Some Pointers and Picks for Home Defense

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 By Jeremiah Johnson

Good Day, Readers! In this piece, we’re going to cover some recommendations on firearms for your home-defense needs. Needless to say, we’re facing some difficult current events, with the killings that occurred in Texas and New York. These senseless, wanton, reprehensible murders place an unwarranted stigma on gun owners. Aided by armies of leftists and their endlessly-fawning media machinery, Democratic and RINO politicians are calling for more gun control measures.

Yes, they want gun control over the citizen-serfs while handing out billions of dollars worth of weaponry to Ukraine to aid in a proxy war against Russia.

They want gun control while they strike down laws denying entry to the illegal aliens crossing our southern borders, undoubtedly with terrorists hiding in their midst.

They want gun control because they understand that the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States was designed to enable the citizenry to resist any tyrannical rulers oppressing the people illegally, in opposition to our Constitution.

In the midst of that “zoo” and its “zookeepers,” let’s take in a breath and cover a selection of firearms to help protect your home and family. To deal with the “wolves at the door,” you need neither the quackery of politics nor the quagmire of issues emanating from our reverse-role, upside-down “society.” Let’s get into it.

What are the basics?

First, let’s cover a few principles to follow that you can use to form your base. I’m primarily writing this article for ordinary, conservative people who may never have picked up a gun before. If you’re a veteran or someone who has worked with firearms all of their life, please bear with me. The former group may recall some of this material as a “refresher,” and the latter group may pick up something new that they can use.

The firearm itself isn’t as important as your basics. The fundamentals of good marksmanship lie in good breathing, aiming, and trigger squeeze. The objective of your marksmanship: clean, well-placed shots

Practice leads to perfection.

You need to set standards for yourself and any loved ones who will be learning to shoot, and (as a family), you need to enforce those standards by self-discipline.

Safety is first.

Treat every firearm as if it’s loaded, and afford it the respect it deserves. It’s a useful tool that can protect you and provide meat for the table, but you must be careful and know how to use it properly. If you’ve never used a firearm before, I advise linking up with a veteran or an experienced hunter, preferably a level-headed individual. If not, then I advise you to enroll in a formal course of firearms instruction.

There isn’t any room for Hollywood antics or “loose cannons” where your family’s safety and the safety of others are concerned. 

“Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos” have their place and time on the battlefield, but even a great warrior can be just as great a liability, to themselves and to others, without the proper internal discipline. This translates into self-control, and this simple fact:

You must defend others who cannot protect themselves, and most of all, you must protect them from yourself…by keeping a clear head and a good heart.

Now, let’s move on.

A husband and wife should shoot the same firearms.

Sometimes this poses a challenge because one or the other may have difficulty firing the larger calibers of handguns. We’ll address that point soon. You and your spouse should fire the same thing because your rounds and your magazines or speed-loaders are then interchangeable. The same holds true for the parts. 

Spare parts are a very neglected item for most gun owners. 

After you buy the main weapon, buy the cleaning kits, the holsters, the magazines, and the accessories. They usually don’t buy the spare firing pins or extra high-wear parts, such as magazine release button-springs. In a worst-case scenario, if both pistols malfunction, you may be able to build one working one out of them. 

Two firers defending a home are always better than one. I don’t want to get ahead of myself and delve into tactics such as room clearing as a team, but regarding home defense, a husband and wife (unless one is unable to) should defend the home as a team. Now let’s discuss my preferred choices of calibers, my reasons for them, and some types you may wish to consider.

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.45 ACP

In my opinion, this is the most versatile, affordable, and effective cartridge there is. The history goes back to John Browning, who designed and invented the Model 1911 ACP (which stands for “Automatic Colt Pistol”) for the U.S. Army during the campaign in the Philippines. The .38 caliber revolver was ineffective against the Morro Indians, a fierce warrior tribe who fought against our Army when the Philippines were a U.S. territory.

When that 230-grain bullet for the .45 came into play, the situation was reversed. The M-1911 then became the mainstay sidearm for the U.S. armed forces up until the 1980s, when they switched to the Beretta 92-series in 9 mm caliber. 

Experience on the battlefield has led to the return of the .45 in service.

An excellent article was written by Peter Kokalis, who was once the assistant editor of the Shotgun News. That piece came out about ten years ago. He detailed the bullet’s mushrooming and expansion from .45″ to .67″ as accomplishing two things: 

           1. Excellent stopping power:  the .45 ACP is a low-velocity round, at approximately 930 fps (feet per second). Don’t let that fool you: it’s an excellent round. Most are not aware of the actual effects of wound ballistics. They think, “Ah, it’s just a hole…a wound you have to deal with.” Not so. 

The shock wave from that bullet’s expansion sends a devastating pressure wave that destroys organs, like the liver, kidneys, and such. Much more effective than the 9 mm round. 

           2. The expansion of the bullet: provides for larger permanent cavitation and a large exit wound. It also couples with the velocity to add to that internal pressure wave mentioned earlier. Depending on the quality of the pistol, you can also use +P rounds (as with the brand “Buffalo Bore”) for greater effectiveness.

J. J.’s Pick: The standard M-1911, and I recommend Ruger’s Model 6700. It’s a full-size frame in the traditional 1911 style that takes most other M-1911 parts. 

Eight rounds in the magazine and one in the pipe. Everything that Ruger makes is outstanding, and as far as gun manufacturers go, they’re my favorite: a good American firm that puts out quality firearms that are both effective and affordable.

