This Advice Might Save Your Life: Don't Bring Ayn Rand to a Gun Fight

I believe it was Robert Heinlein who first said, “An armed society is a polite society.” He meant armed as in packing heat. As in loaded and trained. As in cocked and locked.

Heinlein did not mean, “A society armed with information, dialogue, smarts, verbal-power-that-dispels-liberal notions, an Ayn Rand background, a memory for past articles, or an intense knowledge in Libertarian ideas.”

There’s a point where you must stop honing your argument about your rights and learn how to defend your rights. And that point is always far sooner than you or I think it is.

It’s Time for Gunpowder Residue

Until you can defend your own self, your rights mean nothing. Sure, I wish our government was a good one. I wish the liberals would stop lying, I wish the conservatives would be conservative and not liberals, I wish everybody there thought as Ron Paul thinks. But they don’t and they won’t.

You should not take up arms against the government. That would be the stupidest thing you could do — and it would be the last thing you would do.

I am recommending that you learn to defend yourself and your family. That means defend them from whatever threat is active. By this I mean a physical threat. You will always lose the fight if somebody attacks you physically and you respond by quoting Ayn Rand.

The first rule of a gunfight is: Always bring a gun. (That happens to be a good rule to use in a knife fight too.)

The last line of defense you have is a gun. (In some cases, such as mine, the last line of defense is the back-up gun you wear.) Your wit is your first line of defense. Don’t depend on your wit to save your life because in a real bodily threat it will not.

Concealed Carry

Readers will write me and (properly) disagree with what I’m about to suggest. I understand their logic; I used to argue the same point. I’ve changed my mind but if you choose to ignore the following advice, I completely trust your judgment as long as you do everything else.

If you live in a concealed-carry state (and if you don’t, why not?), I recommend you get a concealed carry license. Here is my reasoning: I love my family more than I fear the government so I’d carry even if not allowed. If I’m not allowed to have a concealed weapon, I’ll still arm myself. But as long as I can carry legally I will do that.

Sure my name’s then on their roles. But I write for! I wrote a book for I speak my mind so my name’s already on their roles.

The concealed carry license is nothing but a bribe. 60 years ago, when you wanted the Mafia to leave you alone, you’d pay them off with “hush money.” The word “license” is code for “hush money” to the United States Government. Pay them their hush money license fee and they’ll leave you alone. For now at least. Right now, they care more about the vig than anything else.

Getting stopped without one ensures lots of trouble for you. When you didn’t pay the Gambinos and Gottis, they broke your legs. Pay the Gambinos, i.e., get the license, and you’ll be better off for the time being. The Gambinos always wanted more money in time. They know you pay and they’ll squeeze you for more. Some day, the Feds will not allow you to have a license. Then you must make the decision to be legal or not. But until that time, your freedom (I use that term loosely) is better assured if you’re legal.

First Things First

I never knew how important training was… until I was properly trained.

Before I could spell gun (I’m a recovering public school graduate), I had some. I didn’t know how to shoot most of them, I didn’t know how to load most of them, but I did know that the freedom to purchase them was dwindling. My answer was to buy now and ask questions later.

I thought I was fine. But I had a fear of them basically. My wife really had a fear of them and of me having them. I was afraid to shoot any of them so I never did.

We decided to take a gun class. It lasted an entire afternoon. It was a general introduction to pistols class. We finished the class knowing so much more than we knew before! We shot our first shots in that class. We built confidence. We learned safety rules. We were ready to defend ourselves. We thought.

That was 5 years ago. Our weapons sat in storage (we wouldn’t keep most of them where we live, that would be long-term foolish for many reasons). Of the two we kept close by, we knew we could fire them when and if needed.

We never shot them. We never practiced with them. Not one time since that afternoon class. We could not quote one safety rule and we could not remember one thing we learned in that afternoon class. In a way, we were worse off than before because we were probably cockier than we would have been before that afternoon session.

Early this year, I read a newsletter by Dr. Arthur Robinson, a man I completely respect and admire, a man who perhaps furthers science more than any other scientist in the United States because he refuses all government money and the ties that go with it. Dr. Robinson created the #2 or #3 best-selling homeschool curriculum in the country (therefore the world).

In his monthly newsletter typically devoted to science but often the world in general and social issues too, Dr. Robinson recommended a 6-day gun class designed by and taught in the manner of Colonel Jeff Cooper. Col. Cooper was the man responsible for changing our military and law enforcement officials shooting style; instead of shooting from the hip the way Matt Dillon shoots, Col. Cooper showed that accuracy was far better achieved at a time cost of only about 1/8th of a second, by shooting straight out with your eye aligned with your front sights aligned with your target. One shot well-placed is infinitely better in a gun battle than 9 rounds that miss.

We did not want to spend the $1,000 each for the training which also needed for us to stay in a lodge on the property (more expense) to be there for everything.

Then, a month or so later, Dr. Gary North wrote a strong suggestion that anybody who cherished freedom needed to take an immersion course, 5—6 days, taught in the style of Col. Cooper. I suppose we could make more excuses, but when Dr. Robinson and Dr. North prescribe the same medicine, it’s in our best interest to swallow the pills.

We signed up.

The class met its goal of being full immersion for 6-days. It began with, “This is a gun,” and it always went all day and often into the evenings. On the sixth day you learn to clear a house of bad guys single-handedly sprinkled with good guys and hostages all throughout. It’s intense and you are exhausted once it’s over.

