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Old December 27, 2004, 04:28 PM   #1
mr. ed
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Use Of Blanks For Self Defense

This is something I've been considering since my recent purchase of a Taurus .38 spcl snubbie (M85). I am of the opinion that for home defense, making the first shot a blank might have some advantages (as well as disadvantages, of course). Here's how I look at it: In this litigous society in which criminals often sue the innocent defender for injuries, wouldn't it make sense to defuse the situation in a way in which no physical harm will befall the perp? Using a blank cartridge as the first round may be all that is needed to end a bad situation with nobody worse for the wear. Here are the advantages:

1. The flash/bang of the blank cartridge will, in my opinion be sufficient in most encounters with a BG to send him running (or messing his pants ).

2. There is little recoil when firing a blank, so the next round (with a bullet) would be easy to aim quickly if needed.

3. By using a blank cartridge as the first round, a fraction of a second could be saved since accurate aiming isn't necessary.

4. As sometimes happens, in the event that a family member is accidentally targeted as an intruder, firing that blank round will cause little or no harm.

Disadvantages:

1. In a revolver holding only 5 rounds, use of a blank reduces firepower by 20%. That extra bullet could come in handy.

2. This method can only be realistically applied to revolvers, since semi-auto's won't eject a blank cartridge (am I correct on this?).

What do you think? Am I way off base?
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Old December 27, 2004, 04:47 PM   #2
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In my opinion, yes. If you don't need a firearm so bad that you are ready to kill the person, you probably shouldn't be using one at all, particularly one that is loaded with lethal ammunition in addition to the lethal blanks. [You did know that blanks are lethal under certain circumstances LIKELY to be encountered by someone using them for self-defense, right?]

In addition, loading two kinds of ammo is an invitation to an error in loading, or in closing the cylinder. There is absolutely NO chance you would ever load an S&W the way you'd load a Colt, right?

Use a powerful flashlight and a clear and loud voice to issue a challenge, if that is really what you want to do.

JMO.
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Old December 27, 2004, 04:47 PM   #3
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There's a legal problem that arises too - if you point a gun at someone and pull the trigger, you are considered to have used deadly force, regardless of whether or not you have blanks in the gun.

If you have a blank, then you face serious questions about whether or how justified the shooting actually was, and whether you truly thought that deadly force was necessary.

If you use deadly force - including drawing and firing a gun with a blank - without being in reasonable fear of imminent great bodily harm or death, then you may wind up subject to prosecution. And if you're in fear of GBH or death, you don't want a blank, do you?

Further, an acquaintence of mine was menaced by four young toughs who jumped out of a car and started towards her after a couple of crude and vulgar drive-bys. She was ****** at herself for leaving her spare mag at home, leaving her with only 12 shots. A five shot revolver against four young, healthy attackers? Good luck. Lucky for her all it took was her reaching in to her fanny pack holster for them to cut and run. If they were drunk or on drugs, she might have had to go for slide lock.

Only 2% of defensive firearm uses actually involve the discharge of the firearm, I've read. The mention, the display, or the aiming of a firearm is most often all it takes to dissuade an attacker. If one finds oneself in that deadly 2%, I expect that one would desparately wish they hadn't deliberately crippled their defensive tool.
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Old December 27, 2004, 04:49 PM   #4
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Quote:
As sometimes happens, in the event that a family member is accidentally targeted as an intruder, firing that blank round will cause little or no harm.
Criminal negligence. "Know your target and what's beyond it." If you haven't positively identified an intruder as such, you shouldn't be squeezing off rounds.
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Old December 27, 2004, 04:51 PM   #5
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you shoulda bought a Mark IV Flame suit. Yes, you are nuts, and expect to be flammed. Seriously though, even if you just wanted to scare the attacker, (for whatever reason) you could always fire into the ground or a few feet away from him. NEVER use blanks. What if he was armed and you saw him entering a loved one's room? what would u do then? you would have to either shoot the blank(alerting him to your presence, and who knows what then) or having yo cycle manually to the next round, which would lose you a few precious seconds. There are thousands of situaitons were having even 1 blank in a gun could be deadly. deadly for you.
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Old December 27, 2004, 05:07 PM   #6
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I would agree with the others.

Using blanks is not adviseable. IF the situation deteriorates to the points that firearms are necassary, it is too late for blanks. If you want to frighten/intimidate without bullets, get a good Surefire or Streamlight flashlight, and a can of pepper spray or taser. Yell, loudly, that you are aware of their presence and are prepared to contact law enforcement, then resort to your weapons if necassary. I beleive that, if you are carrying a gun with a blank, you are much more likely to use it in an unnecessary situation. This is not a personal accusation, but a factual statement based on years of military training with both blanks and live ammo.

