Monday, October 17, 2005

First Line Guns

When Zombies Attack

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Apologies, but I don't remember where I was reading about bedside guns and defense guns.
People often ask "Why do you need to have a gun?" when they find out I'm a gun owner. There are several reasons. I don't live in the best neighborhood, and I live alone. There are people who would like to see the last owner of this house dead, apparently, and I have had a couple of late night scares that ultimately amounted to nothing. In everything, having a gun provides peace of mind. This completely neglects for a minute any target guns and skeet guns or hunting rifles I may own. This is strictly a matter of self-defense and the guns tailored to provide it. The "need" is there, but even if it weren't - I have the right.

Bedside Manners
My bedside gun is a Springfield XD .40 with tritium night sights and a Surefire X200 weaponlight. This gun is basically bone stock when it doesn't have the Bar-Sto drop-in .357SIG barrel installed. I hardly ever use the extra barrel, but I like it. It is normally in .40, loaded with 180gr Golden Sabres, 9+1. I also like the Federal HST 180grainers, so I have a couple magazines of those. I can shoot very well with this gun since I've had it the longest of all my pistols except my MkII. It was the first pistol I bought when they granted me the right to buy one. It's comfortable, accurate, reliable and very concealable. If you are considering getting an XD variant and have any questions, drop me a line.

There are 3 extra mags in the bedside drawer, next to a Surefire M3. Yeah, another Surefire.

For some reason, this mystifies people. "Why spend $300 for a flashlight?" BAM! Blindingly bright 225 lumens in the face of that which goes bump in the night, plus striking capability in case you just want to knock someone out. The most important thing about the light is being able to identify the target. The difference between a goblin and my brother is negligible in low light after being snapped out of a sound sleep. A bright light, or two, provides an interval where I can identify the target while the target is temporarily disoriented. If you've never experienced a Surefire, go to the local BassPro or other brand of gun shop and shine one in your face...neat, huh? Stop blinking.

The Companion
The companion piece to my XD is my Mossberg 500. Not that I'm paranoid or anything, but one of those Murphy-esque sayings I've heard kicked around my whole life is "Two is one and one is none." Always build in redundancy, and this is a mighty big redundancy. A 12ga, 7+1 pump gun with a Choate stock, Sidesaddle and - wait for it - yet another Surefire. Another 225 lumens, this time at the business end of a big dog. Coincidentally, this is the first gun I bought when I turned 18 and was granted the right to buy rifles and shotguns. Over the years, it has changed, and I'm considering one of these stocks now, but it may very well stay as it is. At one point, I had my EOTech clone on this gun, but...not really necessary.

My personal choice is stacking the magazine so the first two rounds are #4 buckshot, followed by 5 00 shells. The siddesaddle holds 3 more 00 shells and 3 slugs. Ammo choice is something each individual tailors to their needs and their ability. That's a topic for another later post.

Overall, I'd say I'm satisfied with my first line guns. I have thousands and thousands of rounds through each and know them intimately. I look forward to moving to a state where I can have other stuff, too. Let me know if I forgot to link you.

More on Tactical Lights

Massad Ayoob puts a premium on tactical light in general, and Surefire in particular. "WTF? Tactical light?" Correct. Any level of light that is going to make an assailant flinch or lose concentration, even momentarily, is considered tactical and employing this technique is a worthy tactic.

Quickly, how much do you like snapping the bathroom light on at 0-dark-30? That feeling of your eyelids snapping shut - that's what we're going for in a tactical light. Surefire rates 60 lumens as the lowest acceptable level of tactical light, with over 120 being preferable and attainable in most of their combat lights.

The need for a taclight can be traced to scotopic vision—the way we see in the dark. "The eye doctors say that on a cloudy night, a person with 20/20 vision can distinguish so little that he’s the equivalent of legally blind. If you’ve had to deploy your firearm in the dark, you’ve become the law school exemplar of recklessness, 'a blind man with a gun.'"

Think about that for a second. You're a shooter. You have a tried and trusted bedside gun that you can employ effectively. You are awakened in the middle of the night by a noise downstairs and rush to investigate, gun in hand. The lights don't work and there is no moon. Maybe you live in a rural area with few streetlights. Whatever the reason, there is next to no ambient light. The flashlight is in that drawer in the kitchen with the spare batteries, but getting to it is a problem. The whole time you cannot see, you are defenseless. You're armed, but you are not capable of defending yourself effectively.

That is where tactical lights come in. That is why I use them and trust them with my life. It amazes me how many shooters will spend $2ooo on a Wilson Combat 1911 but balk at a $200 combat light. And this certainly isn't to say that combatlights are required for any given person in every possible situation. Ayoob remarked,
The flashlight is a useful attachment, but one should not let it become the standard search illumination tool. In that situation, an handgun in one fist and a flashlight in the other will work much better. If you are a home defender, remember this simple fact: If alarm has gone off and you think someone might be have gotten into your kid's room, a flashlight attached to your weapon means you have to point your loaded shotgun at your own children to ascertain that the are all right.
Sometimes it isn't just your own life you're trying to save.