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  • Gun Buying Decision

    In NYC, where I'm from, the only people I knew that had guns were people that needed them. None of them had permits, wink wink. I have always felt that I wanted guns away from me and they were bad. I don't know why - except the fact that they are meant for killing. I was in total agreement with strict gun control.
    Now living in Houston, most people I know have guns. I even know people that have guns stashed in every room including their kitchen. Just in case they are making an omelette when someone breaks in. There is no stigma about owning a gun in Texas. You can walk into a store and walk out with a semi auto uzi if your so inclined. I have been told the waiting period is no longer in effect. All you have to do is pass a background check.
    Getting to the point. I have bought into the idea that gun control is a nice idea, but it is too late because it would leave only the criminals with guns. So lately, at night, I'm locking up my house before bed and wonder what I would do if someone broke in. And the answer is a proverbial: not much. I know it probably wont happen, but what if it's that one in 100,000 chance that it does. So I have been looking at guns in pawn shops and have noticed a hefty price tag on anything larger then a .22. I have heard that a .22 isn't a show stopper and I have to get something bigger. I don't want to spend a lot because I may never use it, except at a class or a firing range to make sure it works. Can anyone recommend a good place to buy one and what kind I should get? I am still on the fence about the whole thing, so if anyone would like to reinforce my new assertion. Or help me remember why I didn't like guns to begin with, I would love to hear it. :-)

  • #2
    Re: Gun Buying Decision

    Before making any suggestions, let me give you a couple points to base your decision to get one or not on:
    -Will the gun be in a position where you can get to it quickly, but will still remain safe from family members (specifically children)?
    -Do you have the time to properly train yourself to shoot?
    -Are you sure that if faced with the situation, you could actually pull the trigger?

    These are important things. Safety is paramount with guns as anyone who owns one will tell you. Keep your children away from it. Make sure you know how to properly use and care for it (a dirty/mishandled gun can kill YOU). Above all, before buying one specifically for home defense, seriously think about your willingness to use it if its required.

    The last point will be argued, im sure. However, I worked armed security for a few years in college to pay some bills. I was a booter (yes, the guy who boots cars if theyre improperly parked). I only had to pull my gun twice. Once, I was confronted by 6 very drunk college kids with weapons and had to draw down on them when pepper spray and my ASP baton didnt make them back off. The second time my partner and I caught an armed suspect trying to break into Cisco Systems and had to draw down. Neither time did I have to fire, but let me tell you, the feeling is something you'll never forget. In the split second that you pull the gun, your mind instantly asks itself "what if I really have to kill this person?". You have to be able to react and deal with the consequences later, especially if its a home defense case, or it could cost you your life. Make sure you keep that in mind.

    Now that that's out of the way, I recommend going to a local shooting range and testing some various weapons to see if theres anything that you feel is too powerful for you. I use a .45 myself, but I know a lot of people feel its too heavy of a weapon. The reason I carry a .45 is for stopping power. If you shoot someone with a 9mm or a .22 or something of the sort, it has very low stopping power and wont deter someone who is otherwise really determined to kill you. A .45 will knock them down. As far as brands go, I'd stick with H&K, Glock, Ruger, or Smith and Wesson. If you see a gun thats a knockoff, dont trust it. I prefer glocks simply because theyre the AK of handguns in that theyre pretty much indestructable. Theyre also relatively lightweight and offer a higher degree of mod-ability.

    Also, NEVER buy a gun from a pawn shop. Always buy a gun from a licensed gun dealer and make sure it's safety inspected by a certified rangemaster before making the purchase. Expect to spend around 600-1000 dollars for a new gun or between 400-800 for a used one. Guns are not cheap, nor should they be for good cause.

    And remember what they teach you here in Florida when you do armed security training: warning shots are placed at the center of mass (chest) of the target, not the legs or arms. Statistically, more people die per year of leg or arm wounds from guns than do people from chest wounds. Plus, it will really make them think twice about getting back up to take a shot.

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    • #3
      Re: Gun Buying Decision

      Before I add (and detract ;) ) from Mr. Bueller's excellent response, I'd like to point out that we just went through this a few weeks ago: http://www.tacticalgamer.com/general...hand-guns.html

      Also, I'm going to try to remember to include this link anytime guns are discussed at TG: http://www.thefiringline.com/Misc/safetyrules.html
      Originally posted by Ferris Bueller View Post
      Before making any suggestions, let me give you a couple points to base your decision to get one or not on:
      -Will the gun be in a position where you can get to it quickly, but will still remain safe from family members (specifically children)?
      -Do you have the time to properly train yourself to shoot?
      -Are you sure that if faced with the situation, you could actually pull the trigger?

