5 Gun Myths That Need To Die…

From: bearingarms.com,  by Tom Knighton,  on Nov 4, 2017

The world is full of gun myths, most are born out of pure ignorance. The people who write Hollywood screenplays and direct action sequences aren’t exactly gun people, so it’s somewhat understandable that they botch so much.

However, there are a few myths that seem to float around people who, in theory, should know better. These are the myths that supposed gun people tend to perpetuate.

1. You Don’t Have To Aim A Shotgun

We’ll start with this one because it’s a classic.

The idea is simple. The argument is that a shotgun with a barrel only slightly above legal length will, when fired, put out such a wide swath of hate and shot that aiming the weapon becomes pointless. This is why people like to recommend shotguns to people who want something for home defense, but don’t really want to practice with it.

While the shot does spread out a bit, it’s not nearly as much as some people would like to think. A shotgun can be a little more forgiving in the aiming department than a handgun or a carbine, but you still have to have the gun pointed in the right spot, otherwise, you’re going to miss. There’s no way around that one.

2. The 5.56 Round Was Created To Wound The Enemy, Not Kill Them

The idea is straightforward. The military developed the 5.56 round not so much to kill the enemy, but to wound them. Proponents of this myth state that a wounded man takes more people off the battlefield–the wounded man, stretcher bearer, and medics–whereas killing the enemy only takes one man off the field.

It almost sounds plausible until you remember that wounded people can return to kill you later. Those who remove the wounded man from the field will also return to kill you.

Wounded men are not now, nor have they ever been the goal of our armed forces. Dead enemy soldiers are people who will never menace our people again. Make enough dead enemy soldiers, and the enemy decides peace is preferable to war regardless of the cost, and we win. That’s not nearly as likely to happen if you wound people.

Now, we can debate the lethality of the 5.56 versus, say, 7.62×51 all day long, but to say that the 5.56 round was designed to wound is ridiculous.

3. Knockdown Power

“I’m gonna use me a .45 cuz even it’s got plenty of knockdown power.”

No, it doesn’t. That’s because there’s no such thing.

The idea with knockdown power is that a round is so powerful that it’ll knock down anyone you shoot with that round. However, even a rudimentary understanding of physics should tell you just how wrong this concept is. Newtown’s Third Law states that for every action, there is an equal but opposite reaction. For our purposes here, that means any power strong enough to knock someone down is probably enough to knock the shooter down as well.

Yes, there are various things that can factor into reducing felt recoil, but it still wouldn’t be enough to keep you from hurting every time you pulled the trigger.

4. It’s Dangerous To Walk Around With A Round In The Chamber

There are people walking around right now carrying a weapon that doesn’t have a round in the chamber. Why? Because it’s dangerous!

Now, this isn’t all that much of a myth per se, because a round in the chamber is more dangerous than an empty chamber, but so what? Negligent discharges don’t happen if you keep the booger hook off of the bang switch, so having a round in the chamber won’t matter if you keep our finger off the trigger.

But what’s really dangerous is walking around with a self-defense tool that’s useless because you believe this next myth.

5. You’ll Have Time To Chamber A Round During Self Defense Scenarios

This one will get people killed. Plain and simple.

The idea here is that having a round in the chamber means you may have a negligent discharge, so it’s safer to carry with an empty chamber. After all, you’ll be able to rack the slide before you need to shoot…

…except, you can’t. Not always.

If you need a gun, you generally need a gun right freaking now! You don’t have time to pull some movie badass stuff where you rack the slide, make a witty one-liner, and then get to down to the business of shooting. That’s not how it works at all. Especially since in most cases, if you’re needing a gun, it’s because the bad guy is right there in front of you and armed.

What are you going to do then? Remember, there are no “times outs” in the real world.

So those are five gun myths that supposed gun people need to stop spreading.

What are your favorite myths that need to die in a fire?


