“I don’t need a gun. You need a gun because of men like me.”


My thanks to Miguel at Gun Free Zone for republishing this gem from an earlier Facebook conversation.

A couple years ago I was working security at a bar in northern Virginia. I overheard a table of college kids arguing about gun rights and gun control and it was getting far too emotional so I did what any sane combat veteran would do and attempted to exfiltrate. I must not have withdrawn as surreptitiously as I intended, because I was stopped in my tracks when a 5-foot-nothing brunette seemingly leapt in front of me and blurted out “excuse me, can you help us?”

I’m sure I must have looked irritated as I cycled through the possible quips and excuses I considered available to me but being uncertain that she wasn’t some Senator’s daughter, I caved: “What’s up?”

She basically leads me to this table of 2 other females (probably both named Karen) and a very soft looking male.

Becky: “So, we were just talking about current events and, you know. So, you look like you’re probably in the military, right? Like the Army?”

(When you accuse someone of being in the military you probably don’t need to give an example.)

Me: “Similar.. yea”

Becky: “Right. Okay. So, do you think civilians should be allowed to own guns?”

Me: “Most of us. Yes.”

Becky: (clearly not happy with my answer) “Okay, so, why do you think you need a gun?”

(At this point it’s almost 2am and I’ve just given up on patience. Hold my beer.)

(With intentionally overt condescension): “Oh, honey, I don’t. I don’t need a gun.”

Becky stares at me blankly, so I continue, but with a more serious tone:

“I could follow you home, walk up your driveway, and beat you to death with the daily newspaper.

I could choke you to death with that purse.

I could take a credit card, break it in half, and cut your throat open with it.

With enough time and effort I could beat your boyfriend here with a rolled up pair of socks.

I could probably dream up six dozen other ways I could easily end your life if you gave me an hour or so.

If I wanted to, I could wrap my hand around that beer mug and kill all four of you before you could make it to the exit. The worst part is, in your utopian little fantasyland, there ain’t a thing any of you could do about it.

I don’t need a gun.

You need a gun.

You need a gun because of men like me.”

True dat.

When teaching disabled shooters, as I did for many years, I used to emphasize that point.  You don’t need a gun because of you:  you need it because of the weirdos, whackos and just plain evil people out there.  They make it necessary, not some inner twisted Rambo-like fixation in ourselves.  However, some people just can’t seem to grasp that reality.

Tangentially related to that subject, I have nothing against the 9mm. Luger and .38 Special cartridges.  I own and carry several firearms that shoot them, and I have confidence that, properly applied, they’ll do a decent job of self-defense.  However, I’ve recently heard of several cases (close to double figures) where individuals who were drunk or hopped-up on some or other illegal narcotic(s) exhibited extreme reluctance to stop attacking someone.  Although hit several times in vital organs by 9mm. or .38 Special rounds, injuries severe enough that should have been stopped in their tracks, they kept up the attack until blood loss caused them to fall down.  In the process, they inflicted severe injury on their victims.

No matter how popular smaller rounds may be, let’s not forget that bigger, heavier, faster rounds do get the job done with greater reliability than their lesser brethren, particularly when the latter are fired out of short barrels that don’t allow them to gain sufficient velocity to be sure of expansion and/or penetration.  I wrote some time ago about “Defensive ammunition when you can’t use hollowpoints“.  The criteria I used in that article also apply to situations where your carry gun can’t get a smaller round moving fast enough to guarantee its expansion.  That’s why I carry Buffalo Bore full wadcutter .38 Special rounds in my snubbies chambered for that cartridge.  They don’t have to expand to carve a full-caliber wound channel, which is actually better performance than most .38 hollowpoints will deliver out of sub-2″ barrels.

When dealing with drunk or drugged opponents, there’s a very strong case to be made for bigger, heavier bullets, even at the expense of carrying them in a slightly larger, heavier, harder-to-conceal handgun.  I continue to carry .44 Special snubbies on a regular basis in my winter coat pockets, and I have great confidence in that round.  I’m also seriously considering whether it isn’t time to re-evaluate the hard-kicking (but also hard-hitting) 10mm. Auto round.  It has heavy recoil in carry-size guns, which puts off many shooters;  but when dealing with hopped-up attackers, who may be wrapped in thick winter clothing, there’s a lot to be said for its performance on impact.  I’ll be putting the round through its paces in a forthcoming test, to see whether it’s harder for me to handle in my 60’s than it was in my 40’s, particularly in compact carry guns.  I’ll let you know what I find.