      These are important things. Safety is paramount with guns as anyone who owns one will tell you. Keep your children away from it. Make sure you know how to properly use and care for it (a dirty/mishandled gun can kill YOU). Above all, before buying one specifically for home defense, seriously think about your willingness to use it if its required.
      Very good things to think about.

      The last point will be argued, im sure. However, I worked armed security for a few years in college to pay some bills. I was a booter (yes, the guy who boots cars if theyre improperly parked). I only had to pull my gun twice. Once, I was confronted by 6 very drunk college kids with weapons and had to draw down on them when pepper spray and my ASP baton didnt make them back off. The second time my partner and I caught an armed suspect trying to break into Cisco Systems and had to draw down. Neither time did I have to fire, but let me tell you, the feeling is something you'll never forget. In the split second that you pull the gun, your mind instantly asks itself "what if I really have to kill this person?". You have to be able to react and deal with the consequences later, especially if its a home defense case, or it could cost you your life. Make sure you keep that in mind.
      Yep, if you're not carrying a gun as part of your job, you have to have the mindset that you're not going to pull your gun out unless you're prepared to use it. And once you've decided that there's no other way for you to avoid it, don't hesitate to use it swiftly and aggressively (but not carelessly).

      Now that that's out of the way, I recommend going to a local shooting range and testing some various weapons to see if theres anything that you feel is too powerful for you.
      Absolutely! Spend a hundred bucks over several visits to the range and try out the guns that feel good in your hand, or that catch your eye. You'll find that some feel different when shooting, and that just because guns look cool, it doesn't mean they're going to perform well.
      I use a .45 myself, but I know a lot of people feel its too heavy of a weapon. The reason I carry a .45 is for stopping power. If you shoot someone with a 9mm or a .22 or something of the sort, it has very low stopping power and wont deter someone who is otherwise really determined to kill you. A .45 will knock them down.
      Yeah, .22 and .380 are acceptable for defense handguns only if you need a pocket pistol (that you literally stick in your back pocket). 9mm is the low end of serious calibers. 45acp or 357magnum is at the high end. .40S&W and 38special are in the middle. I wouldn't go with anything other than these five calibers. There are other great calibers, but the ammo is more expensive as they're not as common. Also, .357 revolvers can shoot .38 special ammo, but not vice versa. Revolvers are also arguably the best handgun for a beginner due to their reliability and simplicity.
      As far as brands go, I'd stick with H&K, Glock, Ruger, or Smith and Wesson. If you see a gun thats a knockoff, dont trust it.
      Good advice on avoiding knockoffs, but there are many other good brands. Springfield, Kahr, Taurus, Sig, Walther, Beretta, Colt, Kimber, geesh, there has to be dozens that I'm just not thinking of right now... Ask around if you're wondering whether it's a good brand or not.

      Also, NEVER buy a gun from a pawn shop. Always buy a gun from a licensed gun dealer and make sure it's safety inspected by a certified rangemaster before making the purchase. Expect to spend around 600-1000 dollars for a new gun or between 400-800 for a used one. Guns are not cheap, nor should they be for good cause.
      Every (legal) pawn shop that is selling guns IS a licensed gun dealer, so don't be too hesitant in that regard. The largest gun store in Dallas is also a pawn shop. Getting it inspected by a rangemaster is bad advice, IMO. Rangemasters might know how to run a range, but many are downright ignorant when it comes to guns that they don't own. Ask the rangemaster if there's a GUNSMITH that he likes and get the gunsmith to look over your potential purchase instead. Beware of conflicts of interest, as there are many little "good ol' boy" circles in the gun community. Personally, I'd try to purchase new instead of used for this reason.

      And remember what they teach you here in Florida when you do armed security training: warning shots are placed at the center of mass (chest) of the target, not the legs or arms. Statistically, more people die per year of leg or arm wounds from guns than do people from chest wounds. Plus, it will really make them think twice about getting back up to take a shot.
      This is the worst advice ever! If you decide to get a gun, you need to think about how you think. If you ever have to use it, you do NOT want to tell the investigators that you tried to place a warning shot in the middle of his chest. No, you need to change the entire way you think about things and stop saying stuff like that even in a joking manner, or those types of phrases might slip into your answers when being interviewed.

