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Tracy Williams does not appear to have had much experience with firearms. It was a desperate situation that drove her to buy a gun and take a CCW class: she’d broken up with a boyfriend with a long criminal record. He’d kidnapped her. She’d escaped and filed charges. He was out on $75,000 bail when he attacked her three weeks later. During that period she had obtained the firearm and a concealed carry permit. North Carolina requires an eight hour course, including live fire, and an $80 non-refundable fee to obtain a permit. Here’s what happened next, via . . .

Green said Williams shot her ex as he attacked her around 5 p.m. in the parking lot of a Food Lion on U.S. 1 near a Cash Points ATM. Police said Williams’ gun then jammed and Yarborough fatally shot her.

When officers arrived at the scene, they found Williams in front of the ATM with two guns, while the suspect’s gun was missing. They believe she was trying to defend herself.

An eyewitness states that Williams was not the only one who had problems with their gun. From

“I heard her start blowing the horn, then I heard a gunshot go off,” said a witness at the scene who did not want to be identified. “She started running around trying to get away, yelling for help . . . And as he was chasing her, he was trying to load the gun and she was fighting for her life, yelling for help.”

The one shot that she was able to fire was almost enough. It hit Yarborough in the leg, but appears to have missed arteries or bone. As a 9mm, it had enough power to break the leg if bone were hit. Tracy Williams would likely have been able to outrun Yarborough if his leg had been broken. From

“She had just recently went through the concealed carry class. She had a 9 mm handgun. She fired one round and it appears the reason she dropped the weapon, the weapon jammed and she tried to run away from him and that’s when he initiated the fatal blow,” said Chief John Green, of the Franklinton Police Department.

A gun is not a guarantee of safety. Possession of a gun provides another option for self-defense. In Tracy Williams’ case, it was almost, but not quite enough, to save her life.

©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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    • Sadly, seems likely.

      One of the reason, even after I’ve shot many times and taken many classes in combatives, I still go for the J-Frame .357 for my goto CCWeapon.

      Pull the trigger, it goes bang. No Bang? Pull the trigger again.

      Yea, only 5 shots, but .357’s leave a good dent, and If I need more than 5, I’ve got bigger problems. Problems that an extra mag of 9mm/.40/.45 are unlikely to solve.

      • There’s not enough information to determine why her gun jammed. She might have had a limp wrist. The gun might be unreliable. It might not like her choice of ammunition.

        A small frame snubby in .357 is an expert’s gun. You have everything but terminal ballistics going against you. Stiff trigger, snort sight radius, vicious recoil and muzzle blast. I won’t disagree about a revolver but a weak caliber you can shoot well, even a .22, is better than a powerful one you can’t.

        • The small frame DA only revolvers are not so much of an expert’s handgun as a close quarters handgun. Personally I prefer larger revolvers with exposed hammers, but the short barrels can actually be more pleasant to shoot than the longer ones because the revolver is much more prone to rotate upwards whereas the longer barreled versions tend to send the trigger guard back into your knuckle with heavy loads. And the sight radius makes little or no difference. Any movement in the gun is going to move the point of impact by the same degree regardless of the sight radius. As long as the visible gap between the front post and the rear notch are the same it just doesn’t matter.

        • ^ The snubnose magnum is definitely an expert’s gun. Long heavy trigger pull and violent recoil make it hard to use effectively for beginners and intermediate shooters alike.

          The sight radius doesn’t make the gun shoot differently, as you said, but longer sight radii make the shooter more accurate by making small movements of the gun more noticeable to the shooter’s eye.

        • If you lengthen the sight radius you either need a wider blade or a narrower notch, but if the gaps are perceived to be the same there is no advantage.

          It doesn’t really take an expert to hit a man sized target at 3′ with a snubby .357. Passed that the effective range is directly related to the skill of the shooter.

        • Gov, that’s not the way the sights actually work. Yes, if the gun is sighted perfectly center then the length of the barrel isn’t much of a contributing factor. However, if the sights are off even a little bit then the length of the barrel becomes very important.

          One can show this with a simple right triangle, with one leg being the distance that the sights are off and the hypotenuse being the distance between the sights. If we keep the one leg representing constant, we can easily see that a larger hypotenuse results in a larger (closer to 90 degree) angle between that leg and the hypotenuse, thus a more accurate shot. This is one reason that rifles tend to be more accurate than pistols.

        • Well yes, if your sights are off it will be more pronounced with a shorter sight radius, and I suppose that with most snubbies having only a machined groove in the top strap for a rear sight that could come into play. But in my personal experience my 3″ GP100 Wiley Clapp with Novak sights is every bit as accurate as my 6″ GP100 with the standard white U notch rear and a HiViz fiber optic front. The fact that the 6″ has a sight radius 40% longer than the 3″ makes no difference at all. That said, I don’t consider a 3″ GP100 to be quite down to snubby territory.

          As far as rifles are concerned the butt stock helps a lot. From a rest I can put most of my rounds in a 12″ circle at 100 yards with the 6″. I think I could make it all of them with a little more practice. I haven’t tried shooting the 3″ from a rest. Full size revolvers have an inherent advantage over semi-autos in accuracy because the sights do not move around in relation to the barrel, but each of the chambers in the cylinder are not absolutely perfectly aligned with the forcing cone, making them less accurate than a typical rifle.

  1. probably a contact shot that caused a stovepipe. If she had hit him in the torso she probably would have lived. I’d love to know what gun she had.

