barney fife bullet
Rogers and Cowan, Beverly Hills / Public domain
Previous Post
Next Post
barney fife bullet
Rogers and Cowan, Beverly Hills / Public domain

Between gun stores and the internet, gun owners both new and old can learn a lot. Great information is widely available about gun ownership, maintaining firearms and their use in competition, recreation and self-defense. Unfortunately, the quality of that information can vary widely.

Some bits of advice and information that are often repeated are particularly bad. Some of these can cost your life, liberty and or pursuit of happiness.

As a relative newcomer, I’ve been into guns for only about four decades and an instructor for half that. I strive to impart the best and latest information. However, I keep running into a few terrible nuggets of Fool’s Gold that keep getting repeated. These “gems” include:

All you need is one shot.

A handgun fires a peanut-sized projectile at modest velocities. Hollywood accurately depict the real world.

Keep shooting until the threat to innocent life has ended. Then look around you as you “scan and assess” for additional threats.

As my cop friends say, “There is no additional paperwork for firing at least twice if you have to shoot.” In fact, typical training has officers firing at least a controlled pair anytime they discharge their handguns.

Birdshot is all you need for home defense.

Birdshot is great…for hunting birds. If a killer crow attacks you, then yes, use birdshot. On the other hand, for home defense against Mongo the Mauler who has pumped iron in prison for the last ten years? Not so much. Ditto for Mongo’s little brother who couldn’t do a dozen push ups.

Yes, at point-blank range, birdshot works with devastating results. I personally don’t want a bad guy anywhere near that close though. You probably don’t either.

Remember, a bad guy can easily cover 21 feet in 1.5 seconds. Most can cover six feet faster than a person can react, so maintain that reactionary gap.

Distance is your friend. Buckshot (or slugs) will work wonderfully at room-length (and greater) distances, where birdshot will not. Bad guys who take a 12- or 20-gauge load of buckshot or a rifled slug to the chest typically go to the morgue, not the ER.

Soil yourself to show you feared for your life – or to make yourself less attractive as a victim.

Yes, you may lose bowel and bladder control during or shortly after a personal defense encounter. But relying on that to save your life is a crappy plan, pun intended.

Not that long ago, the Illinois State Police under Democrat Governor Pat Quinn recommended women gag themselves and vomit on their attacker. If that isn’t bad enough advice, it also suggested women tell an attacker they had VD or AIDS. (The original ISP website advice has long since been stricken, but is discussed here.)

Illinois gun rights advocates had a little fun with this back in the day:

Courtesy Illinois Carry

The sound of a shotgun racking is all you need to scare the bad guys away.

Sure, some describe the sound of a pump action shotgun racking as the “universal sound of peace.” Hollywood has taught everyone world-wide what a shotgun racking sounds like.


Unfortunately, it also telegraphs your possession of a shotgun – and your location to the opposition. Yes, admittedly, more than one miscreant has been “dissuaded” from their unholy acts in this manner. However, this tactic can backfire.  Better to retain the element of surprise than give it away.

For safety, don’t carry a gun with a round in the chamber. 

Some call this “Israeli” carry. Deadly force encounters usually happen very quickly. Even the best practitioners need a minimum of 1.5 seconds or more to draw from concealment from a cold start.  Do you really want to add in another second to rack the slide?

Even eighty-year-old men with bad joints can cover 21 feet in 1.5 seconds. How long will the 17-year-old hoodlum take when he’s charging you with a knife, club or other weapon?  Ditto for the snarling pit bull or rottweiler with bad breath and an even worse demeanor.

You may not even have a spare hand with which to rack your slide if you’re dragging your beloved wife or daughter out of a bad situation and need that gun at the same time. Then there’s the noise of racking the slide, announcing to the world that you have a gun and have just loaded it.

It makes for good Hollywood drama, but not good tactics. If you can’t keep your cotton pickin’ finger off the bang switch, then get more training.

A .22 LR bullet will “bounce around” inside a bad guy.

Yes, the venerable .22 LR round is a classic. It’s outlawed  by the Geneva Convention as too deadly, some have told me. Why? Because a .22 bounces around inside a human body/skull, inflicting horrific damage.

If you believe that, I’d like to introduce you to my Uncle Joe for more great firearms advice…

Anything Joe Biden says

Joe Biden served in the role of useful idiot for his eight years as Vice President during which he dispensed sage self-defense advice like — “Ladies, get a double barrel shotgun.

