27Sep/110

CHL and Mouse Guns

CHL and Mouse Guns

This is the third in a series of articles that should be of particular interest to CHL holders.  My first article was on the necessity of obtaining a CHL in today’s world, along with some of my basic convictions that one should consider when carrying concealed.

The second article, and to my mind, the most important subject to CHL holdersis is the legal aspect of carrying—both before and after a shooting.  You never want to be in the unenviable position of discharging your weapon and saying: OMG. What happens now?

It would be wise to keep in mind that CHL could also be read as Carry Hidden and Legal.

This article is about mouse guns.   So what’s a mouse gun?  No bunko, it’s not a gun for shooting mice, chipmunks, or any other critter that can be weighed on a postal scale.  A mouse gun is one of small caliber but not necessarily in a small frame.  Some mouse guns are as big and of sufficient weight to be classified as heavy weights, and there in lies the rub.  Actually there are three rubs to consider when choosing your personal carry weapon; regardless of what category you might put it in; namely: Caliber, Size, and Weight.  These criteria’s must be carefully measured against your strengths and weaknesses if you’re serious about carrying daily.  A gun that is too heavy or to big or to powerful for you to handle is a gun that you will leave at home more often than not and that is a rub that can, if you pardon the pun, get you rubbed out.  The solution to this conundrum is simple: You need more than one carry gun.   And one of those guns will, out of necessity, be a mouse gun.

Mouse gun calibers are all of the rim fire cartridges, 25ACP, 32 ACP (AKA 7.65mm Browning) and all antique cartridges, such as the 32 S&W, 32 S&W Long, and all other calibers that fall under the power curve of the 38Sp.  It was not to long ago that the.380 ACP was also in the mouse gun category.  But due to the advancements in metallurgy and propellants, the .380 has had a status upgraded.  It is now considered by many to be the minimum caliber one should carry as an every day carry gun.  In fact, there are many gun writers today that believe that the 38 Special should be your minimum carry caliber.  In reality, and to put in plain and simple language, the minimum caliber that one should carry will vary from day-to-day and from month-to-month.  In other words, what gun you’ll be carrying during the winter months is not going to be the same gun that you’ll carry in the summer months.  And that’s good.  Now you have sufficient justification to purchase more than one gun.  And that’s a nice place to be.  If I knew that my day would end badly, I would carry a sawed-off 12 gauge shotgun; but I’ve been told that it isn’t considered PC to do so in polite society.  This is why mouse guns and other alternative carry options, such as Kimber’s Pepperblaster II have become vital additions to add to one’s personal protection arsenal.

On of the more popular mouse guns available today is the 32ACP, and one of the smallest guns in this caliber is the Kel-TEC P-32.  With a 7+1 capacity and an AOL (over all length) of 5.1 inches, and a 6.6 ounce frame, it is more than likely to be left in one’s pocket as opposed to being left on the kitchen table.  A step up from this cartridge is the .32 H&R (Harrington & Richardson) Magnum.  This caliber works nicely in theTaurus 731 Ultra-Lite DA (double action) Revolver.  The Taurus 731 weighs17 ounce with an OAL of 6.5 inches.  The .32 H&R Magnum propels an 85 grain bullet to a muzzle energy of 237 ft-lbs.  This is a nice increase over the .32ACP, which propels a 71 grain bullet to a muzzle energy of only128 ft-lbs.  We can make a quantum leap in muzzle energy (334 and 435 ft-lbs depending on load used) when we go to the Ruger SP101 revolver in .32 Federal Magnum; but the leap is so great that it propels this cartridge out of the mouse gun category and into the full frame category. The Ruger SP 101 has an OAL of 8 Inches and weighs 28 ounces, which is bigger than many .357 Magnums and too similar in size to many .45ACP semi-auto pistols.  This gun is definitely not a mouse gun, regardless of the criteria you wish to judge it by.

