About Featured Expert: Alan Schwartz of Alan’s Firearms has been shooting since he was 12 years old and selling firearms for the last 10 years. We talk in this episode about the development of pistol technology for self defense and how to choose the right firearm for your self defense needs.
Part of this conversation was used to develop the home defense checklist you can download for FREE here. The simple steps outlined on the checklist can turn your home into an impenetrable fortress.
The following is a condensed version of the full audio interview, which can be found in the above link at Science of Skill’s SoundCloud station.
Coach Dan: You’ve seen changes in models, changes in ammo, changes in trends; what have been some of the developments that you think have maybe made self protection pistols more effective, if any?
Alan Schwartz: 20 years ago, it was all about capacity, how many rounds can I carry, 18, 15; that’s what everybody was into, and they quickly discovered these big, heavy guns have a cool factor, but also have a discomfort factor, and after a month of carrying it, it ends up in the drawer, and they’re not carrying their firearm anymore.
About 10 years ago, Ruger copied the Cal Tech 380; and since Ruger made it, it was a finer weapon, and everybody flocked to it. It was like, “Wow, I can wake up in the morning, throw this in a little holster, put it in my pocket, but it in my waistband; no one knows I have it, I don’t even know I have it; it’s comfortable,” ergo, it made sense; and that was a major change in development in firearms carry, being able to carry a 9 millimeter,
CD: I was going to ask you about that. You’ve seen revolvers sort of “come up” in the last X years, here?
AS: They’ve been slowly getting more interest, but this year has been a boom for revolvers. Yes.
CD: You had mentioned that a big reason for this, and I was actually just speaking with a fellow who’s going to be filming a course for us, pretty soon, he has a lot of experience in executive protection and bodyguard work, and he’s mentioned how he thinks a revolver by the bedside might be the way to go for a lot of people because you worry about jamming, and all that. Is that sort of the main appeal for the self-defense crowd, is, A, you only need six shots, and who cares, anyway; B, there’s less of those clunky, moving plastic parts that are going to mess you up when it’s time to go?
AS: Actually, a pistol has, for the most part, less moving parts than most revolvers. Revolvers have a lot of mechanical movement, but a revolver in your home, if you can use a revolver in your home, you’re better off using…first of all, you have to have a very big gun because you’re not talking about three feet, anymore. It’s a different scenario; you’re talking about across a room. I don’t like handguns for home protection, unless you’re putting one in each room to have access to it.
CD: Have you been fond of this shift towards rifle? It sounds like for the home break-in scenario, you’re more of a shotgun fan.
AS: A rifle for home self defense is the most insane thing I’ve ever heard. You’re going to go through 5 homes with one. The odds on you hitting anything with it, it’s too big to move around; your home is a small, confined area…If you don’t have children, just get behind the bed; when they come into the room, you hit them with a flashlight, and you shoot them.
If you have children, and you have to make your way to them, then a shotgun with an 18-inch barrel is your best bet, or a handgun with at least a 6-inch barrel.
CD: When you mention 18-inch, I imagine there’s a lot of existing models that come like that maybe for just this reason. Are there particular brands you’ve kind of liked, and respected, in terms of looking at their developments over the years, and sort of what has that self-defense functionality?
AS: Just about any 18-inch barrel shotgun will work, but what I’ll say for your audience is if they don’t have a lot of money, and that’s the only purpose for this gun, they don’t have to spend a lot. For $250 to $275, you can get a Maverick 88, Security 88, and they’re made by Mossberg; and Mossberg made them because they used to be the workingman’s gun.
CD: When you advise folks, a lot of your videos online are already pretty darn educational, and go into details, and nuances of individual weaponry; when you’re helping someone think through the selection of a pistol for self protection, what’s going to work for them, what wouldn’t, what should people take into consideration, Alan?
AS: The first thing that’s really important is this. A lot of people, they walk into the shop, and they say, “I need something to carry,” and you put a small gun into their hand, and they go, “Oh, this is not comfortable in my hand.” The least important thing is comfort in your hand, for a self-protection weapon; the most important thing is comfort on your body, because you’re going to be carrying it on your body all day, and most of the night. That’s the first consideration.
When someone comes in, the most important thing to me is can they pull the slide, can they pull the trigger. Right now, the hottest guns I’m selling in the 380 range, the small, little, super-compact ones, is the one with the easiest slide, is the RM 380 by Remington; the one with the easiest trigger, and the slide is just a little heavier to pull, is the Taurus TCP 380.
CD: What are the selection criterion? If it’s boiling down to a couple models, what are the things people got to take into account, here?
AS: Trigger pull is really important because the heavier the trigger the safer it is; but, at the same time, the heavier the trigger, the less accurate it is. You have to look at the circumstances. If you are a person that’s a building manager, and you go collect rents, you may be outside of those statistics; so you may want a gun with a little longer barrel, or slightly bigger. You would want a gun that’s got a lighter trigger pull because it’s going to be more accurate.
CD: When it comes to finding someone to train you for self defense with firearms, specifically, you advise actually interviewing weapons trainers, individually.
AS: Yes. If anyone wants to look at some of my videos, I mention it in some of my videos, and I’m going to do a series, myself, on it, you have to know a little bit about the reality. Like you said, the 3-3-3 rule, three feet, three seconds, three shots; if someone starts training you to pull out a gun with two hands, and use a police stance, that’s not the guy you want teaching you. You want someone who has real street knowledge of self defense for a civilian.
CD: Alan, I know we are right up on time, and I also know that you cover a decent amount of these sorts of topics on your channel, online, and elsewhere. If people wanted to learn more from you, whether it be about different gun models, or various aspects of training safety, et cetera, where would they go on the web to find you?
AS: I have two places. The first is my You Tube channel, and it’s Alan’s Firearms, A-L-A-N-S F-I-R-E-A-R-M-S, forward slash, the letter ‘C’, forward slash … I’m sorry, it’s Youtube.com, forward slash C, forward slash Alan’s Firearms; that will bring you to my channel, or you can just go to YouTube, and type in Alan’s Firearms; it’s one word. You’ll get to my channel. I talk about bullets, holsters; I talk about everything. I teach people how to take apart, clean, and properly maintenance their firearms.
Alan’s Firearms dot com is my actual website. You can find my You Tube channel from there, but there’s also I sell a few products online.