I ate in a Hazelton, PA diner the other night. Fresh out of my debate with Dr. Romano at Penn State (a gun-free zone) I was as unarmed as the Venus De Milo. I passed on a place in the main dining room for a seat at the bar. It offered excellent sight lines and easy access to two nearby exits. It occurred to me that I was better off unarmed in that seat than I would have been being armed in the boxed-in booth by the door. All things being equal. Something for you guys who can’t carry at work to keep in mind. So here are my choices for a firearm to defend against extreme workplace violence . . .
To paraphrase Bachman Turner Overdrive (with a touch of Tarzan), any gun is good gun.
If operational security or a dress code limits your choices to a mouse gun, you’ll just have to squeak by. Your LGS sells plenty of excellent palm-sized nines (e.g. Ruger LC9,) and refined .380’s (e.g., SIG SAUER P238). An ankle-holstered snubbie may be a bit awkward standing up, but it’s an excellent set-up for sedentary cubicle dwellers.
Practicing with a small gun is almost as painful as a five-year-old’s knock-knock joke—unless you’re refining your ability to extract, aim, move and shoot the firearm in the comfort of your own home (with the curtains drawn). After the gun’s been unloaded, separated from all ammo and triple safety checked. Yeah, do that.
If your gun choices aren’t terribly limited size-wise, as always, carry the largest gun in the largest caliber that you can comfortably carry and unholster and shoot accurately, rapidly, under pressure. To establish which gun meets those criteria, you’ll need plenty of dry and live-fire practice.
Oh, and despite what the antis say about friendlies shooting friendlies, the more people who carry a gun—any gun—in your work environment the better. (Except for the guy who goes postal of course.) It’s better to take some of your colleagues to the range and discuss tactics than it is to obsess about your firearm choice.
2. Springfield XD(M) (9mm)
Out and about, it’s the three-three-three rule. Three yards, three seconds, three shots. There’s a flurry of firearms frenzy followed by . . . bleeding. While the rabbi likes to remind us that no one ever ended a gunfight wishing they had less bullets, cartridge capacity isn’t the be-all, end-all in most defensive gun uses.
A workplace shooting is a bit more of a challenge, tactically speaking. In the Navy Yard massacre, Aaron Alexis shot his victims from various distances; some were gunned down at point-blank range, some were killed from a fair distance (down a long corridor). The entire event lasted somewhere between 30 minutes and an hour.
An armed defender would have been happy to have a gun that could have taken out Alexis at, say, 30 yards. As the killer was after multiple targets, most of whom were trying to escape, a firearm with sufficient capacity to lay down something approximating covering fire wouldn’t have gone amiss. That capacity would have helped generally; a spree killer had nowhere to go. He didn’t mind engaging in an extended gun fight.
The 4.5″ Springfield XD(m) in 9mm is a ridiculous easy gun to shoot accurately. It’s 19+1 capacity comes from the land of plenty (an extra mag or two in a desk drawer is no great bother). It’s not the easiest gun in the world to conceal, what with that honking great handle, but then who said this was going to be easy?
3. Stoeger Coach Gun
I know what you’re thinking: two shots? Here’s this guy prattling on about mag capacity and he goes and recommends a shotgun with two shots? Here’s the thing . . .
Most people can’t hide a full-size tactical shotgun in their office. If discovered . . . “Explain to us again how you aren’t the crazed gunman?” The Stoeger Coach Gun (SCG) is small enough to stash in a backpack; it breaks down and reassembles lickety-split. Sure, it’s not the easiest procedure when you’re experiencing a full adrenalin dump, but there it is.
Like any 12-gauge (also available in 20) shotgun, the SCG fires a fearsome load. Twice. Yes, well, about that . . .
A shotgun loaded with double-ought buck is as close as you’re going to get to one-shot stopping power. So . . . two one-shot stops. And while more is better when it comes to suppressive fire, a deafening concussive blast from a shotgun at close range offers Gulf War levels of shock and awe. On a small scale. In theory.
Speaking of small, a Stoeger Coach Gun is significantly easier to maneuver in the tight spaces of an office than a full-size shotgun. Remember: in a workplace-related shooting you should be running and gunning (with the emphasis on running). Or hiding and waiting. Imagine the difference between hiding under a desk unarmed and hiding under a desk with Joe Biden’s preferred defensive firearm.
Ideally, you’d have both a carry gun and the Stoeger at work. But then few of us live—or work—in an ideal world. Do the best you can with what you have and try to work at a place where the boss is into ballistics.