  2. Sad story. I hope that murderous asshole gets MRSA from his single gunshot wound.

    And I hate to say it…… but a revolver wouldn’t have jammed. I really like automatics, but there’s a good reason why I recommend wheelguns to people who are obviously not going to (or can’t) learn how to run a semi-auto.

      • Compare the jam rate of autos to revolvers. Now see the jam rate of autos in the hands of desperate noobs.

        Peope who aren’t willing or able to run a tactical course regularly are dying because they were talked into buying the auto.

        • My carry gun, S&W M&P Shield 40, has never had a malfunction in approximately 800 rounds. That’s multiple brands of JHP, FMJ, my own reloads, and even low velocity lead cast reloads. So, what’s the failure rate on that versus my buddies revolver that seized up after 3 cylinders of ammo?

          Firearm type is not the concern. The concern is training/practice WITH the specific gun and ammo combination.

        • Lady in question did not have time to do much testing/practicing. If any sales staff had understood the desperation of her situation, she should have been sold a revolver, snubby, magnum, whatever. Sad.

        • The greater point is that most noobs are not going to exploit the time available to them to get the practice they would really benefit from.

          Perhaps this woman would have been an exception; she might have been highly motivated. If she had survived 3 months she might have spent 12 days at a range bringing her skills up to the point where she would have acquitted herself with a 9 mm semi-auto.

          Being realistic, if she had survived a year she might have gone to the range 3 times. We have to admit that 3 trips to the range probably would have been insufficient for her to train to clear a jam. Maybe she would have overcome her limp-wrist-ing. Maybe it was something else.

          We need to focus on training and selling guns to noobs that will work right out of the box.

        • Per my personal testing of a G17 20 years ago, even a theoretically very limp wrist susceptible service sized 9, is not very susceptible to limpwristing UNTIL the high cap magazine starts to near empty. I assume the new dual rate springs haven’t changed that. Short barrel, stiffly sprung, polymer single stacks are a different matter. So the snubby mantra may well be sound if the gun has to be small and light.

      • I’m saying this from a certain point of view, that I would prefer to carry a semi-auto with a spare magazine over a revolver.

        The main reasons that a wheel gun get jammed are usually avoided through preventative measures: regular inspections, professional gun-smithing, and a suitable holster. The problems that can jam a revolver are things like timing issues, broken internals, or physical objects blocking a piece of the action. So, if you follow up on my 3 points, your gun should be extremely likely to perform correctly when needed, more so than a semi-automatic pistol.

        A semi-auto does need all of the above preventative measures, but it also introduces more modes of failure related to how you operate the firearm. In return for learning how to minimize their occurrence and correct these extra malfunctions, you receive the benefit of extra ammunition and the form factor of a semi-auto.

        • People out there don’t save for retirement and don’t keep their tires inflated to the proper pressure. These are matters with guaranteed and daily impact. It’s unrealistic to expect them to maintain a revolver to those standards. The relevant measure of reliability, just like gas mileage, must take into consideration real world use, not just ideal or test conditions.

        • Didn’t some police department or something, around the time when trading in .357s for semis were all the rage, “determine” that the revolvers were more “reliably reliable,” and required less maintenance and inspections, as long as they saw little use? Like in backup guns. While (then) modern semis excelled in chewing through more rounds before lack of cleaning and maintenance started affecting reliability.

      • I’ve had autos lock up to the point where it took several minutes to unjam. In a defensive situation it might as well have been something that had to be sent to a gunsmith, it would have been out of the fight no matter how many malfunction drills you’ve done. That said, no weapon is completely immune from failure.

        My 6″ GP100 locked up a couple of times when it was brand new. I’m convinced that the firing pin was a little rough and hung up on the primers. Both times the trigger met with excessive resistance as well as the hammer. Both times the problem was resolved by simply opening and closing the cylinder. Probably would have unjammed if I had jerked on the trigger a little harder. I’ve put several hundred rounds through it since without a problem. The problems they mentioned in the video are more like breakages than malfunction. If you want to avoid those problems you should probably buy a Ruger instead of a Smith & Wesson.

        The bottom line is that there are a lot more things that can go wrong on an auto than a revolver. A revolver doesn’t need to feed, extract or eject. It doesn’t rely on magazine springs or recoil springs to function. It doesn’t require matching recoil spring rates to the ammo being used. The parts that could break are not subject to the same forces that many auto parts are exposed to. That said, I’ve never had a malfunction on my Beretta 92 in 4 or 5 thousand rounds. But my 3″ GP100 basically doubles the effective range, both in power and accuracy, over a full sized 9mm like the Beretta. Which for me is a pretty good trade off for the capacity. The odds of getting into a shoot out that can’t be resolved with 6 rounds of full pressure .357 magnum are pretty low.

    • I feel the same way. I probably shouldn’t say this, either, but I don’t know why some people who actually know a thing or two about guns (by which I mean “actually know quite a bit”) don’t get this.
      EDIT: I see the reply above, but it just doesn’t happen nearly as often as with a semi-auto.

    • Revolvers can have light strikes and thereby fail to fire. That’s possible with a SA, too, butv in my experience it’s far more common with revolvers.

      Also, a revolver’s firing pin can break. The SA’s counterpart can, too, whether hammer or striker, but again, in my experience the revolver is more likely.

      Everyone’s experience is different, so everyone needs to figure out on their own what works for them. I like revolvers and specifically have one deployed an an emergency defensive gun. Still, I don’t buy into the infallible revolver myth.

      • The light strikes sounds like the result of people going too far to lighten the trigger pull. I replaced the 14# hammer springs on both my GP100s with 10# springs with no misfires. I’ve heard of a lot of people using 9# springs without any trouble but I’d rather have a little heavier trigger than take the risk. And of course, even if this does happen all you have to do is pull the trigger again.

