Self-Defense Lawyers

Self-Defense Lawyers

We carry to be prepared, and hope to never have a day come where we need to use our firearms. This is a great mindset, but the reality is that some of us will indeed use our firearms in a self defense situation. We’re prepared for this, but are we prepared for what happens next?

Do you have a self-defense lawyer set up?


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Many that carry each day do not think about the aftermath of a self defense shooting. The hectic nature immediately following a shooting is enough to rattle the strongest people you know. It can also go on for months, if not years. The last thing on your mind in this situation should be “Oh crap, I need a lawyer that’s versed in firearm laws and self defense laws that can represent me”.

Don’t end up being this person. Find a lawyer beforeyou may need one.

Choosing a lawyer versed in these categories can be a process, but it is a good idea to start the search now. Start calling a few local law offices or search the internet to see who is in your area. If you call a firm that doesn’t excel in this category, chances are they can lead you in the right direction.

Alternatively, and an even better option, is to ask people in the industry. Talk to a local firearms instructor to see if they can refer you to a lawyer in the area. If that doesn’t work out, ask around at a local gun shop to see if anyone can point you in the right direction. You can even call the NRA to get a list of lawyers in your area that have experience with self-defense cases.

Make the calls, and sit down with the lawyers to discuss what they’ve done in the past and what they have to offer you. After all, they may be getting you out of jail one day. Just like choosing a doctor, you want to be confident in your choice.

Ask them how many self-defense cases they’ve been apart of. See what their track record is. Find out of this is a person that you feel confident and secure with. If it’s 2am and you have a dead intruder in your kitchen, will you feel like you’re in safe hands when you call this lawyer right after a self-defense shooting?

It’s ok to take your time when choosing a lawyer to possibly represent you in the future, but start the process now. Even if you don’t carry yet and have a pending concealed carry application,start this process of finding a lawyer while you wait for your permit.

You prepare with everything else in your life; don’t forget this important step.

Gun Shop Etiquette

Gun Shop Etiquette

For most of you, a trip to the gun shop is like a child’s trip to Disney; You don’t ever want to leave. With these trips come unwritten rules of how to conduct yourself while browsing the fine selection of firearms and accessories. Remember that each employee at the shop speaks with many people a day, a lot of whom are new to firearms. Knowing and abiding by these unwritten rules will ensure a smooth, safe and respectful transaction.

Source: abcnews

1. Look at one firearm at a time

I have been in a gun shop multiple times and witnessed a customer doing the following: “Let me look at that one, that one right there, this one over here, oh and definitely that one!” While it may be beneficial to compare them side by side, it is recommended to have just one on the counter at any given time.

2. Never cover anyone with the muzzle

As per the 4 Rules of Gun Safety, the gun is always loaded. Being in a gun shop does not make this rule any less irrelevant. When handling any firearm ANYWHERE, never let the muzzle cover anything you aren’t willing to destroy.

3. Don’t dry fire or ‘slam’ the slide without asking

I know you want to play with your potential purchase, believe me I understand! 9 times out of 10, if you want to dry fire or release the slide with the slide release, the employee will say ‘go ahead’. It’s always a good idea to ask first though, because after all, it’s their property until they sell it to you. You may also be unaware that dry-firing the firearm in your hand is actually bad for that particular firearm. Please, ask first.

4. If you’re trading in a gun, bring it in it’s case

Instead of walking up to the counter with a firearm in your hands, put it in it’s case and let the employee take it out and safety check it. This seems like common sense to me, but I’ve seen it done the other way numerous times. We’re dealing with firearms here, not jeans you’re looking to return at Wally World.

5. Always, without exception, safety check a firearm as soon as you pick it up

I don’t care if the employee just showed you it’s clear. As soon as you pick up a firearm ANYWHERE, the first thing you should be doing is a safety check. This policy does not change in a gun shop.

6. Know about the firearms you’re interested in purchasing

Do some research online before you go to the gun shop. You probably have an idea of what you’re looking to get, so check them out before you go see them. Even the best employee may not know all the answers to every single product they carry. It’s a good idea to be informed ahead of time to make sure you know exactly what you’re looking at.

7. Have your permit with you

If you’re in a state that requires you to have a permit to own a firearm, HAVE IT WITH YOU. Chances are, the gun shop can’t even let you touch a firearm without seeing your permit. Do everyone a favor and bring it with you and present it at the counter.

8. Haggling is generally ok, but don’t go overboard

If you find a firearm on for $500 and your dealer is selling it for $589, asking for a few bucks off isn’t a bad idea. Asking them to price match however, might not be your best option. Remember that the online purchase may have other fees such as shipping, and they generally don’t have as much overhead as your dealer. He needs to keep his doors open, so haggle respectively.

9. Don’t talk about anything illegal

I’m not even going to explain this. Just…don’t do it.

10. Be respectful and courteous

Gun Shop employees see a lot of people everyday, and many are new to firearms and don’t follow the rules. I hear of ‘angry’ employees all the time, and my feeling is that they come across this way sometimes because they have people all day long doing everything on this list. Give them a break by knowing the proper Gun Shop Etiquette.

Nice-Price 1911 Shoootout!

1911 Shootout

We ordered in seven basic, full-size, affordable 1911s and put them through a head-to-head shootout to find out which ones are the best buys. Here’s how they rate.

I have been involved in the shooting sports for longer than I care to admit. In that time I have come to two ironclad conclusions about American shooters: No. 1. They love 1911 pistols. No. 2. They crave a good deal.

Now, this may come as a shock to some of our younger readers, but when I bought my first 1911 I had a choice of buying a Colt or…buying a Colt. At that time Colt was the only manufacturer (other than some foreign military arsenals) making 1911 pistols.

Today, dozens of firms, both in the U.S. and overseas, produce 1911 pistols at a steady pace to meet the ever-increasing demand for this iconic design.

Anyone who has ever perused a gun magazine or surfed the Web can tell you that these companies offer 1911s ranging from plain to exotic in finish and from “GI” to “race gun” in design and function. While the price of a basic 1911 is something most of us can afford, the tariff on a top-of-the-line custom-built pistol can easily run $3,000 to $5,000.

While many of us would like to buy a built-to-order 1911, there are those of us who can’t. And unless you intend to engage in serious handgun competition, maybe you really don’t need a tricked-out 1911. Maybe a plain-Jane pistol will address your needs adequately. But which one should you consider? To answer that question Shooting Times put a selection of “affordable” 1911 pistols through a shootout to see if they could do what was needed to be done.

For our purposes we decided that the definition of “affordable” would be a 1911 with an MSRP under $900. We sent out requests to all the major makers and a few that might not be all that well known to you, and we soon had received basic 1911s from Magnum ResearchAmerican Tactical ImportsRugerParaAuto-OrdnanceSpringfield, and Taurus. Keep in mind that this was during the summer of 2013 when guns were extremely hard to come by. In fact, several companies just didn’t have any available to include in our shootout.

All of the pistols are very similar—they are, after all, 1911s. But they also vary in materials, construction, grips, sights, controls, etc.

Let’s get the similarities out of the way first. All the pistols are full-size 1911s with steel frames and slides, no lightweight alloy guns. All feature the traditional 1911 single-action trigger, single-column magazine, and fixed sights. And, yes, all are chambered for the .45 ACP.

Now for their differences.

Of our seven test pistols, three (Ruger, Para, and Auto-Ordnance) were stainless steel. The remaining four had carbon-steel slides and frames.

