Tag Archives: Self-defense

Blast from the Past: Walther 9mm P1 Delivers

4 Feb

walther p1Like most members of the concealed carry community, you’ve probably spent a considerable amount of time browsing the goods at your favorite gun shop.  If you were actually in the market for a handgun at the time, you’ve probably experienced the reality of sticker-shock.

The growing popularity of self-defense equipment, the rise of the “doomsday preppers,” and inflation in general have created an upward price spiral in the firearm industry with no end in sight.

Luckily, there are still some bargains out there if you know where to look.

One of these is the Walther 9mm P1 semi-automatic pistol, a Cold War surplus model imported by Century Arms International.

Not only is the Walther P1 an excellent firearm, but it’s also steeped in history, originating with the renowned WWII era German Luger 9mm pistol.  The Luger was updated during wartime to the Walther P38 and then updated again during the Cold War to the Walther P1 9mm for use by West German Police.

The Walther P1 is made from lightweight aluminum and performs superbly in controlled environments.  Author Scott W. Wagner describes his reaction when first firing the Walther P1 in his article “Century Arms International 9mm Walther P1” at USConcealedCarry.com:

“My first shots from the P1 were fired with ZVS 9mm ball ammo from Century Arms and made me think ‘where have you been all my life?’ Recoil was easily controlled and accuracy — out to 100 yards — was excellent! There were no malfunctions.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)

Yet the best selling point about the Walther P1 has nothing to do with the spec sheet.  Century Arms is selling the pistol at a budget-pleasing $325 average price.  This gun will serve well as a lightweight option for carry or for recreational range practice.

The P1 borrowed the trigger system and slide-mounted de-cocking lever from the earlier Walther. It uses an open-top slide-operating mechanism.  The Walther P1 first began production in 1956, before the advent of the high-powered +P and +P+ ammo.

Although the P1 can handle limited +P use, it’s recommended to use high-quality non +P rounds to maintain the structural integrity of this vintage firearm.  As for hollow points, the only glitch is that the first round will load only when there are seven rounds in the magazine instead of the normal eight, which might be a deal-breaker for some purists.

The magazine release is “heel” style at the base of the backstrap.  This is a safety benefit for concealed carry holders, as it prohibits accidental magazine ejection during day-to-day activities.

The Walther P1 is not a high-tech all-purpose firearm for every situation, but if you’ve been searching for a reasonably priced, lightweight, and unobtrusive carry weapon, this little piece of history may be what you are looking for.

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Who Killed Tamir Rice?

29 Dec

If you’re not familiar with the story about Tamir Rice, there’s enough information buzzing on the Internet to start a fire right about now. With the holiday season coming up, this unfortunateshiny toy gun situation of a 12-year-old child being killed by a policeman may even get a bit more complicated.

Due to the holiday season, there will be a lot of people giving gifts.

One thing that you know for sure is that some of these gifts will be given to children and teenagers.

Some of these gifts might be handgun replicas, very similar to the toy handgun that Tamir Rice was playing with.

Rice’s toy was replicated to look identical to a real .45. Lately, toy handgun models have been specifically marking these fake weapons to let law enforcement officers know that the replica is a toy.

These markers were created to communicate in a very strong visual way so that no one would be confused and react to a perceived threat.

The markers are there for protection purposes in order to avoid another Tamir Rice incident. By placing a loud orange color on the tip of the muzzle, the toy manufacturers are doing their part to communicate that their products aren’t real guns. However in Rice’s case, the orange part of the toy had been removed, making it harder for police to see the difference.

Author Rick Sapp goes in depth about the dangers of replica guns manufactured to look real and why they could be dangerous in his article “Who Killed Tamir Rice?” on USConcealedcarry.com:

“The audio of that call is available online. ‘There is a guy with a pistol,’ the caller says. ‘It’s probably fake, but he’s pointing it at everybody.’” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)

If you do buy a toy handgun for a family member or friend this holiday season, you should be sure to take out time and explain to the children the importance of these additional features and why they shouldn’t be removed.

You should also stress that the toy is something that kids shouldn’t go around pointing at everyone. Teach them to treat the toy as if it were not a toy, and you’re providing a great lesson, maybe one that will lead them to be responsibly armed Americans later on down the line.

Have a face-to-face conversation so that you can be absolutely sure that the child or teenager completely understands what you’re saying. Of course, if you can’t be there in person, it might be smart for you to consult the child’s parents first to see if the gift is really a wise idea in the first place. Many parents don’t want their children to have guns, toy or not.

The important issue is that of using the tragedy of Rice’s situation to make sure that no more children die. Police should never have to encounter a child with what they believe to be a handgun so that they’re forced to respond. Make sure that all safety features remain intact and that kids understand that you should NEVER point a weapon, even a toy, at an officer of the law.