  1. When considering a carry gun, I try to consider where, when, and what threat I am trying to anticipate.
    Also consider civilian self defense law requirements.
    When I Han a store in New Orleans, my high threat situation was carrying the daily deposits on foot across a large parking lot to the bank. I then carried a 1911 tested for the hollowpoints I used in it.
    I expected the threat to be one or more armed robbers, inside 10 feet, who would be likely to kill me to remove a witness, as was usual then / there. I expected to be shot, so I wanted a system that would STOP an attacker ASAP. My declared intent was to stop the attack, rather than kill. Legally, whether my attacker lived or died was not a part of my intent, as long as he / they stopped their attack on me.
    I thought that I could reasonably presume that an attack on me with lethal weapons was a deadly attack.
    John in Indy

  2. Among my house guns, why carry when you can have a piece anywhere you might happen to be, are 2 44 special revolvers and a 1916 Colt New Service in 45 Colt. One upping your 44 special snubbie, I have a titanium frame Taurus snubbie in 45 Colt. Given its 2 inch barrel muzzle velocity is probably somewhere around that of the 455 Webley, but the Brits found that useful for about a century. While I carry a 9mm often, the only load I use is the old Federal 9BPLE +p+ that is a close duplicate of the 357 that was designed for the Illinois State Police. Lots of positive anecdotal evidence from that organization. You tube has some interesting ballistic gel test results.

  3. #thingsthatneverhappened "And everyone on the bus/in the bar stood up and clapped"

    The conversation might have been (was) a fantasy, but the point is accurate nonetheless. Despite the mall-ninja/forum-SEAL preening included in the fantasy conversation.

    "I could beat up your boyfriend with a pair of socks, little lady…" (Paraphrase…but that was the gist) I mean… seriously? only an imbecile or a fantasizing twit/loser actually talks/imagines talking that way.

    Still, yep. That's one of the reasons we need guns. Because bad people exist. And some/many of them are very dangerous. Samuel Colt made men equal.

    1. I've been in the room and at the table for really similar (but less condescending) conversations where everyone was sober. The few times alcohol was involved my recollection is a bit more hazy, but the only part of this I couldn't picture at least one of friends saying would be the newspaper one, and that's because I was the last one getting a daily paper, and stopped doing that in 2012.

      In person I'm rather more meek and soft-spoken around people outside my circle, but even I've used the 'I don't, YOU do' line on people before. The quiet/polite veteran stereotype has shifted to quiet/polite OLDER vets, outspoken/brash/in-your-face/a*****e YOUNGER vets for a reason.

  4. I don't normally comment on guns. I know why. I'm now 60 and spent 30 years in the Navy including the mobile security forces for the last 20 years of service.
    I don't carry. I've never sought to carry but I have a basic rule. I'm a white male and I just NEVER go to places, any places, where I think a gun would be good thing to have. It is a policy that has served me well all of my life.
    On the other hand, I never leave home without a weapon. I laughed as I watched the young men in Iraq show us the very best way to defend against a knife attack.

    A gun, as we saw with the late trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, is going to cost you every single thing you have.

    No, it's not the answer to car jackers at the mall but I don't go to the mall.

  5. I live in an extremely conservative NorCal county just north of Sacramento County. Although lately we've had are fair share of Bay Area Libtards relocating here.
    So about two years ago we had a rash of home invasion robberies. Criminal element from Sac County driving up and riding our affluent home owners. They would enter from the rear of the home, Taze Fido, stick a gun in the home owners face. Ransack the house, duck tape the occupants up a split. The very night this started our early warning alarm system, spookiest Lab you've ever seen, went off after I had all ready retired for the evening. I looked out the back windows to see 5 guys with head lamps on running through the vacant field behind us towards are back fence line. I had just enough time to grab an AR and meet them at the fence line. They didn't want any of it and ran back from where they came from. That was night one of the fun.
    Anyway our most awesome Sheriff holds a town meeting, which we attended due to our close call.
    So at the town hall people are worked up. Some of them are yelling arm your selves, yada yada. Sure enough we had some in attendance that we totally opposed to anything that goes bang. So our Sheriff says lets go over what's taking place and we will talk about the gun issue after. He finally addresses the gun issue and it was awesome.
    "We are a rural under funded department. Our best response time is 12 minutes. And when we get the call the crimes already been committed. So you do what you think you need to do to stay alive".

