A Few Thoughts Regarding Handguns

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A Few Thoughts Regarding Handguns

As some of you may or may not know, I am a serious *gun person*, I have been for nearly my entire life. I am often asked about what gun and caliber combination is the best for this, that or the other application and I am more likely than not to tell the person asking that question that I don’t have a clue, you see, guns are a personal matter, and the caliber of your gun(s) is an even more personal matter.

So, here are some things I am compelled to say regarding those questions I am asked about guns, calibers, shot placement, gun fighting and the people that participate in these activities.

1. What’s the best gun for self-defense?

Damn if I know, and I won’t even try to get that can of worms opened. This is one of those *personal issues* and one than nearly everyone has a different opinion of. For me, it’s what I happen to have on my belt, in my waistband or in my hand at the moment and it will most likely be a Springfield XD .40 or .45, that is MY preference.

Anyone that tries to tell you that *THIS – insert name of gun here* is the perfect gun for whatever it is they are trying to BS you about is just that, FULL of BS.

2. What’s the best caliber to use to stop a man *dead in his tracks*?

Again, damn if I know, that’s another one of those *personal issues* and a can of worms that doesn’t need to be opened. I will say this, ANY bullet can kill you, of that there is NO doubt, but this magical *Man stopper*, one that kills on contact, with one shot, has yet to be found.

3. Shot Placement — Which brings me to the real reason I am writing this piece.

Recently we have had a few so-called, self-described *gun hands* come visit us at the United States Gun Owners Association and try to tell us all about the importance of shot placement and how WITH proper shot placement even a .22 is a very deadly weapon, and while that IS true, to a point, it is NOT a practicality in a real world, up close and personal gun fight.

Yes indeed, a .22 will kill you graveyard dead if it hits the right vital organs, or if it hits them often enough, as will a .25 or a .32 caliber handgun, but to do this impeccable and proper shot placement these know-it-all *gun-hands* want to preach about, your target needs to remain pretty much motionless while not presenting much of a threat to you or others and there’s where the sand gets into the lube jar.

If your target is a piece of paper, one that isn’t capable of shooting back, it might be possible to stack enough .22, .25 or .32 rounds into the *10 Ring* to actually stop a *supposed* living target, forgive the pun, DEAD in his tracks.

In the REAL WORLD it just doesn’t happen that way.

You see, it the real world your target will be another human being, one that is armed, likely moving erratically, on an adrenalin high from HELL and shooting at YOU which means that you too will most likely be moving erratically, on an adrenalin high from HELL and shooting back, none of which is conducive to top shelf marksmanship.

If he’s not shooting at you, or threatening life in some other acceptable fashion, your perfect shot placement can very well get you a long vacation in a state penitentiary. Not a good place to vacation so I am told.

There is more wrong with the theories offered by *gun range paper punching gun fighters* than just that.

With the lesser powered cartridges, even if you CAN make that wonderful shot placement dream a reality, the caliber most often referenced and used by most of these idiots when referring to *shot placement* being the magic cure is the lowly .22 as the tool, but they never mention, or maybe they don’t know or understand, a decent heavy leather jacket will stop the lowly .22, as well as a .25 or .32 from making contact with flesh.

In other words, *nice coat shot*.

If a subject happens to be wearing a ballistic vest you can put 10 rounds dead center and he is going to look at you and laugh. So much for the idea of the magic .22, .25 or .32 instant kill shot and shot placement.

So, let’s look at the bottom line of guns, shot placement and caliber.

The larger the caliber, the heavier the round, the faster the round, the more kinetic energy generated BY that round, the more effective and deadly that round will be against a human being, but regardless the round, even the venerable .45acp MAY not kill a drugged up meth head or *duster* right away, at least not in theory.

Said meth head or PCP user may truly be DEAD but it hasn’t hit their wasted mind yet and it won’t until they bleed out and fall, regardless the round, but the one thing larger and more powerful rounds have in their favor, especially a .45 has going for it is this; it may not immediately kill the person you shoot, hell, it may not kill them at all, but in 99% of ALL shootings with a .45acp, a 230gr +P Tactical Hollow Point .45, the person getting shot is not going to be standing on their feet. Even if they are wearing a vest, they will be hit SO hard that they WILL be on the ground and THAT is the whole intent, remove the threat; take them OUT of the fight and into custody.

One other point that must be made regarding smaller caliber guns and shot placement; those smaller rounds don’t cause nearly as much physical damage to the person that was shot, regardless of where they are hit. Larger caliber hollow point rounds cause much more damage to tissue, bones and organs, thus promoting a more significant wound, one that will cause the person shot to bleed out quite rapidly, again, removing them as a threat and taking them OUT of the fight.

This is not a *pretty* post, it is graphic but it’s straight up honest. Remember this; if you are ever forced to shoot an attacker, shoot until the threat has been removed; just make certain you’re shooting a round that can effectively remove the threat.

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18 Responses to A Few Thoughts Regarding Handguns

  1. Donovan Walker says:

    Awesome post, Fred!

  2. LD Jackson says:

    12 Gauge pump shotgun with .00 buckshot would do wonders for shot placement and for allowing the wasted mind of a meth head to realize they are dying and help them on the way to the ground. 😉

  3. Capt Ron says:

    That is why I use a .45 and a 12 gauge with 00 Buck. It’s damn hard for anyone to argue against either one.

