Posts Tagged ‘self-defense’

Don’t use airguns for self-defense

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

I periodically get inquiries about which airguns are best for self-defense. These generally come from countries other than the U.S., though I’ve had some come in from this country, as well.

The inquiries come from two directions that I would like to address today. The first group thinks that certain airguns look so realistic that they should have the ability to stop or to deter violence just because they’re present. Let me be very specific. I’m talking about the very realistic-looking handguns like the Walther CP99, the M1911A1 pistol and the Beretta 92FS.

Beretta 92FS air pistol

The Beretta 92FS air pistol looks very realistic.

These are very realistic guns, make no mistake. But the premise the people are using is flawed. They think that if they’re able to display a realistic-looking gun, any danger will be averted. They’re counting on the dangerous people having the same common sense they have. After all, if they saw a gun they would feel threatened. They respect guns, and they imagine that others do the same.

Well, they don’t! Most criminals and bad people have either a low sense of respect for things like guns, or they figure that you will not have the nerve to follow through on the threat you seem to be making. In other words, these kinds of people are not threatened by real firearms, either. The realism of your pellet pistol is lost on them.

The other thing about criminals is they aren’t always sane or in their right minds. Either they’re deranged and will ignore what rational people see as a threat, or they may be so high on drugs or alcohol that they can’t reason. Either way, they’ll behave in irrational ways and the idea they can be threatened is either foolish because they don’t care or dangerous because it provokes them.

Defensive gun training
They teach you in a concealed handgun course to never threaten with your gun. If you pull the gun, be ready to use it immediately. In fact, in most places it’s illegal to show a concealed handgun in public. Either shoot or don’t shoot, but never threaten with a gun!

The only defense use a realistic airgun has is to train the shooter to use the firearm it mimics. You can learn how to draw the gun, how to control the trigger and how to breathe when you shoot with a realistic airgun. But that’s it. Take it no farther because a pellet gun is not a self-defense weapon.

What about powerful airguns like big bores?
The other group that considers using airguns for self defense has looked at the power an airgun can deliver. They see the big bore airguns and read about people taking deer and wild hogs with them, so they wonder why they can’t use them for protection.

Here’s the reason — a deer will never stalk you and wait till your guard is down to kill you. Not that deer can’t kill humans — they certainly can. But they normally don’t try to. Shoot a deer and it runs away almost every time.

Now, substitute a grizzly bear for the deer and ask the same question. Would you use a powerful air rifle to hunt a grizzly bear? If you do, you’re foolish because a grizzly bear will try to kill you if you don’t kill him first. Even a wild hog has been known to charge a hunter after being shot, which is why most hog hunters carry a large-caliber sidearm to back themselves up.

And a big bore airgun only has a few shots before the air pressure drops so low that the gun isn’t useful. So, if you don’t have a perfect first shot you’re quickly headed into some very risky territory.

Nothing is ever guaranteed
And even firearms aren’t always enough. Think you have enough gun? Maybe, but don’t bet on it. Every big-caliber gun has failed to kill in some circumstances. There was an intruder who took a 240-grain jacketed bullet from a .44 Magnum revolver in his left eye and he fell down a flight of stairs, then got up and walked out of the house. Police found him dead by his car around the block, but that’s not the point. The point is, even Dirty Harry’s gun wasn’t enough to drop him in his tracks.

No doubt there’s someone somewhere in the world who needed a second .50-caliber BMG round to put him down for keeps.

Play for keeps
If you have to use deadly force, make certain that it’s really deadly. Be prepared to go all the way or don’t go in that direction to start with. You are far better off using a tactical flashlight and some kind of club than to pull a pellet or BB pistol and have your bluff called.

I’m so frustrated!

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Today, I’m going to vent a little and tell you what disturbs me about airgunning.

This began with a letter I received. The writer spent two pages telling me why the Crosman M4-177 is not a good airgun and how unfair it is that it costs so much.

EXCUSE ME?
Yep! Apparently it’s unfair because it takes 10 pump strokes to pump the rifle completely, so for 15 shots he has to pump 150 times.

HUH? So what?

Well, according to the writer, that’s unfair, because, when you add sales tax to the price of a new M4-177, it comes to almost $100, which is a lot to pay for something that requires so much work.

