Banning semi-auto firearms? There are alternatives.

One of the latest tactics of the anti-gunners seems to be to try to demonize all semi-automatic firearms, not just rifles like the AR-15 or AK-47.  The propaganda war to achieve a ban on such weapons is already under way.  For example, the anti-gun Washington Post claims:

But the latest available polling shows that, in fact, more than half of Americans say they would support an across-the-board ban on all semiautomatic weapons. And academics who study gun violence say that such a ban would be an effective way to combat mass shootings and gun violence overall.

Those in favor of such a ban tend to be overwhelmingly from the left-wing, liberal and progressive side of US politics.  The Washington Examiner reported last month:

… a YouGov survey released this week … shows a significant number of self-identified Democratic respondents support the idea of total gun confiscation.

The poll, which was conducted between Feb. 25 and 27 and has a margin of error for registered voters of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points, surveyed 1,500 adults.

Of that number, YouGov found that 73 percent of self-identified Democrats “strongly” favor banning semi-automatic firearms. The survey found that an additional nine percent “somewhat” favor a ban of that sort.

Translation: 82 percent of surveyed Democrats say they favor a ban on semi-automatics, which would include not just rifles like the one used in the Feb. 14 Parkland massacre, which claimed the lives of 17 people, but also most handguns.

That’s a hell of a ban.

There’s more at the link.

Of course, the poll(s) asking those questions tend to be one-sided, use leading questions, and be taken among respondents who are less likely to own guns than others.  Nevertheless, they make good propaganda, and we can expect to see more of them.  Some localities (e.g. Deerfield, IL) are already trying to implement at least partial bans on semi-auto weapons as a category, rather than for specific models.  Nor is this something new;  Providence, RI tried to do so as long ago as 2013.

I received an e-mail this morning from a reader who was concerned about this might mean for his ability to defend himself.  He wanted to know whether there were any alternatives “as good as” a semi-auto pistol and semi-auto rifle to defend himself and his family.  I was able to assure him that there were, indeed, very viable alternatives.  The revolver and the lever-action or pump-action rifle have protected Americans for generations.

The West was won with the revolver, the lever-action rifle, and the double-barreled shotgun.  They were effective then, and they’re just as effective now.  They may not hold as many rounds as modern semi-autos, but then, many users of semi-autos adopt a “spray-and-pray” approach to marksmanship;  they launch lots of rounds without bothering to aim properly, in the hope that some will connect.  This is as true of police as it is of civilians.  For example:

There are many more news reports one could cite, but you get the idea.  More ammunition is not necessarily a fight-winning advantage.  You have to put them where they need to go to shut down your opponent.  From that perspective, a single accurate, well-aimed, effective round from a revolver is more productive than a dozen inaccurate, poorly-aimed, ineffective rounds from a semi-auto pistol.

If readers wish, I can do another blog post on the wide selection of available revolvers and rifles that are out there.  My basic recommendation is to go with a big-bore revolver, if at all possible;  one chambered for .44 Special, .45 ACP or .45 Colt.  If you can’t carry a lot of rounds in your gun, make them the biggest and most powerful you can manage!  Ammunition is freely available, and some premium brands (e.g. Buffalo Bore, which I personally carry) offer outstanding performance (albeit at a premium price – but what’s your life worth?).

I do NOT recommend a Magnum round, because if you have to use your revolver inside a house, the blast and muzzle flash will be deafening and disorienting.  In a confined space, it’ll have the same effect as a flash-bang or stun grenade.  If you don’t believe me, you can test it for yourself anytime;  but I don’t recommend it – it’s hard on your furniture, fittings and floor – and besides, it’s illegal in most jurisdictions.  Of course, if you’re sure you can handle that aspect of a Magnum, they’re very effective rounds;  but I’ll stick with my big-bore cartridges instead, thanks.  They operate at much lower pressures than Magnums, so their blast and sound is considerably reduced.