        The issue of parts breakage sounds more like a problem with the manufacturer than a problem with the platform. And for that matter I’ve never heard of a revolver breaking an extractor. There’s more potential breaking points to an auto. But there is no guarantee.

        • The gun best known for light strike misfires in recent years, was a semi auto; the Sig P250. And for exactly the same reason you describe: Sig wanted to keep the trigger pull light on a full double action, 2nd strike capable, hence finger cocked, hammer. Recoil cocked guns in meaningful calibers, don’t have to balance trigger pull and striking force the same way.

      • “I don’t buy into the infallible revolver myth.” That’s fine. I don’t think anything is infallible (except, of course, my wife.)

        The question is, is there an order-of-magnitude difference in the reliability of a revolver over a semi-auto; especially in the hands of a relative novice?

        We probably don’t have really good hard data; so, a differential of 2X or 3X or 5X might not be reliable. If the sense of lots of experienced shooters and trainers is that the revolver probably trumps the pistol by roughly 10X in the hands of a novice in a self-defense situation then we need to teach that.

        • I will say that I have taken a ton of brand new shooters to the range. I generally start them on a MK1, but quickly transition them to a 9mm automatic. After, I let them shoot a 38/357 revolver.

          If they seem to have a good handle on it, I will incorporate a gun belt, holster work, reloads, and movement. After seeing countless folks go through this drill, I have yet to see one new shooter who can come close to shooting a revolver as well as they can an automatic.

          Quality striker fired automatics are reliable. And when they fail, I can actually address the failures in a sufficiently expeditious manner that the gun isn’t a paperweight.

          On the flip side, for inexperienced shooters, revolvers tend to become paperweights after they have pulled the trigger five or six times. Watching newer revolver shooters try to reload from a speed loader (or even a moon clip) in anything approaching an expeditious manner is hilarious.

          I would have a hard time recommending a revolver to any new shooter for a defensive firearm.

        • Thank you for your counterpoints; every point I read enriches my understanding.

          “I have yet to see one new shooter who can come close to shooting a revolver as well as they can an automatic.”

          I have to defer to your experience. I don’t have much to compare to. I took my brother-in-law and niece to the range recently. While both noobs, they did alright with a revolver and .38 special. All at very short range; 10 yards. Most desperate self-defense is going to be very short range where marksmanship is a secondary consideration.

          “Quality striker fired automatics are reliable. And when they fail, I can actually address the failures in a sufficiently expeditious manner . . . ” That’s a good point; the distinction between striker vs. DA and SA. Is there still an order-of-magnitude of difference between the revolver and a striker?

          I’m not interested in whether you can address a failure expeditiously; it would take me longer; but I’m not worried about myself. What I am concerned with is the complete noob who has not practiced in the year(s) preceding a fight-for-her-life. If the slightest thing goes wrong she isn’t likely to clear the problem in the couple of seconds she has available.

          “. . . for inexperienced shooters, revolvers tend to become paperweights after they have pulled the trigger five or six times. Watching newer revolver shooters try to reload from a speed loader (or even a moon clip) in anything approaching an expeditious manner is hilarious.” These are good points for the range; but not especially pertinent to the life-or-death situation faced by the typical self-defender.

          The situation will be resolved between 3 to 6 shots, one way or the other. Under desperate circumstances I’d hope that a petite woman would muster the strength to get the 3’rd to the 6’th trigger pull completed. Reloading a revolver for a noob under fire is out-of-the-question.

          A pocket pistol typically holds 6+1 vs. a revolver of 5 or 6. Not a lot of difference given the probability of needing more than 5 rounds.

          I am genuinely interested in your critique of the foregoing reasoning.

        • MarkPA

          Agree with you.

          I’m not at all convinced training methodologies from the “gun games”/professional gunmen tradition of speedy reloads, multiple quick hits on target, tap-rack-bang and the whole shebang, does novice, or even intermediate civilians more good than harm. For a century or more, becoming proficient enough to carry a gun for self defense, for the non professional, was a pretty simple thing: learn to cock a hammer, align some sights (do some bullseye practice), and pull a trigger. More often than not, that’s all it takes.

          If you are in gunfighting situations “every day,” you’ll pretty soon face a situation when it doesn’t. Hence IDPA style training. But for those not particularly motivated, that kind of drills are just as likely to do harm as to do good.

  3. “a long criminal record.”

    When are we going to learn to keep thugs in prison and remove that phrase from our vocabulary?

    I wonder how many months before he gets out this time?

    • “When are we going to learn to keep thugs in prison and remove that phrase from our vocabulary?”

      The Inconvenient Truth: When the taxpayers don’t mind coughing up a lot more money via taxes for prisons.

      They are the ones who will be paying for it. Sell them on the need for it.

      • Or we stop making every last little thing a crime, and suddenly all the prisons we’ve built already will be plenty of room.

        • While I get what you’re saying here, that would not have helped this victim without a much more far reaching overhaul of the legal system than what you’ve just suggested.

        • “Or we stop making every last little thing a crime, and suddenly all the prisons we’ve built already will be plenty of room.”

          I can be cool with that.

          Exchange prison time for a whole lotta community service?

          If we trade a hefty fine for incarceration get ready for accurate criticism that the rich are buying off their justice.

        • Yep, we’re stuffing our prisons with non-violent offenders, which in-turn just makes them more likely to BECOME violent offenders once they are released. Vicious cycle and all that.