Only one pistol (Springfield) featured an original 1911-style short trigger; the rest had the more popular long trigger. Among these, several (Auto-Ordnance, Ruger, Magnum Research, Para, and Taurus) had skeletonized or ventilated triggers.

GI-style thumb and grip safeties were featured on two pistols (Springfield and ATI), and the others had extended thumb and beavertail grip safeties. Only one (Taurus) had an ambidextrous safety, and none had extended magazine releases. Two (Springfield and ATI) used GI-style hammers; the Taurus had a Commander-style rowel hammer; and the rest had elongated, skeletonized hammers.

Two pistols (Springfield and Taurus) had key-activated, internal security locks. Dual grasping grooves on the slides and checkered frontstraps were features of two guns (Taurus and Auto-Ordnance).

While fixed rear sights were fitted to all the pistols, they ran the gamut from GI-style (ATI) through the more practical high square notch (Para and Springfield) to contoured, low-mount combat sights (Magnum Research, Ruger, Auto-Ordnance, and Taurus).

One pistol (ATI) had a round blade, GI-style front sight, and one (Para) had a green fiber-optic unit up front. The remainder had square blade front sights, either plain black or with white dots.
Full-length recoil spring guide rods were featured on three pistols (Magnum Research, Taurus, and Auto-Ordnance), while the others used the original short guide rod.

Five of the pistols (Springfield, Ruger, Magnum Research, Para, and Auto-Ordnance) had beveled magazine wells.

All except one (Springfield) came with eight-round magazines. The Springfield magazine holds seven rounds.

The Shootout
To help me run this pack of 1911s though their paces, I obtained the assistance of my good friends Dick Cole, Butch Simpson, and Dick Jones—action pistol shooters all. After much rumination and discussion, we decided that each of us would run each pistol through two drills.

The first was a field course consisting of 11 USPSA cardboard targets and two steel plates, which would be shot at distances ranging from 5 to 25 yards and would require movement and multiple reloads. Each shooter would run each pistol through this stage twice.

The second stage would consist of a rack of seven 8-inch steel plates. The shooter would begin with a fully loaded eight-round magazine plus one round in the chamber and engage the plates from a distance of 8 yards. This drill would be run three times with each pistol with no reloads permitted.

Each cardboard target had to be engaged with two shots, and the steel plates had to be knocked down to score. Scoring would consist of the shooter’s time plus these penalties: +0 seconds for A and B zone hits, +1 second for C zone hits, +2 seconds for D zone hits, +5 seconds for a miss or no-shoot hit.

Each shooter would then rate each pistol from 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent) in six categories: reliability, accuracy, ergonomics, recoil control, trigger, and sights. The points would then be added together for a final score.

Several days before I met my friends for the shootout, I fired each of the 1911s with three different brands of ammunition. As can be seen by the results in the accuracy chart, they all produced groups that were more than adequate—and some that were downright impressive. However, during this initial stage of testing, I experienced several failures to feed or go into battery with the JHP ammo.

Afterwards each pistol was disassembled, cleaned, and lubed, which would be the only maintenance they would receive. If any of them choked during the shootout, we would attempt to clear the problem at the range and keep shooting.

The four of us met on a hot, humid July morning at Dick Jones’s Lewis Creek Shooting School in High Point, North Carolina.

Shooting the field course exposed a few shortcomings in several of the guns, primarily failures to feed (mostly with JHP ammo) and premature slide lock-backs.

As these were all new, out-of-the-box pistols, I did not see this as being indicative of any real problems, and by the time we shot the field course the second time, there was a marked improvement in overall functioning.

To further test reliability, in addition to the magazines the pistols came with, all pistols were fired with a selection of high-quality 1911 magazines from Wilson CombatBrownellsTripp Research, and Ed Brown.

On the last run of the field course, Dick Jones experienced the first problem of the day when the rear sight of the Auto-Ordnance Thompson 1911 fell off. When we attempted to reinstall it, we discovered that the setscrew was cross threaded and could not be loosened or tightened. It had apparently been tightened just enough at the factory to hold the sight in place, but firing several hundreds of rounds jarred it loose. Because of that the Auto-Ordnance pistol was retired, and none of us were able to shoot it during the plate rack stage.

Even though we attempted to alternate the pistols, thanks to temperatures hovering in the mid-90s and the fact that there was no shade, they all got quite hot during the plate rack stage, making them uncomfortable to handle.

It was during this stage that I experienced our next firearm failure when the ejector on the ATI FX45 sheared off, preventing me from completing the third rack of plates and one other shooter from using it at all.

Including the earlier accuracy testing, by the end of the day, we had run approximately 2,400 rounds of ammo through the seven test guns. Then we got down to grading the guns.

The Scores
After much thought, cogitation, arguing, challenges, and threats, we came to the following results. Note: 120 points would be a perfect score. Check out the results below, and join the debate by leaving us a comment about your favorite budget 1911.

 Nice-Price 1911 Shootout

Let me explain how we arrived at these scores. The Para showed itself to be an all-around fine-handling, reliable pistol, but what clinched its first-place position was the fiber-optic front sight. It allowed fast target acquisition, accurate shot placement, and smooth transitioning between targets.

The Ruger and Magnum Research guns came in second and third places, but if they had been fitted with fiber-optic front sights, they very well could have tied for first place.

Despite it being a mil-spec pistol with GI-style grips and controls, the Springfield’s performance impressed us. Just put an extended thumb and beavertail grip safety on it, and it would be a real winner.

Overall the Auto-Ordnance fared well, and there were several positive comments about its overall quality. Its frame checkering was much appreciated by all. If it hadn’t lost its rear sight, it very well might have finished in first or second place.

The Taurus was an impressive pistol with frame checkering, ambidextrous controls, good grips, and decent sights. But it had a heavy trigger. I mean a really heavy trigger that caused accuracy to suffer and forced us all to shoot slowly. If it had had a lighter trigger, I’m sure it would have finished near the top.

ATI’s FX45 was a pure mil-spec pistol whose sights, controls, and grips were “basic,” and while that is not necessarily a bad thing, they did have an adverse effect on handling and accuracy. But it was the only one of the seven test guns that suffered what could be considered a “catastrophic” failure that prevented it from functioning at all. For this reason it was relegated to last place.

Well, there you have it. As the old saying goes, “The numbers don’t lie.”

How to find The Best Concealed Carry Instructor


posted by  on Concealed Carry


Finding the right instructor is very important when you’re looking to take a concealed carry class. While it will depend on your state, you are almost likely to be required to take training (and if you’re not,read up on why you might want to take some anyways), and the quality of that training matters when it comes to you being able to protect yourself when you’re carrying and a threat arises.

Just as you want the right gun, holster, ammunition and clothing, you want to find someone who will teach you to be the best you can be and bring out both the skills you already have and the questions you need to ask to become better.

Finding a good, licensed instructor can turn your concealed carry course from a boring, learn-little experience into something you’ll remember and something that makes you excited about learning more.

The first thing you should look at is how safe your instructor is. What sort of safety precautions has he taken? He should have a first aid kit at the ready, he should be ready with ear plugs if you are live-firing, he should have safety goggles for you, and he should stress the importance of safety when handling a firearm. In fact, if safety training is the first thing on your curriculum, you’re probably in good shape. This is pretty basic stuff for a good firearms instructor, so if the person you’re considering doesn’t seem like they value this highly, you should find another instructor.

