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Old 24-03-2009, 05:19   #31
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I was thinking about making a potato gun. The little buggars have eaten two big banana stalks and most of my mangoes!
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Old 24-03-2009, 05:43   #32
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Originally Posted by amytom View Post
... I may upgrade to a KelTek PF9 soon though...
Why would you upgrade to a “deep concealment carry” weapon, for self-defence aboard?
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Old 24-03-2009, 06:18   #33
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Weapons or no?

Does anyone know where there are statistics on assaults of cruisers while on board (not on land as you cannot probably carry in lot of countries)?
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Old 24-03-2009, 06:39   #34
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I have been following this topic on the forum for about a year as I have struggled with the issue for myself and wanted to make a informed decision. Philosophy and personal morality aside, I have decided that when I depart this year, I will carry a 45 automatic and a 12 guage shootgun. I'll keep everything honest and deal with the laws of each country visited. The bottom line for me is that regardless of the logic against carrying weapons, I could not live with myself if boarded and assaulted while not carrying a weapon.
If one takes the proper precautions, as I understand it, the likelihood of an actual pirate attack is almost nil. So much the better as I would prefer not to use the weapons. If, on the other hand I am attacked, I want to be able to defend myself.
It is not a perfect analogy, but as a forensic evaluator, I assesed a couple different murder cases in which a robber put his victims on the ground and shot them in the back of the head. I can't help but imagine that the last thought of those victims was "Gee, I wish I had carried a gun". In answering the question about carrying weapons, I would suggest putting youself in a similar scenario and then ask the question.
(Slowly going after Gordmay's posting record)
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Old 24-03-2009, 07:00   #35
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As a retired LEO, and having been trained to never draw your weapon unless you intend to fire it and never fire your weapon unless you intend to kill, would a flare gun do what I would need it to do?
As I expect most of my encounters would be close range and I would not use unless absolutley necessary I am trying to decide yea or nea. I have never used one before for anything. Thank God
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Old 24-03-2009, 07:03   #36
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Sorry,, DUH! I am going to bring it home next weekend and check it out
Make my own decision. kinda was a stupid question
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Old 24-03-2009, 07:19   #37
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Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
Why would you upgrade to a “deep concealment carry” weapon, for self-defence aboard?
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I meant I would upgrade for my CC weapon. For the boat, on local trips I just have my CC weapon. For longer trips (where legal) I would also carry a Taurus PT92 AF. Maybe a 20 gauge after reading Jedi's post.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a violent kill them all kind of person. The only times I've ever had to pull (and use) a weapon were for Uncle Sam during the Gulf War. With that experience I do know that I could use one if I had to but I also know that I don't want to unless I have to.
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Old 24-03-2009, 07:19   #38
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On one of these "armed or not armed" discussions I read a post by a man who taught self defense/weapons/SEAL/ - born killer type, say he would never carry a "gun" on board cruising, but instead would have a fire extinguisher and a hatchet handy for close-quarter work. This seemed sensible to me, as you don't want to kill someone by mistake. Myself, I never leave the house without a concealed handgun, hunted all my live (farmer) and have the impression the second amendment refers to citizens, but don't think I would take a "gun" with me on a sea cruise. (When I lived in Colombia in the 60's and 70's, I also carried a handgun or an Uzzi everywhere I went, but never even had a hint that I should actually need them in any situation there over ten years traveling all over Colombia. The people there are actually very friendly and polite (perhaps because they all used to carry guns and didn't want to piss of anyone else))
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Old 24-03-2009, 07:20   #39
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I think its a valid question....and a reasonable deterrent....I don’t know what kind of stopping power a flare would have......let us know what you learn.
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Old 24-03-2009, 07:27   #40
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My thoughs on this subject have changed quite a bit over the years. I beleive in the right to bear arms and I also beleive that guns dont kill people, people kill people. The main problem is that when you put bad people against good people, the good will usually loose. Good people dont want to hurt anyone, and will hesitate. I think a tazer would be better for disabling an intuder. If your talking real pirates, its probably a mute point to try and defend yourself against trained people with automatic weapons. Far easier to just stay out of the troubled areas. Unless you had a weapon that could get them before they got too close, like say an RPG. The downside to this being that most customs and coasties are going to frown highly on an RPG.
While I'm cruising in the states, I'll carry guns because I like to shoot, hunt, and sometimes the fish wont take the bait. Cruising abroad, I'll leave them with a freind.
I do have a 10 gauge breech loading brass cannon, that a freind custom made for me, that I want to have on board. I only shoot shells full of black powder in it and it makes quite a bang. I should probably research how his will be accepted in other countries. I would hate to have this confiscated.
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Old 24-03-2009, 09:53   #41
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If you are going to check your weapon each time you enter, it wont be worth it. You either hide one and take the risk or not. With your weapons in the lock up they wont do you any good anyway.... you are more likely to be assaulted while you are at anchor by far.... Do you really want to walk through town with your AR15 as your introduction to the people of a foreign country? My friends did this for a while, finally they gave their guns away.... or some of them anyway....
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Old 24-03-2009, 11:56   #42
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I'm all for free ownership of firearms -- they're just another tool, like any other. It's how you use it that can make a difference. I own three.