  4. Capt Ron says:

    I’ve heard some of the “gun hands” you speak of. Shooting paper isn’t the same.
    Target shooting helps with muscle memory and shooting with both eyes open, BUT one needs to train on a comb at course to get the jist of shooting on the move at something else on the move.

  5. Gary K says:

    I would use most of these ideas:

    Rules for a Gunfight
    1. Bring a gun. Preferably, bring at least two guns. Bring all of your friends who have guns.
    2. Anything worth shooting is worth shooting twice. Ammo is cheap – life is expensive.
    3. Only hits count. The only thing worse than a miss is a slow miss.
    4. If your shooting stance is good, you’re probably not moving fast enough or using cover correctly.
    5. Move away from your attacker. Distance is your friend. (Lateral and diagonal movement are preferred.)
    6. If you can choose what to bring to a gunfight, bring a long gun and a friend with a long gun.
    7. In ten years nobody will remember the details of caliber, stance, or tactics. They will only remember who lived.
    8. If you are not shooting, you should be communicating, reloading, and running.
    9. Accuracy is relative: most combat shooting standards will be more dependent on “pucker factor” than the inherent accuracy of the gun. Use a gun that works EVERY TIME. “All skill is in vain when an Angel blows the powder from the flintlock of your musket.”
    10. Someday someone may kill you with your own gun, but they should have to beat you to death with it because it is empty.
    11. Always cheat, always win. The only unfair fight is the one you lose.
    12. Have a plan.
    13. Have a back-up plan, because the first one won’t work.
    14. Use cover or concealment as much as possible.
    15. Flank your adversary when possible. Protect yours.
    16. Don’t drop your guard.
    17. Always tactical load and threat scan 360 degrees.
    18. Watch their hands. Hands kill. (In God we trust. Everyone else, keep your hands where I can see them.)
    19. Decide to be aggressive ENOUGH, quickly ENOUGH.
    20. The faster you finish the fight, the less shot you will get.
    21. Be polite. Be professional. But, have a plan to kill everyone you meet.
    22. Be courteous to everyone, friendly to no one.
    23. Your number one option for personal security is a lifelong commitment to avoidance, deterrence, and de-escalation.
    24. Do not attend a gun fight with a handgun, the caliber of which does not start with anything smaller than “4?.
    25. You can’t miss fast enough to win.

  6. TexasFred says:

    I can’t argue with the effectiveness of a 12GA when used, but in real world shooting incidents I have actually seen misses with a 12GA… Hard to fathom but it happens when the adrenalin is flowing, especially when you have a factory barrel and even though it’s an 18″ barrel it’s still *full choke* as opposed to open cylinder when you cut a barrel yourself…

  7. Gary says:

    I’ll tell you this, Fred.

    A .22 stopped a bear in its tracks and saved my life.

    I was hiking with an old girlfriend, and we came upon a female bear and her cub. Everyone knows how dangerous that can be, and all I had was my grandma’s old Ruger .22 bearcat. I knew we wouldn’t be able to out run the bear as she was ‘very’ angry that we were in her camp, so I pulled the Ruger and fired one shot… into the knee of my old girl friend.

    That gun saved my life, and am now a believer in the awesome power of the .22

  8. BobF says:

    Another well written post Fred. As for me, I have no ideas how I would react in a life and death situation where I had to use my weapon as I’ve never been there and I hope never to be there. I pray if I ever am, I will have the senses and control to put a stop to the threat.

    • TexasFred says:

      Thank you Bob, I hope some folks pick up a point or 2…

      As to having to shoot in real life; I hope you never have to either, but if you do, shoot without hesitation… It’s a hell of a thing to do but in a *me or them* situation, I pick ME… Every time.. 🙂

  9. Dave Stevenson says:

    I could have written that, and did years ago during my LE instructing days. The bottom line is, there isn’t one “big” enough when you “Absolutely, Positively Have To Save Your Ass On-time Without Delay”.

  10. Wayne says:

    A great post with a large dose of common sense Fred. Since we moved to Florida a decade ago, my wife and I have acquired CCW permits. Although I don’t carry daily and my wife’s employer won’t allow firearms on the premises, we practice regularly. On a trip out of town I always have my S&W 9mm in the console and both of us are proficient with it. Again, as you point out, I hope there is never a time when we have to resort to violence. The old saw ” it’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it “makes a lotta sense to us. I do however, when I have to make a late night run to the store, carry my Travon special, tucked into my waistband, just in case. I had a bad experience at the local Walmart after 11 p.m. one evening and have carried at night ever since. I have been around guns my whole life, as a Boy Scout and as a hunter with my dad, and later on with my own group of friends. Gun safety is paramount in my house now especially since we became grand parents last year. We leave nothing to chance and have secured our home defense weapons accordingly.

    • Gary says:

      “…and my wife’s employer won’t allow firearms on the premises…”

      Here’s a question. Does company policy supersede state law and the US Constitution?

      I’ve struggled with this in the past when, as a firefighter, I had a CCW, but the department disallowed my weapon at the station…


      • TexasFred says:

        On private property the owners wishes regarding guns are sacrosanct…

        • Wayne says:

          How true. Anyone can defy company reg’s. If you are unfortunate enough to be found non-compliant, immediate dismissal is the result.

        • Texasperated says:

          I think you’ve heard me say this before, Fred. The only time you’ll know I’m carrying (and you’ll have to catch me in the shower to find me not carrying), you’ll be very glad I’m carrying . . . unless you’re one of the bad guys.

          Keep your powder dry

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