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There are people who support gun rights who really dislike guns but want to defend themselves. To the point where they tool-up and [perhaps] get their concealed carry permit (void where prohibited by law or where freedom rings). True story. Given the owners’ limitations, here are my three recommendations for reluctant gun owners . . .

1. TASER Pulse 

Some people are incapable of shooting another human being, even if a bipedal bastard poses an imminent, credible threat of grievous bodily harm or death. Others can’t imagine jumping through the hoops needed to get a license to carry.

These people should not be defenseless. Not when they can buy and carry a TASER Pulse — straight from I know: there’s no guarantee a “stun gun” — which is a gun — will stop a determined attacker. But the TASER Pulse is way better than nothing.

[Note: The Supreme Court recently rejected licensing schemes for conducted electrical weapons (CEWs). Some states have yet to recognize the ruling. Check your local law.]

If nothing else, the TASER Pulse looks like a gun.

Perceived wisdom holds that most defensive gun uses end without a shot fired. A perp sees a gun and decides to cease and desist. As a stun gun that looks like a “real” gun — barrel, trigger, muzzle and all — the Pulse provides far better bad guy intimidation than devices that look like electric shavers, and/or require physical contact.

Also setting the TASER Pulse apart: it delivers a 30 second charge. The company recommends owners shoot the attacker, put the gun down and run. Send them a police report and they’ll replace it for free.

2. Ruger LCR

People who hate guns — but want one anyway — aren’t comfortable with large guns — even though larger, heavier guns are easier to control and thus more accurate. They’re too deadly-looking. (Go figure.)

Let’s face it: non-gun guy folks aren’t going to practice loading, reloading or firing their handgun. They’ll probably never clean it. Nor will they spend the trial-and-error time and money needed to find an appropriate holster or holsters.

A small revolver is the answer.

The Ruger LCR is dead simple [sic] to operate, it’s small enough not to be intimidating (to the reluctant owner) and it’s gun enough to be intimidating (to the bad guy). While I would never recommend it, it’s a handgun that can sit loaded in a secure spot for decades and still function should push come to ballistic shove.

The LCR gets the nod over other excellent snubbies due to its class-leading patented trigger. Just as a beginning piano player will play a Steinway better than a cheap piano, an inexperienced shooter will shoot an Ruger LCR more accurately than its rivals.

3. Ruger Mark IV

Gun-averse buyers are style-driven. All those gun guy arguments about caliber, capacity, ergonomics and reliability are given no more attention than Charlie Brown’s teacher. They prefer guns that look “friendly.”

I reckon the Ruger Mark IV is as freundlich a firearm as you can get in semi-automatic form — especially in silver. It’s not a monolithic block; you get a distinct barrel, a grip and a trigger. It doesn’t look “cop” or “bad guy.”

The Ruger Mark IV is also a .22 with a long sight radius, which makes it painlessly fun to shoot. Which should (but probably won’t) encourage its owner to shoot it every now and then. With its one-button takedown, they might even clean it.

Yes, there are holsters for the gun. More than that, there’s now an excellent selection of .22-caliber hollow-point ammunition for that extra measure of probability that its owner can stop a violent attack.

Given the importance of shot placement for armed self-defense, given how easy the Ruger Mark IV is to shoot, given its ten-round capacity, given that any gun is better than no gun, Ruger’s target pistol is a viable choice for handgun owners who have one because they feel they have to, not because they want to.

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  1. Appreciate the Ruger love, but I’ll take it a step further: the LCRx. Longer barrel, easier to point, longer grip. Much easier to learn with for an Uninitiated noob.

  2. Nope, not the LCR or the LCRx. Think Smith and Wesson 649. Nice heavy revolver loaded with .38s. The weight of the all steel revolver will soak up recoil better than the light LCR, polymer frame or not.

      • As much as I love the LCR, suggesting a pistol that will numb the hands of the shooter with even the lightest loads of .38spl is probably not the best suggestion. The Mark IV is a perfect suggestion, however.

        • I have a .357 Magnum LCR and I can shoot .38 special standard pressure through it for at least an hour (the longest I’ve probably fired it at one go) and never feel a thing. Even the .38 +P aren’t painful at all through it or the LCR-X 3″

      • My wife, who is recoil sensitive, likes the LCR in .327 Federal; she practices with .32 longs and keeps it loaded with the .327 for defense. It’s the ideal gun for her needs and ability.

        • Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding!!! We have a winner!

          This is, hands down, the optimal configuration (revolver, size, weight, smooth trigger, and caliber) for someone who doesn’t like firearms and yet wants to be armed.

        • Are non-gun people are going to be able to easily find .327 Federal? I don’t think I’ve ever seen a box of it outside of a gun show. Not that it *can’t* be found on the internet, gun shows, etc, but they can’t just take it into any given store and assume they can get ammo for it. I guess if they never practice it doesn’t matter, but I’d be hesitant to recommend esoteric cartridges for non-gun folks.

        • “non-gun people” are going to purchase ONE box of ammo with the revolver from the FFL. ONE box EVER.

        • Winner. This is my daily carry gun – fairly light and compact, easy on my arthritic hand, and can be loaded with .32S&W, .32S&W Long, .32H&R Mag, or .327 Fed. Put a CT laser grip on it and youi have a good low-light weapon. Add an IHL ( speed/quick-strip belt ammo carrier with 8 rounds in a Tuff-Strip, and you have an inconspicuous reload. Not as fast as a semi-auto, but it sure beats praying. And the 85 to 115 gr HP .327 is a potent round.

  3. How about a pistol gripped dildo and a rape whistle…so they can practice taking it in the rear and they can see no one is coming to save them? I think most snowflakes who “dont like” guns are too far gone to save so to hell with them.
    If you don’t like guns you might as well learn to enjoying being a victim.

    • Yknow those snowflakes weren’t BORN hating guns right? They can be taught. But rejecting them harshly won’t do our side any favors. Make their self-defense solution easy, effective, and as painless as possible.- think of their first choice as a “gateway gun”, we want them to like it and buy another later!

    • Shit like this pisses me off. I am a gun guy, it’s a hobby. It’s not a hobby for all my friends and family, however some of them choose to use a firearm to protect the house. Just cause they are not gun people and choose to shoot less then me doesn’t mean they are hopelessly lost.

      • The question was best gun for people who DON’T LIKE THEM. Not whats the best gun for people who are only going to have one for home defense.
        I say if you don’t like them, fine DON’T have one. I had a guy wanting to buy a AR-15 one day tell me how he thinks that no one who lives in a city has any need to own one and shouldn’t be allowed to. As I pointed out to him HE lived in a city he said ” No not people like me, but people in BIG cities.” I told him i wasnt comfortable selling him a gun, he got all pissed and I sold it the next day to someone who wasn’t a retard.
        To me its real simple, if you “don’t like” guns you should come back when you do. If I pissed you off thats just a bonus.

        • That kind of authoritarian, rigid thinking must make you a delight to deal with at the gun counter.

          “I don’t like your shoe laces. Get out!”

        • Unless you flick your Bic in the stream…but probably more illegal-er no matter where you live.

      • Generally speaking it’s a federal crime to use a pressurized canister of anything “in a manner inconsistent with it’s labeling”.

        Unless your wasp spray has a section in the directions about use as a self defense tool against people it’s illegal to do so anywhere in US jurisdiction. That said, the chances you’d be prosecuted are probably pretty slim.

  4. My better half is this person personified.
    (Kinda the opposite of the operational operating operator.)
    We have gone thru many models. LCR, and Mk III included.
    But none was “just right”. Until… OMG… Eureka!!
    Charter Arms .40 Pitbull !!
    After I awoke from passing out from this discovery (it was a used purchase for moi),
    I began to struggle with the superlatives she used.
    And the fact that I just “lost” my newest pistol.
    Que sera sera.
    I love it. Happy wife, happy life.

    (Crimson Trace grips on order; she’s gonna love THAT experience.)

    ((I should write a review for y’all as this revolver is a dream shooter.))

  5. Some love guns, some hate them. Everyone has aright to their personal feelings without being blasted from the other side. Those that prefer not to have agun most fend for themselves as best way possible. Those that do have to do it within the law.

    • Since you asked twice: yes, the rimfire LCRs have heavier springs to make sure the sometimes- unreliable rimfire load goes off properly. That said, the LCR rimfire’s heavier trigger is still very smooth and crisp.

      • This is something I’m having a difficult time wrapping my head around.

        Ruger revolvers in .22 rimfire have a well-earned reputation for having brutally heavy trigger pulls to reliably light off the ammo. Their SP-101 is particularly notorious for this.

