Larry Rankin attempts to discern the logic, or lack thereof, in various, topical social issues.
The Best Guns for Home Protection #1: A Basic Shotgun
The most efficient type of gun for home protection is probably going to be a shotgun. The shot in the bullet breaks apart when discharged, so it basically acts as a spread gun, eliminating the need for precision accuracy. But perhaps the biggest advantage of this type of gun in a home assault is the lack of effectiveness the projectiles it produces have at distance.
Unless you’re mansion rich, in your home you are probably never going to need to produce an effective shot of more than 15 feet, and truth be told, it is unlikely you will ever need to fire a gun in your home anyway.
But if you’re the sort that likes to be prepared for any scenario, the shotgun is a good choice because while it carries a great chance of lethality toward the intruders you are aiming at, it is unlikely to travel through walls and kill family and friends. And unlike high-end power rifles, there is no chance the shot in the bullets will travel through the outer wall of your home and then the outer wall of another home and kill your neighbor.
The Best Guns for Home Protection #2: A .22 Six Shot Revolver
The second best gun for home protection is probably a basic .22 handgun. It is a close range gun with a solid bullet. In the excitement and confusion of a home invasion, it is an inferior weapon compared to the shotgun because it requires more accuracy and only one invader can be targeted at a time.
In addition, though a .22 handgun is only accurate close in, its bullets travel farther and maintain a higher velocity over distance than that of shot, thus you run a higher risk of killing your child or grandmother or family friend or whoever might be staying over, with a stray bullet.
If you choose to have guns for home protection, the shotgun and .22 handgun are the top two weapons on the very short list of guns that could be construed as “practical” if you squint hard enough at the statistics and available information.
Of course, it goes without saying that, if possible, the best way to avoid harm in a home invasion is to just get you and your family out of the house and notify the authorities, or you could even invest in a safe room.
Why Hunting Is a Practical Skill Set
Though hunting for most of us is not an everyday activity anymore, it is still a skill set that is very important to pass on to future generations. It teaches self-sufficiency and amongst all the noise of modern living, keeps us in tune with what survival actually requires.
When you are able to produce meat for you and your loved ones and skip the middleman, it provides the reassurance that if our whole society goes down, which actually does happen from time to time, those you care most about will have a chance at making it through until the next age of reason.
And for those of you that live without meat, when it comes to survival, it is still going to be very hard to make it without killing living creatures. We’ve come a long way in developing gardening methods that don’t disturb nature, but what would happen if life’s focus changed from farming as a hobby to farming for survival and you found yourself up against an infestation of vermin that you couldn’t avoid naturally? If you wish to live, the answer is to kill them.
Then there is just conservation of various species. For example, sometimes the best thing for the deer population is to kill and eat some of them. In times of overpopulation, it is far more humane to put the deer down with a bullet than allow them to starve to death.
For the sake of brevity, I’ll cut myself short here, but as for the reasons hunting is important, I have only scratched the surface.
The Best Guns for Hunting
Moving on to the role guns play in hunting, I would like to first point out that they don’t have to play any. Fishing is a type of hunting. Seeing as over 70% of the Earth is covered by wet stuff, a person can hunt their entire life and prosper without ever so much as picking up a gun or bow and arrow. There’s also trapping, though often a very inhumane form of hunting, it doesn’t necessitate a gun.
But that said, guns are still a very efficient way to hunt, and at least here in most of North America, the best gun for hunting is a basic .22 rifle with a good sighting system. Though in some areas you have animals like moose or grizzly bears or even giant feral pigs that might be more efficiently taken down by something larger like a 30-06 rifle, the .22 rifle is the only gun for hunting that you have to have.
For example, let’s say you are being pursued by a grizzly bear. The sound of a .22 being shot alone will probably scare it off. If you hit the bear with a .22 bullet, it will cause the animal to retreat whether it is a lethal hit or not. Why? Wild animals are governed by survival instincts. They will not hang around in an unsafe situation.
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Additionally, here in North America, there is no animal that a well-placed shot with a .22 rifle won’t kill. Is it the best weapon against some of our largest creatures? Probably not, but it is certainly the best type of hunting weapon to have in this part of the world, and if you could only have one hunting weapon, it is the only good choice.
