There are so many articles written on this subject, I can’t even point you to the best one.
Here’s my short answer: Get a 12 gauge shotgun and put anything you want in it.
Here’s my longer answer: I’ve seen tests that pitted 12 ga. with buckshot, 12 ga. with slugs, 12 ga. with bird shot, 5.56, .45 JHP, and 9mm JHP against each other in a home defense scenario that had several sheetrocked walls simulating the hallway and bedrooms of a house.
It was a very interesting test (one I hope to replicate when I get the time). The results showed that the 9mm JHP, .45JHP, 12ga. slug, and 12ga. 00 buck shot all penetrated almost every single wall in the simulated house (the slug went through every wall and out the brick on the outside of the house).
The big winners were: 12ga. birdshot and the 5.56/.223 rounds. The birdshot was (predicatably) totally devistating to the bad guy but did not penetrate more than one wall past that. And the wall it penetrated showed that the pellets were so deformed and lost so much energy, they basically “fell” into the next room without energy dangerous enough to hurt someone.
The 5.56/.223 rounds both did the same thing. If they passed through the bad guy (simulated balistic gelatin), they “keyholed” or tumbled out and into the next wall. This means that instead of spinning like an bullet or arrow does, it started tumbling end over end. When it does this, it dumps all it’s energy very quickly into whatever it hits next. It then broke into many pieces and “fell” into the next room as well without enough energy to hurt anyone.
SO! Which is best for home defense? Both are evidently excellent. I personally prefer many damaging rounds over fewer. So, I say get an AR-15 with a 30 round magazine, and you’ll never want for another home defense gun. If this is the case, why would I recommend a 12ga. over an AR-15 any day of the week?
2 reasons: First, you can go to wally world and get a 12ga. for $200 and a box of 12ga. birdhsot for another $5. That is as cheap as it gets folks. I have a friend that drove an ambulance in Dallas, and he said they refer to shotgun wounds as “rat holes” because they are big enough for a rat to crawl into and out of……gross but true. An equally successful AR-15 will cost (on the low side) $650 with ammo that is $15/box minimum. Dollars mean something in this economy. So, if you’re in a rush get a 12ga.
Second reason, you can pick up a 12ga. and learn to shoot it after 2 minutes on youtube. An AR-15 isn’t difficult, but requires a couple of important points to learn, reload, and get back into action. Not rocket science by any means, but it does take a little practice.
SO, go 12ga. if in a pinch. If you have some extra money and time, go AR-15 in 5.56 and/or .223
Class is held in the south Plano area on a regular basis (see the Calendar page for a current list of dates). However, if you want to get a small group of at least 5 people together then I’ll come to you wherever you are!
Haha! One of my favorites…. not because I like the answer but because I like seeing the person’s face when I tell them this.
DON’T DO IT!! Here’s the best way to give such a great gift to a husband, daughter, son, or wife. Give them a card that says they get for their birthday (or whatever event) a FREE GUN! Tell them that you have the money already set aside, and all they have to do is pick the best gun for them.
I tell people this for two reasons. First, you will almost always pick the gun that that person will NOT have picked. Guns are just too subjective and too personal of a thing. Secondly, it will get that person so excited about carrying and owning a new pistol that they will have a complete blast researching, testing, discussing, and thinking about all things gun related. If you truly want to get someone addicted to guns, give them the gift and let them decide. It’s a blast and a wonderful bonding experience.
I cannot tell you how many times over the years that I have researched, obsessed over, read reviews about, collected data for, and thought about a particular pistol or rifle only to go finally hold one and be completely deflated at how terrible it feels in my hand….. or how crappy the trigger is, or whatever.
You want to get them a gun? Go buy one. You want to get them addicted to guns? Give them the money for one and let them decide.
Oh my…. YES! Let me list the reasons…..
1. GUNS ARE EVERYWHERE – as of the last study I read, there are guns in almost 2 out of every 3 homes. It’s a little less nationwide, but consider that we live in the great state of Texas where everyone and their freakin florist and grocery bagger has a gun. Do the math, folks. There are a LOT of guns in Texas. And if you and your family don’t know how to handle them (or not handle them), then you could be in a world of hurt.
2. SAFETY – Again…keep in mind most of us have guns in the house. But, speaking honestly and from experience, if someone was walking down your hallway right now with a knife, statistics say that you don’t have the training to use that gun to defend yourself or your family. Doing the math on that tells us that most of us buy guns and look at them as talismans or symbols of our INTENT to learn to use them for protection. The Good News? Self Defense shooting classes are everywhere and they are WAY cheap.
