The Americans Who Stockpile Guns

guns long island

There are hundreds of millions of guns in the United States—enough, according to several estimates, for every American civilian adult to own more than one.

But actual gun ownership is far more lopsided than that.

A sweeping new survey by researchers at Harvard University and Northeastern University finds that roughly half of the nearly 300 million firearms in the United States are concentrated in the hands of a tiny sliver of the U.S. population: Just 3 percent of American adults own some 130 million guns, according to The Trace and Guardian US, two news organizations that first reported on the survey. (The full survey has not yet been released; Guardian US and The Trace reported plans to publish a series of stories about the findings throughout the week.)

This portrait of gun ownership represents the equivalent of about 17 guns per person among a group of “super-owners,” the 7.7 million Americans who own between eight and 140 guns each.

Super-owners are emerging at a time when the number of guns in the country is rising—the nation’s stock of firearms has swelled by some 70 million guns since 1994 —while the percentage of gun owners in America has dipped. In other words, there are now more guns to go around in a shrinking population of gun owners. (About one-quarter of Americans say they own a gun, though more than one-third of Americans report living in a house where there is a firearm.)

Super owners are distinct from the larger group of gun owners in America in several ways. For one thing, they’re more likely to be men than women—even at a time when gun ownership among women is on the rise. (One area of overlap: Both women and super-owners were more likely than overall gun owners to say they owned a gun for protection.)

The new study, which is based on a 2015 survey of some 4,000 people, found super-owners were also less likely to be black or Hispanic compared with the rest of gun owners. From Guardian US:

Some super-owners are dedicated collectors with special rooms to display their assortment of historic firearms. Others are firearms instructors, gunsmiths, or competitive shooters, who need a variety of firearms in the course of work or competition. Some gun owners have a survivalist streak, and believe in storing up weapons, as well as food and water, in case of a disaster scenario. Others simply picked up a handgun here, a shotgun or hunting rifle there, and somehow ended up with dozens.

One man compared gun collecting to buying several pairs of shoes. “If you going hiking,” Philip van Cleave told Beckett, “you don’t want to use that one pair of high heels.”

Data on gun ownership in the United States remains fraught, largely because of the political and cultural intensity around the topic. There’s no official tally of how many guns—or gun owners—there are in the U.S., though many surveys and organizations have produced estimates. Tracking gun deaths is arguably even more complicated.

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the government entity that studies other public health issues, virtually ignores gun violence, owing to legislation widely interpreted as preventing such research,” wrote Kate Masters for The Trace. As Beckett points out for Guardian US, much of the existing data on gun ownership is debated. Gun rights advocates often argue that Americans underreport gun ownership—challenging reports that ownership is dropping—and, already, some of them are questioning the validity of the new survey.

“Really? Three percent of American gun owners own half the guns? That seems wildly off the mark,” Mike Bazinet, a spokesman for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, wrote in an email to Beckett. “On the surface, this survey sounds like part of the ongoing effort to minimize gun ownership to make more gun control seem politically achievable.”

The Atlantic

Savage A17 Review

Savage A17

After 7 years of research and development, the Savage Arms® A17 Rifle is the first semi-automatic rifle that can dependably cycle .17 HMR rounds. Thanks to an all-new delayed-blowback action, the bolt is locked into position until ideal pressure passes, allowing the A17 to consistently cycle .17 HMR rounds into the chamber. Giving you the action and power you need, the Savage Arms® A17 is ideal for target shooting and varmint hunting.

  • A17 Rifle
  • Semi-automatic .17 HMR rifle for target shooting and varmint hunting
  • Delayed blowback action for consistent and reliable ammo cycling
  • Case hardened receiver and hard-chromed bolt with dual controlled round feed
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  • Savage Arms

Model: 47001VZ

  • Caliber: .17 HMR
  • Barrel Length: 22″
  • Finish: Matte Black
  • Action: Semi-Automatic
  • Capacity: 10 Rd.
  • Trigger: AccuTrigger
  • Stock: Synthetic with Matte Black Finish
  • Total Length: 42″
  • Total Weight: 5.41 Lbs.

Defensive Hangun Ammo caliber Basics

.380 Automatic

The .380 Automatic was introduced by FN of Belgium about 1912 and was designed by John Browning. One reason for the rounds success is that it is the largest practical cartridge that can be easily adapted to small automatic pocket pistols. Is considered adequate for most self-defense situations and is the smallest caliber recommended for defensive ammunition.

