Gut Rumbles

April 06, 2005

good question

In some areas, bigger is not always better. I liked this comment:

What's the deal with everybody wanting these "hand cannons" for home defence? You guys got lead lined walls or something? Murray said on "Shooting Bears" he defends his family with his new S&W That's just foolish, Unless you live in a Stone Castle. Nothing wrong with a .380, guarantee I'll fuck up a bad guy with one. 12 guage is boss for home defence though....PERIOD. A-man, long as you hit what you aim at, good to go. While everyone else is blind from the muzzle flash of their hand artillery and deaf from the ridiculous report indoors, you'll be pluggin a few more accuratly aimed hunks o' lead in the offending bastard.

Posted by DONGER at April 5, 2005 12:26 PM

IF I OWNED ANY GUNS (which I don't) I don't want a fucking hand-cannon. I keep my non-existent .357 magnum in a drawer in my bedroom. It stays loaded with non-existent bullets, and I do my non-existent firing with that thing outside, in the woods. I might like it in a war, but that's not my choice for home defense.

I also have non-existent pistols in the .38 (Colt revolver). the .380 (six-shot semi-auto) and the .22 (Reuger 6" barrel target pistol and a 5-shot North American Arms derringer) varieties. That .22 target pistol is accurate as hell from 30 yards (or so I've heard).

I also have a non-existent .12 gauge pump shotgun and a single-shot .410, plus three non-existent .22 rifles and a .30-06. I prefer to sleep with the non-existent .38 and the .380 by my bed. I do that for two reasons.

First, you can't handle a long gun well in a narrow hallway and I don't live in a big house. Second, if I can't get the job done with a .380 or the .38, I deserve to get my ass killed. The .22s are for target shooting and a real up-close confrontation for the derringer. The pistols I keep near my bed are simple to handle, easy to figure out in the dark and they carry enough ass to make somebody sit down and think about the fact that they've just been shot.

This is all theory, of course, and not one bit of it is true, but the shotguns are too unweildy for home defense, the .30-06 may end up going into a neighbor's house and the .22s don't have enough knock-down power. The .357 is too fucking heavy to carry in one hand when you think your home has been invaded and it's a double-action, too. Lots of firepower, but too slow in an emergency.

Brag about your hand-cannons all you want to, but I think I have everything I need in the .380 and the .38.

IF I actually had them, that is.


It is a relief to know you don't own any guns. Now we all know that we can break in and molest you tonight....

Posted by: Tulip on April 6, 2005 05:42 PM

I have one of the S&W Magnum 500 hand cannons. I live in an apartment building and would never use it for home defense unless the invader was a Kodiak bear . . . not likely in South Florida. It would be to hard to get the goblin up against an outside wall so I'd be out of danger of putting a big hole in one of my neighbors three apartments down.

Posted by: Larry Kephart on April 6, 2005 05:59 PM

"The .357 is too fucking heavy to carry in one hand when you think your home has been invaded and it's a double-action, too. Lots of firepower, but too slow in an emergency."

What is the disadvantage of double-action in a .357? I suppose you meant to say single-action, correct?

Of course, it matters not if they don't exist... ;)

Posted by: rimfirejones on April 6, 2005 06:04 PM

You gotta cock the goddam thing before you can pull the trigger. And cock it again before every shot

Is that single-action or double action?

I can just pull the trigger on my non-existent .38. I don't have to cock it first.

Of course, you know how a semi-auto .380 works.

Posted by: Acidman on April 6, 2005 06:18 PM

Shotguns are best for home defense but, if you're going with a handgun, there are a few things to consider. Shot placement is what matters most, so indeed you can kill somebody with a .22 or .380. However, in a situation like that, the idea is to stop the threat (if the intruder is dead as a result, well, the threat is stopped). It is difficult to be that accurate in such a situation. Law enforcement has moved away from the .380 and 9mm to the .40 and .45, which has more stopping power. Also, a hallow point bullet will stop in its target instead of going through a wall or through the perp.

Posted by: oregano on April 6, 2005 06:19 PM

That's single action, A-man. Meaning there is only a SINGLE way you can fire it. Double action revolvers you can cock and shoot or just pull the trigger (a longer harder pull than if you pull the hammer back), hence DOUBLE action. Then there is DAO (Double Action Only). This revo doesn't have an exposed hammer that you can cock. You have to use the long trigger pull to do the job.

Single action semi-autos pistols have to be cocked before being shot. A 1911 is a good example. A Double action, like my H&K can be shot with or without the hammer back. Both have to have a round chambered to do a damned thing though.

