Advance Your Shooting Ability, by Steve Mc

It has been well documented that concerns related to the COVID19 pandemic have been the impetus for many people to become first-time gun owners. For those new to firearms, as well as those that have owned and used firearms for many years, I want to challenge you to take some specific steps to advance your firearm capability. Because our society and legal system affirms the use of firearms to protect and defend ourselves, our loved ones, and those that need protection, it is incumbent upon us to maximize our capability to effectively use the firearms if, God-forbid, it becomes necessary. What I am proposing is intended to address the needs of the overwhelming majority of firearm owners/users, but it is acknowledged that there will always be appropriate exceptions to address particular circumstances. Full disclosure: the author has no financial interest in any of the products or services mentioned in this piece.

My first challenge is for you to evolve your carry weapon. But let’s first narrow the discussion to handguns, since they are the most applicable class of firearms to non-military people. So, you have a handgun, perhaps several. That is a start. But if maximizing effectiveness is your goal, the handguns you have may not be optimal. Quite frankly, the majority of handguns being sold are not up to the task of reliably protecting the lives of your loved ones. They may be impossible to shoot accurately, slow to deploy, of low capacity, too large or small, too heavy to wear, have inconsistent trigger pulls, have poor sights or have any number of other deficiencies. My telling you this is a bit of “tough-love”, because you probably think the gun you have will rise to the occasion when called upon. When you bought it, you felt like it was a good choice, or your buddy or the guy behind the counter of the local gun store told you it was. Maybe it was on sale or lower priced than others. You may be a brand fan-boy, or are heavily invested in the image or emotions that a particular gun evokes. But I am here to “call your baby ugly”.

If you really are committed to being most capable of defending those most precious to you with a firearm, it really should be “duty-grade”. How do I define “duty-grade”? It is that small number of pistol brands and models that are most frequently selected and used by military and police and for which there is exhaustive demonstrated performance. Yes, we all know that military and police choices can be biased by politics and finances, but the choices made are nearly always amongst the few that are duty-grade. The most consistently selected pistols for military or law enforcement (LE) duty, and what I am adamantly recommending, are the Glock 17 and SIG P320 (M17) platforms, or variants of these. What these have in common are polymer frames, striker-fired, high capacity, proven durability, broad support and 9 mm. There are other competent striker fired 9 mm pistols that may be of similar quality, but not as commonly owned or adopted, and with less support, such as Smith & Wesson M&P, HK VP9, and the FN 509.

Old School?

Now what about your beloved 1911 in 45 ACP, the SIG P226 in 9mm, the Smith & Wesson Model 19 in 357 Magnum, or your treasured Single Action Army in .45 Colt? At various points in the past, each of those were in common use and did represent the best operating principles, fabrication technology, material, and ammo performance available at that time.   But time and firearms developments march forward. If our objective is to maximize our capability, we want to take full advantage of the best that is available to us now. In the future, the list of duty-grade pistols will evolve, and we should evolve along with the hardware to avoid being comparatively disadvantaged. If the prices of new duty-grade pistols are off-putting, trustworthy used and reconditioned pistols are commonly available at prices equivalent to lesser quality new pistols.

The models that I mentioned are large, full size pistols, often worn visibly hanging from a soldier’s or officer’s duty belt, but as will be explained, you’ll want to carry your pistol concealed. Each of these pistols have reduced size models that leverage the technology, quality and demonstrated performance of the larger pistols. For Glock, there are smaller sized models such as the 19, 19x, 26, 43, 43x, 45 and 48, all in 9mm. For SIG, in addition to the full sized, there are P320 versions in Compact and Carry size and P365 models.

Modern 9mm Bullet Designs

Is 9mm really adequate and the best choice? Due to improvements in bullet design, the benefits of higher round capacity, and global supply volumes, it is the most ubiquitous choice of military, police and civilians worldwide. There is just not enough difference in real-world pistol caliber performance to justify deviating from 9mm, especially if the alternative caliber results in reduced magazine capacity. A quick word on selecting “carry” ammo: use what your local, state or national law enforcement uses. There are solid ballistic and legal reasons to follow the lead of law enforcement. Law enforcement ammo nearly always meets stringent FBI minimum and maximum penetration requirements. So, I encourage you to trade in your non-duty-grade pistols, or relegate them to collection status, and obtain one of the few duty-grade pistols in 9mm for serious use. As I’ve slaughtered some sacred cows with this challenge, I look forward to reading the replies in the comment section.