In a smaller cartridge, I do NOT recommend the .38 Special snubnose revolver as a primary weapon.  It’s difficult to shoot well, hard to control (although that can be addressed with replacement aftermarket grips), and is more of an expert’s gun than a novice’s.  However, for a trained shooter, they offer good options for concealed carry.  A 3″ or 4″ barreled revolver, chambered in .38 Special or .357 Magnum and loaded with an effective anti-personnel round, is a very useful primary weapon, and is not too hard to conceal, given appropriate holsters and clothing.

If you’re interested, here are the defensive loads I carry in my revolvers:

There are plenty of other good choices out there.  Do your own research, and choose one or more that suit your needs.

As for lever-action rifles and carbines, these add greatly to the efficiency of standard revolver rounds, and offer much greater accuracy at medium ranges (100-125 yards).  I have Marlin 1894‘s and Rossi R92‘s chambered for various cartridges (.357 Magnum, .44 Special/Magnum and .45 Colt), and like them all.  For use inside a building, or in your vehicle, the 16″ barrel versions are preferable, because they’re less likely to catch on obstacles as you move with the gun.  For outside or general-purpose use, the 20″ barrel gives a longer sight radius and slightly higher velocities, but in a handgun cartridge, doesn’t make that much difference, ballistically speaking.

If you want more power and greater range, the venerable .30-30 is available, a favorite of the Texas Rangers and other frontier lawmen in the old days.  It’ll let you reach out to 200 yards or more with the right ammunition (although its additional power also increases the risk of over-penetration, which is not desirable in an urban area).  What’s more, one can get a lever-action rifle in .22, or even in Airsoft, that makes training very easy and low-cost.  Skills with the training weapon will translate almost seamlessly to being able to use your larger-caliber defensive gun more effectively.

What’s even nicer about a lever-action weapon is that it “looks right”.  It’s something people associate with Western movies, or kids playing in the yard.  It’s nowhere near as menacing to many onlookers as an AR-15 might be, but within its usable range, it’s just as effective.  That’s not to be sneezed at, in many urban areas where gun owners are demonized.

I do recommend that, even if you live in an area where semi-auto firearms are accepted and commonplace, you still buy and familiarize yourself with a good revolver or two, and a good lever-action rifle or carbine.  If some jackass engineers a ban on a State-wide or nationwide scale, you may find yourself suddenly unable to (legally) use your semi-auto weapons.  If so, it’s very helpful to have a legal, effective backup option available.

This was just a quick article to address my reader’s concerns.  If any of you would like me to write more about it, let me know in Comments, and I’ll put something together.



  1. Or those who care about such things could do what the enemy already does: move to and by re-population take over entire states. It takes generations, but communists are patient. The hammer in the hammer and sickle is not raised in retreat; it is poised to strike the next blow.

    But "conservatives" will not do this. They will continue to have small families, and as soon as possible ship their children to the indoctrination/re-education government school system, whereby they are permeated 5 days a week with the message: there is no God, the state is your master, only criminals possess guns, and everyone has the right to vote regardless of age of citizenship.

    The communists do not have to lift a finger; they just have to be patient. Eventually you will also see the revolvers and lever actions go down the same road. Maybe not in your lifetime, but it will happen. Because, who is going to stop it?
    The ones that won't even remove their children from the system?

  2. Of course, once semi-autos are banned, they won't stop there. Next will be pump-action and lever-action guns. And so on, and so on.

  3. Sheesh, it's not like any of the arguments really make much sense.

    I mean, really, there *are* actual reasonable arguments to be made in favor of some degree of restriction on some kinds of weapons. I'm not seeing those here, though, and certainly not anything approaching even an attempt to arrive at a sensible implementation.

    (Well, it's not like the political class wants their internal planning to be publicly scrutinized anyway.)

    As to what would be a sensible implementation… now, that's a loaded question… I might start with a decentralized registration – one where you can choose from several registrars – if they'll have you – who don't automatically forward your personal data to one central authority either. (Authorized registrar organizations should be able to at least ask permission to share somewhat between their own branches and higher-level offices – I could see competitive sport shooting doing some of that, for example.)