        • Is this really true? What proportion of the prison population is attributable to:
          – violent or property crime
          – dealing or using drugs
          – malum prohibitum (wrong because we say so) “crimes”

          I suspect that the third category tends to ruin many lives with a felony conviction and a short prison stint that destroy’s a man’s career and exhausts his assets. However, I doubt that these take up a considerable number of prisoner/bed/years. Am I mistaken?

          I suspect the only real variable society has much control over is that of carrying on the war on drugs or surrendering. This is a really messy political problem. Conservatives are NOT libertarians; they don’t tolerate drugs. The minority communities aren’t libertarians either; they don’t tolerate drug dealers but don’t want their own children going to prison for using and dealing. As long as the conservatives and minorities don’t want to surrender it’s hard to resolve this issue.

        • Federal Bureau of Prisons statistics (

          Top three offense categories:
          Drug Offenses: 95,165 inmates, 48.6% overall
          Weapons, Explosives, Arson: 31,743 inmates, 16.2% overall
          Immigration: 18,307, 9.3% overall

          Some violent crime and property offense categories:
          Sex Offenses: 13,915 inmates, 7.1% overall
          Burglary, Larceny, Property Offenses: 8,082 inmates, 4.1% overall
          Robbery: 7,206 inmates, 3.7% overall
          Homicide, Aggravated Assault, and Kidnapping Offenses: 5,614 inmates, 2.9% overall

          These offenses add up to 17.8% of the total, or just a little over a third of what drug offenses make up. Ending the Drug War would be a giant reduction in our incarcerated population, but even just redefining crimes here and there would be huge. Are there tweaks that would allow us to imprison a third fewer drug offenders? If so, then sentences for rapists, burglars, robbers, and murderers can be twice as long with no additional costs. Just like that. So what do we care about? Who would we prefer to put in prison?

        • “Are there tweaks that would allow us to imprison a third fewer drug offenders? ”

          I think it’s drug-by-drug all or nothing. That is, if you legalize pot then everything is legal from growing it to selling it. If you keep crystal-meth illegal then it’s illegal from cooking it to selling it.

          It’s probably feasible to outlaw transferring a legal drug to an underage person; notwithstanding that you couldn’t enforce it. If you have any intention of enforcing a law then you are largely back in the same place we are in today. E.g., you could make it legal to have over 100 lbs. of pot; but then, at whatever stage in the distribution network there would be over 100 lbs. you would still have the DEA. And, the DEA would still be SWATing houses because of a false tip that they had more than 100 lbs.

          The real difficulty is in getting conservatives and Blacks (and a few others) to wrap their heads around the idea that people – especially young people – will use drugs in violation of the law. The enforcement mechanism does more damage than the drugs do themselves; and its the sum of the two rather than a choice between the two. Nothing will work to eradicate drugs short of self-discipline and parental discipline. And, these same people won’t do their part.

          It seems to me that there is a lesson about politics in the war on drugs that PotG should take to heart.

          Philosophically, I begin from questioning whether there is a Constitutional delegation of power to prohibit recreational drugs. Finding non, I have a hard time finding a case for prohibiting drugs. (I could see prohibiting drugs that make users violent such as PCP.) So, should I argue for a repeal of all (or nearly all) drug laws?

          On principle, yes. Politically, no. The States are just barely making progress with medical pot and slower still with recreational pot. To call for wholesale repeal would be to bring the gradual process to a halt. If the war on drugs will wind-down at all, it’s probably going to be via State nullification gradually over time. Thereafter, the country will start to think differently about other drugs.

          How does this lesson apply to guns? Why do we think we can win a war for gun rights by repealing all 20,000 laws in one full swoop? We can – and are – winning battles one law at a time in the States.

        • CarlosT

          Now, what portion of the “sex crimes” , are of the “man, that Cosby or Tyson guy sure has lots of money. I reckon I might just have screwed him back in the day, let me try to figure out a way to get some of that dosh myself” variety?

          I’m sure other categories contain their share of similar “violators.”

      • Ok, reduce significantly one of the largest entitlement programs we have, USDA subsidies that artificially prop up individual family businesses that are not sustainable otherwise, and divert to corrections and keep those proven to be violent in jail until they calm down (in their 60’s or so) – problem solved.

        • I’m all for eliminating agricultural subsidies, but they’re far from “one of the largest entitlements” in the budget. USDA subsidies total about $20 billion per year – that’s not chump change, but it’s only a fraction of what we spend on VA benefits, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, and just about every other “entitlement” program out there.

          Regardless, just throwing more money into a failing and broken system isn’t going to fix the problem. That’s what we’ve been doing with the public schools for decades, and they just keep getting worse.

      • ‘The Inconvenient Truth: When the taxpayers don’t mind coughing up a lot more money via taxes for prisons.’

        The problem is that when we give them money for one thing they spend it on something else and then come back asking for more. Remember in 2009 when we gave them nearly a trillion dollars to fix roads and bridges? Where’d that money go? Now they’re back asking for more highway money.

        The better solution is for more law abiding citizens to keep and bear arms and thereby greatly reduce the lifespans of criminals. The recidivism rate of dead criminals is zero percent.

        • You are exactly right, Gov. When Michigan wanted a lottery they said it would raise money for the schools, so people voted for it. Then a few years later when the state was begging for more tax money for schools, everyone asked, “What about the lottery money?” The state makes a fortune but they didn’t put it toward schools, they put it in the general fund and used it to pay for more “programs.”

        • By ‘programs’ I take it you mean crony kickbacks.