The second challenge is that you stay armed. When and where permitted by law and regulation, and certainly within your home and on your property, you should commit to having your duty-grade pistol on your person during all waking hours. The reason for this is simple: situations that may necessitate the use of your pistol can arise instantaneously. I’ll share a recent personal story to illustrate: I was outside, walking around on our small ranch one afternoon, when the three dogs alerted me to a car driving up our long driveway. I approached the beat-up sedan containing four sketchy-looking young adult males. They asked the illogical question:  “Do you have any chickens for sale?” Considering there was no reason for such a question, seemed to be an obvious ruse. I believe they had ill intentions, perhaps hoping no one was home. So, I was instantly confronted by a greater number of potential adversaries, and there was zero opportunity for me to get armed quickly had they chosen to attack me. I either was prepared at that moment, or I wasn’t.

For military and police, it is unnecessary to conceal a sidearm, and to the contrary, displaying a weapon is a passive projection of power or deterrence. For “civilians”, there are many disadvantages of having your pistol visible, so concealed carry is the order of the day. Key enablers to safely, comfortably and confidently wearing your pistol are pistol size, holster choice, belt quality, and pants waist size. While large pistols are easier to control during firing, and have larger magazine capacity, they are heavier and more difficult to conceal, so you may want to choose a smaller sized version of a duty-grade pistol.

Carry Options

Characteristics of a high-quality holster are that the trigger is well covered, shape is retained when the pistol withdrawn, is unaffected by moisture and it is comfortable (especially important for Inside the Waist Band (IWB) position). With so many styles available, it can be challenging to know which holster to select. So please note any holsters that you’ve found to be particularly well suited in the comment section below. Is being armed at all times a new phenomenon? Apparently not, as it seems the disciples of Christ Jesus were “packing” swords at the Last Supper (Luke 22:38)! As I am typing this, I am wearing a Glock 43x in a comfortable n8tactical IWB holster. Should I need a firearm to protect my family or myself at any time today, I am ready without hesitation.

The third challenge is to train frequently. Owning a duty-grade pistol, and having it on you, positions you well to protect your interests, but there is an additional need. You must have the skills to competently deploy the quality pistol you are carrying. Only competent training can make you competent.   Along with the increase in the number of states that issue concealed carry licenses or better yet, recognize constitutional carry, the firearms training industry has grown over the last few years. Never has there ever been more or better firearms training available to common citizens, and this type of training should be supported and exploited.

Quality Training

There are many great training options, and I’ll call out one in particular, based on its longstanding reputation and my personal experience, and that is Gunsite Academy in Paulden, Arizona. Receiving world class training at places such as Gunsite requires a significant commitment of time and money, but it does provide good value, and I’ve observed that Gunsite graduates consistently demonstrate solid gun handling fundamentals. So do your own research and find pistol training that meets your specific needs.   I believe receiving professional training at least annually is necessary to maintain basic competence.

A second form of training is dry firing, at home, on your own. Much information can be found about how to safely execute dry firing practice, and I suggest that formal dry firing practice should be conducted weekly. The last form of training I’ll mention is with your household members, at your home or area of operation, and without using any real loaded guns. The concept is to rehearse responses to probable threat scenarios. For example, step through and practice what it would look like if everyone was in bed, and someone breached one of the exterior doors. What is your response? How would you secure a firearm? How would you move through the house? What cover or concealment is available? How would you gather and protect family members without putting them in any danger? Would you retreat, slip into a safe room, or confront intruders? What might you expect from alarms, dogs or security cameras? What are definite no-shoot directions? Iterative dry runs of these scenarios will allow you the opportunity to fine tune your response. Integrate the use of lights (and darkness) into the scenarios: household lights, hand held lights, and weapon mounted lights as applicable. Training is available for such exercises, but the process must be applied to the particulars of your specific situation.