3. HUNTING puproses – this is the largest category of gun owners and the one that needs the least focus. 99% of hunters are very well versed in the uses of guns and gun safety.
4. SPORTING purposes – This is my very favorite. I actually think that this is one of (if not the most) important group of shooters. Sport shooting has been going one for almost 1000 years (not kidding). There are so many shooting competition shooting categories that it boggles the mind. From taking your favorite .22 to the range to the many different shooting organizations and competitions. There is a sport shooting group to fill your need!
Please keep in mind that your decision to get a CHL is only the first step. There are so many ways to get involved in the shooting sports. There is everything from air rifle competitions to the fancy run-and-gun shooting sports like IDPA and IPSC. And everything in between.
You are about to embark on a very addictive and fascinating journey, amigo. Welcome aboard!
Guns can be single action, double action, or BOTH. Here’s the difference:
This means that the trigger performs ONE function and that is to release the hammer. That means you have to manually pull the hammer back before each shot. Examples are the old cowboy style revolvers.
For a single action Semi Automatic pistol you also have to manually cock the hammer for the first shot…..but not on subsequent shots because the slide cocks the hammer for you. Examples are Colt 1911 style pistols and Browning High Powers
It means that the trigger does TWO things with each trigger pull. It will cock the hammer or striker AND release it to fire the pistol all in one long trigger pull. These are also called DAO (Double Action Only) pistols. Example Glock pistols and Springfield XD’s….although there are many more.
Double Action/Single Action
Some guns have a hammer that can be cocked with your thumb so that the trigger only performs one function….to release the hammer (Single Action mode). But the same gun’s trigger can cock the hammer for you AND release it to fire the gun (Double Action mode). Examples are the Colt Python or the Beretta 92
As we all know, as of September 1, 2007 it is legal to have a concealed handgun inside your car without having a Concealed Handgun License. The thought process being that your car is an extension of your home, therefore you get to protect it as such.
But, my friend asked, “If you don’t have the handgun concealed on your person but it’s still concealed elsewhere in the car, do you have to present your CHL to a LEO (Law Enforcement Officer) when you get pulled over?” She further pointed out that the way the law read, you must show the LEO your CHL license if you are carrying the handgun “on or about you person”. She was curious what the “about” meant….did that mean within 1 foot? 3 feet? How far is “about”?
As always, let’s start with what the law says:
DISPLAYING LICENSE; PENALTY.
(a) If a license holder is carrying a handgun on or about the license holder’s person when a magistrate or a peace officer demands that the license holder display identification, the license holder shall display both the license holder’s driver’s license or identification certificate issued by the department and the license holder’s handgun license. A person who fails or refuses to display the license and identification as required by this subsection is subject to suspension of the person’s license as provided by Section 411.187.
But the “about” is undefined by the wording of the law. I called some instructor and cop buddies of mine and found that there is quite a bit of case law concerning this ambiguity.
It turns out that if you have a CHL and have a gun concealed in your car that is within easy reach and unlocked (like under a seat, in a briefcase, in an unlocked glove box or console), you must show your ID even if the gun is not hidden on your body. IF the handgun is locked in a console, glove box, or trunk which requires your keys to unlock or is otherwise inaccessible (to far away to reach quickly/easily), then you do not have to show your CHL.
Curiously, if you do not have a CHL, the law does not require you to have it locked or out of reach, nor does it require that you tell the LEO that you have a concealed handgun in your car. If you don’t have your CHL yet, you can conceal it anywhere you want in any condition you want (fully loaded, partially loaded, unloaded).
So, to wrap this up….If you have a CHL and a handgun on your person or within easy reach/access, then you must show both Drivers License and your CHL. If you’re not a CHL’er yet, then you do not have to have it locked or tell the LEO….it just needs to be concealed from view by the public…..and then get your dang CHL! 🙂
Yes!!! Gun education for kids is a massive passion of mine. Some of the greatest memories of my life revolve around my dad and I shooting together when I was growing up. He is a Fish & Wildlife Biologist and gave me the passion for guns, shooting, marksmanship, etc from a very early age. But one of the most important things he taught me was safety.
In the real world, guns are just a tool in our toolbox. But, one must admit that it can be a bit more dangerous than a hammer or screwdriver. So we are forced to deal with this reality by being proactive in our kid’s gun safety, shooting, and hunting education.
