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In defense of the Saturday night special (or—how being laid up gets one to thinkin’)

Been laid up with a nasty upper respiratory infection. Nothing to do but watch the idiot box or read. Seems most of my buds around here know what I’d rather do and they brought me a collection of gun rags to help pass the time. Well after a time one gets to thinking about all the guns that a feller runs across over the years. From time to time the Saturday night special (SNS) kept coming into my mind and how many I’ve had the pleasure (or displeasure) to come across in working the streets over the years. Yep, it seems that guns such as the RG.22, Raven .25, Davis, Jennings/Bryco, Lorcin----they just kept popping into my mind over and over as the weapons used in a tremendous amount of shootings that I had worked. Even my most recent shooting involved one of those FIE .22 imports that everyone looks at and then will go and buy a Ruger instead. Heck a feller tried to kill me once with a Davis but he was a poor shot thank goodness.

Hmmm I said to myself, must be because they are cheap, small, and one could afford to throw one down to ditch the evidence. Lord knows that we had found plenty of these guns at shooting scenes and found a few thrown out on the side of the road before. Even some States are passing laws targeting the SNS in specific such as melting points of the metals, safety features, etc. Heck, the NRA and numerous other gun boards that have mentioned these bans by states never really voiced much concern about “melting points”. Seems that no one really gave a crap about the SNS and no one championed its right to exist. Even the most vocal 2A crowds have remained silent. After all, they are just really cheap trash guns that only criminals use right?

Then is dawned on me---boy am I a hypocrite. By what right do I have to judge an entire line of guns as worthless, a black eye to gun owners everywhere, and a scourge of the 2A? So I decided to cool my jets and really think about the guns and people that I’ve runned across over the years. Seems that stopping to think about it, quite a few of these shootings were self-defense and justified. A lot of these shootings were on the poor side of town. These Brycos and Davis guns that they had were not stolen guns either. They had gone to the local gun shops or pawn shops and had bought these guns because it is what they could afford.

Now I have been guilty of it. Swearing that I will never trust my life to a cheap inexpensive gun and holding a critical eye towards anyone who would own one or depend on one to save their skins. Then the other day, a well to do feller made a comment to me that amounted to the same---all because I use a Ruger p90 as my weapon instead of a kimber 1911. Seems his argument was specifically based on costs. Suddenly I was down in the valley while someone else was up in the ivory tower passing judgment………..

As my memory kept working on past SNS shootings, the same theme kept coming up again and again. The housing was poor, the neighborhood was poor, and the people were poor. Often times the folks were retired or semi-retired and living on a fixed income. They had little education but they had worked all their life and the vast majority of them were honest decent folks. Trouble is, they did not have the option to move away to a better area. By all observations, money was tight. It seems that the SNS is the only choice that they had for a self defense handgun. The BG’s? Seems that the predators were mostly young punks who often broke into homes to go after prescription drugs, tools, or anything that they could sell to promote their drug habit. And guess what else was stolen if no one was home???-yep the SNS would wind up getting stolen. Seems to me that everyone is always claiming the BG does not buy his gun he steals it. Your right, and the SNS therefore ends up in the BG’s hands and used in other crimes. Of course the news media blames the SNS instead of the bad guy. It’s much easier to hold up a $70.00 gun that on average no one in the gun community will defend, buy, or use and proclaim it as evil. Seems no one in the media wants to talk about revolving door justice, plea bargains, and slap on the wrists. (getting off track so I better back off).

So just what is really going on here? Where have I been in these arguments? Despite what the media might say, most leo’s recognize a person has a right to defend themselves and it actually is sort of a nice change of pace to run into someone who refuses to be a victim. Cut me and I thought I would bleed NRA blaze orange. But it seems that I have done the 2A a dis-service and all gun owners a dis-service in my bad-mouthing of the SNS in years past. For this I apologize. Will I run out and buy an RG revolver today? No, I won’t, but by the same token, I will recognize that the RG does have a purpose in the grand scheme of things and that one person’s red beans may be another person’s steak if you know what I mean.

The gun community is really a fractured community.
We have sportsman who are willing to throw out the ar-15 as they say it does not affect them.
We have the ar-15 crowd that call sportsman "Elmer Fudds".
We have in-line vs. traditional muzleloaders that is resulting in fights between owners in some states to the legality of hunting.

All in all, interesting debates one and all.

But lets remember what the 2A is about.
Its not about hunting.
Its not about target shooting.
And it sure is not about the costs or melting point of a gun!

It is about the RKBA.
The last time i checked, a person's pocket book did not qualify him to receive the 2A.
If we eliminate a whole cross section of guns due to their cost, are we then eliminateing a whole cross section of people being able to defend themselves?
 

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Deputy, thats a very good Post. Sometime we get so caught up in thinking of where we're going that we forget where we came from.
 

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Deputy, you oughta get sick more often-very good discussion, I surely stand corrected in my views, and recommend you send that to the NRA, TSRA, and post it on every forum you're on...talk about having my mind pried open on the subject...I've even fussed at folks for buying a cheap one....I was wrong....as long as it goes BANG, the nail doesn't know it's a cheap hammer.....Thank you, Sir!
 

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Well stated and needed to be said. An SNS helped save my life and that of a friend almost 30 years ago.
 

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Your point(s) are indeed valid, and well expressed.

