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The Well-Armed Truck

September 8th, 2012

Glocks Don’t Cut It

I’m trying to decide what to get for a truck gun.

I’ve been researching the law. Don’t bet your liberty on this (I am not your lawyer), but it looks like Florida law is less troublesome for pistol owners than rifle owners.

You can keep a pistol in your truck in a zippered pouch or even a box with a lid held on by gravity. It’s pretty stupid, really. The law says the gun has to be “securely encased,” and “securely” is apparently an attempt at legislative humor, because you could pretty much toss your gun in a paper bag and roll it up, and it would be okay.

The idea, I think, is that you shouldn’t be able to grab the gun instantly and shoot someone without fumbling around. If you have to fumble around, the gun is not “readily accessible,” so it’s legal.

It’s a little strange. If you put a pistol in your center console with the lid closed but no lock, it’s legal. But if you put it under a beach towel on the passenger seat, somehow it becomes a concealed weapon. I’m pretty sure.

This is what happens when legislators argue too much. You get a legislative camel. A law with parts that don’t seem to match up.

Why do I care about pistol laws? I have a permit, don’t I? I can wear a shoulder holster under a flappy shirt, and I’m good to go. It doesn’t matter that I can reach the gun fast and shoot people without undue inconvenience. I shouldn’t care, right? Wrong. The reason I care is that I’m thinking about getting a pistol too big to conceal. If you can’t conceal it legally under a garment or whatever, you’re back in the arena of “securely encased” and so on.

I’m thinking I want an AK47 pistol. This is really a rifle with no butt. It’s a little bit less than 20″ long. It has an 11″ barrel. You can’t stick this under your shirt unless you’re really fat.

I’d like to get one of these because real (i.e. small) pistols are pretty stupid. I love my Glock, but let’s get serious. In a shooting situation, almost everyone who fires a pistol at a criminal misses. And the Glock holds a total of eleven rounds, so if I miss 11 times, I’m in deep poo.

An AK pistol holds 31 rounds. And the ballistics are even better than the remarkable ballistics of my 10mm handloads. It’s also much more accurate.

I know I’ll upset people with that accuracy comment, but I think it’s correct. People have cautioned me about the incredible difficulty of firing stockless weapons, but I took my 12-gauge Saiga to the range, and guess what I found out? When you put a laser on it, the shots go where the little green dot goes, every time. You don’t have to use the buttstock. I shot at 50 feet, and the pellets went poomp-poomp-poomp-poomp into a little area the size of a fist.

Now, maybe I’m a superhero with a unique and amazing ability to shoot this way, but whatever the explanation is, it’s very clear to me that an AK pistol with a laser will be much more accurate than a Glock, in a real-world shootout. If you can hit people reliably at fifty feet, you will be the king at any civilian firefight.

Aside from that, I have to add that I’ve fired weapons from the hip more than once, and generally, the accuracy has been way better than what I would need to hit someone within ten yards. If that makes me special, whoo-hoo, but it’s the truth. I think people get way too excited about using sights. Seal Team Six practices without using sights, so I have good company. You can get used to a weapon, to the point where hitting a can at twenty feet is no problem. It’s not as hard as people make it out to be. I used to shoot mile markers offhand from a car moving 70 mph. In my opinion, people don’t practice this kind of shooting nearly enough. In a real shootout, this is the kind of shooting you’re going to find yourself doing, so why not get good at it?

Let me get back to lasers. To use the Glock in the conventional way, you have to hold it at eye level and sight carefully down the barrel. You have to line the little doodads up and squeeze the trigger with extreme patience. If you don’t do those things, your shots will range all over an imaginary cone with an angle of–if you’re good–fifteen degrees. At ten feet, that’s a miss. With a laser, you don’t have to sweat about the sights or the trigger. You put the dot where it has to be, and as long as it stays more or less in that location when you jerk the trigger, you win. You can shoot from the hip. You can shoot behind your back. You can hold the gun like Jimi Hendrix and pull the trigger with your teeth. Doesn’t matter.

In my experience, 95% of the difficulty of target reacquisition has been in finding the sights with my eyes after a shot. Reorienting the weapon is easy, and you can do it as fast as you can move your hands. With a laser, you don’t have to find the sights again. You just have to find that dot.

The laws concerning rifles are somewhat off-putting. You can put a rifle in the window of your truck, right here in Dade County, and the cops can’t say a word. You can also drive down the road with it on the passenger seat, fully loaded. But if you cover it up and leave it within reach, it may become a concealed weapon not covered by a permit. Or something. There have been cases in which people got in trouble because their long guns were partially covered. So you could get arrested because you threw a newspaper in your truck and part of it landed on top of your AR15. I don’t know if I want to mess with a potential trap like that. In practice, I think this usually boils down to, “Is this cop an incredible jerk who likes ruining people’s lives unnecessarily,” and maybe you’ll come out okay 95% of the time, but why take a chance?