References are very helpful when you are looking for an instructor. Get it right out of the mouths of people who have trained with him before. Is he any good? Did they learn everything? Do they feel like he made them a better handler of their firearm? Check online, ask your friends who have taken courses in your area, and ask around the local gun groups/shooting ranges.

How much experience does this person actually have with guns, shooting and teaching? How often does this person actually shoot? Have they trained for a long time? Find out how familiar they are with firearms and training, because while some people may think they can instruct, there are a lot of poor instructors out there who think that just because they can shoot a gun they can train. Just make sure your instructor actually shoots and enjoys it. While not necessary, it can help if the instructor has military or law enforcement training and experience.

What is the course structure? Different teachers will have different styles when it comes to the course structure and material. Some want to be the ‘big man’ in the class and will make you feel stupid for asking questions. Stay away from these guys with big egos. You’ll learn nothing because you’ll be afraid to screw up or ask questions, because they’ll belittle you in front of everyone. Get someone who genuinely cares and wants to help people learn.

Does your instructor know a lot? Seriously – how knowledgeable is he or she about state laws? Does he or she stay up to date on the latest firearm news and technological advancements? It helps to have someone who has a vast knowledge base because lots of different questions can come up when you’re training.

What kind of class sizes does the instructor typically deal with? Your ability to learn may increase if you get more one on one time, and that means that a smaller class size is usually better for you getting the best training.

How much are you going to be paying for this training? There isn’t usually too much variable in how much a CCW class costs. If you find a $50 difference, that’s usually quite a lot, so you should check into that. The thing is, if someone is charging way too much, make sure you’re talking about value, not just monetary cost. If it’s more expensive, but way better training, you might consider it. On the flip side, if an instructor only wants $10 for training compared to $100 down the road, ask yourself how good the training is and why it’s so inexpensive.

Don’t go for the ‘too good to be true’ or ‘salesmen’ instructors. There are so many people out there looking to take your money and scam you. We like to think that in the firearms community we’re all good to each other and have a sort of unique bond. However, people will always be trying to make a buck and this is not exception. Just look out for people who seem scammy or shifty.

7 Questions to Ask When Selecting a Firearms Instructor

7 Questions to Ask When Selecting a Firearms Instructor

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Most responsible people who shoot regularly know that the learning curve can be greatly improved when you take training from a qualified instructor rather than trying to teach themselves from youtube videos and articles on gun forums.DSC00112bing And hopefully most people realize that we can certainly practice, practice, practice what we know but cannot train ourselves since practice is nothing more than repeating perfectly what you have been trained to do.

When it comes to self-defense training is even more important in that during a violent encounter you will sink to your lowest level of training, and if you have had none, that will be your lowest level.

Selecting an Instructor

Finding a quality instructor is not that easy really since in the firearms instruction business there are no barriers to entry and anyone can get a rudimentary certification and hang out a shingle. When you have come to the level of learning where you are consciously incompetent, meaning you know you don’t know and you want to learn it is wise to determine what your training goals are and what you hope to obtain in training. Different instructors offer different areas of expertise for instance let’s say you want to compete, you might seek an instructor who is or has been a national level competitor. On the other hand let’s say you want to go to work with a LE agency, you might seek an instructor who has been a LEO or still is. There is a decided difference in study and expertise between competition shooting, law enforcement, military and self-defense. When you look at the four different realms keep in mind your purpose and objective, if you want to be able to defend yourself in a violent encounter you should probably seek instruction from those whose sole focus and experience comes from that field. And now, the sort of defining factor, the instructor has to be able to quickly communicate to you those skills you are seeking for regardless of the instructors’ background and experience, if they cannot quickly teach you are only going to have a “range master” barking commands at you.

What is the Instructor/Schools level of experience as an Instructor?

DSC00041If you found that you needed surgery would you select a Doctor that does 20 or 30 surgeries a year? Probably not because you know two things, the more someone does something generally speaking the better they do it over time and secondly, your life may depend on that persons success. The same really holds true to firearms Instructors. As mentioned earlier anyone can become an instructor, post a class listing and voila, I is an Instructor . . . and they may actually hold 20 to 40 group classes a year. When I personally seek instruction I look for a specific instructor who teaches 150 to 200 days a year because I know he is good at what he does, imparting knowledge to the student. I look for an instructor who is more interested in my learning than the number of bodies (read that as fees) that they are able to generate over a certain time period. The busier the instructor is, who is working with individuals rather than groups the better my chance of achieving my learning goals.

What is the stated focus of the School/Instructor?

For me, I am looking to learn how to be a better teacher so that is my focus and I look specifically to Instructors/Schools that train Instructors. When I started these learning process years ago I looked for Instructors who focused primarily on the area of expertise I was looking to learn. If you wish to play Spec Ops you might look for an Instructor/School that focuses on teaching military. If your objective is to become a better IDPA competitive shooter you might look for that kind of school.  If you want to be able to defend yourself in a violent encounter I suggest you find an Instructor/School that focuses on that specific goal because one size does not fit all and all of the different shooting disciplines have distinctly different ways of doing things with firearms. If the Instructor does not state specifically there is a good chance they are a one size fits all mindset, that all types of shooting activities are the same.

What is the satisfaction level of former students?

Almost all Instructors receive good reviews; I mean after all who is going to demean publicly a person who knows how to shoot well. So how do you determine what the students think about the value they received? You could ask for a list of names to contact from say the last 10 to 15 classes they taught. If an Instructor would not be willing to do that for me I would wonder what it is they are trying to hide. You can always check their testimonials online but you have to be able to read between the lines and realize no one is going to outright bash a bad firearms Instructor, at least not publicly. You can also check with local ranges and gun stores, these people do not mind being honest because a quality instructor is beneficial to all in the business, if they know of a dirt bag they will not hesitate to tell you and most will steer you to Instructors they know the reputation of.

What class size are you willing to suffer?

Suffer? What does he mean suffer? Class size will determine how many strangers with guns you are going to have to interact with. Class size will determine based on the student/instructor ratio how much of the instructors’ actual time you will receive.IMG_0415 As an example, there are 15 people in the class, it lasts eight hours and there is only one REAL instructor . . . you will receive in actuality less than one half an hour of that instructors attention and time during that day. I took a four day class once at a nationally known school, there were 50 shooters in my class and each day there was one Instructor and one assistant and on two days there were two assistants. So for those four days I received a total of less than one hour of the Instructors time, and I paid top dollar for the class . . . not the best return on my training investment. So in the end, you have to ask yourself how much of the Instructors attention do you want and that will help determine the class size you are willing to suffer,

What is the flexibility in terms of scheduling and location that you require?

Are you able to pick the day of the week that you want to take training? What about the week or month of the year? Most Instructors post a class date and that is it, you go that day or you don’t go. I’m not sure about you but my life requires just a bit more flexibility and unless I MUST have instruction from that ONE particular instructor, I have a hard time being tied down to their schedule. For me that means my selections become limited. I don’t like limited, do you?

What is the specific Instructors background as it relates specifically to teaching?

