Author Topic: Scared of guns... Alternatives?  (Read 3948 times)

Offline Robinelli

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Scared of guns... Alternatives?
« on: September 17, 2012, 01:13:25 PM »
Ok so I know this is in the firearms section so maybe not the most unbiased place to post this question, but I didn't see a better place to post it!

Due to some private reasons I have developed a fear and distrust of guns. However, I don't feel quite safe without one, either.  I am wondering what might be a good alternative. Currently I have mace, a stun gun, and a knife. The knife probably isn't much good but I carry it along with mace when walking. Anyway, I do have two small children in the house so it has to be something I can store safely and easily. My husband is considering getting a gun down the road but we can't get it until we can afford a gun safe and even then it will be locked up and pretty well useless- and I won't touch it. So does anyone have any suggestions or recommendations? The stun gun I have is about the size of a flashlight and while I've never tried it out it just doesn't have my faith that it would stop someone.
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Offline soupbone

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Re: Scared of guns... Alternatives?
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2012, 03:58:32 PM »
Well, Robin, your first step would be to figure (or find) out why you fear and distrust guns - you needn't post it, just figure out why. Once you know this, you can put together a curriculum designed to safely and non-threateningly introduce you to the shooting sports, maybe starting with a pellet rifle and working your way from there. There are many reasons to own a firearm, many shooting sports to try and see if you enjoy. Don't get hung up on the self defense aspect - the vast majority of shooters never experience the need to defend themselves with a firearm; most just enjoy ventilating cans or targets, or a day a-field with a rifle or shotgun tucked under their arm. Don't let anyone pressure you into doing something before you are ready, here or anywhere else.

I agree with your selection of mace and a knife for last ditch defense, but I would forgo the stun gun in favor of a collapsible  baton. Waltzing with an assailant for a couple of seconds (seems like an eternity) while the stun gun takes effect is not my cup of tea, and both the gas and baton will give you more of a standoff distance than the knife. In the defense arena, you will find many more occasions to use less than lethal force than you will using lethal force - e.g. a knife. As in anything regarding using force against another person, you should get some professional training, both to learn proper techniques and to cover yourself legally in the event you ever have to defend yourself.

I fully understand private reasons for fearing and distrusting guns, but remember that whatever happened to you was "then", this is "now". And don't worry, none of us think less of you for posting this question or having those feelings.

soup
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Offline backwoods_engineer

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Re: Scared of guns... Alternatives?
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2012, 04:03:19 PM »
I recommend counseling for hoplophobia.

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: Scared of guns... Alternatives?
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2012, 04:12:05 PM »
Assuming we're talking handguns, I personally recommend this for a nightstand drawer safe:

http://www.amazon.com/V-Line-Draw-Security-Case-Black/dp/B000T24OFG/ref=sr_1_20?ie=UTF8&qid=1347916009&sr=8-20&keywords=drawer+gun+safe

I have 2 young kids in our home, and this safe was step 1 in getting my wife comfortable with the idea of owning a firearm.  For ~$160 the price was right and more importantly it met all my functional criteria.

Also, while I'm no self defense expert, it would seem a much higher risk of a knife being used against you given the close proximity required.

How about this for a plan:

1) but and install that (or similar) safe
2) store your pepper spray, impact weapons + flash light in there

Later if/when your family introduces a handgun into your preps, you already have a safe place to put it the same day you bring it home.

Offline Cooter Brown

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Re: Scared of guns... Alternatives?
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2012, 04:19:24 PM »
Well, I can't speak to the non-guns issues but since you will eventually have guns in the house, perhaps you should consider taking the NRA's Home Firearms Safety class. It is classroom only, no shooting, and might be a good introduction; a way to sort of build up your tolerance.

If that's too much too soon, you could consider starting with the Refuse to be a Victim program.