There are also DAO semis. Some say a Glock is one and some say it technically ain't. I leave that for the gun geeks to hash out.

Posted by: rightisright on April 6, 2005 06:27 PM

A double-action .357 magnum is pretty much a fail- safe weapon to have at the ready when asleep: just point and squeeze the trigger-no worries about whether it's cocked, has one in the chamber, etc. No mis-feeds, stovepipes, etc. to worry about in the heat of the moment and in a just awoken haze either. I keep a 7-shot, lightweight (Ti) revolver at the ready.

If I had one, that is... ;^)

Posted by: rimfirejones on April 6, 2005 06:50 PM

The two best for home defense- my opinion- are a good revolver and a shotgun. Revolver requires no action to get it ready, just pick it up. And if you have time and/or need, no handgun ever made can match the close-range stopping power of a shotgun.

I would say double-action on the revolver, though.

Posted by: Mark on April 6, 2005 07:15 PM

I like the semi-auto because if I rack it once, I'm good for six shots just as fast as I can pull the trigger. Plus, with an extra mag, reloading is fast and easy.

But for home defense, you shouldn't need that extra mag.

Posted by: Acidman on April 6, 2005 07:17 PM

Good taste, RIGHTISRIGHT, H&K is an excellent choice. Actually Glock is a striker fired pistol. If you've ever shot one you'll know immediatly it's not like anything else, different action but more like single action than double. The trigger "breaks" kinda like a torque wrench, at the same pressure each time. Once you're used to it, it is a very consistent platform. Hollow points are certainly best for not only home defense but personal defense in any arena. But if your shootin large bore artillary, It just don't freakin' matter, you're gonna overpenatrate. Good point about the hallway A-man. Something to consider before choosing your weapon. But for one shot stops, there ain't no better. (hacksaws take care of that pesky length issue.) can't remember if 18" or 16" is the minimum, (I know it's 16" for a rifle) either way it is much easier to wield in tight quarters.

Posted by: DONGER on April 6, 2005 07:23 PM

Hey, Rob. You remind me of G. Gordon Liddy. Being a Watergate participant, he's a convicted felon. He can't own any guns. He maintains "I don't own any guns......But Mrs. Liddy owns 57." lol. Don't know why that popped in my mind.

Posted by: DONGER on April 6, 2005 07:32 PM

I don't own any guns. My Uncle Virgil does, though.

Posted by: Acidman on April 6, 2005 08:30 PM

I've had my eye on one of those S&W .500's for a while now. My 686 .357 and 629 .44 aren't quite blowing my skirt up anymore, but I'll wager one of those will for a while.

If anyone ever breaks into the Casa de Lion, I'll likely go to a cannon if at all possible. While the concept of a few 12 gauge slugs to the chest of the breakee is appealing, a shotgun is rather unwieldily in close quarters, especially if you've just been rudely awakened.

As for why you'd use a hand cannon in the first place, simple: If some asswipe breaks into my home, they're not just getting shot, nor simply getting dead. They're going THROUGH the damn wall AFTER their lungs, spine and various assorted internal organs blaze the trail.

.380s are for girls. I know this as I bought one for a girlfriend years back. Cute little pop guns.

Posted by: Mr. Lion on April 6, 2005 09:24 PM

Holy shit, A-man...

.357 Magnum. Check.
.38 Colt. Check.
.380. Check.
Ruger .22. Check.
NAA Mini .22. Check.
12 gauge. Check.
Single shot .410. Nope. Side-by-side.

Damn. I was starting to think you'd raided my gun cabinet...

Posted by: Jay G on April 6, 2005 09:25 PM

Whatever,Lion. .380 for girls?...yeah, dangerous ones. Why don't you just get a Mk19-3 40mm automatic grenade launcher? Maybe an RPG. Or hell, why not a Tomahawk fuckin' cruise missile!? Who gives a shit about what's on the other side of the next 3 rooms. I mean it's just yer kids right? You can make more. What the fuck ever.

Posted by: DONGER on April 6, 2005 09:44 PM

Yes, .380s are for girls.

All kidding aside, if my life is on the line, I'm not counting on anything shy of a .45. Energy counts, and I'm not going to trust my life to the latest super-uber-mega-spiffy-XTRJKLMNOP hollow-point expanding as advertised in ballistic jelly on someone who wants to rob and/or kill me.

When I fire the first round, I want the sum' bitch on the ground ruining my carpets, while the fastest weight loss surgery in history slides down the wall behind him.

Energy matters, and .380's don't have much of it.