      You shoot to stop the threat to your safety or someone else's safety. Nothing more, nothing less. You don't shoot to kill, you shoot to stop the danger to your well being. And you shoot only as many times as is necessary to stop the threat. Period. Think about that and get it ingrained in your head, as those are the only correct answers if you're ever asked why you shot someone so many times. And they should not only be your answers, but they should also dictate your actions!

      Ferris is right that you always try your hardest to stop the threat, which almost always means aiming for center mass and never at extremities or with warning shots. I just take issue with his wording, especially in this litigious society of ours.
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      • #4
        Re: Gun Buying Decision

        Originally posted by CingularDuality View Post
        You shoot to stop the threat to your safety or someone else's safety. Nothing more, nothing less. You don't shoot to kill, you shoot to stop the danger to your well being. And you shoot only as many times as is necessary to stop the threat. Period. Think about that and get it ingrained in your head, as those are the only correct answers if you're ever asked why you shot someone so many times. And they should not only be your answers, but they should also dictate your actions!
        Personally, I believe in using deadly force, because I want the criminal to have no chance of harming me or my family, plus I'd be worried about him trying to get revenge on me and my family. A gun is a deadly weapon, and I intend to use it as such should the situation arrise. BUT, with that said, Cing is 100% correct IMO, as far as what to tell the law and really what your intentions SHOULD be. It is unnecessary to shoot, if the burglar changes his mind once he knows your armed and then runs away. Shots in the back look very bad for the victim, who the criminal might try and sue. Also excessive force looks bad too. You kill a man with 1 bullet, yet empty the rest of the clip, reload and empty the second clip into him, would look really bad too. Then you have his family trying to sue you. You see them on the local news every once in a while, with the mother screaming, "Ay Mi Hijo! He was such a good boy! Why would anyone do such a thing?" I'm thinking, if he was such a good boy, then why was he armed and breaking into someone's home? But I digress. This is a very serious issue that takes some heavy consideration. I would adivise you to take some safety courses and maybe a concealed handgun course. They are fantastic to learn all the ins and outs of Texas laws. The law is very important to know, because you don't want to end up behind bars for doing something you may have thought was right.
        "Common sense is not so common." -Voltaire

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        • #5
          Re: Gun Buying Decision

          Nice. People need to leave NYC more often.

          A 9 mm would be a good starter pistol. Go to one of the many gun shows I'm sure Texas has.
          ...............................








          Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

          -Benjamin Franklin

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          • #6
            Re: Gun Buying Decision

            Originally posted by War.mongeR1 View Post
            Personally, I believe in using deadly force,
            Any use of a gun is deadly force.
            Become a supporting member!
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            Take the world's smallest political quiz! "I was touched by His Noodly Appendage."
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            • #7
              Re: Gun Buying Decision

              Hambergler, it's good that you're being exposed to other viewpoints (those outside of NYC). Guns are tools; their function is to launch a projectile(s) at a high rate of speed. Just like with other tools, it's what people DO with guns that's either bad or good. If guns are meant only to kill people, I must be using mine the wrong way; none of my guns has even been used to kill anyone. I use mine to launch projectiles at paper targets and metal cans. If I put my guns in the safe, they don't do anything but sit there.

              Anyway. To add to the advice above -- if you're looking strictly for a projectile-launching tool to use for home defense, I'd recommend a pump action shotgun. A Mossberg 500 is a fairly inexpensive and reliable example of such a projectile launcher. I would also HIGHLY recommend getting a good flashlight, such as a Surefire. You need to be able to identify an intruder before deciding to use your tool to launch projectiles at him.

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              • #8
                Re: Gun Buying Decision

                Thanks for the responses. I am taking them very seriously. I have a few questions?
                This is a likely scenario in my mind. Say you are asleep, and suddenly you hear your door being kicked in, you grab your gun and go towards the front of your house. You can see the front door is wide open. There is a silhouette of a person in your living room, but it's dark and you can't make out many features. Would you confront them verbally and give up the element of surprise and risk getting shot or would you start shooting right away??? The reason I'm asking is when I play paintball there is a rule that if you sneak up on your opponent and you are within 5 feet, you ask them to surrender. But they don't have to and can fire back. I have never had a guy put down his weapon. They always shoot back, just on reflex alone.

                I think new is the way to go. I like both the xd and the mossberg shotgun. If I were to opt for the shotgun, can you fire shotguns at a firing range? Is there any disadvantages to a shotgun besides it maybe being a little more cumbersome in close quarters? Also is it acceptable to go off into the woods to fire your gun, and under what circumstances?