The NRA website has a training section where you can look up classes in your area.

http://www.nrainstructors.org/searchcourse.aspx

Ask around about the instructors; most NRA instructors are good folk, but there are some yahoos out there.
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Offline PistolWhipped

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Re: Scared of guns... Alternatives?
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2012, 05:14:20 PM »
First question, are you willing to attempt to become more comfortable with guns? 

Are you willing to step outside of your present comfort zone, if it meant you were better prepared to defend your children in the future?  If not, then pardon the expression, but this is all just jerking off.

If so, I would agree with soup, the first step in dealing with the issue is determining why you fear firearms.  If you are uncomfortable with them, you will not want them in your home and will not learn to use them properly.  The NRA offers a number of introductory courses depending on what type of shooting you are looking to do.  Take it slow, there is nothing that says you have to get from soccer mom to operator overnight.

Mace is decent for non-committed attackers, or as an opening to other tools.  I've been maced before though, and it didn't drop me screaming like most packaging says it will.  Burned like a mother, but I was still functional.

I'd recommend a Tazer over a stun gun, but neither are high on my list of defensive weapons. I've been hit with both, after the first few times a person is hit with one they learn to shake it off.

You know, the more I type the more I realize I need less crazy friends.

The aforementioned impact baton is better, but stick fighting is another can of worms.

I saw you mention you have a knife.  Personally, the idea of using a knife over a gun scares the living hell out of me, and I've quite a bit of training with both.  Guns are loud but they give you a safety buffer.  Distance is your friend when someone is trying to hurt you.  Knives are brutal and messy and very close and personal.

If you honestly intend to use it for defensive purposes, I would highly recommend learning a system like Martial Blade Concepts in order to use it effectively.  Also, if you have no idea about how bad knife woulds are, and you can stomach it, you might want to look up just what they do.  I would warn you, it is VERY graphic.  That would not sit well with a jury, when compared with a few bullet holes if you used a gun.  Legal battles are as big a part of force usage and the actual fight.

Offline Robinelli

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Re: Scared of guns... Alternatives?
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2012, 05:36:46 PM »
Well I guess I might as well post the reason for my aversion.  I was nearly shot not once but TWICE by an experienced person with a gun. Once in my bedroom as a teenager (my brother's friend shot a hole through the house with a shotgun while trying to clean it) and once in my brother's car when he had a loaded gun in the back apparently and we hit a bump and it blew a hole through the car. Also my best friend's mother committed suicide with a gun. Lastly, and completely seemingly unrelated, I once had a firecracker backfire and blow into my stomach. Even though it wasn't a gun, that part in my mind thinks if I had a gun it could somehow backfire or misfire and I could get shot. Probably because of my earlier experiences. Honestly I am afraid to even be in a room with a gun. I want to get over my fear but I wonder if it is actually a rational one.
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Offline Cooter Brown

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Re: Scared of guns... Alternatives?
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2012, 06:41:08 PM »
Well I guess I might as well post the reason for my aversion.  I was nearly shot not once but TWICE by an experienced person with a gun. Once in my bedroom as a teenager (my brother's friend shot a hole through the house with a shotgun while trying to clean it) and once in my brother's car when he had a loaded gun in the back apparently and we hit a bump and it blew a hole through the car. Also my best friend's mother committed suicide with a gun. Lastly, and completely seemingly unrelated, I once had a firecracker backfire and blow into my stomach. Even though it wasn't a gun, that part in my mind thinks if I had a gun it could somehow backfire or misfire and I could get shot. Probably because of my earlier experiences. Honestly I am afraid to even be in a room with a gun. I want to get over my fear but I wonder if it is actually a rational one.

I hear ya, sister. I have been the recipient of two different negligent discharges myself; both from "experienced" gun guys. Caught fragments on one, full-on hit with he other. Clearly experience does not equal competence.  It's made me something of a safety nazi, and very picky about classes. On more than one occasion, I have left a class because the instructor was too casual about safety. I also observe the firing line at the range before I decide whether to shoot or not. If the idiot density is high, I'll come back another day.

