Obsolete Firearms

This post is just up to fuel discussion. First up I’ll say that there really is no such thing as an “Obsolete” gun. Guns have changed a LOT since people started lobbing rocks with gunpowder, but the human body has changed very little. So the same Brown Bess musket that was the top-of-the-line infantry rifle 300 years ago will kill a man just as graveyard dead in 2012 as it did in 1722 (with the exception of modern medical care and rescue). And gags like AK vs. AR Vs. Mosin Nagant are funny because while even tho the M91/30 rifle was fairly primitive even when it was being issued to Soviet troops when compared to the other bolt-action infantry guns at the time, its still a formidable weapon that fires a powerful and effective rounds.

That being said there are some guns that seem to have past their prime as weapons of war and self defense. So let’s discuss what you think about all of these. Again none of this is set in stone, and we’re talking only defensive and war use. People still use muzzle-loading rifles and bows for special hunting seasons and areas, also every there are “Shotgun Only” seasons and areas, and of course you will ONLY see shotguns in duck blinds and people bird hunting.

Let’s lead with the old “Room Broom”, the proverbial scatter-gun. The Shotgun. While Michael Bane lays down a VERY good case for double-barrel defensive guns, Caleb wrote this great article about how shotguns may be in their twilight as defensive guns. Certainly a good case has been made that various 5.56×45 ammo has less over-penetration than the bench-standard #00 buck load. Also in home defense distances shotgun patterns really don’t fan out much, so the myth that “you don’t need to aim a shotgun” is foolishness, as you will need to aim them just as much as a rifle at close range. At longer ranges the pattern gets bigger, but soon it gets so big that a target in the center of your pattern might not feel much shot. Really except for a magical “sweet spot” a rifle performs better. Further, anybody who’s spent some time shooting 12 gauge high-brass loads, and 5.56×45 ammo, you’ll note that one has gentle recoil, and the other beats your shoulder into hamburger.

And that’s not getting into ammo capacity and the mechanics of reloading. I’ll just say personally I was planning on upgrading the furniture on my Mossberg 590 to make it my ideal view of a combat shotgun…I’ve since decided I’m better off saving my pennies for another .308 Battle rifle as a backup for my FAL because currently I’d grab my SKS before I’d grab the Mossy. Just my opinion.

Shotguns used to really shine in the “Entry Gun” field. Short, maneuverable guns use by Police and Military entering structures to engage hostiles, or for home owners clearing their home of threats. The other gun traditionally seen in that role was the submachine gun. Makes sense, really. When you look at the mass of shotgun pellets, and a burst of pistol ammo from a sub-gun the two are VERY similar when it comes to terminal ballistics. Tam has a great insight on that.

There’s only one problem: Most of the people who used machine pistols have gone to rifle-caliber “shorty” carbines over the last few years; any agency still using the MP5 is probably going to replace them with M4s or shorty G36’s or the like, rather than another pistol-caliber weapon. I felt like I was looking at the sleekest, most-advanced, CAD-CAM, carbon fiber and titanium… horse and buggy. I wish ‘em all the best of luck, though, or maybe they can translate the system to something that fires a rifle round.

A few weeks ago I shot a York Arms Conspirator in .300 BLK, I believe the barrel on this unit was 10″ long, and it was REALLY small and REALLY light, and even on full-auto it’s recoil was very controllable. When you factor in all the above stated advantages in Rifles over shotguns, and make note that like SMGs the .300 BLK can be fed subsonic ammo for the purpose of suppressing, the sub-gun really doesn’t seem to have much relevance anymore.

As fun as sub-guns are, I don’t own a single pistol-caliber rifle, or a SMG, and no intentions of owning one. The only gun I’d be interested in owning would be a VZ-61 and that is for no rational reason at all, as a matter of fact I feel strange professing my attraction to those silly little SMGs in such a public place.

Last is one that I have the most personal conflict in. The full-size pistol.

Now I’m the guy who lugs a commander-sized 1911 around just about every day, and I would still say that if somebody who can carry and/or conceal a full-size pistol, especially a large-capacity one like the M&P9, Glock 17, or XD9, they should do that.

Still while I shoot my 1911 better than most of my pistols, its only an 8+1 gun, because I find a slim gun is easier for me to carry than a double-stack (not to mention the difficulty of getting large magazines in this state). How much of an advantage do I gain with this gun over my subcompact .45 pocket gun?

I didn’t really get into old-world mouse guns. The little tiny guns in .22, .25, and .32. They used to be the only way to get a gun into your pocket. These days there are .380s that are close to the same size, further now there are 9mm guns that are getting very close to this size.

Still with all these small 9mm guns and of course all the guns in what is considered “Compact” size in damn near every caliber you want, and the ability to stuff massive magazines into many of them are we really gaining much lugging all that extra gun around?

Just some interesting thoughts for the day.

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14 Responses to Obsolete Firearms

  1. bluesun says:

    And, like everything, it mostly comes down to personal preference. If you like to shoot a particular gun, even if it may be an irrational choice when compared to other models, you are going to shoot it more, and be more confident and proficient with it. So when I giggle a little bit when someone says they like, say, a Judge, and they use the defense of “Well, you wouldn’t want to stand in the way of the thing when it goes off” (which seems like a really lame rationalization to me, as I wouldn’t want to be hit with a 2×4 either, but that doesn’t mean you should carry one around with you all day), if they know that gun and run it well, who am I to judge (heh)?

