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Low dedication personnel

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Roscoe thought of this first but I think I will post the question to the Forum.

What do you consider the best equipment for low dedication personnel, which could be either private citizens or LEOs?
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Could you explain what you mean by "low dedication"? Also, what type of equipment?

Sorry if I'm missing the obvious - long day and I'm kinda sleepy......
I'm guessing those not inclined to pursue any more training/practice than the bare minimum? For example, the LEO who only shoots once a year for required qualification, or the CCW citizen who buys a gun and shoots just enough to pass their CCW class, etc...


As to the question...I dunno. I'm here to learn.

[This message has been edited by boing (edited 08-29-2001).]
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Boing is right about what I meant. What weapon and, perhaps, holster would you recommend to someone who you know will probably fire no more than one box of ammunition a year ("sight in my .38" as a former boss of mine put it) and may only fire it once it there lives.

My thought is a small steel, not airweight, revolver. Either J-frame or short barrel K-frame. .38 Special caliber or less, and a .22 has a lot of merit.

At a recent class, Hackathorn opined that for many women, a Ruger Standard Auto kept with an empty chamber, would be his recommendation for a home defense gun. His explanation as to why made a great deal of sense.

Other opinions?
I think a DA (ideally DA ONLY)revolver is the best choice for low-dedication folks. They'll hit with it as well as with they will with anything. It is somewhat more resistant to mishandling than some other action types. It can remain loaded and ready, without any maintenance, for decades. It is portable enough to have along, discreetly, while answering the door, taking out the trash, et cetera.

In our off-line discussions, HeadHunter raised the issue of some persons lacking the hand strength to operate the revolver's DA trigger. For these folks, Hackthorn's suggestion might be the ticket.

I strongly disagree with the commom "wisdom" of suggesting a shotgun for home defense use by low-dedication personnel. The bulk, intimidating recoil, and fairly complex manual-of-arms unsuits the shotgun for use in this role.

On the more subtle issue of technique; on the occasions where I have been able to help familiarize a low-dedication person with their revolver, I teach them to use an arms-locked-out isosceles and to silhouette the gun itself onto the target while maintaining their focus ON the target. This borders on heresy for an advocate of the modern technique like myself, but it works as well as anything for across-the-bedroom ranges by low-dedication personnel. It also doesn't rely on them doing things that the unpracticed will NOT do anyway...like focusing on the front sight.


[This message has been edited by Rosco Benson (edited 08-29-2001).]
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I agree with Rosco about a DA revolver as well. No snubbie though. A 4 - 6" barrel, in .38/.357 would be my choice. As far as semi-autos, my recommendation would be a Glock 17 (9mm).
I once belonged to a club that conducted combat shooting competitions periodically. Several police officers from a small city nearby were members. After watching them shoot, I concluded that right in front of them might be the safest spot if I had to face them in a gunfight.
I guess they were "low dedication".

I concur with the "small revolver" choice for low dedication shooters. (It ain't all that bad for a high dedication shooter, either!) After 170 years or so, they've pretty well got most of the bugs out of revolvers, and they work pretty well with a minimum of user expertise.

If God didn't want us to own guns, why did He make the 1911?
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I stand by my suggestion for a baseball bat, running shoes, and will add OC to the arsenal. If a gun has to be included, a 4" revolver is probably the most doofus proof although I'd bet on short-stroking being a potential problem for the non-dedicated.
Roscoe and I are in absolute agreement on the shotgun issue. It is the worst possible choice for LDP. Some folks that I know who got a shotgun at first came to the same conclusion and got themselves a 640 for a primary defense gun. All the issues that Roscoe raised become apparent the first time an LDP shoots a shotgun.

Also, I agree with his shooting technique for them. Not a chance they will focus on the front sight. I tell them to make sure they can see where the end of the barrel is in relation to the target and that's it. More or less Ayoob's Stresspoint Index.

I don't think that short stroking the trigger of a revolver will be a problem. I have a hard enough time getting people to keep their fingers on the trigger when learning how to reset. Every new shooter that I have seen lets their finger FLY off the trigger while shooting.

I will refrain from discussion about the marksmanship capabilities of most LEOs.
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Originally posted by HeadHunter:

I will refrain from discussion about the marksmanship capabilities of most LEOs.
I wont
It has been my experience that generally those who have been on the force the longest are the ones who don't shoot as much as they should. Example the guy on first shift with 15 years on his belt isn't going to any where near as much as the 1 year guy on 3rd shift.

Back to the first question. A revolver would be the best bet for the low dedicated. Maybe a Rossi (last time I checked they were cheaper in price). What about a DA only semi like the AMT? I own the 380 (never mind the caliber debate
) and it has performed flawlessly.