    As to what kinds of weapons should be restricted… well, mostly those that take significant skill to use safely and reliably. Such as those snub-nose alloy-frame Magnum revolvers – I mean, proper semi-autos are rather easier to handle in comparison… in my ideal world, your local decentralized registrar checks that you can handle whatever gun you want to get before signing off on it.

    1. @ Anonymous (April 4, 2018 at 2:52 PM)

      So you want to make your right (and mine) to purchase a firearm contingent upon your ability to convince someone else that you have the skill to "handle" that firearm? Are you serious? *That* kind of tyrannical despotism is your vision of an "ideal" world!? You have a very different set of "ideals" than I do, to say the very least.

  4. I really don’t think there will be a ban on semiautomatic firearms in the near future. Too many of us have them and will not give them up. This is what I wrote on the subject a week or so ago:

    I’ve read a lot of reasons why people arm themselves. I’ll tell you why I’m armed. It’s easy to be anti gun when you have never seen evil. Most people in this country never see pure evil unless they live and survive in some of our urban areas. Even there we find some sense of humanity. Me, it was at the tender age of 18 that I first encountered pure evil. Once you see it; smell it’s rancid breath, smell the blood of its victims, their urine, feces, and burnt flesh your brain will be tattooed with the image for life. For 26.5 years thereafter I hunted it enforcing foreign policy. Spent a couple of years in law enforcement thereafter. Fortunately I never encountered the degree of evil I’ve seen beyond our shores.

    I was resolved to never let my loved ones bear a glint much less experience the depths that evil takes some people. One thing I did learn from that experience is that we are all capable of evil. You see, the slayer of evil usually becomes evil to eradicate the vermin from the planet. Hopefully he does not loose his soul in the process.

    After 7 decades I still train and keep proficient in the use of arms because I never know when evil will call. I don’t fear much but I fear my family’s exposure to man’s inhumanity. As a man it is my responsibility to keep my family safe not the government. I signed on to this task when I became a father and husband. I will do what ever is necessary to keep them safe. I would rather live out my remaining years in peace. I view anyone who would prevent me from this task by disarming me evil. I am resolved to slay all dragons at my door. I beg you to please leave me alone because if you don’t you will see evil up close and personal.

  5. Mr. DuCote,

    With all due respect, and as someone of similar age and background, the people you are speaking to do not care. They will never come to your door, but they will pressure and vote to empower the ones that they will send.

    It about control; they do not dislike guns, they simply insist that they will be the ones with them. And they will use whatever force is required to eradicate those who refuse to comply. It is easy to for people to say that they will resist, but like the folks in Tienanmen Square or Waco, eventually they just become track grease for the tanks.

  6. There may be a pump-action AR-15 upper in some people's future, at least until America recaptures those occupied territories.

  7. I'd also note that the poll was taken roughly 2 weeks after the Parkland school shooting….when the Media had 'Gun Control" hyped every day, many times each day. And so, the liberals, being easily led by propaganda, were thinking "Gun COntrol!!" when the poll was taken.

    I wonder what that same poll would show two weeks (Or two months) from now…now that they hype and propaganda is greatly lessened?

  8. "until America recaptures those occupied territories…"

    How silly. The states have not been occupied, they have been out-populated by those who desire your death by the very basic method of having babies.

    "Conservatives" do not multiply, they simply replace themselves, and so attrition takes its natural toll.

    Nothing can be recaptured by a people that dwindles and fades away.

  9. "Those in favor of such a ban tend to be overwhelmingly from the left-wing, liberal and progressive side of US politics."

    I would expect that those in favor of such a ban also could not accurately define 'semi-automatic' if asked.

  10. I've already seen previous attempts to ban those evil bolt action sniper rifles.
    They're after everything.

  11. "I would expect that those in favor of such a ban also could not accurately define 'semi-automatic' if asked."

    They do not have to be able to define anything; it will be whatever they make the rule say it is. They do not care about your definitions; they will make their own.

  12. "Owners of assault weapons living in north suburban Deerfield have until June 13 to remove the firearms from within village limits or face daily fines after a ban was approved Monday night. Violations carry a fine of between $250 and $1,000 per day, according to Matthew Rose, the village attorney. He said the fine is levied each day until there is compliance."

