I’ve just read Boston T. Party’s Gun Bible and it transformed my thoughts and skills in the areas of liberty and self-defense more than any book I’ve read. William Buppert’s energizing article, Arm Thyself, left me scrambling to obtain a copy and I thank him for setting me on such a fruitful path.
My enthusiasm for the book came from being out of balance. Most of the effort of “Arming myself” in the past 15 years has been spiritual, intellectual or emotional. Like most, I place a higher value on avoiding physical confrontations than performing well within them. But, the time has come to bring physical preparation into line with the spiritual and intellectual. Mr. Party’s Bible has been the right “tool” for that job.
While no beginner to self-defense or liberty my premises and beliefs in the physical aspects of these areas were disassembled, investigated and reassembled into a higher state by reading (and acting on) the authors’ advice.
The book is an entertaining nonfiction reference book (yes, such a creature exists!) written by a guy with a knack for putting things simply. Take its 848-page size as an indication of its value. The author gets right to the point and covers a lot of ground.
Prior to discussing the first rifle (the authors’ passion) there’s a normal size book of material on:
- Safety & Handling
- Self-defense & The Law
- Tactics & Training
- Women & Guns
Reading this “introductory” material it’s obvious the author is one thorough gun advocate. He takes no shortcuts, every subject is addressed head on and I found myself scribbling little to-do lists in the margins.
Picking a small section out of “Tactics & Training” Mr. Party tells where he believes guns fit on the “Force Continuum.” It should go without saying to this audience that the “Force” Boston is referring to is defensive, not initiated.
Mr. Party recommends using these tools & tactics (in this order) before using a gun:
- Guile & Wit
- Verbal warnings & Profanity
- Sly escape
- Pepper spray
- Hand-to-hand combat
If you’ve tried all this and are still facing threat of death or great bodily harm then you’re exhausted and at the losing end of a series of failures. What reasonable man would question the use of a gun, at this point?
Using a gun may not mean firing a gun. According to Gary Kleck, a criminologist from Florida State University, Guns prevent an estimated 2.5 million crimes a year, or 6,849 per day. There was a study done on police encounters involving a gun and the avg. number of shots fired was 2.3 over 40,000 encounters. Although I’ve seen no formal study I suspect the number of shots fired per “civilian” encounter is also quite low.
Sure, guns are fascinating. But, Mr. Party’s gun bible has the appropriate use of these tools in perfect perspective. Perhaps this is why his urgent advice to acquire and learn about them is so “disarming.”
u201COnly Rifles Can Win Wars”
We hear military types say that “Boots on the Ground” are needed to occupy and control territory. Boston would add that they’d better have rifles and know how to use them.
With all the high-tech weapons out there a rifle is the primary tool of an invading force. And, if the opposing force knows how to use rifles then the whole “conquest” rapidly becomes a giant pain in the arse. I wonder if this point is being made in present day Iraq and Afghanistan. In the old news stories of the Russian invasion of Afghanistan, when I was a kid, it seemed like the Afghanis got Russia to withdrawal at the point of a bunch of old bolt-action rifles.
Nukes, smart bombs, artillery, tanks, machine guns and grenades wipe out scores of resisters. But, such methods are PR problems. With indiscriminate casualties the moral high-ground is lost and a very pissed-off enemy is created. How much more difficult is “occupation” or “removal” if locals resist with whatever rifles they have?
Mr. Party explains, “A man with just one rifle can effectively control all he can see.” And, “Three coordinated and efficient Riflemen (using .308 MBRs) are more effective than a full squad of enemy soldiers.”
With this in mind you also have to wonder if an invading force is ever as motivated to conquer as locals are to protect home and family. Adding rifles to this resistance is a very significant factor.
Handguns In Perspective
Boston puts handguns in perspective by saying: “A handgun is merely a weapon used to fight your way back to your rifle – which you shouldn’t have left behind.”
Or, how about, “A rifle is what you go to a fight with; a handgun is what you get caught in a fight with.”