The AK “pistol” (I still can’t believe a 20″-long gun fits that legal description) is easier to maneuver than a full-size rifle. That’s helpful if–God and your ENT forbid–you have to fire from inside the vehicle. It also makes it a little easier to get to the gun and get it ready.

The VZ 58 rifle with a folding stock is about 26″ long. This is a wonderful weapon. Unlike an AK, it’s made to be fired with the stock folded, so it’s nearly as versatile as a pistol. But that extra half a foot could be a little aggravating to deal with.

When you shorten the barrel, you lose velocity. Some dude did a test. It turns out you go from around 2300 fps to 1900 fps with an 11″ barrel. I don’t know if that will prevent the bullets from opening up. It’s still an incredible improvement over 1250 fps in 10mm. Pistol rounds don’t really expand, according to what I’ve read. I mean, sometimes they do, and sometimes they don’t, in spite of the pretty hollow points they put on them. When firing a pistol, you should assume FMJ performance, which is bad. I think 31 rounds at 1900 fps, with dramatically improved accuracy, has to be better than 11 rounds at 1250 fps. The extra accuracy and capacity, even without expansion, tumbling, or fragmentation, are worth a lot.

I checked into AR15 pistols, and I’m convinced they’re worthless. Since the war in Iraq began, we’ve been getting a lot of complaints about NATO rounds failing to kill or even slow down Islamist nutwads. If I understand the situation correctly, the AR15 does tremendous damage inside the body, except…when it doesn’t. Which is very often. It seems like a stupid choice to me, especially in a short-barrelled weapon with lower velocity. By the way, I have read that 5.56 mm suffers greater velocity losses than 7.62 when you shorten the barrel. Something to consider.

Oddly, when I started researching this, I learned that two 7.62 pistols had just come on the market. One is the VZ 58 pistol, and the other is the Zastava M92 AK47 pistol (Yugoslavian). The M92 is not really new, but it has been unavailable for a long time.

The VZ 58 was tempting, but it’s a $900 gun, and it’s a little longer than the Yugo. Also, when I emailed the seller with some questions, I was not all that pleased with the responses I got. The guy who sells these things in the US is named Dan Brown. I’m sure he’s a great guy, and he’s probably busy, but I needed some technical advice before buying, and I thought his responses were unnecessarily terse. That turned me off. I don’t like being referred to a URL when a one-sentence answer would work much better. When you send someone a URL, it’s like saying, “Here, stupid.” I already bought one of his excellent guns, so I think I’m entitled to a whole sentence. Making people feel comfortable is a crucial part of sales. There’s more to it than providing information.

The Yugo is under 20″ long, and all sorts of existing AK doodads will fit it. When they’re available, they run about $560. That’s not bad. The Romanian Draco is another alternative, but it’s slightly longer, and God only knows when it will be available again. Century makes something called a Centurion C39, but it gets horrible reviews, so I’m afraid of it. Arsenal makes a pistol, but it’s 5.56, which is not acceptable.

The muzzle flash from these things is supposed to be heinous, because the short barrel doesn’t give all the crap enough time to burn. It exits the barrel while it’s still on fire. I’ve seen tests that suggest the ugly cone-shaped Russian suppressor works very well.

If I get one of these things, I’ll stick a Chinese green laser on it. You can see the dot a hundred yards away on a bright day.

As of this writing, the Yugo is sold out, but it will come back soon. Obama is the best gun salesman the world has ever known.

Why go so crazy on a truck gun? Because I want to live, and half-measures do not work. As I said above, most trained shooters miss with multiple shots, even at close range. Why would an intelligent person invest in a weapon which is EXPECTED to provide that outcome? It’s like buying a seat belt made from defective cloth. It’s just plain stupid. The better question is, “Why are so many people satisfied with ordinary handguns?” The answer is ignorance. They see people do wonderful things with handguns…in MOVIES. Maybe they do well at the gun range, too. That doesn’t mean a pistol is a smart thing to have in your hand when one or more assailants are coming at you from twenty feet away, and you don’t have your $300 shooting glasses, your tactical jockstrap, or your special Cabela’s Sooper Marksman carbon-fiber range stool.

