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Thread: Viability of low firepower antique guns

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    Viability of low firepower antique guns

    Caveat: This does not apply to home defense, professional carry or carrying in any situation I anticipate potential danger. For those it is 12 gauge shotguns, 45acp and 30-06 or .308.

    Why in my personal activities I now usually carry very low firepower antique pocket guns– and just went smaller...


    The passing years and a more sedimentary lifestyle take their toll on physical fighting ability. At one time in the increasingly distant past, there were few people on this planet who could win an unarmed fight with me. But I recognize increasingly I am slower, weaker, less flexible, less focused and less wired for a physical fight. In short, increasingly vulnerable and less able to defend others.


    Yet I also recognized I truly don't want to kill anyone unless a true necessity. Simply, I do not subscribe to the rule of always shoot-to-kill. Added to this is my opinion that merely displaying having a firearm will defuse nearly any situation – while also recognizing the instant legal jeopardy the moment you display a firearm. Merely displaying having a firearm to frighten someone off is a felony unless you can prove valid reason for doing so as an affirmative defense. Among other things, this concern can lead to fatal hesitation.


    Simply, my goal of routine personal low-risk situation carry is:
    1. Minimize legal jeopardy – both having the gun and displaying the gun
    2. To SUPPLEMENT my declining physical fighting ability.
    3. To literally be able to have a gun in my hand without legal jeopardy.


    From my past experiences and what is known, an assailant(s) doesn't give warning. A violent attack often will come with no warning whatsoever and happen incredibly fast – though usually you can sense a dangerous person or setting. What this means in real terms is you would not have time to go for a CCW. In addition, if someone already has a gun on me, I certainly would not try to quick-draw. In short, with any sensing of danger I want the gun in my hand, not pocket or holster.


    That means “antique”gun in this state. In Florida, an antique gun is exempt from all gun laws UNLESS the gun is used to commit a crime. While this specifically applied to antique cap-and-ball (and flintlock), it also applies to any firearm made before 1918 that ammo is not manufactured for (the ammo rule bars basically all semi-autos, .22s, .25s etc).




    I saw this at a flea market a couple weeks ago. Wasn't looking for anything like this, but at this condition and for the price? It was a steal. It is an as-new 1889 to 1893 no-serial number (only “batch” number) Remington .41 rimfire super short derringer with a full box of black powder live nickle casings and copper coated vintage cartridge ammo (SUPER rare).Although a .41, being a super short it is very low firepower – only 100 pounds ft-lbs at 600 ft/sec. Enough to penetrate. Nothing more.For comparison, a 9mm FMJ comes in at 350 to 400 ft-lbs – 350-400%more impact power.

    So why such a low firepower pocket gun?


    1. Other than aircraft, courthouses or other places they metal scan, it can be legally taken anywhere guns are prohibited - and is completely a “non-firearm” under Florida state law, particularly since it fires ammo that hasn't been made in decades.
    2. It is a gun – with all the fear-factors of it. Only a lunatic would see twin 41 caliber barrels and not back off.
    3. I can have it in my hand at a sense of danger – small enough so no one sees it unless I want the person to (I have big hands).
    4. It is to supplement my declining fighting ability. Shooting someone with it is unlikely to be a kill-shot. But even if not chasing the person off it will reduce their fighting ability and is a huge distraction. (Most fights I was in were decided in the first few seconds because I know how to strike a person in disability ways).
    5. I really don't want to kill anyone. Very much so.
    6. It's really cool, I like these old all-steel guns. They have a good, solid feel.

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    Re: Viability of low firepower antique guns

    The instant availability of the firearm (in hand) plus not having to decide if it is legal to have it seems more important than a far more powerful with more bullets handgun in my pocket or a holster under a jacket. In addition, once you go for your holstered gun you become a 1 arm defender losing your strong arm for blocking defense. If the gun is already in my hand I can still block a knife or blow with that arm.

    My opinions on this are based on extensive past RL fighting experiences plus some study and thought of what really happened just before and during an assault. Nearly all are crimes of opportunity. A big guy with a little gun in his hand isn't seen as an easy target. ANYONE holding ANY firearm will not be seen as an easy victim - so these seem particularly ideal for women and old people. Attacking an old person seems easy - unless you see the old person is holding a gun, no? I doubt the would-be attacker is calculating the quality of the firearm.

    Real life example: A lawyer I know, single at the time, went to a trendy area with multiple bars – a hot night spot. He had to park blocks away in a parking lot under an overpass. A bum approached him asking for money. When he said no, the bum stabbed him in the lower gut – severing his colon. Fortunately, he was only stabbed once, they could save his life and his colon. But had the stab been 7 inches higher it would have severed his aorta – him dead within 2 to 3 minutes unable to save.

    1. A .380 or 9mm in a holster would not have stopped being stabbed, even if he could draw fire and kill the attacker.
    2. He couldn't have a CCW .380, 9mm or any other modern gun anyway because he was going into bars – meaning illegal to have a firearm.

