Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Okay, that does it

Pretty Lady has formally capitulated to her Little Brother. She just sent him a note to this effect. Her mind is made up. It is High Time for her to purchase a firearm, and learn how to use one. Not necessarily in that order.

Pretty Lady's Little Brother has expressed some Quiet Concern about her safety, in the past; he even went so far, back in her San Francisco ghetto days, as to present her with a stun gun for her personal use. Her sadomasochistic then-boyfriend expressed some prurient interest in the possible erotic side-effects of the recreational use of this weapon, but did not go so far as to volunteer as a test case. She parked it on the molding above her bedroom door, and as far as she can recall, it is still there.

But as pacifistic and fundamentally uninterested in weapons as Pretty Lady may be, she has always trusted that her Little Brother, and others like him, were Around. It is still her instinct, whenever something pesky and mechanical requires attention, such as the starter on her car or the drainpipe under the sink, to drop her hands and call for Little Brother, even though he lives half a continent away. Similarly, she never worries overmuch about deranged lone gunmen bursting through her door and spraying bullets everywhere, because something in the back of her mind relies upon Little Brother to unclip the 9 mm. from under the dashboard or silverware drawer or kitchen table or wherever, and take the fellow out.

It is slowly beginning to dawn upon her reptile brain that not only does Little Brother live too far away to arrive in a timely manner, but when he got here he probably wouldn't be allowed to traverse the Holland Tunnel. Not with all those weapons in his trunk.

However, if Pretty Lady put her mind to it, she would probably be a fairly successful weapons-smuggler, simply because she's Not The Type. She can't imagine that it would occur to the most paranoid police officer to frisk her or her Pathfinder for contraband, after she rolls down the window and greets them with a cheery invitation to do so. At least, they have never done so in the past.

(Vehicle registration card and insurance, though--that's another matter. Pretty Lady hates paperwork.)

At breakfast this morning, Pretty Lady was mildly irritated by the sound of helicopters. After a bit, she glanced out of the kitchen window; several of these ominous machines, marked 'NYPD,' were hovering nearby, carooming back and forth over the canal. An experimental call to '311' produced nothing but a beeping noise. The radio continued providing perky little updates on the war in Iraq, and NYTimes Online supplied more reams of grainy video about the Virginia Tech Shooter. Queries regarding 'Helicopters Over Gowanus Canal--Breaking News' turned up a blank.

Let it be known that Pretty Lady is not becoming a Paranoid Right-Wing Freak who looks over her shoulder at every suspicious noise. She is not Cowering, she is not Terrified. She has simply decided that the sensible thing to do is to have a few more Practical Tools at her disposal. She's got the power drill (or rather, her neighbor has it, this week), the socket wrenches, the pliers, the iron and the vacuum cleaner--all, come to think, supplied by the A.A. in gentler days. A shotgun or two would not come amiss, perhaps rolled up in a failed canvas, or strapped over the studio door.

In other news, Pretty Lady volunteered for an ad that said 'Hair Models Needed,' and lucked out! She got the cucumbers-on-the-eyelids treatment, bergamot conditioner, and the Best Haircut Ever, for free! Of course she tipped. This could be the start of a beautiful friendship.


Anonymous said...

Allow me to recommend the following, as I have some experience with this sort of thing.

If you do intend to purchase a handgun I would recommend you buy a revolver, preferably a 6-shot stainless steel model. For this, I would recommend the Smith and Wesson Model 66 .357 magnum revolver.

Here is the rationale. You don't look you have dainty hands, and the benefit of a .357 magnum is that you can fire .38 special shells through it to practice or for defense, and if you don't mind the kick you can always upgrade to the much heavier .357 magnum round. This choice of ammunition loads basically makes it two guns, rolled up into one.

