In practical terms, guns are useful, sometimes essential tools for the doomsteader. Calling 911 is already an iffy proposition out in the country, and will become more so as the collapse continues. We're even less likely to be able to rely on Animal Control to deal with feral dogs, coyotes, and other menaces to the livestock. Hunting has usually been a way to augment rural diets. And farm animals sometimes need to be dispatched. (If you think Old Yeller was sad, imagine if Travis had to use a fence post instead of a rifle!)
Even if it were a good idea, you can't un-invent technology. Guns are going to be around whether you're a fan of shootin' irons or not. So you'd best familiarize yourself with them.
Guns are really pretty simple technology. If it were somehow possible for the Authorities to eliminate enough of the hundreds of millions of guns that are already out there in America to create a shortage, making more would be no great difficulty. Never mind the new 3D printable firearms. Anyone with a little skill and access to a typical garage can whip-up zip-guns and slam-fire shotguns easily. A hobbyist with a decent backyard machine shop can produce fully-functional, modern firearms. In fact, it is far easier to fabricate a modern submachine gun than a common revolver. So attempts to disarm the public could actually result in weapons upgrades.
"Get training!" the parrots love to squawk when you talk about guns. And it certainly is important that anyone handling firearms know how to do so safely and with a reasonable degree of skill. But the obsession with formal, standardized instruction and certification plays into the hands of hoplophobes. Modern guns are designed to be simple and easy to carry and use safely. Stick to a few rules (covered in another chapter) and you won't shoot anyone you don't mean to. A modest amount of practice, and you'll be able to competently shoot someone or something when you need to. It just isn't rocket science.
There are also a lot of folks out there selling tactical / combat / advanced defense shooting courses. If it looks like something you'd enjoy, go for it. But don't take it too seriously. More than a few of the wannabe gunfighting experts are working to prove Barnum's theory about suckers being born every minute. Even those with legit combat or police cred have training and experience in something that has rather little bearing on anything we're likely to face defending our doomsteads.
After a much-publicized incident where one jihadi reportedly gunned-down dozens of people in a nightclub, some noted that one patron with a handgun might have cut short the rampage and saved many lives. I was struck by how many people thought this was ridiculous because there's no way someone with a pistol could stop a maniac wielding an "assault weapon".
Picking up a gun... Even a scary, black, modern-looking rifle, does not make a person invulnerable to a humble .38 Special bullet from a cheap revolver. Or a tire-iron to the the back of the head for that matter. Remember that a gun isn't a magical trump card, whether it's in your hands or someone else's.
Guns are like a lot of other things in that you can go cheap and get junk, spend a bit more and get decent quality, or spend a king's ransom to get something just a little bit better. Most people find the price-to-quality balance that suits them, and the brand / design type they find most appealing, and are comfortable with their choice. They also respect that others have their own priorities and will choose differently.
Then there are jackasses who hang around firing ranges and Internet forums and seem to think that anyone who buys less than the Super-Elite Deluxe Custom Special Platinum model firearm is pathetic trailer trash. Sometimes it's a Fudd who believes his engraved and inlaid over-under fowling piece is morally superior to your economy model pump shotgun. Other times it's a wannabe Operator who belittles any rifle not chambered in the latest super-cartridge and fitted with optics that cost more than a nice used car. Frequently it's someone with an irrational fixation on their favorite brand. (Looking at you, Glocktards.)
Also acting as the rain on everyone else's parade are the know-it-all types who have to rag on anyone who doesn't (yet) shoot quite as well as they do. Or uses a different grip or stance, even if they DO shoot better!
Basically, try to ignore these jerks. If you need to shoot a deer to feed your family, an old thutty-thutty with factory irons will get it done just fine. If you have to stop a punk who just kicked-in your front door, it's not going to matter if you can shoot 100% in the ten-ring, or if you teacup your grip. And the bullet holes will be the same whether you use a Kimber or a Hi-Point. If today turns out to be the day you have to defend yourself, a Taurus revolver in the hand is worth much more than a Colt Python you're saving-up for.
You can't emphasize safety too much, right? ...WRONG! Harping on something incessantly doesn't get your point across. It gets you tuned-out and ignored. And, after a point, it becomes lame "virtue signalling".
Yes, it is essential to employ safe gun handling habits and procedures. But check out Internet videos and you'll see it taken to weird levels. Some gun reviewers verify their guns are unloaded so many times I think they are going to wear the things out with all that compulsive slide-racking. What? Do you think it magically reloaded in the two seconds since you last checked it?
Then come the comments. "You swept somebody/something!" "Can't you see that traffic downrange?!" "You don't have a good enough backstop!"
Of course everyone muzzle-sweeps themselves and other people sometimes. It is impossible not to. That traffic downrange is miles beyond the range of the shotguns we're shooting. (You can't judge distance on a video screen.) We know what is beyond that treeline or hill rise you think we're counting on as a backstop.
So chill-out. You can practice and encourage safe firearms handling without being an obnoxious nag.
When discussions turn to choice of caliber, someone is bound to spout the old chestnut about shot placement. And it is true that a hit with a BB gun will do more damage than a miss with a 12 gauge slug. But, given the same shot placement, caliber can make a huge difference. When you're a split second from dying if you don't shoot the other guy first, you will not be a perfect marksman, no matter how much time you've put in on the range. Caliber can be the difference between a bullet that slows down in clothes and surface flesh before stopping against a rib, and a bullet that crashes through that rib and the vital organs beyond.
Yes, the humble .22 rimfire has an impressive record of lethality. But having a maniac die of internal bleeding or peritonitis hours or days after you shoot him won't do you much good. You need something that is going to end the threat immediately.
Choose the most potent caliber you can shoot well and reasonably carry.
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