    With such as this derringer, he could have it in his hand – yet alarming no one unless he made it visible. In the unlikely chance of being frisked by police he MIGHT still get arrested, but the charge would ultimately be dismissed upon vintage documentation as it is antique exempt.

    If he had this old pocket .41 derringer, he could have told the bum/potential robber/attacker approaching with: “No spare change. What I have is the 41 caliber derringer (showing it).” The odds that bum/criminal would have continued his approach? Likely none.
    Last edited by joko104; 07-11-19 at 08:27 PM.

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    Re: Viability of low firepower antique guns

    Another plus is for the OUTRAGEOUS absurdity that 18 to 20 year olds can not legally own a handgun – turning colleges into rape centers. However, such as my daughter could carry an 1897 double action, 5 shot S&W .38 short stub nose revolver. Why? “Not a gun” under state law. (Mostly federal law exempt too).

    Would 5 black powder cartridge .38 shorts stop an attacker? Maybe, maybe not. But if hit 3 to 5 times he might not be quite as interested in rape or kidnapping. Even if she is stabbed or shot – at least the attacker will be fleeing and she can hope help gets her to the hospital in time. We teach our children to do anything – ANYTHING – to not be kidnapped even if that means getting shot or stabbed. We even drill them on it. Knife to the throat – still scream and fight. Gun in their face, run screaming anyway. NEVER be kidnapped in a vehicle or taken by foot to a remote area. ANYTHING to NOT be taken. At least they still have a chance even if shot or cut. If taken off to a remote area? They don't have a chance. If a person will kill them in public, the person certainly would do so in private – and maybe very slowly and horrifically.

    Same for restraints. If being robbed, give up whatever he/they want. But if they want to tie up or restrain you, fight even against impossible odds. That's my view anyway. If I am to be murdered, I prefer it be done quickly.

    Even the earlier single shot .41 super short derringer is still viable. Saved a cop's life - using that tiny and old a .41 rimshot super short as his shoe backup:

    Notice the officer used it as I mentioned - a direct contact firearm.
    A .41 Derringer Barks Again - True West Magazine



    I bought this for $50 - a cap and ball 45 caliber. "Antique" by every legal measure in Florida and federal. Deadly? Absolutely.

    Of course, a person also could have their CCW in a holster, purse or pocket too. The goal? A LEGAL firearm of MINIMAL legal jeopardy IN MY HAND before it is clear whether I'm under attack or not. That delay - waiting until you are already being attacked - is what could get a person killed.

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    Re: Viability of low firepower antique guns

    Quote Originally Posted by joko104 View Post
    Caveat: This does not apply to home defense, professional carry or carrying in any situation I anticipate potential danger. For those it is 12 gauge shotguns, 45acp and 30-06 or .308.

    Why in my personal activities I now usually carry very low firepower antique pocket guns– and just went smaller...


    The passing years and a more sedimentary lifestyle take their toll on physical fighting ability. At one time in the increasingly distant past, there were few people on this planet who could win an unarmed fight with me. But I recognize increasingly I am slower, weaker, less flexible, less focused and less wired for a physical fight. In short, increasingly vulnerable and less able to defend others.


    Yet I also recognized I truly don't want to kill anyone unless a true necessity. Simply, I do not subscribe to the rule of always shoot-to-kill. Added to this is my opinion that merely displaying having a firearm will defuse nearly any situation – while also recognizing the instant legal jeopardy the moment you display a firearm. Merely displaying having a firearm to frighten someone off is a felony unless you can prove valid reason for doing so as an affirmative defense. Among other things, this concern can lead to fatal hesitation.


    Simply, my goal of routine personal low-risk situation carry is:
    1. Minimize legal jeopardy – both having the gun and displaying the gun
    2. To SUPPLEMENT my declining physical fighting ability.
    3. To literally be able to have a gun in my hand without legal jeopardy.


    From my past experiences and what is known, an assailant(s) doesn't give warning. A violent attack often will come with no warning whatsoever and happen incredibly fast – though usually you can sense a dangerous person or setting. What this means in real terms is you would not have time to go for a CCW. In addition, if someone already has a gun on me, I certainly would not try to quick-draw. In short, with any sensing of danger I want the gun in my hand, not pocket or holster.


    That means “antique”gun in this state. In Florida, an antique gun is exempt from all gun laws UNLESS the gun is used to commit a crime. While this specifically applied to antique cap-and-ball (and flintlock), it also applies to any firearm made before 1918 that ammo is not manufactured for (the ammo rule bars basically all semi-autos, .22s, .25s etc).




    I saw this at a flea market a couple weeks ago. Wasn't looking for anything like this, but at this condition and for the price? It was a steal. It is an as-new 1889 to 1893 no-serial number (only “batch” number) Remington .41 rimfire super short derringer with a full box of black powder live nickle casings and copper coated vintage cartridge ammo (SUPER rare).Although a .41, being a super short it is very low firepower – only 100 pounds ft-lbs at 600 ft/sec. Enough to penetrate. Nothing more.For comparison, a 9mm FMJ comes in at 350 to 400 ft-lbs – 350-400%more impact power.