  6. When it comes to caliber issues:
    "two to the chest, the face gets the rest"

    This apparently works no matter what the caliber.

  7. Are we supposed to be dissuaded from carrying/employing a gun for self-defense because of what the State did to Kyle Rittenhouse? Is it now wrong for a white male to defend himself, his family, his property by any means possible against threats to any of the foregoing? Will the State deliberately try to reduce him to penury? If not the State, will relatives of the deceased employing hungry/greedy lawyers attempt the same?
    BTW, I am 80+ and still enjoy (repeat enjoy) shooting any of my 10mm pistols (Colt and Ruger and sometimes, if I feel it needs a very thorough, annual cleaning, I'll take the Wyoming Arms Parker out of storage) with commercial ammo or my own handloads.

    1. I can't recommend high-quality carry insurance enough. That's how you avoid being broken by legal costs even if you win, and also even if you lose a civil suit (assuming it was a good shoot). I can't find a link right now, but there are a couple of places where this is covered in detail along with comparisons of different companies and what they cover. I'm sure other readers will have those links.

  8. Ballistics101.com has a variety of rounds and their ballistic properties. For example, Federal HST 9mm +P rounds, 124 grain, brings 396 ft-lb energy at the muzzle with 1200ft/sec velocity. By comparison, their .45ACP Bonded HP +P is 230 grains, 461 ft-lb, and 930ft/sec velocity.

    Lucky Gunner has a nice review of assorted and sundry rounds and their testing methods here:

    Tl,dr: There are plenty of 9mm rounds that do just as good of a job with penetration and wound cavity (permanent and temporary) as any .45 or similar sized round.

    A decent, made-for-defense, 9mm round is perfectly adequate for self defense according to the data.

  9. As a relatively recent adherent of the 10mm Auto (Best Centimeter), I've been carrying the 175 grain Hornady Critical Duty load. This, and most of my practice loads have about the momentum of the .45 ACP hardball round. For external reasons, further business with big H will be on indefinite hold. Bad decisions should leave a lasting impression. BTAIM, I find the Springfield XDm10 quite nice. In a modified Alien Gear hybrid holster it is not obtrusive. The recoil spring is a bit firm, but using a grip with 4 fingers clamping the slide against the base of the thumb is helpful. The top corner of the slide may be braced against a corner or lifted heel to rack the slide.

    P.S. At such a point, what further service can the state provide you?

  10. "I'm also seriously considering whether it isn't time to re-evaluate the hard-kicking (but also hard-hitting) 10mm. Auto round."

    Carried a 1911 for years (Cor-Bon 230 gr +P HPs) then changed jobs to one where I had the potential to "come into contact" with Hispanic gangs; 1, only occasionally 2, "regular" criminals might rob a 7-11 and a 1911 is enough, but in crimes where Hispanic gangs might be involved you're now dealing with 5, 6, 7, 8… and 8+1 in a 1911 isn't enough. Tried an HK USP in 45 (12+1) wound up going to a G20 with 2 round extenders on the mags (17+1) and Buffalo Bore 10MM Heavy (180 gr @1350 FPS). It's a high horsepower round and even in a full size gun like the G20 the recoil is a large handful. Pro Tip: You'll need a 22 lb recoil spring. Which will increase the felt recoil. Start hitting the gym, forward and reverse curls, shoulder exercises.