The tools aren't the problem, its the hands that wield them. Again I'll recommend the NRA Home Firearms Safety class, but I'll add that you should have a talk with the instructor beforehand. You need someone who will take your anxieties seriously and be able to support you as become familiar with how these tools work and how they are to be safely and competently handled.
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Offline Cedar

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Re: Scared of guns... Alternatives?
« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2012, 07:39:51 PM »
When my ex-husband was stalking me , restraining orders didn't work and I did not have a gun, I kept a cigarette lighter and a can of cheap hairspray next to me when I was sleeping.

... a gun is probably safer.

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Offline Robinelli

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Re: Scared of guns... Alternatives?
« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2012, 07:43:23 PM »
I hear ya, sister. I have been the recipient of two different negligent discharges myself; both from "experienced" gun guys. Caught fragments on one, full-on hit with he other. Clearly experience does not equal competence.  It's made me something of a safety nazi, and very picky about classes. On more than one occasion, I have left a class because the instructor was too casual about safety. I also observe the firing line at the range before I decide whether to shoot or not. If the idiot density is high, I'll come back another day.

The tools aren't the problem, its the hands that wield them. Again I'll recommend the NRA Home Firearms Safety class, but I'll add that you should have a talk with the instructor beforehand. You need someone who will take your anxieties seriously and be able to support you as become familiar with how these tools work and how they are to be safely and competently handled.
Thanks for not judging, I was a little nervous about posting about this! I'm glad you're alright! That's really terrible. Thanks for the advice, I appreciate it.
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Offline Robinelli

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Re: Scared of guns... Alternatives?
« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2012, 07:48:29 PM »
When my ex-husband was stalking me , restraining orders didn't work and I did not have a gun, I kept a cigarette lighter and a can of cheap hairspray next to me when I was sleeping.

... a gun is probably safer.

Cedar
That's terrifying. I'm sorry you had to go through that. Before I got my stun gun I kept wasp spray by the bed. I have heard it is more effective than mace.
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Offline Mr. Bill

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Re: Scared of guns... Alternatives?
« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2012, 09:55:12 PM »
Well I guess I might as well post the reason for my aversion. ...

Robinelli, it makes me happy that you felt comfortable enough to post this.  We've got a good group of people here, and I don't think anyone will give you grief about your fears.

[moderator]
Or else.
[/moderator]

;D

I'm not a "gun person".  I never fired anything until I was about 30, and although I didn't have any particular phobia it still scared the crap out of me.  Same with every new firearm I've fired since then.

If you choose to try firearms, start small and simple.  I started with a 12-ga shotgun.  Ouch.  NOT the best choice for a newbie.  A .22 revolver would have been better.  It's mechanically simple, it's very easy to check whether it's loaded or unloaded, and it's easy to become completely familiar with how it works, even before you fire your first shot.  Also you can get .22 ammo with no gunpowder -- it just has the primer, which is enough to fire the bullet at approximately pellet-gun force.  It makes a non-terrifying CRACK sound, rather than a BANG, the recoil is microscopic, and it's--- well, I won't say safe, but if an accident did occur, the slow small bullet has a pretty low chance of causing serious injury.

If you don't want to go for firearms yet (or ever), that's cool.  I'm not sure what to suggest for alternate weapons, and having small children around does complicate things.  You might want to browse through our non-firearms weaponry boards to see what ideas other members have suggested.

Offline jpbearit

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Re: Scared of guns... Alternatives?
« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2012, 10:15:05 PM »
First you need to decide, as my wife said to me when I told her about your issue: Are you more afraid of guns or are you more afraid of not having a gun? Do you really want to get over this and, perhaps more importantly, do you really feel you have to. 

Try reasoning it out.  Maybe list the reasons you think you need a gun against the reason you fear them.

Try to measuring your fear of guns against the things you fear that a gun could help protect you from.

You might find that you can conquer your fear of guns easier because you will realize it is a thing you can control in your hands.  However there are many things and people you can’t have any control over but a gun would be a tool you can use to help protect you from those.

