Caleb vs. the internet

I love the internet, and for good reason – I derive a portion of my income from writing for and on the web.  However, you constantly see the same things repeated over and over in gun forums; and for some reason these things keep getting repeated over and over and over and over and over until it reaches the point where I see someone write something and it makes my head hurt.  In the same vein as talking to a therapist about your feelings, I shall write about the wretched things the internet has continuously told me.

The best gun for women’s self defense is a snub nosed revolver

You can actually hear my teeth grind when I hear this.  Really?  The best gun for someone that is presumably a new shooter is a gun with stout recoil, a difficult to manage trigger pull, and sights that are almost non-existent?  GENIUS.

All training is good training!

No, no, no.  Taking a class from Bob’s School of Gunhandling isn’t the same as taking a class from Gunsite.  Training is good.  But make sure you check out the school/teacher that you’re getting training from, because if they seem like they’re too good/tactical/to be true, there might be a reason for that.

Birdshot should be used for home-defense to avoid overpenetration

This is a great idea, if your goal is to give a potential home invader a skin rash.  Using birdshot, which has dramatic and shocking impact on a paper target or a watermelon on a person is completely contrary to the mechanics of wounding with projectiles.  If you want to reduce your risk of overpenetration in a home defense situation, learn to shoot better.

Racking the slide on a pump shotgun is an effective badguy deterrent.

What, really?  People still believe this?  Look, I keep my HD shotgun stored with an empty chamber (cruiser ready) because it’s a safer way to keep the gun stored than with one up in the chamber and the safety on.  I sincerely doubt that the badguy would ever hear me rack the slide, because if the alarm goes off the first thing I’m doing is putting one in the chamber.  Noises do not have magical powers, unlike in the movies.  You know what will stop a badguy?  A face full of buckshot.

100 rounds is an acceptable break in period for a new semi-auto pistol

If you’re only going to shoot that one brand of ammo that you ran 100 rounds through your gun with, sure.  Otherwise, keep shooting your gun.  When it finally breaks, now it’s broken-in.

That’s all from today’s edition of Caleb vs. the internet.  I’m sure I’ll be able to find more ridiculous things that make my blood pressure shoot up in the next few weeks!


  1. “You know what will stop a badguy? A face full of buckshot.”

    I think you mean coffee.

  2. I’m waiting for some distributor to figure out the “new gun thing” and produce a heavily-discounted 500-round pack of “new gun ammo” in the common calibers:: 180 rounds of generic factory FMJ for initial break in and sighting, and 40 rounds each of 8 types of different brand hollowpoint ammo for feeding/ejecting/accuracy testing, plus some patches and a small container of whatever “magic lube” seems to have proved itself lately.

    By the end of 500 rounds the gun would be loosened up and the owner would have some idea about what does and doesn’t feed in the gun. The “magic lube,” even if not whatever Todd Jarrett, Jerry Miculek or Billy Bob Hammerbanger recommends, would be a hint to keep the gun clean and oiled.

  3. Info on birdshot and other ammo types:

    The Shotgun Meets the Box O’ Truth

    Notice that the #4 and #1 Buck penetrated 6 boards. In previous tests, 9mm, .45 ACP, and M-193 out of an AR all penetrated all 12 boards.

    So, it seems that these loads do not “over-penetrate” as much as some have led us to believe.

    Birdshot as a Defense Load
    Unless you expect to be attacked by little birds, do not use birdshot.

    “I saw a gunshot victim, about 5′ 10″ and 200 lbs, taken to the operating room with a shotgun wound to the chest. He was shot at a range of six feet at a distance of just over the pectoralis muscle. He was sitting on his front porch and walked to the ambulance. We explored the chest after x-rays were taken…

    It was # 6 shot. There was a crater in the skin over an inch in diameter. When the shot hit the level of the ribs, it spread out about five inches. There was ONE pellet that had passed between the ribs and entered the pericardium, but not damaged the heart at all… ‘”

    Let’s Talk About Buckshot
    “Might” birdshot work? Sure. But why depend on “might” when “better” is available.

    Rock Salt in a Shotgun

    20 Gauge Shotgun
    As we have shown time and time again, birdshot is for little birds, not for bad guys. It makes a nasty, shallow wound, but is not a good “Stopper”.

    I received a note from a police officer that asked me not to mention names or locations about this true event.