          I saw a stat a number of years ago that in the decade from 1997 to 2007 the per pupil spending on K-12 had doubled almost everywhere in the country. The recession has probably put the brakes on that, but we’re still spending much more per pupil than we used to and the quality of education has continued to decline. My grandfather got the same level of education in 8 years of schooling that I got in 12 and the kids today are getting the same level I got in 10 years in 12. They’re spending the first 2 years of college getting their GED!

          Doesn’t matter how much you spend if you’re spending stupid.

        • I i heard somewhere less than ten percent (Paul Ryan perhaps said it) of that Trillion dollar highway fund actually went to highway projects. Even if it wasn’t that low, I doubt it was well spent.

      • The problem is not simply the cost of maintaining a prisoner for a year. It’s quite likely that the savings to society for not incurring the cost of his crimes would pay for the cost of maintenance in prison.

        The controlling issue today is – I suspect – an unwillingness of our society to incarcerate a larger percentage of our population. The Progressives call these political shots; and, they want these people out-of-prison. The Progressives own the votes of these prisoners’ relatives and the relatives what these people out-of-prison. How do we persuade these politically power forces to build more prisons? That’s the last thing they want to do.

        I think we have to advise our fellow citizens that they are condemned to live in the society that the Progressives have ordained for us all. Either they vote with or against the Progressives; as long as the majority chooses Progressive policies, we live with them.

        So, armor up.

        Let’s be optimistic: the situation might change in a generation. Look how much things have improved from 1992 to 2015! Could change in like proportion in the next generation; for better or for worse.

        Another aspect of security is the prospect of terrorism. So far, the casualties in the US have been negligible. Yet this phenomena is different from ordinary crime (or crazies shooting up theaters). Terrorism has the real potential to ramp-up suddenly and at great speed. How much warning did we get on 9/11/2001?

        Yet another is the flood of illegal immigrants. What if the Mexican drug-trafficking cartels should suddenly establish distribution and enforcement chains in the US? Could they be far more violent than domestic distributors and dealers?

        • Semi auto people need to justify paying for a 25 round or higher capacity hand guns. Study after study by John Lott says over 90% of defensive gun use does not involve shooting the gun. By the gun communities own research there is no reason to have a 25 round hand gun.
          But I have mine and the 32 round extension magazines as well. Because if the government wants them then I want them.
          Still a revolver is more reliable than a semi auto. You can train with speed loaders or moon clips. A slim semi auto is easier to conseal than a revolver. Mechanically the semi auto has more parts that can go wrong. And the loading action from magazine to breech in the semi auto is the Achilles heel of semi autos. Ammunition quality is critical for semi autos. Revolver not so much. They will shoot anything as long as the caliber is correct. The lowest pressure rounds are ok.

          Except the North American Arms mini revolvers. They are easy to conseal. They come with a laser to aim with just like semi autos now. Five rounds of 22 magnum I think will stop an angry boy friend.
          You must always train with any gun you have. Using snap caps for home dry fire practice is a good inexpensive start. But don’t mix up your snap caps with live rounds. You will hear the loudest bang if you don’t. Always point your gun in a safe direction even in practice.

          Most police use a revolver as a back up gun not a semi auto. I think the police know more than most civilians when it comes to revolvers for an emergency weapon.

          There are many videos on you tube. Just search, revolver vs semi auto. Hickok 45 and son have done them. Jerry Miceluk is the revolver king.

        • Thank you; you have provided a nice summary of things that I mostly knew; but didn’t put all together as nicely as you did.

        • Just an observation Chris, as someone who’s carried revolvers and autos concealed. It doesn’t really matter (for most of us anyway) whether the center of the weapon is 1″ or 1 1/2″ thick. It’s the bottom of the grip that prints. The longer and fatter the grip the more it will print. When it comes to length, a revolver will technically be about as long as an auto with a barrel 1 3/4″ – 2″ longer. However, because the revolver has a more curved profile than an L shaped auto, it really carries more like an auto with an inch longer barrel. If you can carry a 4″ auto you can carry a 3″ revolver, etc.

      • “…The Inconvenient Truth: When the taxpayers don’t mind coughing up a lot more money via taxes for prisons….”

        Or……how about we just build more “regular” prisons and not “Club Med Resorts for the Incarcerated”. No swimming pools, no gyms, no movie theaters, no libraries, no special foods, Just one man in one cell with one TV and one toilet. A guarded walk to the shower every other day for a 10 minute shower……by himself ;-).

        $168,000/ yr to incarcerate a prisoner in NY City. WTF?????

    • …but…but certainly, the “long criminal record” prevented him from obtaining a firearm; right?


    • Unless obviously warranted, judging the victim is not the direction anyone should take if they want to be popular; however, any woman who knowingly associates with a criminal is likely to become another one of their victims. This seems to be a real “common sense” issue, but I’ve observed that it is painfully evident in a large proportion of violent incidents. I hate to speculate, too, so I won’t try and guess why the unfortunate victim’s gun jammed; I already know the basic potential reasons, but the speculations I saw above didn’t include malfunction because of the assailant grabbing her pistol, some clothing or an object from her purse snagged in the action (an assumption of where it was stored) – anything is possible.

      The thing that bothered me the most about this was that the woman apparently abandoned her only means of defense – frustratingly, we don’t know whether she tried to rack the slide to reestablish viability, but I think whoever gave the woman instruction in using the pistol bears a huge responsibility for this outcome.

      • “…any woman who knowingly associates with a criminal is likely to become another one of their victims…”


        For exactly the same reasons that by far most “gun deaths” occur to people who willingly interact with others in they know are in the “gun death” trade.

