The standard handgun for training is chambered in .22LR. These also are useful for minimal self defense, if you're attacked by rabbits or squirrels. The ammunition is cheap, very easy to find and even in pistol form, a .22 has next to no recoil. The guns themselves are also relatively inexpensive, at around $300 for a new model, and under $100 for a good used model. With a .22, you can easily and cheaply practice marksmanship, do fire drills and practice trigger pulls.
Once you feel comfortable with a handgun and are able to accurately hit targets at distances of around 20 yards, you should move on to a more powerful model. Many people sell their 22 caliber training pistol, but you should hang on to it. It can be difficult to decide what you want with so many different models, but the best advice we can give you is to try them all out if possible and determine what you like the best. We'll do a rundown of some of the more popular models and try to dispel some misconceptions.
- 1 HANDGUN MISCONCEPTIONS:
- 2 Which weapon do I want?
- 3 Black Powder Firearms and Their Advantages
- 4 Home Made Firearms
- 5 Pipe Pistol
- 6 Pipe pistol, cap and matches
- 7 Pen Gun
- 8 Silent Pistol, Bolt Action
- 9 Improvised Barrels
- 10 FP-45 Liberator Pistol
- 11 Manufacturing and Reloading Handgun Cartridges
- 9mm is worthless. For defense, you need a .45/.44 mag/.357/flavor of the month caliber.
This one couldn't be more untrue. When loaded with modern hollow point ammunition, a 9MM handgun is very lethal, expanding to within .09 of a .45ACP hollow point. It is also traveling at nearly twice the speed, and modern 9MM handguns can hold as many as 20 rounds, where 10 is very high capacity for a .45. 9MM has a bad reputation because the military is not allowed to use hollow point ammunition and must instead use non expanding ball ammunition, which greatly limits the effectiveness of a 9MM. However, you can and should at all times use hollow points for defense. Leave ball ammo to target practice.
The fact of the matter is, many large men have been killed by the lowly .25ACP and .22 especially in the hands of well trained users. It's not about the size of the bullet, it's about where you put it. You should chose a weapon based off feel, accuracy and personal preference, not caliber. That said, don't think you're James Bond and can hit a pinhead at 500 yards under stress even if you're a good shooter. The CIA recommended sawed off shotguns for close range assassinations, and for good reason. While too big of a weapon will cause problems with accuracy and ammo availability, anything in a .380 or above (and this includes 9MM and 38 special) is more than good enough for close range encounters.
- Autoloading pistols are inaccurate/unreliable
Modern autoloading pistols are the industry standard for a reason. Though initially the technology did have some problems, there now exist autoloaders that would fire under conditions that would stifle even a revolver.
Also, most modern champion marksmen use autoloading handguns instead of revolvers. This isn't to say the revolver isn't a valid weapon, as it still is, but autoloaders are now developed to a high level of accuracy, reliability and durability. Modern autoloaders are also very simple to clean and maintain.
- Glocks can pass though metal detectors
Totally incorrect. 85% of a Glock's weight is in metal.
- The Desert Eagle
Despite what Hollywood has told you, the IMI Desert Eagle is actually a quite terrible weapon. It's huge, heavy, has expensive ammunition (More than $1 per round), tremendous recoil, frequently jams and is horribly expensive. There is no reason why you should chose a Desert Eagle over your standard handgun, except perhaps when compensating for something.
Which weapon do I want?
In this day and age, there are thousands of models of handgun being produced. Finding one that works for you can be difficult. Remember, don't chose a weapon based off caliber. Try to fire, or at least hold and point a weapon you're looking to buy to get a feel of it, some ranges even allow rental so you can "test drive" a handgun.
Some good brands: CZ, Sig (AKA SIGARMS, Sig Sauer), HK, GLOCK, Springfield Armory, Wilson Combat, Kimber, Browning, FN, Walther, Kahr, Magnum Research (AKA IMI), Colt, Ruger, Para Ordinance (high capacity M1911 style pistols), EAA (All EAA autos are CZ75 clones), Bersa, Taurus, Smith and Wesson (REVOLVERS ONLY! S&W autoloaders have a history of being terrible), Beretta and most custom gun shops.