In regards to cruising, I have changed from a "yes, I'll bring a gun," to an adamant "no way will I bring a gun."

My reasoning ended up with . . .

1 - Why on earth would anyone want to cruise in an area where they thought a gun was necessary? Choosing where I cruise seems a wiser course.

2 - I don't walk around armed on land, no matter where I go. So, what makes me think I need to be armed just because I'm in a boat? Are the violent crime stats higher in the areas I want to cruise than any place I would normally travel on land? Refer to reason #1.

3 - Unless you are trained AND continue to practice, most people can't hit a moving human-sized target at 10 feet or so with a handgun. A handgun in untrained hands is just as dangerous for the one holding the gun as it is for the crook.

4 - The best defensive weapon for an amateur is a shotgun. Firing a shotgun inside a sailboat cabin will make a very expensive mess.

5 - You must be prepared to use it. Taking a human life is no small matter (especially if you do it in a foreign country). The only time it is justified, IMO, is when there is a certainty of bodily harm. And then, even if you kill someone who was actually trying to harm you, you still have to deal with the laws of the country you're in.

6 - The likelihood of accidentally shooting some kid who only wanted to steal something is as high or higher than ever needing a weapon against an actual bodily threat. I couldn't live with that, which means I might hesitate when I actually needed it -- so what's the point?

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Old 24-03-2009, 12:24   #43
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As this thread isn't political yet, I'll follow-up again ;-)

For all the US citizens who read this and don't understand why many people sometimes react emotionally against guns aboard: in most countries guns are not allowed. Most countries that allow guns are 3rd world countries. I think the USA (Canada??) and South Africa are the few countries that allow guns and have a significant percentage of people in our cruising community. This means that many cruisers never had a gun, never touched one, are scared of guns and anyone who carries a gun. Brits aren't allowed to have a handgun period. Not even their Olympic pistol team is allowed to train in the UK. Guns are associated with law enforcement and bad guys only, not with citizens. If someone sees a hunter they will probably call the police. If guns are on TV, there's bad guys on TV plus all the stories of gun deaths in the US. Now they go cruising and guns are everywhere because we cruise in 3rd world countries. They are even more scared than before. If you try to imagine yourself in their situation, you might begin to understand their reaction.

Now, my wife and I are Dutch and we talk about guns and even have one aboard. Guns are not allowed in Holland. But don't forget that every country has an army so many men handled a gun anyway. Also, in Holland and many other countries, if you've been a good and nice citizen, you can apply for a special permit and own guns. This is much stricter than in the US, like we need to pass minimum scores at the firing range with regular intervals (like policemen) have maximum number of guns and ammo allowed, must have separate vaults for guns and ammo, can only carry guns between home and firing range or gun shop etc. etc. This means you only want to go through all that if shooting is a sport for you. We did Olympic discipline pistol and rifle and liked it very much (it's a brain sport like chess). We are exceptions because I estimate that less than 1% of the population does this, but some of those exceptions are out cruising so that explains why not all of us are scared of guns ;-)