Of the three challenges, the first challenge to evolve your weapon is the easiest, albeit potentially the most emotional. All you have to do is suspend any biases and spend some money. The sooner you resolve any weapon deficiencies, the faster you can address the challenges of carrying and training.  The second challenge of always carrying your pistol costs no more than the price of a holster, but does require a personal commitment and acceptance of the discomfort of daily carry. Bear in mind that carrying a pistol is supposed to be comforting, not comfortable. Training and experience will help make carrying a pistol feel less unnatural.

The third challenge of training frequently requires planning and investment of both your time and money. If you will step up and meet these three challenges, your ability to effectively protect yourself and love ones will most definitely improve.




42 Comments

  1. I agree on 9mm for 2 legged threats. Living in the northwest I think a 10mm is appropriate for 4 legged threats in a handgun (the minimum actually). Anyway, I have owned a larger variety of weapons than most people and have come to the conclusion that simplicity is a beautiful thing. So I have reduced my handgun collection to 9mm and 10mm. Ar15’s and Ar10’s for semiautos, and a few magnum bolt guns for big game hunting and long range shooting.

  2. Fantastic writing Steve Mc
    I do find I carry more often in these crazy days. I was surprised that after only a few weeks of carrying “on your person during all waking hours”, the pistol went from a pain-to-carry to something I miss if it was not there. I agree with your assessment of a reliable sidearm in the Glock. Many U.S. alphabet soup agencies train/deploy with this ultra-reliable pistol. All the adults in my family carry either the G17 or G19, both for work and off duty protection. I have had great success with training at Front Sight. Those instructors know their stuff.

  3. Glock also makes a fine duty gun in a couple of “manly firmness” calibers, .45ACP and 10mm. Its okay with me if YOU carry a 9mm, and its okay if I carry .45ACP.

    1. Well said Duane! My family members all train with and carry one of three Glock models in .45ACP. The Glock 41, Glock 21, and Glock 30. Some of the girls carry the 21SF because of hand size. Front Sight has taught them well how to draw from concealment and have two rounds center of mass in less than 1.5 seconds. We all need to dry practice more than we do, but we are confident that if and when the need arises the .45ACP is MUCH more effect round than the puny 9mm. One of my cousins carries a .40cal Glock. He is former Special Forces soldier and picked the .40 as a compromise round. It stops almost as well as the .45ACP and is readily available and reasonably priced because so many law enforcement agencies use the round.

      The 9mm vs .45ACP comparison is similar to the 5.56 to 7.62×51 comparison. In both cases, if you want to stop an assailant, bigger really is better. Real world battlefield and law enforcement examples testify of this in both cases.

  4. what happened with the dudes in the car?
    I agree right now you can add better triggers recoil springs mag releases and red dots for short money and with your glock get effective hits out to 100 yards if needed. now is the time to buy.

  5. For those who maybe new or novice to Steve’s purchase suggestions above, don’t just choose a gun mentioned and expect it to be “ the one” best suited for you.

    There are many ranges, shops and shooting groups who will be happy to help you find a weapon comfortable to your hand, strength and ability while allowing you to fire it enough to accurately and honestly assess it’s fit for you BEFORE purchasing it.

    Finding other more advanced and like minded individuals willing to help with this will assure a more successful and rewarding shooting experience.
    All good advice Steve Mc

  6. Well we all know the old saying opinion’s are like ##### everybody has one.
    Now don’t get me wrong 9 mm is a good round , but I have to say you have tunnel vision on this subject. There are many ways around the capacity issue also, all you have to do is think outside the box.
    For me out of all my toy’s the Glock 23 is my favorite, it is older it came with 13 round magazines. To improve capacity I use Glock 22 mag’s with X-grip sleeve’s, with this mod the fit and function looks factory.
    While I do like 9 mm I am not out gunned using the 40 cal, I have capacity and more stopping power period. We can argue about this all day but we have all seen the video’s of people hyped -up on drugs take multiple round’s from 9 mm and keep moving. Please do not say that’s when training kick’s in , training help’s but it goes out the window when someone is actually shooting at you for reference watch Chevy Keyhoe and the Ohio State Trooper shooting it out at 10 to 15 feet apart.