    • The problem is that we send repeat offenders to jail and they get out and re-offend again. If we executed the 3rd time violent felon, we’d have safer streets and plenty of prison bed space. When more liberals become victims, then we’ll see it change for the better.

  4. Certainly better to have it, and have the option of using it. At least justice will be served on the perp. Had he not been shot its more likely he’d have gotten away. How many of these stories end with something similar to”

    “Franklinton Police Chief John Green said Yarborough was taken to WakeMed for treatment of a gunshot wound he received from the victim, and he will be returned to Franklinton after his release from the hospital.”

    It also highlights the complete ineffectiveness of the restraining order. They aren’t worth the paper they are printed on, and the sooner more women recognize this, the better off they will be.

    • Yet there are police chiefs who will try to convince women that all they need to protect themselves is a TRO, and that they really don’t “need” to carry a concealed weapon. See NY, NJ, MD, and CA.

    • One thing a protection order provides is a paper trail. That you have it says that a judge was satisfied that you were in danger from the person against whom the order was issued. That bolsters your claim of self defense if he defies the order and attacks you.

      • Not in NJ. You have to be dead before a judge will recognize you had a need sufficient to justify issuing you a CWP. But, then, your murderer must still be alive and at large; if not, your basis for a threat has already been resolved.

  5. A very tragic story.

    I am reminded of something an instructor once told my class: if you hang out with criminals eventually you will wind up being an accomplice, a witness or a victim.

  6. Sad story; now, what are the important lessons?

    – Pistol or revolver? Probably a semi-auto. Should newbies be carrying semi-autos? If your semi-auto jams at the range it’s no issue; clear it at your leisure. If it jams while trying to save your life it’s a wholly different game. Are we trying to rear-up a nation of gun-slingers? Or, get newcomers to a point where they have a high probability of success when the need arises?

    – Marksmanship? Hit him in the leg. What was the distance involved? The leg is a far distance from center-mass. Self-defense marksmanship shouldn’t be a challenge. Expected distances are 1 – 7 yards and all we are trying to do is hit somewhere in the chest area. In the several courses I’ve taken I’ve seen a wide range in performance. One lady had her 50 rounds strewn all over the body-outline target; presumably lots of complete misses. I think it’s incumbent on a CWP instructor to tell a student that s/he needs additional coaching and range time to have a realistic chance of being able to defend her/him-self.

    By this I do NOT mean we all need more practice and coaching. We DO; but, that’s NOT the point. Every newbie needs enough range time and coaching to be able to get enough rounds well inside center-mass. And, in a self-defense situation that means (roughly) getting 3 out of 6 shots well-inside; maybe a couple in the outer-edges; maybe 1 miss. This victim had – essentially – 1 out of 1 and it was a miss if the standard is center-mass.

    Gun-you-can-handle: “She fired one round and it appears the reason she dropped the weapon, . . . ” It’s probably hard to reconstruct this event and validate the conclusion that the recoil from one round caused her to drop her gun. Was the gun ill-fit to her particular grip? Was the recoil of a 9 mm just a little too much for her body strength? Did she just not have enough range time? Did she limp-wrist, the gun jammed, and she didn’t know what to do with it so she dropped it?

    Our protocols need to be thought through. It seems to me that an instructor ought to own (or borrow) a variety of guns of various shapes and calibers and allow their students ample opportunity to dry-fire all these guns to get a feel for “fit” to their personal hands. They ought to have ample opportunity to get a half-dozen rounds off with a variety of guns so they know what their comfort level is.

    An adequate protocol isn’t going to fit within a single “First Steps Pistol” course. It worked for me at age 60 because I was self-taught from the age of 8. But extrapolating my experience to a newbie taking her first course is silly. I took First Steps Pistol to meet a pre-req for Personal Protection in the Home. Most students take this course to begin their education; but it can’t end there.

    The vast majority of our students will never fire their guns in anger. Most will carry-on doing some level of range practice and learn on their own. Only a minuscule number will fall into the category of this victim: not having had enough training to make the right initial decisions (pistol/revolver, calibre, practice) before the day of reckoning arrives. Can we figure out what it takes to get these students from 0 to 1 to 2 and maybe 3? (Where 1 is First Steps Pistol).

    • Just speculating, but it’s possible that he grabbed her and she shot him in the leg with either a contact shot or near contact. She may have not wished to kill him. This might have also contributed to her gun jamming.

  7. Man, that’s tragic. Of course, the big question is what gun was it and what (malf) really occurred.

  8. Sadly a lot of these stories we see here seem to have a common thread: Felons have no trouble getting a girlfriend.

  9. Well, guess I’ll never count on a gun to defend me again, since this one time it didn’t save someone else. On second thought….

    • All too common. Recently, my city lost a police officer shot to death by a felon with a long record that she and other officers were trying to arrest. The felon was armed with a gun he talked his girl friend in another state into buying for him. Before that, the girl friend didn’t have a criminal record. She does now.

      • At least they prosecuted her. Neither the feds nor the state of Colorado even charged the girl that bought the guns for Columbine and gave them to the two shooters.

        • I’d say that is a good thing. Buying someone a gun for a gift, ought not be treated any different than buying him a jumping rope. Or an ounce of weed, for that matter. Even if he does end up using the jumping rope to strangle school children, or let them share some hits from his bong.

    • I don’t think that is indicative of the community she lived in, I think that it is a result of the age we live in.

      Want to stay alive when the S hits the H nowadays? Don’t rely on the kindness of strangers.

