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Old 11-17-2013, 06:04 PM   #1
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Gun Question

This is a gun question on what to buy. Please don't get into gun rights and other political issues or this thread will get killed.

I'm targeting this question to those that already keep guns aboard. I used to keep a handgun with me on camping and boating trips but haven't in a very long time.
This particular weapon would be for self defense only. What I think I need is:
1) Something with as little swinging room needed as possible. The old Kentucky Long Rifle would not work for me on a boat.
2) Easy and non-intimidation for a female to operate - I'm speaking of my wife, not my feminine side.
3) 'Relatively' inexpensive ammo. The more a weapon is used the better it becomes. I'm of 'the most familiar weapon is the best weapon' school. I've known people that could carve you up with a knife well before you even realized you had to defend yourself.
4) Something that would not draw any attention on the boat. Like in, easily stored and easily available.

I know there is no one weapon that will fit all of the categories like a fully automatic shotgun the size of my walley - which is really small. I'm sure I will think of more stuff. If nothing else, tell me what you have on your boat and why you selected that weapon.

One more very important thing: I will only be cruising in the US so foreign laws will not apply. My cruising will be primarily on the eastern inland waterways.

Again, please keep this non-political. Hopefully, the moderators will bounce the offenders and not the thread.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 11-17-2013, 06:16 PM   #2
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I keep a Walther PPK .380 cal in stainless on board. Small enough for the wife and large enough to do the job.
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Old 11-17-2013, 06:27 PM   #3
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If it's going to be on the boat a lot, then my first choice is something stainless. Blued steel will show rust spots really quick in a saltwater environment. Shotgun is good or a pistol whichever you are most comfortable with.

My personal choice is a short pump shotgun. There is nothing like the sound of a round being jacked into the chamber!!
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Old 11-17-2013, 06:45 PM   #4
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Rifle or Handgun?


I would go with an AR-15. Collapse stock great round that won't penetrate like a .45 or 9mm will and light weight. Put an optic on it and you WILL hit your target. I would add a Surefire taclite.

This is my setup.
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Old 11-17-2013, 07:01 PM   #5
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I don't yet have a weapon on the boat, but have given this considerable thought. My weapon of choice would be a Mossberg 500 JIC 12 ga shotgun with a pistol grip in MarineCote. The JIC kit (Just In Case) includes a sturdy watertight tube and a multitool.


Mossberg ''Just In Case'' Shotgun Package, Marinecoat, Orange Tube - Impact Guns

I want something easily accessible, easy to operate, reliable and effective. This weapon seems to meet those needs.
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Old 11-17-2013, 07:33 PM   #6
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A Smith & Wesson SS Model 60 revolver with 3-inch barrel in 357 magnum loaded with five 38+P hollow-point cartridges. (well-built, reliable, small frame, handy, stainless, moderate power, ammo widely available, accurate, reasonable distance between front and rear sights; my home-defense)

Product: Model 60
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Old 11-17-2013, 07:59 PM   #7
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Al is on the right track, IMO. However, a pistol grip makes for a very uncomfortable shot. Also, keep in mind that shotguns with a self-defense load will have to be aimed and not just pointed in the general direction of your target. So I would opt for a full-stock shotgun with a standard iron sight. A Remington 870 with an 18-inch barrel (SS "marinized" tactical model with six round mag) would work well. Number four buckshot is ideal, IMO.
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Old 11-17-2013, 08:16 PM   #8
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I wouldn't go with a shotgun because of the damage I would do to my boat. Also I want something that can I can use CQB and if required... A little more distance. My boat only goes 10kts max. If I have to move my engagement zone a little farther out I want to. You never know what or where the fight will find you.
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Old 11-17-2013, 08:24 PM   #9
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I keep a 40 calibre handgun on board with special ammo that won't carry outside my target. I would prefer to carry my 45 Kimber 1911 but we will see there are several reasons why I don't - as a former cop who worked K9 SWAT be aware of your legal rights while carrying and make sure you declare when asked by USCG etc

I prefer a handgun due to its ability in tight spaces the person who said an AR15 probably has not had to wrestle with it against a bad guy in tight spaces. A shotgun in a house works well but not on a boat we are living on our 49 and space is always a precious commodity.

The only time I needed a gun was when we had a robber on our boat in the Carribean a few years ago at 2am. Other means were used to get him off and he went to another boat until chased off by others.

Some states are more friendly than others as most know just beware of the rules so you don't end up on the wrong side of the jail bars.
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Old 11-17-2013, 08:27 PM   #10
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Sorry, this is another long one...

Since your are staying in U.S. Waters, it does make the equation easier.
Not knowing you or your wife's background with weapons, I'll respond as though there were none.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Edelweiss View Post
If it's going to be on the boat a lot, then my first choice is something stainless. Blued steel will show rust spots really quick in a saltwater environment. Shotgun is good or a pistol whichever you are most comfortable with.

My personal choice is a short pump shotgun. There is nothing like the sound of a round being jacked into the chamber!!
I agree with stainless, and the sound of a racked round, will get dang near anyone's attention poste haste!!
I also agree with the "whichever you are most comfortable with" comment.

As for the stainless, not only will it hold up better with less maintenance, but if done right, presents a very formidable presence

Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyWright View Post
I don't yet have a weapon on the boat, but have given this considerable thought. My weapon of choice would be a Mossberg 500 JIC 12 ga shotgun with a pistol grip in MarineCote. The JIC kit (Just In Case) includes a sturdy watertight tube and a multitool.


Mossberg ''Just In Case'' Shotgun Package, Marinecoat, Orange Tube - Impact Guns

I want something easily accessible, easy to operate, reliable and effective. This weapon seems to meet those needs.
The nice thing about a shotgun, is that it offers itself to other uses as well, and the ammunition can be varied easily.

The only issue I have with a pistol grip shotgun, is that "some" people simple can't handle them. I've trained volumes and inevitably, we'd have someone, male or female, that simply didn't have the wrist strength or forearm control to keep the weapon on target after the first round was fired. But again, if you find it fits the bill for you and your wife, then by all mean, a very god weapon for on board defense. Carried one in my patrol car for years, and on various LE boats (mostly full stock versions of the same Mossberg LE weapon) and loved it. Very reliable and simple to maintain.

Another thought is this:
Ruger K-Mini14GBF
Ruger® Mini-14® Autoloading Rifles
I've carried this weapon for years and really like it.
Light weight, compact when folded, and uses standard .223 ammo.
You "could" change the barrel out or use an adapter to fire less expensive .22 cal. ammo as well.

Good:
Light weight
Compact
Stainless
Sling
Flash Suppressor*
Bayonet Lug ()*
Folding stock*

Bad:
Folding Stock*-The stock when extended, fails to provide a solid feel for the shooter. I guess "wobbly" is the best way to describe it.
I replaced mine with a Choate Pistol Grip Stock many years ago. Mine is the 07-01-12 pictured below.
Mini-14 Stocks

While designed as a full length stock, in case you decide you need to "reach out and touch someone", it's easily and neatly tucked in next to the body when utilizing the pistol grip.
Also, while a polymer, it takes the OEM wood out of the equation. May increase the life or reduce maintenance a bit, who knows?

They also offer this one:
Choate Pistol Grip Folding Rifle Stock Ruger Mini-14 Mini-30 Synthetic
and while I've never used it, it's still an option.
It "appears" that it may have the same deficiencies that my OEM Ruger folder had, but again, I've never tried it. May have to do that.

Here is the Choate official website:
Welcome to Choate Machine and Tool - Your Premier Source for Tactical Stocks and Accessories for Rifles, Shotguns and Submachine Guns

Flash Suppressor*- Could be better that's all.
Bayonet lug*-Worthless for all intents and purposes. If I want to stick someone, I'll use something else.
Always seemed to find a way to get hung up on something!

The bigger question is comfort and space. If the weapon is uncomfortable to shoot or carry...you (or she) won't. If it's too large to easily work around bulkheads or carry up/down ladders, then again, it's no good.

It all depends on how much both of you are willing to train?
You can become very competent with almost anything with enough training. And while anyone can punch holes in paper, PLEASE, PLEASE, try to find someone, somewhere, that can offer you some tactical training.
Cover, concealment, light/sound abatement, movement, etc.
Defending your boat is much the same as defending your home, except the floors move....
Sorry, I get pretty intense on this part of the subject....

As for a handgun, I'd consider the largest caliber you can both accurately and comfortably handle while firing multiple rounds for several minutes.
If it's not uncomfortable or intimidating for that time, then a couple of quick rounds isn't going to be a problem.

I would stick with a brand name, performance tested in the marine environment, semi-auto, such as the Sig Sauer, S&W, Glock, and a few others.
While the revolvers are "simple", modern semi-autos, with proper training, ammunition and maintenance, seldom jam, misfire, or experience other failures, and are extremely reliable. Again, most failures tend to be the result of:
1) Poor weapon handling
2) Poor ammunition.

Finally, I would consider using a frangible round that is going to expend all or most of it's energy on impact:

Quote:

A sequence of photos showing a frangible bullet fracturing when subjected to high velocity strain waves

A frangible bullet is one that is designed to disintegrate into tiny particles upon impact to minimize their penetration for reasons of range safety, to limit environmental impact, or to limit the danger behind the intended target. Examples are the Glaser Safety Slug and the breaching round.
Frangible bullets will disintegrate upon contact with a surface harder than the bullet itself. Frangible bullets are often used by shooters engaging in close quarter combat training to avoid ricochets; targets are placed on steel backing plates that serve to completely fragment the bullet. Frangible bullets are typically made of non-toxic metals, and are frequently used on "green" ranges and outdoor ranges where lead abatement is a concern.[2][3]
Frangibility - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Depending on the construction of your vessel, an errant round could pass through a bulkhead, hatchway door or window, endangering a family member or other person on board, or damaging vital gear. And that's if ALL the shooting is done on board in enclosed quarters.
On deck in the open is a whole other ball of wax.

Hope some of this is of some assistance to you in your search.

(THE PICS ARE BELOW- Guess I'm a bit Tech-Tarded when it comes to putting the pics where I want them!!)
Top- Mini14 Folded- OEM stock
Center- Mini14 Extended OEM Stock
Bottom- Choate Full length polymer stock (mine).


OD
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Old 11-17-2013, 08:34 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by markpierce View Post
A Smith & Wesson SS Model 60 revolver with 3-inch barrel in 357 magnum loaded with five 38+P hollow-point cartridges. (well-built, reliable, small frame, handy, stainless, moderate power, ammo widely available, accurate, reasonable distance between front and rear sights; my home-defense)

Product: Model 60
Agreed, Mark! A stainless steel S&W model 66 revolver is my primary home defense weapon. We take it onboard for overnighters. I use .38 +P rounds in lieu of .357 since my wife could be using it as well.

If I owned a larger vessel with more room, I'd carry a Mossberg 12 gauge Mariner.
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Old 11-17-2013, 08:54 PM   #12
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A Stainless S&W 686 4" with .38 spl. HP rounds.
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Old 11-17-2013, 09:00 PM   #13
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OD has it right with round. 5.56 or .223 is the preferred round because of frangibility.

The shot gun "rack" is a fallacy. Guys intent on boarding have made the decision.

As for the person who says an AR is a bad platform due "wrestling", has forgot that an AR15 with a collapsible stock is pretty deftly moved around and is ideal to use to prevent hatch entry. I would submit that a 20 inch shot gun barrel Mossberg stand a greater issue for maneuver inside a hull.

An AR with Collapsable stock with a 16 inch barrel measure less 34 inches overall length.

In the Navy, we use both M4 (Military version of AR) and Shotguns. Both have a place.
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Old 11-17-2013, 09:06 PM   #14
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I have a version of this Mossberg with a short, adjustable padded stock and the marine coat finish. My wife would never manage a pure pistol grip, but does fine with this. Now all I need is a boat to hide it on.

(BTW, law enforcement friends tell me the sound of a 12-gauge racking may stop most folks, but don't count on it with a meth-head.)
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Old 11-17-2013, 09:17 PM   #15
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I have a 1911 I really like but it's Parkerized, I would need a stainless version. My overloads make a Gawd-awful bang and shoot smoke and flames everywhere which counts against it, but my wife and my daughter have had no trouble shooting it, probably due to its mass. 45ACP tends to make a large hole, but you might as well use a slingshot over 25 yards.

Which reminds me, I need to practise...
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Old 11-17-2013, 09:37 PM   #16
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One can argue a bazillion different guns and types of ammo...but you really have to say to yourself...what about me, my boat, the biggest threat and how would I deal with it?

Defense has to be a plan and what tools do you need to make it happen?

No one tool is going to make it happen...you have to think where is the threat coming from and what will fit the bill.

While I love a shotgun...reality is that it may be a sledgehammer when all you need is a flyswatter.

I have a 6" Ruger, stainless Security Six 357...and if I ever really think I want it for protection on the boat...I may just have 2 rounds snakeshot to get attention and/or hit the eyes, 2 rounds 38sp hollowpoint and then 2 rounds 357 if I need to keep going. Then 2 speedloaders with 38s in one and 357s in the other.

Flexibility and the way I see defending my boat my way.

A smallish handgun can be carried around, on deck without anyone noticing and hidden under a napkin...long guns aren't going to be quite as "dock/anchorage" friendly.

I don't see starting a shooting match till someone is trying to board...so long range is out...and as they are onboard..high power isn't really needed.

Also as has been posted and if not...the sound of a racking shotgun stopping anyone is a myth...it assumes a lot...like right off the bat the person heard it clearly and then even recognizes it....Hollywood stuff.

Again...my plan...my tool...my strategy....what's yours?
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Old 11-17-2013, 09:38 PM   #17
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Tony

A pump action 12 gauge shotgun with a full stock, loaded with buckshot.

Its legal probably anywhere in the US, and be pruchased in stainless.

The 12 gauge shotgun at <=100' is probably the most effective self defense weapon to be had.

The sound of the action working is probably one of the most recognizable sounds in the world.
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Old 11-17-2013, 09:43 PM   #18
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Quote:
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Rifle or Handgun?


I would go with an AR-15. Collapse stock great round that won't penetrate like a .45 or 9mm will and light weight. Put an optic on it and you WILL hit your target. I would add a Surefire taclite.

This is my setup.
My prefered weapon for the boat is a AR-10 in .308. Mine has a Trijicon ACOG for the sight. Very effective to say the least.

Great for my waters, but if we ever go cruising multistate I'd be worried it would be illegal in other states. Thats why I recommended the shotgun to the OP.
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Old 11-17-2013, 09:54 PM   #19
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I keep a Winchester 12 ga. stainless steel marine shotgun on board. As a point of interest, does anyone know of any instance of a cruiser using a weapon to defend themselves while cruising in US coastal waters?
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Old 11-18-2013, 03:53 AM   #20
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...... As a point of interest, does anyone know of any instance of a cruiser using a weapon to defend themselves while cruising in US coastal waters?
I haven't read of any. Probably because if it did happen it wouldn't hardly be sensational enough to make the news. They would not be called 'cruisers'. They would more likely be referred to as 'these people on a boat....." and that's not sensational news.
In some areas, any crime short of multiple murders won't make the news in Houston, New Orleans, New York City, etc.
Besides, I would sleep better knowing I am not defenseless. Boats get robbed all of the time. Kinda like burglaries, every so often, they may unexpectedly find someone home.
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