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Posted:  3/11/2014 9:56 AM #41047
CTD Blogger

Joined: 7/14/2009
Posts: 10828
Last Post: 8/20/2014
Subject: Ten Examples of the Internet’s Worst Gun Advice
( by Tom McHale -Apparently I’ve taken on a task that it simply not possible without violating several laws of our physical universe—picking only 10 of the worst pieces of shooting advice from the across the vast and vacuous expanse known as the internet.I stopped counting at 32,987,412,318. But no worries, I’ll persevere. Here we go, drum roll please… 1. A firearm light or laser will just give away your position! If the self-defense scenarios swirling around your brain involve moving ninja fights in the dark that emulate Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon moves, you’re absolutely right! A weapon light will give away your position, and your tactical pose hanging from the chandelier will be compromised. In real life, the benefits of seeing where and/or what you’re shooting at far outweigh any realistic disadvantages of “giving away your position.” One more thing, make it a point to tell the hundreds of thousands of military and law enforcement personnel who mount lights and lasers on their guns specifically for the purpose of fighting in the dark that this is a tactical blunder. What do they know anyway?


2. To defend your home, blast your shotgun through the front door!

We all know that politicians are (self-defined) experts in all things. Some of the best (worst!) gun advice in recent history comes from our very own vice president: “[if] you want to keep someone away from your house, just fire the shotgun through the door.” While blasting your shotgun through the door may help you drill a hole for one of those handy peep holes, it won’t help your legal cause in any way, shap,e or form. Most likely, this strategy will send you straight to jail. Just ask the Virginia Beach man who actually did this when confronted with two armed and masked home invaders. The bad guys escaped, but the Biden disciple was charged with a crime. The “Biden Defense” is just not likely to yield a positive outcome. Come on, we all know politicians are immune to repercussions from bad behavior. It’s an expected part of the job.

3. Don’t use an AR-15 for home defense!

You might have heard from internet commandos that a “high-powered” .223 round will go clear through your interior and exterior walls, Margaritaville machine, and most of Montana—or maybe that if you torch off a .223 round indoors, the building will explode. Actually, most standard AR-15 ammunition will only go through a few pieces of interior drywall with any significant energy. The projectiles are light and traveling extremely fast. This combination results in rapid tumbling and fragmentation when barriers are hit. While there may be other factors in the debate on using AR-15s for home defense, over-penetration is not one of them—especially when compared to pistol ammunition and buckshot. Of course, exceptions apply if you choose to use ammunition designed to penetrate.

Here's some practical advice: Always keep one hand on the wheel while shooting a tactical rifle from a golf cart.

Here’s some practical advice: always keep one hand on the wheel while shooting a tactical rifle from a golf cart.

4. You should carry your self-defense gun with the chamber empty.

Unless your self-defense gun is a single-action revolver with a hammer-mounted firing pin, that’s almost always bad advice. If you think you can simply keep an eye on things around you so you have plenty of time to draw your gun, and rack the slide, in the event of an attack, try a Tueller drill sometime. It’s enlightening and will quickly relieve you of any security gained by carrying with an empty chamber. Also, please write Hollywood and tell them to stop racking the slide every time someone is about to fire a gun. It’s a waste of perfectly good pretend ammunition.

5. I only train for head shots.

Some of the couch commandos elite-speak of training for head shots to defeat body armor and perhaps save ammunition during these tough economic times. On the range, a cardboard target is pretty darn easy to hit anywhere you like. Now try that while running full speed. Then try that while you and the target are running full speed. Then try it when everyone is running full speed, shouting, and the target is trying to kill you. Enough said.

6. You don’t have to aim a shotgun!

The tireless persistence of this one is incredible. At any reasonable self-defense distance, a shotgun pattern is measured in inches, and when indoors, usually less. Compared to firing a shotgun, you need to aim it less if you were to swing it like a club.