The class would have been a bargain at $10,000. Each.

After 6 days, as opposed to one afternoon, you have the proper safety procedures ingrained into your mind. You have the proper stance, sight picture, and shooting methods ingrained into your mind. You have gone through up to 1,000 rounds in those 6 days. You know your weapon, how to carry it, how to clean it, and how to use it.

The only thing you don’t have is muscle memory. Your job once such a class is over is to practice, daily (“dry practice” unloaded) and 2—3 times a week with ammo at your range. 5 to 15 minutes daily is all you need. The goal is to train your body, your “muscle memory,” to react when required; in a situation that warrants such action your mind will not be focused on proper procedures to hit your target. As long as you have properly practiced, your muscle memory takes over when needed to do the job you trained for.

Do Everything Needed — NOW

Once properly trained as I’ve just described, then and only then will you be ready to carry. Time is not on your side. You must get a weapon, you must take the training, you must get the license if you decide that’s right for you (it took 81 days for the government to send us ours!), and you must train your muscle memory once you’ve gone through proper training of your mind.

Both Thunder Ranch and Gunsite teach the proper Col. Cooper methods. If you’ve heard bad rumors about Gunsite, they used to be true but things have changed. Col. Cooper approves of the new owners. Similar training exists elsewhere. For a complete list, you need to purchase immediately Boston’s Gun Bible. Don’t get Boston’s book first, read it, and then work on the remaining items (get a weapon, sign up for training, apply for concealed license…); instead, get Boston’s book WHILE you work on the other issues. As I said earlier, time is against you. Boston’s Gun Bible answers every question a wanna-be gunfighter needs answering and it should be next to your other books of importance, read and re-read, then re-read again.

Ask yourself this question: Is the world getting safer or more dangerous? Are public school graduates today less or more selfish and greedy and skill-less than ever before? Are illegal immigrants filling more or less jail space than ever before?

Your answers will help convince you that time is against you every minute you wait.

If your spouse is hesitant, let me tell you about my beautiful bride of 15 years. She’s small. She didn’t want to take the gun course. She trusted Dr. Robinson’s advice but didn’t like it. She saw the recommended gun for the class (semi-automatic .45, 1911 style) and it was too big for her to hold.

Yet, she knew she needed to carry given the world we live in. At the end of the first day of class, she was wearing and shooting her full-size Colt .45 semi-automatic and cool as ice. By the end of the 6th day, she took first place in 3 of the 4 shooting competitions in the class of men and women, both older and younger than we were.

I am more careful about ensuring my lady’s happiness now that I’ve seen her shoot.

Choice of Weapon?

Books are filled with which is best. The more concealable your gun is the less powerful it will be. Your gun will never be small enough to conceal and big enough when you need to use it. Guns were made to be comforting, not to be comfortable.

What caliber will stop a crackhead on meth trying to kill your wife? A .22 will if the shot is well-placed. Good luck. I need more stopping power.

A .40-caliber is today’s bare minimum self-defense round. Most in the know shoot .45 as their primary self-defense semi-automatic weapon. The .45 is slightly too small for me. I like a .50. That’s why I carry the best (only?) .50-caliber semi-auto on the planet, a Guncrafter Industries .50. These are handmade by craftsmen who believe a semi-automatic, when made and used correctly, offer 100% reliability. Yes, 100%. If you want first-class service, ask for Alex (the owner who is readily available for any customer) and tell him I sent you. I get absolutely nothing from the recommendation except the pleasure in knowing I just sent you for the very best self-defense weapon on the planet. This .50 caliber fits in a .45 holster, is the same approximate weight, and adds no discernable recoil over a .45 — unless you’re the target.

Children and Guns

Boston’s Gun Bible recommends that you gun-proof your child and not child-proof your gun. Once you get your proper training, teach your children the same. The NRA offers an Eddie Eagle program you can follow to develop your child’s safe respect and accuracy with a gun as he or she gets older. Yes, the NRA has problems with compromise but you’ll still benefit from many of their programs.

The Klinton Administration’s Surgeon General, Jocelyn Elders, said that toy guns are dangerous. I tend to agree. They teach children bad habits that can kill them (or someone else) later. You need to respect her advice and keep the toy guns out of their hands!

Buy your children real guns instead. Teach them how to handle their weapons safely and accurately. They will know from the beginning that guns are not toys but are weapons to be respected and mastered.

Argument or Action

I come full circle back to the premise. You need to train your mind to grasp the concept of freedom and the importance of self-defense. There’s a time and place for honing your debate skills. Very early in life is the best time. Once done, you need more than debate skills. You can only hone those skills on the firing range. Then you deserve to be called a freedom lover.

Not only did Heinlein say that an armed society is a polite society, he also made it clear that you can have freedom or you can have peace but you’ll never have both. Which is more important to you? It’s very peaceful reading another book by Rothbard on your front lawn. And I recommend that you do so. Right after you clean your weapon from your practice drills.

What are you doing to ensure your family’s future safety? Are you reading Atlas Shrugged a ninth time? Or are you loading .45s or .50s into your gun’s magazine?

November 20, 2004

Greg Perry Archives

Political Theatre

LRC Blog

LRC Podcasts