    1. have 40cal glocks and sub2k pcc waaay more kinetic energy hands down i have shot steel droppers and they fall right away. 9mm takes multiple strikes in some cases. now people will argue plus p 9mm sure but you are engineering the round to do what 40cal does. i etc. if a bear attacks me in the woods if rather have a 40 cal

  7. You asked about holsters, Steve. My favorite AIWB holster is the Axis Slim from Tier 1 Concealed. It’s comfortable, covert, offers a very smooth draw, and carries a reload. I also like holsters from Trex Arms, especially the Ragnarok when I’m going overt.

  8. XD for me…..(the Un-Glock) in 9mm or .40 are very affordable, plus a LCP2 .380 backup.
    Alien Gear shapeshift holster for the XD makes all day tolerable, regardless of the weather conditions.

  9. Sig P365 in 9mm or Sig P239 in .357 SIG. Milt Sparks IWB holsters on a -good- belt are comfortable and rock solid, all day, every day… can’t recommend them highly enough

  10. G19 with Bravo Concealment IWB holster. Or a Velo AIWB for the G19.
    Coming up in 40,000+ rounds through the old Gen3 19, with only spring changes as preventative maintenance. Has Been 100% Reliable.

  11. “I love articles about guns! Of course, I never read the whole thing. I just read until I get to the part I disagree with or the sentence that dismisses my personal choice then I head straight to the comments section to tell the author why I am right and they are wrong.”

    This made me laugh. Thanks!

    1. What happened to D.D.’s reply? The one that I quoted? I am not sure that he was attacking anyone with his comment. I found it funny.

      1. Glad I made you laugh Muddy, but the editors are correct. Sometimes I forget the Golden Rule laid out by Deputy Barney Fife so many years ago: “Don’t be facetious Otis!!” Mea Culpa…

  12. ‘Dance with the one that brung you.’
    The best pistol I ever owned was an HK P7: compact, reliable, accurate. I loved it, but sold it because I grew up with single-action Colt/Brownings like the Hi-Power and 1911. All those years meant I would probably default to habit in a crisis. I can go from HP to Colt seamlessly because everything is in the same place. I do like the 14-round capability of the 9mm, and modern defensive ammo minimizes the difference between 9mm HP and .45 hardball. When I attended Gunsite years ago everyone else had .45s. No Glocks, but Col. Cooper was still alive, and he was Mr. 1911. I wonder what I would see today.

    1. I agree with the P7 comment. Best 9mm I ever had and that includes the CZ 75 series. Glocks I have no use for/. I have seen more malfunctions in matches with Glocks than anything else. People here should read Jim Cirillos books. Insightful. Have fun

  13. Go armed all times. Dry fire. Range time. Practice under time. Shoot cans
    Shoot paper
    Carry at least one reload. Exercise our freedoms. Honor our heroes. Respect every day. Good article.

  14. The best gun/caliber is the one you have with you. When I lived in Alaska the people there would have laughed at a Glock 23 or any Glock. Everything is a compromise. Every gun is a compromise. Last year while camping in the middle of no where a guy on a ATV dropped by to talk. He had a Smith & Wesson Model 500.50-Cal. Magnum which he was eager for me to take a look at. Proud that it would protect him from bears and cougars. Indeed it would but the damned thing was big and heavy. That was his compromise.

  15. Good article. I always like reading people’s opinions on firearms; as alot of times it can bring up a point I’ve never thought of before.

    I will say though I think you put way to much emphasis on the magazine capacity. A glock 22 holds 15 rounds.

    9mm with the top of the line ammo does begin to approach some of the performance of the more pedestrian loads in the larger calibers. When you compare say HSTs to HSTs it isn’t that close.

    All that said a couple of years ago it would have definitely made sense to adopt 9mm for your family or group, if you didn’t want to step up, because there was an overabundance of it. You could get HSTs of any flavor (124,124+p, 147) for 40 cents a round. Then federal started cracking down on sales to us little people and prices increased to 60 cents around. For the past year however there have been killer deals on .40 s&w as LE goes back to 9mm. Last fall through the early stages of the Coronavirus panic you could get Winchester ranger t series hollow points for 40 to 44 cents a round; in either 165 or 180 grains. And there are still some pretty good deals in 40. The recoil of 40 S&W is comparable to 9mm +p.