Then make a plan. Start small… baby steps. Go buy a BB/pellet gun. These are more than a toy, but less than a gun and it is where almost everyone starts their gun journey as a child.  Take it out in the backyard and just shoot it. They are cheap and easy to use.  But treat it as a real gun as much as you are able. Do this every day for a few months. Get used to the feeling of holding it and shooting it.

Then go get a .22 rifle. Sign up for your nearest Appleseed rifleman training course.  They will give you all the information you need to safely handle a real firearm. On top of that, you will learn the skills needed to use it effectively. 

You might just stop there, but I doubt it.  I’ll bet that you’ll go on to learn to enjoy this activity. When done responsively and safely, shooting is a fun and challenging hobby that appeals to so many people for so many different reasons.  I’ll also lay odds that you will discover that the incidents that led to your fear of guns were cause by a lack of experience and a lack of training, those kind of stupid accidents are almost always attributable to the lack of knowledge.

But because you will go after your knowledge of guns with a firm grasp of the dangers, those dangers will soon have no more effect on you than the danger present every time you get in your car. They are real and you keep them firmly in the back of your mind, but you take precautions to mitigate those dangers.
Hope this helps.
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Offline Robinelli

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Re: Scared of guns... Alternatives?
« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2012, 10:26:37 PM »
But because you will go after your knowledge of guns with a firm grasp of the dangers, those dangers will soon have no more effect on you than the danger present every time you get in your car. They are real and you keep them firmly in the back of your mind, but you take precautions to mitigate those dangers.
Hope this helps.

Wow. What a good analogy! I always think of driving as the most dangerous thing most people do in their lifetimes and they do it every day. A car is essentially a 2 ton missile and we go around dodging people all day who are driving those missiles while texting on their phones and face booking. Yet I do still drive on the road. Hm. Very good analogy!!
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Offline markl32

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Re: Scared of guns... Alternatives?
« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2012, 01:58:54 AM »

Get some training.  Mind set (knowledge) is the best weapon.  Knowledge will give you confidence. 

Once you have confidence with your firearm you will then begin to realize you are empowered.  Not only has your knowledge empowered you to never make the same firearm safety mistakes that those close you have made in the past, but you have also level the playing field against violent men. 

The irony is women, who benefit the most from having a firearm, are typicality scared to pick up that equalizing tool, out of fear of the tool (the gun), leaving themselves vulnerable to the real threat (violent criminals). 

If you simply can not bring your self to learn about guns then stick with the knife.  Get some training there too.  Knifes can be damn effective.  If you go "sewing machine" on an attacker they are going to have a bad day.  The mace is mildly effective.  The stun gun is junk and completely ineffective in stopping an attack. 

Offline Bubba Zinetti

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Re: Scared of guns... Alternatives?
« Reply #15 on: November 20, 2012, 03:09:29 PM »
Mace, even police grade stuff, will not stop most perps, only make them madder.  This goes double if the perp is on certain drugs (remember the face eating 'zombie' in Miami who only glared at police even after he was shot?)
A knife doesn't sound viable either, since you have to be at very close range with a determined attacker to use it.  Even experienced knife fighters will tell you that your chances of being harmed in the exchange are very high.
I'm not sure what your reasons are for not using a gun, but if it is merely the idea of killing someone which you find distasteful, then there are guns (and gun like weapons such as Tasers) which can deliver less-lethal munitions such as bean bags and rubber shot.  These are used by security forces for crowd control in jails and during riots and can be highly effective. 
If you are worried that you need a safe for the kids but that this will not allow you to access your firearm (or less lethal devise) quickly enough to be of use, there are several gun safes which are not highly expensive and offer quick entry (some using biometric keying) but only to the intended user.

Offline ttubravesrock

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Re: Scared of guns... Alternatives?
« Reply #16 on: November 20, 2012, 03:32:02 PM »
People have mentioned the baton, but perhaps a wood or metal baseball bat leaning in a couple corners of your house would do the trick as well.