7. Any advice that includes the words “knockdown power.”

Remember Wayne’s brother Isaac? As in Newton? According to him, and word is that he was really, really good at science, if your gun could knock someone down, you would also be knocked down in the process of firing it. In fairness, some people who use this term really mean “stopping power.” Even still, guns, and especially pistols, just make little holes. Rifles make bigger holes, and therefore are more likely to have “stopping power” as big holes in our bodies tend to make us stop and evaluate things. I’m thinking that cannons and howitzers do have “knockdown power,” as the last time I held one and fired it, I was, in fact, knocked down.

8. Standing downrange during training is the best to prepare for a real gunfight!

Unless you’re a special forces operator and need to train with a half-dozen of your buddies who will all be shooting in the same room, you don’t need to be downrange during training. Some schools insist on posting videos of “operators” being as “operate-y” as they possibly can by sending students and instructors downrange so they can hear they bullets fly by. If you want to learn self- and home-defense skills, avoid these schools like you would avoid Justin Bieber’s Tupperware Party.

9. You don’t need an AR-15!

If you’re ever the victim of a home invasion, you “need” about 14 miniguns, a howitzer or two, and a MK-19 Automatic Grenade launcher. Those tools are just not very practical, so you get by with what you have. Allowing people to define “need” is a slippery downhill slope that never ends well. Next time someone tells you that you don’t “need” an AR-15, ask them if they “need” a car that goes faster than 60 miles per hour, bacon or periodic bathing. We don’t “need” anything beyond air, water, shelter and calories.

10. It’s OK, you can ________, because this gun is unloaded!

There’s no scenario where playing with, or pointing, guns is “OK” because a gun is unloaded. Rule one: a gun is always loaded.

These are some of my pet peeves. What say you?

Images by Tom McHale

Posted:  3/11/2014 3:13 PM #41054

Joined: 5/2/2012
Posts: 2062
Last Post: 8/19/2014
Thank you Mr. McHale, for number 7. I hope all the caliber queens out there get the message. Nobody wants to get shot with anything, and 99+% of the time anybody shot with anything undergoes a quick adjustment in attitude, and a rapid change in plans.

Posted:  3/13/2014 7:44 AM #41055

Joined: 12/12/2011
Posts: 318
Last Post: 8/13/2014
Number 9. Need? Who the Hell does the Government or anybody else think they are? Nobody gets to tell me what I need. I am perfectly capable of deciding what I need.That's what America is all about. Freedom of choice. As an adult. paying crazy amounts of taxes, I get to determine what I need period. I don't care if you don't like it, it's my life and my choice and as long as it has no bearing on your rights, then leave it alone!

Posted:  3/13/2014 12:13 PM #41056

Joined: 2/9/2006
Posts: 336
Last Post: 8/18/2014
99% of the "experts" posting on the internet do so because no one in the real world will listen to them. It's a case of "If it's on the internet, it must be true" mindset that the majority of under- or misinformed soak up like a dish rag! Sadly, much of it is posted intentionally to misinform.
"I'd love to spit some Beech-Nut in that dude's eyes and shoot 'em with my ol' .45, cuz a country boy can survive!" Hank Williams, Jr.

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Posted:  3/18/2014 9:06 AM #41077
CTD Blogger

Joined: 7/14/2009
Posts: 10828
Last Post: 8/20/2014
Subject: Shooting Myths: Knockdown Power
( By Tom McHale -Knockdown [nok-doun] adjective 1. Capable of knocking something down; overwhelming; irresistible: a knockdown blow. 2. Internet lore referring to the ability of large guns like .45s and shotguns to literally knock people off their feet. Last week, I wrote about Ten Examples of the Internet’s Worst Gun Advice, and that created quite the discussion! A lot of the conversation centered on the issues related to “knockdown power.” Some are still convinced that projectiles from a shotgun shell will knock someone backwards, through a plate glass window, or into the next county. Others got hung up on related issues, like stopping power or lethality.


I decided that this was a great excuse to go to the shooting range and do silly things, so let’s talk about the literal definition of knockdown power. I don’t mean stopping power or lethality or the capability of a cartridge to cause damage. Those things are pretty clear concepts. I mean literal knockdown power. Can a projectile fired from a commonly-available firearm knock someone off their feet? We aimed to find out—and brought a video camera along to document the experiment. There’s a link to the video towards the end of this article.