.38 Special or Colt Special – .38 Special is designed for revolvers. Revolvers designed to fire .38 Special should never be used to fire .357 Magnum ammunition.

.38 Special

.38 Special is designed for revolvers. It is probably the most popular revolver cartridge ever produced, and is easily found in most parts of the world. The .38 Special comes in standard and +p variants. Not all .38 revolvers and some older revolvers are not designed to handle the more powerful +P ammunition, so check to verify your firearms ability to shoot it. Also known as the .38 Colt Special, this cartridge was developed by Smith & Wesson and was introduced in 1902. The .38 Special is considered one of the best-balanced, all-round handgun cartridges ever designed. It is one of the most accurate and widely used for match shooting.

9mm Parabellum or 9mm Luger or 9mm Para, or 9x19mm, or 9mm NATO

The 9mm Parabellum (et.al) is perhaps the least expensive of all self-defense rounds. It is more powerful than the .380 ACP, but like the .380 ACP it easily lends itself to firearm designs which are small and light enough to carry comfortably. 9mm is one of the most popular calibers for concealed carry.

This cartridge was introduced in 1902 along with the Luger semi-automatic pistol. The pistol and cartridge was first adopted by the German Navy in 1904 and then by the German Army in 1908. This cartridge has since been adopted by the military of practically every non-Communist power. It has become the most popular and widely-used handgun cartridge in the world. Performance wise, the 9mm cartridge has somewhat more power than the .38 Special but falls well short of the .357 Magnum.

.40 Smith & Wesson (S&W)

This cartridge was developed as a joint venture between Winchester and Smith & Wesson in 1989. It was an effort to to create a cartridge with the same power as the 10mm Norma round that the FBI had just started using, but in a shorter case. The shorter cartridge would facilitate accuracy and allow use of a smaller, more comfortable grip frame. The .40 S&W has become the cartridge of choice for many law enforcement agencies in the United States. Typical bullet weight for this cartridge ranges from 135 to 180 grains with an average muzzle energy that approaches 500 ft-lbs.

.357 Magnum – Revolvers designed to fire .357 Magnum can also shoot .38 Special ammunition

This cartridge was introduced in 1935 by Smith & Wesson for its heavy-frame revolver. Using a lengthened and strengthened version of the .38 Special case, the .357 Magnum was rapidly accepted by hunters and law enforcement. At the time of its introduction, it was claimed to easily pierce the body panels of automobiles and crack engine blocks. While it has less power than .44 Magnum, it compares favorably to the 10mm Norma and .45 ACP, but with better armor penetration. Today factories offer over fifty different loadings in this caliber. Bullet weights range from 110 to 200 grains with an average muzzle energy exceeding 500 ft-lbs.

.44 Remington Magnum

Though it is an excellent hunting round, .44 Magnum is really too powerful to use for self-defense: It is difficult to shoot rapidly, and there’s a high possibility of the bullet going straight through the intended target to hit innocent passersby. This cartridge was developed by Smith & Wesson and Remington, and was introduced in 1955 for a new heavy-frame 44 Magnum revolver. Today Ruger, Colt, Smith & Wesson and others make revolvers for this cartridge. This is a high powered pistol cartridge designed primarily for hunting. The .44 Magnum offers much more power than .357 Magnum. The average bullet weight of this cartridge exceeds 200 grains, and the average muzzle energy easily approaches 1000 ft-lbs.

.45 Glock Automatic Pistol (GAP)

Developed in 2003 by Glock and Speer the 45 Glock Automatic Pistol (GAP). The cartridge was designed to be used in the medium frame sized GLOCK 37 semi-automatic pistol. Typical bullet weights now range from 185 to 230 grains.

.45 Automatic Colt Pistol (ACP)

You’ll find the ACP used to designate many different cartridges which were originally designed to be fired through semi-automatic or automatic firearms

This cartridge was developed by John Browning in 1905 and adopted by the United States Ordnance Department, along with the Colt-Browning automatic pistol, in 1911. It has also been made the official military handgun chambering by several other governments, notably Argentina, Mexico and Norway. The 45 Automatic is the most powerful military handgun cartridge in use today. This is a heavy and powerful sub-sonic round with bullet weights from 185 to 260 grains.