Slow Joe famously suggested firing a shotgun through a door to keep people away. He also advocated firing a couple of rounds off the balcony to scare off intruders.

Don’t be like Joe.

You don’t even have to aim a shotgun.

This one is true…if you don’t care what you hit. A shotgun blast at personal defense distances isn’t nearly as big as most people think.

If you discharge that shotgun in self-defense, you stand liable for each and every one of those pellets. It would behoove you to aim carefully. Know your target and what is beyond it is one of the four rules of gun safety.

Shoot the bad guy in the leg or arm.

Or shoot the gun out of their hand! Once more, Hollywood has infected the minds of a lot of good people. The Lone Ranger could shoot the gun out of a bad guy’s hand without even aiming. You can’t. Nor should you try.

The A-Team got themselves out of trouble by simply shooting in the general direction of bad actors without ever hitting anyone. (Some say that’s because of the sometimes notorious inaccuracy of their Mini-14 rifles, but that’s another post entirely.)

Aim for the center of the exposed mass of the target. That’s the largest, easiest target when you’re under stress. Shoot until the threat has ended.

If the bad guy falls outside the door or window, drag them back inside.

Really? You think today’s crime scene investigators or prosecutors (or members of a jury) are going to buy that? Tampering with a crime scene will make you look very guilty.

If it’s too dark for you to see the sights, it’s too dark for you to identify the target.

This is why we install luminous night sights on our defensive firearms (including long guns).  People move and lighting changes in dynamic situations. Have a plan and be prepared for whatever conditions you might find yourself in.

And perhaps the “best” (worst?) for last . . .

We have cops to protect us, you don’t need a gun.

Okay, TTAG readers, what are some of the worst tips you have encountered in the wild?


This post was originally published in 2017.

Previous Post
Next Post


  1. I was going to say “shoot them outside and drag them in”. Forensic files and CSI took care of that one.

    Thank God we know that a good shoor is a good shoot, no matter where it happens. You either had justification for shooting or you did not, Period!

    • Even worse: if you shoot someone in a DGU, make sure to finish them off so they can’t sue or testify. I have heard that a disturbing number of times, and I think most adults with average or higher mental capacity can figure out why that’s stupid.

      • Why? Cops unload their weapon non-stop into the bad guy but we can’t when faced with the same threat?

    • The best is when they say a cop friend told me to drag the threat back in. I tend to point out that the officer is talking about staging a crime scene, which means that officer is not be a good source for moral, legal advice, or to have around your family. That is the kind of Leo who would harm one of us armed Citizens, and say they were scared of a Citizen exercising their rights.

      Another good one is to put a drop weapon by the threat. Those ignorant people don’t understand that the threat does not need to have a weapon to be an imminent threat of harm. The burglar could be known to their cohorts as to be against using weapons.

      You bring up the most important point it was either a legal shoot or not. I would have no hesitation after making sure all of the threats to my wife and children are no longer threats, to drag the leaking home invader out of my house on one the kids’ shower curtains.

      I don’t want to waste money for a biohazard clean up crew over some spilled thug.

      • I’m glad to hear when other people share my feelings on personal defense, especially that of a home invasion scenario.

        I’m never going to have a pleasant reaction to an unwanted, unwelcome person in my home. Because we have young kids and live directly on a lake, our doors are locked pretty much 24/7 unless there’s an adult right there. Now, obviously, if somehow a small child, obviously confused, very elderly person, etc. is the unannounced guest, that’s different. But for the most part, it will require substantial effort to be inside my home without being invited to do so, meaning it’s going to be a capable adult with intent to be in a place that holds the only things in life that I care enough about losing: my beautiful wife and my three children.

        So, if it’s late at night, I hear a noise, investigate, identify a stranger? No retreating. No conversation. No ‘Hollywood warning shots’. Just a quick mental assessment of what’s directly behind the assailant during target acquisition and then I’ll stop firing when I feel it’s necessary. I’m not saying that I doing so will not affect me greatly afterwards mentally and emotionally, but it won’t be anywhere near what I would feel if I hesitated for a split second and ended up losing one of my family.

        I’m always reminded of the words of a great college professor of mine that spent many years in law enforcement for town, county, and eventually our state bureau of investigation. We were discussing use of force and how my size would be more cause for someone to say I was excessive (I’m 6’6″, 220lbs.) in using force. I said that I would always keep that in mind, but that using force wasn’t my reason for pursuing criminal justice anyway. He told me he could tell that I was in it for the right reasons and seemed like I could keep a level head.