Cheap brands: Braztech (AKA Braztech Rossi, Rossi), Lorcin, Jennings, Hi-Point, Raven and most other centerfire handguns that cost less than $300 or so new. These guns are at cheap and occasionally unreliable but are useful if that is all you can afford, the engineering is mostly not bad just the attention to detail. Reliability is sometimes a problem in the smaller caliber semiautomatics.
- Though almost all handgun rounds are easily defeated by body armor, there are some such as 7.62x25 which can penetrate police grade body armor with ease and also Kevlar helmets. Unfortunately, this round is found only in the CZ52 handgun, which, for lack of a better term, is unrefined. It has a terrible grip angle, low ammo capacity, snappy recoil, one of the worst triggers ever seen on a handgun and crude sights. The bullet travels at a higher velocity than a conventional handgun round but does much less damage and has a lower self defense usefulness than a normal bullet since it keeps its form after penetrating.
- If you intend to carry a weapon, you should invest in a quality gun belt and holster. Low quality ones are not only uncomfortable and flimsy, they can be dangerous. Some good brands are Galco, Tucker Gunleather and Comp-Tac. Also, be sure to check your local laws in regards to carrying a handgun. Most states will allow you to carry a concealed weapon with the appropriate permit, and some even allow open carry.
- A common handgun drill is the Mozambique or failure to stop drill. It is done like so: begin with your weapon holstered and holster open. Now rapidly draw the weapon, acquire the target and fire twice into the chest (preferably the heart/lungs region) and once into the head. The purpose of this drill is to practice quickly and lethally engaging a target. Competition shooters can do this drills in around 3.5 seconds, and while you can probably never reach that time yourself, doing this drill regularly can greatly improve survival in a combat situation.
- Be careful when buying aftermarket magazines. Though often much cheaper than factory mags, bad or damaged magazines are the largest cause of feeding problems, which can take you permanently out of a fight, Often in a body bag. If you must buy aftermarket magazines, get Mec Gars. Mec Gar is the OEM magazine supplier for most major handgun manufacturers and thus are of high quality. For a 1911 type pistol, USGI style magazines are considered to be the most reliable.
- Another factor to consider is the action of the firearm. It will either be double action, single action, or single/double.
- For an experienced and responsible shooter, single action is often preferred as it has a much lighter and quicker trigger pull. However, many less experienced shooters may not feel safe or comfortable with a light triggered handgun being cocked and ready to fire at their hip (And this is the way you should keep it, as it is the quickest way if it's needed.) This is why double action was created. Double actions both cock the hammer and fire in a single trigger pull, allowing you to carry uncocked and still be ready to fire. However, this leads to a very long and very heavy trigger pull, which can hinder accuracy. The newest of the three is single/double, or DA/SA. It is a double action on the first shot and single action on every subsequent shot. It can also be carried cocked if you want all shots to be in single action. Many new firearms (GLOCKs, Springfield XDs) are striker fired, which means they have no hammer and thus can be double action and still have smooth and crisp triggers.
Black Powder Firearms and Their Advantages
While much of what the above author has said is true, one may also wish to consider looking at old fashioned Black Powder firearms. One reason for this is that the US Federal CorpGov doesn't fully consider these to be weapons and therefore doesn't conduct the same stringent background screenings or enforce the same stringent gun carrying laws that they enforce with modern firearms(although it is still considered a weapon like a knife). Also if one keeps an old fashioned revolver opened with a couple of cylinders in reserve it is possible to match in many instances the same ammo capacity and rapid fire action that is possible with current handguns.
