The worst scenario you can find yourself in as a concealed carrier is the handgun vs. rifle conundrum. As concealed carriers, we can't appendix carry a AR 15 or Mossberg 590; as much as we'd like to, it ain't happening. We are stuck with a handgun, so we have to find a way to close that disadvantage gap.
When it comes to a handgun vs. rifle gunfight, you are immediately at a disadvantage. Rifles are often the choice of terrorists, active shooters, and even home invaders. It can happen, and when it does, you need to be prepared. Rifles have a longer effective range than a handgun, are more accurate than a handgun, and often offer more power that translates into better penetration through hard barriers.
That's a big disadvantage to overcome, but we've got four tips to help you fight back efficiently.
If you want to win any fight, you should fight smarter, not harder. In a handgun vs. rifle fight, you'll need to ensure you are taking advantage of cover as much as possible. That's the smartest thing you can possibly do. If you are behind cover, then you have an immediate advantage. Remember rifle rounds can rip through softer cover, so use your brain and choose the hardest, thickest cover possible.
Not only do you have a layer of security between you and the bad guy you are also likely concealed and out of the bad guy's line of sight. When possible, take the high ground. Shooting from a higher position, like a second floor, provides you more cover and helps eliminate cover for the bad guy.
If you can safely close the distance, you can help eliminate the advantage of those carrying a rifle. Fighting smart will help you ensure you can survive and even stop a bad guy in a handgun vs. rifle fight. The fight can be over before it starts if you're smart. Take the time now to learn how to identify cover, to take note of stairs and elevators, exits, and other features that can give you an advantage in a gunfight.
If you are a citizen defender, a concealed carrier, or even a police officer or security guard facing an active shooter armed with a rifle, there is no tenet saying you have to fight fair. In fact, in a handgun vs. rifle fight, you are already in an unfair fight—even the score by fighting dirty.
By fighting dirty, I don't mean breaking the law. What I mean is, when possible, don't take a man armed with a rifle head-on. People forget that footwork wins fights, even gunfights. In a boxing match, you are always looking for a vulnerable angle. Apply that same logic to a gunfight.
Find a vulnerable angle and exploit it. Be sneaky and utilize the world around you to be sneaky. Fire from side and rear angles if possible, and if necessary, disengage and retreat to save your own butt.
This is a big uh, right? Any gunfight needs to have the ability to shoot straight. In a handgun vs. rifle fight, you'll need to be able to shoot even straight(er). In a handgun vs. rifle situation, the rifle's advantages are significant, and the better skilled you are with your handgun, the better. To close the disadvantage gap, you'll need to improve your skills.
Practice shooting beyond the normal 7 yards we all love to train at. Expand your range to 15, 25, and 50 yards if possible. Practice shooting small targets to simulate hitting small, vulnerable areas of the body.
Beyond that, learn how to use the environment to your advantage. When choosing cover, try to pick an area that offers you the ability to use the cover as a rest to stabilize yourself. This makes it much easier to hit small targets at a distance and helps eliminate human error in shooting.
Small guns suck at long ranges, and big guns suck to conceal carry. If you can find something in the middle that's easy to shoot and conceal, then you're golden. I like Glock 19ish sized guns like the CZ P10C. It's much easier to fight in a handgun vs. rifle fight when you have a bigger gun.
Bigger guns offer higher capacities, better sights and are typically much easier to shoot at longer ranges. Besides having a bigger gun, it's wise to carry a spare magazine. Lord knows how long your handgun vs. rifle gunfight will last, and no one wants to die in a pile of brass.
Also, a huge tool to help you shoot further is a red dot sight. Adding a red dot to a handgun makes it much easier to shoot straight at increased distances. It's a superb piece of equipment. You'll also need a good holster and magazine pouch. You'll want to be able to draw quickly and safely.
A crap holster doesn't offer that. Crossbreed offers holsters that allow you to conceal the largest of firearms, equipped with red dots and lights and spare mag pouches.
We gotcha covered in the holster department but fighting smart, dirty, shooting straight, and all the other equipment is totally on you. Handgun vs. rifle is one of the worst situations to find yourself in. Start prepping yourself now. Start training, start thinking and get ready for it. Pray it never comes, but be ready if it does.
Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record-setting 11 months at sea. Travis has trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines, and the Afghan National Army.
He serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and pursues a variety of firearms-based hobbies.
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