While I don’t want to rain on Mr. Knighton’s parade, these myths aren’t exactly on the tip of all gun enthusiast’s tongue, nevertheless, it’s always appropriate to make sure that gun people (even novices) are aware of truisms relative to guns. The first one about aiming a shotgun is true but only to the point, that aim isn’t as critical with a 12 ga. as it might be with a .22 when it comes to doing damage to a bad guy (BG).

I’ve heard the one about the 5.56 before but never thought that it was true.

His number 3, “knockdown power” is a new one on me. I’ve heard about “stopping power” forever and we all know that there isn’t any real definitive scoring of stopping power. The following paragraph is taken from a piece that I wrote in December of 2015, called ” The Great Handgun Debate (9mm/.40/.45).

One interesting take on the “stopping” of a threat, which also makes sense, is thinking of the stoppage as being attributable to one of two reasons: 1) psychological stops, and 2) physical stops. A psychological stop occurs when the BG realizes he’s been shot and doesn’t want to be shot again so he stops. Sometimes, just the appearance of a handgun will stop a BG, but simply brandishing a handgun is not a credible defense. A physical stop is where a hit incapacitates him due to trauma to the head or vital organs. It took a physical stop to convince Michael Brown that he shouldn’t continue his aggression. Greg Hamilton may have said it best: “The entire discussion of ‘stopping power’ is both stupid and irrelevant. Statistics cannot be applied to individuals. People that need to be shot need to be shot soon and often. They need to be shot until they run out of fluid, brains, or balls.” 

Number 4 posits that it is “dangerous to walk around with a round in the chamber” – and is a companion to number 5, which states that “you’ll have time to chamber a round during a self-defense scenario.” It’s pretty obvious that either people are going to believe in number 5 and refrain from keeping a round in the chamber or they’ll keep their piece loaded because they don’t believe that number 5 holds up – it’s kinda an either-or situation.

Personally, my EDC is cocked and has a round in the chamber and only needs a thumb swipe of the safety to fire. While there’s a good chance that we might be present during a convenience store holdup or the like, when you might have the time and the cover to rack the slide to chamber a round, but we can’t count on that kind of situation. In my opinion, better to have the weapon ready to use immediately upon drawing than to require chambering of a round (unless you just plan on throwing it at the BG).

I’ll be interested in any comments relative to the items Mr. Knighton presented and/or other myths that might be hanging around and need exposure.




Categories: General


9 replies

  1. Thanks for posting this. I’m frequently bothered by questions on how and what to do with my guns. There’s always a bullet in my 38’s-ready to go. But the Ruger does need to be slid back to load a bullet and I feel a little afraid to carry in my purse that way. And I carry this little guy because of the weight. (my other stuff and the gun makes it pretty heavy!)


    • I don’t know what model Ruger pistol you have, but I’ll guess that it’s an LCP .380? If so, while it doesn’t have a safety, it uses a long trigger pull before it will fire which makes it no less safe than a revolver that is being shot double action (without pulling the hammer back).

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t think it’s the true gun people who are spreading those myths, it’s more likely coming from the wannabe guys that think they’re gun savvy but really aren’t.

    I can’t speak to all five of them but the shotgun forgives a shooter’s lack of accuracy because of the spray, but it doesn’t always have the same punch that a different type of gun will have.

    The level of danger of having one in the chamber depends on who’s handling the gun. If it’s one of those wannabe cowboys, it would be more dangerous than in the hands of someone who’s been taught awareness and respect for the weapon and the situation.


  3. #1, #4 and #5 are definitely more relevant to self-defense for the average person.

    As you know, I am….hmmm how shall I put this….intellectually challenged when it comes to gun facts, so I can’t really add anything stimulating to the conversation except to say that in my (limited) experience, everything relating to using a gun is harder than it looks except for doing the wrong thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The real reason why we have why we have the 5.56 round is two fold. The American Soldier can carry many more rounds than the 7.62 rounds we carried in the M14 and many more even from the .30 cal of the M1.
    It also was keeping more in line with other NATO Forces. Although our 7.62 round NATO also carried it was slightly different and not suitable for interchange
    The idea was interchangeability and carrying ability among fellow nations in War

    Liked by 1 person

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