'The true Soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because He loves what is behind him.' -G. K. Chesterton

10 September 2011

Carry As Much Gun As You Can

It's that old, much debated and wildly opined topic. How much gun to carry.

What's got me on this morning is that I've finally seen one too many of those ads for a certain instructor/instruction that begin with "The 9mm can't stop anything. Our intrepid and extreme ninja-like instructor once saw a teammate attacked by a Bolivian Death Mosquito. He shot the rampaging beast 7 times center of mass with a 9mm handgun. The flying death dealer shrugged the hits off and bored in, sinking his Barbed Proboscis of Calamity into the victim, sucking him dry instantly. It's true, we swear it. The 9mm won't ever stop any attacker anywhere under any circumstances. Ever. At all. We swear. Sign up for our amazing instruction and newsletter now!"

You see it everywhere.
Never carry a handgun the caliber of which doesn't begin with at least a 4.
The .25 can't penetrate tissue paper.
.380 is only good for making loud noises.
We/I have the only sure fire way to fight with a firearm and not be immediately disemboweled by your opponents superior MallFu
If you violate any of the above maxims you'll die within 25 minutes of stepping foot out your front door.

Now I generally agree with those first three. But. Here's the problem for those of us who may be asked for assistance in answering some of those questions. What if that's all they have?

I've seen it and I'm betting a lot of you have as well, especially in this economy. Some variation on obtaining a pistol through inheritance, given by a friend or maybe found in a box in the back of the closet. No money to buy something better or maybe just a case of 'Hey, this is what I got and that's that'. They come to you for advice. What do you tell them? Don't carry that pistol because it's actually worse than not carrying at all?

I'm not going to go that route. Carry what you can. Carry what you have. But carry. Maybe I can help.

Not all ammunition is created alike. 115 grain Ball is different from 147 grain Jacketed Hollow Point in 9mm. What do you have? What can you afford? Maybe the gun came with one box of 50 rounds and it's 35 grain FMJ. That's what we've got to work with. Is it time to give up? Say, forget it, go unarmed?

How much training do they have? How much training ammo do we have access to? Maybe it's just that 50 rounds. In which case we're going to hold back enough to fill the pistol, do a lot of dry fire exercises and expend the rest on careful and intelligent instruction. How good an instructor are you?

We might very well be range limited by the caliber and bullet we've got to work with. Understand the weapon you're carrying and it's limitations. Research is free. Do a lot of it. Don't try a 50 yard head shot with that Tomcat. You might very well have to get into bad breath distance for you to be sure you're going to get good hits. You might get hurt. You might get killed. But you have a fighting chance. That's better that waiting and watching as certain death approaches isn't it? Is a .25 in the hand is worth two .40's in the guncase? I think it is.

This is my advice.
Be Smart.
Carry all the gun you can afford but carry.
Buy as much performance as you can but then carry it.
Get trained. Find a good instructor. If what you have is a good friend and 43 rounds to expend at the public range then that's what you've got. Be Smart and get all the bang for your 43 rounds that you can. Then load up the rest and carry it.
Understand the limitations of what you're carrying.
Upgrade gun/ammo/instruction as soon as possible.
Carry it all the time and every where you go. Do your homework and Be Smart but carry it.

And ignore all those scare ads on the Internet. They're all trying to sell you something and trust me, it ain't a better mousetrap. Make no mistake. I'm not saying a .25 or a .380 or even a 9mm is an ideal carry caliber but if that's what you have then that is the reality you must deal with. If you're going to be undergunned you must be smarter, meaner, tougher and better prepared than your opponent.



Anonymous said...

9x19 has a lot going for it. Most new shooters I've worked with are more comfortable shooting a duty size 9 than a similar sized .45. More comfortable translates to more practice. And speaking of practice, 9mm training ammo is substantially more affordable compared to .45acp.

The stopping power debate was a dead horse 10 years ago.

That said, going down to the tiny .380 pistols you often find a sharper recoil effect compared to say a Sig 239 or Glock 19. And the ammo is more expensive.

Six said...

My normal carry gun is G26 in 9mm. I carried 9's on duty for more than 20 years before we moved to .40 S&W. I'm very comfortable with 11 rounds of 147 JHP with 10 more only a clcik away.

More expensive and harder to reload. At least for me. I hate reloading .380 and I'm not even sure you can for the .25.

Sarge said...

Hey sorry I'm late in posting this but I've been a little busy dealing with a very sick wife. Ok that being said I carry a .380 Sig. and I carry it everyday everywhere. I barely come out of the bed room with out it. I hope the guy who backs me up at the next shoot out is also carrying something other than a sissy scream. I own a .40 Sig. that I carried on duty but I never went anywhere without that .380 strapped on my ankle. It is as much a part of me as my skin. I tried to carry the 40 but it is way to cumbersome. I know, I know, but I really really like the 380, I agree with Six on his statement to "carry what you have, but carry".

Six said...

And I know you've always got my back Sarge.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with the notion that you should carry what you can when you can where you can, and be competent with the weapon, its functions, and its capabilities. I personally am a fan of the 230 grain .45 ACP JHP (Golden Saber), and the 1911 platform in its various configurations and modifications. But clearly my 120 lb. wife cannot reasonably carry such a weapon concealed or handle it well with her small hands – thus she carries a .380 small-frame (I am constantly working on expanding her comfort level in this arena).

While it’s clear that the lighter, hypervelocity rounds such as the 9mm generally possess more penetration power than the stopping power afforded by the slower, bigger rounds’ better transfer of kinetic energy to the surrounding mass they impact, at the end of the day we must carry what we are comfortable with and can realistically handle in a hostile situation. We are responsible and accountable for our discharged rounds after all. Good post.

Six said...

Thanks for the input giftoffreedom. Coming from a warrior of your caliber (no pun intended) your experience and education carry a great deal of weight. I appreciate you sharing with us.

Murphy's Law said...

If I knew that I was going to be in a gunfight on any given day, I'd carry a...

Hell, I'd stay home.

That aside, with the .357 magnum being my favorite and .45 close behind, there are times when I cannot carry those but a .380 will be on my person somewhere because anemic or not, it still beats looking around frantically for a sharp stick when the need presents itself. If a bad guy chooses to attack on a day when I'm not packing a large-bore handgun, guess what? He's STILL gonna get shot!

God, Gals, Guns, Grub said...

Good advice...

Dann in Ohio