Self-Defense: What to Do When You Have Few Options

23 Oct

Part of your training in carrying a firearm for self-defense should include the possibility that you’ll be caught by surprise and faced with an opponent who already has their gun drawn and pointed at you. This all happens before you have the chance to draw yours. man aiming gun

Realistically, this is a situation with a small chance of success and very few ways to do anything to improve your odds.

Unfortunately, there is a chance it could happen and you should make an effort to understand the dynamics at play.

You should practice different responses so you have some skills at your disposal and don’t go down without a fight.

Generally speaking, if you are in a situation where a gun is drawn on you, then you might have failed regarding situational awareness.

It is possible to be surprised even when you are situationally aware, but it’s much more it’s far more difficult for a person who’s been paying attention to be unpleasantly surprised.

The issue with trying to access your firearm when one is already pointed at you leaves you with few options. The ticking of the clock is not on your side here. In the few seconds it takes you to draw, aim, and fire your weapon, the other person can already fire several rounds into you.

Author Gabe Suarez tested this very situation out with a “bad” guy aiming an airsoft pistol at an armed “good” guy who had to draw and fire while having a gun aimed at them. He describes the results of the experiment in his article “Outdrawing the Drawn Pistol” on USConcealedcarry.com

“Every good guy got shot. A few managed to get shot peripherally, rather than in the center of the body, but nonetheless, they got shot. If they stood still to draw, they got shot immediately. The best results were achieved by moving off-line and sharply to the adversary’s outside line (the 1:00 o’clock or 11:00 o’clock) while drawing.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)

Gabe also mentioned that trying to run away often results in the fleeing person being shot in the back. Unfortunately, if you are facing a drawn weapon, your options are severely limited. Escaping this type of situation unharmed will often come down to how you respond and what the attacker is looking for, not to mention a little luck.

For example, if all the attacker is looking to do is rob you, then your best option by far is to slowly and carefully remove your wallet or purse and throw it between the two of you. Hopefully this will be what they want and allow you to escape the scene unharmed. A few dollars and a driver’s license aren’t worth anyone’s life or health.

However, if you’re certain that this person intends to kill you, and then you may decide to take the 3 to 1 odds that Gabe Suarez mentions in his article and go down shooting.

No two situations are alike and the result can come down to your ability to rapidly assess matters and make the best decision for the specific events facing you.

What to Do When Using Your Firearm Isn’t an Option

10 Sep

In the real world, remaining vigilant 24/7 and never being surprised or caught off guard is impossible. None of us has eyes in the back of our heads and like it or not, many situations that call for you to employ deadly force probably will start off as a surprise.

self defense practice

Of course, it’s always important to remain vigilant and aware of your surroundings. It does help you anticipate many problems that would otherwise sneak up on you.

What is important to keep in mind is that many self-defense situations can escalate from your eating an ice cream cone to having to defend your life in a matter of seconds.

In a life-threatening standoff, there is a good chance guns will be pointed at you and there may be more than one shooter. Getting your own gun out, if someone is already pointing theirs at you, will probably get you shot no matter how fast your draw is. This probability is of course, compounded if there is more than one firearm pointed in your direction.

At the end of the day, you’re primarily concerned with not getting shot. This is why you carry in the first place — so you can shoot before someone shoots you. 

When weapons are already leveled in your direction, your focus becomes the best way to avoid getting shot. Sometimes, this means getting away from the scene or jumping behind a solid object. Movement is also useful as author Gabe Suarez illustrates in his article “Some Notes from Force-on-Force” on USConcealedcarry.com:

“Most guys get shot when they stop. They initiate movement and avoid the first few shots, but then they stop to take a precise shot. At that point, they get hit. Keep moving until he’s down, you have escaped, or you are behind cover. Movement is life; stationary shooting (in the open) is death.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)

When it comes to movement and agility, your physical conditioning is also a key factor. Being in good shape means you can run, jump, and get away from danger faster than if you’re overweight and in poor health.

Also as you age, your senses can gradually dull. This can happen so slowly that you aren’t even aware that your vision and hearing aren’t what they were in your twenties. 

Make regular hearing and vision checks a priority. If you need vision correction, wear it. The same goes for hearing aids. Having your senses sharpened up means that you can detect threats earlier and respond effectively.

How to Accurately Hit Your Target without Using the Sights

21 Aug

In most self-defense situations, your target will be close enough that traditional aiming by using the sights won’t be necessary. For the most part, the threat will be there right in front of you, no more than a few yards away.
hands aiming pistol
Generally speaking, this is the case because an attacker wants you or something you have.

To get what they want, they must approach you within speaking and grabbing distance and as a result, they are close enough. 

They have said or done things that let you know they are a true threat as opposed to someone making threatening gestures from across the street.

There are very few times that shooting an attacker at a distance such as across a street is appropriate. You carry to defend yourself and most threats must be up close and personal to warrant deadly force.