We are all given gifts and use those every day. One of my gifts happens to be teaching. I love teaching kids and I really love teaching guns. So you can imagine when I get the opportunity to teach kids ABOUT guns, it is always one of my favorite teaching experiences of the year.
I am a certified NRA Firearms Instructor for various disciplines including In The Home Defense. In that vein (besides teaching things like action plans for your home), I teach the NRA’s internationally recognized youth program. In fact, you can googled “Eddie the Eagle program” and find a lot of free downloads, pages to print up and color/paint, and educational tools for your kiddo!
I cannot tell you how important it is for our kids to understand what guns are (and more importantly what they are not) and how to exist around them safely. Whether you are pro guns or anti guns, the truth is that we live in Texas where the vast majority of homes have a gun. And when our kids play video games with multiple “lives” and see movies and TV shows where a bad guy that got shot re-appears in another show, things can get confusing for them about the reallities and dangers of guns.
In my kids classes, I teach the obvious first. What is a gun? What are they for? What is a bullet? What does it do? How do you handle a gun safely? Then we hit the more important things like what to do when our child is at a friends house or their own house and see a gun laying around. Besides gun safety, one of my main goals is to make the kiddo feel comfortable around the guns while maintaining the proper respect. If the child is too scared or being too inattentive, then we slow it down or stop. There’s a lot of talking, and things move slowly at their pace.
As adults, we try our very best to be smart about storing guns safely……but we also make mistakes sometimes. So, let’s be proactive about teaching our kids what to do should they find our pistol sitting on our desk because we forgot to put it away after we cleaned it.
For these types of scenarios, I teach them the Eddie The Eagle program highlights. I tell them to:
2. Don’t touch.
3. Leave the room.
4. Tell an adult immediately.
After that, comes the shooting part of the kid’s class. It is a No Pressure event where they can shoot if they want but do not have to. I have an array of BB guns, pellet guns, and even some .22 caliber pistols and rifles. This is very interactive where you are a part of your kiddo’s “team”. You and he/she make sure you are being safe while I supervise everyone’s overall safety. If your child doesn’t want to shoot, then they do not have to shoot. The actual shooting is completely optional if they get nervous. This is a very low pressure event.
I don’t teach them (or anyone) about whether guns are good or bad. That’s for you as a parent to teach them according to your wishes. The one and only point is Gun Safety.
Let me know if you want to get a Kids Shooting Class together! The photo below is of a 7 year old holding a gun for the first time. It was pretty cold outside, so he had his hood up. The sound made him nervous, so we didn’t shoot. But he was so eager to learn to hold a real gun correctly. This was a fun day for all of us!
Let me give a short answer on this now, and I’ll give a more thorough answer later.
The short answer I give people is this: Get a gun that is the largest caliber you can shoot the most number times quickly and accurately. Some people have a “Rule of Thumb” for this, but I’ve found this to be more based on subjectivity than fact. Some common and confusing Rules of Thumb:
– Don’t carry anything less than 9mm. (there’s no law stating this….)
– Don’t carry anything that doesn’t start with a 4 (as in .40, .45, .41, or .44). (or this….)
– Carry whatever you have.
I tell people new to CHL or those short on cash to carry whatever you have and are willing to carry on your person every single day without question or worry. After you’ve had enough time to get used to carrying a gun concealed and/or have a little money to buy another pistol, I’d say a 9mm is a great start.
I was told by a guy once, “I heard 9mm is a girl’s round. Why would you carry that?” Where to start with a question like this….. first of all, I’ve never heard of anyone willing to line up to get shot with a 9mm. Secondly, the 9mm of today is NOT the 9mm of our father’s and grandfather’s day. Propellant and bullet expansion technology have increased exponentially in just the last 5 years. A 9mm is a great CHL pistol. Don’t let anyone tell you differrently. A “woman’s” bullet…..I’m not even sure what that means. I’m very squarely in the “9 is fine” crowd!
I personally prefer a .45 or a .40. I’ve also carried many different 9mm pistols over the years and still do on occassion. However, my current favorite pocket pistol is a little .38 Ruger LCR. It is extremely light and packs a real punch with the .38 cartridge. Having said that, I’ll remind you of the maxim stating that everything in the CHL life is a trade off. The trade off with my little pocket Ruger LCR is that it is no fun to shoot. Shooting a relatively heavy caliber in a gun that small is a bit hard on the wrist. But when I carry it, I do so because that is the best option for my day.
