portable and concealable. It will be where you need it when you need it. Handguns are designed to deal with unexpected deadly threats that appear suddenly at and close range.
When choosing a handgun, stopping power is a major consideration. Minor caliber rounds like the .22-caliber long rifle or .25-caliber Automatic Colt Pistol, are not particularly effective at halting a criminal attack. In a self-defense situation, the goal is to stop the attack as quickly as possible and that means something that hits with authority.
A better choice would be 9 mm, .38-caliber special, .40-caliber Smith & Wesson, or the .45-caliber ACP. A solid hit to the vital organs from any of these calibers will go a long way towards taking the fight out of an adversary.
Size is another factor that must be considered before purchasing a handgun. Small handguns are much easier to conceal, but can be more difficult to shoot accurately, especially when under life-threatening stress. Larger handguns can be more difficult to conceal, but they are easier to control and much more pleasant to train with. And training is essential no matter what you choose to carry.
Revolvers are among the simplest handguns to operate in that they are the original point-and-click interface. The trade off is that they are limited in terms of cartridge capacity. A pistol, on the other hand, requires a bit more skill to manipulate, but generally can hold more cartridges in its magazine and can be quickly reloaded with a fresh magazine.
Linked here is an excellent primer on the merits of revolver vs. semi-auto pistol.
A person who will be carrying their firearm on a daily basis needs to do the research and spend the coin to put together a proper carry rig. At its most basic, this will consist of a good quality, stiff belt, a well-made holster that covers the trigger guard, and a magazine pouch to carry spare ammo.
Assembled correctly, a proper carry rig will allow a person to comfortably conceal and tote their handgun all day.
This is more important than it may sound because if a handgun is uncomfortable to wear, the temptation to leave it at home becomes strong.
Now comes the important stuff. Carrying a personal firearm is a serious responsibility. It requires a person to be more than simply a gun owner.
You must become proficient and competent in the use of your sidearm. This means getting the best quality training you can afford and practicing regularly to ingrain skill at arms.
Secondly, you must know the applicable laws of your state and locality. If you’re going to be traveling, you’ll need to know the laws of the places you’ll go. Above all, you must conduct yourself in such a manner that a jury would agree that you acted as any reasonable person would in defending yourself.
Because you are carrying the power of life or death on your person, you must be willing to walk away from confrontation, if at all possible.
Likewise you must be conscious of your surroundings and aware of what others are doing. This isn’t paranoia, but a heightened sense of attentiveness that will allow you to recognize potential trouble and avoid it.
Should you find yourself facing an immediate, unavoidable deadly threat, you must be psychologically capable of inflicting serious harm or a fatal injury on another person.
This decision cannot be made on the spur of the moment. It is a line in the sand that must be drawn ahead of time. It requires serious thought.
Owning a firearm for personal protection is not for everyone.
Bryan Hyde is a news commentator and co-host of the Perspectives talk show on Fox News 1450 AM 93.1 FM. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.