Friday, March 19, 2010

Warning shots: How many do you need?

I’ve mentioned a while back that a good friend of mine owns a 300 ha. farm close to Buenos Aires and that every time I go there I hear a few warning shots being fired to send away those that trespass to steal some wood or crops.

I mentioned then how much sense it makes to have a 22LR for this. You’re not mowing down zombies, you’re just letting trespassers know that you’re armed and aware of what they are doing, so you want the cheapest bang per buck.
A few shots is enough. If they don’t leave, you’re still firing ammo that is quite capable of killing.
Now, a few days ago I saw this article:

Lawlessness after quake in Chile fishing village

and I found this in it:
The harbour has been decimated - first by the earthquake and then by the 15m-high (49ft) tsunami which threw boats and shipping containers out of the sea and into the port with massive force.

Dozens of containers are now strewn around the harbour as though they were cardboard boxes, having crushed several people in their cars in the process.

In this scene of devastation, looters have made the most of the chaos. Many of the containers have been opened and their contents, be they bananas, nappies or computer equipment, taken by the desperate hordes.
"I've fired 500 of the 2,000 rounds of ammunition I've got," says Mr Orellana, who works for the Ministry of Public Works, showing off his gun licence.
"I fire over their heads to scare them off, and so far, it's worked."
Rene Orellana has fired hundreds of warning shots to ward off looters

Mr. Orellana deserves the Nobel Peace prize guys!
500 shots and not one dead. Shows yet again that you can usea gun to defend yourself and not kill anyone. Maybe actually dropping a few of these guys would have reduced his ammo spending significantly, but that’s not the point.

Given that he’s shooting shot gun shells, he was lucky enough to have 2000 rounds to being with, most people don’t have more than a box or two, if they have that at all.
The lesson here is, after a given disaster where there’s looters around, a couple rounds over their heads most often works.
But this means you may end up shooting a lot so again, the king of all calibers, good old 22LR becomes very important.

What to have?

22LR is by far the cheapest caliber you can stock up on, you can pick a 500 round value pack every now and then and soon enough you’ll have thousands of rounds ready.
Which brand? whatever works best in your gun. 22LRs tend to be picky. Heavy projectiles at high velocity work best on most occasions.
As for the gun, 22LR are cheap enough there’s no reason not to own one rifle besides your 22LR handgun.
I’d go for semi auto rifle. The reason for this is that since the caliber is relatively weak, at least you compensate with higher capacity and fast follow up shots.

Though it was interesting, these real world encounters aren’t as exciting as the fantasy ones but at least here there are valuable lessons to be learned.



Anonymous said...

.22 Rules as far as actual
trigger pulls...but to make
a "statement"...12-gauge noise
echoes much further. for example:
do 3 shots from a .22 equal one
from a 12-gauge? right now, the
cheapest 22 ammo in the USA is
double the price of 2007, and 12-gauge shotgun ammo "field grade"
is unchanged. so...."pull once"
and scare one or pull one "12"
and scare 12? of course, assuming
everyone is listening at the same
time. choose your poison.

Jack said...

For those of us in the US, WalMart has been the cheapest place to buy .22 LR. The 550 round box of Federal .22 LR sold for $13 last year, about 6 months ago it went to $15, and today I went to buy some and it was over $18. That's about 40% inflation in a year. If your WalMart has any at $15, buy it up before they change the prices.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget a few extra magazine for the 22 semi rifle.

Survive2Day said...

This is a good article in light of the recent post on "Less Than Lethal" ammo. We have thought a great deal about hardening our houses here in the US against robbers / looters by using less than lethal means - namely boards with nails sticking out around the windows. This will keep anyone from climbing in very easily! Too bad we don't have walls like all the homes in Latin America.

Anonymous said...

"We have thought a great deal about hardening our houses here in the US against robbers / looters by using less than lethal means - namely boards with nails sticking out around the windows."

There are some liability issues there you might want to consult with your attorney about before you start.

Canis Lupus said...

This is a good article in light of the recent post on "Less Than Lethal" ammo.
I posted a comment with the link to that very article but it got lost in the river of messages.

The thing is this Mr Oralena was protecting the containers from the looters. Many containers attract many looters which must be dealt with MANY rounds. It's like if he was protecting a giant supermarket so it's not a surprise that he shot so many rounds.

Just_In_Case_The_SHTF said...

> A few shots is enough.
> If they don’t leave,
> you’re still firing
> ammo that is quite
> capable of killing.

Any bullet fired over someone's head has to land somewhere (i.e., it's called "gravity"). You might want to talk to an attorney to find out if you are liable when a stray bullet fired from your gun kills or injures someone who just happens to be a long distance away.

David said...

In the USA, firing "warning shots" invokes some serious legal jeopardy in normal conditions.

A lot of people might learn from TV to fire a warning shot pointing their gun upward and pressing the trigger...which of course renders them partially deaf for a while. Bullets fired straight up land about like hail, incapable of causing serious injury but as noted by Just_In_Case, any shot fired relatively horizontally stands to do major damage if it hits some person or property over the horizon.

Better to fire a shot at a known safe place (dirt backstop, etc.). If one chooses to make that place "near" a human being it might be important to feel pretty strongly about the need to do so...a ricochet might still injure or kill them. I remember reading about an abused woman who shot her abuser in the arm with a .22 LR. The bullet followed the bone into the man's chest, hit his heart and killed him. Bullets can do some freaky things, as we all know.

Just my $0.02. YMMV.

DG said...

Dont fire warning shots. Lots of target practice around my place, so there is usually shooting going on and people "know".

"SHOOT TO KILL" orders issued against looters mean just that, and IMO, one looter shot is enuf to make the point.

Revealing one's position, to fire a "warning" shot is not wise, IMO. Showing strength or showing weapons, whatever escalation is necessary is where to go, rather than simply "firing a warning shot"

Riot doctrine suggests you shoot either non-lethal plastic / rubber projectiles or birdshot in the feet and legs. One is unpleasant, one has downside medical consequences. Depends. The man in Chile did what he knew worked for him with the tools at hand

Anonymous said...

The big point here is the use of 500 rounds in a short period of time.
Guess I have to add to my ammo storage.
Good post.

Anonymous said...

When buying "cheap" .22 cal ammo, avoid the the ones with exposed "raw" lead. Buy .22 cal that has the bullet "anodized" with a coating. Raw lead will oxidize over the years and expand. This will cause jamming in semi-automatics. I had some Federal ammo that I fired after 20 years on the self, and it jammed every time. It was even hard to put into a revolver. Just saying...