Handgun aficionados, take heart. Mr. Party has oodles of experience and advice on them and you won’t be disappointed. Boston does recommend having handguns should you ever get “caught” in a fight. But, they are far down the list from his rifle choices.
The takeaway for me is that handguns should be used to evade and escape from a dangerous situation. The number of rounds in the handgun represents the time available for the escape. The place your escaping to is . . . wherever your rifle is.
You do have a rifle nearby, don’t you?
BTP Optimal Armory
The authors “Shopping List” in section IV is one of my favorite parts of the book. It’s so specific and well thought out it forces you to think about your own choices (or lack of them). Boston gives comprehensive and specific advice about building your armory. Even if you don’t take his advice there’s much to learn by contemplating the choices of a consummate warrior.
Prior to reading Boston’s book I wrote an article called Your Optimal Armory. Given the authors vast expertise it was gratifying to find many similarities between my article and Boston’s recommendations. Whereas I start with a simple revolver and expand outwards (IF you feel the need) Boston recommends a Battle Rifle first (more likely to be banned) and throws in a revolver if you can still afford it.
Mr. Party’s recs come with a background and rationale that few could articulate. And, once you think you’re all set he hits you with ideas like:
- Having a duplicate battery (like Ripley in Aliens)
- Should you cache anything off-site? What and How?
- What about arming your family, friends or travel companions?
- Do you have spare parts for all tools?
- Do you have several thousand rounds for each caliber/cartridge? (A one-week training course could eat up to 800.)
Yes, Mr. Party has thought of these things.
M1A and FN-FAL over AR-10
After a detailed review of every worthy battle rifle Boston assigns himself a tough choice on behalf of his readers: Choosing only one. After all, they’re expensive and the reader may not have the nerve or the bucks to dive-in.
Mr. Party admits to being taken in by the ergonomics of the AR-10 as a natural follow-on to the AR-15 platform. Then, after much field experience he comes out with the M1A or FN-FAL as more reliable choices. One is betting their life on the reliability of their battle rifle in the circumstances in which one would have to be used.
My article recommends a .308 Battle rifle as the most extreme weapon you’re likely to ever need. My level of expertise at the time was to say that the choice of the .308 cartridge for your battle rifle (not the .223) is more important than its launch platform (the rifle). That leaves the reader with a lot of choices. Boston’s book gives the rifleman the benefit of specificity and experience in choosing their platform.
.308 over .223
Given the range of cartridge choices I was happy to find Boston’s enthusiasm for the .308 cartridge. With no experience with the .223 I came to the intellectual conclusion of questioning the point of it. With vastly more knowledge and experience Boston has the same question. His answer is to recommend a battle rifle in .223 for less than 200-yard encounters, city dwellers or “Perfect for the ladies and/or children” who might not like the recoil of the .308. After working through all sorts of volume and weight tradeoffs he also says the .223 may be suitable for long patrols, but, not ones where you know there will be problems. In that case, you’d want to some kind of .308 to bring along.
Since reading this I’ve also heard “experts” say that criminals have taken to using body armor. Without researching whether this is true it would be a point in the .223’s favor for stopping such loons. But it favors the .223 only over a pistol or shotgun. A .308 still comes out ahead, in this scenario. If you’ve got guys invading your home with body armor you’ve got bigger problems than over-penetration.
What nobody seems to bring up in either case is that you or your family will most likely have their hearing damaged with one shot fired out of a .223 or a .308. You’d better have hearing protection by the bedside or have a silencer which is a hassle all of its own requiring FBI background checks and such.
After weighing the pros and cons (and costs) I’ve decided to skip the whole .223 rifle craze and save the money for something else on Boston’s shopping list. I would not feel at a disadvantage in the theoretical scenario where others recommend a .223 to have a shotgun and two .40 S&W handguns. Back when the M16 was still unreliable I recall actual troops in Vietnam who dumped it for a pump action shotgun. Now its more reliable. And we also have .308 battle rifles in the AR platform.
Because “A handgun is merely a weapon used to fight your way back to your rifle . . . ,” Mr. Party would advise having a rifle you can get to at all times, even when traveling.
