Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Guns, OC Spray and Halfhearted Preparedness

I simply don't get it. While I am a gun owner, I have **bear spray** in my room. Bear spray will **categorically** stop even a charging grizzly (I refer you to the top grizzly bear expert in the world, Stephen Herrero, at Univ. of Calgary, for verification). With bear spray (not the wimpy, short-distance human stuff), I don't have to worry about bullet penetration through walls, kids getting into it (it sure will hurt, but it's not fatal), having a precise aim, or killing some teenage prankster (I had a friend many years ago in high school who was killed breaking into factory on a lark). Yes, there is a place for guns, and, as noted, I own a number. But right now, in suburbia, this is my first choice. Maybe when things get much more out of control I will change tactics, but not at present.

I’m addressing this because I’m afraid that some readers may be doing these same mistakes and may one day pay for it with their lives.

I’m not familiar with this grizzly bear expert but I can assure you one thing, no spray of any kind will stop a charging big animal on its tracks at short range, let alone a bear, while a bullet in the brain or spine will indeed do the trick even if just inches away. Same goes for armed criminals. Bear Spray sure works, but you are greatly overestimating its usefulness.
If an armed intruder breaks into your home and you do what you claim, two things will happen. First, you’ll fill the room with bear spray, affecting everyone in it including yourself. Second, the armed intruder will start shooting in your direction, maybe even hit you, and now you have a pissed criminal shooting in your house sending rounds himself through the walls, those same rounds you didn’t trust yourself to fire. By now you’re probably realizing your mistake and desperately looking for your firearm to put down the intruder that keeps shooting inside this deathtrap you created yourself. Blinded, struggling to breathe, your entire face burning and your eyes tearing out of control, getting hold of your gun in this cloud of bear spray is much easier said than done. And the bad guy keeps shooting killing you kids, your cat, and the neighbor’s dog. Lets be optimistic and assume its only ONE intruder, rather than the usual two or more.
Another thing, and this is something I’ve often addressed. You wont get any invitation to SHTF, burglars will not email you before breaking in. How will you know when “things get much more out of control”? When a break-in happens in your neighborhood? When two happen a year? Two a month? What if that one break-in is you? There’s no official “out of control” day, you have to do these things now, or maybe just not do them at all. Having a firearm for self-defense yet not trusting yourself to use one clearly shows you’re now sure about the idea of armed self-defense and owning guns for that purpose simply  isn’t a good idea.

I don’t know where you’re from, but back home and here in Northern Ireland, its already bad enough to jump into someone´s back yard, let alone break and entry. Someone that breaks into a house isn’t a teenage prankster, he’s someone that can get rightfully shot in most US states!

OC Spray has its place, so does bear spray (outdoors!) and guns, and knives. You can have lots of weapons depending on where you are and whats legal there, but the only thing you CANT have is doubt. Going about it half-hearted is the kind of mistake that gets people killed. While you are doubting and making up your mind about this home invader that just broke in, asking yourself if he’s just a teenage prankster, just a misguided youth, maybe a disturbed young man looking for drugs or stuff to steal and sell, maybe a poor man with mental disorders that simply want to break in and rape women in their homes, while you decide if the person is dangerous or not and if you should use a gun or not, this person already shot you ten times, stabbed you twelve  and is having his way with your family.


Anonymous said...

Bear spray? OC spray? For home invasion defense? Are you serious? The odds are against you! If you don't hit the intruder in the eyes or nose, might as well have a water pistol or tanning spray for self defense. If this is you my friend, you are living the placebo effect in self defense. You think you have the means to fight, but you don't. Even if you have a wimpy .380 and you are a lousy shooter, just the noise of the gun when it goes "bang", will send the a clear message to the intruder(s). Also, OC/bear spray has a 4 or so year life span, assuming you bought it from a reputable source. How many people buy two bottles? One for practice and one for real use?? I bet that Mr. X from suburbia doesn't... Mr. X from suburbia will try to read the damn instructions when her hears the noise on his bedroom door. Besides, what's the range on a can of OC? Listen to Pappa FerFAL and get a gun. .//Carlos//

RR said...

