gun myths

10 Gun Myths That Need To Go Away

There are a number of gun myths that have persisted for years, if not decades, and just won't die. Unfortunately, once a perception takes root in people's minds, it's hard to disabuse them of falsehoods, but that shouldn't stop one from trying.

Here are 10 gun myths that are debunked, but for some reason keep holding on.

The Gun Show Loophole Lets Anyone Buy A Gun At A Gun Show

gun show loophole myth

The good old "Gun Show Loophole" has been a popular one for some time, hasn't it? Like many myths, there's a certain smattering of truth, as the notion that anyone can buy a gun at a gun show without a background check is partially least on paper. The "loophole" only applies to private sales, not to those conducted by an actual dealer. Just like with buying a gun online, there are a lot of misconceptions.

Why the discrepancy?

In order to sell guns for a living, or connected to how one makes a living, a person has to have a federal firearms license or FFL, for short. Once a person has the license, they cannot sell a firearm without conducting a background check. Therefore, anyone that had an FFL and sold a gun at a gun show without a background check would be knowingly breaking the law. If the authorities find out, such a person's license would very likely be revoked; criminal charges would almost certainly be filed to boot.

Few people have a firearms collection large enough to sell at a gun show. Most booths selling actual firearms at gun shows are dealers, because they have access to the inventory - and most people aren't stupid enough to put their livelihoods and freedom in jeopardy just to make a few bucks in some dingy convention center.

Glocks Polymer Frame Pistols and Metal Detectors

glock metal detector myth

Back in the late 1980s/early 1990s, someone conjectured that a Glock pistol (with a polymer frame) wouldn't be detectable in a metal detector. The myth was spread from there and occasionally one will still hear it from someone who doesn't know a thing about guns or metal detectors.

Never mind that Glock didn't even release the first polymer handgun - H&K released the first polymer-framed handgun, the VP70, in 1970 - but how is this myth bogus, given parts of so many guns these days are polymer?

The slide isn't.

Silencers Do Anything Other Than Barely Muffle A Gunshot

handgun silencer myhths

Silencers shouldn't ever be referred to as silencers. They should be referred to as suppressors, because they're far from silent.

They don't really attenuate noise THAT well.

Most suppressors knock anywhere from 10 to 40 decibels off the top. The typical gunshot produces 160 decibels, which instantly damages hearing. (And it doesn't grow back.) A suppressor that shaves 40 db still produces 120 db, roughly the same as being 100 feet away from a Boeing 747 taking off.

Is this to say that they do nothing? Not at all - they attenuate noise, of that there is no doubt. Exposure to fewer decibels means less wear on one's hearing, and one should avoid every decibel one can.

Assault Weapons...Basically Anything

assault weapon myth

First, actual assault weapons can't be purchased without being in the military or law enforcement, or without more licensure than is worth it to get.

Second, FBI data has shown for years that rifles are least used in crimes. Shotguns are used more in crimes committed with a long gun, and handguns most often. Yes, that includes "mass shootings" or whatever you want to call them. The news media could give you other impressions, but inducing panic is how they keep people watching their programs.

So yes, whatever you hear about "assault" or "semi-auto" guns is almost certainly yellow journalism or outright hogwash.

More Gun Regulations Will Curb Gun Violence

gun regulation

Gun regulations only affect people who follow laws, and most gun violence is perpetrated by career violent criminals, usually - at that - members of organized crime such as gangs and so on. Normal folks that snap and do something terrible are fairly rare; maniacs committing atrocities rarer still. More regulations merely place more restrictions on people who follow the law.

Hollow Point Ammunition Is More Dangerous Than Full Metal Jacket

hollow point bullet myth

The hollow point myth is slowly dying, but it's still malingering - some states, such as New Jersey, ban their use by anyone other than law enforcement. It's anyone's guess as to why this myth has stayed around, but it's just as wrong today as it was at any other point.

Hollow point ammunition expands on impact, meaning that it flowers or mushrooms inside the body. Not only does this create a larger cavity, it means the round will slow down much more drastically upon entering tissue.

Shooting a person in this manner is a horrible thing to do, without doubt. However, wouldn't it logically be best that if one HAD to shoot someone whilst defending themselves against mortal danger to themselves or others, that only the person posing the danger be shot and be shot as few times as possible?

It would, since that's the entire idea. Full metal jacket - or FMJ - ammunition doesn't slow as much as jacketed hollow point (JHP), semi-wadcutter or wadcutter rounds. It also tends to keep going through things; a person doesn't slow an FMJ projectile down much. This can lead to collateral damage, as the round can pass through one person into another person.

Just as with hunting, the goal of defensive shooting should be to put a person down, without killing them if possible, in as few shots as possible. JHP rounds were developed for exactly that purpose, and have worked in exactly that role since they were created.

As cold as it is to contemplate, it's better to shoot an assailant as few times as possible if one has to, and to confine those shots to only the attacker.

Magazine Restrictions Will Save Lives

magazine for ccw

A corollary to gun control working being a myth is that magazine restrictions will result in lower body counts if someone does decide to commit an atrocity.

Though high-capacity magazines have been carried by some of the perpetrators of mass shootings, the fact is that others had a great many magazines or ammunition on their person - including all of the worst and deadliest massacres in American history. In almost all cases, the perpetrators reloaded several times during their killing sprees.

Horrible as it is to use facts from such events to back an assertion, the fact remains magazine restrictions would have barely slowed these people down.

Don't believe it? Have a look at this video - it times 30 shots from a handgun using restricted, standard and extended magazines. Restricted magazine capacity barely has an effect for the experienced or novice shooter.

A Car Door Is Practically Bulletproof

car gun myths

We've all seen this one in the movies - people hide behind cars during a shootout. It's bunk. About the only parts of a car that can stop a bullet are in the drivetrain, such as the engine or transmission. Maybe the diff and the axle, but that's about it.

See for yourself: even .22LR penetrates sheet metal.

Stopping Power Myth

stopping power myth

Call it what you want - stopping power, knockdown power; the jury was in on this one some time ago. There is virtually no reason for the caliber wars anymore, at least when it comes to anything less than African game.

The fact is that none of the common defensive handgun rounds - including the .357 Magnum - is going to put a person down for good with one shot. Some rifle rounds might, but not many people have even SEEN a rifle chambered in one of the African game calibers, let alone have the cash to buy one (CZ makes some very reasonably priced models, though) or would carry one on a daily basis.

The truth is that shot placement matters more than anything else. A .22LR will do the job, if you put it in the right place. However, a bigger, faster bullet will do more damage on impact. If you're a surgeon with .45 ACP, carry that. If 9mm turns you from Shooting Chump to Shooting Champ, carry that. If you can only reliably punch the 10-ring with a PPK, carry that.

We wrote a complete concealed carry training guide. Make training your priority, it will serve you well.

A well-placed shot by a trained hand works, relying on the size of the bullet does not.

gun blog writer sam hoober  

About The Author

Born in southeastern Washington State, Sam Hoober graduated in 2011 from Eastern Washington University. He resides in the great Inland Northwest, with his wife and child. His varied interests include camping, hunting, concealed carry, and spending time at the gun range as often as possible..