The objective to taking training is to learn and subsequently the Instructor must be able to teach. Because a person performed a firearms related job most of their lives does not mean they know how to teach. Teaching requires modifying your method of communication with each individual student to ensure the students understands the instruction and accomplishes the stated goals of the lesson. Sitting in a chair off to the side of the range barking Range Master orders through a megaphone to a line of shooters is not instructing. And just because the instructor explains something thoroughly does not necessarily mean the student understands. No student fails, only instructors fail. This means in essence that the quality instructor will have had in his background a proven level of success in training people in complicated tasks. But this does not imply in any way that the Instructor does not have to have a level of proficiency in the field they are teaching as it is a fine balancing act. A teacher/instructor succeeds the greatest when the students can surpass the Instructors personal ability. There is nothing more satisfying to me than to have a student out shoot me in an exercise or drill because it simply means I did my job well.

What is this going to cost?

I mentioned earlier in class size how much of the Instructors time do I receive. Firearms instruction is not a Walmart item, cheaper in bulk is not going to give you the best learning ability if your life is potentially on the line based on what you learn. There has to be a way to compare the value of different instructors/schools. Let’s use this as an example. You are going to pay $250 for a 16 hour course, and there will be two instructors and 20 students. That is the same as having one instructor for 10 students. Essentially you are going to receive 1.6 hours of the instructors dedicated time for $250, which means if you had the full dedicated attention of one instructor for 16 hours your real cost of instruction is $156.25 per hour of instructors’ time, or in reality you are receiving only 1.6 hours of individualized training. There is a reason Instructors like doing large classes, they make more money. If your instructor is more interested in how much money they make versus the amount of real instruction you receive, they might not be the best pick because in the end, YOU DO GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR and if your life could be on the line I for one am not going to make my decision based on purely cost.


This list is not in order of importance to me; it is just my thought process when I look to take firearms training for myself. I hope no one takes this post as an attack on some instructors, it is not meant in that manner but it is given in the same intent as we do our teaching, to ensure that the student gets the best possible, up to date training in personal self-defense because in the end, it is all about the student.


How do you decide which firearms instructor is best for you?

How do you decide which firearms instructor is best for you?


Jarvis Nelson OsorioNothing is worse than having a bad instructor!! The situation was the same when we were all in grade school. Some teachers were great; they were kind, patient, understanding, courteous, and professional. Above all, they inspired and motivated us to learn and improve. Others were rude, short spoken, unmotivated, and worst of all….incompetent. So in today’s world of firearms instruction how do you find a good instructor that embodies all those positive attributes that you so highly prize in a teacher/instructor? Perhaps the question burns in your mind of, “Why do I need a firearms instructor.” Let’s deal with the second question first.

So why do you need a firearms instructor?

Part of the answer lies in the three goals of all NRA firearms courses; these goals are Knowledge, Skill, and Attitude. One of my favorite sayings is, “Knowledge will set you free.” In short, knowledge is the key to skill and a positive and confident attitude about your ownership and use of firearms. People who know how to do things do a better job than people who do not. People who know how to farm or fight or perform brain surgery all do a better job in those related areas than those who do not know or have never been taught how to do those same things. None of us are born with some divinely inspired ability to shoot a pistol, rifle, or shotgun well. Knowledge and skill must be acquired the old fashioned way by learning from someone who already possesses the knowledge and skill that you want. Just being born “male” does not guarantee that one will grow up and be a safe gun handler or a championship shooter or the top dawg at the local hunting club. I unashamedly acquired every ounce of knowledge and skill that I have from some other kind and capable gent who was gracious enough to show me how to shoot. I really thought I knew how to shoot a gun, a pistol in particular, until a highway patrolman friend of mine showed me how to hit a four inch steel plate at a hundred yards standing freestyle with an open sighted Smith 686 revolver. I was humbled and stricken with awe and immediately became a willing student. About the time I thought I was amounting to something, I went to my first IPSC match and once again got a big dose of humble pie when I realized again just how much better those guys were than I was. So again, I found a friendly and capable IPSC master shooter to travel with and study under as I worked my way toward master class in that organization. This scenario has repeated itself over and over many times in my life as I constantly grow and learn under capable individuals who have knowledge and skill to share. The conclusion to draw from this first principle is simple; we can all benefit from some good quality instruction. If you want to improve your scores in IPSC competition or IDPA competition, then get an instructor. If you want your Enhanced Concealed Carry Permit (IC sticker) then the state of Mississippi requires that you get an instructor. If your area of interest is skeet, sporting clays, combat shotgun, long-range shooting, or metallic silhouette, and instructor can advance your knowledge, skill, and attitude faster than anything else you can possibly do.

How do I select a good quality instructor

Now for the “other” question, “How do I select a good quality instructor that I will have a good quality experience with?” The short answer is to do some homework and ask some questions. The fastest growing type of instruction in our state right now is the Enhanced Concealed Carry Permit Class. Gun owners and concealed carry permit holders are flocking to ranges and private instructors in unprecedented numbers to jump through the “instructor certified” hoop and get their IC sticker for the Enhanced addition to the basic Mississippi Concealed Carry Permit. There are also lots of new instructors who have hopped on the bandwagon to take advantage of this new revenue possibility. Like our childhood schoolteachers, most of these new instructors are competent and capable of providing a quality experience ….but NOT ALL! So how do you avoid the bad apples, and what do you look for when selecting an instructor, particularly an Enhanced Concealed Carry pistol instructor? Let’s look at some stories that have come my way. How about the instructor who spent a lot of time during the classroom portion pointing a firearm at the audience and exclaiming, “Don’t worry, it’s not loaded”? Note to self, avoid this guy!! I sat in a class a while back and listened to an instructor repeatedly talk about the hammer on the pistol that he was using to demonstrate. The demonstration pistol happened to be a Glock which does NOT have a hammer. Again, minor error, but this fellow obviously was very new to firearms and firearms instruction as well, not dangerous, just incompetent. A student of another instructor’s class said that the instructor repeatedly belittled and made fun of people in the class and their firearms calling some of their guns “…pieces of s#!^…” No one intentionally pays to be treated that way. Avoid this guy! I met a lady in Jackson, MS just out of her Enhanced class. She was tickled to death with her instructor. I asked her if she got to do any shooting. She exclaimed excitedly, “Yes, we shot almost ten times!” Hmmm? Now what kind of instructor certifies a person for ENHANCED concealed carry of a real gun with a test of fewer than ten rounds of live fire? Avoid this guy. I’ve had a dozen people cancel one of my events to attend another area instructor’s classes because these guys are doing enhanced certification certificates in the evenings in less than three hours! Guys, the state of Mississippi Department of Public Safety requires that the enhanced class be at least eight hours. These guys are breaking the MDPS laws and guidelines with their shorty “drive-thru” certificate classes. Again, avoid such instructors.

So what DO you look for in an instructor?

First, look for EXPERIENCE! Ask how long he has been shooting. Ask if he has ever shot competitively and what rank he held in the organization. Ask how many rounds of ammo he shoots a year. Ask how long he has been teaching. Ask for some references and call and check up on them. Ask if he has his own range and how many classes he teaches a month. Ask what else he teaches besides Enhanced Concealed Carry. In short, you are looking for EXPERIENCE. Do not be overly awed and wowed by vocational titles. Just because an instructor is a police officer or former CIA or secret service or military or some other acronym does not make him a competent shooter or a competent instructor. The vast majority of the absolute best combat hand gunners in this nation every year are typically NOT law enforcement or military. I have the utmost respect for the law enforcement community and for our military service men. However, you can only ride those titles so far; at some point in time they also have to be able to demonstrate knowledge, attitude, and skill with a firearm in order to be an instructor. I personally watched a fellow with about half a dozen fancy instructor titles shoot in excess of 100 rounds of ammo and two different pistols before he qualified in a basic NRA pistol instructor course. Out of 17 participants only three people qualified the first attempt. Now which of those 17 do you want to PAY to be YOUR instructor? I watched another shotgun instructor candidate struggle with loading his semi-auto shotgun for a firing drill during NRA instructor training. I could not help thinking, “This is a nice guy and means well, but good grief, he is struggling with loading his own shotgun to shoot in this course….and at the end of it, he is going to be a certified shotgun INSTRUCTOR????”