    The deals in .40 were so good I put up my .45s and went to glock 22s as my family’s standard. With all that said however if I am going out and about by myself I’m packing my colt python in .357.

  16. I agree totally with the statement about carrying becoming something you miss. As a woman in rural Arizona I carry a Glock in .40 caliber openly every day, all day. It does become something that feels weird when it’s not on your hip. I am blessed to work in a small rural gas/grocery/convenience store in a wide spot in the road where the owner encourages us to carry.

    Last fall and idiot went on a spree of robberies. He first robbed a chain owned convenience store in a small town north of us. Then came to our wide spot in the road and robbed the chain owned Dollar store. Skipped us. At the next wide spot in the road with a choice between a privately owned store where employees are allowed to carry and a chain Dollar store – he chose to rob the dollar store. Then continuing south he robbed another chain store in the next town before getting caught.

    And yet the liberals ignore the deterrent effect of carrying weapons. I am positive that if the women of our store did not carry (and the community knows we do) our store would have been a target and one of us could have been injured.

    Concealed carry is good. But I love living where open carry is accepted and often encouraged.

  17. 1) The Tissue Damage Model of the US Army’s RDECOM is far better than anything I’ve seen commercially and showed significantly better performance for some 40 S&W rounds over 9mm.

    https://ndiastorage.blob.core.usgovcloudapi.net/ndia/2016/armament/Minisi.pdf (p 17-41)

    2) Purpose of the Army’s Modular Handgun System was to get a round better than existing 9mm FMJ but in a handgun that would remain reliable after thousands of rounds had been fired and with recoil that would allow reasonable accuracy by the average shooter.

    I was very interested in the Army’s planned tests for the Modular Handgun System but SIG appears to have basically purchased / preempted that procurement with an extremely low price, having lost to Glock on the BATF and FBI competes. However, the downselect did come down to Sig and Glock with Smith and Wesson M&P eliminated earlier.

    2) I myself judge a round by its momentum — mass (grains) times velocity– and cross-sectional area.

    Cross sectional area is 3.14 times radius squared — for comparison, I just square the diameters. 9mm = 81, .40/ 10mm = 100, .45 (11.4mm) = 131. Takes three 9mm to make the wound volume of a .45 double tap but a Glock 19 has 5 of those three round shots whereas a 1911 only has three double taps plus 1 round.

    In that regard, I think the 40 S&W advantage over a 145 gr 9mm is limited — but I don’t like 115 gr 9mm. 40 S&W fans might look at how long 40 S&W pistols last compared to 9mm and might also try some of the qualification tests used by federal law enforcement.

    3) The big argument for 45 used to be that the lungs are big targets and a 45 sucking chest wound rapidly deflates the lungs/brings on a heart attack whereas the 9mm FMJ was more of a slow air leak.

    Good hollowpoint partially fixes that and the increasing spread of body armor has increased the need for head shots (which are the only reliable quick stopper) and head shots need lots of rounds to make sure one connects.

    Of course, the brain is about the size of the heart so I can see an argument for not firing center of mass (wasting time and two rounds on body armor) and always shooting for the head. MI5 reportedly does that with terrorists given the need to preempt a bomb detonation with a quick stop.

    4) 9mm is available world wide and works in submachine guns as well whereas a .40 or .45 wound outside the USA pretty much screams “American shooter” with maybe the exception of a 45 south of our border. Which may explain why CIA and SOCOM go 9mm. A factor for survivalists to consider if they think they might need to evacuate from the USA at some point.

    5) Even here within the USA, ammunitiontogo.com reports that out of $100 in handgun ammo sales, $72 would be 9mm, with falling sales of both 40S&W and 45ACP in recent years. “Spray and pray” is evidently good for business.

    https://www.ammunitiontogo.com/lodge/ammo-sales-info/

  18. Anyone have experience with the Sig P320 in 45? Years ago I tried going the Glock route after growing up with hammer guns and Ruger .22’s. I bought a Glock 30, shot it then sold it. I disliked the trigger, reset, sights, and especially the grip/ergonomics. My wife loves her 9mm but I’m a 45 guy and am currently looking for my “forever” sidearm. I’ve owned a couple budget 45’s with reliability issues and would like something dependable.