Boy, am I glad I minored in psychology, because what this writer said in his letter had very little to do with what he really wanted to say.

He was angry because he had made a bad choice and didn’t like what he bought. And he didn’t want to be responsible for it. I normally associate this kind of behavior with younger people who don’t have that much experience and still think that life is supposed to be “fair.” But the man who wrote this letter is over 60 years old and tells me he has been forced to buy inexpensive airguns because he now lives on a very limited budget.

Okay, there is nothing I can do for this person. He doesn’t read the blog, so even if I try to tell him about a certain airgun’s characteristics, he isn’t going to see it. But he sure as heck knows where to complain when his life takes a bad turn!

Worst of all — I still have to answer this guy’s letter. He has asked me to explain to Crosman what a dismal failure their rifle is, but I don’t know how to do that when they are working two shifts a day just to keep up with the demand.

Too old for computers
Then there’s the guy (again, it’s a man) who tells me that he’s too old to use computers, but boy would he ever like to find such-and-such an airgun that he remembers from his youth. I tell him that these vintage airguns are as common on internet sales sites as the leaves on a tree, but Mr. Won’t-Look-At-Computers can’t be bothered to look up, can he? Oh, no! Better to walk around complaining while staring at the ground, because the light’s better down there!

Mr. Macho!
Here comes the guy who has read several times in this blog where I say that magnum gas spring rifles are too hard to cock. So he goes out of his way to meet me at an airgun show, just to show me what a bodybuilder he is. He ain’t afraid of no gas spring — no sirree!

Three years later I meet him again and he apparently doesn’t remember our previous encounter, because now he tells me he’s into PCPs and lower-powered spring rifles like the Bronco and the vintage Diana 27. He tells me what wonderful things these low-powered spring guns are — they’re light, easy to cock, very accurate, quiet and they don’t require a lot of special handling technique to shoot well. Oh, my! I wish I had told him that to begin with (I’m being sarcastic, so please read it that way).

Please agree with me
I get airgun “questions” that aren’t really questions at all. They are manifestos that I’m supposed to agree with so the writer can tell the world that Tom Gaylord is on his side. He wants to run his .177-caliber Condor on helium with a tethered (never disconnected) tank, so he can dial up the velocity of a 6-grain pellet to 1,800 f.p.s., because that way the pellet would never drop in flight and he would be able to shoot something very far away without worrying how much the pellet drops.

If that was true, it would be wonderful; but even a .17 HM2 that starts a 17-grain bullet out at 2,100 f.p.s. eventually drops. You do have to take range into account. And the lighter the projectile, the lower the ballistic coefficient and the sooner the projectile will begin to drop.

What I’m saying is that Mr. Wizard hasn’t thought the whole thing through. He’s fixated on one parameter — velocity — and, as far as he’s concerned, that’s all that matters. He’s to real science as Diane Feinstein is to assault rifles — anything with a pistol grip is evil and velocity is the only thing that matters!

He knows not what he asks
Finally — and I’m stopping here because I’m getting real angry as I write this blog — I get a question that reads as follows: “I have a chance to go bear hunting with some friends. They’ll be using real guns, but I want to use an airgun. We will be flying to a base camp on Kodiak Island and then riding horses to the hunting area. I want to know whether I should choose a Sam Yang Big Bore 909S in .45 caliber or would a Benjamin Rogue work better? I’m leaning toward the Rogue because it holds 6 bullets and Kodiak bears are known to charge when the’ve been shot. The biggest real gun my friends have is a .338 Winchester Magnum, so both of these airguns are larger. What do you think?”

I think you had better get your affairs in order before you leave. Fortunately, I know your guide will stop you from doing what you propose, but who will stop the guy in Seattle who thinks a Walther CP99 would make a wonderful defense gun because it looks so intimidating and you can buy one without any paperwork? He’s serious, because to him this CO2 pistol looks like the real deal. But when the bad people come and he’s holding a pellet pistol, they aren’t going to laugh. Nor will he, if he lives through it.

Preaching to the choir
I know my blog readers aren’t the people I’m talking about. And those people will never read this blog, so I have no way of communicating with them until they decide to contact me for approval of their plans. But I have to tell someone something, so you got the duty.

By the way — in case you think things like this don’t happen, know that Edith is our editor and allowed this to get through. She knows, because she’s seen it all, too.

I feel better now.

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