Skip to comments.The Fighting Rifle (And Why Your Pistol Is A Backup Weapon)
Posted on 06/25/2012 10:16:51 AM PDT by Sopater
America is very much a gun culture, and more weapons remain in civilian hands here than just about anywhere on earth, which is a good thing. We also have a fascination with pistols in this country, with the vast majority of the states having some sort of carry provisions in their laws allowing anyone not prohibited from carrying a pistol on their person. Some states have open carry while most have concealed carry, and thus a great many Americans are armed with handguns at any given time.
Reasons listed on most concealed carry applications range from personal protection, to protection from wildlife, protection from previous stalkers, or because of business considerations. All in all, we arm ourselves with pistols for just about any and all reasons our law enforcement officers respond in kind, choosing to wear mostly Level IIA body armor, which is good only for pistol calibers.
A quick look at the military, however, shows an opposite preference. Each soldier or Marine is armed with a rifle or carbine. Even cooks, clerks, and supply staff must qualify with rifles, regardless of their jobs in the military. Pistols are a rarity, usually afforded to officers and senior NCOs, almost as an afterthought. In Iraq and Afghanistan, room clearing is still done by rifle. For all intents and purposes, pistols are a seldom-used backup weapon or at best, used for garrison MP work stateside.
Why, then, does the civilian populace have it backwards? Leaving aside the practicality of carrying a rifle around, a pistol for defense purposes is inferior in every way to a rifle. If it were the reverse, armies would march to war with them but they dont.
As an off-the-grid prepper or retreat homeowner, you need to begin acquainting yourself with the idea the home defense is a rifle fight that most people bring a pistol to. Sure, there are some cases, such as small homes, condominiums, and apartments places in urban settings that lend themselves to having a pistol as a primary defense weapon with a rifle in reserve, but in a rural or retreat setting, your pistols can safely remain in their holsters as backup where they belong. As Clint Smith said, “The only purpose for a pistol is to fight your way back to the rifle you should have never laid down.”
The Right Tool for the Job
In a rural or outdoor environment, a rifle or carbine is the perfect companion for a patrol. If you own an acreage or large retreat property, youre going to want to walk it extensively to scout it out, learn its nuances, and see how your home looks from various other perspectives on your land. See what a potential intruder sees! Bring along a rifle in case of any trouble even if no trouble is expected. First, this will familiarize yourself with patrolling, and secondly, it will teach you to bear the heft of your rifle. Go out as far from the home as you can on your land three, four hundred yards if possible. Now take out your backup pistol unloaded of course and draw a bead on your house. The front sight probably is bigger than the front door. How do you expect to hit anything with a pistol at that range? Its a rhetorical question.
Your new retreat should have a battle rifle to defend it. Dont get hung up on nomenclature and armchair ninjas who declare that a battle rifle is solely a .308 caliber weapon. Your battle rifle is whatever you choose to defend your home with. Ideally, it should be a semi-automatic, gas-operated, detachable-magazine model chambered in a military caliber such as 7.62 x 39, 7.62 x 51 (.308), or 5.56 x 45 (.223). The reasons for these choices are simple. In a home defense situation, each one of the aforementioned features you dont possess is a huge handicap to you.
You can most certainly hold off an invading horde with a Remington bolt-action rifle, or grandpas .30-30, or even a shotgun. Sooner or later though, youre going to run into rate-of-fire problems since all of these designs are slow to shoot, relative to a semi-auto, and have extremely limited magazine capacities. So if those designs are inferior for home defense use, where does that leave our venerable pistols?
As excellent backup weapons! Outside fifty yards, a pistol not only loses accuracy, but also knockdown power. Target acquisition becomes difficult due to the coarser sights on most pistols, and there are usually no adjustments possible in any case. Inside twenty-five yards, the game changes somewhat, with pistols having decent accuracy and passable knockdown power. They still suffer from short barrels (between three and six inches on most semi-autos) and low magazine capacities (as low as eight and as high as twenty without extended magazines). Even a $300 junk AK clone with a handful of thirty-round magazines brings far more firepower to the fight than a pistol with the same number of magazines, regardless of caliber.
Train Like You Fight
A prepper who is lucky enough to have a decent size piece of land should definitely practice with both a rifle and pistol (dont forget the shotgun!) in various drills designed to have the shooter engage targets at long range with a rifle, and then transition to pistol for short range targets. This way, the shooter can smoothly switch from one weapons system to another. Why fool around with your rifle sights? Its easy to make a range card beforehand so that you know the distances accurately on your own property so that that tree over there is 50 yards, that rock, 250, that gully, 75. Preparation is key. While doing these drills, feel free to occasionally engage rifle targets with your pistol, to see just how useless it is at anything that is afar off.