Functionality of High Powered Rifles and Handguns in Society
So as for the practical use of guns in home protection and hunting, one can justify owning a shotgun, a .22 handgun, a basic .22 rifle with a good sighting mechanism, and perhaps a 30-06 rifle or any of the many comparable guns to these in firepower.
And that leads us to the next big question, what purpose do guns like .50 caliber sniper rifles, AK-47s, AR-15 assault rifles, fully automatic handguns, and the like serve in everyday life? The answer is two major functions: recreation or mass murder.
Let’s look at the latter first. You can’t use something like a .50 caliber weapon for protection without endangering the lives of all the innocent people in close proximity. You will never need to snipe an enemy from a mile away to protect your home. Likewise, a fully automatic weapon can’t be fired with specific intent. What these weapons are effective at is what they were designed for: indiscriminately killing lots of people.
Just look at what happened in Orlando. The Sig Sauer MCX .223 caliber rifle Omar Mateen purchased legally days before the massacre performed exactly as it was designed to. As a result, 49 innocent people are gone from this world.1
Yet recreationally I see the appeal of big guns. Simply put, they’re cool! The technology it takes to develop devices like this, the precision of perfectly machined metal, the surge of power one feels when they hold a large weapon in their hand, let’s face it: it’s sexy. I’ve never understood why that is such a hard thing for gun aficionados to admit. Holding a big gun is sexy. It just is.
Whereas folks have no problem describing a muscle car, a motorcycle, an airplane, or even the power of nature as sexy, for whatever reason it becomes suddenly taboo, downright sinister to describe high-powered weapons as such.
Have you ever held a gun, even a small one? It’s sexy. I’ve heard people on the total opposite spectrum of things than the gun nut admit as much. But guns being sexy doesn’t mean anything damning. Have you read any Sigmund Freud? If the sexiness of things is to be the onset of evil, we might as well either admit we’re all evil or just kill ourselves.
In summation, regardless of how you want to phrase it, big guns are a thrill.
Personally, I’ve never shot one, but I have no problem imagining the surge of adrenaline going through one’s body as he or she fires one of these massive toys at a gun range. And that’s what they are in this instance: toys, stress relievers, the kick in the pants you need at the end of a bad day. They serve no other practical purpose in addition to this besides killing lots of people.
Final Thoughts and Conclusions
I believe in freedom. I believe in enjoying life. I would never endorse taking all of the people’s guns away, but I have a hard time endorsing weapons that serve little purpose in society, and on top of this, in many cases, that isn’t even required to be registered. You’re never going to hunt with any of these big guns. You’re never going to defend your home with them.
Why not leave such weapons to the military, video games, and specially licensed gun ranges where you can go for the day and play with these marvels of engineering. What necessitates that we own them personally?
You can make the argument that more gun laws would just mean that only criminals will be able to have high-powered weapons, but where does that logic get you, really? “If I have an AK-47 I can kill lots more innocent bystanders shooting towards the criminal that is shooting at me with an AK-47 and killing lots of innocent bystanders.” Just sounds like two criminals in a standoff to me.
The gun debate is a multidimensional one that is ill-represented in our society as only being two-pronged. On one side we have representation from the NRA who only promotes paranoia, fear, and ignorance rather than gun safety and intelligent governance. The other group that is commonly represented in society is on the far left and is peopled by the few folks that think all guns should be taken away. In the middle, we have the majority of the population who feel similarly to how I do and have no representation whatsoever.
Why can’t there just be a reasonable gun safety organization that actually represents the feelings of the majority? Unfortunately, an organization that behaves rationally…in this country…would never work.
Guns Can Be a Wholesome Thing or a Dysfunctional Thing
1. Confirmed in multiple articles, CNN.com.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on April 11, 2017:
So-called military style weapons are actually the ones most protected by the Second Amendment because they are the most suited for militia use (see United States v Miller).
All but a very few gun deaths are either suicides (2 out of 3!) or drug gangs killing each other or customers who fail to pay (over 80% of all gun murders).