There are also inherent advantages of self sufficiency with Black Powder in that one can produce Black Powder with charcoal (which can be derived from burned wood), Nitrate (derived from bird or bat droppings, tree stump remover), and sulfur (which can be derived from either natural source) and ammo can be derived from melted lead which can be gained from tire wheel weights that are very easy to obtain at tire shops or from the wheels of cars. The only thing that may be difficult to procure with certain Black Powder weapons is the percussion caps that some require but many of these percussion caps can be derived from simple caps such as those used in children's cap guns. The old mercury fulminate or modern lead azide that is used in percussion caps can be replaced with the red phosphorus/potassium chlorate/ground glass material in the caps for toy cap guns although this will destroy a weapon if not cleaned right away. This material placed into tiny metal cups made from aluminum can (you need a special tool) to easily be make into percussion caps thus lending itself further to the self sufficiency advantage of Black Powder which no modern weapon can offer. All modern weapons require manufactured ammo that must be produced under stringent conditions. This is not needed with Black Powder weaponry.
Home Made Firearms
With some strict safety precautions a firearm can be built using common hardware, most of these are not meant to be used for years on end but rather to protect against armed oppression at which point you should have acquired a proper functional firearm.
In 1969, the U.S. Army produced a guidebook called Improvised Munitions Handbook (TM 31-210), which gives detailed information on making weapons like this in the field. However, their safety is not to be taken for granted. The book is in public domain and copy of the book can be read on-line from various sources:
In a serious time when you have access to no other firearm, a zip gun might make the difference to your survival. A simple pipe gun is made from a steel pipe nipple, a threaded pipe joiner, and a pipe plug. The pipe is reamed to bullet diameter with a drill bit and chamber cut in the same way, a cartridge is loaded and the threaded joiner is threaded tight to the pipe nipple. A pipe plug with a hole drilled in the center is threaded tightly on, a nail is inserted into the plug hole and taped on. A "hammer" made from steel strap and screwed into the grip is propelled by rubber bands or springs to strike the nail firing this zip gun. Test fire several times remotely surrounded with sandbags before firing with your hands if at all possible. This is a risky and dangerous weapon.
Pipe pistol, cap and matches
Follow the designs for the pipe gun but don't insert a nail into the hole in the pipe plug. Load a thimble full of scraped safety match head powder down the barrel followed by plastic wadding then followed by a projectile. Toy caps are taped over the firing pin hole, the hammer should fire the cap and ignite the matches. This is a desperate, dangerous, unreliable weapon, so test remotely before firing in your hand.
A simple pen gun can be made by purchasing a steel pen-gun type flare launcher which consists of a steel tube a inner striker propelled by a spring and a knob that protruded from a slot in the tube, a notch is cut in the tube to allow the knob to catch in a cocked position. There is a threaded in disc which is side punched to lock it in place, this stop plate for the striker has a hole for the firing pin near the end of the tube, this plate is set to rest against the base of the cartridge when the barrel tube is fully threaded in. Cut threads onto a .25 inch diameter piece of steel tubing to fit the launcher tube, the chamber area of the tube is reamed to fit a .25 ACP case, the firing pin is tapered to better strike a pistol primer.
A similar modification could be made to a rim-fire flare launcher to fire .22 cartridges or high power rim-fire blanks used in nail guns to project a projectile or dart. A larger caliber pen-gun could be made using a similar design to these pen guns.
This is a very close in concealed defensive weapon, likely only giving you a few seconds of shock and confusion to escape.
Silent Pistol, Bolt Action
A silent pistol has the benefit in a totalitarian police state of not causing noise and confusion as you liquidate a death squad coming for you giving time to make a quick escape.
The easiest way to accomplish this construction is to chop off a .22 bolt action rifle, and drill air vents in the barrel starting after about 3-5 inches. A piece of metal tubing is held in place with rubber spacers, the interior is filed with felt discs, plastic washers, rubber washers or even cotton. After several shots the felt and cotton filler needed to be replaced.
For more stopping power the Welrod could be copied, this 9mm or .32 cal pistol was used to eliminate Nazis. The hand grip could be removed and the "rod" could be hidden and fired from a coat sleeve or rolled newspaper because of the simple slide trigger. You can see from the picture that a factory magazine is used in the welrod design. Most of this firearm could easily be made from poured brass, zinc, or aluminium with a steel barrel and trigger parts. A laser point sight might be a good modern addition to aim such a hidden weapon without requiring the weapon to be fully exposed or held up.