    Occupational therapists have a very useful exercise and the equipment can be very, very cheap: 2 ft length of closet rod (1 1/4" dowel stock, Home Depot, U-Cut-It), drilled laterally in the center for a length of heavy string or light cord. Tie it to the handle of a 1 gallon milk jug, standing with back straight with palms down and arms extended horizontal the jug should just miss touching the ground. Roll the rod forward until the jug hits your hands, roll backward until it goes all the way down then up again to hit yout hands, roll forward until the string is fully extended. That's 1 rep. Pro Tip: start with an empty jug, that's for the first week, then add water 1 pint at a time. Roll the rod each time, do NOT let it spin freely in your hand. Remember to keep your back straight.

    Put water in the jug for weight, 1 pint=1 lb.This will work your wrists, outer forearms (like reverse curls), triceps, deltoids, trapezius, plus lower back, glutes and thighs. Reverse your hands – palm up – to work inner forearms, biceps, pectorals.

    The same rig can be used for regular forward curls, reverse curls, tricep exercises if you add more weight, and by lying on a 2X10 between two 5-gallon buckets you can use 2 milk jugs for chest flys. Do it with the milk jug long enough and you'll want to buy some 1, 2 1/2 and 5 lb weight plates. When you can do >3 reps with a 10 lb plate you'll know you Have Arrived.

    1. I don't understand what you mean by "roll the rod" are your hands still extended horizontally? I just realized…do you mean hands extended *in front of the body* not on either side? Because that would make more sense.

      In that case, are you supposed to wind the string/cord around the rod by spinning it with your hands/fingers? Thereby lifting the jug? Also, you say a 2 foot rod…where should your hands be? If they're shoulder width, then I'm pretty sure the jug won't be able to touch either of them, so are they supposed to be nearer to the middle of the rod? Thanks in advance, I just want to understand because it seems like this could be a useful exercise, bit I can't quite figure it out/I don't want to screw it up.

    2. Apply rotational force to the rod so that the string rolls up like a yo-yo.
      Then use muscle power to slowly rotate the string to unwound
      Wash, rinse, repeat.

    3. Thanks, Trumpeter, just saw your reply. Yeah, I figured it was that, I just wanted to make sure, because some of the phrasing got my sinus-infection-brain confused.

  11. From what I have read the 1911 came into being because our troops in the Philipeans couldn’t stop Moro insurgents that were hopped up on whatever they used with a 38 special. I personally carry a .357 mag and usually load 180 gr hard lead around the homestead and on the road. I carry hollow points to change over when in Anchorage. Have never needed it as all the bears I’ve met have run the other way and I spend as little time as necessary in town and stay away from places like Spenard and Mountain View but better safe than sorry!

  12. @ Bibliotheca Servare –

    Is this really that confusing, or are am I just being trolled? Well, OK, let's try this:

    Part 1 –

    A 2 ft length of closet rod seems to work well, if you want to hold your hands shoulder width apart, have someone measure your shoulder-to-shoulder distance and get a rod about 12 inches longer than that.

    With your back straight and feet approximately hip width apart (or shoulder width apart, whatever you want), extend arms horizontally in front of the body, arms parallel to each other and palms facing down. The rod should be grasped with both hands, one at each end of the rod, hands a comfortable distance apart and the heavy string hanging straight down between the grasping hands.

    The hole for the string in the rod should be drilled through the center laterally and in the center of the length of the rod – looking at an analog clock face, if the clock face represents looking at the end of the rod, the hole should be drilled from 12 to 6 (or 9 to 3, or 11 to 5 – pick any 2 hour markers that are 180 degrees apart as a reference). If the rod is 24 inches long (2 ft) it should bisect the rod, meaning "drill it in the center of the rod"; (if your rod is 24 inches long, drill the hole at 12 inches. If your rod is a different length than 24 inches, divide its length in inches by 2 and drill the hole at that point . If you are using a metric ruler, the same math operations apply (and as an FYI, there are 25.4 millimeters, or 2.54 centimeters, to 1 Imperial inch, so a 24 inch long rod equals ~610 millimeters or 61 centimeters).

