There are several common practices in the gun community I’ve never quite fully understood. One of them is the concept of range guns.
‘Range guns’ are typically handguns that are only brought out and shot at the shooting range, they never see the inside of a holster, may be quite expensive and elaborate, and often times have light tuned triggers. It’s common place to see someone shooting a high end full custom multi-thousand dollar 1911 but the pistol on their hip they trust their life to is a $500 Glock that they admit they don’t shoot as well. This boggles my mind! If you can afford such great pistols why would you trust your life to something cheaper that you acknowledge you’re not as good with? The answers given lead directly into myths surrounding what happens to carry guns.
Myth #1 ‘If I have to use my carry gun the police will take it and I’ll never see it again.’
‘Use it and lose’, a common belief of many, is not true. ‘Use it, be found guilty of a crime, lose it’ would be a more accurate statement. If you are cleared in a shooting you can get your gun back. For proof just look at the ridiculous spectacle Zimmerman put on trying to sell the pistol he used.
How you get it back may be a tricky part. A police officer can legally take your gun for a LOT of reasons, and to get it back, even though it was taken directly from you, you may be required to show proof of ownership at the PD. A lot of gun owners have no records to their purchases because of person to person transactions, inherited guns, or just not keeping receipts. After confirming with my attorney that I may one day need to prove a gun belonged to me I have kept all my purchase receipts with the serial number, taken pictures of them and the pistol, and uploaded them to a cloud.
Myth #2 ‘If used in a shooting they’ll engrave the case number on the gun.’
This pops up pretty regularly and could be purely an internet generated thing or it was actually done at some point a reeeeally long time ago, I don’t know. What I do know is this doesn’t happen and you know it too. Think of any real police evidence picture you’ve seen or news conference involving a gun they have seized, there’s no case number carved in it but there is a tag attached with the case information.
Losing Your Gun and Discretionary Targets
I recently read an internet post where a person told how their friend used a high end 1911 to shoot and disable the engine of a burglar’s car. Police took his pistol but he did not face charges and in the end got his gun back. Whether this particular story is true or not doesn’t matter, you routinely read stories of citizens who have shot at the vehicles of fleeing thieves/burglars claiming they were trying to immobilize it. This is very reckless and some have been met with heavy charges, especially if they end up killing one of the burglars. A fleeing burglar running away down a driveway is no longer a physical threat. Shooting them just because a person is pissed and they feel violated is not justified, it’s murder. Shooting at their car but accidentally/negligently killing one of the burglars still leaves a person facing manslaughter, if the jury buys it over the prosector who will be pursuing a murder verdict.
Even if no one is injured and a person disables the car the police and/or district attorney may still pursue charges saying the shooter acted recklessly. If convicted or in a plea deal, they aren’t getting their gun back.
You make the decision to pull the trigger. Is it really worth the risk to life, potential criminal and civil penalties, and loss of your gun just to potentially stop some thieves? There’s a reason we have homeowner’s and renter’s insurance, let them compensate you.
Due to my lifestyle I am highly, incredibly, laughably, unlikely to ever be involved in a shooting. If I am in a shooting though, I want the absolute best gun I own, that I can shoot the best with. Shootings are a mess, especially for the average carrying citizen, so I want every possible advantage I can get.
We only use our firearms in defense of life, take a moment and actually think about that. We see it written and read it without much thought but let it marinate for a second. This is a situation where someone’s life is in danger, possibly your dearest loved one. Do you really want to quibble about using a $1,000, $3,000, or $5,000 pistol to protect it?
Carry The *Best Gun You Can
*Best does not mean most expensive
I am not advocating going out and spending big bucks on high dollar pistols. What I’m saying is, anecdotally, if you make $80,000 a year and you’re carrying a HiPoint or some cheap flimsy pocket pistol, than something is wrong. If your safe queens or range pistols cost several thousand and your carry pistol only cost a few hundred, maybe a reassessment is in order.
I’ve been broke and bankrupt before and remember buying the best pistol I could afford at the time, a Ruger LCP .380, and being thankful I even had that. I’ll never fault anyone that can only afford certain options.
I also believe in right gun for the right job. In dress or gym clothes maybe all you can carry is a .380, and that’s fine, what’s important is that you’re carrying. If you have a dedicated car/truck gun I’m not going to advocate leaving a high-end gun in your vehicle, for the obvious reason that it may go missing. That said, if you’re going to have a vehicle gun have the best one you can afford to lose and are willing to bet your life on.
Train How You Carry
Another of my issues with range pistols is they’re typically much easier to shoot. Like in my previously mentioned example you’ll see people at the range shooting high end all steel pistols running tuned triggers, yet they carry a polymer Ruger LC9, or the like, that they haven’t shot, cleaned, or even removed from its holster in a year. The challenges presented to a citizen during a deadly force encounter are already challenging enough. Adding another level of difficultly by choosing to defend oneself with a pistol they don’t regularly shoot and is inherently more difficult to shoot (i.e. heavy trigger, short sight radius, small grip) is not a recipe for goodness.
(Nothing against the Ruger LC9, I just needed an example.)
I fell into a trap and realized I had been neglecting my AIWB (Appendix Inside Waste Band) practice with a couple of my routinely carried handguns, an M&P Shield and Ruger LCR. Of my time spent carrying a large portion of it is appendix, but I had gotten distracted with new guns and running specific drills. After slapping myself for knowing better I hit the range and vowed to make it a regular addition to my practice again.
To wrap it up, this is your life or your loved ones we’re talking about. If you take your personal protection seriously enough to carry a firearm then carry the best one you can that gives you the highest chance at success and seek the best training available to you. You already recognize the threat, put the odds in your favor.