In fact, if someone is shooting at you from across the street, your best action at that point would be to get behind something solid and avoid firing shots back. You never want to risk a stray bullet hitting a bystander.

As a citizen carrying concealed, you are primarily interested and licensed to carry for self-defense. Most offensive shooting is best left to the police who are trained for such situations. 

Author Jim Malo talks about how sights are not usually needed in his article “Pistol Perfection” on USConcealedcarry.com: 

“One thing that may save you is the point shoulder (point shooting) method of firing your weapon. You draw the weapon, focus on the center mass of what you see coming at you, point the front of the weapon (the muzzle) at the center mass and press the trigger, using a double tap. You will be amazed at just how close the shots will fall.” (Read more from Malo at USConcealedCarry.com)

The process of lining up the sights adds time to your response and that extra second or two can mean the difference between surviving and getting shot. 

It is important to note that target practice at the range is still incredibly necessary. Using the sights to accurately place shots on targets helps you get to know your weapon better and use it more instinctively.

Practicing with your firearm helps imprint how it handles into your mind. Take every available opportunity to practice shooting both with and without using the sights. You may have to defend your life tomorrow.

Rationalizing Our Decision to Carry Handguns

13 Feb

Our decision to carry a firearm for self-defense is at times, a controversial one. The position on gun rights is often attacked with false statistics and statements aimed at cultivating emotional responses that aren’t grounded in reality.

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It is sad to see people who choose to carry firearms for their own defense demonized and considered dangerous, unstable, or even bad people.

It can be helpful to occasionally refresh ourselves with the reasons for our choice to carry and the positive impact concealed carry can make on our lives.

As author Larken Rose says in his article “Pro-Crash Extremists” on USConcealedcarry.com:

“Seat belts and airbags are designed to do one thing: make it so people can survive car crashes. So do people wear seat belts, or buy cars with air bags, because they want to crash? Of course not. They do those things so that if they’re unfortunate enough to find themselves in a dangerous situation, they’ll have a better chance of surviving it. (Read more about the public desire to carry handguns here)

Individuals who make the decision to get a concealed carry permit, attend classes, and spend many hours choosing the right handgun, ammunition, and carry system are not doing these things to cause trouble. They are engineering their own self-defense system. These are knowledgeable people who are taking responsibility for their own safety and protection instead of relying on luck or the police.

Taking responsibility for oneself is admirable and should be lauded, not treated as barbaric scare tactics or lies.

There are those who say that we wouldn’t need guns if we simply avoid dangerous areas and situations. These people also believe that the police will protect us.

Remember, these types of arguments are not based in reality. All one has to do is pick up a newspaper to see crimes committed across all spectrums of society. Shootings don’t only happen in bad neighborhoods. They happen in gated communities, too. As for the police protecting us, the fact of the matter is that they are not present everywhere 24/7, nor do we want them to be. Most of us cannot afford personal armed bodyguards either.

This reduces our options considerably and again, brings us face to face with the only real option at hand: carrying a firearm for self-defense.

A responsible citizen in possession of a handgun is prevention. If a criminal succeeds in killing someone, there is no cure that will bring them back.

What to Pack for Self Defense and Firearms Classes

8 May

Attending your first firearms training class can be a daunting experience when it comes to planning and deciding what to bring along. Thankfully, we can learn from the pros who host these classes and those who have already taken several trainingImage courses.

The very first thing you should do once you’ve signed up for a class is to begin making a list. The class presenters will provide you with a generic list of things you’ll want to bring. Add this to your own list and begin writing down things that apply to you personally.

Items like:

  • Your personal medication
  • A favorite hat to keep the sun off
  • Supportive shoes
  • Water bottle or Camelbak
  • Bandannas

You’ll want your clothing to be functional, comfortable and tough. Cargo pants or army surplus BDU pants work great. They have the freedom of movement you’ll need and the deep, secure pockets that are handy for extra ammo, glasses, and snacks.

Put all your extra gear like raincoats, knee pads, knife, and sunscreen in a duffle bag or backpack. The bag should be something that you can carry around easily and find things inside without too much digging.

Trainer and Author Steve Collins has another piece of advice when it comes to what you should pack in his article, “What Do I Bring to Class? It Can Make or Break Your Training Time,” on USConcealedCarry.com:

Bring plenty of ammunition! I usually bring one-third more than the course syllabus calls for. It’s easier to allocate funds for ammo at home base than to have to scramble around after the first day of class to find a shop that has some training ammo. Trust me on this, the nearest big box store (which is usually a long ways away) won’t have enough ammo for you, so bring your own. Test fire your ammunition in your gun before you go, and make sure your firearm functions with that particular ammo. (Read Steve’s full article on gun safety and other training here)

If you aren’t sure if you should bring an item, just throw it into another bag, and stow it in your vehicle. If it happens that you DO need something in that bag, it’s much easier to retrieve it from the car than from back at home!