I think our notions of self-defense are contaminated by the idea that fighting is a game. In a game, you deliberately handicap yourself with rules and bad equipment. This is the main thing that distinguishes games from real life. Think how easy golf would be if you could use a scoped air gun to shoot the ball. In a defense situation, you don’t want rules and handicaps. You want to CHEAT, CHEAT, CHEAT. It’s not a game. You want every advantage.

I remember reading a book about some US soldiers who fought in Vietnam. It was nothing like the movies. In the movies, two guys will go into a town to kill fifty bad guys who have better weapons. They’ll walk right up the middle of the street and yell stupid things like, “LET’S PLAY.”

The soldiers in the book used to get together in superior numbers, using superior weapons, and slaughter the enemy in sneak attacks. If the enemy is on the toilet, great. Shoot him in the back, through the wall of the shack. If the enemy has three guys, show up with thirty and kill them in their bunks. Bomb them from the air before they can get to their weapons. Shoot from concealment, so they can’t fight back even if they want to. Determine the most likely path they’ll take to escape, and set up mines that rip them open when they run away. That’s the attitude you have to have about self-defense.

I’m not saying you’re supposed to go beyond what’s necessary to prevent a crime; I’m saying you have to go all-out, while you’re defending yourself legally. You should not limit yourself, the way you would in a sporting contest.

It’s not supposed to be sporting. Is it sporting when a criminal decides to kill or rape you, on the assumption that you can’t defend yourself? Get real. Going big is the correct practice.

Here’s what I think. When you’re attacked, and you’re trying to defend yourself with a Kel-Tec, you’ll definitely wish you had an AK on full auto, plus body armor. You’re not going to pat yourself on the back for bringing just enough gun.

If the gun is wildly overdone, and I never need it, no harm done. But if I need it and it’s not adequate, they’ll be putting me in the ground.

Years ago, a couple of sociopathic nuts made their own body armor and robbed a bank using automatic weapons. You can probably find footage on Youtube. The cops were totally lost. They shot these characters repeatedly, and the criminals just walked through the bullets and kept firing. It was horrible. They did incredible damage. But they showed the difference preparation makes.

Anyway, I think the AK pistol is a good choice, although using my VZ folder is not out of the question.

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11 Responses to “The Well-Armed Truck”

  1. Ed Bonderenka Says:

    “When you’re attacked, and you’re trying to defend yourself with a Kel-Tec”
    Different Kel-tec:

  2. Mike James Says:

    I don’t own one, and I think it violates the “handgun” requirement, but …

    Kel-Tec Sub-2000?

    MSRP $409.00, you can order one that takes Glock magazines, so you would have all one type of magazine and ammo in the truck. I understand 30 round magazines for the Glock are available.

    I understand that Kel-Tec has innovative design, and is a price leader in some segments of the market, but that some have questions about, using a delicate term, “functioning”.

  3. Jeffro Says:

    I say whatever you are most comfortable using is your best defense. If that is an AK pistol, more power to you.

  4. Thomas Lippert Says:

    I live in the communist state of Massholevania. I carry a 1911 daily. Since the 1911 is Gods pistol of choice I suspect it is enough. lols

  5. Steve H. Says:

    The 7.62 NATO Kel-Tec Ed linked to is longer than I would want the gun to be, and the recoil would be pretty bad. The other one is 9mm, which is a weak round.

    The only Kel-Tec I’ve fired was a 9mm Cracker Jack toy. I’m a good shot, but when I looked at the target, I had absolutely no idea which holes (if any) were my handiwork. For all I know, I missed completely. The trigger on those things is horrendous.

  6. bmq215 Says:

    Let’s see: you already own a saiga 12, you want cheap, compact stopping power, and you’ve spent thousands on machine tools that you used to rave about.

    I think I see an obvious solution here.

  7. Steve H. Says:

    But how can I live with that little-bitty Saiga magazine?

  8. J.M. Heinrichs Says:



  9. bmq215 Says:

    If 12 is too few there’s always drums. Anything that survives 20rds of 12ga would probably have shrugged off 30rds of 7.62 too. Also, if you’re looking at defense in a vehicle based situation then you have to consider that your opponent might be in a vehicle too. I know which of the two I’d prefer to shoot at an engine block.

    Sure, it might be overkill but I believe that self defense is something worth going all-out on.

  10. Steve H. Says:

    I’m not really thinking about hitting something 30 times. I’m concerned about missing it 29 times.

  11. Virgil Says:

    Hey Steve!

    Been out here in Oklahoma pursuing the capitolistic dreams I had in the middle of my life and not reading or writing much blog content recently, but this posting caused me to want to point out that as of November 1st people in my new home state can “OPENLY CARRY” a handgun in public if they have a legal concealed carry permit. This part of the old “wild Wild WEST will be even safer as a result I say.