While there are folks who carry semi-automatics like myself, you almost cannot go wrong with a revolver, as the mechanics of firing one are simple, and there are no slides or magazines to make something go wrong, and feed jams are impossible. Simply sight your target, acquire it in your sights and fire at will. If you practice, your six shots should be enough to discourage most unfriendlies. If you see the need for more rounds, then consider an automatic or get a speedloader for your revolver.

Aside from keeping it clean and lint-free, most of your maintenance will be to lightly oil it once a month. I have had my Model 66 for about 15 years now and it has been a dependable camping, truck and home defense gun.

If you want to go with a shotgun, I recommend a 12 gauge short barreled pump-action shotgun. I would stick with the established labels, like Remington or Browning. I am not a fan of Mossbergs, as the three I have owned (and sold, later) were prone to jammming or misfeeding. One thing you do get with a pump is when you hear someone scratching at your door, simply racking the slide is an audible, tangible deterrent. The instantly recognizable sound usually is sufficient to send the average punk scurrying.

If you want an automatic (which have a greater magazine capacity) I can post a few recommendations. My everyday carry weapon is a Sig Sauer P220 .45, but this may be a bit much to begin with. A 9mm CZ or Beretta 92FS 9mm might be a good compromise, my opinion is that the 9mm has a comparable kick to the .38 special recommended above.

Check my suggestions with your brother, outside of brand name preferences I would hazard he would agree that any of the above suggestions will hold you in good stead.

Chris Rywalt said...

I am not a gun nut and don't know a whole lot about firearms. That's my father's department. I will note a couple of things, though.

First: A shotgun is not a good weapon in an apartment building. It's far too easy to shoot through a wall and hit someone you didn't want to. Shotguns are great if you don't want to learn to aim, or expect to find yourself in a situation where aiming is impossible (i.e. the dark).

Second: Good luck getting a permit in New York City. Getting a carry permit is in fact nearly impossible unless you're Robert DeNiro. Getting a home permit is easier, but still quite difficult.

My father moved from New York to Virginia partly because of the gun laws in New York, which are almost always preceded by the adjective "draconian." In Virginia it's legal to carry openly; kind of ironic considering the events at Virginia Tech. I'm certain someone is carping about how, if the campus had the same freedom to bear arms as the state surrounding it, the gunman would've been taken out much sooner.

My father, by the way, collects antique firearms, in addition to having always been a carrier, his whole life in New York City. Only now he's legal.

Desert Cat said...

Remebering this is NYC and the heart of GFW-land, I suspect "practice" is not something the lady is likely to have much opportunity to do.

For that reason I'd recommend the shotgun option, as it is essentially a "point-n-shoot" tool, particularly if this is home defense only. Remington, pump action, short barrel, loaded with 00 Buckshot (or birdshot if your apartment walls are thin--no where near as likely to penetrate). I have a Model 870 Marine Magnum tucked away in my bedroom for the unthinkable scenario.

Now if you were elsewhere, and concealed carry was even a remote possibility, then I might recommend a pistol designed specifically for concealed carry, such as the S&W Ladysmith. Having stated that you have limited interest in firearms other than for the extreme outside possibility of a self-defense situation, I probably wouldn't recommend an automatic pistol. A person needs an active enough interest in shooting for its own sake to want to master the intricacies of automatic pistol maintenance.

However I am not counted amongst those who assume that an automatic is not suitable for the fair sex. Don't get between Daisycat and her Bersa, for example. And she's recently mastered the field-stripping, cleaning and reassembly of her new AR (with minimal input from me, I might add.)

Chris, Re: the carping, that's exactly what is buzzing around the 'sphere at the moment.

Desert Cat said...

Ok, before Crom (or ?) catches me for it, that would be "revolver" not "pistol", referencing the Ladysmith. Agh. I still catch myself referring to magazines as clips sometimes too.

Judge Well Ye Wolves said...

