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Old April 22, 2010, 07:38 PM   #1
mordis
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Thoughts on selecting a home/self defence rifle

A theme i see crop up every so often is the idea of a home defence long gun. Alot of people automaticly think of a shot gun or a semi auto rifle. In a commen sence world I think this makes a lot of sense. Seeing as rifles and shotguns have far greater stopping power and generaly are easier to shoot(imho).

My problem is with the looks of the longguns, and its defensability vs a ADA. Personaly i would love a extended mag, adjustable forearmed semi auto shotgun with a 18-20" barrel, or an AR with a free float tube and a aimpoint scope. Realisticly, even if all the criteria for using a fire arm were met in a home/self defence situation the very fact i have a militarized shotgun or high cap Ar black rifle will most likely turn a self defence sympathetic ADA against me.

Not only do we need to survive not only the confrontation but the aftermath as well. I truely wounder, how many people even consider this when purchasing a rifle for self defence/home defence. They run out and purchase there wounder gun load up and fear no evil. Not likely giving a second thought to the possible ramifications of there choice.

So having said all that, Im looking for alternative self/home defence long gun, and that is the perpose of this thread. Well that and your thoughts on the defenceability of militarized longuns.

My first thoughts on this, is a Lever action rifle in either a pistol cartridge or in 30-30. Firstly its a American classic having been used for all things shooting since the mid 1800's. They have good looks, a quick action and available in hard hitting rounds. Tho they do have some drawbacks, such as limited to flat point or round nosed ammo, thus giving it a rainbow trajectory. So if you want long range killing power, you gotta get one of the new xlr rounds, or use very heavy for caliber rounds, such as 170grn+ in 3030, and 400-500+grn in the 45 caliber. Even then your still getting a rainbow trajectory.( Cant wait for the long range bpcr shooters to chime in lol)

There other drawbacks are less of a problem for rifles used for self defense such as limited magazine capacity and difficulty in shooting prone.


As of right now im leaning at either a '73 in .357mag, or a Marlin 30-30xlr or there 1895 cowboy model.

For a shot gun i only had one consideration and that was the single trigger Stoeger Coach gun with removeable chokes. I have shot one and love the way it shoots and points.

So what are your thoughts on this subject. I feel it is one that is not considered often enough when discussing home/self defence rifle or in considering the purchase there of.

Im looking forward to a great discussion and debate. Any suggestions on a alternative home/self defence rifle and shotgun.

Last edited by mordis; April 22, 2010 at 07:44 PM.
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Old April 22, 2010, 08:36 PM   #2
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A levergun makes a perfectly acceptable home defense weapon. Marlin also makes a nice levergun in .357 and .44 mag. I would stay away from a Win 73 replica for this purpose. The Marlin has a stronger action, even if the looks fall behaind the classic 73. I personally prefer a Model 94 Winchester in 30-30 as a nice easy to shoot, classic levergun. Just an old deer gun ladies and gentlemen of the jury. I also have a Marlin 336 with a 161/2 inch barrel which is awfully handy, but heavier than the 94. My HD shotgun is a plain jane 870 with a slug barrel. It works just fine.

The rainbow trajectory thing will make no difference at all within 150 yards. I have seen a few dedicated pig guns in 30-30 and 45-70 with shortened barrels and scout scopes, or aimpoint type rigs mounted in the same fashion. Just a thought.
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Old April 22, 2010, 08:58 PM   #3
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Like jhenry said, the '73 Winchester isn't really a strong action. It'll be okay for shooting "cowboy" loads or .38 special, but if you want to shoot full house .357 Magnum you should consider a rifle based on the Winchester '92 or '94 action, or the Marlin '94. I used to keep a Rossi 92 in .357 Magnum next to the bed and felt pretty confident with it.

As for .357 vs .30-30, I would go with .357 if the purpose is strictly home defense. .30-30's biggest advantage over .357 out of a rifle is range, which isn't terribly important unless you have 200 yard hallways.
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Old April 22, 2010, 09:07 PM   #4
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Very valid points. In addition, if a guy handloads, you can get heavy .357 slugs moving right along with that longer tube, or the 125 grain slug really moving. I live in a rural area so over penetration etc. is not an issue. I also like the extra range of the 30-30. My other go to gun is a sks para with a bag of stripper clips. Just for the zombies.
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Old April 22, 2010, 09:08 PM   #5
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Just about most good reliable rifles in not overly powerful rounds will do.

