Can you run a manual firearm?

The time may be soon when semi-autos are banned - can you adjust now?

The simple Maverick 88 costs about $200 - and are rugged enough that I use them to teach shotgun classes

When choosing tools for defensive use, there are many considerations. What amount of danger am I preparing for (ie what are my likely threats), what environment am I going to be in, what is my skill level, etc. It’s easy to go down the ‘rabbit hole’ of preparing for every possibility, but really, are you expecting to have to face off a Mumbai style assault by squads of soldiers with automatic weapons and explosives? Perhaps you should reconsider your environment if that is the case ….

Speaking of environments, one that is not often discussed is the legal environment. Meaning, what is legal for you to possess or use defensively? This is a legitimate concern in different parts of the US; I will limit my discussion to inside the states, as I don’t have foreign travel experience. If that’s your interest, check out Acquiring Guns in a Foreign Country- A Cautionary Tale | Active Response Training by Greg Ellifritz.

In different states, and indeed even different counties or towns within states, laws vary widely. It is essential that you are aware of what is legal in the area you will be in and make educated decisions about the risk/reward of violating those regulations. For example, Massachusetts was the last state in the country to stop requiring a license for adults to possess simple pepper spray. Did I ensure that my teenage daughters had access to it? Absolutely. However, things can get complicated very quickly.

Consider that in Mass there is a ten round magazine regulation, with limited exceptions for pre-1994 units that were “possessed in MA” prior to the law’s enactment. The AG has an ‘approved’ roster for gun purchases from a dealer, and while Glocks aren’t on it you can legally buy a used Glock from a private party sale from a gun owner who legally owns a Glock. But, you are limited to a 10 round magazine. However, Mass is very small … and gun friendly NH is a very short 20 minute ride. You could walk into a Wal-Mart over the state line and buy a 15, 17 or 50 round Glock magazine for $20, no questions asked and walk out the door. You bring that magazine over the state line …. And it’s a five year felony. Bit different from a 16 year old teenager who may use non-lethal OC against an attack.

Why is this important? Because sometimes it’s good to simply get back to the basics. A shotgun in most ‘regular’ formats is legal in all 50 states. While you might love running drills with a chest rig and a highly modified AR, how are you at running a pump shotgun? How about revolver skills?

With our current onslaught of new anti-gun legislation, I can foresee outright bans of semi-automatic firearms of all types coming soon. If that happens, can you adjust? Perhaps it’s prudent to develop those skills now, as many of these regulations are already in place. There are horror stories of retired officers, supposedly protect by federal law to carry in all 50 states, running afoul of some obscure law (NJ comes to mind … where only ‘on duty law enforcement are allowed hollow point ammunition). Or states with ten round magazine limits.

My suggestion to those retired officers? You’re retired – get really good with a 5 or 6 round revolver. You’re no longer expected to run into an active shooter event, your tool is to get you & yours OUT of a bad spot. I teach active shooter response to police officers from all over, in advanced force on force trainings. We always include a scenario with an off duty/ plain clothes officer who enters the fracas, gun in hand with a badge on his belt or neck chain. Guess what? He gets shot - Every. Single. Time. Same goes for the general public.

Be realistic about your threat potential, take steps to minimize those threats, and get good with basic tools. Manually operated firearms such as revolvers, pump/lever/bolt action rifles and shotguns will be the last guns they ban. Prepare now. Want to learn how to run a revolver effectively? Or to use a pump shotgun effeciently? Check out our classes today!