Self-Defense Issues

Self Defense Shooting on Video

Self Defense Shooting

You may have seen a 71-year-old Florida resident shoot two armed robbers in this self defense shooting video.  But it is not likely you have read anything like my thoughts on what happened.

Self-Defense Issues

Quality Used Guns on Market

Recently I talked about finding a self-defense gun that fits you.  One of the things I pointed out was to buy good quality firearms, not cheaply made firearms.  Used guns are often a great value, as you can often get a high-quality, “low mileage” firearm for much cheaper than new.

Smith & Wesson 64 NYPD
My used NYPD model 64 revolver I picked up for a song.

At the time of this article, J&G Sales had a stock of used Beretta 92F and 92FS pistols for sale at very reasonable prices.  Conditions ranged from good to very good and prices range from only $299 to $339 depending on model, condition, and quantity ordered.  There is no doubt that these are used pistols.  But for less than $350, you can have a very good quality pistol for your home defense needs.

Recently, I had a friend pick up a very lightly used M&P 40.  The pistol had very little signs of use, cam in the original box, was equipped with night sights, and had three 15-round magazines.  The price?  A mere $299.  (Sorry, they are all gone.  I called to buy one, but too late!)

Self-Defense Issues

Some Thoughts on Choosing a Defensive Handgun

Smith & Wesson SD40 Streamlight laser weapon light

When it comes to choosing the right defensive handgun, there are many “right” answers and a few wrong ones. The best defensive handgun for you will likely be different than my choices. But the criteria in picking a handgun for self defense is fairly universal.

Let’s take a look at some of the things you should consider when buying a handgun for personal protection.

Caliber selection is important, but not that important…

When picking the right handgun, many people obsess about what caliber to choose. Generally speaking, handguns are poor choices for stopping a violent attacker. Handguns launch a fairly small projectile at relatively low velocities, and bullet wounds to areas other than the central nervous system (CNS) generally take time to work.

So, two things are important when considering which caliber. First, bigger is better…to a point. A high-quality .45 hollowpoint is more likely to be effective than a .25 ACP anything. The .45 delivers more energy and momentum, and it makes a significantly larger wound channel.


Hornady Expands Critical Defense Line of Ammunition

Hornady announced three new loads in the Critical Defense line of ammunition:  .357 Magnum, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP.  Refer to the chart for specific loading information:


Claiming to be the “pinnacle in self defense ammunition,” Hornady lists the following benefits of the Critical Defense line of ammunition:

  • Unaffected by thick and heavy clothing, including denim and leather.
  • FTX bullet delivers superior controlled expansion and large, deep wound cavities over a wide range of velocities.
  • Clean burning and stable propellants reduce recoil in lightweight handguns, and perform consistently in all temperatures.
  • Minimal muzzle flash protects night vision.
  • Feeds reliably in pistols.
  • Shiny silver nickel plating prevents corrosion, and is easily visible in low light situations.
  • Bullets are cannelured and crimped to avoid bullet setback.
  • Bullets are custom designed for individual loads.
  • The most effective, consistent, and reliable self-defense ammunition available today.


The Critical Defense line of ammunition has proved to be a solid performer, and the line has expanded even more to include such calibers as the 9×18 Makarov and the .22 WMR.  The performance of the FTX bullets that Hornady loads in these rounds is excellent across a wide range of velocities and the loads are very reliable in many different firearms.  Without a doubt, this line of ammunition is a real winner for the company.

Since the original introduction of these rounds, Hornady has also started a parallel line of ammo products called the Critical Duty line.  The Critical Duty line of ammunition is designed for greater penetration and is marketed to law enforcement agencies.  It meets all of the FBI testing protocols and offers the same reliable expansion and performance that people have come to expect from Hornady and the Critical Defense line.  These rounds are all exceptional performers and do very well for anyone looking to defend themselves from a violent assault or attack on their person or on their family.  Two thumbs up, so to speak.


Winchester Bonded PDX1 Personal Protection Ammunition

Winchester Ammunition is bringing a new line of self defense ammo to the market in 2009: the Bonded PDX1 Personal Protection Ammunition.

The PDX1 Personal Protection Ammunition is “engineered to maximize terminal ballistics, as defined by the demanding FBI test protocol, which simulates real-world threats.” While I believe the protocol is a useful tool to make a side-by-side comparisons of different cartridges and bullet designs, I do not believe that it simulates “real world threats” for the vast majority of people who own firearms for self defense.