  19. I liked your article, everything rang out true, but you carry duty size guns then in middle of article you say “I’m carrying a Glock 43x” (small gun). I carry a S&W 357 lightweight revolver with 38 plus P ammo….reason Florida is hot and most the time we wear shorts and shirt, very hard to conceal. But like you when dressed to carry full size its a H&K VP9. Also the local outdoor range has 3 draw booths with multi range targets with center flaps.

    Thanks for the article and would love to hear the ending of your ranch story.

  20. To the common American: Buy a Taurus G2C or G3! It is just as good as a Glock, and it is affordable. If you can’t afford to attend a Front Sight or Gunsite training group, practice by yourself or with a friend, read training material. No one mentioned a fanny pack (5.11 has a great one for about $40). Comfortable, quick to use, keeps dirt, dust, and rain off your pistol. This is the best advice I could give to our non-wealthy American cousins!

    1. I’ve been trying to find a g3 for sale for 2 months in North Texas. There are limited g2c’s available. Hopefully inventories recover soon. Shot a friends “arsenal” trying to find the right “fit for me”. Was perfect fit for me and my newness to handguns (I really have only profeciency in rifles and shotguns), and is almost $200 less than the Glock it sort of copies.

  21. I sold my Glock 17 & got a Springfield XD-M in 9mm. I have no regrets, I don’t have big hands, just average sized mitts and the Springfield is such a pleasure to shoot. At 20 shots, 19 in the mag & one in the pipe, loaded with Buffalo Bore +P+ ammo. Its my believe I have a great kit & will do if I will do…IMHO

  22. Great article, but I’m laughing because I’m sooo inexperienced. I have a handgun and a rifle and watch for ammo sales and purchase often with advice from my more experienced family members. I couldn’t tell you the names of the guns. If anyone reading here is an inexperienced woman who has no man or other experienced person to protect her, please reach out to family or friends. I’m blessed by law enforcement in the family and other such enthusiasts, so I was “fitted”, lol, for a handgun and rifle, taught to shoot, and am scheduled for more training this summer. I do the “dry shooting” thing in the house using the Red Dot for aim. I think through in what ways my home would be breached, etc. But, mostly I pray because if there were a serious attack, I probably would “waste” bullets (spray and pray?). I think for older women who may be living alone, as I am, “location, location, location” is almost as important as being able to shoot. Where I live now… I haven’t felt this safe since I was a little girl with a very capable father.
    .02

  23. Thanks for all the great comments. Y’all kind of turned the comments into a caliber war, but I was told that “all pistols suck” in terms of ballistic performance so I just prefer a greater quantity of low performing ammo. I have never seen evidence that a single 45 ACP is better than two 9 mm, and that is about the trade off (as in Glock 36 versus Glock 19).

    As for finishing the 4 dudes story, they seemed uncomfortable with me directly approaching their vehicle and confronting them. Combination of three large dogs and a bit of command presence seemed to encourage them to make a hasty retreat. I’ve been watching for their return but it hasn’t happened. But I do stand ready, and due to COVID19 I am almost always home.

    Dogs play a huge role at our ranch. By their tone I can about tell if it is friend or foe approaching. Good dogs are just invaluable.

    One last comment, thanks to Jim Rawles for all he does, and for all my fellow SB readers that are +3 sigma in terms of being prepared. As bad as the virus has been, there may be much worse things ahead. Prep hard.

  24. Good article Steve Mc,
    The warning about uninvited visitors hit home.
    We had a man walk up our drive into our back yard.
    I was working in the garage my wife was in the garden.

    Our GSD alerted before we even knew he was there.
    I heard her then I saw her with her ears back and her hackles up.
    I commanded “down”! She dropped right there not taking her eyes off the guy. He asked me if I was selling something on Craigslist. I said no so he left.

    That was the only time I have had to put my girl in a down stay like that. She is getting old but I still train her. She loves her work. Dogs are so cool.
    Being older I need an edge.
    I keep an 870 loaded with a progression close to me on the property. My pistol is just to get me to the shotgun.