There is, sadly, a need for affordable protection...and budget-priced weapons fill that niche. I, too, have seen far too many shootings...many wherein the weapon...frequently used in the defensive mode...was a "cheapie"...but, it worked. In some instances, even the little .22 short did th' deed. And, many times, the weapon of defense was the ol' single-shot .22 rifle, worn and beat up...or, an older SS shotgun, looking like it was about to fall apart. It was all the person had, or probably could afford, yet provided at least a minimal level of protection for person, home or business.

People utilizing these weapons in a legitimate manner should not be penalized...heck, if times get better, they could be right here with us!

And, Deputy, I too understand th' business end of th' little .25..from about 3' away it looked to me like a 5" naval rifle pointed my way....it's just darned amazin' how a fellow's perspective of things can change in th' blink of an eye!
 

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You are so right deputy! I've looked down my nose at SNS at times, but have never advocated banning them. I can remember a time or two when it was all I could afford and I owned a few...Jennings .22 semi-auto, H&R. 38 Special and a Savage 101 for example. Like you said, to some guys all my guns would be cheap Saturday Night Specials. We all need the right to buy what we can afford.
 

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Harrington7 Richardson and Savage weren't SNS, those were better than my favorite low-end guns-High Standard....they just made things better back then...though the H.S. wouldn't pass the melt test, it was American made and accurate...and reliable...only ones I ever heard of being bad were some derringers they made...and some of those were perfectly reliable..lots of times I carried a nickel one as a last-ditch effort...fact is, a lot of what we call high quality now-our grandpas would reject on fit-n-finish or plastic parts...we, as a culture, aren't pride in your work driven...it's all about profit...I dare Ruger to put out a nation-wide poll through dealers for 6 months and then make the most-requested models again...they'd not be able to keep up with demand running 24-7....instead, they give us what they think is good for us....just like....never mind...
 

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+1 on the HS Derringers sheepdog. I kind of forgot that one. I had a .22 Mag one that I carried in my jeans pocket for a long time. It was kind of a bug for the bug.
 

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I got a Bryco-Jennings .380 Auto in the safe right now. It's a pretty little gun and it will do the job with in about 15 feet. I have shot it only one time in the 15 or so years that I have had it. I couldn't get it apart to clean it. It was gift from my nephew.
Good write up Mr.Deputy.
 

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I read somewhere that SNS bashing can be traced to the post-civil war period, when blacks were first allowed to own firearms. And it probably goes further back than that. What ruling class was ever in favor of arming the peasantry?

Many years ago, clerking in a convenience store, I was held up by a guy waving a Colt Python. It didn't make me feel any better that he was using an expensive gun.
 

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:D

You want to laugh?...The guy was wearing an Elton John mask. This was in '74 or '75. I figured it was one of the local kids goofing on me, as it was the week of Halloween. I was chuckling right up to the point where I could see rounds in the cylinder. Then I pretty much paid attention.
 

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So I guess you didn't deal for the gun...I don't blame you...never liked Pythons THAT much, myself...glad you weren't hurt...more I think about it, less I see the humor...worst I've faced was a .22...
 

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I have had a Python, I too did care for it that much. The best part I got more than I paid for it that was the first time that ever hapened. I do have a Trooper MkIII that I really love too bad its crome but other than that great triger job and all.
 

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Thats a new way of thinking for me. I've never looked at it that way. I guess I've been blessed to where I can afford the guns I really want. It really irritates me when people badmouth Rugers. I have shot Rugers all my life and i trust my life with them. My friend's brand new Glock 22 was jamming over and over and my Rugers have never done that. Not badmouthing Glock fans out there but I'm just saying that every brand of gun can have a problem no matter the reputation.
 

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Deputy, very good read.

Don't take this the wrong way, but I'd like you to be sick more often. :D Gun Control is really about "People Control". As I'm sure you know, the first Gun Control laws were enacted in the "South" to keep the blacks from exacting revenge for enslavement and to keep them from being able to defend themselves against the "White Majority".

Poor people deserve protection as much as a rich person in a mansion, and need it more. There are good people out there that are poor, we just never see them much. It seems we only hear about and see the "dregs" so we get to thinking everybody is like that.

OK, I'm rambling, and I have to get ready for another shift at work. Ten days straight, gotta love it. :D
 

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there should never be a band on any gun at all. There are those that like only one type of gun and in their mind the other type of guns are just not needed, but what they don't realize is that if one type of gun is banded then it leaves the door open to band other guns. And it just could be the gun that they have and love. I may not like high cap guns ok its my taste in guns not everyone else's- and I sure don't need to be saying that there isn't any need for that type of gun. If others want those type of guns then its their right to have those guns.
 

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I’m not sure about the origin of the term Saturday night special came from, it may indeed have been coined shortly after the Civil War, but the mainstream media and the antis took up the term in an effort to demonize the inexpensive firearm industry because of their propensity for production. Many of them, naturally, wound up in the possession of persons who could not afford anything better. And many times, that meant black and/or minority citizens.

It is also ironic to note that laws against carrying concealed firearms were passed to keep forearms out of the hands of black/minority citizens in an effort to render them defenseless. Whites were awarded concealed carry permits while blacks were not. The ironic part is that now black leaders condemn CCW as a racist plot and thereby adopt the exact racist attitude the law wanted them to sacrum to in the beginning thereby rendering themselves defenseless!

I think more irony is found in the fact that the pimps and the drug dealers are able to afford some of the finest when selecting a 9mm whereas the underclass they victimize and prey upon can only afford a SNS.
 
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