  10. At up close and uncomfortable distance, unless the hammer is already cocked, you can easily grab a revolver in a way that binds the wheel from turning, which effectively makes it impossible to pull the trigger. Also, jams may be rare in revolvers, but as many have pointed out, when it does jam, that gun is out of the fight.

    You can also grab a semi-auto in a way to push the slide out of battery, which engages the safety on most modern semis and prevents the hammer/striker from moving. But, this is a bit harder to do. Contact shots could also push the semi-auto out of battery.

    All said, I recommend semi-auto over revolver with the caveat: Train with it. Learn to clear malfunctions. Learn the intricacies that could cause jams, such as ‘limp-wrist’ing.

    • JK: I find your critique of revolver vs. pistol illuminating. I suppose I knew some of this; but didn’t put it together so nicely as you did.

      If a revolver is hammerless then I see your point. If your assailant is astute enough to grab (or just gets lucky) there is nothing you can do.

      Conversely, if the revolver has a hammer then you could cock the hammer as-if it were single-action. Given that the scenario will complete within a second or two, the defender isn’t going to make a decision to react in time. It would seem wise to train to cock the hammer on the first shot. That practice ought to make for a more accurate first shot as well.

      If mechanical failure on a revolver is extremely rare whereas the several malfunctions of autos is routine then the choice between these two is difficult. Arguably, for a well-practiced shooter the auto has the advantage of being able to “fix” in a gun fight. However, for the novice, the presumption of being well-practiced is unfounded by definition. On this count, it seems to me that the novice would be far better off starting and sticking with a revolver. In the unlikely scenario that she practices and becomes a real gun-slinger she can always migrate to an auto.

      I take it that you are more concerned about the one form of jamming the revolver (grab the cylinder) vs. the two forms of jamming an auto (grabbing the slide or a contact shot pushing the round out-of-battery. I defer to your experience and expertise; however, the problem of jamming strikes me as overwhelming this consideration.

      • Its why I carry a revolver as my back up weapon. My semiautomatic may jam and if i cant fix the issue i go for the revolver. Granted not all people can afford a backup weapon right of the bat

  11. “She’d broken up with a boyfriend with a long criminal record.”

    OK, let me stop you right there.

    Shot placement beats caliber? Perhaps, but lifestyle decisions trump all. Make smart decisions about what you do with your life and whom you allow into it.

    This is especially true for women, as the majority of female murder victims are killed by an acquaintance or intimate partner.

    • On an individual basis you are absolutely correct. If we were to concealing any given individual young black woman this is what we must tell her. We would also tell her not to have children out-of-wedlock with a man who had chosen a life-of-crime.

      Yet, on a macro scale, there is no obvious and immediate answer to these questions. Nothing can possibly change for at least one generation FOLLOWING a community decision to correct it’s collective social course. Substantially all young black men would have to decide to refuse to pursue a life of crime and substantially all young black women would have to decide to have babies out of wedlock. Wait 30 years.

      It’s not going to happen.

      In the interim, what can we say? Arm-up young lady?

  12. Sad story.

    Interesting how the revolver fans are comparing the reliability rates of an unknown pistol / unknown ammo / unknown operator error / inexperienced shooter versus their known revolvers / known ammo / unlikely operator error / experienced shooter. For all I know at this time, she could have been using a Hi-Point.

    Yes, Jerry Miculek can shoot and reload a revolver crazy fast. For mortals, shooters will get hits on target a whole lot faster with a semi auto pistol. No weapon is error free and a revolver can be jammed by stopping the cylinder from rotating and / or blocking the hammer from falling.

    • ‘Interesting how the revolver fans are comparing…’

      Good point. Where are all the .40 S&W fanboys? If she had shot him in the leg with a .40 he’d have bled out in seconds!

  13. I see a lot of comments here saying that she should have trained with her firearm more… Of course she SHOULD have, we all should train more. You can only be as good as you’ve made yourself.

    But seriously people, we are the fringe group here. It seems normal to us to buy a gun and put hundreds or thousands of rounds a year through it. Probably 90% of the rest of the nation doesn’t put 100 rounds of ammunition through their firearm in 3 years, (speculating/no real data to prove this…)

    We don’t know what this woman had for daily responsibilities do we? I haven’t read very much about her other than she chose a lousy boyfriend. Was she a mother? Was she a student? Was she working three jobs? Maybe she couldn’t get to the range after buying her handgun! Things like this are why I would recommend to anyone who isn’t going to train with their gun very frequently to get a revolver.

    Could more training have saved this woman’s life? Could better shot placement have made that single round of 9mm count? How the Hell should I know? I wasn’t there and neither were any of you.

    I don’t blame this woman being killed on her lack of training any more than I would blame the victim of a mass shooting for just happening to be in a gun free zone. The actions of a piece of ____ excuse for a man are the only reasons that this woman is dead.

    • I agree whole-heartedly with your analysis. I think we need to re-think our “teaching” for novice shooters interested in self-defense.

      Departing from a reasonable assumption that they probably will NOT follow our recommendation to practice at least X00 rounds per year, what do we recommend?

      A few students will enjoy shooting so much they will practice every month or two. Fine, they can pursue different practices (gun type, calibre, techniques) as they discover they are willing to invest more time.

      We owe a higher duty to the beginning student to provide the most appropriate guidance to someone we SHOULD presume will NOT practice.

  14. I first read this story on BA. I was disgusted at the insensitivity in that article.
    This version says the same thing that, training should accompany a handguns’ to increase odds of success but in a more sympathetic tone.
    Also, when was she supposed to get this training? She only had the gun a few days.
    The lesson here as well as the. New Jersey story is: Don’t wait to be threatened before getting a gun.