    Coming to a community near you.

    Your definition fails.

    Now, deal with it.

  13. Read front page of UK daily mail. Old age pensioner attacked in his own house at night has now been charged with murder for defending himself against armed men. In his own damn house! Are we next? Is that where we are headed?

  14. Good post. I've long been an advocate of manually operated arms. They are highly underestimated but they are even more potent today than they were back when they were first invented. I actually wrote a detailed article on leverguns as viable combat weapons here if you happen to be interested:

  15. The M1 Garand "the greatest battle implement ever devised" according to George Patton.
    And it's a semiautomatic. It's NOT the technology. It's the training and the bravery
    ….or LACK thereof that is the problem. Cowards "spray and pray", brave men aim.

  16. Yes, please write more on the subject. I’m especially interested in your thoughts on the comparative utility of revolver caliber lever actions in .357, .44 and .45. I have an ongoing debate with myself on that subject and I need to put a nail in it for good.

  17. Then there is this …

    Looks scary, so ban it.

    I must fulfil a promise I made and compile a book ofquotes and wisdom from the Movies. One that is apt here is from the film The First Great Train Robbery (set in Victorian times). When the thieves are caught, the Judge asks "Why do you rob banks?". "Because that's where the miney is".

    Why do you want gun registration? Because …

    Phil B

  18. If they ever get a semi-automatic ban implemented, the next step would be to eliminate all other firearms that can be fired with another pull of the trigger (i.e. double action trigger). Not much different than a firearm that automatically prepares itself for the next shot like a semi-auto.

    I'd vote for the pistol cartridge chambered lever gun. A .357 16" Trapper length is quite compact as noted. .38 Special ammunition would have less report for shooting indoors too.

  19. Nice article. Good information. Won't matter. Once they get their semi ban they come for the ones they let us have in order to get the semi ban.

    There is only one end game for them…

  20. They aren't idiots. I very much doubt door to door confiscation would be attempted: too expensive, too many martyrs. No much, much easier to force compliance through the IRS. It worked quite well for healthcare, would have worked even better if the fine was higher but the premium hikes happened so the fine was less. You have a gun that has a paper work trail? Many of us do. Place a lien through the IRS until that gun is turned in, add a running day fine to that amount.
    Threatening one's business, one's taxes, one's bank accounts, one's mortgage, car payments, kid's school accounts, your retirement savings is much more likely to create high compliance with less kickback.

  21. Where are the criminals in gun-free towns obtaining the weapons used in their crimes? (Chicago shootings can't be with legally-obtained hand guns.)

  22. "Place a lien through the IRS until that gun is turned in, add a running day fine to that amount. "

    I sold that gun years ago. It isn't here. And you and Big Corporate Bank can argue over who gets my stuff. Have fun with your crashed economy. Meanwhile, it's a shame that Mr Politician and his whole family were victims of rampant street crime.

  23. 3d printing will make (is already making) any attempt to control guns impossible. I am pretty sanguine about the future of firearm ownership…it will be completely anonymous. Being able to train decently will be problematic under a full ban though…

  24. Slight disagreement on what the author recommends for .38 & .44 special std. velocity ammo. It's been my experience that hard-cast lead bullets just don't expand much at lower velocities. They tend to perform more like FMJ bullets. I cast my own semi-wadcutters using a softer lead alloy and get excellent expansion.
    Also, it seems that a lot of commercial std. velocity, jacketed hollow point self-defense rounds don't perform as advertised. A little research is recommended before you decide to carry with this ammo.
    Paul Harrel does an excellent presentation on std. velocity .38 spl. ammo here:

  25. Look, there is only one goal for people who want to "only ban" semiautomatic firearms, and that is to ban all firearms. Does anyone here really think that if semiautomatic firearms were banned and made to disappear, that the left would not be back for revolvers, shotguns, and bbguns?

    Just. Say. No.

  26. How does a revolver hold an ACP cartridge in the the cylinder? I thought ACP was a round for auto-loader (semi-automatic) guns.

