I know that a lot of gun bloggers carry a lot of animosity towards The Truth About Guns, and they have their reasons for the way they feel. For the most part, I’ve found the site’s content entertaining and often well written.
Then I made the mistake of reading Nick Leghorn’s Self Defense Tip: Don’t Use a Rifle.
I do not know Mr. Leghorn, and bear him no ill will. Based entirely upon his provided bio, I strongly suspect that his basic firearms proficiency and competition shooting skills would put me to shame in any sort of 1-on-1 comparison that you could come up with regarding the competitive use of firearms.
That allowed, I feel confident in stating that if you read his article at the link above and follow his advice, you will be putting your family and neighbors at great personal risk for serious injury or death.
Put frankly, it is mall ninja grade opinion, devoid of facts. Let’s “Fisk” just a few of the more dangerous factual errors.
Let’s start with his call to create a perfect situation for a negligent discharge.
With a handgun, you can quickly turn around to retreat before the bad guy starts hosing down your previous firing position with commie milsurp lead. Moving through the hallway to get back to your family and protect them won’t be a problem because the handgun is small and light and fits nicely in the waistband of your Fruit of the Looms if need be.
We’re going to presume that by “Fruit of the Looms,” Mr. Leghorn is referring to the thin elastic waistband of male underwear, in particular. Women’s underwear bands (and the rest of the garment as well) tend to be even more etherial.
I would challenge any shooter to remove the magazine and clear the chamber from his/her pistol, or clear the cylinder of his/her revolver, and attempt to slip said handgun into his/her underwear waistband. I suggest doing this over a carpeted floor, as that is where your handgun will immediately be deposited. I tried this with both subcompact and duty sized centerfire polymer pistols, and saw no need to extend the test to my metal-framed sidearms.
Advocating Mexican carry is your skivvies is a horrific idea, and will lead to a dropped gun, or worse, a panicked shooter attempting to catch a dropped gun. But we’re just getting started.
In the very next paragraph, he makes this demonstrably false claim.
Even when doing other tasks such as herding your family into your bedroom and out of harm’s way or barricading the door, the pistol is small enough that you don’t need to put it down to lift things or move stuff. And the ammunition, while powerful enough to put someone down for good, doesn’t do walls so well. And that’s a good thing, since the neighbors aren’t too keen on the idea of extra ventilation in their home.
Hundreds if not thousands of scientific tests, backyard tests, and real-world shootings have proven time and again that centerfire pistol bullets dramatically over-penetrate building materials in comparison to the common .223 Remington/5.56 NATO chambered in AR-type rifles or many shotgun loadings (slugs excepting). I’m not asking you to take my word for it. Read the results for yourself.
Leghorn then makes several more generalizations before dropping this concentrated bombshell of ignorance.
Rifles are, without a doubt, the worst idea. They’re cumbersome to maneuver, you need to put them down to do anything productive, and they don’t give you any additional benefits. The shotgun got you a little wiggle room in terms of accuracy, but the rifle is just as unforgiving – shooting wise – with the added benefit of having to worry about where the rounds eventually end up. Like the neighbor’s bedroom. Oh, and they’re much louder than handguns and therefor more likely to permanently harm your family members’ hearing.
The only situation where this ranking (pistols best, then shotguns, then rifles) is reversed is if you have large swaths of land and expect the bad guys to be firing at you from dozens of yards away. In that situation, a rifle would come in handy. But considering where most people in the world live (namely cities and suburbs) it doesn’t make a lot of sense.
Perhaps Mr. Leghorn is thinking of defending his loved ones with a bolt-action deer rifle, or a .416 Rigby double rifle from his last African safari. Rifles in any caliber aside, he’s decidedly wrong about the penetration of handgun bullets in building materials, and someone relying upon that bad advice could get someone killed.
A semi-automatic carbine in .223 Remington/5.56 NATO offers better stopping power per shot, less risk of over-penetration per shot, higher capacity, better reliability, better intrinsic accuracy, more sighting options, more options to affix lights to better identify possible targets, and of course slings to allow one or both hands to go free if needed while still retaining control over your weapon.
TTAG’s editors failed to catch dangerous ignorance in this post, and I hope that they do a better job editing their published content before they give anyone else potentially fatal advice.
Update: You should always give credit where due. I emailed Robert Farago, owner of TTAG, and he had Leghorn make some (minor) corrections to the article.