Gun Talk: Home front



WON is about hunting and fishing, so I have been somewhat reluctant to discuss home defense. But hunters and anglers also are people with families and homes, so with the social awakening of the COVID-19 situation, perhaps this subject does deserve at least some discussion.

I assume that all WON readers who are hunters already have some sort of firearm. In a pinch, any hunting firearm CAN serve double duty in home defense. Some are not the best for that application but can work.

Also, there are a lot of homes that have old or even antique guns that are no longer used for hunting or recreational shooting. If they are in good working order, they are as effective now as they were when they were made, assuming they are fed the proper fuel (ammo).


For example, a dresser drawer .32 revolver from the late 19th or early 20th Century still can do its stuff. Or, an old single-shot .22 delivers the same ballistic performance as a new semi-auto .22. Just doesn’t do it as fast, but one is better than none.

Heck, even a flintlock CAN be better than nothing in a pinch. They worked fine for both offensive and defensive purposes for a couple hundred years. Just make the first shot count, because follow-ups don’t come quickly.

TIMELESS DEFENSE is characterized by this trio of long guns, all of them from bygone times and all of them capable of performing defensive duty, even though the flintlock at top is both clumsy and slow in any defensive mode. Center is an Iver Johnson break-open single-shot 16-gauge shotgun, and below is a Stevens falling block single-shot .22 rimfire rifle.

Since the millions of first-time gun buyers have pretty well cleared the shelves of gun shops of the more popular guns and ammo for home defense (models like Dickinson’s Commando pump shotguns or Mossberg’s 590 pump shotguns), the concept is that, absent the really right stuff, it is important to use what is there, not what would be nice to be there.

This is a good time, however, to consider what would be good to have and then, when the crisis is over and the market returns to something approaching normal, be ready to acquire what is necessary in order to be prepared for the next crisis, and there likely will be some kind of crisis in the future, as well.

Since most folks are probably spending much more time at home right now than they normally would, this is a great time to do several things relative to defensive arms.

First, check out any guns on-hand and make sure they are clean and are operating properly. When they might be needed it is no time to learn that dried-up oil and grease have made them sluggish or hard to use.

Reacquaint yourself with the function of the gun(s). In an emergency, it is no time to be fumbling around with the hardware.

Keep both gun and ammo handy, but don’t endanger yourself or others in the process. Different homes have different situations. Keep unauthorized hands off of the guns.

Effective home defense is as much a state-of-mind as it is the accumulation of hardware. It starts with a plan. If you don’t already have a plan or plans, make them now. Secure entries to the extent possible. Know who is going to do what under various scenarios.

It really boils down to common sense. And that begins with the realization that when seconds count, law enforcement officials are only minutes away. ‘Nuff said.

Steve Comus is a nationally recognized hunting editor with Safari Club International and a WON Guns and Hunting Guns Editor.