I can advise to buy the book titled "Pirates aboard!" or something like that. It was originally written in German but we saw English and Dutch translations too. There's descriptions and evaluations of 40 recent incidents abourd sailboats in that book. BTW, the death of Sir Peter Blake is also in there. The reason he was shot was because his gun (pistol) jammed after shooting the first attacker in the leg. So he wasn't killed because he had a gun; he was killed because he wasn't skilled enough using it and didn't maintain the gun properly.

The book shows that everyone with a plan, armed and inside the boat with companionway locked (or special board with bars instead of the standard wash boards), survived without a scratch. Using the gun outside was not very successful. We met the cruisers from one case described in the book in Trinidad and even though they were successful in repelling the boarders years before, they still had emotional trouble talking about it and they didn't even shot one of the boarders. They fired their 9mm through a cracked hatch; fire was returned but just to cover their retreat. Yes, this happened in Venezuela.

All the guns listed in previous posts: leave them home or, if the boat is gonna be home, kiss and say goodbye to them... sell the lot, give them to family if they have emotional value, but get over it. Think about corrosion and corrupt officials that can't afford expensive guns themselves. "Sorry sir, we can't find your gun"....

I like the Mossberg Mariner version with it's specialized corrosion-resistant finish (many people think it's stainless steel... it isn't). Keep it standard to keep it legal (no shorter barrel, bigger magazine nor short pistol grip instead of standard stock). Just as it comes in the original box; you also need the original invoice (documented source of the gun). It keeps good on a boat. We put some Corrosion-X on the outside finish and have a couple of big silica dry-packs in the gun locker with it. Don't think you'll be able to find anything else than 12 gauge ammo (like 20 gauge). On that subject, we found some 12 gauge with plastic pallets with "non-lethal" on the box. We thought this was a good idea but after reading up on it we found that it's illegal, meant for indirect fire (on the ground in front of a crowd) and lethal for direct fire up to 10 meter range. This also means that even birdshot is enough for use inside. But we also have buckshot and even some magnum slugs because that's what the Terminator uses ;-) Slugs will work on sharks, crocodiles, bears, engine blocks etc. but think about the damage on the boat; a slug will probably put a hole in the hull and I don't want to try buckshot to find out either... Keep the amount of ammo low because you need to declare that too. 2000 rounds will lift some eyebrows ;-) We keep 75 rounds.

Handguns will be taken in many, many countries. This is the reason we don't carry one. But if you decide to take one anyway, keep it simple and with as little maintenance as possible. There's only one that I can think of: Glock 9mm. A Glock because of it's composite parts and 9mm because that's the easiest to get and puts the most rounds in the clip (I shoot better with .45 ACP but that's another story). If customs would not have a problem with these, I would have one near the bed (we don't have kids, think about that too!). I also see the advantage of a revolver as being more reliable. I would select a .357 magnum with 3" barrel in stainless. If you can't get the magnum ammo, you can get .38 special and use that in the same gun. .44 and up will be very hard to find. It's even hard to find the gun-shops!

Flare gun: forget it. A flare doesn't ignite during the short travel to the intruder and will bounce off T-shirts without any wound, fall to the floor and ignite, setting the boat on fire. A friend of us discovered that when he shot a looter inside his boat with a 12 gauge flare during the aftermath of hurricane Ivan in Grenada. He was lucky, it bounced off the looter into his galley sink and the looter was not armed. Outside it's of no use either because even the oldest shotgun or .38 revolver (those are the mainstream guns around where we are... well, maybe a .38 special now and then) will win that fight.

It just like johnmcntsh wrote: showing a gun (incl. flare gun) means the bad guys will use theirs so make sure yours is better, that you are well trained with it and ready to use it.