Another option may not be well liked, but maybe purchase a 12-gauge shotgun and no ammo.  Someone once told me that the most recognizable sound in the world is the sound of a shotgun being cocked.  Chances are that someone stupid enough to be breaking into a stranger's house would not be able to hear the difference between a live cock and a dry cock. I have no idea if my terminology is correct in that last sentence.

Suppose you were breaking into someone's house and you heard the following noise from the next room.
http://www.soundsnap.com/node/80966
What would your next course of action be?

Offline Dainty

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Re: Scared of guns... Alternatives?
« Reply #17 on: November 28, 2012, 09:30:07 AM »
I just wanted to mention, Robin, that even though I had zero experience with guns, shooting a BB gun for the first time was a HUGE shock to me. It wasn't the sound, or the recoil, it was more just the realization that I had fired a gun - I had a weapon in my hands that could be potentially lethal (I know BB guns are practically nothing but in my mind a gun is a gun is a gun) and I had deployed that weapon. I needed a minute to wrap my head around what I had just done, and take stock of my environment to confirm that everything was still okay.

And that's without any bad experiences.

By the end of the hour I was quite enjoying myself, but I don't think the guy helping me will ever forget how I dumped the BB gun in his hands after that first shot and backed away, looking from gun to target to gun again and at my own hands, attempting to process what had just happened. Now I look forward to learning how to use and carry a handgun someday, though I expect it will still take some getting used to.

Every person is different. I want to be comfortable around guns, but because I didn't grow up with gun owners it takes a little work and careful introduction for me to bring myself to that point. I can only imagine that your experiences would make it even more difficult for you. But as others are saying, knowledge is power, and if you want to conquer your fear there are various routes you could take plus the folks here would be glad to support you in that effort. :)

Offline CR Williams

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Re: Scared of guns... Alternatives?
« Reply #18 on: November 29, 2012, 08:03:21 AM »
Take it in steps, don't rush the process of adjustment and familiarization, don't beat yourself up if you hit temporary walls. It may help if you can find someone not to train you, but just to talk it through with.

Alternatives: Tasers and the CS 'guns' that project a charge of CS. Since some of them resemble guns in shape and operation, that may also help you with the adjustment.

BB guns have been suggested. You could also look at Airsoft guns. I think there are more of them that are replicas than with BBs. That might help, or hurt, I don't know.

In general, I would recommend CS units that send a stream, not a fog or spray, or one that projects foam. (I lean toward the foam, myself.) Better range and holds up better over it's range, won't disperse as much than a sprayer. For car carry or home use, one of the bigger fire-extinguisher-sized units is something to consider until you make the adjustment to firearms and even after as an option for situations that don't require lethal force.
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Offline 11 Bravo

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Re: Scared of guns... Alternatives?
« Reply #19 on: November 29, 2012, 11:02:19 AM »
Robinelli.......your in the same boat as my girlfriend. The last thing she saw as she ran out the door with her kids 15 years ago was her ex loading the shotgun. She has flat out told me she would never touch a gun, let alone fire one. She says that during the zombie apocalypse, she will be the cook....I have worked on this the past 6 months to the point that she is now shooting pop cans off the woodpile with my .22 Hammerli, it is just taking some baby steps.

As far as the weapons you do have, pepper spray is somewhat effective, and that's only against a resistant person or somewhat determined to get away. I was in a 2 day police survival school a few months back and was shocked to learn that in a 1000 case study done by the group giving the school, there was not a single example of pepper spray working in a determined assault. In the dozen or two times I have used it, I think I got the effects just as bad as the guy I was spraying..

Tasers work better, as long as the target doesn't have thick puffy clothing and both the barbs hit the target and stick. The "ride" lasts 5 seconds and most folks give up after that. One jolt was enough for me, I don't want to get hit with it again. The one time I used it on a doper, it took two jolts to get him under control.