PL- as someone who has owned guns all his life, been required to carry a handgun(ran a liquor store) and enjoyed the sporting use thereof, can you tell me under what scenarios you could see a possibility of using this weapon?
I can think of only one, and that is where a person is in your apartment, possibly even by your invitation, and will not leave after requests to do so.
Test scenario- you arrive home. As you come in the front door, you become instantly aware that someone is there burglarizing the place. The gun is hidden, and possibly unloaded. How do you get to it before he a)does you bodily harm first or b)knocks you out of the way and books quickly down the street?
There are few urban scenarios (absent carrying the gun on your person) that do not have major holes such as this in them.
Crom- I will state up front that many gun owner/carriers do so in the hopes of a revenge killing- that is shooting someone who is running away, after having done whatever foul deed has been done.
That being said, your gun recommendation is fine, but there is no need to move up to the larger round.
PL- should you do this, I can only recommend- practice, practice, practice. It needs to be second nature. There is nothing more dangerous to the user, or in some cases the user's beloveds, than a shaky or insecure gun grip or aim. If you cannot practice, do not purchase.

Judge Well Ye Wolves said...

Please note: I am not saying it's a bad idea. I wouldn't presume to, not knowing what your environs and daily routines are. I was assuming that you would Think It Out- as I know you, being you, will.

Pretty Lady said...

Thanks for all the advice, boys!

JWYW--If I were to arrive home and find home already occupied, of course I would merely close the door, run downstairs, call Hector first and the cops second. The only time I can visualize myself using a firearm is if I am home alone and awaken to the sound of breaking glass, and a person entering via the window. Then I need a lethal object with which to confront the junkie while alone in my nightie. At least the flowerpots will slow him down.

These are the sorts of things that run through one's head at 3 AM when a person unwisely drank coffee after 2 PM.

But never fear, the next time I go home I shall have Little Brother take me to the firing range a few times, and teach me to load and unload and assemble and clean and all that, on a few of his 15 (at last count) various weapons, and only then shall I choose one for my very own.

Until then, I'll bop the junkie on the head with a candlestick.

Of course, if that terrorist attack takes out most of the infrastructure, I'll need to fend off marauding bandits, as well as shoot my own dinner, so it's best to think ahead.

Anonymous said...

I have a remington 12-guage defender. It does not claim to be a hunting gun, or a duck gun, or any of that stuff. It's designed to do what it's name implies.. defend.

It holds eight shells,(if you chamber one) enough to take out the whole damn wall. I have four double-ought magnum loads with fifteen pellets in each shell. They are followed by three magnum load hollow point 1 0z. rifled slugs.

My logic is that the four double ought loads will convince anyone still alive to leave the premises, and the slugs will al1ow me to show my displeasure at them up to a hundred yards or so.

If they really piss me off, I also have a Remington .270 semi-automatic rifle, model 7400, with a 4.5-14X40 scope, along with two high-capacity magazines.

I also have a .357, loaded with .357 ammo, and my wife has a hammerless .38 police special loaded with .38 ammo. Wife alos has her little Marlin Model 60 .22 semi-automatic that can pour out sixteen long rifle rounds.

We figure we are all set if the house alarm goes off. Not only does Brinks get in on the deal, but we'll get a chance at that often-missed target practice.

Wife--being all legal oriented--went and got a conceal and carry permit... eighty bucks!

Me- I just carry whenever I feel like it, since I agree with the Constitution.

Judge Well Ye Wolves said...

These are the sorts of things that run through one's head at 3 AM when a person unwisely drank coffee after 2 PM. So true, sister girl, so true. Why does 2 am coffee taste better than 7 am coffee?
Good ole' Little Brother. I always liked that boy.....

Chris Rywalt said...

Bobert sez:
It holds eight shells,(if you chamber one) enough to take out the whole damn wall.

Holy illegal in New York City, Batman! Never mind getting a permit, if you mention you own one you'll be lucky if you ever see daylight again.

Desert Cat said...

