Taking responsibility for your own personal safety has never been more important—nor, unfortunately, more unfashionable in some quarters. If the average person were to take at face value the discourse of many of today’s politicians, he or she might come to the conclusion that only big government has the answers to helping you avoid the nearly inevitable trouble encountered in everyday life. But sensible folks—the majority, frankly—still honor the time-tested American tradition that’s rooted in the expectation that, ultimately, only you can be ready at a moment’s notice to handle your own problems. It tempers that notion of self-sufficiency with the ideals that you should also help your neighbor whenever possible and that you should be thankful to God for the birthright of individual liberty.
Firearms have long been Americans’ chosen tools for self-protection, and several of those covered in this month’s issue illustrate important aspects of that point. The first is that you don’t have to be wealthy to own a dependable, feature-rich, concealed-carry personal-protection handgun. In "Striker Vs. Hammer: SCCY’s DVG-1RD & CPX-2RD Pistols," Field Editor B. Gil Horman takes a look at two of SCCY Industries’ affordable, polymer-frame pistols that retail for less than $400—and come with red-dot optics already installed—making the buyer of either model a victor.
By the way, for more on the technical differences between striker and hammer ignition systems, check out Contributing Editor John Treakle’s Q&A. The second point is that a shotgun for home or business defense doesn’t have to be unwieldy or wanting in capacity. In his feature "Proof Of Concept: S&W’s M&P12 Bullpup," Senior Executive Editor Kelly Young, an unapologetic southpaw, runs the new bilaterally designed 12 gauge through its paces, finding that, at under 28" in length and holding 15 2¾" shells on board, the Smith doesn’t disappoint in its ability to deftly project formidable firepower.
One of the most extreme examples of taking responsibility for one’s own safety came to mind when I recalled a hunting trip to Alaska in 2004 for grizzly bear. After asking my outfitter, Jim Harrower—then 70 years old with nearly a half-century of experience as a bush pilot and Master Guide—what he carried under the seat of his Super Cub airplane for defense against marauding bruins, he turned and rather effortlessly withdrew a Magnum Research BFR revolver chambered in .45-70 Gov’t. In the Dope Bag this month, we cover one of the latest iterations of the big wheelgun. Shown above, this one is chambered in the recently released 350 Legend cartridge. And in a coincidental example of a revolver being carried for personal protection against bears in Alaska, member Burke Mees recalls his choice in this month’s Favorite Firearms installment.
Finally, even the father of our country, Gen. George Washington— bedecked in his dress uniform and serving as commander-in-chief during the coldest and darkest days of America’s fight to establish itself as a new nation—carried his own flintlock saddle pistols, a gift from the Marquis de Lafayette, as a means of personal protection. They can be seen in our Opening Shot. Yet another pair is featured in the story "Washington’s Pistols At West Point," by contributor Mark Sage.
Of course, any arms owned by George Washington remain a valued and powerful testament to the fact that freedom always comes at great personal risk and cost. For the same reason, those in your own home, in your vehicle or carried daily on your person are no less important to continuing the American tradition of freedom through personal responsibility.