Posted by: Mr. Lion on April 6, 2005 10:15 PM

You're gonna need plenty of that "energy" when you're the defendant trying to explain why his neighbor is dead, or you're own kids or your aunt fuckin Bee. You want one stop shot get a shotgun. Chances are after the sandman takes a giant shit in yer face and you wake up groggy, you still won't miss. What would you do? You wake up to a loud crack and a distant boom, screaming next door. You walk in the next room to find your daughter choking on her own blood after a .50 caliber round entered the exterior wall of her bedroom? You find out later that your neighbor has a dead bad guy in his living room, and that .50 cal round that killed your kid exited HIS sorry excuse for a home defense weapon. Whatcha gonna do there, Mr. blow their spine out? Tell you what I'm gonna do. Gonna save him the trouble of being the defendant in a man slaughter case by placing a well aimed (all be it smaller) hunk of lead in his brain base. Worst case scenario, you say? So's waking up to an intruder in your house. SHIT HAPPENS! My law enforcement background has taught me alot about wat CAN happen. Keep your rocket launcher Lion. Hope it "blows yer skirt up" for years to come.

Posted by: DONGER on April 6, 2005 10:49 PM

Verily, A-man - I too keep a (Walther PPK) .380 where the Tooth Fairy used to visit, and a Glock 26 9mm at arm's reach. Also a smaller house, and my daughter's room is directly in line with my bedroom door. No hand cannons for in-house defense for me. I also have an S&W Ti in .38 Special, but frankly (as it's hammerless and DA only), I find the long trigger pull tough to keep on target. The lack of weight also results in eye-opening recoil. Beautiful piece, but don't trust myself with it enough to bet my life with it.
Side tip for self defense: I used to keep only Hydra-Shok Hollow Points (90 gr. for the .380, and 147 gr. for the 9) in the mags until I read a study (at Kim DuToit's, I think) showing heavy winter coats and clothing can keep HPs from fully penetrating to the good parts. In winter (we have those here in Pa) I now alternate HP and ball cartridges in the mags, whether I'm in home or outside. I just can't imagine an invading shitstain having the coutesy to hang up his parka once he enters my home.
Note to Pa. law enforcement folks: OK - I'm awake now. All a dream sequence - let's move along now........

Posted by: Pete the Streak on April 7, 2005 07:43 AM

MB's 5-shot 12ga. trap-load pump-action pistol-grip Mossberg, with chamber empty, but safety off is ready to rock&roll, no glasses on needed. It makes a hell of a racket on the first rack, too !! The pistol grip is great, as a ready-carry can be managed with one hand. The trap-load means it doesn't go that far. Hangs over the doorway out of the bedroom. Having been a Mom, still have that one-ear-cocked sleeping style. Figure I'm all set for whatever.

Posted by: MommaBear on April 7, 2005 08:00 AM

Personally, I will stick with my non-existant 9mm. It is light, easy to use, carries plenty o knock down power and holds nine if you knock one in the chamber first and push another one in the clip. The non-existant Police only shatter shells would be effective even from the other side of the wall if needed.

Posted by: Florida Bill on April 7, 2005 08:37 AM

My personal fav for HP's are the Speer Gold Dots...flying ashtrays. perform good through medium clothing, check 'em out. I too stack ammo but I give the HP's a chance to get the job done before the hard stuff kicks in. My Glock 23 .40cal has 4 Gold Dots on top of FMJ semi wads. I still think the round shit goes too far for use in my house. I figure after 4 rnds of ashtrays flying at hypothetical bad guy, He and/or I have already taken cover and a little penetration is in order. This is all of course only if I don't have time to get to my Remington 870 Express. #8 shot seems plenty to me. Keep the 00 buck for the field. Bird shot'll fuck someone up just the same, at least at combat range.

Posted by: DONGER on April 7, 2005 09:08 AM

Donger - thanks for the tip. I'll check the Gold Dots out.
Stacking a few HPs on top of the hard stuff is a good idea in the home; on the street, I'm not so worried about blowing thru drywall, and will keep the alternate cartridge arrangement during the heavy coat months. Would prefer not to have to get to my 4th shot before we see the desired result.
You are also correct on the hand cannon issue, for any number of reasons. If you're in your home, I can't imagine a scenario where you'd even be shooting at a distance of more than 5 yards. Even a .25 will get someone's immediate attention at that range. And yeah - a .44 Magnum or .50 cal is legal, but I can guarantee ya a world of legal headaches if an innocent get hits, or a neighbor's property gets damaged, even in a righteous shoot, using that artillery. Your 'intent' will be scrutinized under a microscope, and your use of such a weapon will be construed more along the lines of 'bloodlust' than self defense. Simply leaving comments on these posts that exude macho bravado came come back to haunt you should you ever actually have to pull a trigger, and an inquiry follows. Don't hesitate to defend you and yours, but also don't pretend actions don't have consequences, many of which are unexpected and potentially disastrous. Arm yourself responsibly, and act the same way. Shooting another human being is always the last of resorts.