        But his parting words in that conversation were: “But, always remember, it’s better to be tried by 12 than to be carried by 6. Err on the side of caution, but having your fate in the hands of 12 jurors is always better than 6 pallbearers.”

  2. Peeing or puking on your rapist is more effective than owning a gun.

    That was some pretty bad advice.

    • There are sick people out there who wouldn’t care or even get turned on by it.

    • I seem to remember a few years (decades?) ago someone selling glass vials of skunk essence for ladies to pin in their underwear and break open in case of attempted rape.

      Haven’t heard about that lately, nor any reports of it ever being used in an actual incident.

      • My wife would die if a couple molecules of skunk juice got on her. Positively shrivel up and die. Every time we pass a roadkilled skunk, she panics and hits the Recirculation button on the dash, thinking it will keep the scent out. And every time, she’s too late and ends up trapping it inside. I don’t mind it, having spent most of my earlier years in the outdoors stalking various critters and having long ago become accustomed to essence of polecat. So, I just let it circulate for a couple minutes as she gags, and then switch it back so it will be purged out.

      • I don’t think they would like a bunch of broken glass in their crotch.I know I wouldn’t.

    • If its a rapist, odds are good they are also into filth / degeneration. It may even be a turn on…

    • That was definitely one our’s (CO). Luckily, that asshat called recalled, or quit rather, before it could be completed.

  3. The wosrt ive heard of is dont fight back just do what the bad guy wants and he’ll leave you alone.
    Second worse i guess would be keep your weapon unloaded and locked up and ammo locked up separately.

    • I recall some NY politician advising folks to always carry $20, the idea being as long as the mugger gets something he’ll leave you unharmed.

  4. When you’ve lost count of how many rounds you’ve shot drop the magazine (with ammo in it) and reload.

    Not so much advice, but just a dumb saying, “If it takes me more than 8 rounds of .45, I’m in some real trouble.” If you have to draw and fire your weapon you better be in some real trouble!

    • I have to say for the armed citizen that is might actually be true. If you need more than eight rounds you have a really big problem to deal with.

    • Yeah I think the idea of that saying is just that there is an acceptable level of risk and preparedness that everyone is comfortable with. If I were going to a combat area I would want a long gun with plenty of ammunition. If I were a cop working patrol in Baltimore or Chicago I would want the same available but at least have a high-capacity handgun with multiple reloads. As a conceal carrier in a relatively safe area? I don’t feel outgunned with even a good revolver.

      The chances of me needing to fire more than 6 rounds in a defensive gun use out of the house (i.e. not a home invasion) are very small, and if the situation is such that I feel the need to do so I should maybe be running away to find cover instead because either I’m not aiming or the situation is very different than those one would expect. I.e. I’m suddenly dealing with a brigade of ninjas instead of the tweaker with a knife.

    • That was very common in Iraq and Afghanistan. Soldiers carried a dump pouch for the mags.

      This one Marine didn’t follow the advice. He went into a yard to clear a house. He got into a firefight with an insurgent. The Marine ran out of ammo before he knew it. He tried to reload his rifle instead of drawing his pistol. The insurgent popped out of the window and shot the Marine. The Marine survived, but he was paralyzed from the AK round.

      You want to make sure your topped off before going into unknown situations. And try not to stand out in the open when reloading.

      • Play enough first person shooter games you learn that one very quicky. At least the consequences aren’t so dire as in real life.

    • Not bad.

      If you have time to think about your magazine status, it’s probably a good idea to reload.

  5. I started out liking “The A-Team” when it was first broadcast. It quickly faded for me. They never aimed, they never hit anyone, their guns were incapable of running out of ammo even when running on auto.

    The carttoon aspects were just too much to stick with it.

  6. The Joe Biden shotgun suggestion was my first thought as well. The people trying to talk about ‘gun safety’ are the first to suggest blasting into the night with a deadly weapon.

    Birdshot is not the best self-defense round- but it does have a significant advantage over buckshot (and slugs!!) if you are concerned about overpenetration. Realistically, as a home defense round, it may be a good choice if the layout of your house means your shots would be fairly close by necessity. Buckshot or a slug can go through an entire house and then some if it’s constructed of standard modern materials.

    • There’s a reason why birdshot is used in riot control. Hurts while being mostly non-lethal.

      But on meth’d up Bubba, he won’t even feel it.