As a thirty-year veteran high school teacher, it always troubled me to hear the saying, “Those who can …DO; those who cannot do…Teach.” I was always a tad offended by that saying; however, it seems to hold true in many cases in the firearms instruction business.

let’s consider the two questions posed earlier

To conclude, let’s again consider the two questions posed earlier. Why do we need to hire a firearms instructor? How do we hire a good one? The answers and solutions are clear. We all need Knowledge, Skill, and Attitude instruction and there are plenty of good instructors out there who have the three things we are seeking. Secondly, all we have to do is a little homework and ask a few questions to see if a particular instructor has the experience and people skills and general good manners to make his classroom instruction professional and pleasant. A really good instructor told me once in a classroom setting, “People may or may not remember what you teach them, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” When I come away from a class feeling motivated and energized and inspired as well to take that knowledge and skill and go out with a good attitude and share it with others, then and only then do I KNOW that I just gained and grew as a person and as a shooter; and I know that I must have had a truly great instructor.

How to Buy a Bulletproof Vest

Edited by Judithavory, XxCourtneyLikesCookiesxX, Denise, SkittyRocks! and 9 others

Although most commonly associated with members of police officer SWAT teams, bulletproof vests are worn by patrol officers, private security, and by anyone needing protection from being shot. Also called ballistic vests, the first modern bulletproof vests were developed in the 1960s for the military, with police first using them in 1969, a year after the development of the first SWAT team. If you’re planning to buy a bulletproof vest for your personal protection, here are the things you need to know.



  1. Buy a Bulletproof Vest Step 1.jpg

    Know the difference between hard and soft body armor. Hard body armor uses plates of metal or ceramic material to stop anything up to a rifle bullet or shotgun slug. Soft body armor uses layers of special fabrics to catch the bullet in flight and disperse the force of its impact. Soft body armor can stop bullets from most handguns, shotgun pellets (up to 12-gauge 00 buckshot), and blunt shrapnel.

    • Hard body armor plates are made of steel, ceramic, or polyethylene. They are highly resistant to impact along the face of the plate, but, especially in the case of non-metallic plates, they are vulnerable to blows along their edges, requiring careful packing when shipped.
    • Soft body armor is made from woven aramid fibers such as Kevlar or Twaron, or resin-impregnated parallel or cross-plied polyethylene fibers such as Spectra or Dyneema. The newer polyethylene fibers are as impact-resistant as the older aramid fibers while being lighter in weight, but they are more vulnerable to environmental degradation. Currently, experiments are being performed with carbon nanotubes as a possible material for bullet-resistant vests, and there are also experiments using gel-like fluids in conjunction with existing fibers to provided added protection at the site of impact.
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    Know the available levels of protection. Bulletproof vests are rated according to the amount of blunt force impact they are capable of stopping. Levels of protection currently available include the following:

    • Level II-A vests are the thinnest available. Generally 4 mm (0.16 inches) thick and made of soft materials, they are designed to be worn under clothing for long periods of time.
    • Level II bullet-resistant vests are generally 5 mm (0.2 inches) thick. They are the vests most commonly worn by patrol officers. They can either be worn concealed under a loose-fitting shirt or over clothing.
    • Level III-A vests are 8 to 10 mm (0.32 to 0.4 inches) thick. Heavier and stiffer than Level II-A and Level II vests, they are designed to stop heavier-grain bullets, such as those from a .44 Magnum, and rapid-fire attacks, such as those from a 9-mm submachine gun. They are designed to handle minor combat situations but can still be worn under clothing if need be.
    • Level III and Level IV vests incorporate 10- by 12-inch (25- by 30-cm) armor plates ranging from 1/2 to 3/4 inch (6 to 25 mm) in thickness to cover the chest and back. Each plate adds 4 to 9 pounds (1.8 to 4.1 kg) to the 3 to 5 pounds (1.36 to 2.27 kg) that the soft body armor vests weigh and reduce the wearer’s mobility accordingly. These vests cannot be worn under clothing and are the kind normally worn by SWAT officers.
    • Stab-resistant vests use armor plates similar to those in Level III and Level IV armor plate vests. (These vests are worn by corrections personnel to protect against being stabbed by prisoners with smuggled-in and improvised knives and stilettos.) Stab-resistant vests are rated according to the energy of impact they can deflect. [1]Levels of protection currently available include the following 3 Levels and are tested to protect against Stab Pressure with the penetration Limit of 0.28″ / 7mm: Level 1 – Protects against pressure of 24 Joules (J), Level 2 – Protects against pressure of 33 Joules (J), Level 3 – Protects against pressure of 43 Joules (J).
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    As do the plates in Level III and IV bulletproof vests, they add weight and bulk to the vest, reducing mobility; they can, however, be worn under clothing.Pending the outcome of further research, the plates may be replaced with the gel-like fluids described above.

    • Some bullet-resistant vests are designed to allow the wearer to insert additional armor plates to add layers of protection. These vests can accommodate armor plates to make a vest stab-resistant as well as bullet-resistant, as soft body armor can protect only against slashing knife attacks, not stabbings.
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    Decide whether or not you want a concealable vest. Level II and Level II-A vests can be concealed under a thick, loose shirt or a thinner dress shirt and undershirt. Level III-A vests may require a sweater or suit jacket to be concealed effectively. However, Level III and Level IV vests require at least a heavy jacket or sweater to be concealed or a battle dress uniform, and they are usually worn over clothing.

    • A vest worn under clothing is often white in color, so that it can be mistaken for an undershirt if you normally wear your shirt with the top button unbuttoned. A vest worn over clothing is usually dark in color.
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    Choose a vest that fits you. A bulletproof vest should fit you reasonably comfortably. Too large a vest will be ill-fitting and tend to slip, while too small a vest may expose vital organs to injury. Some manufacturers make bullet-resistant vests only in standard sizes, which may be a problem if you buy online and can’t be fitted before you buy.

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    Choose relevant add-ons[2]. Body armor protects the torso – front and back only. If you want to protect your shoulders, neck, sides or groin, you’ll need an add-on.

    • There are many aftermarket and official add-ons that fit some or most body armors manufactured today.
    • Add-ons will anchor to the vest and protect different parts of the body. There are extra defenses for the shoulders (Shoulderguards), the abdomen (Side protection), the neck (Gorget, or Neckguard) and groin (Groinflap).
    • Make sure that the add-ons you buy will anchor to your basic vest. Also make sure they can be fitted snugly to your body, so they will not constrict your movement.
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    Consider your budget. Not only do additional layers of protection add weight to the bulletproof vest, they also add to its cost. However, some body armor dealers resell used police vests to private security and civilians.