In my personal experience, steel is superior to plastic or polymers. 

Yes, you can accessorize with polymer grips if you so choose, but steel slide assemblies and frames hold up the best. 

They take wear, tear, and beatings better than the polymers, and they’re more resistant to high heat. The drawback is “sweating,” the condensation that occurs with sudden changes in temperature, such as going from the cold outdoors back into a warm building. This is a minor/negligible trade-off; steel is best.

Returning to what I mentioned earlier, if a firer has weak wrists, there are plenty of wrist guards and braces that take seconds to slip on before using the pistol. The M-1911 is reliable and time-tested, with two safeties, standard and grip. The .45 ACP cartridge is simple to reload, and it’s readily available. Now, let’s talk about a second piece that is another powerhouse.

.357 Magnum

Another versatile cartridge, the .357 Magnum is a “supercharged” .38 caliber bullet, plain and simple. As a matter of fact, if you have a .357 Magnum revolver, you can also fire .38 caliber bullets in it. (Caution: it doesn’t work in the other direction! .357 rounds have to be fired in a weapon chambered for them)

This cartridge is the “lightest” Magnum round that can still stop a bear if you live in a wilderness area, especially with the +P rounds mentioned earlier. Standard loads are 125 grains, but you have an increase in velocities of 1,100 to 1,200 fps. The .357 has more power than the 9 mm, and the rounds are also available everywhere.

J. J.’s Pick: The Ruger Model SP-101, preferably with the short barrel, 2.25 inches. The revolver is a stainless, 5-shot piece, and it’s a double-action revolver. This means that after you fire your first round, the hammer is “jacked back” into the firing position for you with a very light trigger pull.     

The pistol is light to carry, but don’t let the weight fool you. 

It packs a punch. It’s easy to clean and is very comfortable to shoot. 

It’s really good for firers with smaller hands, and its compactness makes it effective to carry and to use.

12-gauge shotgun

One of the most versatile firearms imaginable. Readers, this suggestion is for home defense, not for hunting, but in a grid-down collapse, you can still hunt with it. If you hunt before then, you’ll probably have to plug the tube and limit the number of shells you can carry. Check the laws for your happy state to find out the statute, as they vary.

J. J.’s Pick: The Mossberg Model 500-A. I recommend picking up one with a pistol-grip for compact ease of carrying and operation. 

I prefer pump shotguns to semi-automatics. They’re easier to clear, and they’re not machined as “tightly” as the semi-autos. This prevents sticking or stoppages due to excess carbon buildup when you’re throwing out a lot of shot/slugs in a short period of time.  

The 500-A was adopted for use by the military after Vietnam. 

Spread out your ammo between shells (I prefer triple-aught or “000” buckshot) and slugs. 

Double-aught buck (00) shells give you more pellets and make for a wider spread/dispersion for starters until you feel surer with your accuracy. Shotguns are simple to use, but they require practice for effectiveness, just as pistols and rifles do.

Some extra info

I’m not really big on accessories or accessorizing. Mounted tactical lights on weapons work both ways, and the bad guy knows to aim for the light. Laser-dot sights and devices need batteries. I’m very “old-school” when it comes to firearms. In my humble opinion, no device or high volume of fire can take the place of clean, well-placed shots.

Everything else (lights, lasers, etc.) should be treated as their name implies: accessories. They can enhance the effectiveness of the firearm, but they are not a substitute for good marksmanship. They are niceties, not necessities.

Here’s a simple task for you to master that will enhance your effectiveness greatly when you accomplish it. When you improve your proficiency with training and practice, you should be able to pick up a firearm, familiarize yourself with its basic function, and then hit a target with it “cold” without ever practicing with it. The term “Kentucky Windage” applies here. When you can accomplish this, it will reinforce the fact that you’ve been training and practicing effectively. Your confidence will improve, and confidence always promotes a good follow-through in any task.

The firearm has iron sights. That is what you need, bottom line. If you have weaker eyesight, that’s okay. Your glasses will enable you to see your target, and if you follow the fundamentals of marksmanship and take in a good sight picture, you will hit that target when you engage it.

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Always start with “low-tech,” and then work your way “up.”

Then you can function without being dependent on high-tech toys that can fall apart and fail you.

So, there you are, for starters. To reiterate and expand upon what I mentioned before, the most important component is you. The decisions you make when your home is invaded are matters of life and death. 

You must assess the level of the threat correctly and then respond accordingly, seeking an alternative when and where one exists. Keep this tenet in mind to help guide you:

“The general who wins without fighting has displayed a mastery of battle.” (Sun-Tzu, The Art of War)

When that can’t be done, then fight, and fight to win

Your mind and body are the best tools you have to accomplish that end, to protect your life, and the lives of your loved ones. Temper both mind and body with your heart.

A good heart will enable you to triumph over all things.

Your heart will give you the victory over your greatest opponent: yourself. I hope you like my selections for you, and I look forward to reading your comments. 

Take care of each other, my fellow Americans! JJ out!

What are your thoughts?

Do you agree with the selections here? Do you have something else you recommend? Share your opinions in the comments.

About Jeremiah Johnson

Jeremiah Johnson is the nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the U.S. Army Special Forces.  Mr. Johnson is also a Gunsmith and a Master Herbalist.  He graduated from the Special Forces course at SERE (survival, evasion, resistance, and escape) School, and is an expert in small unit tactics, survival, and disaster-preparedness.  He lives in a cabin in the Rocky Mountains of Western Montana.



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