Sunday, May 10, 2015

The Road to Tashkent and Why I Carry a Gun

This is reblogged from my personal blog Former Action Guy:

In the fall of 2001 I was part of a Special Forces detachment that was training Uzbekistan Spetsnaz in Counter terrorism. I wrote about it in this post Baxmal . We would train our counterparts during the week and on the weekends most of us would make the 200 kilometer trip to the capital of Tashkent. There we would have a little rest and relaxation. The trip from our remote base to the capital was through some very dangerous country, on one of the only paved highways in the country. Although Uzbekistan is purportedly a civilized country, outside the cities it is in middle ages. The chief mode of transportation is the horse or burro and the people in the countryside live in mud houses with stables attached to the house. Goats are prized possessions.

Just like the middle ages the countryside crawled with terrorists and bandits. These ruthless individuals would rob or kill any target of opportunity they encountered. No one traveled the countryside with out arming themselves. Personally we were armed to the teeth. Often we would pass iconic Uzbeki autobuses on our journey to Tashkent. If a autobus got a flat tire the passengers had to unload and wait for the driver to hitch a ride with the tire, get it repaired and return. The passengers would build a fire and then post guards around the bus to protect themselves from bandits. These guards came from the passengers themselves and they pulled their Kalashnikov rifles from off the bus. These passengers realized that no police or military would be able to come to their aid should any bandits choose to pay them a visit. They needed to be responsible for their own safety.

That is a mindset I had to internalize over my years in Special Operations. This was necessary for survival. Often our missions would take us into remote areas where help was days even weeks away. I mean when your escape and evasion plan involved moving thousands of kilometers to link up with "friendly forces" you were pretty much on your own. No help was coming and you had to rely on yourself to protect yourself, your teammates and what belongs to you.

Fast forward to today. I live in a smallish city by some standards and a larger one by others. It is the second largest city in the state and has about 200,000 residents. Generally it would be considered "safe." However we do have a few murders yearly and violence seems to be on the rise. In the last 3 days there has been a shooting in an area close to where I work and a car jacking within running distance of my house. My own daughter experienced a car jacking attempt just a few weeks ago at a stop light. The police did not arrive until after all these incidents. So I carry a weapon. I have the training, the ability and I think the duty as a responsible armed citizen to protect myself and those I love.

The key word for me is responsibility. No one is going to protect me but me. I would be negligent if I stood by and let my family or anyone else come to harm. I know this is not for everyone and that is ok. But for someone with my background I feel it would be criminal to ignore my duty to act. The biggest component of this is I have the proper mindset. That is also something others may not have, that is also ok.

So I have laid out the reasons that I carry a weapon. You can choose to carry or not depending on your personality, experience and training. I think this is true for all citizens of this country. I also think it would be an injustice if those that have never been in harms way and have never experienced anything outside their insular world take away my choice to defend what is mine. De Oppresso Liber and Molon Labe

Monday, May 4, 2015

Choosing a Handgun and Ammunition for Home Defense or Concealed Carry

People that know my experience and training have asked me on more than one occasion what the best handgun for home defense or concealed carry might be? This then gets in to ammunition as well. I am not here to get wrapped up in a debate or cater to preferences. What I hope to briefly show is the logical and most reliable choices based upon my training and experience.

The two most important criteria when choosing any handgun are reliability and efficiency. A reliable handgun is one that is simple to use with a consistent moderate trigger press. A handgun that is efficient accomplishes its goal with a minimum of time,effort and energy. Based on these criteria different handgun operating systems can be categorized.

Acceptable - Double Action Only ( example SIG P250). These handguns have a higher bore access,higher felt recoil and a heavier trigger press. This heavier trigger press can affect your ability to stay on target ( deviation control.)

Mediocore--Double Action/Single Action (example Beretta 92 FS). These handguns have a different and inconsistent trigger press depending on if they are in single action or double action mode. They have the most complicated of operating systems.

Poor- Single Action Only (example 1911). These handguns have a complicated operating system that requires an external safety. They also have a lower cartridge capacity than other operating systems.

*DAO Revolvers are in the acceptable to mediocre catagory

Preferred- Modern Striker Fired Pistol (example Glock, M&P Series, or XD Series) They are simple, reliable and consistent. They have no additional external controls and they have a lower bore axis which aids in recoil control.

When choosing a MSF Pistol for home defense you should choose a full size handgun. When choosing one for concealed carry you should decide based on the handguns reliability and concealability. Choose the largest handgun you can effectively conceal.

You should also look at the fit, feel and cost of your handgun. Fit means your handgun allows you to manipulate all the controls with one hand while not breaking your firing grip. How does the handgun feel to you? If it meets all criteria but feels uncomfortable in your hand ( I am looking at you Kahr CW40) then you won't practice. Finally what is the cost? You need to get the best handgun you can afford.

Ammunition can also be categorized.

Ball ammunition is used for training and practice.

 Hollow point ammunition is used for self defense.

Your self defense ammunition should be a bonded hollow point bullet heavy for that caliber.

Acceptable defensive calibers are - .380- 10mm

Viable defensive calibers are - .38-.45 (. 38, 9mm, .40, .45). Wound characteristics between viable calibers is negligible.

Preferred- 9mm. The benefits of 9mm are cost. 9mm is generally less expensive than other calibers so theoretically individuals can afford to practice more often. Handguns chambered in 9mm have higher magazine capacity than those chambered in other calibers. 9mm has less recoil than some of the other calibers so affords the opportunity for more efficient recoil management. This translates to more efficient deviation control. These three benefits translate into a higher wounding capacity for the 9mm caliber.

So to sum up an individual should choose a Modern Striker Fired semi automatic handgun chambered in 9mm. Utilizing a bonded hollow point with a bullet heavy for caliber.