Choosing good personal defense ammunition
Ken [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
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By Rob Morse

Don’t confuse the news with the truth. The corporate news media is in the business of delivering eyes and ears to their advertisers. That’s how they earn their money. The assignment editors, reporters and the copy editors aren’t against honesty and proportion, but cash comes first. That means they’re biased in their reporting. They ignore common but important stories in order to leave room for the shock and outrage that keeps us clicking, watching, and listening.

I study armed defense. Ordinary citizens like us defend ourselves, our families, and innocent strangers every day. You wouldn’t know that from watching the news. This is why the corporate media does such a bad job of reporting.


To be fair, we all have our own biases. Most of us think that armed self defense looks like something from a John Wick movie or from The Matrix. That couldn’t be further from the truth. I have to describe what ordinary people do because most of us are not even familiar with the terms and you’re not going to read about it in the paper or see it on your nightly news.

Armed self defense is when the intended victim of a violent crime uses a firearm to deter or stop the criminal.

That includes something as simple as grandma shouting for an intruder to go away because she has a gun and that she’s called the police. The police might not classify that as a defensive gun use, but grandma thinks it was. She thinks the home invader/robber changed his plans because she had her firearm. (SPOILER ALERT: The criminal thought grandma’s gun was important too.)

Armed self defense is when an armed mom is crossing the parking lot late at night. She tells her kids to get in the car, she turns toward the three young men who were following her, puts her her hand into her purse and yells “STOP!” The three young men change direction. They get back into their car and drive away.

In these examples, the victim didn’t have to point their gun at their attackers. The significant thing was the armed defenders didn’t look or act the way the attacker thought they would. The criminals moved on to find easier prey.

Some people would say those examples aren’t really armed self defense, but the use of force comes in shades of grey. It’s a continuum. It starts with turning toward your attacker, yelling “STOP,” backing away, grabbing your gun, presenting your firearm and pointing it at the attacker. It ends, if need be, with pressing the trigger. Each of those are separate steps on the ladder of defense. We don’t want to climb that ladder any higher than we absolutely have to.

The good news is that we are reluctant to use lethal force. It isn’t our job to close with, contact, subdue, and arrest an attacker. That’s for the police when they finally arrive. We just want the bad guy to go away and let us escape without being hurt. That’s what we do.

In fact, the mere presence of a firearm is usually enough to make most bad guys go away. That reaction isn’t as unusual as it seems. A police officer puts his hand on his gun many times, but seldom has to present it and shoot a criminal assailant. Bad guys behave the same way around us. They don’t want to be shot if they can possibly avoid it.

That isn’t just speculation. Scholars asked tens of thousands of ordinary adults if they’d ever used a firearm for armed defense. About one-adult-in-ten said yes. Only one-person-out-of-fifty actually had to pull the trigger. That’s significant, but it leads us to something bigger.

The police might not take a report if you were armed but didn’t shoot a bad guy. Sure, we should call the police, but they might not call it a defensive gun use unless the firearm was fired, or at least drawn and pointed. Most incidents of armed defense are never recorded as such because of this quirk in the way the police take their reports.

Most examples of armed defense aren’t reported by the press either. Just because our heart is beating fast after the bad guy runs away, that doesn’t mean our armed defense will make the news.

Protecting our family is vitally important to us, but most armed self defense doesn’t make good news copy. Assignment editors seldom waste space on a story in which the bad guy ran away and no blood was spilled.

Unfortunately, not every defensive gun use turns out that way.

A shooting is when someone presses the trigger and the gun goes ‘bang.’ That doesn’t mean the bad guy was killed. It doesn’t even mean that the bad guy was wounded. A shooting means that at least one bullet flew in one direction.

The great news — and another story that’s disgracefully underreported — is that gun owners in the US are exceptionally reluctant to take a life. We stay within the law, and the law only allows us to use lethal force in very specific instances.

We’re only allowed to use a gun when an innocent person faces an immediate and unavoidable threat of death or great bodily injury. Said another way, we’re only allowed to use lethal force when it’s the safest thing left to do.

That’s a high bar to clear. Honest citizens don’t shoot other people very often. When we do, the bad guy usually lives. The amazing news is that sometimes we don’t shoot people even when we have a legal justification for doing so. When we look at the record, we tend to use a gun only as a last resort. That is a very good thing.

The other great news is that we win. The news media are sure report when a good guy gets disarmed by a bad guy. That makes the news because the event is so unusual. It’s far more common for the good guy to take the criminal’s gun than the other way around.

We also win because we’re on defense. Defenders have an easier job than their potential attackers. The criminal is trying to get close to us and we are trying to keep that from happening.

Our spouse dials 911 as we huddle behind the bed with a gun pointed at the bedroom door. The criminal breaks down the door, steps into the room and we shoot them. That isn’t a great feat of marksmanship. It doesn’t make for an exciting tale so that isn’t what we’re shown in the movies.