    A police officer was involved in some shotgun training, where they used #6 birdshot in the training due to lower cost. After the training session, he forgot to remove the birdshot and replace it with 00 Buckshot, the normal carry load.

    That night, while on patrol, he confronted a couple of burglars and was in a shootout with them. He shot both of them with his shotgun, but forgot that he had it loaded with birdshot.

    They killed the officer and escaped.

  4. The guns for women thing. Two words. Annie Oakley. There is nothing gender specific about the skills required to become a good shooter, at least as far as I am aware.

  5. The one that makes me want to strangle people is the perpetual “Only XX caliber or bigger is effective for self-defense”. Really?!? That’s usually paired with the “XX caliber is a one-shot kill, period.” statement. So, apparently, a .44 Magnum will always kill someone with just one shot, regardless of whether or not you actually hit them.

    Those same guys don’t care much for my “a .22 to the tear duct is worth a lot more than 6 misses with your .44 Magnum.”

  6. The best gun for women’s self defense is a snub nosed revolver

    I’ve found that there’s at least a grain of truth in this when it’s combined with the First Rule of Gunfighting. Some women seem to either dislike guns or mistrust their own ability to use them that a snub-nosed revolver is the only one they will tolerate. My guess is that they’re so acclimatized to police, detectives, and women having them in movies (and very often simply needing to point, rather than shoot, the gun) that it works for them.

    My sister has an Undercover that she keeps loaded and which makes her feel safe, living alone. I’d rather she had a 1911, but it’s a start. Like Caleb‘s Jetfire, it’s not ideal for multiple determined attackers, but against one person it’s certainly better than nothing.


    IIRC, one of Tom Clancy’s books (The Sum of All Fears?) addresses this offhandedly. An off-duty policeman is murdered while mowing his law and his Chief’s Special misses his attackers, but a neighbor kid who sees this happen gets angry and takes a parting shot at the getaway van with his .22 rifle, causing an almost unnoticed wound that eventually kills one of the attackers.

  7. Wolfwood – I actually the whole “ease of operation” argument for the snubbie for women, but my problem is that it’s a fallacy. A snubbie is no easier to operate than a compact Glock or M&P. What we have is generations of pre-programmed stereotypes built in to people thanks in no small part to the media.

  8. True.

    One thing I could speculate about the revolver thing is this. The basic operation of a revolver has seeped in to most everyones consciousness through osmosis. They’ve been featured in just about every action movie or action TV show since movies and TV shows were invented.

  9. Dave — that’s correct.

    There are only two controls on a revolver (three, if you count the hammer as a “control”).

    Any fool can determine if it is loaded safely, by working one of those controls and popping the cylinder out. If you do not see daylight in all teh holes, it’s not empty. Ditto for “stripping” it for cleaning.

    How often do we run across the guy who dumped his mag and forgot to properly clear his chamber?

    Now, this is NOT to say that I think Glocks (or similar DAO semiautos) are horribly difficult to learn to operate. But they ARE demonstrably more difficult to learn to operate than a modern DA revolver. (I personally feel the tradeoff is well to teh Glock’s advantage if you’re willing to just sit down and practice.)

    This is not to say that I think a SNUBBIE is the best choice — for the very reasons Caleb suggests. I would say, all other things being equal, a K-frame 3″ or 4″ revolver is a MUCH better choice.

    This is not to say that I restrict this advice to WOMEN. I would say it holds true for any handgun novice who has no plan to go train more than “a box a year” or so.

    And these people exist, and still have a right to defend themselves. They AREN’T going out to Gunsite or Thunder Ranch. They MIGHT go to the local bare minimum course at Bob’s Gun Range one Wednesday evening.

    YES, it would be better for them to train to a higher standard, with better trainers — and if they do THAT, they’ll have more than enough gun time to learn to operate the Glock, or almost any other modern semiauto, perfectly adequately.

    But, in many cases, it simply AIN’T GONNA HAPPEN. For those people (male, female, large, small, 25 or 75), if they can shoot anything, they can generally handle a DA revolver in a moderate caliber. Yes, almost ALL of them could learn to shoot bigger, badder, fancier.

    But if the goal is to load it, toss it into a drawer, and only pull it out when the Bad Things come — then a medium sized wheelgun is probably a better choice.

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