    • Used body armor has been tested by the National Institute of Justice and found to be as bullet-resistant as new armor. Aramid fibers such as Kevlar and Twaron last for many years; however, the fabric in the outershell carrier may wear out faster in a used vest than a new vest. You’ll also have to replace the elastic in the carrier sooner in a used vest than a new one.
    • Some dealers offer volume discounts for multiple purchases, which may be important if you’re outfitting a mall security force or group of bodyguards.
    • Consider the guarantee offered by the seller, as well as the manufacturer’s warranty.

The Truth About Guns I, II and III

March 30, 2014
Written by Dan Zimmerman

By LC Judas

While my previous posts on the virtues of the .40 S&W round seemed to stirred the sleeping dragon known as the “pistol caliber wars”, that wasn’t really the intent. And today it’s time to talk about what the .40 Smith & Wesson brought about by the nature of round’s existence. There is a lot to thank the .40 for and it usually gets no credit. The round’s virtues go far beyond the fact that it reliably penetrates the 12-18 inches of ballistic gelatin, as it was originally designed . . .

First, the fact that the .40 is easily one of the best upgrades to 9mm handguns there ever was is an easily overlooked and fun fact. I use the Browning Hi Power case for my example. While Smith & Wesson and GLOCK made most of the original sales of handguns chambered in .40 to law enforcement, they weren’t the only game in town. Browning rushed to market with a .40 Hi Power on the 9mm frame they’d been using and it essentially failed. The gun experienced accelerated wear which warped the frames, ruined tolerances and accuracy over a time period that was well below acceptable service life for the effective round count.

That example, as well as some other models from other manufacturers that never made it to market or ended up with teething problems made it clear that it would require beefing up the 9mm platform if they wanted to offer a .40 in the same form factor. This lesson was well-learned by Heckler & Koch as they offered their USP models in .40 first before moving to 9mm and .45ACP. The tougher platform increased the service life of 9mm pistols across the board, as the trend caught on, and being the most popular caliber in the country it served a good purpose in extending the life of the secondary market of 9mm handguns.

The .40 was also the first caliber of handgun to regularly share holsters with another caliber. While that seems minor now, back then semi-auto handguns were a lot harder to fit as specs could differ slightly between models even if they shared fundamentally similar designs. Anyone who has tried getting fitted holsters for a Sig 229 knows how many variants of rail they have and that the 228, which is very similar isn’t the same and won’t let you share the same holster.

Holsters weren’t the only thing being shared between .40s and 9mm handguns. After companies had for the most part started producing .40 and 9mm in the same frames, conversion kits for converting a .40 gun down to 9mm began to hit the market. Converting a gun to .22 can be fun for plinking and training, but having the ability to go to 9mm — when ammunition for .40 was a lot more scarce and expensive — was a godsend.

Caliber conversions from .40 to 9mm are usually accomplished with just a simple barrel swap. That makes the .40 one of the most aftermarket-friendly handguns out there because it was born as the bastard child of both 9mm and 10mm designs. Prior to that, modularity in the pistol realm really had, for the most part, only been achieved by making .22LR kits for .45ACP pistols. There was also the necked-down 9mm in a 10mm case known as the 9x25mm (9mm Dillon) which had a special purpose in competition, but it never caught on as a mainstream law enforcement or defensive round. With the advent of the .40 you got a gun with an easy slide assembly or barrel swap to the much-loved 9mm.

That advent of the .40 created a huge aftermarket for customization, too. If you regularly run a .40 pistol in 9mm, you’re probably going to consider lighter springs, alternative mags and the springs to fuel them. Wolff makes their bread and butter off of exactly that. There are other recoil systems that minimize wear and tear if you run hot loads – like those from Sprinco – that minimize bolt flash. That’s something that’s a marked issue with .357SIG.

Owning a gun in multiple calibers without needing to make multiple outlays for more firearms is also going to make reloading a lot more tempting (especially in calibers where there simply is no wide availability of ammunition like .50GI). That fuels the market for gear like chronographs, reloading dies and presses as well as associated materials. Buying fewer firearms means you have more money for ammo and that gets more shooters in the sport and exposed to two calibers with one pistol (four if you add a 357SIG barrel and .22 kit with it).

That also helps if you’re trying to do apples-to-apples comparisons with firearms from the same make with the same manual of arms and appearance to cultivate the same reflexes for use, keeping the same parts for repairs and enhancements. I still have GLOCK parts (of various brands) floating around the armory from my mad customization days.

The .40 inspired more than just more gear. The 357SIG, another caliber with a whole unique set of ballistics in the defense and duty caliber debate, was spawned directly from the .40 Smith & Wesson. It was necked down in much the same way the .40 was born in the shell casings of 10mm pistols.

Following on that precedent, Magnum Research came up with the .440 Cor-bon (necked from .50AE) for Desert Eagles, .400 Cor-bon (necked from .45ACP), and the invention of the .50GI from Guncrafter Industries in the 1911 platform saw GLOCK .45 platforms get a slide assembly and mag for the purpose.

A lot of people think that .40S&W is a solution in search of a problem and more fuel for a fire that needs to burn out, but it fills a vital role in the defense and duty caliber hierarchy. Its existence is a testament to ingenuity and persistence, as the 10mm round could have just as easily fallen out of favor and been replaced by .45 or 9mm by the FBI. But the .40 bridges that gap between 9mm and .45, highlighting the weaknesses of both rounds at the time. The concept of a consistent set of criteria used to test them raised the bar for what was considered acceptable ammunition. The tests used to evaluate all calibers became standardized after the .40 came into being, more respected than reading books with outdated opinion or outright speculation many accepted as fact.

No, .40 isn’t the best caliber out there, but nothing is. That’s reality. But what the round does in ballistic gel isn’t conjecture. Manufacturers now are able to see how the end users test their products and they develop them accordingly. The HST from Federal is a direct result of looking at what was desired ballistically and building a bullet accordingly instead of simply theorizing on what might be effective.

Expansion and penetration in any caliber is now the universal standard for what works; the old “stopping power”, “power factor” or “one-shot stop” measures weren’t realistic or objective standards. Today, the Black Talon is a pice of ballistic engineering history because of the political fallout, but if the gelatin tests had been the standard used at the time, I doubt they would have fallen from favor the way they did.

Even if you’re not a fan of the .40, you can’t deny that the firearms market now is far more comprehensive because of it. Now we have tougher 9mm firearms and when a company comes out with a new nine we we’re eager for the follow-on .40S&W, 357SIG and .22 models to fit the same holsters and mag pouches. For the folks who say .40 was good for its time and that bullet technology now is better, that’s because the high bar resulted from the inception of the .40. Without the drive to compare it to the 9mm and .45, the improvements in those more popular caliber’s would likely have been much slower in coming.

Better guns, better ammo and more selection safeguards the Second Amendment better than any closed-minded .45 or 9mm cultist claiming the old guns and ammo work just fine and there’s no reason for change. Why alienate when you can assimilate? More choice and innovation is better. MAC made the statement last year that he feels .40 is fading, but looking at what it has done and how much it has caught on…I doubt the manufacturers and consumers have gotten that memo or will anytime soon.

Concealed carry ammo: How much is too little?

Concealed carry ammo: How much is too little?

Heavy, large and anemic. Not a good CCW choice. (Photo by Jim Grant)

Size doesn’t matter, does it?