While distance drills are great practice, dont fall into the mentality that a rifle is purely a long-distance weapon. Carbines like the M4 and others represent excellent close-quarters weapons that have incredible power, huge magazine capacities, and the ability to rapidly reload as well as accept accessories such a lights and lasers, making them the perfect weapons for any job. Get good at clearing rooms or doing drills with a carbine, and youll start questioning why you even own a pistol.
©2012 Off the Grid News
I prefer long guns. They are within my comfort zone.
M-1 Garand in Springfield 30-06, accept NO Substitutes!
It's always a matter of using the right tool, for the right job.
If home owner steps outside of his house, and fires a "range" weapon, he's going to have some explaining to do. However, inside his own home the homeowner's primary concern is maneuverability in a confined (and very familiar) space. I can swing my 9mm around my house - faster than a stranger can swing around a carbine. My 9mm will kill the intruder, without going through the walls, penetrating the exterior walls of my neighbor and injuring/killing them. This is by design. Totally different mission - and for the homeowner, the proper tool.
Whereas, many of the fire-fights our troops are engaged in are at ranges greater than 25 ft.
Much as I’d love to carry my FAL into the 7/11, it might be a bit inconvenient. I find the author’s reference to “armchair warriors” more than a little ironic. Is his whole point that a rifle is better than a pistol?
I tend to agree. I think a well stocked tool box is the ideal situation, coupled with a good understanding of what tool to reach for in any given situation. Sometimes you reach for more than one tool if you know that the situation is capable of changing at any given time.
I don’t think there is a great chance that I would ever need a defensive rifle. Just not likely in my area tho I would never dismiss it as impossible.
I did have an incident happen a few months ago which made me realize a high capacity shotgun or pistol could happen.
I had driven out to the nearest town which is about 12 miles away. As I approached home I noticed a van parked in my rural driveway.
I thought about getting my pistol ready but decided to just play it by ear. It turned out they were friendly and didn’t act at all hostile. They had almost lost a tire and had no spare. The bad one had metal showing. I knew a guy who would help them out and he lived near enough that I told them to go ahead and creep to his house which was only a short distance to go. I phoned him to warn him.
After they were gone, I did check a tire and wheel I had in my driveway and they had definitely checked it out before I got there. Maybe just something they would have offered to buy but maybe to steal. Anyway it was the wrong size.
I just realized I didn’t mention there were around a dozen Mexicans in and around the van.
One perhaps oblique ancillary: I have just recently converted my ARs to piston driven guns. The reduction in heat in the firing chamber and bolt carrier, as well as the reduction in carbon fouling is very significant for more than five or six rounds fired in a fire fight. I reccommend one of three best systems because of functionality to the level of three hundred rounds in less than an hour.
The real question for me is .40 cal or .45 acp :)
Advice from my neighbor, who was going on a business trip, to his wife, who was staying home: “if someone breaks in to the house, point this gun (300 Weatherby Magnum) at that wall (solid cinder block) and pull the trigger — they’ll leave.”
In a survival situation, I’d say screw stupid laws and saw the barrel off a shotgun for close in defense.
“My 9mm will kill the intruder, without going through the walls, penetrating the exterior walls of my neighbor and injuring/killing them. This is by design.”
Most handgun rounds will penetrate 3 or more sheetrock walls. Many will also penetrate cinder block and brick exterior walls. Shotgun (shot, 00, and slugs) will also penetrate multiple interior walls.
I’ve read several articles that the 5.56 round actually has the least penetration as the bullet will break apart by the 3rd sheet rock wall and fail to go through.
There are numerous videos on youtube showing penetration of the various calibers.
They say in Viet Nam about 10000 rounds were expended for every enemy killed. Unless I am attacked by a mob, a hit team, or Zombies, I think Mr. 12 guage and Ms. 9 will suffice. I particularly like Hornadays rifled 12 guage fragmenting slug for Zombie work. Just remember to hit them in the head. I have no problem with citizens owning AKs or AR15 clones and using them for self defense. Use what you got Bro.
Carbines and rifles are obviously superior to a pistol beyond close range. A shotgun can be depending.
However, nothing is more handy than a pistol, or easier to use in a confined space.
Just to be safe, have a long gun to fall back to.
I’m in the market for a new AR15 and ran across the piston driven ARs at the store. Appreciate the comment, I need to learn more about them.
I would switch to this for intermediate ranges.
And this for close in.
Garde la Foi, mes amis! Nous nous sommes les sauveurs de la République! Maintenant et Toujours!
(Keep the Faith, my friends! We are the saviors of the Republic! Now and Forever!)
LonePalm, le Républicain du verre cassé (The Broken Glass Republican)