Gun Range Etiquette

Long Island Gun Range

There’s not much that can ruin a shooting experience quicker than getting stuck in a lane near someone with poor range etiquette. Whether you’re a fresh gunny, or a shooting veteran, everyone can benefit from brushing up on proper range etiquette before heading out to a shared shooting location (most of the “rules” mentioned in this post apply to personal firing grounds, too). While this isn’t meant to be a definitive, all-inclusive set of range regulation, it should serve as a helpful starting point.

First and foremost, regardless of the shooting locale, are the rules of safe firearms handling.

1. Treat all firearms as loaded.

Even if you watch someone clear a firearm before handing it to you, clear it again. You never know if they missed something by accident, and complacency kills.

2. Do not point the firearm at anything you do not wish to destroy.

Anything traveling at a few hundred feet per second hurts, even a .22 LR round. Bullets are really good at putting holes in things that way.

3. Keep your finger off the trigger and and out of the trigger until you are ready to fire.

Pulling the trigger doesn’t require a lot of effort, especially with more sensitive 2-6lb triggers, so it’s safest not to put your finger anywhere near that bang switch til you’re sure you want to fire.

4. Be aware of your target and what’s beyond it.

This applies less with organized indoor lanes and more to open ranges, especially when shooting on private property. Any time something or someone is downrange, they’re at risk from your muzzle, even if you’re not trying to aim at anything beyond your intended target. Not to mention, paper (as in a paper target) is not really known for being able to stop bullets. Berms are better on that front.

These next rules are specifically applicable to range etiquette.

Follow your range’s rules.

Some ranges are restrictive about whether or not you can draw from a holster, how fast you can shoot, and what calibers are allowed, among other things. Each range is different, so it’s important to pay attention to the individual range’s regulations if you’d like to continue shooting at that facility. Generally, the particular rules at a range are in place for the safety of everyone who shoots there, and to keep the experience positive for as many as possible.

Watch where you load and unload your gun.

Most ranges have specific areas where they want you to uncase/case or unholster/holster firearms. While you might be pulling an unloaded firearm out of your case to get it prepped before you step into your lane, those around you who are following the first rule of firearms safety don’t think it’s unloaded, and that is worrisome. Walking around with a firearm in hand when you’re not in the designated areas for handling uncased/unholstered guns is another way to arouse discomfort from range officers or other range goers, and is a good way to get yelled at, even if you’re not muzzling (pointing the gun at) anyone.

Be respectful.

Shooting in a shared space sucks when the people around you aren’t respectful of the other shooters or the facility and can make a great range experience sour in a hurry. It’s a complete bummer when I’m headed out to the range to get some footage, or just plain do some plinking with my family and a couple of lanes down are some young guys trying to show off for each other with their displays of “firearms bravado,” which normally includes denigrating each other loudly, and shouted boasting of their shooting “skills,” and using their firearms to gesture animatedly (and unwittingly muzzling half the other range goers). Don’t be those guys. Follow your range rules, have a good time, and clean up after yourself (for example, police your spent brass and toss used targets).

Dress wisely.

Far be it from me to make style recommendations, for men or women, but this guideline is meaningful for its practical and respectful benefits. Shooting at a public range means that there are other people around. It’s respectful of the others around you to tone down any graphic or offensive clothing. Shooters often tend to be a more conservative crowd, and while it’s not a strict “rule” not to wear shirts like this, you’ll probably end up aggravating fewer people if you avoid wearing them at the range. This guideline takes a practical tone in regard to female clothing especially. Looking sexy is certainly not against any range rule I know, but the more exposed skin, the more places you can catch a hot casing and earn yourself a burn. This becomes more meaningful with regard to low cut tops; I’ve seen plenty of screeching and gun-waving from women who didn’t plan for that particular “wardrobe malfunction.”

Wear comfortable shoes.

I always try to make the most of every range trip, so I rarely spend less than a few hours every time I visit. That kind of time on one’s feet can get uncomfortable if the range goer is sporting impractical footwear. This often-overlooked aspect of shooting prep is especially helpful when shooting in outdoor ranges, which are susceptible to precipitation. Ladies seem to fall victim to impractical footwear more than males (I love heels, but they aren’t well suited for the range). The burn risk mentioned above is also affected by shoe choice. Open toed shoes, like sandals, put those toes and tops of feet at risk for making an uncomfortably hot catch.

As mentioned earlier, these few points aren’t the only rules for range etiquette, but they should serve as a starting guideline for minding your manners at the range. What are some pointers for range etiquette you follow when you go shooting?

by Destinee (FateofDestinee)