The one time using a nightstick was ineffective after i hit a drunk in the forearm with everything I had, he still held on to the knife.

When it really come down to it, in a determined assault, where somebody is going to take you out at all costs, the only real answer is a firearm. 

Good luck. It'll take some time.
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Offline jpbearit

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Re: Scared of guns... Alternatives?
« Reply #20 on: November 29, 2012, 12:38:48 PM »
HEY Robinelli,

give us an up date. how are you dealing with this issue? what have you been thinking about lately?
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Offline Bonnieblue2A

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Re: Scared of guns... Alternatives?
« Reply #21 on: November 29, 2012, 01:07:29 PM »
Well I guess I might as well post the reason for my aversion.  I was nearly shot not once but TWICE by an experienced person with a gun. Once in my bedroom as a teenager (my brother's friend shot a hole through the house with a shotgun while trying to clean it) and once in my brother's car when he had a loaded gun in the back apparently and we hit a bump and it blew a hole through the car. Also my best friend's mother committed suicide with a gun. Lastly, and completely seemingly unrelated, I once had a firecracker backfire and blow into my stomach. Even though it wasn't a gun, that part in my mind thinks if I had a gun it could somehow backfire or misfire and I could get shot. Probably because of my earlier experiences. Honestly I am afraid to even be in a room with a gun. I want to get over my fear but I wonder if it is actually a rational one.

The fear of incompetant people with lethal weapons is a rational one. For the same reason I no longer go to public gun ranges. However, their incompetance does not lead me to fear firearms. It is the loose nuts behind the slide and trigger who are the problem, not the firearms themselves. Even the example of the gun seemingly firing by itself in the car is an example of an incompetant owner.

I suspect your real fear is that of the unknown. That which you do not understand about how firearms work, how to safely handle and operate them, and what about these inanimate objects is actually dangerous when in the hands of a competant operator.

Let fear be the motivating force behind you aquiring training from a reputable instructor. It was for me. Now, my fears push aside by knowledge and hundreds of hours of instruction, I am a "gun gal".  :)

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Offline Rock Deer

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Re: Scared of guns... Alternatives?
« Reply #22 on: November 29, 2012, 07:42:44 PM »
Everyone here has posted some VERY outstanding, supportive comments. (IMHO)

Just to add my $.02.
As was mentioned before. A fire arm is nothing more than a peice of machinery. Like a car, YOU are ultimately in control of YOUR firearm. With proper education and training It's my belief alot of your fears will disapate. If it makes you feel more comfortable, you  don't have to allow anyone to use or touch YOUR firearm. It will always be in YOUR posession and in YOUR control.
Better to be thought a fool than open ones mouth and remove all doubt.

Type 7 FFL manufacturer of long distance rifles.

Offline joeinwv

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Re: Scared of guns... Alternatives?
« Reply #23 on: November 29, 2012, 08:59:15 PM »
Firearms allow you to project force at a distance. They require training and practice to gain and maintain proficiency. The instances you mention are "negligent discharges". These are not accidental discharges, mistaken discharges or unintended discharges. They are negligent. The person in possession of the gun did not exercise proper care and caution, resulting in the gun going off. ND's are very serious and should be closely evaluated to determine what happened, why and how to prevent it in the future.

There are safe ways to handle anything - knives, snakes, chainsaws - minimally, you should learn how to determine if a gun is loaded and how to safely handle / load / unload a firearm.

Other options, such as knives and other close weapons require a lot of training and physical fitness to be even minimally effective. If you are relying on a knife for defense, you need to know how to use it. I would recommend something like krav maga or mixed martial arts training.

You may want to talk to a counselor regarding your fear of guns - techniques such as systematic desensitization can help with anxiety.


Offline endurance

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Re: Scared of guns... Alternatives?
« Reply #24 on: November 29, 2012, 09:14:46 PM »
...