    The down end of the string should be attached to the milk jug (or any other suitable weight device that can be adjusted to easily provide different weights; you will want to start with a very light weight. Water weighs approximately 1 avoirdupois pound per 16 liquid ounce pint; a gallon jug will hold just over 8 pints). With back straight, arms fully extended horizontally in front of your body, palms down and the rod held horizontally at arms length, roll the rod forward – roll the top of the rod away from you (think: rolling up a newspaper or magazine into a tube)- until the milk jug (or other weight) contacts the rod or your hands. Then unroll the rod (roll the top of the rod toward you) allowing the weight to go down to the full extension of the string, then keep rolling until the weight again reaches the rod or your hands. The roll the rod forward again until the string reaches full extension. This completes one (1) repetition ("rep").

    The "rod rolling procedure" is performed by alternating the grip of your hands – slightly loosen the grip of your left hand to allow the rod to rotate within your left hand grasp while still supporting the rod horizontally – and simultaneously tighten the grasp of your right hand sufficiently to allow rotating the rod with your right hand. Then tighten the grasp of your left hand while simultaneously slightly loosening the grasp of your right hand while and rotate the rod forward (again, top of the rod away from you) with your left hand. Gravity on whatever weight you are using will assist in "unrolling" the rod, but maintain full control of the rod with your hands and do not allow gravity to unroll the rod for you.


    To add difficulty repeat the exercise with our palms upward.

    Continued in part 2

  13. @ Bibliotheca Servare –

    Part 2:

    To use the rod and weight assembly for other exercises: forward curls (if you do no tknow what a forward curl, or reverse curl is, I'd suggest searching YouTube for videos of them) can be done two-handed or one-handed (you will want more weight than 8 lbs of water for this). For two-handed operation, hold the rod and weight device in the same manner as the "rolling the rod" exercise; for one-handed operation, the rod should be grasped one-handed with palms upward in a manner that allows the string to hang downward between the middle and ring fingers of the single hand performing the exercise (for forward curls; reverse curls are perfomed with the hands positioned with palms facing downward; again, see YouTube). The same rod-to-hand positioning can be used for working the triceps: Extend your upper arm (between the shoulder and elbow) vertically, supporting one arm with the other by placing the hand of the supporting arm on the "erercise arm's" elbow to maintain vertical positioning of the arm being exercised; extend the lower portion of the arm being exercised (between elbow and wrist) as close to horizontally as possible behind you; grasp the rod with the hand of the arm being exercised with the string between the middle and ring fingers of the hand on the arm being exercised extending downward to the weight device which should be behind your back at thi spoint. Raising and lowering the lower portion of the arm being exercised (elbow to wrist) between horizontal and vertical will exercise the triceps muscle.

    The purpose of all this is to: 1) Provide a simple way to strengthen the muscles used for hand grasping, forearm muscles, shoulder muscles, upper back muscles, lower back muscles, and; 2) do it cheaply (Occupational Therapists have professional – and expensive – gizmos that do exactly what this $5 home-built version does).

    To strengthen grasping strength (aka: Grip) feel free to buy whatever expensive grip exercise tools you like (I prefer those from Captains of Crush, they're excellent, and available in weights from 65 to about 350 lbs) or buy a 3-pack of tennis balls from Walmart and squeeze them between your fingertips (not in the palm like squeezing a lemon, but between the fingertips). Eventually you'll need something beefier than tennis balls but start there.

    1. No, wasn't trolling, I just got confused because I interpreted "horizontally" to mean projecting to either side (left hand held out to the left, right hand to the right) as opposed to straight out in *front* of the body. After I typed the comment I guessed that was probably what you meant, but I wasn't sure about how the jug could reach your hands if the rod was 2 feet long. Your clarification that it could also just touch the rod helped there too. I just wanted to be sure I could do it correctly, because incorrectly performed exercises are generally counterproductive, if not harmful. Thank you for patiently clarifying everything… I've got a sinus infection so I've been rather slow this past week. At least that's my excuse, heh.

  14. Peter –

    RE: 10MM – if you go the "full size 10MM route" – which I recommend – and go with a G20, it will need something in the way of real sights (there are more 10MM offerings now than when I got the G20, so you might find something else that you prefer). Mine has a set of XS sights which I like, but I'm very seriously considering buying a second pre-machined slide to install a red dot ($$$, but it will prevent the excessive downtime from sending my existing slide out for machining).