Let’s get back on course…mouse guns are by definition dimensional small, light weight guns of minimal caliber.  A gun that can’t be dropped into your pocket and forgotten until needed is not a mouse gun but rather a serious carry gun.  When your mouse gun starts to look more like a S&W 340 M&P (Military & Police) .38/.357 revolver with a carry weight of 13.3 ounces and an OAL of 6.3 inches, it’s time to reconsider your mouse gun requirements; that is, if you have any at all.

Now that you’re carrying a mouse gun, have you thought about tactics?  It’s a MOUSE GUN bunko…it’s not a go to war gun.  It’s a get out of a bad situation weapon.   It’s your “Mae West” and that in it self is a comforting thought.

Mouse gun Tactics (Good advice for any CHL holder to heed)

  • If you are in a situation that is going bad, get a grip on you mouse gun quickly, if not sooner.
  • Do not draw your concealed weapon until absolutely necessary.
  • Absolutely necessary for me is when the Bad Guy (BG) is within three to four yards and closing.
  • If possible exit the situation before it escalates into a shooting match.  Don’t start the confrontation.  Remember that you are holding a mouse gun and not a Glock, Sig, S&W, or customized 1911.
  • Stay calm…draw from a concealed position or when the BG isn’t looking your way.
  • No preamble to shooting like “Make my day.”  If you must shoot, then shoot and shoot and shoot until the BG is down.
  • And my favorite piece of advice…Pray to God for guidance that all will end well for you and for all the innocent people that have walked into a bad situation.  And also pray that your attorney is not vacationing in the Keys when you pull the trigger.

If any of you are wondering what mouse guns Scorpio carries, wonder no more.  I carry a .22 WMR High Standard Derringer, two Kel-Tec P3ATs, and the Kimber Pepperblaster.  And I’m still looking for another mouse gun that can fulfill my particular requirements.

My final thoughts on mouse guns:  If you can handle and hide something bigger, please do.  But always keep in mind that any gun is better than no gun at all.  Forget what you have in your gun safe; when you need a gun, you need it NOW.  Hence, the popularity of the mouse gun prevails and always will prevail wherever and whenever a small defense weapon is the only option open to you.

Scorpio

Pax vobiscum (Peace be with you)

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19Sep/110

CHL –The legal side

CHL –The legal side

In my last blog I mentioned the necessity of obtaining a CHL if one is prepared to be responsible for his or her own safety.  For me having a CHL falls under the category of self preservation.  A subject that has been in the forefront of my thinking ever since my mother stopped dressing me, and I began to realize that I was, and  always will be the first responder to my clarion call for “under attack--need immediate assistance.”  If you are to be your own first responder, than what I have to say concerning every facet of concealed carry, including what happens after you have discharged your weapon, and especially if you killed your aggressor, should provide you with much food for thought and reflection.

Although the majority of us strive to give trouble a wide berth, we realize that in this very mobile society trouble often finds us simply because we were in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Unfortunately much of this is based on Murphy’s Law.  For those of you who just landed on this planet, the expression goes like this: Whatever can go wrong will go wrong, and at the worst possible time, in the worst possible way. I’ve heard many a wise person, namely military personnel; say that they believed that Murphy’s Law was one of optimism…Always prepare for the worst and pray for the best.

We are going to prepare for the worst by starting out at worst case scenario…you have just been involved in a righteous(of course) shooting.  From there we’ll go backwards to cover such topics as: firearms (including mouse guns), personal protection ammo, holsters and almost holsters, clothing, environment awareness, and practical shooting exercises.

Pop Quiz:   I ended my last blog with this question: ‘Should I retrain a lawyer before I leave my house armed?’  Answer: Y-E-S!  It’s called having insurance incase of an accident.  We think nothing of spending thousands of dollars each year on life, fire, home, car, etc, insurance; so why not purchase an “Out of Jail” insurance card?  I have one, and I hope I never have to use it.  But I like having that warm fuzzy feeling knowing that I’ve covered myself on both ends of a righteous shooting.