    • Shotguns are so versatile that I leave a couple rounds of #7 followed by a couple of 00 buck and then some slugs on the ammo holder. I figure if all else fails then 12 gauge slugs can get it done.

      • Chad, only if you’re still alive after two rounds of ineffective bird shot and two more of buckshot. And the reload. Rifle with 20 rds. in a magazine. Problem solved.

      • My defensive shotgun (16 gauge Ithaca) is loaded only Brenneke slugs ( the real ones).
        Might as well start with what works best.

        • If you live with neighbors close by I hope you’ve warned them that they may have slugs crashing through their wall if you ever have a burglar.

        • Muh shotgun is not for use in the house.

          Nearest neighbor is 200 yards away.

          No more an issue than my Scout Rifle or Winchester Carbine.

          Just know where you’re shooting.

        • @Hannibal: Every one’s situation is different.
          If you’re in an apartment with two kids and a wife, your home defense situation is (or should be) far different from someone living in a home alone out in the woods (to show two vastly different situations).
          My home is of block wall construction, and I live alone. My gun of choice for HD is a Mossy 20″ 12ga, loaded with 00 buck. I will not attempt to clear my house, because I know better than that. I will wait in my ambush place, and wait for the police (who have already been called). It really is their job to clear the house; my job is to defend myself, which does not (IMO) include looking for trouble. So I sit and wait. If a perp shows himself, he gets one quick warning, then I do what I have to do to end the threat. If the perp doesn’t show himself, then we both save ourselves a LOT of trouble.
          But that’s me. I don’t recommend that for everyone, because not everyone is in my situation.

    • There’s always party mix. This a round of birdshot up front and buck or slugs behind that.

      Personally I just have 0ga loaded in the Ithaca.

  7. “Don’t use a light because the bad guy can shoot at it.”

    Or some form of this….

    “hold the light away from your body”

    “Don’t use a weapon light, it’s an easy target”

    Probably started by guys who promote night sights 😜… but not weapon lights.

    • Ah, the old FBI style of gun in one hand, flashlight up and to the left of your head in the other.

      I like to wave it around, makes me feel festive.

    • Well, it’s not a good idea to use a gun as a flashlight. Imagine if people only carried a light on their gun and when they needed it they whipped out their gun. I don’t like when people point their guns at me.

      • True. That’s exactly why I have a light mounted on my Glock as well as a separate standard flashlight on my nightstand. If it’s just a bump in the night and I don’t sense danger (might be the dog in the kitchen, or a raccoon in the yard) I can use the flashlight. If the hairs on my neck go up and I feel threatened, I can have the phone in one hand and the Glock in the other. Options.

      • If I draw my gun in a defensive situation, I’m probably going to be using it as a light.(if its dark)

        Of course, it will be pointing at a threat.

        The advantage is having both hands on your pistol and the light …… let’s you see things.

        If I need a light ONLY to illuminate, I pull the one in my pocket. Not advocating looking for you car keys with a drawn pistol.

        Seems like anti gun-light folks always jump to the idea that we use our weapon light as a general light.

        Kind of like anti-gunners arguing that CCW folks draw their pistol on people who cut in line in the supermarket.

    • Holding the light away from the body probably originated with an exhibition shooter named Ed McGivern. Suffice to say if you ever came across anyone who shoots like McGivern did, it would have been a good idea to not be anywhere near that light. McGivern could shoot through the center of taped over washers that were thrown in the air and his 5 shots in 2/5 second speed record stood until Miculek appeared.

      He mentioned that “hold light away from body” technique in his book “Fast and Fancy Revolver Shooting” and he also taught the Montana Highway Patrol. Downside is he selected their holsters at the time too and he liked crossdraw holsters, so some Montana patrolmen ended up getting shot with their own guns during altercations.

      • Having played with light and shooting ( in my youth), I found that holding the light away on your left does not illuminate your sight well.

        If you hold it over your head, it illuminates your sights well but is awkward to move around.

        So…..i found the Harries technique the best for making hits.

        The Chapman method was awkward but would be better now with some of the small high powered lights we have available.

        Ed McGivern was a gifted man and I learned a lot from reading his book several times. The light stuff is not one of those things.

    • Yeah, the silly things we do just to clear a room. Wish we could just use grenades instead, but I don’t own any.

  8. “You can’t shoot slugs through a shotgun with a choke. The barrel will explode, just like what happens to Elmer Fudd when Buggs Bunny sticks a carrot in the muzzle of his trusty shotgun.”