I tend to prefer medium power or less rounds as tThe ranges are short. I also prefer short rifles for that very reason.

Leverguns in .357/.44/.45 or even 30/30 will do. 16 inch barrle is alot handier than 20 if you can get one that short. In leverguns I perfer the Marlin 1894 in .357 magnum.

Simi-autos from M1 Carbine to AR15/Mini-14/AK/SKS work fine. I perfer the M1 Carbine myself.

Even the odd pump rifle like the reproduction Lightinings in .357 and .45 LC. If I got one of those it would be in .357 (but .45 is real good to!)

It's not so much the rifle as how familiar you are with it. If you can shoot fast ofhand and make very good hits, they will all do well. Even the 10/22 .22 lr Ruger if you are a crack shot.
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Old April 22, 2010, 09:15 PM   #6
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i was more concerned with the ada defensibality of the more military guns. Sure tacticly the black guns are better in every way, but man on man i can standardise my ammo with a lever gun. My main carry is a .38spc +P and any .357mag lever will digest them as well..

Like i said, I would love to own a black rifle/shotgun but realisticly i know it will only be a liability to me and my family.
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Old April 22, 2010, 09:18 PM   #7
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Nothing wrong with a stock 870.
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Old April 22, 2010, 09:44 PM   #8
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I like the way you think.

Personally, I'd go with a Win. '92 (or quality replica). Win. '94, Marlin 336 or Ruger 96/44 in pistol cal. or .30-30. Justifiable HD/SD and most deer hunting takes place within 100 yards so rainbow trajectories aren't an issue. The 16 1/2" or so barrels would be the handiest and less than 20" is a must IMHO. And of course, situational pratice is a must, as with any HD/SD weapon.

BTW, I had a 96/44 that did HD for a while - good gun.
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Old April 22, 2010, 10:10 PM   #9
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I think a lever gun with a 16" barrel in .357M or .44M would be good as a defensive rifle.

Range isn't a huge concern at least for me. I can't think of a situation where I would be engaging a bad guy from a foot ball field away and somehow be justified.
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Old April 22, 2010, 10:53 PM   #10
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Also, if your primary concern is political correctness, perhaps it would be possible to put wood furniture on a Remington 7615P. It'll give you the magazine of an EBR in a package that will strongly resemble a pump action shotgun.
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Old April 23, 2010, 09:59 AM   #11
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Look at a Remington 7600 pump action rifle. They are made in most deer hunting calbers. They can be bought in the carbine 18 1/2" barrel version or the 22 " rifle barrel length. There is nothing "assault" style about these rifles. Also the older model (discontinued in 1981) is the model 760. Almost identical to the model 7600 that replaced it. Good used 760's can be bought for $300 + on the gun auction sites. I use a 760 in 30-06 for my pig gun to get rid of the pests on my ranch. The 7600 and 760 come standard with a 4 round removable magazine and 10 round mags are available aftermarket. The 760 was made from 1951 to 1980 and the 7600 is still made. They are one of the most popular hunting rifles in the USA. They are almost a copy of the Remington 870 shotgun, just in a rifle.
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Old April 23, 2010, 12:15 PM   #12
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If you are concerned with the legal stereotyping, you might want to consider a nice classic looking shotgun. Three or four rounds of 12ga. can be pretty darn effective, and you'll have a nice duck hunting gun too!

IMO, the chances of a home defense going badly from a legal sense are generally low. (Odds of using a gun being fairly low to start with, then factor the odds of a questionable shoot, then the odds of a DA who will want to make an issue of the firearm...they exist, but it would be fairly low on the priority list, IMO)
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Old April 23, 2010, 08:40 PM   #13
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Usually when I see posts talking about military style weapons, it don't take too long to see who has a strong military record, and who has been drinking the political correct kool aid too long.

If there is enough reason to employ a rifle to defend one's house or family, . . . then there is enough reason to employ one that will get the job done, . . . done correctly, . . . with no loss of life or limb to the family that was defended.