From the outset let me say that I am not an attorney nor do I posses legal or actual experience in this field.  In other words, I have never shot anyone, and therefore I have never had to deal with the authorities or our judicial system.  And although I have had close encounters of the wrong kind, it was real world knowledge, combined with the proper mind set that got me safely through a situation that could have turned out otherwise.  I have always found it wiser to learn from those individuals that have blazed   a path upon which I can safely travel. They have enabled me to stand on their shoulders and look through their eyes so that I may avoid the traps and pitfalls that have befallen many a good person that did not have proper legal guidance.  Being right doesn’t always win the day.  And we all know that bad things can happen to good people, especially if they are totally ignorant of the law or who lack the common sense (knowledge) to keep their bloody mouths shut by forgetting that any thing that they say can truly be used against you.  Take a hint from one of the popular defense posters from WWII: “Loose lips sink ships.  It still is good advice seventy-one years later, and   especially in today’s litigious society.

By now you should realize that this topic is one in which you better get control of before you have to pull the trigger; because after the event, you don’t want to hear a voice in your head saying: “What do I do now?”

If you should get into a justified shooting and you do not have access to legal counsel, please keep the following advice in mind.  It comes from a Self-Defense Guideline Card that crossed my path many years ago.  The author / source are unknown. But the advice is consistent to what is given today.  I would seriously take it to heart.

If you have been involved in a shooting incident, the following steps should be taken but only after you are completely sure there is no longer a threat.

  • Secure the weapon the assailant used.  Check yourself for injuries.  Make a complete check of the scene, however, don’t tamper with any evidence.  If the person shot is no longer a threat try to help him.  Do not talk to him or use abusive language.  Don’t touch the assailant if he appears to be dead.  Don’t let anyone else handle any evidence.
  • Call the police as soon as possible. Tell them what has taken place, and your location.  Ask for emergency medical assistance. Don’t give too many details of the incident over the phone.  Put your weapon away, and keep it out of sight.  Innocent people have been shot by the police because they were holding weapons when the officers arrived.  Try to spot them first and attract them in a non-threatening manner.  At first the police may treat you like a suspect, especially if you have a weapon.  Do as you are told.  Do not question or argue with them.
  • Call your lawyer.  Make no statements to the police or anyone else until your attorney is present.  He should meet you at the scene if possible.  Tell him exactly what happened and let him do the talking for you. If you must meet the police by yourself, be sure not to make any statements. Explain to the police politely, but firmly, that you don’t want to talk until your attorney arrives.  Keep in mind that anything you say can, and will, be used against you.
  • When the Paramedics arrive get medical treatment for shock for yourself and any other person involved whether physically injured or not.
  • Stay away from the news media.  Never talk or make any sort of statement to them.  Let your attorney make any statement for you.  Remember, the news media has NO authority.
  • Legal actions.  You are justified in using lethal force only if you “feared for your life” or that of another person.  Don’t apologize for defending yourself.  Avoid statements such as “I’m sorry I had to shoot.” “I regret the incident happened.”  Such statements are equated with feeling of guilt.  You are remorseful therefore your actions are inappropriate.  Such statement can cost you later on in a court of law.
  • Stress. Persons involved in shooting incidents face a great amount of stress.  Psychological problems sometimes appear, and even physical ones such as sleeplessness, headaches, and diarrhea and heart problems.  These problems are common and affect even trained law enforcement officers.  If you encounter any of these problems, seek professional help.

Remember: Loose lips sink ships.   So please don’t shoot your self in the foot by doing your Clint Eastwood impression for the crowd or the police.  Let common sense prevail.  Are you reflecting?

Scorpio

Pax vobiscum (Peace be with you.)

12Sep/110

Convictions for Concealed Carry

With the tenth anniversary of 9/11 past us it is only natural to think about the three thousand people that were murdered on that beautiful fall day in New York City.  And when you compound that horrible tragedy with all the other tragedies that have been perpetrated upon us by crazed gunman in our primary school systems, universities, malls, restaurants, churches, trains, military bases, etc., you begin to realize that the business of going about our daily lives in safety is, for all practical purposes, gone.  Yes, our day-to-day chores are still carried out in a carefree manner by millions of Americans, but they do so without any thought for their own self preservation or have the slightest desire to learn how to survive in a post 9/11 world.

