Saturday, October 16, 2010

Self Defense tools in Europe

A couple days ago I received an email from a survivalist in Spain asking about self defense tools and how to deal with the serious gun restrictions in socialist (at least for the meantime) Spain.
This is my reply in the Spanish blog in case you want to check it out, its in Spanish of course:

Spain pretty much bans your right to self defense but there are still things you can do to ensure you have some basic firearms for protection in case SHTF, either someone breaking into your home and willing to hurt/kill you, or serious social unrest due to natural or man-made disasters where you may have to fend for yourself during times of lawlessness.
Handguns and semi auto rifles are out of the equation. Detachable magazine fed centerfire rifles are simply not allowed and handguns can’t be kept home in most of Spain. Even pump action and semi auto shotguns must have a capacity reductor installed making it a 2+1 capacity gun.
Knives are also heavily controlled but you can have locking blades under 10cm of length. This is much better than UK (In UK I’d get a non-locking Spyderco UK Penknife, specially made by Spyderco for UK every day carry) . 

You must have a reason for carrying and the law says the officer shall be the one to say if you’re carrying with a legitimate reason or not. Basically its up to the law enforcement officer you come across, how you tell your story, and how “mean” or “defensive” your knife looks. Here is where looks do make a difference and you don’t want to look all black and tactical because it could cause you trouble. I recommend a nice Spyderco Endura  in one of the multiple colors they have available. (something like green, blue or purple may look innocent enough) you should also have a story ready: “I use it for cutting cardboard, I recycle, saving the planet one box at a time…” ,“ I run errands, I open packages all day” “I work in XYZ store and you know, I’m cutting packages and boxes open all day, those plastic bindings are pretty hard to cut…”, “ I work in a carpentry shop, I use the knife all day…” Have a story ready and most important CARRY you knife with you at all times. It must be there next to the door with your keys, cellphone and wallet. After some time it becomes second nature and you carry it with you all day.
When I was in Spain I took a Leatherman Wave with a pocket clip. Not ideal, but it does stab and it does cut… so it does work. The blade locks well with its liner lock. The multitool itself can be used as a weighted fist or impact tool.
Of course its important to compliment this with some basic knife fighting training, otherwise its like owning a car but not knowing how to actually drive it.
 Endura 4, Green FRN Handle, Plain 
Even a Leatherman Wave or a Spyderco Endura or Delica just to name a well known brand, will serve well for self defense purposes and you can even keep more than one attacker at bay with it if you know what you’re doing.
"Coachgun" Double barrel shotgun.

When it comes to firearms you’ll be missing what I consider the cornerstone of your self defense plan: A handgun to keep with you so as to be armed at all times, something you can easily conceal if needed.
In this case the first gun I’d buy would be a 12 ga double barrel “coach” shotgun. Stoeger offers a nice one. The “coach” gun has been considered the best self defense tool for decades in the old west. There are of course better weapons today, but with those limitations, a double barrel shotgun can still deliver. I’d get an extra one and where legal to do so… or if the law changes all of a sudden (or doesn’t matter any more) , cutting down the barrel and stock into a sawed-off shotgun would give you a weapon  that can be somewhat concealed. Think of it as a modern double shot flintlock pistol, its in fact not that different from a Howdah pistol. With buckshot and at close range it wouldn’t be ideal in terms of size and capacity but stopping power would be tremendous. Just two shots does sound awfully limited, but then again each of those shots is putting 9 9mm projectiles into the target…

In second place, semi auto shotguns and pump shotguns like the Mossberg 500 and Remington 870 are legal but with capacity limited to 2+1. Of course if the law ever changes the part limiting the capacity can be removed. As a matter of fact some of these shotguns are sold here in Argentina with the mag capacity limit, and since capacity is not restricted here we just remove it and get full capacity for such model. Last weekend I shot an ultralight Beretta 12 ga semi auto shotgun with recoil reducers. Recoil was less than in a pistol caliber lever action and you where putting 12 ga down the range as fast as you could pull the trigger. The one I shot had a small red dot sight. Impressive firepower for a gun that is marketed for small game hunting, very capable in the field of home defense no doubt. The Hatsan shotgun also has good reputation both here in Argentina and in Spain. 
CZ 550 rifle

Finally, I’d add a bolt action rifle, something like a CZ 550 in 308W or 30-06. Yes its slow to fire, capacity is also limited to 4 or 5 rounds, but its still a rifle and would work well if your location dictates the possibility of long range shots in self defense. Keep in mind that the bolt action rifle used in all these “hunting” rifles was the most prolific war rifle system ever created, so its not entirely out of place in self defense. The Enfield has more capacity and can be fired rapidly, but having owned one I’d much rather have a nicer, lighter and more accurate CZ.
These are some of the options you have in Spain and other restrictive European countries. Of course, if you have better, more capable weapons at your disposal knock yourself out, but know that with some of these politically correct guns you can still put together a nice defensive collection.



Nolan said...

Do the western European countries have permits for weapon collecting or some such?

I know it is far from ideal but the very old 6-shot pistols were used successfully for decades in the past and may not be considered real weapons but "collectibles" these days.

Anonymous said...

I am going to Portugal for a week and thought I'd buy whatever legal cheap pocket knife I can find there and just leave it when I leave(not checking bags). Will also bring a standard umbrella with metal tip. Any other suggestions welcome.


ghpacific said...

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Solsys said...

In France, black powder revolvers (cap & ball) can be purchased by anyone over 18. No permit required. All sizes allowed, from the .31 "mini-Remington" to the Walker.

Of course, as with any weapons, the carrying of these weapons is stricly forbidden, and can get you into big trouble.

It is a handgun of sorts, I guess. I have yet to hear a single story about these having been used in self-defense, though.

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

I'd take it a step further. I've heard some folks in spain are able to get their hands on an M1 Garand. I'd just have a SLED with the Garand. Enbloc clips at hand. The Garand would be a great thing to have in spain or chicago.

"In Spain, caliber 30.06 is hunting ammo. True you cannot have a weapon that loads 8 bullets, but I did not tell them when I got the license and the authorities did not bother to find out"

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Love my coach gun; it handles 00 buck and slugs well. Word of advice, if you shoot it from the shoulder, especially both barrels at once, get a butt pad. It actually left a good sized bruise without one.

Anonymous said...

The gun laws in Europe are incredibly strict, but you can still own the most versatile modern weapon pretty easily.

Forget rifles and handguns. In Southern Europe the shotgun is king.

Break open guns are great. Cheap and reliable. Zabla Hermanos from Spain, makes a 10ga SxS. It is nothing short of a monster.

Baikal from Russia makes a respectable single shot .410. The .36/410 is much quieter than 12ga.
Great for bagging out of season game.

Forget pump-guns. They are an American novelty.
The best option for a combat, home defense, and field gun is a tube-fed 12ga autoloader.

Second hand guns from Luigi Franchi, Beretta and Benelli are currently very cheap. They are sourced from Italy, and a good one can be had in the €200 range. You can probably find a good local Browning A5 for the same money too.

Franchi Prestige, Benelli 121, Beretta 390, and Browning A5 are the ones to look out for in my opinion, and also the Benelli M2, and Browning Gold/Winchester SX2(FN SLP) if have a bit more to spend.

The magazine plug isn't a problem. It is nothing more than a plastic rod that limits the amount of shells you can load into a magazine.
This comes standard in most shotguns, even in the US. It is there to comply with migratory bird regulation.

Its easy to drop in or remove. On some shotguns you just unscrew the magazine cap, but some others you have to take out the spring too.
In a pinch a straight tree branch, pencil or something similar will work just as well.