Better quality tubing for improvised firearms can be had than galvanized pipe nipples. Try to find something as close as possible to the diameter of your bullet. Seamless mechanical and hydraulic tubing is sized by it's outside diameter by wall diameter in millimeters. Chart gives cartridge name, tubing size, and bore in millimeters.
*.22 Rimfire- -9.53 x 2.03 seamless mechanical tube= 5.47mm *.22 Rimfire- -9.52 x 2.03 seamless hydraulic tube= 5.46mm *.25 ACP- -12.70 x 3.25 seamless mechanical tube= 6.20mm *.32 ACP- -14.29 x 3.25 seamless mechanical tube= 7.79mm * 9mm/.380- -14.29 x 2.64 seamless mechanical tube= 9.01mm * 9mm/.380- -14.00 x 2.50 seamless hydraulic tube= 9.00mm * 9mm/.380- -15.00 x 3.00 seamless hydraulic tube= 9.00mm *.44/.410- -20.64 x 4.88 seamless mechanical tube=10.88mm *.44/.410- -19.05 x 4.06 seamless mechanical tube=10.93mm *.45 ACP- -17.46 x 2.95 seamless hydraulic tube=11.56mm
FP-45 Liberator Pistol
The Liberator one shot pistol was a cheap and disposable $26 mass produced handgun packed in a wax paper box with simple comic strip type instructions, a wood ramrod ejector stick, and ten bullets. It was to be air dropped in large numbers in Europe and Asia by the allies during WW2 as a way for partisans to acquire a proper weapon and ammunition by killing a lone Nazi. This stamped metal design could easily be copied but instead using easily lost wax cast zinc or aluminum frame construction and a strong steel hydraulic tubing barrel of the required diameter.
One of the drawbacks to this design is that the used shell casing must be poked out of the barrel with a small wooden stick before another round can be loaded. However, the design made this firearm so cheap and simple to produce, the factory could produce a Liberator pistol faster that it took to fire a round and reload it!
Download the blueprints at Hacker Labs .
If the above link doesn't work, try any of the following:
If you are already taking the time to hand make this weapon, extend the barrel and perforate the last five inches using rubber front and back bushings to attach a silencer tube and fill with packed steel wool baffling or a spring and teflon washers; This would make using this against a better armed adversary much safer for you.
Manufacturing and Reloading Handgun Cartridges
It is highly recommended that forward thinking people will at least purchase a pocket size hand reloading kit for their chosen calibers against the possibility of changes in firearm laws, if not a full bench reloading set, we also expect you to stash away the proper powder and primers at the minimum see Caching emergency improvised reloading is explained in the military 31-210 manual available in DIY Defense but this improvised method is not well suited to repeating firearms. Extreme care must be taken in all aspects of ammunition manufacture It is useful to learn reloading using standard components and only use these improvised methods in severe emergencies.
Paper or cotton is nitrated by soaking with concentrated nitric acid then washing with distilled water to make nitrocellulos. Acetone is used to dissolve real competition celluloid(nitrocellulose) ping-pong balls or nitrated cotton or paper, and optionally add desired percentage of nitroglycerin Warning Nitroglycerin is VERY sensitive if desired based on the dry weight of nitrocellulose. When making powder add 0.5-2% of 2-Nitrodiphenylamine or Diphenylamine to prevent spontaneous detonation of aged ammunition, if you are using celluloid ping pong balls they already have been treated. The nitrocellulose acetone gel is blended and extruded into drops onto an aluminum or non stick tray. Dry in a warm 150F(80C) degree electric oven (not gas) for one hour then and filter by size through a large pass sieve to stop oversized balls and then a small pass sieve to let undersized balls drop out, all balls that are to big or small go back to be redissolved and dropped. The passed powder balls could also be redampened with acetone and pressed into flakes for faster burning using a marble rolling pin and board, these should be in the .1mm to .2mm screen pass and redried. Powder that passes is given a light sprinkle of graphite powder.
