Re: GUNS/TOOLS: Needed? was: GUNS/TOOLS: cheap Glocks for Bay Area extropians

From: Michael S. Lorrey (
Date: Fri Jan 12 2001 - 18:33:46 MST

Justin Corwin wrote:
> >SIG and Ruger are two makers that I recommend new buyers look at. The
> >P94 and the entire P series is a great autoloader family from Ruger, and
> >for 'first pistols' I'd recommend the GP101 revolver.
> i've never owned a gun before, though i've shot them.
> as a young man, i have a certain fascination with guns(compressed power,
> basically) but i'm also a little leery of them.

Excessive leeryness is lost with experience, but it is always smart to
be careful.

> but it seems that some on this list see self defense as impractical without
> one(i originally continued studying martial arts for similar reasons..) so
> it seems i must be interested in defending myself. and i'm wondering what
> people in this thread think of whether someone like me ought to get
> aquainted with firearms, and/or purchase one. any suggestions would be
> welcome, with an addendum to my personality that i would rather save up and
> buy a nice solid item, than start with a "newbie" item and have to ugrade
> later. i'm thinking that would hold true for firearms as well, but don't
> know enough about them to make an informed decision.

First off, what country and state/province and city are you in? This
makes a big difference as to how to approach things, but I would look
into signing up for firearms safey classes as soon as you can. The NRA
supports a worldwide network of instructors and classes that anyone can
use to gain proficiency, and most all jurisdictions that require
training prior to obtaining permits recognise these classes as qualified
(indeed, they were first created specificially for New York State
training requirements). So far as I know, only Massachusetts does not
recognise NRA training classes (though they've swiped the material and
run their own classes for many times more money). Go to
and follow the links for info on classes near you.

Then you want to decide what gun you are going to use.
This is determined by several factors: What will be your purpose in self
defense? what your normal style of dress will be while carrying (though
I own a couple for summer vs winter wear), your body size and strength,
as well as what you are comfortable with.

If you are only interested in home defense then you could easily use a
pump action shotgun with frangible slugs or buckshot, or a heavy caliber
pistol with frangible bullets. If you are in a high crime area with
corrupt cops, you might be worried about criminals with body armor
(surplus vests sold to them by cops, no kidding, Seattle is one of these
towns), in which case you would want something that penetrates this,
like a .22, .22-250, .22 hornet, or .22 magnum round (these are good
rounds for a backup weapon if you plan on carrying one).
Using frangible ammo is smart because it limits penetration, so you
don't have to worry so much about the bullet going through a perp and
hitting a bystander behind them as well, or penetrating a wall and
hitting someone on the other side.
If stopping power is what you are interested, dropping a perp
immediately with little chance of him continuing an assault, then you'll
want to use a larger caliber pistol round, from 9mm, .40, .45 ACP, .45
Special, .45 Long Colt, .44 magnum, .454 Casull, or .480 Ruger. Hollow
point ammo, especially +P powered hollow point like Cor-Bon is highly
effective in stopping a perp, but oddly enough less likely to kill them
from wounds than a small caliber like .22 (because they don't go into
shock as easily from smaller calibers, they bleed easier). At this
point, 9mm and .40 Liberty are the primary self defense calibers, with
.45 ACP and .44 magnum close behind. .454 Casull is a powerhouse round
that only a well built man over 6 feet can really handle with ease.
Now, if concealability is your thing, then you could look at a .25, .32,
or .357 caliber gun. SeeCamp, and some clone companies make some decent
very compact .32 caliber autoloaders that fit in the pocket of one's
khakis with little or no 'printing' or sag. The Airlite .357 and .38
special revolvers from S&W and Taurus are made from titanium and are
extremely light with similar concealability.

Before you choose your gun, make some friends at a local club and tell
them you are shopping and would like to try what they have if they are
willing. Don't buy your first gun new from the manufacturer, a used gun
is fine and most stock in many gunshops are used weapons that are
generally kept in excellent condition. Some gunshops have basement
ranges, typically if they run classes as well they will have a range
that you can try out different used guns. Read gun magazines and books,
become one of those guys at the grocery story people look leery at for
reading 'those gun magazines' (sometimes I'll read 'Soldier of Fortune'
at Borders Books while emitting a Beavis-like chuckle, just to see what
people around me do...;-)). A book on home gunsmithing for minor things
is an excellent reference.

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