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On getting into a gun fight with rioters

Posted by John T. Reed on

My wife is lately getting a lot of inquiries about guns.
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I have a lot of readers who are infantry vets and therefore more knowledgeable than I but I see little from such experienced guys. I was a communications officer in the Army. Like all West Point cadets I had lots of infantry and other types of training there and ranger school was infantry. So I will take a stab at it.
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1. Your home defense guns should be unified so they all use the same ammo.
2. Home defense would likely be short range which is generally pistol, less rifle. Night fights are generally short range because so is your eyesight then. Assault rifles are designed short for use in close quarters like urban areas.
3. You want bullets that stop when they hit something. If you fire a rifle with penetrating ammo in a residential neighborhood, a shot might go hundreds of yards through multiple houses possibly killing a baby in a crib or some such.
4. With a loaded gun, you are a formidable defender. But when you fire the last shot from that magazine or revolver cylinder, you become just a person holding a large metal paperweight. You continue to be a defenseless person holding a paperweight until you lock another magazine into the weapon and chamber a round, or, in the case of a revolver, until you use a speed loader to fill the cylinder with a new batch of bullets.
5. You would never know it from Hollywood, but real guns jam and run out of bullets constantly in a firefight. So you should go to the gun range and practice changing magazines quickly or speed loading your revolver. Start slowly then try to increase the speed carefully. Also practice clearing each type of jam quickly is you have a semi-automatic.
6. Your supply of ammo must be on your person. In the military, we used “web gear” which was just a military belt and suspenders with lots of grommets in which to hang ammo pouches and other weapons. It makes sense to also have a pistol in case someone attacks you while you are reloading a rifle. Revolvers are almost impervious to jamming.
7. Today we talked to my wife’s former FDIC colleague who IS a gun guy.
He very much liked the idea on unifying ammo by having a pistol and a rifle that use the same cartridge. He strongly recommended a Glock 17 9 mm pistol and a Ruger PC 9mm carbine.
They not only use the same cartridge, they use the same MAGAZINE. That is even better in the confusion of a fire fight or in the dark or both.
I preferred revolver pistols for almost never jamming, but they use a cartridge with a bottom rim wider than the cartridge so they do not fall out the front of the cylinders on the revolver.
There are rifles that use that same wider rim cartridge, but they are pump action or lever (cowboy Winchester) action. That slows you down between shots and makes it harder to regain your target in your sights for the next shot. But the bigger problem is the same as with shotguns: to reload you have to insert the cartridges one by one in line in a tube in the rifle. There is no fast way to do that.
I am not a gun guy. But I am a Vietnam vet and graduate of five years of Army training. My main focus when fighting what could be a large group of rioters is reloading quickly. That means MAGAZINES with a rifle and SPEED LOADERS with a revolver.
Since there is no satisfactory revolver-rifle combination where the rifle can be reloaded fast, I asked what is the most reliable semi-automatic pistol?
Glock 17 or 19 (smaller for persons with a concealed carry permit) I was told. So it would appear that the Ruger PC 9 and the Glock 17 are the combination that unifies the ammo and magazines of both the pistol and the rifle while providing the least likelihood of the pistol jamming.
The bullets need to expand upon impact. That serves both the goal of making the bullet good at stopping bad guys and not overpenetrating things in the background to the point of injuring innocent people not participating in the riot.
8. The pump-action shotgun is macho to pump, but slow to reload. Some people love the shotgun for self-defense. It is an argument I am not qualified to join. But I know of no pistol that uses shotgun ammo.
9. Bullets easily pass through the interior walls in a typical house. To stop them you need dense objects. We use boxes of my 15,000 book inventory. Bureaus full of clothing or sheets. You need to think about the location in your house from which you might end up fighting and give yourself bulletproof cover there.
10. You need a flight route and the appropriate clothing to wear when fleeing. At night, all black. In day time, it depends on your surroundings. You want to be hard to see.
11. For a non-flight uniform to prevent friendly fire I suggest one of those orange day-glo highway worker vests. They are about $15 and easy to discard it you need to flee and want to become hard to see. If you are a Europhile liberal, you can feel solidarity with the French Yellow Vest movement. The rioters are unlikely to wear them.
12. Should you get a bulletproof vest? I do not know. We had flak jackets in Vietnam. They were very heavy and noisy and bulky. Those were ceramic. Now they are lighter quieter Kevlar. A vest full of magazines is a sort of bulletproof vest. I would much rather you boogied out than tried to use a bulletproof vest to defend yourself. The whole lot of ammo you should have is arguably enough weight, although we wore both the web gear and the flak jacket in Vietnam.
13. How do you get killed in a firefight? I do not speak from experience. If you stick your head or thorax into a spot where an enemy is already pointing a gun at that spot and waiting for someone to appear, you’re dead. This happened to Marines kicking in doors in Fallujah and to a general who decided in WW I to prove to the troops that merely raising your head momentarily above the trench would not get you killed. He was instantly killed. Looking around a corner if the corner is being watched is a good way to die. If you must appear out in the open, move really fast and make it extremely brief. If you want to shoot at the enemy, do so from inside several feet back from the window you are shooting through. Do not put the barrel out of the window. If you are in the woods, shoot similarly from the shadows of shrubs. After you shoot, change positions, like find another window or another shrub to shoot from. Bullet-stopping cover is good for changing magazines or planning a next move. Concealment, which prevents seeing you, but which does not stop bullets, is necessary for longevity in fire fights. Being able to see the enemy when you shoot is also necessary for taking the offensive and winning the firefight.
14. Will your muzzle flash give away your position? At night, yes. Move after you fire. In day time, only if someone happened to be looking at your location when you fired.
15. Will the sound of your shot give away your position? Depends on the acoustics of the terrain and buildings. It would be prudent to change locations after a shot.
16. The Las Vegas shooter killed the most people and did not get effectively shot at. Up high inside in the shadows. The hole he made in his window was quite prominent, but if he had chosen the roof or an openable window, he probably could have lasted another hour or more.
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Up high and in the shadows.
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17. Claymore mines make sense against a mob. And unlike shooting at people, your location or even existence is not given away.
18. Dogs are wondrous against persons stalking you from a wooded area.
19. Forcing the enemy to come through a doorway narrowed by blocking the door from opening more than about 12 inches is a great way to defend against superior numbers.
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Are there any paint ball match veterans in the reading audience? What works in that game?

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