  15. I wonder if she was using a cheapy handgun?

    Let’s face it, all that stuff about “Saturday Night Specials” in the 1970s was really the beginning of post modern gun control to 1) demonize a particular gun to see if it can be done and 2) rely on racism to ensure nobody cared about it by making it seem like only blacks used it.

    Since then, given everything is lawyered up now, and that guns are not really as cheap (not at Saturday Night Special level anyway), I wonder if the victim was not able to drop down $400+ for a M&P Shield or a Glock or Springfield XDm that would have certainly served her well? Was she using a crapgun? Was it because she could not afford better?

    While the leftoids dream of making all guns too expensive to own, the real victims of their gun control are the same people they claim to be all for protecting. The cost of entry for any decent gun (one that won’t jam on the first shot) is at least $400. There are a lot of people out there who cannot come up with that. I’m also referring to at least 9mm (though some nice developments in .380 ACP have come about lately). Was it not only a cheap gun, but of low caliber too, like .25 ACP or a .22? You can get a lot of decent .22LR pistols for under $300 but they are not good for self defense.

    Thing is, I wonder if this is a victim of the “make guns too expensive for the scrubs” efforts of the leftoids.

  16. I have a P290RS on my hip with 2 spare mags on the opposite hip and a S&W 638 with Buffalo Bore 38SPL +P in my pocket just in case.

    The revolver is in the pocket opposite the semi-auto.

    Thinking about adding an ankle BUG.

  17. She may have just limp-wristed the gun. Even a Glock 19, which is a very popular carry gun, will jam:

  18. It doesn’t matter why the gun jammed. You, everybody you know, and people you don’t, including Jerry Misuleck has had a gun jam. What matters is, her buying the gun has been thoroughly proven to have been the correct choice. It’s sad that it wasn’t enough to tip the outcome in her favor.

  19. The take-away is what? A self-defense weapon must always work. Think AK-47 dragged through the mud reasoning. Easy to use, friendly so to speak, forgiving, not ammo sensitive, (but best ammo available for obvious reasons). We are talking about planning for an ambush, no time to think, just do. Sad story, so close but no cigar.

    • Given the weight, size and ergonomics of an AK, I doubt many people would consider them for “defense purposes”, particularly in this instance.

  20. If she only had a Mk 19 with 100 round of HE… Jeez, the same posts – revolver versus pistol, 45 versus 9, full sized versus subcompact, etc. Every firearm has pros and cons, and it is up to the armed citizen to choose what is right for them, right for their situation.

    • Yes, it’s an individual decision. Nevertheless, it is our responsibility as more experienced users to give APPROPRIATE guidance to novices who will likely REMAIN novices.

      Look at the calibre wars. We 200 lbs. men advise larger rounds in larger guns. So, this woman got a 9 mm. She may have learned to handle a 9 mm; if she had practiced enough. But, if novice women don’t practice, they won’t learn to handle a round with more recoil than they can handle as-they-are and as-they-remain.

      Might she have been better off with a .38/.380? With a .32 or .22 magnum? Maybe even with a .22 RF?

      I do NOT presume to know the answer; for if I did, I wouldn’t bother to post.

      Telling a novice that the choice is personal; figure-it-out-for-yourself is to withhold the collective wisdom of experienced users. We have to recognize our tendency as more experienced users to be entirely absorbed in thinking about what works for US as larger and experienced users. This doesn’t work at all for petite novices. We have to change our thinking and try to provide better guidance for our student base.

  21. Whatever you buy, strip it, clean it, and test it, with the ammo you will use, then strip it and clean it again.

    I saw a woman at the range, firing a little .380. She was hitting the target, but it kept jamming up. Turns out, she took it right out of the box 10 minutes prior, loaded it, and started firing it.

  22. Oh, and as Gavin de Becker says: You just might have to leave. Disappear. It’s tough and unfair, but if your life is on the line, that’s what you have to do.

  23. I think a new gun owner that needs one for protection should start with a DA revolver (maybe 38 Special). My 2 revolvers have never failed me. All 4 of my semi-autos had minor jamming issues until they were broken in and/or I learned to hold them so I wouldn’t limp wrist them. She may have bought a small semi-auto but they are the hardest to shoot without a shooter caused malfunction.

    • My wife tried shooting a couple revolvers. A snub nose and a 4″ barrel with .38 Spec loads.
      She hated the recoil. It was quite brutal on her wrists.
      Her VP9 and Walther CCP are far easier for her to shoot repeatedly with better control.
      She does have jams with either unless I load a crappy range ammo lot. She only uses quality defensive loads for carrying.

  24. The first time I fired a semi-auto at the range, I had a stove pipe about every 3rd round.
    Range instructor fires 6 rounds flawlessly.
    He gave me a quick lesson. That made all the difference.
    This woman was very new to carrying. This is a case that really points out the need to regularly train.
    I wonder if she shot at the leg on purpose due to all the BLM crap whenever someone does shoot center mass against a bad guy. How often do we here some scumbags mom crying “they could have just shot him in the leg.”
    This proves beyond a reasonable doubt that one should never deliberately shoot for the leg when faced with a dangerous attacker.

  25. Revolvers, people, revolvers. If you have a dud round, you can pull the trigger again to get to the next chamber. Those first five or six shots are what count. Having a deep stack of ammo is no good if you have to clear a jam while the bad guy is closing in with a knife or a gun of his own.

  26. Society is like: “if you kill your ex you will spend the next twenty years in a cinderblock room.”
    So many dudes are like: “great! — where do I sign?”
    I will never begin to start to take the first step to understanding.


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