    This abject stupidity was offered under oath by a marijunna bootlegger that had been misrepresented as a “gun expert” by the scum sucking whore of an attorney. The attorney was representing a marijunna bootlegger who had retaliated against his landlord’s attempts to evict by shooting at the landlord’s children. If you peruse the Wikipedia article on shotgun slugs, you will find a link to an excellent article in the FBI publication CRIME LAB DIGEST.

    “Leave your trusty Remington 870 (tactical model with a 20″, cylinder barrel) loaded and in plain sight propped in the corner by the front door so that it is handy for greeting uninvited visitors.”

    This advice is demonstrated by the above marijunna bootlegger. The burglar who breaks into your house in the middle of the night will thank you for providing him with a superior weapon with which to kill you then your family when you confront him with a handgun. Your irate landlord will not need your trusty shotgun if he decides to kill you. He will just put a bullet where your brain ought to be from 500 yards away.

  9. Any advice that suggests you’ll not be charged or harassed for a DGU. The biggest problems happen after not before or during a DGU..

    • Because our government is worse than useless. They actively encourage crime while punishing good people.

  10. Worst advice I ever received was, “You don’t need a gun for protection. That’s what the police are for.” My reply was, “I believe you do need a firearm and I am the police.” An office party at my ex-wife’s place of employment. Don’t remember how the subject came up, but it was during the Clinton administration. The look on her face was priceless.

      • While standing behind his armed security immediately after chugging a big gulp with extra salt on the rim.

  11. I dont have a balcony but I do have a fire escape. If I shoot down at people on the street below can I call Joe Biden as an expert witness at my trial? That wouldnt be a good idea because these days Joe Biden wouldnt remember he ever said that.

  12. I’ll try and explain this without a visual. Middle school principal. If you were going to be the victim of a physical assault (because God forbid you were involved in a physical altercation! That would imply you fought back) she recommended putting your arms out in front of you, bending at the elbows 90 degrees so each hand was gripping the other elbow, and holding that configuration move your arms up and down from the forehead to about the chest to block any incoming blows…

    Even in 6th grade I actually laughed out loud at how absurd that was. Good times, I’ll never forget it.

    • There is video of a woman getting shot in the head with a .22 at close range. She didn’t know what happened as she ran off, then she realized she was shot in the head.

      I think there was a video (from Mexico) where a man was trying to kill his injured horse with a .22. He shot the horse until the gun was empty. The horse didn’t die. He broke down in tears.

      However, I heard about this one murder done with a .22. The victim was shot once in the torso. The bullet bounced off a bone and hit the heart. That person eventually died on scene. A very unlucky victim.

      • As I’ve mentioned here before, one of my good friends died from a single .22LR to the head. You just never know…

    • I second this. ^^

      My standard comeback to that comment is, “Well then, let me take a shot or two at you at what, let’s say 50 yds.”
      Never get any takers.

      • Response was to graphfarm…

        Blanket judgements usually don’t serve you well.

        Don’t underestimate any caliber.

        • Definitely!
          At work, a guy fired into what he thought was plywood; it was wallboard. The nail embedded itself into a truck door about 5 yards away.
          Probably a one-off, but would have been very painful to anyone it hit.

    • It’s more potent than harsh words. But has very inconsistent results.
      A state trooper took a 22 from a Derringer just above the vest. Bounced off his collar bone and into his heart. The shooter took 5 357s to the torso and lived.
      A surgeon I know had a guy come into the ER after taking a 22 at Contact distance to the eye during an attempted rape. He stole a car to get to the hospital.

    • Yeah, that’s a stupid one. I will say that with as many pistols as there are nowadays are as small as an old pocket .22, but shoot larger calibers, there’s not many reasons to use .22 for self-defense.

  13. Hospital staff taught more to protect the hospital than staff. It starts with holding both hands out showing palms and shouting “STOP!” It only gets worse from there.

  14. I learned karate by correspondence, so listen up, damn it! I’d rather be unarmed, because having a gun would just get in my way. My hands are registered cuz they’re deadly weapons!

    I hope I just won this question answering contest…

  15. If the sound of a 12ga isn’t going to scare someone off the sound of a chainsaw starting up sure as hell will.

    • My burglar alarm plays ” Let the bodies hit the floor ” when activated. Maybe I should get that AR chainsaw bayonet instead of my M7.

      Worst advice I heard was just let a home intruder take what he wanted and not fuss.

