It was way, way back in the pre-Internet dark ages when I decided to start learning about defensive shooting. At the time, I really didn't have anyone to turn to for advice beyond the guys at the gun shop and the gun writers. Today, those who are investigating firearms for personal protection have a veritable ocean of information to dive into. Websites, books, videos, periodicals and online forums abound.
But despite all of the useful information that's readily available today, there are still bits of not-so-sage self-defense advice that continue to cling to the community's conversations like crab grass to a putting green. Some folks will be polite by sayings it’s advice that should be taken with a grain of salt. But here are five ideas and practices that should just be put out to pasture.
5. Trust me, I've been doing this for years.
This holds true for shooting skills, tactics and gear selection. Although guns are used for harvesting waterfowl, high-speed target competition and military engagements, each activity requires a unique approach and mindset. Handling guns in a variety of contexts, even if it's done on a regular basis over the course of a lifetime, will not automatically translate into the specific, specialized skills required for personal protection situations. If you are looking for self-defense advice, then turn to the folks with the right background to provide it.
4. If you practice at the range regularly, you'll be good to go.
3. I don't bother with reloads.
Having reloads on hand is not about sending more lead down range per se but keeping the gun running until the fight is over. What if the one pistol magazine you have is damaged or defective? What if the magazine gets dropped and lost? What if you have to fend off multiple assailants with your 5-shot revolver? More ammo means more options. If it's worth all the work and expense it takes to have a concealed handgun with you, then having enough fuel on hand to keep it running should make sense as well.
2. There's only one gun you can trust to get the job done.
In truth, there is no One True Gun because the diversity of the shooting community presents a wide range of considerations including the individual’s wardrobe requirements, climate, body shape, skill level and personal preferences. This is why a particular gun is a perfect fit for person A and a boat anchor to person B. But beyond the like and dislike factors, there are literally dozens, if not hundreds, of gun and caliber configurations that will be more than adequately powerful, reliable, and accurate for self defense.
1. You don't even have to aim it!
Defensive shotguns produce a devastating impact and the spreading pattern of shot pellets increases the odds of hitting the target. However, a shotgun is not a magic wand. Depending on the distance from the target, the shot pattern may only be as big around as a golf ball or a tennis ball. It is bigger impact area than a single rifle or handgun bullet to be sure but still small enough to miss an assailant completely if the shot is not properly placed. If a shotgun is going to be employed as a defensive tool in the home, be sure to understand its benefits and limitations before putting the gun to work.