But don’t forget what a wise gun fighting instructor once said…. carrying a concealed handgun is not supposed to be comfortable as much as it is comforting. When you are in the fight for your life, the gun you have on you is going to better than a sharp pencil….or God forbid, nothing at all.
You need to bring:
– Semi-auto pistol (if you want to borrow one of mine…just let me know. It’s free!). I prefer you to qualify with a pistol and not a revolver. The reason for this is that the state of Texas requires that if you qualify with a handgun then you will only be able to carry a revolver until you requalify with a semi-auto pistol. When you qualify with a semi-auto pistol, they allow you to carry both a semi-auto and a revolver (more about that in class….)
– Ammo -bring 50 rounds of ammunition. If you need to borrrow one of my pistols, just buy 50 rounds of the cheapest 9mm you can find at Walmart or Academy Sports.
– Eye and ear protection – sunglasses and prescription lenses are totally fine.
I provide all notary services, a gun to qualify with (if you don’t want to use your own or don’t have one yet), target, the CHL-100 form that you need to mail in with you application, an application if you haven’t already paid online, and help filling out the packet.
Why not fingerprints? As of March 1, 2011 the state of Texas requires that all fingerprints be done at L1 Fingerprinting Services. *****No instructor anywhere in Texas is able to provide these for you anymore******
Here’s how we break down our day:
8:30am – We will meet at the Garland Public Shooting Range. We will do the range qualification and then have a little fun at the end if we have time.
One of the things that I like to do is bring a backpack full of guns for people to try out. We will also shoot different sizes of guns to show you the compromises that must be made between large easier to shoot guns vs. smaller easier to conceal (but harder to shoot) pistols.
10:30am’ish – After we’ve all qualified, we will carpool west a couple of miles on the George Bush Tollroad to my office where we’ll have the classroom part of the day.
Lunch – bring some cash for pizza of fast food. Or, you can bring a lunch and put in my office fridge until you’re hungry!
*****The state of Texas mandates that class for new CHL’ers be 10 hours and renewals 4 hours. All classes in Texas are required to fulfill this requirement.
Very good question! If I leave my house, I am carrying a concealed handgun. Everytime….without fail. Why, you ask? Because violence is random and cannot, therefore, be predicted. Until I can see the future to know when something bad will happen so I can avoid it altogether, I will be carrying to protect myself and my family.
Ideally, it would be nice if we knew when something bad could happen. That way, all we do is avoid that place or that person. But that is not possible. In my experience, everyone seems to feel just a little differently than the next guy or gal about how often they should carry.
When new students first get their CHL, they are almost always a little nervous about carrying a concealed handgun in public. I totally get this. Like I always tell my students, carrying a concealed pistol on your person is not a very convenient or comfortable thing to do at first. They’re sometimes heavy and bulky. Or you may be going places where they’re forbiden. Sometimes what you’re wearing doesn’t leave much room to conceal a pistol.
But in the long list of trade-offs that are inevitably involved in the CHL life, deciding when and where to carry is the hardest decision you’ll have to make…..and that ain’t that bad! Make sure to think ahead of time of what you’ll probably be doing and where you’re going. Give yourself storage options should you go to a place that forbids guns (a car trunk, a small handgun safe in your car or truck, etc). Have several different guns for different occassions. Yes, this is your excuse to buy more guns!
For example, when I’m wearing a certain pair of khaki pants that I own, I feel like I’m printing no matter what I do. So, when I need to wear those pants I carry the smallest pistol I have (a Ruger LCR). When I’m wearing my favorite baggy cargo shorts and untucked shirt, I can put in my mid-sized Glock or just about anything that isn’t full sized.
Also, I think ahead about what I’ll be doing that day. If for example I know I’m going to the court house to pay for a ticket and I know there’s a court in there or an office used by the courts, I need to make sure to lock my pistol in the trunk or the handgun safe in my trunk.
Some people still need to ease into carrying fulltime, though. In these cases, I tell people to plan a day where they can carry a few places and then go home. For example, plan to go to Home Depot and then to the grocery store on a Saturday when you have plenty of time. Before you leave, look in the mirror at yourself from every angle and make sure the pistol is concealed. Then go to the stores!