Seriously consider all possibilities and maybe talk to law enforcement/district attorney before taking this route.
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Old December 27, 2004, 08:14 PM   #7
mr. ed
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Well, I've read your responses and concurr that you all make very valid points. It's always good to get other opinions. However, I still think my idea has some merits. It's certainly faster in a situation where speed is necessary than grabbing for pepper spray or even a flashlight, and you have the weapon in hand for instant response if the "blank" tactic doesn't work. No, I probably won't follow through with this idea (I'm just giving it consideration), but I still believe that the method would work in most situations that would be encountered....just intuition, I guess.
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Old December 27, 2004, 08:52 PM   #8
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I just wanted to check in and say thank goodness you are reconsidering this. This question comes up at least once every few months in my CCW class. The blank will lower your capacity by one effective round. That might be the round that saves your life. The person who will not retreat at the sight of a gun will likely not retreat at what he percieves as inaccurate fire. There is no good reason to do this. If you pull a gun on someone, the requirements for lethal force should already be met, because you are employing lethal force whether the gun is loaded with a blank or not. If you are squeamish about taking a life, then reconsider the whole prospect of owning firearms for self defense. If you are not sqeamish, then use the weapon effectively.
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Old December 27, 2004, 08:53 PM   #9
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When you shoot your blank round to scare the BG how will you handle the potential, momentary flash blindness that could occur if this were a night home invasion? You've sacrificed your night vision (at least for a few seconds) without delivering any defensive hit to the invader. That second shot might not be as fast, accurate or easy as you envision.

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Old December 27, 2004, 09:07 PM   #10
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If you want to scare the bad guy, turn on all the lights and appear before him, stark naked. Or, get a big bad dog. Scaring with a gun is a bad idea, even with blanks.

Besides, why do you think the bad guy will be of the frame of mind to be scared. He very well may be some crackhead jonesing for a fix, somebody on PCP, or in some other deluded state where scare tactics are not going to work well. On top of that, when you do decide to shoot your blank round, you have given up your position and whatever element of surprise you might have had.

I think appearing before him naked is your best option for creating fright.
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Old December 27, 2004, 09:15 PM   #11
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Quote:
There is little recoil when firing a blank, so the next round (with a bullet) would be easy to aim quickly if needed.
What are you going to aim at? Have you ever fired a shot in the dark?

All you are going to see is a whiteish yellowish ball that consumes all of your vision. You are not going to know if the threat that you did not identify in the first place is still a threat or has transformed into your wife or child.

He on the other hand, if so inclined, will be firing hard bullets in the general direction of the threat, you, because he doesn't care if you are you or your wife or child.
Quote:
here is no good reason to do this. If you pull a gun on someone, the requirements for lethal force should already be met, because you are employing lethal force whether the gun is loaded with a blank or not. If you are squeamish about taking a life, then reconsider the whole prospect of owning firearms for self defense. If you are not sqeamish, then use the weapon effectively
Yep, if he's worth pointing a real gun at he's worth shooting a real bullet at
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Old December 27, 2004, 11:18 PM   #12
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mr ed, with all due respect, your idea has no merit at all. I honestly do not mean this as a peronal (or impersonal) insult, but the idea is just plain silly. If the situation dictates you must draw your weapon why in the world would you want it in any other condition than ready to do what the weapon was made to do? If you do not feel that the situation has come to that extreme (or has the potential to very quickly) then you should not be pointing a gun at someone regardless of what it's loaded with.

There really isn't a need for any long explanations - if you can't see the glaring flaw then you should reconsider your decision to be armed.
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Old December 27, 2004, 11:34 PM   #13
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I've read a lot of idiocy in gun forums but this one just about takes the cake.
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Old December 28, 2004, 12:00 AM   #14
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I carry a weapon so that if needed in a situation where all other attempts have failed, that I can use it to save my life, or the life of a loved one. A weapon is a last ditch tool to save lives, and you DO NOT want its ability to do so hindered in any way. Its guys that go around flashing guns to scare and intimidate people that give other pro gun people a bad name.
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Old December 28, 2004, 02:31 AM   #15
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The specifics have been pretty well covered above, so let me just answer your last question as clearly as I can. Yes, you are off base.
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Old December 28, 2004, 03:23 AM   #16
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Speed as a consideration.

You say that it will be faster to get to than a flashlight or pepper spray, but my question is this:

Will you be sleeping with the weapon in your hand? If you do not, then I don't see any advantage in speed of empoyment, and if that is a consideration, sleep with the flashlight in your hand

A good light will light up a room and even a PCP junkie can't see with 1/2 million candlepower in his face.

This idea just seems improper and, to a point, dangerous. If you fire that first blank and he doesn't run, he will be firing the next, and it more than likely will NOT be a blank.

