The USA is having yet another heated debate about the merits of citizens using firearms for defence.
“Melinda Herman fired a six-shot revolver at the intruder, hitting him five times, in his torso and in his face. Surprisingly, he managed to flee.
It’s not surprising, really. .38 Special is a mild calibre by modern standards with far less stopping power than .45 ACP or .357 Magnum. Six-shooters with .38 Special used to be standard tools for police but they have been swapped with 9mm semi-auto pistols with 15 round magazines. Some of the old .38 Special revolvers had very short barrels and resulted in very low muzzle-velocities and energies. Even the tiny 9mm rounds with a light bullet in a 4 inch barrel delivered more energy to a target. Still this example and these numbers show the calibre is marginal for self-defence. If one is going to use that, they must take careful aim at soft targets, not spraying-and-praying.
This is yet again another proof that a compact rifle or shotgun is a much more useful firearm for close-quarters defence. They can easily deliver twice the energy and much higher muzzle-velocity ensuring good effectiveness. One also has great choice in ammunition for such purposes. Buckshot or a shotgun slug at close range requires only a single shot to do more damage than .38 Special. The home in question was on a large lot so the range of the firearm would not have endangered neighbours.
One reason a citizen might choose .38 Special for defence is the low recoil but that is a trade-off if sufficient accuracy is not available. A bullet bouncing off bone is useless if it does not hit something vital. It would be a much better choice to choose a firearm that allowed more recoil to be handled to get the job done. That’s why rifles have stocks. That’s why heavy pistols may use a muzzle-brake. The propellant gasses may carry a large proportion of the recoil and a brake diverts that to the side, making holding the firearm much easier. That’s why a recoil-operated semi-automatic action, which is essentially recoilless until the bullet departs, is superior. The recoil does not cause the muzzle to jump until after the bullet is launched, aiding accuracy.
A compact rifle is also much easier to learn to shoot accurately, making it multiply effective for defence. Rifles like the M1 Carbine were designed to shoot a cartridge like a pistol round but at much higher velocity and energy than .38 Special. It was issued to crews and cooks and officers for use instead of a handgun. There are .38 Special rifles too, with similar advantages. Such rifles for citizens have the additional advantage of being useful for rabbit hunting. School guards carrying such firearms would have a huge advantage over guards using handguns: greater accuracy and range.
I doubt this example will settle the matter as there are at least two sides to the argument and neither is listening to the other… Still, more schools are being guarded. Perhaps armed guards will actually make a difference.
From a recent debate on CNN:
- Piers Morgan:“You’re an unbelievably stupid man, aren’t you?…What you’re doing is deliberately lying. Deliberately twisting it so that Americans listening to this will buy in to your ludicrous fear game… 39 gun murders in 2011”
- Article quoted by his opponent:“The UK had a greater number of murders in 2007 than any other EU country – 927 – and at a relative rate higher than most western European neighbours, including France, Germany, Italy and Spain.” and the opponent said, “no, there were 970”
Of course, Piers Morgan likes to rant about murder by firearms and how sweet life is in the UK after many firearms were banned, but according to the Telegraph, “It means there are over 2,000 crimes recorded per 100,000 population in the UK, making it the most violent place in Europe.
Austria is second, with a rate of 1,677 per 100,000 people, followed by Sweden, Belgium, Finland and Holland.
By comparison, America has an estimated rate of 466 violent crimes per 100,000 population.”
In USA crime is decreasing while in UK it’s increasing.