Tasers work better, as long as the target doesn't have thick puffy clothing and both the barbs hit the target and stick. The "ride" lasts 5 seconds and most folks give up after that. One jolt was enough for me, I don't want to get hit with it again. The one time I used it on a doper, it took two jolts to get him under control.

...
I agree that a Taser is a much, much better tool than a stun gun.  I've taken shocks from a stun gun and the only thing it did was make me want to punch the person who was holding it to my thigh.  A taser gives you distance, a hell of a lot more juice, and the ability to light them up again if they don't comply with directions.  You can't stay standing with a taser, but a stun gun usually makes you back away or hit at the source, but it's not disabling.
"There are things that you don't question when your home always smells like baking bread."  From The Hunger Games

“No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”   James Madison

Offline markl32

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Re: Scared of guns... Alternatives?
« Reply #25 on: December 03, 2012, 07:14:56 PM »

Another option may not be well liked, but maybe purchase a 12-gauge shotgun and no ammo.  Someone once told me that the most recognizable sound in the world is the sound of a shotgun being cocked.  Chances are that someone stupid enough to be breaking into a stranger's house would not be able to hear the difference between a live cock and a dry cock. I have no idea if my terminology is correct in that last sentence.

Suppose you were breaking into someone's house and you heard the following noise from the next room.
http://www.soundsnap.com/node/80966
What would your next course of action be?

This is nothing more than bluffing with your life, and in my opinion ill advised.

Offline blademan

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Re: Scared of guns... Alternatives?
« Reply #26 on: December 03, 2012, 10:39:24 PM »
Robin,
   I truly hope you find something that works for you either by becomming able to use a firearm or by some other means. At the end of what I post here, I will post a few links to other tsp discussions that you may find helpful for viable non gun self defense and home defense.
   
    The absolute most important tool you have for defending yourself you already have and have with you all the time. Almost. Its your mind. Specifically, situational awareness and threat assesment. These two things are far more important than a gun, can or mace, knife, stick, dog, or any other tool or item of self defense. Develope this, and not only will you make any tool you have more effective, increase your chance or surviving with not tools and most impotantly drastically reduce your chances of being in a confrontation or attack and having to physically defend yourself. This is far more effective than any weapon. It doesn't at all though detract from the utillity and need and effectiveness of various options. The are no less important in the situations that you need them. This just helps reduce you needing them.
    I can't teach you situational awareness in a message board post and I won't try but I can tell you its just about as simple as it sounds. Be aware of your situation. All the time. As much of it as you can be aware of. Observe, asses, identify, and predict and act. In a loop.  I said it was simple, but its not easy. There are resources you can research that expound on this subject and you should, it is the logic and most effective base of any self defense system. Period.
     It will also give you more peace of mind and justified confidence than any weapon.
I won't go on too long with this but I will give you my opinion on a few effective non gun methods for self and home defense.
 Home: harden your home. The idea isn't only to stop intruders, but also to slow down the more determined invader, cause them to alert you either with out with out knowing it and allowing you time to react in such a way to give you the advantage and to seek help. Or to attack. Door sentry is one of these methods and there are many others.
  A dog if you are a dog person and can have one in your situation. Doesn't have to be a trained attack or protection or guard dog unless you want one. Just get a dog and go from there. Anything to be fairly intimidating if it gets it hackles up and can make a lot of noise when disturbed. This is NOT a magic bullet, I "broke" into a house (not illegally, I was told by an occupant in the house to force the door because it was stuck, it wasn't, it was locked and I went through the door) and his two really agressive dogs were sitting in the room I broke into didn't much more than look at me stupidly. A pit and akita. That being said, a dog is a very good way to increase your security. Two are even better because they tend to rile each other up more and make more noise. 
   Ditch the wasp spray as a go to method and stick to peper spray or some other industry approved defense spray as your primary and go to method. Its effective despite what some people say about it just not bothering them or not stopping a determined attack. There ARE documented cases of it not working very well or at all, this doesn't mean that on average it won't work. I have seen about two hundred people sprayed and been hit three times in training. I never saw anyone not get less agressive. It didn't stop some people, it did slow all of them down and make them less effective. And that is the purpose that tool is intended for. Expecting more out of it will dissapoint you. I will tell you that it is horrible. It sucks and while it might not stop me from continuing the attack if I was mad or determined enough, it would deffinitely put me at a severe disadvantage to someone at even only half my normal physical capability. It just like everything, is NOT a magic bullet and to be most effective, you should learn to use it as part of a system and not just depend on it to end an attack. Again there are resources for this on the net. The reason I say not to use the wasp spray as a go to method is simply a legal one. It could get you in trouble. Its worth the trouble if it saves your life so if its what you happen to have, or all you can have, then do what you have to.
    A couple not at home self defense tips:
again a dog. You mentioned walking and that goes hand in hand with this.
   