    So why such a low firepower pocket gun?


    1. Other than aircraft, courthouses or other places they metal scan, it can be legally taken anywhere guns are prohibited - and is completely a “non-firearm” under Florida state law, particularly since it fires ammo that hasn't been made in decades.
    2. It is a gun – with all the fear-factors of it. Only a lunatic would see twin 41 caliber barrels and not back off.
    3. I can have it in my hand at a sense of danger – small enough so no one sees it unless I want the person to (I have big hands).
    4. It is to supplement my declining fighting ability. Shooting someone with it is unlikely to be a kill-shot. But even if not chasing the person off it will reduce their fighting ability and is a huge distraction. (Most fights I was in were decided in the first few seconds because I know how to strike a person in disability ways).
    5. I really don't want to kill anyone. Very much so.
    6. It's really cool, I like these old all-steel guns. They have a good, solid feel.
    Situational awareness and threat assessments are as important as be strapped.

    Sheep No More: The Art of Awareness and Attack Survival Sheep No More: The Art of Awareness and Attack Survival - Google Search
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    Re: Viability of low firepower antique guns

    Summary - in my opinion, in most potential situations a low firepower gun in your hand is far more valuable than a high firepower gun in a holster, pocket or purse - particularly in avoiding the conflict from the start. Antique firearms (in some states) can be branished with far less liability than a modern firearm.

    Once a would-be assailant is within 20 feet or so, if he charges you it will not be possible for you to clear your firearm before he reaches you - and while going for your gun you only have your weak arm to block a knife, other impact/cutting weapon or even his fist.

    In my estimation, in MOST real life circumstances, having ANY firearm in hand is better than any firearm in a holster, purse or pocket.

    Note: Little of this applies to law enforcement because law enforcement is required to go into trouble situations and to be close to people who are known to possibly be dangerous.

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    Re: Viability of low firepower antique guns

    Quote Originally Posted by apdst View Post
    Situational awareness and threat assessments are as important as be strapped.

    Sheep No More: The Art of Awareness and Attack Survival Sheep No More: The Art of Awareness and Attack Survival - Google Search
    Absolutely.

    One thing that gets people hurt is trying to be polite. A bum is approaching or someone feels like they are being followed to her car. Although afraid, to not be rude she neither runs nor screams.

    I am very rude to approaching bums. I don't wait for them to speak. I just roar out "NO! GET AWAY FROM ME!" while he/they are still way off. There are 7 billion people. What the hell do I care what a stranger thinks of me? The same on dangerous settings. Pull into a C-store for gas at night with a couple of bums at the corner of the building and the parking lot otherwise empty? Won't stop.

    Fortunately, my past conditioned me to be highly aware of who and what is around me. Ideally, the goal is to avoid dangerous situations to begin with - and react immediately when sensing danger. Being right 99.99% of the time isn't good enough.

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    Re: Viability of low firepower antique guns

    I am not alone in my reasoning. Antique derringers in .41 black powder rimfire - including the single shot - are skyrocketing in prices, while once considered junk guns. Spending $1000 for a decent late 1800s single shot .41 derringer now is the norm if in decent condition. Even in poor but working condition figure $500 and up.

    However, cap-and-ball pocket derringers (single shot) are dirt cheap generally. For example, I have a matched set of vintage (mid 1800s) 45 caliber cap and ball "muff" guns (similar to what I pictures only more finely finished) - for women to have one in each hand under hand a hand muff. To this day, a woman with 2 of those - one in each hand - definitely is not defenseless. For close quarter defense, cap and ball pistols are seriously under rated. They were deadly then. They are deadly now.

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    Re: Viability of low firepower antique guns

    If you honestly believe that "merely displaying having a firearm will defuse nearly any situation," then just carry a fake gun.

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    Re: Viability of low firepower antique guns

    Quote Originally Posted by Tlrmln View Post
    If you honestly believe that "merely displaying having a firearm will defuse nearly any situation," then just carry a fake gun.
    Because of "nearly any" in your sentence. There are liabilities with a fake gun in terms of criminal laws. Again, this depends upon each state. Since I would not wrongly kill someone for the sake of killing, having a fake gun would no sense. If I fired it would only be because it necessary to do so.

    Regardless, I do not discount in my statements the possibility of needing to shot the assailant. If so, I prefer that sufficiently ended the assault or meant I could defend better against it - with a significantly reduced likelihood of killing the person, for which this would only likely be with the 2nd shot as a last-chance to survive necessity.

    Simply, I reject both the concept of deliberately being defenseless and unable to realistically offer defense of others without some minimizing risks, I also reject that it is a choice between the 2 extreme opposite views of picking between being defenseless and killing the other person.

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    Re: Viability of low firepower antique guns

    Quote Originally Posted by joko104 View Post
    with a significantly reduced likelihood of killing the person
    The more you reduce the likelihood of killing the person, the more you reduce the likelihood that you will end the assault.

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