There are exceptions. Sometimes an honest gun owners has to shoot an attacker at a distance. Sometimes those defensive stories are incredibly important because the defender stopped mass-murder. Honest citizens do a good job stopping mass murder, but most defensive uses of a gun are at close range.

A gun fight is when bullets fly both ways. That’s a situation we want to avoid at all costs.

We want to defend ourselves from a physical position where we can shoot at the bad guys and the bad guy can’t shoot at us. If we’re attacked in a parking garage, we move behind a car or a column so we’re harder to shoot. In our home, we hide behind a wall and peek around a corner so we’re harder to see. That’s the opposite of what we see in action movies.

The truth is that we’re at risk if the criminal is shooting at us. No matter how skilled we are, there’s a chance we could be injured or killed in a gunfight. That’s why self defense classes talk about avoiding them in the first place. We win every gunfight that we avoid.

You may be really proud that you saw the two sketchy-looking guys standing behind the corner of a convenience store so you drove to another store to buy gas late at night. You made a very good decision. People need to know about your actions so we learn to keep ourselves safe.

Unfortunately, what you did is important, but it’s not newsworthy.

Armed self defense happens between 4,000 and 6,000 times a day. In most of those situations, the good guys don’t have to shoot because the bad guys were chased off. Sometimes we have to pull the trigger, but the bad guy usually lives. That simply isn’t the kind of attention-grabbing story the news media is looking for. It doesn’t bring in readers and it goes against the dominant narrative that guns should be avoided by the average person.

That puts the burden on us. We have to find better sources of information if we want to learn the truth about armed self defense. There are a few news shows that cover those stories. There are many websites, blogs and podcasts that highlight and talk about armed defense stories. Knowing the truth is good for all of us.


This article originally appeared at Slow Facts and is reprinted here with permission. 

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    • well, if by some odd chance you die due to holding your breath waiting for MSLSD reporting… I want your guns.


      • Is this article implying that without the locals being able to defend themselves that the crime rate would be higher?

        No cops in the immediate area to stop it?

        Well I’ll be…

  1. The bad guys, Giffords, Brady, etal, only want to call it a defensive gun use if the attacker dies. Criminals are generally in it for the kicks or the money and it isn’t fun if their target suddenly becomes a potential source of pain and suffering.

  2. “Armed self defense is when the intended victim of a violent crime uses a firearm to deter or stop the criminal.”

    That describes armed self defense WITH A FIREARM. More accurately,

    “Armed self defense is when the intended victim of a violent crime uses a WEAPON to deter or stop the criminal.”

    That weapon may be a knife, a rock, a club, a car, a ten pound weight throw as a discus, a bow and arrows, a spear – let your imagination run wild here. Virtually anything you can lay hands on can be a weapon, and when you pick it up to use it as a weapon, you have engaged in “armed self defense”.

    Can I have an Abrams tank, please?

    • Can I have an Abrams tank, please?

      Thanks to Uncle Joe, you can probably buy one from the Taliban. (shipping not included)

  3. Sorry .40 cal already claimed it. 😁
    By the way it’s great for getting around, over or through traffic…

  4. The most important thing about armed self defense is when you face an adversary and command them to stop, you had better be prepared to draw and fire if it comes to that. Some criminals will go away and look for easier prey. That does not include the drug-crazed zombie who wants your money for his next fix. Bluffing can get you killed.

    • My firearm is drawn before the command to stop. If I even waste the time to say stop. If seeing a firearm pointed at the middle of their chest isn’t a deterrent. Nothing i say will change their mind.

  5. The media doesn’t have to be honest. In fact the ACLU has gone to court to support lying. Twitter and other multi-billion dollar tech companies have been lying. And according to the three L’s its ok.
    This is why a national divorce is coming. The USSR fell apart because the leadership was dishonest for decades. And everyone knew it.

  6. Proof that citizens with guns very rarely stop mass murders.

    Safer with gun in the home??? The statistics prove otherwise. In fact you are far more likely to be killed by gunfire in the home because of domestic violence or gun accidents than on the street or from a break in.

    As a matter of fact shooting it out on the street to save a few pennies in your wallet has proven that people who did so survived far less than people who did not fight it out with the robber. short, gun ownership does,more complicated for many homeowners.

      • one day the police will arrive at a murder scene and find dacian standing over the body with the gun in his hand muttering “See TTAG, I told ya so.”

        • I really doubt that. More then likely someone will be standing over him with a gunm saying “Pew wee fella, I wasn’t going to rape you. Now you’ve done sht all over your wallet and that’s all I wanted. “

    • Any study that starts by looking at mass shootings is answering the question “Do armed citizens stop mass shootings after they’ve already escalated to the point of qualifying as a mass shooting?” (For which the linked article clearly answers “Sometimes.”)
      To answer the question “Do armed citizens stop mass shootings?” more accurately, researchers would need to include attempted mass shootings where an armed citizen stopped the attacker before however many people were shot/killed, and thus the incident is not counted as a “mass shooting”.