  16. Go inside, lock your doors and call 911.
    They forgot to add, “and turn on the tv and watch a couple of episodes of Bitchin Rides. Someone will be along sooner or later”.
    On Lake Tahoe’s West Shore, our Eldorado County LE is stationed in South Lake. Minimum 45-50 min drive, if the weather is good. If the gates are closed on either side of Emerald Bay due to snow or avalanche, well over an hour. Closer to two.
    Yeah ok, we’ll just sit and wait…

    • I agree with that advice. You know your house the bad guy doesn’t. Barricade your family in a defendable position and wait for the Cavalry. If he wants to “assault” your position good luck.

      Worst advice in this situation is trying to clear the house unaided.

  17. The mythical Florida “Three step rule”. Isn’t and never was law and I heard it when I was 15 in 1976 and both my brothers held it to be true and I still here it to this day.

    I have heard cops repeat that BS.

  18. From my California Firearm Safety Study Guide (required reading for certification exam):

    • Always store your firearm unloaded.
    • Use a firearms safety device AND store the firearm in a locked container.
    • Store the ammunition separately in a locked container.

    So I hear a bump in the night and I begin the process:
    Unlock the safe and remove the firearm.
    Unlock the trigger lock on the firearm.
    Find the ammo box and unlock it.
    Find the right ammo inside the box and load the firearm.
    Now I’m ready for an intruder.

    They should call it The Unsafe Firearms Handling Instruction Guide.

    • I position my Glock on my nightstand every evening when I go to bed. If I hear a bump in the night, I have the gat ready to go immediately. My first priority is to survive in my own house for my wife’s sake so she doesn’t lose her husband (and of course her life is more important than mine, so I act to defend her first). If CADOJ has any problem with that, they can discuss it with me afterward when our local Deputies come to my house to fill out their reports and take the intruder’s body.

  19. If you point a gun at a bad guy he’ll grab it and shoot you with it…more than once. At the gym. While doing hammer curls with 100lb. dumbbells. Seriously😎

  20. “You need [insert gun here]. It’s the best for [insert situation here] no matter what.”

    • Oh, also. I’ve heard a variant of the .22LR thing and, honestly, I tend to give it credence because I heard it from a trauma surgeon after he saw my buddy for a… .22 round to the dome point blank.

      He said he thought that guns were fine and all, in fact he was a competitive shooter himself in his off time, but that from a professional point of view if he could do one thing for GSW trauma it would be wave a magic wand so that no one would ever shoot another person with a .22 again.

      He was of the opinion that .22LR was the hardest to deal with from a surgeon’s (his) point of view. Most of the shootings he saw here small caliber pistol rounds and .22 was apparently pretty common for street crime in the Dayton/Cinci area. He didn’t like them because, he said, the bullets tended to do one of two things on impact with bone: shatter in ways more fiendish than most rounds because the shards were so hard to find and could leave easily missed nicks to arteries or deform and follow really odd wound channels.

      He said lots of small caliber rounds would do this in his experience but that .22 was particularly annoying in this regard, a feature he attributed to the characteristics of the round in terms of mass, velocity and spin. He’d never seen a “big 3” round hit someone in the chest and end up in their leg having nicked the femoral but he’d seen that repeatedly with .22 and other small pistol rounds.

      I don’t have any particular reason to believe he was lying.

  21. “Never carry a loaded gun. Just showing your gun is enough to deter an attack, and if it’s loaded you’ll be in serious legal trouble.”

    In the 1980s and ’90s (and probably still…) this was very common “self defense” advice in many gun-restrictive or gun-controlled states (e.g., Maryland, D.C., New York, Massachusetts, California, etc.).

    Being that this practice is likely to get one killed, I tend to respond with some reasonable contrary explanation that concludes with the rational justification of “Life First, Law Second.” But what do I know… I’m just a “2A extremist gun nut.”

    Be safe. Mort (actual/AZ)

    • If the bad guy has experience as a hall monitor and wallet inspector, he’ll ask to see it.

    • The problem with brandishing an unloaded gun is that it is both provocative and impotent.

      • Moreover, since you may be the only one who knows that it isn’t loaded, you ay point it at someone before the point where you reasonably believe that you are in imminent danger of death r great bodily injury. Not only is that aggravated assault in many jurisdictions, it legally empowers most of those around you to draw and shoot you in self defense, because the person you point a gun at usually will not know that the gun is unloaded, and thus could easily have a reasonable belief that they were in imminent danger of death.