  Two: a good waist or chest high walking stick. Number one: its got prescense, if I had to choose between going toe to toe with a person with out a stick or a person with one, all other things being equal, I'm picking the one without a stick.
   It doesn't have to be really thick or heavy. A good thing to do is replace the ferrule (metal tip that touches the ground) with a iron or steel pipe cap. Get one of a similar diameter to your stick and have your husband put it on if that's not something you can do.
  That gives it a little more "meaningfullness" when you are "explaining" to someone that you want them to leave you alone. This is at least as effective as the baton and has the added benefit of being a normal unsuspicious item that is being used in your current activity of walking and will be in your hand before you need it. The baton may not be legal to carry everywhere, and you have to deploy it against someone who is actively attacking you.
   
 The taser mentioned above is better than your stun gun in my experience for all the reasons mentioned above. The civilian model is probably the best and most ergonomic choice.
  And pepper spray: go look up the asp key defender. This is a great pepper spray carry method.
   
There are many other great non gun methods I won't go into here because they have been covered in detail in other posts which I will link below.
   All of the my above advice notwithstanding, I would like to encourage you to do whatever you can to be able to use a firearm. Its the higest level of force that is likely to be brought against you and being unable or unwilling to respond in kind puts you at a severe disadvantage.
   I will you well robin and hope you find something to make you feel safer and actually help you defend yourself if need be.
   
 The links:
   http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=31227.0
   http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=31366.0
   http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=4907.0
   http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=10688.0
   http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=34805.0
   http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=24491.0

I hope these inspire and help you in your decisions.
Man's mind is his basic tool of survival.
Fear is the mind killer.

Two rules for a happy life:
1. Never sling shit at an armed man.
2. Never stand next to someone who is slinging shit at an armed man.

Offline Kilroy

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Re: Scared of guns... Alternatives?
« Reply #27 on: December 09, 2012, 10:42:46 AM »
Something to consider....  Because you had the courage to post here and talk a bit about your experience, someone else will now benefit.  Thanks for doing that.

Consider this as a resource:  http://www.georgiawildlife.com/BOW

Find potential training here:  http://www.nrainstructors.org/searchcourse.aspx

Oh....and here to:  http://www.nssf.org/FirstShots/Seminars/index.cfm

From a distinct point of view:  http://www.corneredcat.com/
Kilroy...

...was here.

Offline Janet the Planet

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Re: Scared of guns... Alternatives?
« Reply #28 on: December 09, 2012, 09:50:17 PM »
Yes-thank you for speaking up.  I had two, (well, three if you count that time in high school my boyfriend mistook my head for a woodchuck...) really unpleasant experiences in earlier years-but today, all on my own, I took a training course for ccdw.  I was the lone female in a sea of manly men, and my revolver gave me an excuse for my slow reloading... and I feel much better about the whole thing tonight.  Thanks...

Offline Robinelli

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Re: Scared of guns... Alternatives?
« Reply #29 on: January 25, 2013, 03:46:51 PM »
HEY Robinelli,

give us an up date. how are you dealing with this issue? what have you been thinking about lately?

I decided on a Glock. Just haven't purchased yet.
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