By Mike Sherman
As previously stated, we are all the product of our environment and life experiences. It has influenced our opinion of weapons, self-defense, crime trends and general attitudes on the subject of our personal safety and security. There have been some very good questions put forth and a lot of personal opinions, legal and otherwise. The broad-based dialog is healthy and informative. The conversation has also reflected well on the RV Travel Newsletter readership. How refreshing to read all the civility involved in the postings on this controversial subject.
Several folks wanted to talk about the type of weapon to have and the type of ammunition. Shotguns, handguns, automatic, single shot … there are a lot of options. Then you have the option of “none” … Who needs a gun? A large variety of options – a large variety of opinions. The information can be educational, as it should be. No one knows it all, and no one has the correct answer for everyone, but most have an opinion.
After studying others’ opinions and examining one’s own, we reach conclusions for ourselves. Which brings me back to my original posting: You are the captain of your ship. You are responsible for making the final decision.
Once you figure out what you want and you reach a comfort level with your decision, you should set out on the task of determining what is legal for your chosen direction. If your choices conform to the law (depending on what state you live in and/or will travel through) then you are moving closer to accepting your choice. Therein lies the complicatedness of making a final decision. It’s not a simple task.
The Choice of Weapon – Semi-automatics are prone to performance problems to a greater or lesser degree (depending on the make/model). Wheel guns are extremely dependable. Mace is nonlethal. A baseball bat, with some luck, can be lethal. The goal is to protect yourself … to stop an assault. Note I said stop … not kill. That will be discussed at a later date. Long rifles can’t be concealed easily on your person. Got both? Then when you drive into town, packing your pistol, you worry about someone breaking into your rig and stealing your rifle perhaps.
The Choice of Ammunition – Light buckshot, “snake loads,” .357/.45 hollow point, BB’s … you have options. Many commenters expressed concerns about a powerful bullet passing through the exterior of one’s RV. There is little doubt a .45 could easily pass through 4-5 rigs sitting next to you. You can have a “light” load for just about any weapon … rifle, shotgun, pistol. They would put a hurt on a bad guy but keep extensive damage (and travel distance) to a minimum.
Bottom Line – Only you can make the final decision of what works best for your comfort level. Retired cops/military types are more familiar with weapons. There are avid hunters out there that know far more than I. Then there are those who are not sure – they feel like they want something but they are having trouble figuring out what is the best route to go. It’s best to confide in and consult with someone you trust. You can also check with a local certified rangemaster for advice. They can be found through your local hunting clubs, gun store outlets and local law enforcement offices.
I suppose if I were not a gun owner and had no experience with guns, I would consider a wheel gun (.38 cal six shooter) with “snake load” ammo (think mini-shotgun shell with pellets) along with a box of regular ammo. I would get some training, and practice every month or two so I am familiar with its operation. I would never store it within arm’s reach of my pillow. One should be required to get out of bed to get to it – that way you are fully awake and not responding through a mental fog. If someone were beating on my door, I would never open it – I would use a powerful flashlight through a window and ask questions. Hopefully other experienced gun owners out there can offer up their suggestions. The more input, the better.
In the end, needing a gun to fend off an attack while camping is extremely rare but it does happen. We all want to feel comfortable, confident and secure with our rigs, and that has been the case for the majority of us who have been fortunate to camp in some very beautiful areas of rural America. Relax, enjoy and don’t worry too much about it – the odds are definitely in your favor that you’ll never experience a problem.
Note: We know what we discuss in this column may be controversial. While we invite your polite, constructive comments, inflammatory remarks will be immediately deleted.
Mike Sherman is a retired street cop and investigator with 30+ years of RV experience as a traveler, camp host and all-around advocate for the joys of living on the road. His articles are for general discussion purposes only – you should always consult your local authorities or legal counsel for specific answers if necessary. Write him at MikeShermanPI@gmail.com if you have questions or comments.