                I worked with this really macho good ol'boy from Oklahoma. In his 50s. He had a Fu Manchu mustache, looked and talked like Yosemite Sam. He never took any sH** from anyone. He told me one day that he didn't think he could pull the trigger if it came down to it. Makes me wonder what I would do.

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                • #9
                  Re: Gun Buying Decision

                  I keep a loaded weapon in 3 rooms of my little house. I sleep next to a loaded shotgun every night. I have no kids, though. And if I have company, I make sure and lock them up in my closet. That scenario you bring up is a good one to ponder on. I can not tell you what the right thing to do is, since I've never lived that scenario. I'd imagine you would do what feels right at that moment. First off, do you have an alarm? Second of all, would ANY of your friends or family reallistically kick in your door? Or not tell you they are coming over? They'd probably ring the doorbell or knock on your door or yell at your window or something. Like Strag mentioned above, a surefire flashlight is a great way to identify your target. Surefires (there are other good brands too) are nice because they are made to be tactical and clip onto your weapon so you don't have to hold it in another hand. Also, there's nothing like the sound of a shotgun shell being racked to deter a burglar.
                  "Common sense is not so common." -Voltaire

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                  • #10
                    Re: Gun Buying Decision

                    Originally posted by Hambergler View Post
                    This is a likely scenario in my mind. Say you are asleep, and suddenly you hear your door being kicked in, you grab your gun and go towards the front of your house. You can see the front door is wide open. There is a silhouette of a person in your living room, but it's dark and you can't make out many features. Would you confront them verbally and give up the element of surprise and risk getting shot or would you start shooting right away???
                    Living in Ohio, I'd go back in the bedroom, lock my door, and have my home defense tool at hand. I'd call 911 immediately. If the intruder tried to break into the bedroom, I'd shout that I was armed and had called the police, and would defend myself if necessary. In Ohio, we have no "castle law," so I'd have to do everything in my power to avoid a confrontation.

                    If I were you, I'd find out exactly what your state and local laws say for home defense situations. Definitely don't rely on what you see on TV or in the movies, or what you've learned playing paintball or video games.



                    Originally posted by Hambergler View Post
                    If I were to opt for the shotgun, can you fire shotguns at a firing range?
                    It depends on the range. Some of the indoor ranges here in town allow shotguns with certain types of ammunition, and some don't. There is an outdoor ODNR (Ohio Department of Natural Resources) range about half an hour away that allows patterning (so you can see what the "spread" is like at various ranges). If you do a little research and ask around, you should be able to learn what range resources are available in your area.



                    Originally posted by Hambergler View Post
                    Is there any disadvantages to a shotgun besides it maybe being a little more cumbersome in close quarters?
                    A pump action is not semi-automatic, so you'd have to manually rack the slide if more than one shot was needed. This may or may not be difficult to do if wounded or under extreme stress.



                    Originally posted by Hambergler View Post
                    Also is it acceptable to go off into the woods to fire your gun, and under what circumstances?
                    It depends on whose land it is and whether or not you have permission. If you "go off into the woods," remember that it's still somebody's land; if you know somebody who has some land and will let you shoot there, I'd recommomend going that route.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Gun Buying Decision

                      Originally posted by War.mongeR1 View Post
                      Second of all, would ANY of your friends or family reallistically kick in your door? Or not tell you they are coming over? They'd probably ring the doorbell or knock on your door or yell at your window or something.
                      I asked this same question in a class I took. The instructor responded by presenting me with a scenario I'd never even considered: what if the dark figure who's broken down your front door and is standing in your living room turns out to be some unarmed, drunken idiot who has the wrong house? If you shoot him, you've just shot an unarmed man who happened to be in the wrong house. Is he wrong to be in your house? Absolutely. Should he be shot because of it? Debatable. Can you defend your actions in court if you shoot him? Doubtful.

                      Here in Ohio, if I shot the drunken guy from the scenario above, I'd be in the wrong.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Gun Buying Decision

                        I am pretty sure if you are in Florida that it is perfectly exceptable. They dropped the law here where you had to do everything in your power to get away.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Gun Buying Decision

                          Originally posted by Strag View Post
                          I asked this same question in a class I took. The instructor responded by presenting me with a scenario I'd never even considered: what if the dark figure who's broken down your front door and is standing in your living room turns out to be some unarmed, drunken idiot who has the wrong house? If you shoot him, you've just shot an unarmed man who happened to be in the wrong house. Is he wrong to be in your house? Absolutely. Should he be shot because of it? Debatable. Can you defend your actions in court if you shoot him? Doubtful.

