By Dr. Christopher Lee
With the growing popularity of personal firearms carry among motorcyclists, it's important to find the weapon that best meets our rather specific self defense needs. On occasion, a drunk driver or a car driver experiencing road rage will purposefully ram a motorcycle, which never works out well for the motorcyclist.
Use your superior agility and acceleration to evade the car if you can. However, because the driver is attacking the motorcyclist with a deadly weapon (the car), the motorcyclist is legally entitled to defend him or her self with lethal force, probably a firearm. Will you ever be in this situation? Let's hope not. But should you be, here are some suggestions that might just keep you alive:
- When selecting a firearm for motorcycle carry, opt for one that has a ported barrel, especially if your choice is a lightweight gun in a magnum caliber. Ported barrels are a relatively new technology, and they significantly reduce the recoil of the firearm. That means that when you are firing from a moving motorcycle, the shot will be less likely to disrupt your balance.
- Additionally, choose a high velocity medium bore cartridge (.357 Magnum, .38 Super, .357 Sig, or 9mm Luger+P). When you are firing at a moving vehicle, remember that the bullet must penetrate safety glass and still stay on target. .357/9mm high velocity or +P rounds are smaller in diameter than the big bore calibers, but pack a big punch; this translates into more penetration power. I use a Taurus Total Titanium Tracker, which is a very accurate seven shot .357 Magnum revolver.
- For the same reason, keep relatively heavy weight (for example 158 grain in .357 Magnum) full metal jacket or jacketed soft point ammo in the firearm when on the road. Especially avoid hollow point bullets, which provide less penetration than standard cast lead bullets.
- Practice firing the weapon from your motorcycle. For this, you need a large, privately owned, sparsely populated property area where you know ahead of time there will be no people wandering around. Start with dry fire practice. Pick a specific target (like a tree) as you are moving and track it, dry firing the gun 3-6 times at the target. Once you are comfortable taking your eyes off the road for the time it takes to fire 3-6 rounds, load the firearm and practice firing one round at a time at a paper target (so you can see where your bullets hit) in front of a safe backstop. Start with a smaller caliber if you have one available. (Another reason I like a .357 Magnum revolver is that you can use the same gun to fire the lighter .38 Special round.) Work your way up until you can empty all the chambers comfortably and accurately with full power ammunition.
- If you decide to fire, FIRE AT THE DRIVER, NOT THE CAR. Obvious in retrospect, make sure you decide to fire at the driver before you engage to avoid time-consuming, and therefore dangerous, mistakes.
- Once you hit the driver, get away from the car! The car could go ANYWHERE at that point, and the farther you move away from it, the less likely it is to accidentally hit you.
If you are ever in a situation where you are being attacked with lethal force on the road, it goes without saying that you should try to escape by any means possible that does not endanger your life or the life of innocent bystanders. Evade if you possibly can, resorting to lethal counter-force only as a last resort.
Christopher Lee is a Doctor of Psychology and has been a personal self defense instructor for over twelve years.