Which weapon is best for personal defense?

A weapon has to fit your personal defense strategy.

For example, a young man that has spent years studying martial arts may not feel the need to carry a pistol. On the other hand, a single mom or a grandfather that lives out in Grays Harbor County may wish to have a shotgun or pistol to protect the home.

The choice of strategies and weapons is personal; you need to look at your environment, training, life philosophy and personal budgetary issues. And you owe it to those that love and depend on you to strategize. To avoiding dealing with violence is also a choice called denial.

People sometimes say to me, “Yes, I will protect my family if I have to!” Do you have a concealed pistol license (CPL)? Access to a weapon? Have you taken the time to learn to shoot? It doesn’t take years and years and years, but you don’t want to learn to shoot while you are being assaulted.

Every homestead, sheep camp and ranch in America had a shotgun near to hand — truly the weapon that won the West. Your wife can use a 20-gauge, however, more effectively than a 12-gauge because there is less recoil and the stopping power is about equal to the 12-gauge if you choose the right ammunition.

Most shotguns and rifles are too long to utilize within the confines of your home during an emergency. Stay in a safe place, usually the bedroom, behind cover and call the police. If you have to leave your safe room to help others in your family, a short tactical shotgun will work. If you decide on a 12-gauge, a Remington 870 is quite suitable and the price is about $300.

If you want to protect your family away from home, then you probably need to carry a pistol. Even if you do not own or carry a pistol, you should obtain a concealed pistol license. The CPL will normally permit purchasing a pistol without the mandatory five-day waiting period.

If you are like the majority of gun owners that don’t practice much, get a small .38 revolver. Revolvers go “bang” every time you pull the trigger. Revolvers normally have only five or six shots, however. The semi-automatic Glock is popular because of its price and quick deployment when concealed. But look at the Springfield XD. It has a well-engineered trigger, cycles well and has features that are not available with most pistols in the $500 range.

If you have not shot a great deal, you may learn faster with a smaller caliber. Many law officers are using .40-caliber pistols. The recoil is manageable and your hits stop the bad guy(s) immediately. Go to a range, rent guns and see how each weapon feels in your hand before you buy.

More than ever before, seniors, women and minorities that are targets of hate crimes are beginning to realize why pistols are still called equalizers in the “New West.”

Federal Way resident Mark Knapp: knapp.m@comcast.net. Also visit http://firearmslawyer.net/.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Read the Oct 28
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates