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One of the more common letters I get here are readers worrying if their self-defense load is adequate. Regardless of the caliber, they still worry. They often say, “The forums are full of a mixed bag of opinions, but I hesitate to trust comments from anyone who is unwilling to even sign their name. I know who you guys are, know the articles are vetted, and trust you — can you help me out?” One thing they usually bring up first, is the velocity of their chosen load.

While forums and websites can offer solid info, you’re smart to balance it with other resources. Your personal experience, books, articles, a trusted friend’s opinions, etc. all serve to find a common denominator. Once the chaff floats away, what remains is probably pretty good to rely on. Right off the top — and we’ll prove this in a future issue with a new, groundbreaking stopping power article — any handgun caliber (from 9mm/.38 Special on up), loaded with reliable, modern defensive ammunition, will do the job to protect you. And amazingly enough, in our study we learned virtually any caliber, from 9mm to .44 Mag, takes from one to two shots to stop a bad guy. The final numbers showed around 55 percent are stopped within one to two shots — regardless of caliber! There truly are no magic bullets or calibers, and shot placement and penetration are paramount.

But still, many of you are caught up in the velocity issue. “Yeah, but isn’t 1,257 fps better than 1,245 fps? It is, isn’t it? Isn’t it?” And then you invest hard-earned dollars chasing that velocity nirvana, which is, I might add, mostly a complete waste of your time. Huh? Did he just say that?

I’ve been doing some work with Ruger’s new M77 .357 Magnum bolt action rifle. A very cool, short, light rifle, just made for kids and recoil-sensitive shooters. So, I had a fairly good selection of .357 Mag loads on-hand. I thought, hey, let’s shoot them in a wide range of barrel lengths and see just what velocity changes might occur. And then, let’s ask if any of it really matters in the real world? Check out the chart, and we’ll chat about it a bit.



Let’s think about that stopping power/velocity question I hear so often. Our bullet weights ranged from 110 grains to 160 grains, and velocities of the .357s ranged from a low of 944 fps (Extreme Shock 160 gr.) in the 2.25″ Performance Center .357 J-frame, to a high of 1,496 fps (Buffalo Bore 140-gr. Barnes) in the 6.5″ Highway Patrolman. I tossed in the rifle velocities just for fun so you could see what happens when you bring a rifle to a handgun fight, even when using some pistol calibers. The Ruger gave 1,957 with that same Buffalo Bore load, and 2,080 with DoubleTap’s 110 Barnes. Once you reach near 2,000 fps, serious things begin to happen, and then velocity tends to work well — but not so much before then.

But what did we learn? As far as handgun loads go, I learned you don’t want to shoot heavy .357 loads in J-frame guns, especially in lightweight models. Muzzleblast is shocking (I can’t imagine firing one without hearing protection, like at night in your bedroom …) and the palm-slapping recoil borders on uncontrollable. Just don’t do it. But look at those velocities — any of the loads tested, from the low of 944 to the high of 1,496 would be very capable self-defense loads. And, if it were me, I’d lean toward the moderate ones, with heavier bullets, so they aren’t so much of a handful. Check out how the velocity of some loads increased with barrel length, and not so much for others. The more consistent loads often offer good performance in shorter barrels since the powders seem to burn well in shorter barrels. The penalty in recoil, muzzleblast, controllability and cost when you move from 950 fps to 1,450 fps is extreme, while the stopping power increase is hard to measure in the real world. Read that sentence again. Stopped is stopped, regardless of the velocity.

I threw in the 148-gr. .38 Special wadcutters just for fun. Note from 2.25″ to 6.5″ you don’t gain a thing. As a matter of fact, other than the slight increase in the 4″ gun (normal velocity variances) it was very consistent. That’s why that load if so accurate, and burns cleanly in short-barreled guns. Gel testing I’ve done shows 148-gr. lead wadcutters often penetrate 14″ or more, and offer mild recoil and no muzzle flash. Hmm … maybe velocity isn’t that important after all? Before you get hysterical, think this over some more and hang-loose until we run that stopping power article soon.

Unless you’re approaching rifle velocities, why beat yourself and your handguns up worrying about a gain of 100 or even 300 fps or so? A 950 fps bullet of adequate design will stop someone virtually as well as the same bullet at 1,250 fps, and sometimes better — so it’s time to stop worrying. If you’re hunting, velocity and bullet construction can be very important, but not as much as you might think. We’ll talk about that another time. A bunch of stuff to think about, I’d say?

All About Guns California Gun Fearing Wussies

Full California: The Golden State Legislature Stacks Up Gun Control Bills as the Session Ends By Larry Keane

The deadline for the California state legislature to pass bills out of chamber is next week. Anti-gun state legislators are ramming through even more gun control legislation for legislative action with that deadline looming.

California already can rightfully argue they are the strictest gun control state in the country. Gov. Gavin Newsom is even pushing for a Constitutional amendment to do away with Second Amendment rights. That’s not stopping them from rushing to implement even more gun control in the waning days of the session.

It will be a whiplash final week for bill movement. Here’s a rundown of what’s happening in Sacramento.

Senate Bill 241 passed out of the Assembly and is headed to the Senate. The bill requires California firearm retailers and their employees to undergo annual training courses which are implemented by the California Department of Justice (CalDOJ). The training requirements include “how to recognize and identify straw purchasers and fraudulent activity;” “how to recognize and identify indicators that an individual intends to use a firearm for self-harm;” “how to prevent theft or burglary of firearms and ammunition;” and “how to teach consumers rules of firearm safety, including, but not limited to, the safe handling and storage of firearms.”

The firearm industry rejects the bill’s mandates and penalties but agrees these are important aspects to owning and operating a firearm retail location. It’s why NSSF has provided training, education and resources to industry members and promotes the Real Solutions. Safer Communities. initiative.

Rather than forcing expensive and time-consuming requirements on retailers, NSSF provides access and materials from the Don’t Lie for the Other Guy campaign to reduce illegal “straw purchases,” Operation Secure Store retailer security program and Project ChildSafe safe firearm storage initiative. Each of these programs, as well as others, have had a real, meaningful impact on making communities safer without imposing costly mandates and red tape on small businesses.

Assembly Bill 1406 passed both the Assembly and Senate and is heading to Gov. Newsom for signature. AB 1406 would expand the existing 10-day waiting period on the sale or transfer of a firearm to include a possible 30-day state waiting period.

The existing 10-day waiting period is already being challenged in court as unnecessary and that violates law-abiding Californians’ Second Amendment rights. After all, rights delayed are rights denied. A successful National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) verification already reveals whether the buyer is prohibited from owning a firearm or not, and a federal background check window exists for the minute percentage of NICS checks that come back in delay rather than approved or denied.

Senate Bill 368 is another bill that would impact firearm retailers and also make it more difficult to help reduce the tragedy of firearm deaths by suicide. SB 368 is heading to Gov. Newsom for signature after passing out of both the Assembly and the Senate. The bill adds additional requirements and red tape for firearm retailers to navigate should a person experiencing temporary mental health challenges decide to give their firearm to the dealer for storage. Similar laws in New York and Massachusetts end up discouraging individuals from pursuing this option and often the firearm dealer is left in a difficult place to navigate penalties and possible violations due to the firearm transfer mandates.

Assembly Bill 1089 passed both the Assembly and Senate and is heading to Gov. Newsom’s desk for possible signature. AB 1089 prohibits anyone, including a gunsmith or hobbyist, from manufacturing a home-built firearm and requires those individuals to register as a state-licensed firearm manufacturer. Building firearms at home has been common since before the founding of the country.

One of the most egregious pieces of legislation to see significant movement in Sacramento is Assembly Bill 28. AB 28 already passed both chambers and is already on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk for possible signature. AB 28 has made a wave of national news already and would impose an 11 percent excise tax on firearm retailers and manufacturers for all sales of guns or ammunition. The Associated Press reported, “California’s proposed tax would not apply to people who buy the guns. Instead, the state would make the businesses that sell guns and ammunition pay the tax. However, most of the time businesses will raise prices to cover the cost of the tax.”

Senate Bill 2 creates a new arbitrary system and criteria for firearm permits making it immensely harder for citizens to obtain carry permits. This is Gov. Newsom’s response to the Bruen decision. Since he didn’t like the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision, he took the same tactic and sought legislation to make it nearly impossible to legally carry a firearm in California – even if an individual has a permit. The bill would make nearly every public place in California a “sensitive place” and deny law-abiding citizens from carrying a firearm.

While there are still only a handful of days remaining, the firearm industry is also watching to see if legislators move a California state Merchant Category Code (MCC) bill (AB 1587) to track individuals who make firearm purchases using a credit card, as well as a microstamping bill (SB 452) which would require the state to study the unworkable and flawed technology on new firearms in the state.

NSSF will be closely monitoring the situation in Sacramento.

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Israelis should carry guns on Yom Kippur, police say

In a press statement, the Israel Police spokesperson urged Israelis to carry guns for personal safety amid the High Holy Days.

 POLICE PATROL outside al-Aqsa Mosque amid clashes in the area this week. (photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

POLICE PATROL outside al-Aqsa Mosque amid clashes in the area this week.
(photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

The Israel Police spokesperson suggested that Jews should carry weapons on Yom Kippur in a Tuesday press statement.

The recommendation came in a message regarding police preparedness as the approach of the Jewish High Holy Days brings increased security risk in a Tuesday press statement.

As part of the measures that the public should take, he emphasized was for citizens to carry weapons and be trained in their use.

The Israel Police spokesperson, Commander Eli Levi, noted the police were ramping up their preparedness at key locations across Israel.

“As every year, in preparation for the High Holy Days, the level of readiness has been increased in certain areas, with an emphasis on cities such as Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and prayer and entertainment venues,” Levi said.

He went on to assert that in the weeks leading up to the High Holy Days, Israel faces more severe threats to public safety as a result of crime and terror.

Israeli Border Police forces are seen confronting Palestinian men in Jerusalem's Old City on April 17, 2022 (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Israeli Border Police forces are seen confronting Palestinian men in Jerusalem’s Old City on April 17, 2022 (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

“Now, a few days before Yom Kippur and during the holiday season, there are dozens of alerts. Alongside the escalating incitement to terror on social media, this has led the Israel Police to deploy thousands of officers, Border Police, and volunteers,” he stated.

Levi went on to explain that, at this time, the Israeli security apparatus is focusing on stopping terrorist acts before they occur, being able to respond immediately in the event that they do, and doing everything possible to keep the public safe.

Levi: Israelis should carry weapons

However, keeping the public safe, Levi advances, involves the active participation of the public in their own personal safety. That is, the public should carry weapons, he says.

“Today,” Levi said, “we reiterate the call of the Chief of Police and the Head of Operations and call on the public to carry weapons and be trained in their use when necessary, to bear their weapons during these days, even in places of prayer and family entertainment.”

The Israel Police spokesperson also addressed violent crime in Israel, particularly in the country’s Arab sector. He noted the police’s ongoing effort to combat such violence, particularly via the confiscation of weapons, saying that every firearm, explosive, or grenade recovered could prevent it from making its way to those intending terroristic violence.

Levi also warned against harboring illegal residents who unlawfully crossed into Israel.

“Most importantly,” he added in conclusion, “promptly report any unusual event that you find yourself involved in or exposed to and any publications that raise concerns about incitement to terror and violence on social networks.”

Yair Lapid objects

Opposition leader Yair Lapid objected to calls for citizens to carry weapons in synagogues in a pair of posts on X, formerly Twitter, on Wednesday.

Lapid criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who he brands as having lost control of his government.


“[Netanyahu] has lost control of his ministers. Everyone is conducting their own policy,” Lapid said. “To call on citizens to come to the synagogue on Yom Kippur armed is not a security policy but dangerous populism, acting against the Shin Bet’s position – chaos.”

“Instead of running away from the troubles to California, Netanyahu should rein in his irresponsible ministers and work to calm the situation,” Lapid added.

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