Well, erm. So much for the Remington 870 Marine Magnum then...just about the same setup. 6+1 with 2-3/4" shells, 18" barrel, sling = one purpose. Defense.

JWYW, re: "revenge killing", that's a stupid idea in my book, besides being illegal, even in AZ. Anyone who shoots a fleeing attacker/intruder has to know the trouble they're going to get is not worth it, no matter how badly the attacker may deserve it. If he's taking off down the street, you let him go.

The only justified shooting is if you or someone you're defending is being threatened with serious injury or death.

Judge Well Ye Wolves said...

dc- I wasn't thinking that someone would plan to do so. Anyone who has just been attacked is not always going to be thinking things through logically. I agree with you, but humans don't always have the control in extreme situations that would be prudent.

Desert Cat said...

True. It helps though to remind oneself repeatedly in calmer times what is and isn't acceptable.

Anonymous said...

"One thing you do get with a pump is when you hear someone scratching at your door, simply racking the slide is an audible, tangible deterrent. The instantly recognizable sound usually is sufficient to send the average punk scurrying."

Also, just unloading through the door is definitely an option. Somebody breaks down your front door, run to the bedroom, close the door, and wait until the bad guy is standing in front of it before introducing them to your little friend.

I concur that a twelve gauge pump shotgun by the bed is your ideal setup. Just be sure to actually shoot one several times before leaving Texas, because the first time you fire it you will be surprised by the kick, and you don't want to be surprised by your gun when you need to use it.

Anonymous said...

bobert--80 bucks for concealed carry? Crap, in Kansas it's 150 *plus* the cost of the personal firearms course, but then, we've only had it since January.

After reading these responses, I feel downright unarmed. All we have is Big Ugly, the .38 special double-action I got for a killer price because some asshat tried to alter the finish. I like it just the way it is--it looks like exactly what it is, a large, ugly, deadly piece of metal. That gets kept in the basement, the one room where the child can *not* get to, because it has no safety and we don't believe in unloaded guns. That's also where the .22 magnum rifle I use for rabbit and deer hunting lives.

And we have the 12-gague Remington in the bedroom, of course.

If you do go with a handgun, you need to load it with Glaser safety rounds, unless you really don't like your neighbors. Not only will they not go through walls, but they make an *enormous* hole in whoever you shoot them at.

Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but New York City has no concealed-carry provision for civilians, right? That means you don't have to worry about lugging it around--Crom is right, a revolver is ideal in this situation. No jamming, and no hair triggers--I recently lost a dear friend to his own drunken stupidity and a ridiculously sensitive 9 mil.

Myself, I have teeny hands, so I'm currently coveting the Italian-made Firestar---it's small, but it's solid, and it does not fuck around.

But yes, for protecting your person within your own home, nothing beats a shotgun. I can attest quite vehemently to the power that just cocking one has---about two weeks ago, some asshats were trying to steal my husband's bike off the back porch. I turned on the light, left the blinds closed, and cocked the gun. The result was "Expletive! Expletive!" getting rapidly fainter.

Anonymous said...

It must be something in the air, Pretty Lady--I've just been recruited to take a vegan genderqueer peace activist out and teach them how to handle a handgun.

Desert Cat said...

Mm hm.

I have a feeling warning bells have been going off all over the place in people one would least expect.

Anonymous said...

Like so many are fond of saying, the end times are near.

Not the biblical end times, but the time when Americans finally get fed up and decide to retake their country.

But then again, that just may be a part of the biblical version.

I have the feeling I'm going to find out.

I was thinking I could just live out my few remaining days/years in peace and quiet... but I don't think so anymore.

If I end up getting killed in an effort to protect my home/country, It's all OK.... I've lived a good and full life.

Desert Cat said...

Now let's tread cautiously here--we're just talking about sensibly having a few necessary and Practical Tools at one's disposal.

While preparing for the worst, it is still perfectly valid to expect the best.

(No need to go triggering the Lady's sensitivities again... )