  27. The .357 really shines in a carbine. Takes a look at Ballistics by the inch's energy curve for it. The curve for most hand gun calibers seem to flatten out around a 10" barrel- the .357 keeps picking up a lot of energy to 16" or 18", getting very close to other, much more powerful calibers that greatly outclass it in shorter barrels. Around 1000 ft lbs.

    I agree with the other posters- the semi auto ban is just a stop on the line- they want them all, and then they will most likely kill us all.
    It is what leftists do, history is verification enough to make the possibility very real. As poorly educated as most of them seem to be, they may not even realize that history is replete with examples, and more to the point, that their opposition (us) is aware of that fact.
    The study of firearms has a way of introducing a lot of history.
    I doubt most of the gun-ban types even know why the British went to Concord and Lexington. Or that the first shots were fired there. Or should I say the first returned fire was received by the Brits.

  28. It won't stop there. In NY they are trying to ban muzzleloader rifles with the possibility to attach a supressor, because the "silent" gun now can be used in mass shootings.
    They also give the example of the DC snipers at what damage a "silent" rifle can do, as the sniper "could reload" and fire again.

    Obviously the idiots understand neither supressors nor muzzleloaders.

  29. I second our host on snub-nose .38s. I have one, it fits my hands (small) but it kicks like a Missouri mule and is rough on the wrists (small) when you try to do a lot of range work with it. Yes, I am working on wrist and grip strength, and the Snubbie is a good back-up revolver, but it's not going to be my primary self-defense tool (after the stuff between my ears, or course.)

  30. When the US entered WWI our armed forces were ill equipped with sidearms which were needed by officers and support personnel. Colt could not ramp up production of the 1911 fast enough and in fact many were farmed out to factories that specialized in products such as typewriters and sewing machines.
    Still as an additional stopgap both Colt and Smith & Wesson modified their large frame revolvers to handle the military issue .45 acp round with the use of half moon clips, devices that held three rounds at a time and served as the rim to give the cartridges proper headspace in a revolver cylinder.
    In modern times several companies still make .45 acp revolvers, but have advanced the designs to incorporate a full moon clip which holds an entire load of shells.
    Competition shooter Jerry Miculek holds the world record for 12 shots from a six shot revolver with one reload using a S&W model 625 in .45 acp with full moon clips. Twelve aimed shots in 2.99 seconds.

  31. Perhaps what is needed is a new Militia Act from Congress, requiring all adult non-felons of sound mind and body to possess a semi-automatic rifle, a minimum of a hundred rounds of ammunition, and attend two days of militia training per year.

  32. "Owners of assault weapons living in north suburban Deerfield have until June 13 to remove the firearms from within village limits or face daily fines after a ban was approved Monday night. Violations carry a fine of between $250 and $1,000 per day, according to Matthew Rose, the village attorney. He said the fine is levied each day until there is compliance."

    Coming to a community near you.
    Your definition fails.
    Now, deal with it.
    I wonder how quickly this would be repealed if people decided to (more competently) "youtube office" those politicians?

  33. I'd love to see a post with your firearms thoughts and recommendations on this issue. I love the old west guns, and have been considering expanding my collection into that realm as I have a couple of ARs and a fair number of semi-auto pistols. I don't see how a semi-auto ban could stand constitutionally today with the current makeup of the supreme court, but Heller v. DC was a 5 to 4 vote. Change the makeup of the supreme court in one direction, and it could've easily gone the other way. The dissenting opinions basically stated that the founding fathers could not possibly have thought that citizens needed to be armed individually for self defense from internal and external threats (showing they have a complete lack of understanding regarding the 2nd amendment). From Justice Breyer: "There simply is no untouchable constitutional right guaranteed by the Second Amendment to keep loaded handguns in the house in crime-ridden urban areas." Keep an eye out folks. Don't let off now, we cannot let the Progressives ride the current anti-Trump media wave into the white house in 2020. If they get the supreme court back, that line could come from a majority opinion in which they determine the 2nd amendment has no bearing in today's society because it was meant for militias.

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