      • Clackamas Towne Centre Mall shooting near Portland Oregon. Happened during the week before Scammy Crooks in CT. One armed prepared citizen drew his handgun, pointed it at the AR armed perp who had already killed two and was looking for number three, perp saw the wrong end of that barrel pointed at him lowered his rifle, left his gymn bag full of TEN round mags, all prepped, went down a corrridor and out into a service area where he made the best use of his rifle all day and killed himself. Hero stated he noticed some innocents too near his line if fire way behind the perp, did not want to risk hitting one of them and so held fire.
        No question that with hundreds of innicents milling about in that part of the mall perp would have made deadly use of severl hundred more of the thsands he had with him. That young armed citizen (22 yrs old) clearly STOPPED a horrible mass shooting by not firing a shot.
        Sandy Hook filled the news with “the horror of guns” for weeks, but the story above barely made the local Portland news that evening then fell down the memory hole. Most of the hundreds that did OT get shot by that perp never even realised why.
        Oh, and this incident is NOT listed as a mass shooting” because the death toll did not cross the threshold defining that type of event.
        there, Dackie Boy once ore you are proven to be ignorant, or more likely wilfully false.

    • The Texas State University study is a joke and another anti-gun funded biased study that used invented exclusions and definitions to satisfy their pre-deteremined conclusions. From the study, lots of things are missing and slanted by the invented exclusions and definitions, so lets take a look at them:

      first some numbers from the study…

      * Of the 433 active shooter attacks in the study 249 ended before the police arrived.

      * In 64 of those attacks a bystander subdued the attacker 42 times and shot the attacker 22 times

      *12 of the shooting bystanders were citizens, 7 were security guards, 3 were off duty police officers

      Then lets explore the actual data they used and what it actually says…

      In 185 of the 249 that ended before police arrived 133 of that 185 left the scene before police arrived and 72 committed suicide. The study does not tell you that of the 113 that left 108 of those left because an ordinary law abiding citizen (not security or law enforcement) with a gun brandished their firearm and repelled the attacker thus stopped the active shooter without firing a shot.

      The study also does not tell you that of the 72 that committed suicide 68 did so either while under fire by a ordinary law abiding citizen (not security or law enforcement) with a gun and they could not escape or keep firing being suppressed by the citizen weapons fire but were not hit by the citizen weapons fire or the citizen brandished and the active shooter simply stopped firing and killed their selves when seeing the citizen brandish.

      some math: 185 – 72 = 113 attackers left to subdue but they departed the scene before being subdued and before police arrived …. so 249 – 72 – 113 = 64 attackers left to subdue on scene.

      This 64 is interesting because you will notice it includes two categories of defenders as if there are those with firearms and those without – those that shot the attacker (22) and those that subdued by physical force (42). Of those defenders that shot 12 were citizens, 7 were security guards, 3 were off duty officers. Its interesting because it does not mention that of those subdued by physical force that the shooter was stopped first in 18 of them by a citizen (not security or law enforcement) brandishing a gun but not firing but the attacker stopped firing when confronted by that armed citizen then the attacker was able to be subdued by physical force.

      So of the 433 attacks in the study an ordinary law abiding citizen (not security or police) stopped the attack …

      108 + 68 + 12 + 18 + 25 = 231 attacks stopped by an armed citizen (not security or police) with a gun

      (note: I count this 25 as a separate attack because it was. The 25 were stopped and repelled. They left ‘defeated’ at the point. But they came back to start again. This is two separate instances of their appearance in the target zone and required two separate instances of successful defense to repel them.)

      The Trace is another joke. Your link…it uses anti-gun studies that have been debunked and shown to be false by independent researchers. The reason why its been debunked is because it relies on the false ‘correlation = causation” trick and tailored exclusionary definitions application to support a predetermined conclusion and ignores that 58% of their study data pools reported contrary to their conclusions. Its also bogus because it includes a false predetermined conclusion that defensive gun uses are rare and ineffectual from two of the most widely debunked anti-gun backed study’s there are (one of them debunked later by their own creators)

  7. Hey .40: If muck does die (and God knows we need him alive) Can you call my Crime Scene Body disposal and clean-up company so I can get the commission??? (it will cost you (1) firearm…. deal?

    • “Guardian Angel” owns a “Body Disposal and Crime Scene Cleaning Co”
      Hmmm……😂🤣😂🤣 Arcangelo by chance?

    • well, burying him in the back yard isn’t all that difficult but yeah you can do it if you want.


  8. Nah muck, just an “attempt @ humor”, But I wish I did sometimes. Albu-turkey, Nu-Meh-eeco recorded 120 murders in 2022! not as FANTASTIC a number as Chi-congo but…. A new record yee-haaaaaaaaa! …and they already have their 1st body dump on good ole Route 66 for 2023 (actually Central Ave) so maybe, just maybe we can surpass that 120 count by August! (fingers crossed)……….

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