I’ve attended my fair share of conceal carry classes and one phenomenon that never fails to amaze me is the prevalence of anemic caliber guns that students show up with. Without fail, a handful of new shooters will show up with a Ruger Mk III or even more frightening, a Jennings J-22. While the price of ammo is always a factor, many of these students, when questioned, admitted that they were going to carry their little .22 LR pistols for self defense.

I can already hear some of the replies that shot placement is all that matters or people asking if I’d like to get shot with a .22. When I answer no, they respond with, “I guess it’ll do the job then,” which makes as much sense as a screen door on a submarine. Look, I don’t want to get shot by a pellet, a paintball or a bullet. That doesn’t make the Tippmann 98 the Army’s next generation weapon platform. Yes, any gun will work as a deterrent against anyone of sane mind, but CCW weapons aren’t just for deterrence. Hell, in some states, using your gun as a deterrent is illegal and referred to as brandishing.

15 round of defensive ammo in a reliable package with light and laser is all you need. (Photo by: Jim Grant)

15 rounds of defensive ammo in a reliable package with light and laser is all you need. (Photo by Jim Grant)

Additionally, relying on either pain or fear of pain to stop an attacker relies on a very dangerous assumption: that your attacker can feel either. Whether the guy is coked up on stimulants or some strange concoction of bath salts and liqueur, your attacker may be in a different world and numb to his surroundings,  regardless of the concealed carry ammo used.

Does that mean you should only draw your weapon to kill someone? No, it means you need to be prepared for that outcome and should feel confident in your weapon’s ability to bring your would-be assailant’s time on this Earth to an abrupt end. The FBI invented a test, creatively titled, “The FBI Penetration Report”, to determine a round’s effectiveness based on its ability to penetrate a t-shirt-wrapped ballistic gelatin block, representative of a human torso. The bullet must reach at least 12 inches to be considered effective. The logic behind this being, if a round can’t reach vital organs it can’t harm or stop the threat.

All this macabre imagery has a purpose. A standard .22 LR round fired from a handgun is less likely to penetrate enough to reach vital portions of an attacker’s body than larger, more powerful rounds such as .380 or 9x18mm. Old school gunners will harp that the only caliber worth shooting must be .45 caliber, citing the U.S. Military’s reason for adopting it in 1905. Due to the  reported ineffectiveness of the .38 caliber revolvers in stopping determined attackers, in Gen. Leonard Wood’s 1904 “Report of Philippine Commission”.

The determined attackers mentioned in Wood’s report are the Moro Juramentado, a group of zealous Filipino warriors so committed to the cause, they would bind their testicles in copper wire overnight. The Juramentado inflicted such terrible agony to alter their minds and numb themselves to external pain. Additionally, many of them chewed the Betel nut for extra zeal. The Betel nut, now referred to as the Areca nut, is tantamount to a giant espresso bean dipped in caffeine powder. Does an amped-up, pain-numbed frenzied attacker sound familiar? It should, this warrior is a textbook example of a stimulant-fueled maniac, the worst case scenario in terms of both street opponents and home invaders.

After scouring through countless reports of the Philippine Commission from the Secretary of War, I was unable to find the famous passage concerning the stopping power of the .38 being insufficient. Nevertheless, I found no mention of additional .38 revolver orders in any of the reports. However, there were orders for .45 LC revolvers and 12-gauge Winchester shotguns in equally large quantities. (LINK, page 396) Allegedly, after Wood made his now famous conclusion on the superiority of the .45 caliber projectile, he wrote that no rifle or handgun could provide the same stopping ability as a 12-gauge shotgun loaded with buckshot. Which makes sense, seeing as modern defensive rounds were not yet invented. In terms of imparting energy into a target, a .45-caliber ball round does a better job than a .38-caliber ball round, but 12-gauge buckshot is superior to both.

Thankfully, modern ammunition helps bridge the gap between big bore and small, but that doesn’t negate every advantage of larger, more powerful rounds. A larger round has a greater chance of striking something vital just by its increased size. Though this size increase is negligible in most cases. Assuming identical velocities, a heavier round imparts more force. This increased force can more easily destroy bones and organs than a round with less force. Many folks subscribe to the school of thought that bigger is always better with defensive rounds. While this is true in terms of pure destruction, a .50 caliber miss is just as ineffective as a .22 LR miss. Matching the caliber to the shooter’s abilities is more important than raw power.

Nothing handheld will stop every attacker every time, you should find a balance between power and what you can quickly, accurately shoot. If these criteria limit you to .22 LR, you’re not completely out of luck. While there are infinitely more effective self-defense calibers available, a functioning pistol is better than nothing.

These Are America’s 10 Most Dangerous Small Cities

These Are America’s 10 Most Dangerous Small Cities

If you’re hoping to escape from big city crime, look elsewhere. These places actually defy the stereotype of smaller cities being safer.

Randy Nelson

Content Editor

87 articles, 52 comments



When you see small towns on TV and in movies, they’re almost always idyllic places where the American dream is thriving and neighbors all know each other. That, and unless you’re watching a whodunnit, no one’s ever the victim of a crime.

In reality, small cities are surprisingly similar to all the others, meaning that there are good ones and bad. While the Movoto Real Estate Blog has been writing lately about America’s safest places, we thought we’d switch gears today and look the small cities where crime is a real concern.

After studying more than 200 small cities, we’ve concluded that Wilmington, DE is the most dangerous in terms of crime. It’s joined in this dubious honor by nine other places to comprise our 10 most dangerous small cities in America:

1. Wilmington, DE
2. Canton, OH
3. Jackson, TN
4. Rocky Mount, NC
5. North Little Rock, AR
6. Pensacola, FL
7. Daytona Beach, FL
8. Homestead, FL
8. Lauderhill, FL
10. Warner Robins, GA

Florida accounted for the single largest share of cities in the top 10, with four. It’s interesting to note that all 10 are either in the Midwestern, Mid-Atlantic, or Southern regions of the country.

You can read more about the top 10 most dangerous below, and see a ranking of the 50 most dangerous at the end of this post. Next, we’ll go over our methodology for building this ranking.

How We Created This Report

To produce this ranking, we first decided on a list of small cities between 50,000 and 75,000 residents in size. After eliminating those without available crime data, we were left with a list of 234 places to study.

Using data from the FBI’s 2012 uniform crime report, the latest available, we measured seven distinct crimes using the total reported incidents of each:

  • Burglary
  • Theft
  • Motor vehicle theft
  • Murder
  • Rape
  • Robbery
  • Assault

We separated these crimes into four groups: murders, violent crimes (murder, rape, robbery, and assault), property crimes (burglary, theft, and motor vehicle theft), and total crimes. The cities were then ranked on the incidents of each group per 100,000 residents per year, from 1 to 234, with a higher score being more dangerous. We calculated the number of crimes per 100,000 residents for 2012 in order to have a level playing field on which to compare cities with varying population sizes.

The individual rankings (murders, violent crimes, property crimes and total crimes) were then weighted to create a final overall score. Murders, violent crimes, and property crimes each comprised 30 percent of the total, while total crimes made up 10 percent. The higher this combined score, the more dangerous the city.

Below, you’ll find a breakdown of how each of the 10 most dangerous small cities fared when judged on these criteria.

1. Wilmington, DE

The Most Dangerous Small Cities In America

Source: Flickr user the bridge

The most dangerous small city we studied, Wilmington is on the larger end of our range with a population of just over 72,000. Despite the efforts of local authorities, which have included placing the city’s entire downtown area under CCTV surveillance and other aggressive tactics, crime continues to be a serious problem in Wilmington. It topped the list in terms of violent crime, outranking 233 other cities for this dubious honor, with 1,703 violent crimes per 100,000 residents.

