About the Blog

Educating fellow Jews about the sporting and defensive use of firearms. Especially Jews in North America, too many of whom are instilled with the belief that guns aren't for nice Jewish boys and girls.

If you know of notable Jewish shooters that should be documented on the blog, even if it is only at the local club level, I am happy to report and profile them. And don't be shy if that person to be documented is you! Please drop me a line at jewishmarksman at gmail dot com. Also follow me on twitter @JMarksmanship.

Monday, September 28, 2009

First Gun for the Jewish Home?

What's the perfect first gun to protect the Jewish home? To find the answer we consider some (good-natured) Jewish-American stereotypes:

1. Jews are not mechanically inclined. We call the handyman to change a light bulb. Then we complain that its too bright.
2. We expect our Jewish mothers (or wives) to clean up after us.
3. We're cheap!

Now before you report me to the ADL, keep in mind there are many exceptions. For example, my wife will testify under oath that I own and use power tools around the house, and I still have all my fingers (sometimes I actually succeed in fixing something!). However, she'll also tell you (2) and (3) still apply.

So taking these things about ourselves into consideration, the perfect first gun to defend our Jewish homes is a revolver. All kidding aside, I recommend revolvers for home defense to everyone, no matter what their level of firearms experience.

What do revolvers offer that other platforms do not? Most people can figure out how to load a revolver without any instruction. To use it, just aim and pull the trigger. No safeties to forget under stress, no jams to clear, no failures-to-feed, and if you ever have a "dud" (primer fails to fire the round), just pull the trigger again. Revolvers tend to be a little heavier than other systems, which makes them easier to shoot because there is less felt recoil. Revolvers require very little care. I'm never going to tell you not to clean it, but the truth is many revolvers can go thousands of rounds without any cleaning or oil, and still function when called on.

Also, revolvers are very easy to train new shooters on. They can be dry-fired on empty (check three times to make sure your gun is not loaded, i.e. all chambers of the cylinder are empty, before you do this at home) repeatedly, whereas other platforms require you to reset the hammer every shot. When you're at the range you can randomly load spent cases into the cylinder, which will allow you to see whether or not you're flinching (a very common problem for new and experienced shooters alike). Revolvers can also be fit with laser aiming devices for farsighted shooters, and lasers are also are great for dry fire training. If you don't want the gun loaded in the house, there are devices called speed loaders that are simple to use in emergencies.

Which revolver? For the home, a great solution is the Smith and Wesson 686, with a 4" barrel, chambered in .357 magnum. These can be had new for less than $600, and used for $400 and up. Speaking from experience, S&W's customer service is excellent. The great thing about a .357 is that it will also chamber rounds called "38 special". 38 specials are the same diameter as a .357 round, but the case is shorter and the round is less powerful. You can practice with 38 specials, because they are cheaper than .357 ammunition and will not produce as much recoil. You can experiment with your own abilities to accurately use "full house" .357 ammunition, or you can choose to load your gun with 38 specials or 38+P and still have a round with very effective stopping power.

With a revolver, your brass (spent cartridge) remains in the cylinder. When you go to the range, bring a coffee can or put your brass back into the bullet box...don't leave it on the floor at the range. Why? Because there are shooters who will pay you for your once-fired brass! Competition shooters re-load their own ammunition, and once-fired 38 special cases are a great find. Don't be shy to ask for $1 per 50 empty cases, but be willing to take as low as $0.50 depending where you live. Think of it as a dollar off coupon when you buy ammo! (Just make sure that selling spent brass casings is legal where you live.)


  1. My dad's first "home defense" gun was a S&W Model 19 4 inch .357. He reloaded. My first (as a grownup) was a Series '70 1911 Gov't model. I reloaded (still do). Today, with me, it's a new ball game. I won't post how many guns I have today, but in my bedroom, I have choices of 12 gauge, 5.56 NATO, and 9mm. And elsewhere in my home, lets just say I don't feel under-armed.

  2. The Model 19 in 4" is magnificent. I like today's S&W, but they don't me 'em like they used to. I spent months trying to find a good deal on a 19, and eventually settled for a deal on a 686.

    I reload as well. I know some seriously cheap Jews (I mean that as a compliment) that harvest the range berm for lead, then cast their own bullets. Not accounting for time, it brings ammo costs down to pennies a round. I do save all the lead from my 10m air traps, someday I might get into casting or I'll give the lead away.

  3. Better collect those wheel weights. EPA wants to ban lead wheel weights. They currently don't have statutory authority, I think, but with this Congress . . .

    Bullets are scarce now and I have not been finding much out there. I paid a premium for 5000 small pistol primers in a face-to-face deal during the peak of the ammo shortage, but 9mm bullets have been a problem.

  4. I decided to ride out this shortage by focusing on 10m air pistol and air rifle. A tin of 500 match grade, top-of-the-line pellets is only about $10. Despite practicing less with my "real" guns, my competition scores are going up...I'm finally flirting with Master level Bullseye pistol scores.

    What I do is go in the garage where my air traps are, and shoot at scaled down targets. Most evenings I'm doing this while listening to a Chabad parshah commentary in .mp3 downloaded from their site. Great way to relax, think, and shoot all at once.

    Unfortunately, all my match grade 10m air and smallbore equipment comes from Germany or Austia, but that's okay ;-)

    Anyway, I've been able to keep my ammo use down while waiting for the primer shortage to pass....it will pass right?!

  5. I've been buying primers face to face. There's a great Michigan site where gun people buy sell and trade. I've been able to get primers. It's the bullets that have been a problem. We had a group buy getting organized with Ranier Ballistics - around 30,000 bullets (My order was like 3,000). When we were ready to put in the order, they told use the wait was around 3 months, so we canceled. That's when I started thinking about casting. Problem is, Glock barrels don't like unjacketed lead bullets. Bought a Ruger Old army, though. Still can get caps and balls for it.

  6. You can get an aftermarket barrel for your Glock with traditional rifling that will allow you to use the unjacketed lead bullets. I forgot the name of the maker, I think it has the word "wolf" in it, and is well respected. I think they are not too expensive, and in the long run you save on bullet costs.

    Make sure though the range you use allows unjacketed rounds, some indoor ranges have rules against this due to air quality concerns.

  7. "You can get an aftermarket barrel for your Glock with traditional rifling that will allow you to use the unjacketed lead bullets. I forgot the name of the maker..."