Monday, April 4, 2011

Can firearm alternatives be a realistic option for TEOTWAWKI?

I grew up in an archery shop my father owned and I worked there as a child, I can still fletch shafts like a pro because, well, I was one. Because of my hand skills and craftsmanship talent I can make, and have made presentation grade finished arrows...

So, you ask, why don't I talk about it as an option or alternative for SHTF?

8 inches at 20 yards - that is why, most shooters, without a release and a sighted compound with at least a full years worth of disciplined practice are going to get about "pie plate" accuracy in that year. I am talking about consistent average groups. Consistent groups, not your best-ever when the planets aligned on your star-sign, but average consistent groups.

I'm not about to get into the wannabe jedi "instinctive shooting" argument - because - like arguing religion it's supporter/proponents don't (or cannot) use reason and fact. I have tested the myths of "instinctive shooting" for years and my family (all of them "traditional archery" shooters, myself included) are big supporters of "Traditional Archery"and some are die hard proponents of "instinctive shooting" even when taking part in many of the repeatable tests, they have only changed the language, some people just cannot give up on romanticism.

Instinctive shooting as it is currently used is a misnomer, a direct fail, an attempt at spiritualism - there is no such thing, they are simply MISIDENTIFYING what is happening or what they are doing. When subjected to real testing all of the mythology will fail on it's "supernatural" claims every time.

Using a compound we are still talking about 5 inch or larger groups at 20 yards average - be honest, we expect smaller groups than that with iron sights at 100 yards with a rifle!

If you doubt the groups are that bad, go to an archery shop and watch! Even the best shooters are having a good day to have smaller groups than the general average. Don't think that I am discouraging or disrespecting the sport, I am not - I am simply being honest about this from the perspective of a supporter of the sport as a sport.

You will see a lot about how "good" someone is with a bow, but always temper that often self imposed fantasy with what the actual world records. How good are the real world champions? what can they do every meet? now compare that to a "once in a lifetime" lucky shot by the guy down the street. Is that normal? Can your rely on that luck? I have a few of my own lucky stories that I have observed but we must be honest - luck does happen. In the real world "luck" can even be explained mathematically, luck exists and it is an explainable anomaly.

Typically 90% of all game kills with a bow are from less than 20 yards (they state 10 to 18 yards BTW) and groups of 6-8 inches will work on game.

Try an arrow at 100 yards and you will quickly see why even the flintlock took over the bow for the english archers, and later the American Native. The best sponsored professional shooters with the most modern compound bows, sights, releases, and intensive training can be outshot by even a average flintlock rifle shot at the same distances, advantage to the bow only in speed of a repeat shot, make that flintlock a lever action and the contest is over many native warriors and then even George Armstrong Custer would find out about the lever action.

The bow is at best a 100/200 yard weapon and most shooters who are not life long adherents to this martial art (and YES it is a martial art that requires skill and excessive training) will be 20 yard "pie plate" at best. Does it have it's place? I think so. I have, and much of my family has full sets of traditional equipment and I can tell you if SHTF the modern rifles go out for use first without even a second thought.

My opinion is that if you have never "plucked a string" (archery joke) you may want to consider spending that money on a .22 and lots of ammo, or a Mosin Nagant rifle with 7.62x54 dies primers, or possibly a flintlock, flints and powder.

I am in no way discouraging archery as a hobby, in fact archery and in particular "olympic style" archery with a recurve will improve your rifle and pistol shooting!

Just don't get stuck into the romanticism that you can become "super indian" or an english longbowman when TSHTF... Romanticism is as bad or worse with primitive weapons and martial arts than it is in the firearms industry! Remember also that this part of archery and it's romanticism sells lots of expensive equipment, but it will not change the reality.

Romanticism sells product, one reason it is promoted in advertising - and make no mistake EVERY magazine is ONE BIG ADVERTISEMENT.

Now reviewing the crossbow we are closing the gap a bit. For SHTF only with the non-compound versions should be considered and yet even with the best the edge is still on the side of powder burners (guns).

Bow and Crossbow are both quiet compared to a gun of any type (except the high powered airguns), I am just proposing realistic outlooks on all of this because, romanticism can get you killed.

Truth sometimes hurts our egos - tough, real men and women work with their limitations, know them, and find ways to circumvent and overcome them, a good fantasy is always nice, but it has to be tempered with harsh reality.

Please don't get me wrong, I love the shooting sports - if it shoots something, count me in, from rubber slingshots, to, the sling, bola, blowgun, atlatl/woomera, the bow, speargun, crossbow, and firearms of all types - I love it all, just a part of my personality.

While a heavy poundage bow could be deadly at 100 yards and possibly longer, only the best of the best could (and can) get reasonable accuracy at extended distances.

Your choice should be dictated by your budget and your own talents. SHTF would be the worst time to take up archery and attempt to be proficient NOW would be the time.

I spent 3 to 5 days a week for over a year of disciplined shooting to get to state competition levels. With the best carbon arrows, and some of the most consistent factory produced olympic recurve equipment (FITA regulations) available including extension arm aperture sights, to this day, and in the best competition form I can have my ass handed to me by a decent compound shooter using telescopic sights (and YES they use and have telescopic sights). Take a compound shooters mechanical release away and we get closer. Primitive and traditional equipment cannot even touch that level of potential accuracy. Yes I include the trick shooters, put them at distance with a compound shooter and they will have their asses handed to them also, competing against a rifle at 100 yards there is no contest.

Does that mean archery is bad - hell no, it is just that other less expensive options could prove more realistic.

Check the time investment and then, the budget - available performance vs. your money.

Lets look at some numbers.

Beginner Archery - expect $150-200+ for a bow, arrows $60+ per 12, Tab $8+, armguard/bracer $12+, Quiver $15+

Investment for Archery - $245 to 500 for a setup.

Beginner Crossbow - Barnett Panzer V Crossbow is often considered the "minimum" for a crossbow so price is easy $130+, bolts $25+ per 6 (12ea), there are packages with quiver and 6 bolts add bolts...

Investment for crossbow - $190+ for a setup.

Beginner rifle - Mosin Nagant Rifle 7.62x54R $92 (local shop) and 7.62x54R 880 rounds delivered $195

Investment for rifle - $287+ for a setup.

Now the real question, what is the most effective for the money?

Alternatives are just that, alternatives or better secondary or specialized. For you readers in countries where you cannot own firearms, could a crossbow be the best option?

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