Attempting to defend against a determined foe or group with a top fed bolt action, . . . side gate lever, . . . etc. will in all likelyhood just get you killed for your trouble. The bg's aren't carrying big ring levers anymore, . . . those kinda went by the wayside right afte the OK shootout.

My MBR (that's Main Battle Rifle to all non military folks), . . . is a full size M1A, . . . with multiple magazines available. If it demands 100 rounds of .308 ammo to go out the tube, . . . it can happen, . . . along with another 200 or so rounds of .223, . . . and at least 60 rounds of 7.62 by 39. They will all exit detatchable magazines, . . . through semi-auto actions, . . . and when the smoke clears, . . . my family will be safe, . . . my house may need some serious patching, . . . but the core value: MY FAMILY is going to be protected.

The DA, . . . the cops, . . . the sheriff, . . . the grand jury, . . . the jury, . . . and the judge can all give me down the road if they have a mind. I did my job, . . . my family survived, . . . that is all that counts.

Piddling around with a .357 or a .44 lever gun is kinda like riding a Mo-Ped to the Harley meet down the street. If you are serious about protection, . . . get a serious rifle, . . . make it an MBR, . . . learn how to use it, . . . pray you never have to, . . . but when you do, . . . make the bad guys wish to whatever they pray to that they had picked another house. Lots of rounds down range in a quick hurry usually has that effect.

May God bless,
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Old April 23, 2010, 09:31 PM   #14
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You're certainly welcome to your opinion, Dwight, however it doesn't make you right (or wrong). Suffice to say many people don't agree and that doesn't make them any less serious than you.

I like the M1A and I think it would be a fine choice for a home defense rifle, but it certainly isn't the only choice or the best choice. Plenty of people have defended themselves for well over 100 years with lever guns, they are just as useful now as they were then.
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Old April 23, 2010, 11:01 PM   #15
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I pretty much agree with Dwight. I use my shotgun but that's because it's the best gun(that I own) suited for my house.

For your situation I would say try a Remington 7615 Pump Action Patrol Rifle in .223... Something a bit different but just as simple as a pump shotgun.
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Old April 24, 2010, 12:36 AM   #16
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Long Gun=Offense; Handgun=Defense

Long guns are more for offense than defense*, unless you plan to man the parapets.

Do this simple exercise: grab the shortest broom handle you own practice clearing every nook and cranny of your house with it. Soon you'll see that in tight spaces, long guns have limitations even with good tactics. My advice is not to buy a rifle strictly for home defense.

That said, there's nothing wrong with practicing home defense with a rifle or shotgun you own for another purpose.

Another problem with rifles is power and penetration. It becomes a very delicate balance inside a home, or in a neighborhood of closely placed houses. Personally, I have a S&W 629 3" with the first three chambers loaded with shot rounds.

Next on the list for home defense after pistol is a shotgun. Plenty of folks have chimed in on that note and no more need be said. I'm partial to Mossberg 500/590, but that's because I was extensively trained on them. The Remington 870 is a classic as well Winchester and others. Load them up with a bean bag round first in the tube and you might be able to keep your family safe and yourself out of the slammer.

Last, if you must have one specifically for home defense, is a rifle. And now we get to the heart of the problem: Which one? So called "black" rifles might not suit your legal defense very well eg. "He's a gun nut, he owns an ASSAULT RIFLE!....Designed to KILL, KILL, KILL!!!" On the other hand, a bolt action doesn't really suit your needs either. I will fall in line behind the others who suggest the lever action.

*According to Jeff Cooper.