        Yet guns like the tiny NAA revolvers have no problem with ignition.

        It seems to me Ruger could throw some engineering physics at the problem, like having a heavier hammer made of Tungsten to make Mr. Issac Newton happy, for example.

        Or am I (quite likely in my case) missing something obvious?

        • The SP101 .22 LR had a pretty heavy double action trigger pull when 1st reintroduced a few years ago, but has been improved on since. However, the NAA guns are single action guns, requiring cocking the hammer 1st. The Ruger Single Action guns have very good crisp triggers; my Single Ten is flawless. Rimfires REQUIRE a heavy hammer hit from the mainspring to crush the rim to reliably ignite the primer that ignites the gunpowder. Since there many variables in case crush requirements, a heavy DA pull is more reliable; a heavy spring is not as noticeable when pulling back the hammer for a SA firing. In a defensive situation you really want to hear a bang & not a click.. Not sure about making the hammer weigh more; inertia effects would be a slower accelerating hammer maybe requiring an even heavier mainspring to keep lock times up to speed.

        • As Timmy says, single-action. Also, even the single-action trigger pull on an NAA Mini is really pretty stiff. My 10-year-old daughter has trouble with it, whereas she has no problem with a Heritage Rough Rider.

  6. That list is all wrong. Here’s what it should be:

    Smith 41 — Same benefits as the Ruger Mk IV but 3x the price. The added cost is reassuring to the gun-averse shooter, downright delightful to the true Fudd. It’s like expensive beer to someone worried about being a drunk, helps wall-off mental images of trigger-happy gangstas and rednecks. A Smith 41 owner can still look down their nose at almost every other pistolero.

    Springfield XD9 with thumb safety — loads of safeties for when you want all of the safeties. Also the grip zone is clearly marked so a novice shooter will know which part to put their wittle paws on 😀

    Bersa Thunder 380 — Manual safety plus DA, subdued retro look, mild recoil, nontraditional colors available. Due to being extremely boring, will cause minimal internal conflict due to enjoyment in those morally opposed to private gun ownership.

    Honorable mention:

    Heritage Rough Rider 22 — cuddly rootin-tootin’ form factor, mild 22 feedback, minimal rate of fire. Doesn’t make the main list because SA revolver operation is actually a bit of a steep learning curve.

    • I’m going to have to challenge you on the Bersa Thunder. It looks just like (‘cuz it’s a copy of) the Walther PPK James Bond carries, and we all saw him shoot down a helicopter with one! Think of the childre… wait, that doesn’t work in this case, does it?

  7. My wife hates guns the way she hates shovels. But if somewhere needs digging or someone needs shooting, she’ll grab the right tool for the job and use it with skill and determination.

    But to her a shovel is about as pretty as a gun, and neither is welcome on the dining room table.

  8. A snub revolver is NOT the answer. It’s less controllable and takes more expertise to shoot- it’s not at all a beginner’s gun, even if marketing might help it sell as one. This is the kind of advice I’d expect from one of “those guys” at a gun store who thinks every woman buying a gun needs a little pink purse piece.

    • Never let the perfect be the enemy of the good, remembering that this is a list designed for people who don’t like guns. Those people prefer snubbies to “proper” guns. Go figure.

    • Comes down to gun-averse owner’s concern. If the known recoil is the cause of the discomfort, you are right. For many, I (along with the article) suspect the concern is the appearance. A polymer semi or a 1911 is going to look like the firearm of criminals. The large revolver will evoke images of Dirty Harry and other trigger-happy characters. The snub is a friendlier looking weapon, carried in purses and pockets and presenting little obvious threat to others or user.

    • Well, you have a valid point, but I suggest that the people in subgroup are the type to not shoot at another person outside of 5′, such that controlling the shot is less of a concern, especially if loaded with .38 Special HPs. Now I would never hand a gun loaded with .357 like this to anyone with weak hands (such as my 85 y/o mother with arthritis) or a recoil aversion and expect that that person would ever fire the gun more than once in his or her entire life. That said, I agree that a 3″ or 4″ barrel is optimal for ease of accuracy and comfort, but most if not all of the guns this size have weighty steel frames, and the weight might be an issue.

  9. I had to chuckle when you said the Mark IV didn’t look like a “bad guy” gun. The first time I showed my fiancee my Mark II the first thing she asked me is if was a “Nazi gun” due to it’s slight resemblance to the Luger P-08.