Since I couldn’t find any volunteers to get “knocked down,” I decided to use a 50-pound bag of sand as a stand-in substitute. Yes, I’m the adventurous sort. I’m stacking the deck in favor of the knockdown power myth. Even though an average Evil Dude is likely to weigh at least three times that, we’re going to see what various projectiles do to an object that weighs just 50 pounds.

One more thing. There was a lot of discussion in the comments last week about kinetic energy, bullets passing through targets, and the concept of energy dumps. So to make sure that our Sandbag Stanley absorbed all the gusto and enthusiasm that each round had to offer, we clothed him in a bulletproof vest. It’s for science, after all.

The bulletproof vest did a stellar job of capturing the energy from the .45 and 12 gauge projectiles. None of these passed through the target.

The bulletproof vest did a stellar job of capturing the energy from the .45 and 12 gauge projectiles. None of these passed through the target.

If this myth carries any weight at all, we’re going to see slight-of-stature 50-pound Sandbag Stanley go flying all over the range when hit, right? We didn’t have a plate glass window to put behind him, so we’re all going to have to imagine that part. Or maybe if OutdoorHub increases its CGI budget, we can add it in during post-production like the Hollywood folks do.

First up on the test was a .45 ACP. We used a full-sized Smith & Wesson E-Series 1911 government model. We didn’t want to risk any velocity loss using a shorter barrel than the original designed by John Moses Browning. We went ahead and skipped the 9x19mm, mainly because so many people are convinced that it couldn’t possibly cause as much destruction as the venerable .45. For ammo we went first-rate: Speer Gold Dot 230-grain hollow points. These leave the barrel at about 890 feet per second. Although the vest would certainly stop a full metal jacket bullet easily, we wanted to get maximum energy dump in the minimum amount of time.

The results? Meh. Even the potent and persuasive .45 ACP failed to budge Sandbag Stanley. Apparently he’s a stubborn sort.
Sandbag Stanley volunteered to test the "knockdown power" myth. He's a 50 pound bag of sand who wears a bulletproof vest.

Next up on the list was the AR-15. Some consider it far too powerful to be owned by “civilians.” Others are convinced it lacks effectiveness. We decided not to get caught up in that debate and simply see what Stanley felt about the whole thing. We used standard 55-grain full metal jacket projectiles traveling at 3,000 feet per second.

And? We could barely see anything happen in real time, but we could see the vest twitch when shots impacted during slow-motion replay of the video.

Given Stanley’s resistance to cooperating with the myth, we decided to up the ante and bring in the big guns. Next up was a Mossberg JM Pro 12 gauge. We loaded it with Winchester’s PDX1 Supreme Elite personal defense load. This one carries a double punch, sure to knock Stanley right into the next century. It has a one-ounce slug and three 00 buckshot pellets—all traveling at 1,150 feet per second.

As you’ll see in the video, there was some pretty dramatic energy transfer. The vest stopped the slug and the buckshot pellets, but made about a three-inch deep dent in Stanley. It made for impressive slow-motion video, even if it didn’t come close to knocking Stanley over.

These Winchester one-ounce slugs zipping along at 1,600 feet per second packed a wallop.

These Winchester one-ounce slugs zipping along at 1,600 feet per second packed a wallop.

At wit’s end, we decided to donate our shoulders to science and suffer the recoil of 12 gauge one-ounce slugs traveling at a whopping 1,600 feet per second. Our biggest fear, according to internet lore, was that Stanley would simply vaporize and leave a smoking crater in our shooting range. That, and the risk of creating a disturbance in a parallel universe.

Did it work? You’ll have to watch the video to find out.

Just kidding. It did, in fact, knock Stanley over. Barely, and with very little drama. He almost didn’t tip over at all—and he only weighs 50 pounds.

You can see the Adventures of Sandbag Stanley here.

Images by Tom McHale

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