  22. You don’t have to clean you home defense gun (an XD) just shoot it in practice until it jams then just use a toothbrush to clean the rails.

    Second worse advice for a new gun owner… 40 cal is perfect for home defense for a new shooter.

  23. “If it’s too dark for you to see the sights, it’s too dark for you to identify the target.” I don’t get why this is bad advice. It’s dark, I have night sights, I hear a noise, I get up and see shadowy figure. I can line up my sights and take the shot, but should I? Maybe the figure is my daughter’s boyfriend sneaking out (might want to shoot, but legally can’t), or teen child sneaking back in (also might want to shoot, but legally can’t). Maybe it is a bad guy, but he’s holding my young child. Maybe it’s a bad guy, and a loved one is peeking out the door 10 feet behind him to see what the noise is. If you don’t know what you’re shooting at and what’s behind it, you can’t safely take the shot. Momentarily flash the light, then you can use your night sights to line up on the known bad guy.

  24. “Just shoot the gun out of the bad guy’s hand.”

    No sh!t, a friend actually made that suggestion to me. I figure he’d seen too many Roy Rogers movies. Trigger was smarter than him.

  25. Most nearly anything taught by any number of v-neck-wearing, cargo pants, bearded guys in their 30s who make Youtube videos or operate a firearms training ranch on a sh*t-shack property somewhere outside the suburbs. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized most of these gentlemen do this stuff because they could never hold a real job. And that tells me a lot.

    • You wouldn’t mean those jaegermeister types (I think that’s his name, but I’m not quite sure), who think 1911s suck, and who throw guns on the ground and stomp on them because “they’re not toys” by any chance, would you?

      If I blew 450 dollars on a class like that, I would need the training to prevent my wife from killing me.

  26. Worst advice I’ve heard:
    “All you need is a .22, it’s just good enough.”
    “Buy the absolute most expensive firearm, ammo and accessories possible.”
    “If you carry a gun, no need to bother carrying a knife.”
    “If you’re not carrying a Kimber, don’t carry at all.” (P220 > any Kimber and most 1911s IMO)
    “.40 S&W is the best cartridge out there.”
    “.45 Auto is antiquated.”
    “9x19mm is too small.”
    “Carry the biggest caliber possible.”
    “Only carry a revolver, they’re more reliable than semi-autos.”
    “Never carry hollow points, they’re more lethal and a jury will rake you over the coals if you go to trial.”

  27. The worst one I’ve seen was probably almost 20 years ago from a gun shop’s website. I don’t remember what the name of the shop was, just that they were really pushing a line of what I guess you would call “plastic bullets.”

    Not plastic bullets in the sense of those riot control “baton” rounds, but these were actual cartridges in standard calibers that you loaded like any other round.***

    The selling point, and this is where we get into “boy, THAT’S bad advice” is, the site claimed that since the rounds were non-lethal, shooting someone with one could mean less legal liability and/or cause you to be viewed more favorably by a jury.

    I wouldn’t become a POTG until many years afterwards, but even back then I knew that was a load of stupid bullcrap.

    ***Having done a quick search, these might have been Speer plastic bullets. This was almost 20 years ago, though, so I can’t really remember

  28. Probably a few:

    1) The gun you have in the fight is the right gun to have. Stupidity. If you can’t think of a single reason why, you’re the idiot spouting this. The age old “right tool for the right job” adage applies to firearms and defense as well.

    2) “if you can’t get it done with X rounds, you ain’t going to get it done with more/you shouldn’t even be carrying/shouldn’t even be there. The whole, theres 5 of them, I got 5 rounds.

    3) The “it’s good enough for them”. Just because we used revolvers in the 1800’s and bolt actions doesn’t mean it’s the best thing and the only thing to use. Along with this, the “empty chamber” “Israeli” carry. Just because someone does it doesn’t mean it’s right.

    Regardless of the issue/stupidity, most of it can be corrected almost immediately with a little google-fu, to at least figure out why you’re wrong. It can all be corrected by seeking quality training from a competent and quality instructor. There’s at least 10 nationwide right now that could fit that criteria. A good bunch of this could be solved by just getting off the internet and going out and using the firearm.

  29. Separate note after reading article: The night sight argument is moot. If you can’t identify what you’re shooting at, how are you supposed to know you should or shouldn’t be shooting? Clint Smith said it best, “turn on the damn lights.”

    #3 Know your target and what’s beyond it.

    Or does that only apply to paper?