    • Now that you speak of it, a Luger in .380 might be a perfect gun for this group. Small, accurate, low recoil…

    • Well, the Mk II DOES look a lot like a Luger, hence her comment. Keep in mind that when Bill Ruger brought his Standard model to market in 1949 and advertised it some people that it was a misprint: Ruger instead of Luger. Anyhow, that Stainless Steel Mark IV does not look like a ‘Nazi gun’.

        • Yea, but how many people had ever heard of, let alone seen a Nambu? Everyone knew what a Luger looked like & the Standard model (became the Mark I) did look like a Luger in profile.

  10. I think this was a great list, especially based on the criteria. Don’t forget that .22 LR is a decidedly lethal round, whether you like to admit it or not. How about the 81 year old in Allentown, PA who killed a home invader with one shot from a (probably revolver) that had sat on his nightstand for 30 years without being fired. Put CCI Stingers or Aguila Interceptors in that Mark IV for amped up power. (Interceptors, from a rifle, have the same energy @ 100 yards as a standard velocity has at the muzzle). Put a low recoil Magtech .38 Spl 158 gr SJHP in that LCR for some good ballistic results. This round fired into water jugs as a test showed very surprising positive results. Can’t beat the LCR for trigger or recoil management.

  11. Admit it, you just made this list to appease all the people who got butthurt last week because JWT recommended the 642 instead of the LCR in his “top 3″…. lame

    This is the listicle equivalent of a participation trophy to keep all the window lickers on the short bus happy.

  12. People who are not gun people who still want a gun but are not going to practice or train are better off with a revolver.

    • Describes my wife. Absolutely loves her SP101 & does not want anything else. I have her practice a few times a year and guess what? She does not miss; if I would not be home & someone would break in, way too bad for them.

  13. “People who don’t like guns… don’t like large guns… they look too deadly.”

    I think that many women don’t like the large handguns for two primary reasons: 1) They don’t fit their hands, 2) They are too heavy and unwieldy. While you may be thinking about controlling the firearm immediately after the primer has been struck, they are worried about controlling firearm before the hammer/striker is tripped.
    Nice article though.

  14. I don’t think the Taser is a gun.

    I would shoot you if you threatened me with it.

    But it’s not a gun.

    • Oh, it’s a damn fine pocket pistol, to be sure… but doesn’t deserve mention for the same reason I activelytalk nervous women out of the Ruger LCP and Taurus TCP – too awkward to aim and shoot well ( in unpracticed hands). Slightly larger revolvers are much easier to get the hang of quickly which also happens to be the reason some experienced shooters love them. At least a few times a week I’ll encourage a noob to do some simple dry-fire exercises with both to demonstrate the point. They all agree… revolvers just work, period.

  15. If this is a gun for home defense, not concealed carry (and a Ruger Mark IV isn’t really concealed carry friendly), I’d recommend a pistol caliber carbine over a handgun any day.

    A Hi–Point 9mm carbine is the ultimate gun for someone who doesn’t like guns. Reliable, effective, inexpensive.

  16. If you are looking to “stop an attack”, you may want to avoid hollow point .22 LR. Getting as close to 12″ of penetration as possible is the number two factor in stopping an attacking (number one being shot placement). The size of the whole is number three. And hollow points in .380s or smaller make penetration worse. Only a couple of brands of .32 acp hollow point have met the 12″ penetration requirement. Of all of the .22 LR JHPs I’ve seen tested, none penetrated at least 12″. That’s why, when self-defense is the primary concern, FMJ is recommended for .32 ACP, .22 LR, and .25 ACP. Many make the same recommendation for .380 ACP, but there are a couple of loads of .380 ACP where the HP doesn’t hamper penetration too much.

    Hollow points are great for .38 special and higher. With smaller cartridges, hollow points tend to inhibit penetration to an unacceptable degree.

    You’ll be better off defensively with a .22 LR FMJ that penetrates at least 12″ than a .22 LR JHP, with unreliable and minimal expansion, that only penetrates 6″.

    1. Shot placement.
    2. Penetration depth.
    3. Debatable but generally a tie between diameter of the hole and number of holes.

    JHP in smaller cartridges has a very negative effect on point number two.

    • Alternate LRN & HP in the magazine (as long as you don’t own Walther, Sig or Beretta 22’s). As far as .380 ACP, Ruger Polycase ARX ammo let’s you have your cake & eat it too.


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