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Old April 24, 2010, 12:54 AM   #17
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A 94 Winchester in 30-30 has been my deer gun, house gun or patrol carbine off & on for about 40 years. While I've dallied with other rifles, I never felt much need for anything else.
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Old April 24, 2010, 01:15 AM   #18
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Quote:
Do this simple exercise: grab the shortest broom handle you own practice clearing every nook and cranny of your house with it.
I'll let the police clear every nook and cranny of my house. My plan is to hold up in a defensive position that allows me to cover a single avenue of approach. For that purpose a long gun is perfect.
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Old April 24, 2010, 02:41 AM   #19
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I chose to select my USGI M1 Carbine for a HD long gun. I have a Remington 1100, 18" barrel, extended tube, and a Desert Eagle in .357 magnum to go along with it. Different stokes for different folks. Since I doubt any of these will be ever needed, I figure it makes no real never mind ... but I practice with each of them.
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Old April 24, 2010, 01:19 PM   #20
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For 99.99% of us buying a dedicated HD gun is on the same level as buying huricane insurance in Canada. Does this mean I don't have a HD gun? Heck no, all of mine are HD guns. Don't care if it's my .357 Ruger, my 870, my 30/30, etc etc. But I didn't buy any of these guns for HD in mind. IMO, guns should fill many roles including plinkin, hunting, target shooting, etc. IMO, buying a gun for the sole purpose of HD is wasting $$. Now many will think I'm saying you shouldn't have an HD gun. Not so. What I am saying is many, if not most times, internet threads and gurus get too hung up on platform, caliber, etc etc. Buy a gun you want! Buy a gun you will use! Plinkin, hunting, competition, I don't care. A lot of guns get bought for SD/HD and ride a holster or sit in the corner. When it comes right down to it, I doubt there is much difference in effectiveness for HD between a lever gun, AR, shotgun, .357, and so on given the person behind it knows how to use it.

I won't slam on anyone for their choice of gun (not entirely true but close) but I will slam on someone who goes out and buys a gun strictly for HD (usually after reading up on advice from us internet commandos), loads er up, sticks it in the corner or drawer and leaves it there.

IMO the first rule of gun ownership is make sure you like, enjoy and shoot often the gun(s) you own.

If someone likes a Coach gun, go for it. If someone likes a revolver, go for it. If some likes a AR, go for it. I could go on an on.

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Old April 24, 2010, 04:27 PM   #21
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For 99.99% of us buying a dedicated HD gun is on the same level as buying huricane insurance in Canada. Does this mean I don't have a HD gun? Heck no, all of mine are HD guns.
That's pretty much my approach, too. Every gun I own is a potential HD gun. Heck, even the BB gun that I use to keep cats out of my garbage can could be used in HD as a makeshift club or, on a good day, to shoot a BG's eye out.

Having said all that, I do have my guns stored in a way that allows me to pick my first choice, second choice, etc. in that order if the need arises. Maybe that's a better angle to take on this issue: What would you pick first and why?
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Old April 24, 2010, 04:38 PM   #22
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I'll let the police clear every nook and cranny of my house. My plan is to hold up in a defensive position that allows me to cover a single avenue of approach. For that purpose a long gun is perfect.
Gotta agree with this, too.

I'm thinking it would be difficult to mount a case against you in court that you were wanting to kill someone with your XYZ gun, when you were hunkered down in your own bedroom and had called the cops. For me, the "barricaded in the bedroom" approach eliminates the risks you take when clearing your house of being ambushed and killed or being portrayed in court as hunting down the poor burglar. I would only clear my house if I needed to protect a person, such as a child, other relative, or friend.
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Old April 24, 2010, 06:07 PM   #23
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I seriously never considered a rifle before although those levers in .357 and .44 seem appealing. I guess I never thought of a weapon capable of a several hundred yard range an HD weapon. My home isn't that big

My buddy had a striker streetsweeper and I would say that if this could't take care of your needs then maybe you should move to a better part of town. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armsel_Striker

For a cheaper route a mossberg 12 guage with a folding stock and pistol grip would be great too.
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Old April 24, 2010, 06:29 PM   #24
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well, i have more experiance with levers and double guns. For me they shoulder and fire almost instintivly. Especialy the double gun,it just shoulders nicely and i love the way it feels in my arm. I am basing my fear of the black guns like the ar, based off what happend to harold fish, the hiker that killed the guy with the dogs in self defence and then got sent up river. He was practicly convicted on the fact he was using a powerfull 10mm with hollow points.

Like it or not, and i dont like it, but equipment matters, and we must survive the aftermath of the shooting, not just the event it self.
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Old April 24, 2010, 08:51 PM   #25
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I am basing my fear of the black guns like the ar, based off what happend to harold fish, the hiker that killed the guy with the dogs in self defence and then got sent up river. He was practicly convicted on the fact he was using a powerfull 10mm with hollow points.
I read some reports from the Fish case quite a while back. I don't remember Fish's choice of ammo as the SOLE or DECISIVE reason for his conviction.

