Monday, July 07, 2008

Close-Quarters Marksmanship In Home Defense: Revolvers v. Semis 
Glenn Reynolds links to this article detailing how the District of Columbia would like to get around the Supreme Court's Heller decision by continuing to ban semiautomatic pistols. If the plan is adopted, the city would restrict legal ownership of firearms for home defense purposes to revolvers.

Current city law defines a "machine gun" to mean "any firearm which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily converted or restored to shoot: a) Automatically, more than one shot by a single function of the trigger; b) Semiautomatically, more than 12 shots without manual reloading."

Gura said the Heller decision does not protect "dangerous or unusual weapons" — like fully automatic, military style machine guns — but it does protect weapons "in common use" or those people would use for "lawful purposes." Semiautomatics, which police departments have made their weapon of choice, would fall under that category, Gura said.

"It's unfortunate that, you know, they seem to think that a ban on semiautomatic firearms is constitutional. It's not," Gura said. "Semiautomatics are garden variety. It's a normal, non-exotic, typical technology. It does not let you spray bullets. ... People here 'automatic,' and they think, 'Oh, it's Rambo.' It's not."

Mendelson said he does have a limit to what he thinks is safe.

"I think an individual possessing a handgun that can fire 18 rounds — that is loaded and can fire 18 rounds semiautomatically — is a problem for public safety in the District," Mendelson said. "I don't know what the correct number is, but something less (than 18 shots)."

Peter Nickles, interim attorney general for the city, said it remains to be seen whether the city will include any updates on semiautomatics as part of its rules changes. Currently, the city is trying to balance a number of issues, including meeting the court's ruling and avoiding further legal challenges.

Pluff said the argument for allowing semiautomatic pistols might be overstated, at least when it comes to self-defense. Revolvers are more accurate, more reliable and easier to manage than higher-tech semiautomatic pistols in an emergency, he said.

"From an accuracy standpoint, from a reliability standpoint, revolvers are still very popular," Pluff said.

He said the chief priority in his mind for a self-defense weapon is "to take myself away from danger. ... For most people, most confrontations, it's not going to be a high volume of rounds being shot."

But, Pluff said, when it comes to safety inside the home — a major question in the minds of policymakers — semiautomatics and revolvers are no different.

In practical terms, this is nonsense.

It is true that revolver rounds typically have a straighter trajectory. But that is because revolver rounds are frequently more powerful than your standard 9mm or similar common pistol round. (Remember Dirty Harry?). Novice shooters may also prefer the revolver because it is more intuitive. You can figure it out by looking at it. And revolvers have no safety switches to worry about...but experienced shooters will have rehearsed the safety flick many times and will master it with motor memory after a time.

The bottom line is this: These ignoramuses are ignoring one of the key differences between a semiautomatic pistol and a revolver:

Every round you fire with a revolver requires the shooter to manually cycle the hammer from the down position all the way back to the cock position before you can fire again. The semiautomatic pistol, on the other hand, harnesses the recoil to slide the bolt back, pushing the hammer back to the cocked position for you.

This means that except for the very first round, the semiautomatic firer has a significant advantage in speed compared to the typical revolver firer.

That brings us to the fundamentals of tactical close range combat shooting.

The typical close quarters pistol engagement in a chaotic setting...for example, in a home where the assailant has the element of surprise working for him... happens at extremely close range - typically within 10 or 15 feet.

At that range, the ballistic accuracy of the revolver round compared to the semiautomatic round - that would be relevant at longer ranges (25-50 meters) is totally irrelevant. For the purposes of the close quarters life-and-death engagement against a man-sized target within a room, both firearms are accurate enough.

In the life-or-death gunfight at close quarters, the key is to be able to get your first, second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth shots off as fast as possible... BEFORE your assailant has a chance to get his shot off at you. In that context, you don't take a nice sight picture aligning the attacker's center of mass or head nicely on the front sight post like you do at the range. Instead, for the first shot or two, you rely on motor memory and instinctive muscular alignment to point and shoot, even while the pistol is on its way up to the picture perfect tactical pistol firing stance.

You may grab a pistol from the drawer, pivot, fire, and fire three more times before you line up the sight posts. This is good. It's all about speed, and short-circuiting the attacker.

To illustrate what I'm talking about, have a look at this clip:

Look at the drills between :30 and :38.

Notice none of them involve aimed shots. All of them involved 'double tapping,' firing two or more rounds, from the gut.

The first shot may be lethal, but that's not what's important. What's important is that by getting your shot off FAST, you short-circuit your attacker's draw...and continue short-circuiting it by firing faster than the attacker. You can do it with a revolver. But your first shot is very likely a miss and your second and subsequent shots will be that much slower because of the necessity to go through the full hammer cycle with each trigger pull.

You engage him, you render it impossible for him to take an aimed shot at you because of the bullets striking his body, and you KEEP firing until he is no longer a threat.

That may require several shots, because a dying man can still fire.

Further, in the home defense setting... it's very likely dark. You cannot assume that the attacker is acting alone. You MUST be ready for a follow-on attack by another invader... and you do NOT want to be fumbling around in the dark for another revolver barrel in order to reload because you just fired five of your six rounds. (Or was it six? See, in all the excitement, I kinda lost count. Punk.)

You cannot turn on the lights to LOOK for more ammo, because you illuminate yourself while the second attacker whose existence you MUST assume can stay concealed in the dark, and you are vulnerable while you look for the ammo, and vulnerable while reloading. You CANNOT afford this in a lethal fight.

If the Heller decision that upholds the individual's right to own a handgun and keep it loaded in the home for practical reasons of self-defense is to have any meaning, any attempt by the City to ban the semiautomatic variety must be struck down. Prohibiting law-abiding citizens from using the most effective tool for the job is foolish because it again cedes the advantage to the criminal, who will observe no such restrictions.

The dumbass sheltered libtard bureaucrats that come up with this crap need to pull their heads out of their asses, and consider the real world.

Splash, out


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With my S&W .45 ACP wheel gun I can shoot off 6 rounds pretty darn quick. It's double action. The rate of fire between a semi and a DA revolver is not much to worry about. The reload with full-moon clips is pretty fast. At the range I can keep up with my auto pistol buddies pretty well.

A revolver is like a fork, you pick it up and it works.
A cogent analysis, but I doubt any decision will be resolved on the issue of effectiveness. Scalia's argument cites "weapons in common use". Pistols being about as common as revolvers, maybe more so (I'm not a gun person), the proposed DC law ain't gonna fly.

I don't see why the city fathers can't understand that a decent public education campaign to keep guns out of the homes of the suicidal, and out of the hands of children will save more lives with better good will than a clumsy, ill-enforced ban.
These people are on drug, someone should order urine and blood work right away, and on a regular schedule
Maybe they should ban dual band slingshots too.
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