  25. These are all great conversations, and I truly enjoy and get educated, I’m a 1911 person myself for a very long time, what interesting is the 8 +1 really doesn’t bother me in a gunfight. If you can’t get it done by then somethings wrong. Glocks and HKs all go boom when needed, but a 1911 in the hands of the right person , you can’t say more, if I pick up a Colt, Springfield , wilson, Dan Wesson I know how each will act where all the controls are , weight and pull. Get a preference, get proficient and practice. With whatever you like, I admit I go the plastics as well and they shoot great, just grab one and go

  26. The problem with dry fire of your carry pistol is the added administrative handling – unload, double check, dry fire, reload and chamber a round. Over and over. This puts a lot of added wear on the ammo, magazine and pistol. And administrative handling is the most likely time for an ND.

    Of course another pistol can be used for dry fire, but the trigger pull and manual of arms may be different.

  27. Good day all. Respectful thought… It seems that often “experts” come out of the woodwork when anything is left out or not stated exactly the way they think it should be. Contributors (or speakers) have to cover ALL the bases. Kind of like mentioning guys and having to add the disclaimer gals. It can’t be left out or someone will go to their unhappy place. This is why many of us don’t speak up often.

    9mm isn’t the perfect round, but it’s everywhere. Would .45 or .40 be a better round? For many things… often. However, Steve Mc is correct in that most early shooters will be more comfortable firing .9 mm and, with more rounds, will be more likely to get rounds on target, which is what it’s all about. FBI statistics confirm that more rounds increase the chances of a hit, and that 2 or more hits will almost always do the jobs… regardless of caliber. I have a .40 XD. Love it. For now I shoot the .9 mm Glock 17 better. Carry it at all times. Will I switch to .45 someday? Likely. For now, I shoot what I can shoot well, which is what we should all be doing, as Steve said.

    God bless, my friends.

  28. When I discuss something I say what I currently know on the subject and I do so in case someone has info I haven’t heard or can correct a misunderstanding or partial understanding I have. If they do that, I don’t take offense — I am grateful to them for doing me a favor. Since I am not all-knowing, I do not expect them to share my opinion or judgment on everything — or even on most things.

  29. Ignoring the caliber wars and Ford v. Chevy … the weapon must be adequate but no weapon by itself is sufficient and the weapon itself is the easy part. You are the thinking part of the system so you have to know when and how to use that weapon. You have to know how it works and how to maintain it and if you have a malfunction, you have to know how to fix it. Those things mean you should have training. Maybe Uncle Bob can train you, but maybe not. Shooting skills diminish rapidly over time and that means you should practice. Once a year is not sufficient. I think for most people once a month is adequate. Competitors shoot two to five times a week. If have to use that weapon in a confrontation, someone might die. That is about as serious as it gets. The weapon is the easy part.

  30. Thank you for your well thought out and reasoned article.
    Yet allow me to respectfully disagree with some of your key point.

    One of them is the chose of firearm as a “service grade”.
    What does service grade mean?
    We both agree that is has been selected by military ad or police as a service weapon.
    However these organizations have different Philosophy of use than the private citizen and as a result different acquisition preferences than might be suitable for the concealed carry citizen.
    – First of all they generally bulky… even the smallest “issue” handgun the Glock 19 is significantly larger than many other handgun that still offer good capability.
    – Price. Having to buy a firearm from your own dime rather than plundering the taxpayer means a citizen needs to buy a firearm that is a) readily affordable now and b) that he can afford to lose if its ever evidence in a self defense event. For most americans this precludes the multi hundreds of dollars handguns so beloved by firearms reviewers.
    – An external safety. Most “service grade” handgun lack these… which makes sense.. if you are in “the Stan” or protected by a badge an accidental discharge is not something that will irreparably damage your life/livelihood and/or freedom. but for citizen carry an AD is much more serious.. in many jurisdictions is a CRIME. that can lead to complete loss of carry rights. And this is not even counting the factor that the extra safety margins afforded will make many users more comfotrtable to carry it.. Having the fastest draw is not as important as the extra safety.
    – Reliability… yes, we all want reliable firearms.. but nowadays there are some very reliable firearms out there that do not cost 600 dollars and up… the last incremental improvement is often the most expensive… most citizen self defense scenarios end faster 2 rounds fired..