Low key, collapsible stock and powerful enough to be decisive in a jam is the way to go, Boston says. Three cheers for a .44 magnum lever gun next to the spare tire on your next trip to Reno.
I remember putting a shotgun in the back seat for the ride home from work during the LA Riots. We counted 22 plumes of smoke on each side of the freeway, that day. The traffic forced us to take the side streets home. I was glad to have “shotgun insurance,” in addition to car insurance, for the trip home and the rest of the week.
44 over 357 Mag
Mr. Party is fond of the 44 magnum in a revolver and/or lever gun. They outperform the same combination in .357 magnum. I recommend the .357 magnum combo in my article as an extension of using the .357 revolver for your carry gun. This maximizes utility while minimizing cartridges stored.
However, for specific trail gun use the power and simplicity of the 44 magnum revolver/lever gun combo can’t be beat. Perfect for cougars, alligators, bears and whatever other bad guys you might encounter camping or fishing. Take along 200 rounds and forget about which gun they’re for.
Note: Since there’s no such thing as a concealable .44 mag (at least, not for me) your .44 mag revolver will be an additional gun to keep and maintain should you make this choice.
About the Author
It’s rare to find a person with a huge amount of understanding and experience on a subject who can write simply and well about it.
Reading Mr. Party’s Gun Bible I got curious about the author and found a link to an online interview with him. Listening to the interview it struck me how understated and reserved the author is in dialogue.
In the interview Boston recalled a conversation with a police officer who asked him, “Why do you have so many guns?” Boston’s answer was simple, polite and the great hope of every law-abiding citizen: “You’ll never have to know if you’ll just leave me alone.”
Thumbing Through the Bible
Think of this article as me thumbing through this Bible and writing 50 words on the verses that caught my eye. Come to think of it, this is probably why I’ve seen recommendations, but, few reviews. It’s hard to get your mind around so much material delivered so simply. Who ever heard of an entertaining nonfiction reference book?
I don’t recommend limiting exploration of this subject to one book. But, if I had to choose only one it would be this one. It delivers more insight with every read and takes on more depth as the readers’ experience grows.
Kind of like, say, a Bible.
PART I: THE BASICS 1 Terminology 2 Safety & Handling 3 Self-Defense & The Law 4 Tactics & Training 5 After The Smoke Clears…
PART II: BATTLE RIFLES 6 Combat Rifle History 7 Modern Combat Self-Loading Rifles 8 Combat Rifle Cartridges 9 Rating the Combat Rifles 10 Battle Rifles (i.e., at least .308) 11 Battle Carbines (i.e., .223, 7.62×39, etc.) 12 The AR15 13 Dealing with the Post-Ban Blues 14 The .264 Boston & Its Rifle
PART III: GUNS IN GENERAL 15 Handguns 16 Shotguns 17 Bolt-Action Rifle Cartridges 18 Bolt-Action Rifles 19 .50BMG Target Rifles 20 Other Rifles 21 pre-1899 Guns 22 Women & Guns 23 Gear 24 Caching 25 Odds & Ends PART IV: ACQUISITION 26 A Quick Shopping Guide 27 How To Buy, Sell, & Trade 28 You & The BATF 29 “Curios or Relics”
PART V: CITIZEN DISARMAMENT 30 Federal “Gun Controls” 31 Politically Corrected Glossary (by Alan Korwin) 32 Letter to a Columbine Student 33 The Real Goal of “Gun Control” 34 Gun Laws in the 50 States & D.C. 35 Creeping Citizen Disarmament 36 Coercive Buy-up Programs 37 Why I Will Not Obey California’s Gun Registration Edict (by Brian Puckett) 38 Confiscation 39 When The Raids Come
PART VI: COURAGE 40 Wealth vs. Liberty 41 Preparing for the Worst 42 Patriot Light! 43 Outrage, Then Courage 44 Boston Is Nuts! 45 Sources
Terence Gillespie [send him mail] has worked at IBM, played jazz piano on cruise ships, is an instrument-rated pilot, songwriter, and is attempting to optimize every aspect of life one article at a time on his blog at YourOptimal.com.