Bullets & Black Belts – The Best Caliber For Self Defense.

Bullets & Black BeltsThe argument for which bullet caliber is best for self defense has been going on for longer than I have been alive. It’s a debate that can bring with it a level of irrational fervor that is seldom matched.

What is the best caliber bullet for self defense?

A little level headed logic, research and application shows a remarkable parallel to self defense training.

Is bigger better?

One main argument surrounding the caliber of guns and self defense is that of stopping power. Our own research of police data shows that the average time to incapacitate an adult male with a single shot by a 9mm bullet was 15 seconds. 15 seconds is an awful lot of time for an attacker to continue their own attack. And as we will explore below, 15 seconds is an average. In reality that statistic can be misleading.

The theory of self-defense is that a bigger bullet has more stopping power and thus can stop an attacker before they can do you harm. The basic principle of force outlined by Isaac Newton over 300 years ago (Force = Mass x Acceleration) is at play no matter what caliber is used. Thus the larger and faster a projectile is the more force can be applied. However, in a practical sense there is a diminishing return.

There are also considerations for ballistic characteristics such as penetration, cavity and fragmentation. It can all turn very academic.

Looking at DOJ/FBI statistics (NCJ-148201) 75% of all crimes involving a firearm involved a pistol of some sort. And looking at homicides, the 3rd most used caliber was the .22 LR – arguably the one of the weakest calibers available. In fact it accounted for about 16% of homicide deaths. While a 9mm or .45 has more stopping power, it would be foolish to consider any caliber as “worthless”.

Keep in mind that a .22 almost killed President Reagan even though the bullet ricocheted before hitting him.

The weapon you have is the most powerful.

When it comes to self defense, the most powerful gun you can have is the one you have on you. I know that sounds a little elementary, but it’s a real factor. You can’t shoot what you don’t have. And a .22 in the hand is better than a 12 gauge shotgun back at home.

While having an ideal weapon may be the best, having anything at all is better than nothing at all. Knowing the limitations of what you have is also very important because it allows you to compensate. For example, 3 shots by a .22 LR bullet delivers about the same energy as a single 9mm. (116ft/lbs x 3 vs. 356ft/lbs).

This brings up another very important factor…

What you hit matters.

Remember the “15 seconds” statistic we talked about? It turns out there is a big difference between being hit in a vital spot like the head, heart or spine vs. a leg or an arm. A leg shot for example might not incapacitate the attacker at all. A lung shot may not always stop someone right away, but left untreated it will kill.

There are plenty of people who would have trouble hitting a target at 15 ft (across the room) with a .40 or .45 caliber handgun. Especially those who don’t practice much. This is why .22 handguns have become best sellers – despite their deficiencies.

If you can’t hit your target, caliber is irrelevant. And caliber isn’t the only factor. Training matters more than anything else.

Stationary target drills can help you get a feel for your weapon, the recoil and safe handling. Some ranges even offer courses for advanced shooters that allow drawing and shooting a holstered weapon.

Even these drills will bearly prepare you for the intense reality of real shooting situation. Every law enforcement and military trainer I’ve talked with has said the same thing – in a real situation you will be half as good as your worst training day.

While military and law enforcement is able to practice more realistic scenarios, civilians typically are not. Studies show that without these stress drills most CCW permit holders are unrealistically confident about their ability to effectively deploy their weapon.

The real goal of self defense.

The most basic goal of self defense is to survive a violent encounter. That starts with a realistic assessment of the real threats you are likely to encounter and weapons available to you – whether a gun or physical self defense training like DSD.

Understand that while there are no guarantees – no matter how strong you think you are – there are realistic steps you can take to significantly reduce your chance of being in a violent attack and increasing the odds of surviving one should it happen.

This starts with simply being aware of your surroundings. Using a little common sense – like locking doors & windows, lighting your exterior and maybe having a dog or alarm system. The basic rule is to stay away from trouble and not be an easy target.

Maybe you have a gun, maybe you don’t. They aren’t for everyone. But what everyone should have is a little basic training in physical self defense. Knowing how to strike an attacker, where to strike an attacker and how to prevent injury to your own vital areas can make a huge difference in the outcome of a violent attack.

One thing I like about self defense training versus or even in addition to CCW, is that you are never without your weapons. The skill and mental conditioning are assets you can take with you no matter where you go!

If you are interested in learning more about how Dynamic Self Defense can help you be safer at home and at work shoot us a message or give us a call.

 

How I Became A Reluctant Black Belt

New Albany Black Belt

What’s your image of a black belt? Young, male, fit?

Yep – I had that same thought. I don’t fit that image… Nearly forty, female and a wimp.

Here’s my story – the story of the Reluctant Black Belt.

When I started with Dynamic Self Defense, it was to be involved in an activity with my husband. He had always wanted to get into a martial arts and liked the idea of earning a black belt. Me, not so much… I was somewhat reluctant. I wanted to be with my husband and learning self defense was just a bonus.

Over the first few months I got to know all the adults and to my surprise there were women there! Most of us adults were not the young and fit type either. I found a place that I could be comfortable, work up a sweat and have fun.

As I progressed, I found a sense of confidence about the skills I was learning and I really impressed myself with these new abilities.

This doesn’t mean there were times that I wanted to quit and be done with it – because there were many. Sometimes an injury would make me frustrated and achy or I would feel totally overwhelmed with the rest of my life and feel that I needed a break. But, I had the support of my classmates – all of them having similar issues and many of whom are now black belts too!

There was a point when I realized that I wanted that black belt. I determined that I was worth the struggle and I was going to push through and earn it.

Now, with a black belt around my waist, I look back at the 3 years of training and I am so proud of myself. I accomplished something I didn’t set out to do but turned it into something worth doing for myself.

Getting A Black Belt In Columbus Ohio At Age 38

Dynamic Self Defense School in New Albany OhioGetting a Black Belt at age 38 in Columbus Ohio isn’t something most people will do. After all, there are plenty of reasons not to… and even as you go for it, you’ll have plenty on opportunities to quit.

There will be that class that pushed your buttons at the wrong time. That time when your back gave out from going at it too hard on the ground. The broken bone from a technique gone awry.

There will be the heat, the aches, the bruises and of course that board that didn’t break and instead almost broke you.

Focus on these things and the road to Black Belt will lead you somewhere else.

Focus instead on the laughs, the camaraderie, the shared triumphs.

The technique that wouldn’t click and the encouragement and support of your fellow classmates in helping you get it down… in a way that works for you not just “by the book.”

Focus on the new found confidence, your new physical skill, your inner peace knowing fully that fear and pain will not stop you.

Focus on increased physical fitness, pounds lost, legs that lift higher than they did before! Look back and see how far you have come.

And don’t quit…

The road to Black Belt isn’t traveled in a week, a month or even a year.

Black Belt isn’t just a term to be used lightly or to make things sound cool. It’s a state of mind and the result of a won’t quit attitude.

I earned my Black Belt in Dynamic Self-Defense, not because I’m the worlds best fighter, the stereotypical athlete or even the best student in the class. I earned my Black Belt because I didn’t accept the excuses to quit.