If you hate guns you will be forced to get used to them anyway as they are everywhere. Every security guard is armed and every shop has security guards, even the McDonalds or mini-super. Shops have "no guns allowed inside" stickers instead of "no smoking inside" stickers. Locals that go into the jungle take their shotgun if they can afford one (they are very scared of snakes). Cops on motorbikes have shotguns, M16's, uzi's and mini-uzi's. Handguns are their backup weapon. Cops look like army incl. camouflage uniforms. Some countries, like Colombia, have special "Tourist Police" that look like cops as we know them ;-)

Outside your home country: never buy a 2nd-hand gun, not even if it's a shotgun. Most countries around here will allow you to buy a shotgun or you can use an "agent". Ask the local who provides other services to cruisers like you find them in every place. It's not a stupid question, they understand and have guns too (but don't buy his 2nd-hand offerings!) Make sure you get the original invoice for both gun and ammo. It must have the serial number on it plus the exact amount of ammo rounds. Don't forget the cleaning kit and a carrying-bag that fits. Don't forget to negotiate the price either ;-)

If we are in an area that we feel isn't safe, we keep the shotgun in the locker but loaded with 5 buckshot rounds in the magazine and one of the non-lethal ones in the chamber (might help in court). If we are approached by a local boat with woman or kids present we smile and talk but if there's only multiple men, my wife goes inside and stands ready to hand me the gun if I come running down. If all turns out okay I call her and she comes back out with water, coffee, sweets and/or money if they sell something we want. They never see the gun.

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Old 24-03-2009, 13:22   #44
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Nick, Thanks for taking the time to put an experienced and well trained perspective on such an emotionally contentious subject. It is the best explanation I have read to date.

Having lived and cruised for many years in 3rd world countries I can only second that IF you are going to make the decision to be armed, then it becomes a huge responsibility to be both mentally and physically disciplined and competent in their use.

Where I live, many of the Ex-pats belong to a Shooting Club where both husbands and wives practice, have regular competitions with law enforcement and military neighbors to develop those pressure skills under the strictest safety standards.

It is not seen as a necessity to survival but like any other skill a person develops…it answers a question within yourself.
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Old 24-03-2009, 13:40   #45
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Truly excellent post Nick. Your coments about Brits and guns is very true.

As a Brit, I would add that now we are not allowed to carry most knives as well. While I think it unlikely that one would be arrested for having a knife on board, carrying one with a blade of more than about three inches, from your house to your boat, could be illegal, and subject to imprisonment.

In Britain, only criminals and the police have guns and knives now. Is that a good thing? I am not sure. So far, to the best of my knowledge, since the Police have been armed, they have shot (I think) 8 totally innocent people, including a child in his bed, a man with a table leg in a bag on his way home, and of course an electrician on his way to work. I am not at all sure if they have shot a criminal since the 1960s, but if they have, I have not seen it on the news. Perhaps they are working up to it.

Also, I would add, that if you shoot a criminal robbing your house, then you would need an exceedingly good story, as people have been given life sentances for it as murderers.

Having said all that, we have a very low murder rate, and most murders seem to be husbands and wives killing each other, along with youngsters (gangs) in the inner city areas.

Even during the Irish troubles, we saw very few Police officers with guns (even now, only specialist units are usually armed), and bitch as we might about civil liberties, it is precisely these liberties which have removed the other liberties. Is it a good thing? I don't know. It will take a cleverer man than I am to work that one out. But, arriving in England with guns on your boat, would likely be very problematic.

When I sail, will I carry firearms? No. While I would like a Vulcan Phalanx mounted on the Pilot House roof, realistically, as a British ship, it would be almost impossible for me, and as I have little recent experience of firearms, I would probably just be a danger with them. I do have electricity though.

So what is my plan?

Simple really, I will attempt to only go where it appears safe, maybe in convoy if I cross the Red Sea - I'm doing this for enjoyment and a slower lifestyle, more than adventure. I will get my adventure battling the elements rather than pirates, hopefully.

A reasonable person, accepts the Status Quo. An unreasonable person, wants to change it. All progress is therefore made by unreasonable people. Me, I'm just apathetic about the status quo. I think we want it back.
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