    • If it chokes you or if it straddles you and tries to bust your head on concrete sidewalk you should shoot it without even looking if you can see it.

  30. Because the Internet never forgets epic foolishness, that vintage Illinois State Police advice is still available from the Wayback Machine. The most recent snapshot comes from January 1 2012, and it was gone by March 1. It reads like this:

    Sexual Assault – If You Are Confronted…”
    Before you fight
    Fighting for your safety may be necessary. However, if you start out fighting you cancel any other options that might be open to you. Since many attacks on women are not sexually motivated, and are designed to degrade and humiliate, talking your way out of it may be easier.

    There is documentation of assailants that left a would-be-victim alone after she told him that she was pregnant and it would kill her baby. (Some case were women that were too old to even have a baby.)
    Telling an attacker that you have VD or AIDS can discourage him.
    It may sound disgusting, but putting your fingers into you throat and making yourself vomit usually gets results. (This method is not often used except as a last resort.)
    Use your imagination and you can think of others.

    The above methods are particularly important if your assailant has a gun or knife, or there is more than one attacker. (Fighting would probably be futile.)

    If you must fight

    Guns stolen from residences are a primary way of getting guns into the hands of criminals.
    Be aware of those times and places where there is a potential for attack and be prepared to defend yourself.

    parking lots
    walking at night
    waiting for a bus
    other you will learn to recognize

    Articles common to your handbag that make useful defense weapons.

    nail file
    rat tail comb
    teasing brush
    pens and pencils
    anything rigid

    Concentrate on these areas only when combating an assailant.


    You should not swing at an assailant. Roundhouse or overhand blows are easy to deflect or evade. Your movements should be made with all your strength, and should be straight jabs. Remember that screaming may be just as important to your defense as any weapon.

    • Actually I used to alternate, with the FMJ alternating with HP, until I could replace the FMJ with solid cast. That was for night carry in NW MT, where the FMJ (and now solid cast) are for bear, and it is more important to penetrate than make a bigger wound track first, and the first round should be a penetrator because a bear is more likely to make a Sudden possibly mortal charge than anything or anyone else out there at night. The problem is that we have brown bears, as well as the ubiquitous blacks, along with Mountain Lions and now wolves in the county. When I can see better, with more light out, I switch to a magazine of straight penetrators, with the magazine of mixed rounds in reserve.

  31. Ask someone who’s been dove hunting for the first time if you have to aim with a shotgun!

  32. I’m paraphrasing on all of them but,

    Shoot them outside and drag them in.

    Get a double barrel shotgun and shoot them through the door. -Biden

    Get a shotgun. Fire one shot into the ceiling and/or door frame. Shoot intruder outside and/or murder person. Drag inside and/or claim self defense. -Recent Dane Cook show

  33. I’ve not received any professional training with bad advice on self defense. In face:

    1) Are you really ready in every way: emotionally, spiritually, mentally to take a life? If not, think it over, long and hard and then:

    2) Shoot to kill. You never “shoot to wound” … no, get sights on target and put rounds into center mass and if possible go for head shots.

    3) Do NOT say a word to responding police. Simply inform them that you invoke your 5th Ammendment rights and then get to your lawyer, ASAP. ***NEVER SAY A WORD TO POLICE OR ANYONE ELSE** before you have had a conversation with your lawyer. Just shut up.

  34. Never heard of any person still heading toward a 12ga shotgun firing accurate bird shot to the face…EVER!!!!

  35. Always follow/buy the FBI’s handgun, caliber and cartridge (magic beans) selection.

    Unless of course you also can’t effectively utilize their last Set or Sets of choices and the reasons for those former choices no longer exist on the Street.

    Or follow the FBI part way: buy the gun but feed and train with cheaper ammo. CC a shorter barreled handgun with the FBI ammo even though there will be a loss of velicoty and terminal ballistic results that wouldn’t pass the FBI’s test criteria. And the magic bean can fail too, just making that little .355 hole. But hey, no law against being a lemming on the run. Lol

  36. I’ve heard all sorts of sage advice from all sorts of people. Ultimately the decision is mine. I will not carry a automatic with a round in the chamber. Seen too many accidental discharges. You can say anything you want about what went wrong with the gun or how big an idiot the owner was, but the fact remains that it fired when it shouldn’t have. If I am expecting immediate trouble, I may rack it. Otherwise, no.
    Instead, I am quite happy with a snub .357. Always ready, not picky about ammo and no worries about spring fatigue or sear failure.

Comments are closed.