Wilmington didn’t fare much better in other areas, ranking as the third-most dangerous small city in terms of murder (it saw 26 in 2012) and total crime (5,052 were reported there the same year). The only instance in which it did even slightly better—and then only relatively—was property crimes, where it placed ninth overall for its 5,305 crimes per 100,000.

With a reported 150 shootings by the end of 2013, it would seem that Wilmington has a long way to go before it can be considered a safer place to live.

2. Canton, OH

The Most Dangerous Small Cities In America

Source: Flickr user jmd41280

Ohio is known for lots of things, and thankfully being crime-ridden isn’t one of them. Like most states, though, it has its rough spots, and Canton is one of them. A little more than 50 miles outside of Cleveland, this city made No. 2 on our list with a couple of second-place crime rankings: property crimes and total crimes.

In terms of the former, there were 6,550 property crimes per 100,000 residents there in 2012, and for the latter Canton had 7,562 total crimes per 100,000. Thefts led the list of property crimes, with 2,671 reported that year. Elsewhere in our rankings, Canton placed eighth for murder with 10 in all and eighth for violent crime in general with 1,011 per 100,000 people.

3. Jackson, TN

The Most Dangerous Small Cities In America

Source: Flickr user frankensmith

Named for native Tennessean and America’s seventh President, Andrew Jackson, this city of nearly 66,000 in Madison County has the dubious distinction of placing fourth overall in terms of both murders and violent crimes per 100,000. It earned that first ranking for the 11 murders reported there in 2012; one more than Canton, in fact.

Jackson’s second fourth-place rank came from its 1,348 violent crimes per 100,000 residents that year. It fared substantially better in both property crimes and total crimes per 100,000, where it ranked 16th and 11th, respectively.

4. Rocky Mount, NC

The Most Dangerous Small Cities In America

Source: Flickr user davidwilson1949

Remember how we said every state has its rough spots? Well, North Carolina is home to places like Cary, NC, which are exceedingly safe, but also those like Rocky Mount, which certainly aren’t. In fact, this city of about 58,000 was the sixth most dangerous we looked at in terms of violent crimes, with 1,039 per 100,000 residents in 2012.

Rocky Mount performed ever-so-slightly better when it came to homicides, where it placed seventh overall with 14 per 100,000. Its rankings for property crimes and total crimes per 100,000 were slightly better. It placed 13th for the former with 4,693 and 12th for the latter with 5,732.

5. North Little Rock, AR

The Most Dangerous Small Cities In America

Source: Wikimedia user Chris Litherland

Situated across the Arkansas River from Little Rock, AR proper, North Little Rock is only about 30 percent as large as its namesake but actually has more per capita crime. This city’s 5,920 crimes in 2012 were enough to earn it first place in terms of total crimes, while it also took first in property crimes (there were 5,471 of those).

Fortunately, the city’s violent crime ranking was considerably lower at 26th overall, with 623 crimes per 100,000 residents reported in 2012. Its 13 murders per 100,000 were enough to earn it 12th place for that criterion.

With crime stats like this, it’s no wonder the North Little Rock Police Department has been experimenting with drones for the past few years and has plans to use them over high-crime neighborhoods in the not-too-distant future.

6. Pensacola, FL

The Most Dangerous Small Cities In America

Source:Wikimedia user Blankfaze

Pensacola is the first of four cities in Florida that made our top 10 most dangerous places, which also means it’s the most dangerous of the bunch. It also happens to be the smallest by about 10,000 residents. Despite this, it ranks six places higher than the next-most dangerous small Florida city in terms of murder; Pensacola placed 10th overall in that category with 13 homicides per 100,000 residents in 2012.

As for violent crimes in general, Pensacola placed 19th with 656 per 100,000. For property crime, North Little Rock ranked 23rd, which is actually the second-safest in our top 10, while for total crime it placed 21st; the safest in our top 10 when judged that way.

7. Daytona Beach, FL

The Most Dangerous Small Cities In America

Source: Wikimedia user Gamweb

Probably best known outside Florida for NASCAR’s annual Daytona 500 race, Daytona Beach is fittingly on the higher end of the scale when it comes to motor vehicle thefts (it had 346 in 2012). In fact, the city ranked eighth overall when it came to property crime, with 5,367 per 100,000 residents. This was just slightly better than its rank for violent crime, where it placed ninth overall.

Daytona Beach placed sixth when it came to total crimes, with 6,359 per 100,000 people. Fortunately, it fared much better in terms of the most serious crime we looked at—Murder—where it ranked 44th overall with six per 100,000 during 2012.

8. Lauderhill, FL

The Most Dangerous Small Cities In America

Source: Wikimedia user Daniel Schwen

Located just west of Fort Lauderdale, FL, the small city of Lauderhill is the safest place in our top 10 as far as property crimes go. It placed 32nd overall in that criterion, with 4,070 property crimes per 100,000 residents in 2012. For total crimes, it ranked 20th.

Things look worse for the city when violent crimes are considered. Lauderhill saw 814 violent crimes per 100,000 residents in 2012, a number large enough for it to rank 12th overall. In terms of murders, things weren’t much better; Lauderhill had 12 per 100,000, a 16th-place finish.

8. Homestead, FL

The Most Dangerous Small Cities In America


Despite having the second-highest violent crime rate in our top 10, Homestead—a city of almost 63,000 located south of Miami, FL—was fortunately much safer in terms of murder. It was third most dangerous overall for violent crimes, at a rate of 1,450 per 100,000 residents in 2012. For murder, it placed 45th, at six per 100,000 that year.

Homestead was 18th overall for property crime, with 4,461 per 100,000—an overwhelming majority of which were thefts. As for total crimes, the city placed eighth, with a combined crime rate of 5,911 per 100,000 annually.

10. Warner Robins, GA

The Most Dangerous Small Cities In America

Source: Flickr user ** RCB **

Home to Robins Air Force Base, Warner Robins has the lowest overall violent crime rank of any city in our top 10, placing 45th most dangerous in that respect, but makes up for this fact when it comes to property crime. The city is sixth overall for burglaries, thefts, and vehicle thefts, with 5,520 property crimes per 100,000 residents in 2012.

The overall crime rate of 6,027 per 100,000 recorded that year was high enough for Warner Robins to be ranked the seventh-most dangerous place in that criterion. As for murder, the city ranked 23rd—not the absolute worst, but with 234 cities in our ranking, certainly nowhere near good.

Safety In Numbers

As we pointed out earlier, the majority of the most dangerous small cities we found are situated in the Mid-Atlantic, Southern, and Midwestern regions of the country. On the flip side, we noted that the safest tended to be divided into two groups: either out West in places like California and Utah or in Minnesota (where there seem to be lots of small cities, for yet-to-be-analyzed reasons).

Lakeville, MN was the safest small city (at 56,805 residents) out of all the ones we looked at, with a diminutive 14 violent crimes per 100,000 residents during the period studied (no murders or rapes were among them). The rest of the top five safest were, in descending order: Lehi, UTMinnetonka, MNLaguna Nigel, CA, and Yorba Linda, CA.

So, if you happen to reside in any of the unsafe spots we just covered, your ticket to low-crime living (without changing city size) just might be in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

The Most Dangerous Small Cities In America

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