There is no ultimate solution to surviving a crazed gunman spraying bullets from an AK-47 while you and your wife, just moments earlier, were blissfully enjoying breakfast at the local IHOP.  But if you have an interest in firearms, and especially if you have a CHL, you have just obligated yourself to seriously begin thinking about creating a survival mode of thinking—you do have a sense of self preservation. Don’t you?  I know I do. We are all going to leave this world someday, but we would all like to leave due to natural causes and not by lead poisoning.  On that, I’m sure, we can all agree upon.

In a post 9/11 world, carrying concealed is, for me, no longer an option but a duty to protect myself and my love ones from unwarranted harm.  It is a right that was granted to all of us by our Founding Fathers when they gave us the Second Amendment; they said: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. Even though this was written in eighteenth century English and style, its meaning and intent is as clear to me as if it was written in today’s vernacular…We free Americans have, as stated above, an individual and inviolably right to arm ourselves when necessary in order to protect our country, our lives and our property.

For those of you who believe in concealed carry, I suggest you read the volumes of books that have been written on this subject to determine what you can and cannot do, especially as this pertains to the specific laws in the state that you carry in.  As for me, these are my convictions about concealed carry and a starting point for many of you to consider and build upon.

Conviction 1: CARRY CONCEALED.  It’s the law.  Know the law.  Let the law work for you.  Not against you. This is one of the primary rules to follow when you’re a CHL holder.  You have now obligated yourself to be knowledgeable about the law, not what you think the law should be under this or that circumstance. The onus of carry concealed is heavy; but not as heavy as being ignorant of the law.  This is one area were “hearsay” and “I though” can be life changing experience of the worst kind.

Conviction 2: Carry 24/7 if at all possible.  Become familiar with the extra weight on your person…the knowledge that your weapon is secure but quickly reachable if necessary.  But most importantly, never convince yourself that today is the day that I can go without my sidearm.  After all it’s a beautiful fall day…what can possibly happen?

Conviction # 3: Public Carry. Don’t carry a firearm in public if you are not mentally and physically prepared to use it should you find yourself center stage in your worst nightmare.

Conviction # 4: Carry an adequate firearm / caliber.  But let’s be practical about it.  If we knew we would be in a fire fight before day’s end, the 12 gauge shotgun would be my weapon of choice.  But since we don’t know how our day is going to end, a more useful sidearm would be in a caliber no smaller than a .380ACP.  But if smaller gun / caliber are absolutely the only choice that is open to you, than a .22 rim fire or .25 ACP is better than nothing.  You might consider backing up that small caliber gun with an adequate volume of pepper spray.

Conviction # 5: FIREARM FAMILIARITY breeds confidence. Train in every aspect with your concealed weapon: shooting with two hands, strong hand and weak hand; drawing from different holster positions, especially from the sitting position; and don’t forget to end every practice session by shooting the actual ammo that you intend to carry.  The recoil from a .38Sp. wad cutter is not the same as the recoil from a HP .357 Mag.

Conviction # 6: Use Common Sense.  If you have CHL you more than likely have the intelligence to use it and your weapon wisely.  I strongly advise you to acquire as much knowledge on this subject as possible as you literally carry the power of life and death. So being responsible is not an option.

What I have started here has not been finished.  It would be an understatement to say that I have just scratched the surface.  This topic is too important to let it go with just these comments.  We still haven’t touched upon specific firearms and their calibers, personal protection ammo, holsters and almost holsters, clothing, practical practicing, and the law (not a treatise on gun laws but just hitting on the big topics, such as: should I retrain a lawyer before I leave my house?)

Scorpio

Pax vobiscum (Peace be with you.)