When you get to those stores, make sure there are no 30.06 signs conspicuously displayed and then proceed in. Don’t freak out and remember it’s CONCEALED! (Remember your long look in the mirror before you left?) I know it feels like everyone can see your gun, but they can’t. Then go to the next store and do the same thing. Then go home and think about your trip. Did my gun shift in my pocket? Feel like it was gonna fall out? Would it be too hard to get to in an emergency? How did it feel when getting into and out of the car? All these things will teach you where you can and can’t carry for your particular lifestyle.
After doing this a few times, you’ll realize that it’s a really simple thing.
But, ultimately, you are the boss. It’s your business how often you carry or don’t carry. No one can tell you differently, but please at least think about carrying every time you leave.
You must meet the following criteria:
Must be at least 21 years old (18 if in the military/honorably discharged).
Must have been a resident of Texas for the last 6 months.
May be a non-resident if you are the legal resident of another state who meets the eligibility criteria other than residency, but you must take the class in Texas.
Can’t have ever been convicted of a felony.
Can’t be currently charged with the commission of a Felony, Class A misdemeanor, Class B misdemeanor, or Disorderly Conduct.
Can’t be a fugitive from Justice.
Can’t be a chemically dependent person.
Must be capable of exercising sound judgment with respect to the proper use and storage of a handgun.
Can’t have been convicted in the previous 5 years before the date of application of a Class A or B misdemeanor or Disorderly Conduct.
You must be qualified under state and federal law to purchase a handgun.
Can’t have been found in court to be in default on Child Support.
Can’t have been found in court to be delinquent in the payment of taxes collected by the Comptroller, state treasurer, tax collector of a political subdivision, Alcoholic Beverage Commission, or any other agency or subdivision.
Can’t have been found in court to be in default on a Student Loan.
Can’t be currently restricted under a protective order or restraining order affecting a spousal relationship.
Can’t have been adjudicated as having engaged in delinquent conduct violating a felony-grade law within 10 years of the date of application.
Can’t have made any material misrepresentations in the application to DPS or failed to disclose anything pertinent.
Can’t be considered to be a person of “unsound mind”
***For a more detailed list of requirements, please refer to the Texas DPS website:
Great question! Handguns and kids (unsupervised) do not mix. But, in my opinion, the absolute worst thing that a person or parent can do is to not tell or teach kids about guns. Curiosity is a very powerful thing for children who don’t know about life and want to learn about things.
We do, after all, live in Texas which is the Promised Land of guns and CHL’ers! Considering that the vast majority of homes in our great state have a gun in them, I think it’s safe to say that our kiddos are around guns almost every time they go to a friends house.
So, how do we store our guns so that they are both safe and accessible in case of emergency? Fortunately, nowadays there are several options. But first, let’s look at what the state requires of us regarding gun storage and accessibility to minors.
§ 46.13. MAKING A FIREARM ACCESSIBLE TO A CHILD. (a) In this section:
(1) “Child” means a person younger than 17 years of age.
(2) “Readily dischargeable firearm” means a firearm that is loaded with ammunition, whether or not a round is in the chamber.
(3) “Secure” means to take steps that a reasonable person would take to prevent the access to a readily dischargeable firearm by a child, including but not limited to placing a firearm in a locked container or temporarily rendering the firearm inoperable by a trigger lock or other means.
(b) A person commits an offense if a child gains access to a readily dischargeable firearm and the person with criminal negligence:
(1) failed to secure the firearm; or
(2) left the firearm in a place to which the person knew or should have known the child would gain access.
That sounds pretty straight forward to me. If you fail to secure it or leave it in a place that you know or should know that a kiddo could find it, then you’re responsible for whatever happens.
Notice in the term “Secure” doesn’t say it must be locked in a safe. Obviously, a gun safe is the best way to completely secure your handgun. But those old safes are cumbersome, heavy, hard to get into, and really expensive. They can be anywhere from $300 to several thousand dollars.
Fortunately there are handgun safes that are available to us all over the place that are small, easy to secure, very affordable, and make quick access a breeze. You can find them at Academy Sports or Walmart or jsut about anywhere from $50 – $150.
Handgun safes are so cheap and readily available, there’s really no reason NOT to have one. Just punch in the code and the lid pops open in less than a second.
Why not get one? You can always just store it on top of your closet shelf, under your bed, or under your car seat. But keep in mind that if a kiddo finds it and ends up getting hurt, you’re liable. Your situation will, of course, be different than the next person’s.
But, some of us don’t have kids around the house. My wife and I don’t have kids yet, so I keep mine in the drawer next to my bed. BUT when kids or guest of any age are coming over, I make sure to lock it in my safe.