    So in summary a citizen conceal carry handgun needs to be
    a) small enough its comfortable for conceal carry… or it wont be carried.. so a true compact… smaller than a Glock 19… say a Smith M&P 9C, or a Taurus G2C
    b) very affordable… so under $400
    c) preferably with an external safety.

    These 3 factors preclude the majority of the so called “service grade” gun…. and IMHO are a more rational choice.

  31. Thank you Steve for taking time to outline these considerations.

    Your comments about the “software” side of this system were excellent. Software in the sense of; (1) one’s personal commitment to safe gun handling, (2) skills training, (3) verifying one’s ability to solve life threatening situations on-demand, (4) situational awareness, and the very basic enabler … (5) making the {daily} choice to have one’s weapon(s) with them and ready when evil enters your day.

    I have been greatly blessed with a group of individuals that encourage and support keeping these frangible skills current. My commitment to enroll in training made it possible to meet these individuals and developed this support network.

    Hardware discussions are interesting and enjoyable. Many of the individuals in my close group are engineers and we spend the bulk of our range time confirming these basic application skills and helping one another define/refine what works for each of us based on our physical and decision making capabilities.

    Thanks to all for a great discussion.

  32. A story. I worked in an E.R. ,large city. Large man comes in[6 foot 2, 255lbs] , he was “shot by my girlfriend” . The bullet hit his left collarbone , deflected down and right ward. The bullet missed the heart , scraped right lung , going on down until the bullet EXITED one inch above the kneecap. He was alert , but somewhat incapacitated due to the wound. He was taken for “EXPLORATORY Surgery” , which meant , he had his sternum sawed in half , exposing the heart and lungs , extensive inspection of the intestines , and then the kneecap was revealed. He received no life threatening wounds as found at surgery. The “girlfriend” may have not killed her “boyfriend” , but the post-op days were VERY PAINFUL . Justice administered. You must use what you have in a very proficient manner.

  33. As an older female, I carry on a daily basis, both when out and about on the ranch and when I am going to be in “social situations,” such as when I need to go to town. I have been wearing a wrist splint on my strong hand for the past year so I switched from carrying a semi-auto (Walther PPS in 9mm) on my strong side to carrying a revolver on my support side. The wrist splint makes it difficult to grip and draw securely, and also complicates slide manipulation, so my DH and I agreed that carrying a revolver was a wiser choice for the time being. Since I am proficient with both types of guns and with both hands, it was really just a matter of borrowing one of his holsters.

    Since the usual foe on the ranch is a snake that tends to make a loud buzzing noise, I carry a single action .22 LR loaded with a couple of rat shot rounds and the rest of the chambers loaded with sub-sonic .22s since I don’t normally have any hearing protection with me unless I am heading down to our ranges. Since it is HOT down here in the summer, I carry openly when working. These days, that means a Ruger Wrangler in a leather holster that gives nearly full coverage of the gun with a retention strap that snaps over the back of the trigger guard. I am not nearly as worried about a quick draw against rattlers as I am about keeping the gun in place while going about my daily chores and working in the garden, mowing, etc.

    When I am going to be in “civilized” company (in town), I carry a Ruger LCR in .38 in a leather pancake holster that was made for my DH by a leather worker we used to know at our local gunshows. I wear a vest over my shirt all year long, so it conceals well. I make the vests with lots of pockets so I don’t need to carry a purse.

    I have always carried OWB, using a Kydex paddle holster. BladeTech used to make one that fit my PPS but it broke and they discontinued it so I switched to a Comp-Tac holster that actually fits onto the paddle from BladeTech. It works quite well for me and conceals easily when I wear a vest or jacket. Once I get rid of the wrist brace, I will return to carrying my Walther on my strong side.

    As others have said, it feels strange to NOT carry. And since we don’t get many visitors around here, openly carrying is not an issue. When neighbors do stop by, they are probably accustomed to seeing me carry by now, but they are all too polite to say anything, anyway.

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