Therefore if you are not suicidal, not a drug gang member or user, not a brave police officer, and stay out of known bad neighborhoods, your chance of being shot in America is almost zero.
Larry Rankin (author) from Oklahoma on December 26, 2016:
Rebelo: thanks for dropping by.
Gilbert Arevalo from Hacienda Heights, California on December 25, 2016:
I appreciate your description and practical uses of .22 caliber pistols and rifles, plus the higher powered weapons.
Larry Rankin (author) from Oklahoma on September 12, 2016:
Cclit Girl: thanks so much for the kind words.
Cynthia Calhoun from Western NC on September 12, 2016:
You know, this caught my attention: it's a really interesting read! And well...I'm not a gun person, but your argument here is cogent and well-thought out - I've long since said something similar: I totally get defending yourself, but dang...why does ANYONE need a personal high-powered rifle? Sheesh. Well done!
Ann810 from Sunny Cali on July 22, 2016:
Hi, families that have been counseled for having a gun in the home for self-defense should be fine. Guns that are for army-wars and guns for hunting should not be on the streets. And police that kill individuals that don't have deadly-weapons, should be suspended from being a police forever.
Lawrence Hebb on July 13, 2016:
I grew up around firearms. At home we had at least two (neither of which were legal!) and Dad made sure us kids knew how to handle them properly.
But personally I'd never have a firearm 'four home protection' as there are just too many variables!
The best way to protect your home and family are a good burgler alarm (possibly monitored) and a well looked after Dog!
My sister and her hubby have had intruders try their luck over the years but so far they all came to grief via a Black lab Doberman cross!
Don't get me wrong, I enjoy firearms and there's a place for them but not in the home in my book (unless I was a hunter)
Great hub though.
Deb Hirt on June 26, 2016:
I agree with everything that you said here about guns, which I have used in police work. High-powered weapons belong in the hands of where they should be, not the average citizenry. The Constitution gives us the right to bear arms, but there is a reasonable limitation to this. Nice work, and I commend you.
Larry Rankin (author) from Oklahoma on June 18, 2016:
Treathyl: very thoughtful comments. That's all I'm for to. Why can't we be reasonable!
Currently I live in a suburb. I don't have a gun, because I don't really feel like I need one. If we wind up moving to the country, I'll probably keep a few around because to me guns in the country are practical.
Thanks again for dropping by.
Larry Rankin (author) from Oklahoma on June 18, 2016:
Jodah: even law enforcement rarely finds it practical to use such weapons, because more than not citizens are caught in the fray, and the good of them in such situations rarely outweighs the negative.
As always, thanks for the thoughtful comments my friend.
Mel Carriere from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on June 18, 2016:
As usual, I am passionately parked in the middle of the road, aiming the sniper scope of my BB gun menacingly at the lunatics on both sides who are trying to run me over.
For a long time I have thought that the size of a man's gun is inversely proportional to what lies hidden beneath his britches. That might not be a fair assessment, but since reaching my relative state of maturity, I see no need to aggrandize my fragile ego by blowing holes in things with big bullets. That's just me.
I completely agree with your conclusion. Let's keep these rocket launchers locked up safely on gun ranges. Great work!
Treathyl FOX from Austin, Texas on June 18, 2016:
Growing up I can remember that my mom owned a gun. People in my family were in law enforcement and they had guns in their home. When I got my married my husband and I debated gun ownership and for the past 40 years I've had my way. It's not that he agrees with me about NOT having a gun. It's just that he's tired of arguing with me about it. :) Of course, he could purchased a gun despite my objections. But he felt like such a decision had to be agreed upon by both parties in the relationship, so until he could convince me, he never sought to buy a gun.
I'm not against a person's right to own firearms. I just don't want them in MY HOUSE.
Also … the ban on military assault weapons should HAVE NEVER BEEN LIFTED. The End.
Excellent HUB! :)
John Hansen from Gondwana Land on June 18, 2016:
Great hub, Larry. Full of very wise suggestions. I agree with the choice of guns that are suitable for normal citizens to own. All high-powered automatic and semi-automatics should only be in the hands of the military, police etc. Gun-control doesn't have to be about banning all guns, just taking a sensible approach.