    • Weerd Beard says:

      That’s why I linked Michael Bane’s article. Michael is a cowboy action shooter, he can do vastly more damage with two boxes of high-brass shells in a SxS shotgun that I can do with my 590. How can you argue with that?

  2. Bubblehead Les says:

    With all due respect to Caleb, he needs to realize that most people in the Country would hurt themselves if you handed them an $800 AR and told them to defend themselves. But most people could use a $200 Shotgun for Home Defense with a minimum of training. Also, there are still a LOT of Places that if the local Political Elite found out that one had an “Evil Black Assault Rifle” in their possession, the SWAT Team would be on them like White on Rice! Can you say “New Jersey,” Boys and Girls? And who’s to say that, down the Road, some Anti-Freedom Politician gets enough Power to Ban those Same “Evil Black Assault Rifles?” Look at what Mickey Bloomberg is now trying to do. (Sidenote: Would someone slap that Idiot upside the head and tell him his Jurisdiction ENDS at the City Limits?).

    Now, having said all that, I think if the Single Stack 9mm Pocket Pistol keeps on going, we’ll see the decline of the Pocket Revolver. Just look at the Specs on the Brand-New S+W Shield. Lighter, Flatter, a little more Ammo, easier to carry Spare Mags instead of Speedloaders, and for about the same MSRP as a J-Frame? Sounds like to me we are in a “Generational Change,” similar to when Glock brought out his 17 (and commenced to rest on his Laurels), or the M1 Garands appearance in the 30’s.

    Now, having said all that, of course the Wheelie Guns are still a Valid method of Defense. But I think in a few decades, they’ll be relegated to the Night Stand. Not gonna happen overnight, but I think it’s coming. YMMV, of course.

    • Weerd Beard says:

      The cost of a good shotgun is a VERY strong selling point. You can get a decent used Remington 870 or Mossberg 500, as well as old Ithica guns that still have a LOT of life left in them for Sub $200 all day long. Even with cheaper rifles with mixed reputations like the WASR-10 and the Kel-Tec SU-16 are tough to find even at the $400 level. Even Yugo SKSs are running pretty high, tho the price is down from the previous Obama rush.

      Still I remember the first time I ran high-brass buck down range. I didn’t want to shoot it again! I will disagree with the training bit. If you can shoot a semi-auto handgun, you can run an AR-15.

      I 100% agree with the J-Frame. Granted I desperately want a LCR in both .22 and .357 Magnum. My Beretta 21A tosses .22 just as well, but smaller and lighter, and my PM45 holds 6 rounds of .45 ACP +P on the short mag (up to 8 with the long mag) and depending on how you crunch the numbers those numbers can be VERY close. When you step down to the .38 +P small revolvers the 9×19 pocket guns kick their ass in every way, and given that quality modern pistols are as reliable as revolvers, its now just down to personal preferences.

      And in the end there is no such thing as a truly obsolete firearm. You’re talking J-frames, but even a Colt Dragoon will still put a man on his back today as it did when a man’s “Work Vehicle” was a mule!

      • kfg says:

        “I desperately want a LCR in both .22 and .357 Magnum.”

        Throw in a matching pair of Henry lever action carbines and I’m there. The logistics of one man alone for the rest of his life are different from those of an LEO/Mil squad for the rest of the engagement. So yeah, put me down for the pistol/carbine pair for self determination.

    • McThag says:

      Les, I’m going to call a BS flag on most people hurting themselves with an AR.

      There’s a little place called basic training that puts lie to that line of thought. There’d be a lot more injuries in basic if it were true.

      That’s the same place we can put to bed the idea that autos are too complicated for first time shooters as well.

  3. Tam says:

    Last is one that I have the most personal conflict in. The full-size pistol.

    I don’t see it going anywhere. What, the po-po are gonna switch to the LC9?

    • Weerd Beard says:

      Dunno, I saw a Detective from local PD with a Glock 27 on his belt.

      Certainly many departments issue G19/G23s for whatever they count for.

      That’s the one I’m least convinced of in this article.

  4. Bob S. says:

    As fun as sub-guns are, I don’t own a single pistol-caliber rifle, or a SMG, and no intentions of owning one.

    And on the other hand I fully intend to buy several pistol caliber rifles – I see them as a viable option for long term prep ala TEOWAWKI. Fun to shoot, cheap to practice with and matched with current handguns I could hand a handgun and long gun to someone with a single caliber for ammunition.

  5. Chad says:

    could something be considered obsolete if ammo for it is no longer available?

  6. Critter says:

    at the rate S&W is churning out J frames (they just added a third shift) i can’t see them going anywhere any time soon.

  7. Firehand says:

    Agreed on price: you can get a nice 20-gauge pump for a bleepload less cash than a base-level AR, and for a lot of people that price difference is critical. So is the image difference in some places.

    I’ve got a scattergun by the bed, and I’m using the Winchester low-recoil 00 buck; VERY noticeable reduction in recoil from standard buck, and at home-defense ranges I can’t believe a goblin would know the difference. Plus, I can still use my shoulder after practicing with this stuff.

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