A Primex powder contains 0-40% nitroglycerin, 0-10% dibutyl phthalate, 0-10% polyester adipate, 0-5% rosin, 0-5% ethyl acetate, 0.3-1.5% diphenylamine, 0-1.5% N-nitrosodiphenylamine, 0-1.5% 2-nitrodiphenylamine, 0-1.5% potassium nitrate, 0-1.5% potassium sulfate, 0-1.5% tin dioxide, 0.02-1% graphite, 0-1% calcium carbonate, and nitrocellulose as the remainder to 100%.
British cordex double base powder propellant consisted of 58% nitroglycerin, by weight, 37% nitrocellulose and 5% Vaseline. Using acetone as a solvent, it was extruded as spaghetti-like rods .3mm-.5mm diameter and dried, it is probably the easiest smokeless powder to make.
Never make a over a half ounce at a time as this is quite flammable. Wear 100% wool gloves and a 100% wool ski mask with goggles to protect from flash burns. Consider a respirator, too. Wear only natural fibers as synthetics can stick to your skin if they catch fire. Use only non-sparking tools and surfaces; Electrically ground your work area and make sure room moisture is high enough to prevent static discharge. Be consistent in ingredients and always follow the same steps and mixtures to get repeatable ammunition performance. Make a numbered lot of loaded bullets from one batch of powder and keep them together. Test burn a small pile of powder on a piece of aluminum foil away from your sealed metal powder container (outside); It should burn quickly and cleanly not pop or flash or leave much residue. Test fire several cartridges from each lot in special heavy test barrel before using in normal firearms and examine the case for deformation or stress marks. Start with half loads and always weigh the powder or use a precision powder dipper. Buy and use a reloading book for data. Assume that performance will be that of bulls-eye powder or greater and adjust down from there.
Lead picrate production is described in the 31-210 manual as is reloading of spent primers, a small percentage of crushed powdered glass can be added to the damp primer compound. A new primer cup is punched out and formed from brass and filled with your damp primer material, a cone shaped anvil with at least two flash holes at the edges is punched from brass or steel and inserted into the primer until flush with the bottom. Finished primers are allowed to dry in an electric (not gas) oven on bake (not broil) at 150F degrees. Care must be taken that primers fit the standard primer pocket of your ammunition (0.175in for 9mm).
Before making your own brass try mining the gravel around old shooting areas out in the woods especially in the western USA or dumpster diving outside military or police shooting ranges, reforming and reloading once shot brass casings is so much easier than making new.
A two piece inner and outer aluminum mold can be made Means of Production using a lost wax method mold, to make a production line for brass cartridges or one could be machined from steel. Brass melts at 900°C depending on composition and can be poured into the outer die followed by a inner mold which will shape the inside of your cartridge.
Brass alloy of 95% copper and 5% zinc is soft and good for ammunition components, up to 30% zinc is acceptable for harder cases if you find too much deformation or torn off extractor rims. Scrap brass that bends and doesn't break easily when hammered should work for production of ammunition. Source your zinc from newer pennies(97% zinc) and copper is easy to find as water pipes or wire.
Once the brass is cool lathe out an extractor groove(make the lathe by sticking a wooden dowel into your hand drill, cut the groove with a ground to shape saw blade or chisel), drill out the primer pocket and flash hole, and trim any sprue. Trim case neck to proper length.
If it is impossible to find spent cartridges or make a pressure die like we speak of above you might need to improvise with alternatives from a standard one piece brass cartridge. An alternative is to find or make thick wall brass tubing of the proper diameter. Now from copper or brass rod make the base and drill a primer pocket and a flash hole. Now solder the two parts together, solder paste and a butane torch will work well. Using a drill as a lathe cut an extractor groove and case throat out to proper dimensions. If you happen to have found center-fire cartridges of smaller caliber than what you are loading for you can use this with brass sleeves as the primer pocket and base, solder paint and torch to join together. There is some possibility that these cartridge parts will separate during ejection or bulge out causing weapon jams or inability to reuse the cartridge.
Using a pulled bullet and plaster of paris lost wax method (see Means of Production), an aluminum mold can be made for production of lead bullets. The best source for bullet lead is wheel balance weights, if you have the skill copper can be used to make more complicated jacketed and hollow-point bullets with lead cores.