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4Sep/111

The Virtues of the Semi-Auto Pistol

The Virtues of the Semi-Auto Pistol

If you read my last piece: “The virtues of the Revolver,” you probably concluded that I am a revolver devotee and that I’ve barely gotten past the Colt SAA stage.  Unfortunately that would be an incorrect conclusion on your part as I was simply stating the obvious attributes of the revolver.  And yes, I do own and carry pistols.  And I, like so many of us who enjoy the shooting sports, do not limit ourselves to one type of firearm over the exclusion of others.  I enjoy shooting rifle, shotgun, revolver and pistol. Each is appreciated for its uniqueness and its ability to do what each class was designed to do best.  It is for this reason that I don’t believe that one manufacturer/style/caliber is best for all.  One size fits all is a bad philosophy to preach, especially to the neophyte hand gunner.  Of course I am partial to one brand and action of semi-auto over all others (and it’s not the 1911…sorry bunko) but I don’t push my preferences upon others.  And that’s how it should be.

Please keep in mind that the following comments are of a general nature; that is, they might not agree with your experience or your particular semi-auto.  With that said, let me say that the biggest and most obvious virtue of the semi-auto is its ability to carry more ammo than the revolver but less than an AR15.  Still, more is definitely better than less. Whether you have a 7+1, 8+1, 15+1, 17+1, etc. shooter, its payload is superior to my J-frame or K frame or N frame revolver.  Yet I still do not feel under gunned when carrying my S&W Model 13 for reasons that I look forward to sharing with you at a later date.

I like the svelte lines of the semi-auto.  Its bulbous free sides make it comfortable to carry if you have to carry without a holster.  If you consider safeties, slide releases, decockers, ambidextrous controls, lasers, flashlights, bayonets, and a SAM launcher, then the svelte lines begin to fade, but generally speaking not excessively.  But for me this is of little concern since my semi-autos go forth unadorned…and I like it like that. (But you should see my shotgun.  It does carry a SAM launcher…well, almost).

The trigger pull on most pistols are generally better than those found on revolvers.  They are lighter, smoother and have a shorter distance to travel than those found on revolvers.  Although most triggers on revolvers can be improved upon, generally speaking, the semi-auto has the edge in this category.

The sights found on the majority of semi-autos are good to excellent; but when compared to what?  When compared to your typical snub nose revolver, then the sights on pistols are superior, but when compared to the sights found on a target revolver, then “good” is as good as it gets.

Let’s keep in mind that comparisons are tricky if you don’t keep things equal and on the same playing field.  It’s an obvious statement but often overlooked when people compare one “something” against another “something” of a different stripe.  There are those that walk among us that feel perfectly justified in comparing the advantages of their high capacity pistol mounted with a LaserMax to a three hundred dollar Stevens Security Model Bottom Ejecting 12 gauge shotgun. Yes. But under what circumstances?  Yet the sad part about this is that these same people VOTE.

What do you feed your pistol?  I feed mine whatever it can digest without choking itself to death (and taking me along with it).  Is this a virtue?  Yes. Once you fine tune its diet it becomes very virtuous.  Even the revolver can’t digest a poorly made round.  All my pistols run like a fine tuned Swiss watch…now, not then.

Fast reloads…some say that this is another positive for the pistol.  I won’t argue against a valid opinion, but I will say that it is not a major factor in my decision on what to carry on any given day.  There are other factors to consider other than ammo capacity or having the option to a quick reload.   But that too is a discussion for another day.

Based on years of shooting, talking to and observing other shooters, I would like to put forth a general statement about those who shoot revolvers or pistols to the exclusion of the other.   For those individuals who fall in the category of “I just want something for the nightstand” or I want a gun but I don’t have a lot of time to spend with it, or I want something simple and straight forward because I’m mechanically challenged, then the obvious choice for this type of person would be the revolver.  For those individuals who take the shooting sport more seriously, who are willing to spend more time with their gun on and off the range, who are willing to spend additional dollars on enhancing their purchase, be it revolver or pistol, are candidates that can appreciate the virtues of the revolver and the pistol and can live happily ever after with both of them if they so choose.

Happy Shooting,

Scorpio

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