Here's what I found. It's long but informative. In none of it is the issue of ammo choice involved.

According to the Arizona Court of Appeals Opinion (Appeal from the Superior Court in Coconino County, Cause No. CR 2005-0340), Fish’s case has been reversed and remanded for the following reasons:
Quote:
Assuming evidence of Victim’s specific prior acts is again offered on remand for this purpose, the superior court will need to decide whether the evidence should be admitted by performing an appropriate weighing under Rule 403. This evidence is highly probative of the veracity of Defendant’s description of what he faced on the day of the shooting. In contrast, the evidence which was admitted was highly sanitized with none of the admitted testimony reflecting how aggressive or violent the Victim had become when he was confronted about being at a location with his dogs. The affidavits of most of these witnesses described exactly what Defendant had described to police about the Victim’s behavior – that he was irrationally aggressive and violent and extremely frightening. If some of those witnesses had testified, the jury would also have heard that the Victim, when upset, got a “wild look” in his eye and “flail[ed] his arms in aggressive manner,” similar to what Defendant told police and was recounted to the jury as to the shooting. Instead, the jury only heard testimony that the witnesses thought the Victim had a reputation for violence and aggression, that some of the witnesses were frightened by him and in several cases undescribed incidents had occurred with his dog. The accuracy and veracity of Defendant’s description as to the Victim’s charging at him despite the Defendant being armed, flailing his arms and fists at the Defendant and threatening to hurt the Defendant was crucial to the justification defense.[emphasis added]
As you can see, the Court of Appeals specifically mentioned "justification," as in whether the shooting was "deemed justified" by the jury for Fish's "self-defense evidence."

Even Fish’s appeal argued that:
Quote:
“the superior court should have given the jury his requested instructions that for purposes of self-defense, the term ‘unlawful physical force’ includes the statutory elements of the crimes of endangerment, threatening or intimidating, and aggravated assault”
The Court of Appeals agreed:
Quote:
“The only real issue at trial was self-defense. Defendant contends that he was acting in self-defense against unlawful physical force that put him in fear of death or serious physical injury. To consider this defense, at least on these facts, the jury should have been informed of the elements of the statutes that by Defendant’s account rendered Victim’s physical force unlawful. . . . The requested instruction would have assisted the jury in interpreting an undefined term (unlawful physical force) to determine if Defendant’s self-defense claim was valid. . . . it is clear that there was evidence to support an instruction on endangerment, threatening or intimidation, and aggravated assault. Furthermore, the instructions given were inadequate to state the law of self-defense for this case. Without the additional instructions regarding endangerment, threatening or intimidation, and aggravated assault, the jury was left to speculate as to whether the Victim’s behavior was unlawful. . . . Our concern is heightened by a question posed by the jury. During deliberation, the jury sent the judge a question about what the definition of an “attack” was. The instructions used the word “attack” twice, once saying that a vicious animal is a carnivore with a propensity to attack and once saying that a person has the right to defend himself against a human and a dog attack. The court, over the objection of the Defendant, answered the question by telling the jury that any legal definitions they needed had been given in the instructions. The instructions, of course, did not define the term “attack”. . . . The jury was entitled to consider the self-defense evidence in determining whether Defendant acted reasonably. In this case, the self-defense evidence was Defendant’s entire case. The scenario discussed above – in which a jury not instructed on the definitions of assault and endangerment may have concluded there could not have been unlawful physical force because there was no contact – makes it clear that the missing instructions provided the jury “with the means of completely disregarding all of the self-defense evidence.” [emphasis added]
The Court of Appeals also found the trial court erred by not allowing:
Quote:
“... an instruction that the Victim’s dogs could be considered dangerous instruments and that they may have presented a threat of death or serious physical injury would have been proper in light of the need for an instruction dealing with unlawful force by the Victim.”
Will your choices of ammo and/or platform be a factor if you go to court? "Anything you say [or do] will be used against you in a court of law."

Everyone calculates the same factors differently. For me, the primary calculus is making sure it's a good shoot. If you don't have that, nothing else matters. You can choke the BG to death with a towel, but if it's not legitimate self-defense, you are hosed.

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