Although you can see lots of advertisements for blank/metallic/movie-type guns in the back of many major gun rags, I would like to remind you that each round fired, blank or otherwise, has a certain amount of liability attached to it.

Unless you live in the boonies, it is probably illegal to fire a round at all, blank or otherwise. Most urban areas I have been to have laws prohibiting the discharge of firearms in city limits, save in defense of your life/property, and even then, you will be cited for it. Most likely even with blanks.

I would highly recommend that you not follow through with this. It may also be adviseable to seek some professional firearms instruction, both tactical/practical and legal/liability.
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Old December 28, 2004, 04:35 AM   #17
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No; definately not.
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Old December 28, 2004, 05:06 AM   #18
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Loading a handgun with blanks is a VERY BAD idea. If you are trying to scare a BG then use some other method. There are plenty of BGs who are armed. Some BGs might not consider firing on someone until they are fired upon. Some of these wackos might even run away and come back a few minutes later ready for a gunfight. Your advantage of surprise is now gone. He knows that you are armed, you saw his face, and the cops won't be there for 20 minutes. That is why your one shot has to count if you are going to use a handgun for home defense.

Everybody has his or her own method for home defense. No one way is necessarily wrong. However, some methods might lead to more conflict than is necessary. You never know the temperment or background of the person who decides to break into your home. Yes, even some BGs are very proficient with firearms.
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Old December 28, 2004, 12:53 PM   #19
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Quote:
It's certainly faster in a situation where speed is necessary than grabbing for pepper spray or even a flashlight, and you have the weapon in hand for instant response if the "blank" tactic doesn't work.
The problem here is, shooting someone with a blank is not legally equivalent to a hit of pepper spray, it is legally equivalent to shooting them with a live round.

A gun is not a tool for less-than-lethal force or scaring someone, it is a tool for adminstering great bodily harm or death, and the law recognizes this fact and draws no distinctions between blanks and live rounds. Drawing your gun and aiming it is a threat of deadly force no matter what it's loaded with.
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Old December 28, 2004, 04:11 PM   #20
mr. ed
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Let me first thank you guys for setting the matter straight. I now agree that you have it right. In the back of my mind, I still have the thought that my scenario would work. But, having not encountered a face to face situation as some of you have, I'll follow the maxim, "discretion is the better part of valor".

Aside to Double Naught Spy: (Quote) "If you want to scare the bad guy, turn on all the lights and appear before him naked..." Now, that would be an assault with a deadly weapon .
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Old December 28, 2004, 06:47 PM   #21
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If you want a sound to scare a BG in your house, just cycle the action on a loud 12 gauge. Everyone knows that sound, its fairly loud, and not firing a gun. I personally sleep with a 4 cell maglite next to my bed (right next to my pistol). Thats enough to blind anyone.
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Old December 28, 2004, 06:54 PM   #22
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Dead people cant start law procedings

If you want to scare some one then get a 12 gage shotgun and leave it unloaded and when a bad guy comes into your house just cycle the gun, It will do a lot more to scare some one than popping a blank at someone.
Better one dead bad guy then a house full of dead family members.
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Old December 28, 2004, 07:29 PM   #23
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I don't care how many cells your flashlight has, the notion of it 'blinding' somebody is largely crap put out by companies like Surefire who want you to believe that a beam of flashlight light is somehow a weapon. Maybe you get lucky and it works, but I would not count on it.

Just what part of the bright light keeps the bad guy from shooting toward the light source or randomly shooting in whatever direction he wants? No part of the light does this. Bad guys are bad guys, so they don't care about bystanders, family members, etc. in your home. So sure you shine your big bright light in his face and he shoots 'blindly' about, rounds going every which direction before he clumsily departs after running out of ammo and you feel so good for "stopping" the bad guy until you discover one of his shots has managed to go through the wall and into your child's little skull.

Bright light only stops people who are concerns about the safety rules and that group of people does not include bad guys.
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Old December 28, 2004, 07:46 PM   #24
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Bad Idea for reasons stated above.

Blanks are for training bird dogs, starting a track event, or in teaching firearm familiarity / drills to a shooter.

In these situations The 4 Rules Apply. Always.
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Old December 28, 2004, 07:59 PM   #25
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Ever had a million candle power light shown in your face? It might not be the most effective means to stun a BG, but...the effective use of a surefire and then shots following up the use of the light will be highly effective. It will allow you to acquire your target faster, and will throw the BG for a few seconds. It will also allow you to ID your target, if you have a large family and are worried about shooting the wrong person. I would never go around my house without being able to see well. I would rather be shot, then shoot a loved one because I was worried about a BG shooting at my light.
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