Excellent response. At least the letter writer was willing to shoot something. I've had arguments with people who keep empty shotguns around solely for the purpose of frightening an intruder (like any person bold enough to break into your house would be frightened into submission by the sound of a shotgun being racked).

I also had a similar discussion with a good friend of mine. We ended up debating at what point it was reasonable to shoot an intruder. He contended that one should order the intruder to freeze and tell him to get on the ground. I countered with "What if he is armed and decides to draw his weapon and fire at you in response to your command?" Of course he said it would be appropriate to fire then, but it would obviously be a little late by that time. Or what if the guy did freeze when you told him to and then got down on the ground very slowly, as if he was buying time. My approach would be to first verify that the intruder was not a family member by visual inspection then shoot. Granted, I would feel really bad if the intruder really was some teenage prankster, but I can only train for a limited number of scenarios. I would rather minimize the number of variables I would have to consider before firing.

Anonymous said...

Great post Ferfal. The bearspray suggestion from the last thread didn't sound bad to me, until you went through the scenario in this post.

A blind angry criminal shooting his gun empty in a house full of bearspray sounds like a really bad idea now.

FerFAL said...

Sometimes people mean well like in this case, but they dont completely understand how bad it can get, and you should always plan for unfavorable situations when thinking of self defense, not the other way around.
same for people with empty guns because they want to scare but not actually shoot anyone. There's nothing wrong with that, it just means that armed self defense is not for you,and goign that route would be more dangerous.

Anonymous said...

Right on FerFal. I used to carry mace since it is illegal to carry anything else here except a small knife. Any kind of spray can end up on you as well as your attacker especially when you're in a confined space. Worse yet, unless you check the pressure regularly you might just get a dribble instead of a spray. I'd rather use WASP Jet Spray if I had the choice since it is cheaper, more reliable, and has a greater range.

Beyond that nothing beats lead until we get phasers.

Anonymous said...

I have an alarm sign outside the house, and actual alarm activated, a dog that barks and bites, sensor lighting, thorny bushes by the windows, an 8’ fence with locked gates, storm doors, metal doors. Everything about my house subtly says, “wrong house to break-in.” This is I do for two reasons: 1) to deter burglars looking for an easy target and 2) so that I don’t have to shoot some casual burglar. If despite all this someone still manages to break-in, I have no choice but to assume the worse and act accordingly. Once someone crosses the line, there is not telling how things will turn out, but I at the very least want the odds stacked on my favor.

I also carry while in the house, s that I don’t have to be running to the closet while someone is trying to kick down the door.


Anonymous said...

Bear spray is nothing special, really, except a larger amount in a bigger can. The higher heat rating is meaningless because everything over a certain threshold gives about the same burning sensation.

People fight through the effects of OC ALL THE TIME.

If the OP is staking his life on his Bear Spray, I suggest he take a shot of it himself and see what he could do. I'd wager he'll be surprised - and change his tune quickly.

Zoltan said...

Three things speak against pepper spray for defense: drugs, alcohol and rage. Any of these three can render it nearly useless.

Anonymous said...

The real problem is these people don't want to meet merciless violence with merciless violence.

But they are foolish since a pistol that's fired will deter the great majority of criminals without hurting anyone. So if someone wants the option of non violence, owning a pistol is the answer.

DEMCAD said...

Here's something I bet that guy didn't think of. When if his child is allegoric to the substances in the Bear Spray?

refuse/resist! said...

Ferfal, I think you'll love this one:

Concerning this topic: if the old guy happened to whip out an OC spray, instead of a 0.38,
- he would have been surely mad
- things would have gotten quite ugly.

Ammo said...

Amazing content, and the whole conversation is quite interesting.