  15. I'm jealous, being in England where the law-abiding were disarmed many years ago. But despite being 81 and disabled I'm not as helpless as many. I still remember my unarmed combat moves against a close-quarter attacker, a useful thing to know when on unarmed patrol around a unit armoury at a time when IRA vermin were raiding for guns, and if attacked I WILL use that knowledge. How many of you know the lethal points for a blow from a fist, and how many of you would be helpless without a gun?

  16. Soft lead wadcutters can be very nasty bullets. I alternate 160 grain SWC with 158 grain Hydra-Shok in my S&W model 65 357. For a carry gun it is a Glock G20 with a red dot or Glock G37 with a Crimson Trace. Both can leave big holes.

  17. @Scrivener

    I'm going with trolled. LOL. Dudes using Brown Bear defensive ammo to shoot Mehicans. He'd be much better of with 9 mil HSTs.
    Oh yea, and he should join a gym.

  18. I think I need to remind everyone that "all handgun rounds suck, some suck less than others, but they still suck compared to a Rifle/Shotgun".

  19. Peter, you may find interesting what my friend the former ER doctor from Chicago said about the effectiveness of handgun cartridges. BLUF: It doesn't matter what cartridge you shoot; the only way to stop an attacker is to damage the central nervous system or break a major bone (knee, pelvis, spine).

    Any other shot placement will at best cause death from bleeding, and while it is true that bigger holes (from larger calibers, hollowpoints, or wadcutters) leak faster, the effect is never immediate.

    An example of this is the DGU by George Zimmerman against the attacker, Trayvon Martin. The 9mm bullet hit Martin in the heart and lungs, and the single shot was fatal – but it took Martin 90 seconds to die.

  20. Peter,
    you might consider a bigger (heavier) gun carried in a shoulder rig. That should be feasible for winter carry, and help with recoil management.

    Reminds me, did Coonan ever sell any of their .41mag guns? Supposedly, it was available for a year, but I never noticed any listed for sale. Shame they couldn't seem to manage their growing business.

    In the late 80's, a cop working in a LGS told me cops in SF were carrying .44mag DE's in shoulder rigs as a "backup" gun. They had .38 spl issued, but could carry anything for a BUG. Seems they had issues with Samoans on PCP(?), and their duty guns did nothing good. Said that SOP was to fire the revolver once, throw it down, and draw the bigger gun to accomplish something useful. They wore jackets year 'round for the most part (cold city), so not a problem for them to carry. I never got confirmation of this story. He said they were buying them at his work, due to the best gun prices in the Bay Area. (they were, too!)

  21. Couple stopping failure stories that that gun clerk/cop told about his dept that had previously issued 9mm guns.
    One large miscreant was hit well into double digits of 9mm, and decided to quit. After being cuffed, he WALKED to the ambulance. (he may have also walked into the ER)
    The second story, that helped persuade them to switch to .45acp, was a drugged up guy that took over 20 rounds of 9mm, several 12 ga hits, and was finally stopped when the sergeant with the empty shotgun ran up behind him and whaled on his head with the stock, as the BG was sitting on the ground with a broken pelvis, attempting to reload his handgun.
    (Don't forget, this was with 80's vintage ammo.)

  22. I'm big enough (sadly!) That packing a 5 inch 1911 isnt a problem,in .45. That said, I've been using a 4" Taurus 65 lately, that I enjoy. .357 is a crowd pleaser! When I carried my wife's M-49 J frame, I loaded 148 gr. Hollow base Wadcutters backwards on 5 gr. of Unique. Shot well to 25 yds., no tumbling, but I bet it would on impact with all the weight in back. Accurate, for me, and not a load that strains a J frame.

  23. "(Don't forget, this was with 80's vintage ammo.)"

    HST 9 mil expands to .625 5/8 diameter. It leaves a nasty hole. And does not over penetrate. Another advantage of carrying HST is that what 99.9% of Law Enforcement carry. So if you ever do get into a shoot, when it goes to court they can take the ammo arguments off the table.
    When I get up in the morning I most likely strap on a Commander in 45 acp. Also topped off with HST ammo. Why do I carry a 1911? Because I shoot it better than my Glocks.

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