Baltimore burning at night.
For the second time in just over a year, we’re seeing a wave of riots and it’s associated violence and destruction in large cities. This blog does not concern itself with the politics of these uprisings. In fact, I don’t really care about the causes and how some attempt to justify these horrific actions. The public servants in both Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore, Maryland can’t and won’t protect their citizens from this chaos. By the time they “call in” the National Guard and order is restored, at least three days pass, otherwise known as the first 72 hours. These cities, at least for a time, have become a Fergadishu and Baltadishu, like Mogadishu, a city in perpetual turmoil and violence.
Ruined buildings in Baltimore
All I can say if the old cliché “Forewarned is Forearmed”. The disturbing part is this violence is not localized to a single inner city, its spreading. Sympathizers in other cities are spreading and enabling the violence. It is only a matter of time until they isolate and engulf suburbs or a small town. At some point, if the unrest is widespread enough, government control and assistance will not be able to meet the demand, and we’ll be on our own for a period of time. It seems unbelievable but in the continental United States, the time for government response to reach citizens “on the X” is about three days or possibly longer.
Of course, the same holds true for power outages or even riots caused by a professional sports team winning or losing a championship. However, racial and political violence has particularly vicious aspects. Innocents are targeted at random or solely on the basis of their race. These riots and mob attacks are enabled by social media, which mobilizes large groups of hostile of hostile people and concentrates them faster than the police can respond. The savagery of mob rule and actions make the first 72 hours very dangerous, as dangerous as any place on earth.
There are some must have essentials. Three days of food, water, and of course weapons for defense. Since this is a firearms blog, the question is which kind of weapons are the most useful. In viewing the violence, it seems an urban rifle may be the most appropriate.
The shotgun, while very powerful and intimidating, has limited ammunition capacity. It’s a good but maybe not the optimal choice. Shotguns are also very cost effective in terms of purchase and ammunition price. If a family has more than one armed member, as shotgun is a good second weapon.
The Thompson comes in two carbine models and a pistol model. The carbines are the best choice for self defense.
Handguns are certainly portable, concealable, and some have respectable capacity. The limited effective range of the pistol constrains its’ usefulness. Most people are unable to hit distant targets under stress. But at close range the pistol is very effective. Everyone should have a pistol in addition to their long arm.
Many people would choose the intermediate cartridge rifle. ARs and AKs are a great choice. They only negative is the power of the cartridge. When fired indoors or in a confined space the noise and flash are a problem. This especially true if no hearing protection is worn.
The Thompson carbine is heavy but it is also a strong deterrent.
This leaves one of my favorite types of weapons, the pistol carbine. There are many available pistol carbines. A small list would include High-Point, Ruger PC9, Marlin Camp Carbines, Thompson Semi-Auto Carbines, and the M1 Carbine. Some of these are no longer in production but are available on the used gun market. The list would also include the dozens of military lookalikes such as the Uzi, the PPSH series, the Finnish Suomi, and pistol caliber AR carbines. Finally, the pistol caliber lever action rifles are good choices for defense and are widely available.
The Suomi M31 has excellent capacity, a 71 round drum, but it's a heavy weapon.
Magazine capacity is always an issue and should be a major consideration. Simple sights or optics are both excellent options for the citizen. Since most targets (hostiles) are engaged at ranges well under 100 yards. Simple iron sights are adequate. Low power combat optics or red dot sights are useful in low light situations, but may increase the cost of the complete weapon.
The Ruger PC 9 is a simple, rugged, and reliable carbine. Designed for law enforcement, it would serve the average citizen well.
As a rule I don’t care for added complexity or prone to fail batteries, or even flashlights. Remember, the point here is purely self-defense not a dystopian world where offensive combat or police actions take place. With the effects of adrenaline and seemingly a million things running through one’s mind, simpler is better.
On the matter of ballistics, pistol rounds and the 30 carbine perform well in 16 inch barrels. I would use +P rated ammunition for serious pruposes, and regular ball for practice.
The 30 cal M1 Carbine is a powerful weapon for it's size, original and newly made carbines are an excellent choice with 15 or 30 round magazines.