                          Here in Ohio, if I shot the drunken guy from the scenario above, I'd be in the wrong.
                          Another scenerio would be cops doing some sort of bust and they have the wrong house. You come out with your guns blazing and I think you are in big trouble.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Gun Buying Decision

                            Originally posted by jonan_ View Post
                            I am pretty sure if you are in Florida that it is perfectly exceptable. They dropped the law here where you had to do everything in your power to get away.
                            Right. From what I understand, Florida fairly recently enacted a "castle doctrine" type of law for home defense. Texas may have something similar, or it may not.



                            Originally posted by jonan_ View Post
                            Another scenerio would be cops doing some sort of bust and they have the wrong house. You come out with your guns blazing and I think you are in big trouble.
                            Exactly. There are hundreds or thousands of scenarios we could come up with like this. The key is to find a plan for you/your family that keeps you/them as safe as possible while the police are en route. The LAST option is using your firearm to defend yourself and your family, but having that option is invaluable. If you ARE in a situation where an intruder(s) is NOT GOING TO STOP UNLESS HE HARMS/KILLS YOU/YOUR FAMILY, then having the means to protect yourself/your family cannot be overstated. But, again, the best solution is to avoid the situation, if possible.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Gun Buying Decision

                              For home defense, I have the best weapon money can buy: a 12-gauge pump Mossberg shotgun. It's cheap (around 200 bucks), holds 6 shells without the plug, and makes a seriously distinctive sound when you chamber a shell. You can pick up heavy dove load for DIRT cheap from academy to practice at the range with, then buy something like buck shot for loading when it's at home.

                              Pump shotguns are hard to load if you don't know what your are doing (a child under 9 would probably have a serious time even holding the weapon), and they have a good safety as well.

                              You can go on and on about specific scenarios, but I've heard one very good succinct comment to describe home defense: "Why do you keep a pistol on your nightstand? To fight your way to your rifle."

                              Home defense != personal protection (aka: carrying a concealed weapon).

                              Concealed carry entails juggling many varibles: ammo capacity, reliability, concealability. DO NOT get caught up in the whole machismo BS that pervades many people's mind. If I hear one more ignoramus go on about how he's going to get his CHL and carry two (YES TWO) Desert Eagle .50 caliber pistols on him to fight off gangs of would be muggers, I'll vomit.

                              You're best sticking with three calibers for personal protection: 9mm, .40 cal, and .45.

                              Your .45 has the best stopping power, but suffers from low ammo capacity (usually 7 rounds in the mag, 1 in the chamber). The Springfield Armory XD .45 helps solve this issue by loading 13 rounds.

                              You .40 cal was designed to offer the ammo capacity of a 9mm, with the stopping power of a .45. It does neither perfectly. The rounds tend to be "hotter" are are more prone to failure.

                              The 9mm lacks the stopping power, but most good pistols will hold upwards of 15 rounds per mag (My PX4 carries 17+1).

                              Remember this: PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE. Do NOT buy a gun and go to the range two times a year and feel you are capable of using it to it's full extent. I've seen numerous videos of people being shot because they drew their pistol then pulled the trigger and nothing happened: they had left the safety on. You need to know your weapon inside and out. Drawing, firing, reloading, and clearing a malfunction needs to be a reflex for you.

                              When you are at the shooting range, do not let your testosterone get the better of you. If you don't know something: ask. No one is going to laugh at you or look down upon you because you don't know something. In fact, if you do happen to run into that person, move about 5 benches down from them because they probably care more about looking cool at the range than learning anything new. These people are the reason gun ranges have more than 1 rule: "Don't be stupid."

                              Most people are MORE than happy to help you out.

                              If you're in Houston, most of the range officers at the American Shooting Center are good guys and will BS with you for hours on end (it makes it look like they're actually working).

                              Remember: a firearm is not an extension of your manhood. It's a tool that can save your life by possibly ending another. Respect it at all times and stay the HECK away from people who don't.

                              I'm pretty busy lately, but after the next few weeks I'm going to be looking to dust off some guns and start hitting the range again. I am always more than happy to help out a new shooter and I have quite a few pistols you could practice with.

                              But for home defense: you're best off with a good shotgun.

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