The defensive firearm is a special-purpose piece of safety rescue equipment, designed to extricate a person . . . from the immediate threat of savagely violent crime. It is like the fire extinguisher. . . . Neither piece of equipment will do you any good if you don't know how to use it or are not psychologically prepared to face danger with that gear in your trained hands in a terror situation.

[This message has been edited by Lupey (edited 08-29-2001).]
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Originally posted by Lupey:
Example the guy on first shift with 15 years on his belt isn't going to any where near as much as the 1 year guy on 3rd shift.
Complacency; it's a killer. Some people have fifteen years of experience and some people have one year of experience fifteen times.
I'm guessing that a 20-gauge will be too much to handle for the LDP; although, I've seen very few people that could handle a .38-spl that weren't able to handle a 20. I've done a little training for personal defense, and I've seen an awful lot of LDP's that I've worked with to get where they could hit with a handgun, come back a couple of years later, and not be able to hit the broad side of a barn (definition: yes, they completely missed a man sized sillhouette with more than 1 shot from their .38's, 9's and one was with a .22). If they don't have to rely on a handgun, then I'm going to land in the area of some sort of long-gun. If a 20 is too much, then try a .410. If they just can't handle that much recoil, and penetration is a problem, then one of the pistol round carbines would be my suggestion.
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I just got back from a NRA law enforcement handgun/shotgun INSTRUCTOR course and at least half the class was downright scary. We had many who could not get a single pellet of OO buck on a target at 25 yards (nothing wrong with the gun). They also had great difficulty in putting 10 continuous rounds on a sheet of typing paper at 15 yards. Keep in mind that these were the people going back to train people, not recruits. Also, this was from a static position at static targets with no time limit. Might explain why LEO hit ratio is so poor.
As noted by a local trainer, sometimes the safest place to be during the shooting is right where they are aiming. If you don't move, you will be fine. Changing locations means maybe going to where the bullets are going and that isn't good.
If you are suggesting a small revolver for home defense, I think that the LDP's would be better served with a Ruger GP-100, or an SP-101, either in .357 Magnum. The idea of shooting really hot loads from a Rossi, or a similar pistol, gives me shudders. The Rugers are built like tanks.
Another Nay for the shotguns. That is a weapon for more "advanced" users.

I just thought about something, and changed my mind but, thought I would include it in the discussion anyway. I have seen many novice shooters with Glocks. Glocks are dependable, will feed just about anything, and have a sinple trigger mechanism. That is what most part time shooters are looking for, simplicity of use, and dependability.
Then I thought of the jams I have seen with Glocks, FTF's, the occasional double feed, etc. Tap-Rack-Bang is not something you learn on your bio-annual trip to the range, to see if you gun still shoots.
Then there are those folks that firmly believe that a pistol is going to empty itself, into them, when least expected, if you leave ammunition in it. Trying to load and place into battery is not a good thing, for a novice.
In short, I was going to throw Glocks into the equation but, on second thought, I will not.

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I would say any good .357 revolver with a barrel not less then 3", and preferably 4". It can be loaded with .38's if desired, and if at a later date they decide to get serious and practice, they can progress from .38 to .357 without having to buy another gun.

This is one catagory too that I think the Glock has real merit - for a handgun at the bedside only. No safety to fumble. A semi-auto with bare simplicity. If desired, for extra safety, it can be kept at with an empty chamber.

If they select their preferred ammo/mags and run it through their qualification or initial instruction, and get a few more in the same day it is about as likely to run on the day in need. I have seen revolvers tie up once in awhile. Many seem to think that revolvers are the pinnacle of reliability. It actually doesn't take much to tie up a revolver in the mechanical sense. In this repect they do need regular cleaning, at least occaisionally. When cleaning revolvers, I flush out the trigger action (and cycle it while flushing) with an evaporating solvent, let dry, then relube with something that won't gum or attract dust and other particles.

As for shotguns, I think even for some seasoned shooters that a 20-gauge is often a better choice over a 12. For a beginner though, I think a hammerless, double-barrel 20-gauge with automatic ejectors is about best - it is very handy, quick, and there is no danger of short-stroking. With any "0" buck loads, or Brenneke slugs and a stockband holding an extra 4 rounds.

[This message has been edited by LAK (edited 08-30-2001).]
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4" .357 revolver loaded with .38 Spl. JHP or a Glock 17 with Federal 9BP JHP in condition 3 if there are children in the house.
I would vote for the 4" medium frame double action revolver (ie-S&W 66). I would also stress the use of .38 Special loads due to recoil/muzzle blast of the .357.
DA/DAO revolver... mid frame, 4"bbl .38spl +P.

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