Posted by: Pete the Streak on April 7, 2005 10:45 AM

1) I don't have kids.
2) I don't have an aunt Bee.
3) Like any responsible shooter, I can actually hit what I intend to, and do not spray and pray regardless of background.

Further, I hate to bust your bubble, but buckshot goes through drywall as readily as any magnum-grade pistol round.

Hand-wringing over what-ifs is a fairly pointless exercise, and even in the unlikely event of a stray round causing unintended harm, I'd rather be judged by twelve than carried by six.

Posted by: Mr. Lion on April 7, 2005 10:49 AM

It's good to know that since you don't "actually" have guns you'll never "actually" shoot anyone with an "actual" bullet ... it'll all be theoretical, which will make your disembowled victim "actually" feel better about it all.
Works for me!

Posted by: maggot on April 7, 2005 10:49 AM

In cold climates, heavier guns do make more sense -- odds are someone who's broken into your house is wearing several layers of clothing and an underpowered round may not do all the much damage to him unless you get real lucky.

Still, even in cold climates, interior walls aren't any thicker than in a tropical clime, so caution is as always essential.

But y'know, you can accidentally kill a family member or even a neighbor even with a pea-shooter if you don't exercise due care.

That's the bottom line: don't be reckless with a deadly weapon. PERIOD.

Posted by: McGehee on April 7, 2005 10:54 AM

Hey Donger - my last post 'sermonizing' about consequences wasn't directed at you, even though it may have seemed that way. (Pete - proofread your comments!). It was meant for us all, myself included. And it's all just my own opinion, for whatever the hell it's worth.

Posted by: Pete the Streak on April 7, 2005 10:54 AM

Agreed, 12ga is the home defense weapon of choice, none better. Since I live in an apartment, I also load mine with bird shot, buck shot is over kill, and might just wind up killing one of my neighbors. From 10', #8 shot will put anyone on their ass, especially from a 12ga. Just racking a round into the chamber ought to make said perp flee, if he has any brains whatsoever. I keep a loaded .45 auto in the nightstand for fast action should the need arise.

The SKS, various deer and varmint hunting rifles are safely locked away, as well as the newest addition, a Ruger Super Redhawk, chambered in .454 Casull. The handgun is totally useless as a defense weapon, weighing in at close to 7lb, with a 9" barrel, but it's a blast (literally) at the local sand pit.

Posted by: Anthony L. on April 7, 2005 11:46 AM

Buy the right bullets and a .380 is plenty of gun. I'll guarantee you that those high-grain, hollow-points I load will fuck up somebody in a parka.

I ain't talking wad-cutters here.

Posted by: Acidman on April 7, 2005 06:16 PM

Lion, read more carefully, I load my shotgun w/ birdshot not (and I think I emphasized that point) with 00 buck. Newsflash **you don't like birdshot? 00 ain't the only buck out there.** Try #1. ( got no kids, no cute little aunt Bee, no all by yer lonesome up in the fuckin' worry's! Go for the Big shit! Whatever, man.
I don't know you, but go back and read your posts. You sound like you can't wait for someone to come in your house so you can get your blood and guts fix. Pete said it best. "macho bravado" is not taken very seriously in an argument for these issues. We obviously agree on our right to bear these arms. What we don't agree on is our responsibility that goes with those rights. Not sure how many issues of "Guns and Ammo" are stacked in your bathroom, if you eat your breakfast from an ammo can, spreadin yer jelly with a Kabar, or walk around the house in yer skivvies wearin' a kevlar helmet and jungle boots, but it sounds really ignorant to say a .380 is a "cute little pop gun.....for girls" You have no idea what you're talking about. I've seen fatalities from .380's, more than a few, many of them instantaneous. Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, I know all the cliches....Tried by twelve, not carried by six...cold dead fingers, bullets first....means more coming from someone who can talk objectively about this subject.(one that is very dear to my heart)

Posted by: DONGER on April 7, 2005 06:53 PM

From the Marine Corps Rules of Gunfighting:

"24. Do not attend a gunfight with a handgun, the caliber of which does not start with a ".4""

Posted by: Steve on April 7, 2005 10:31 PM
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