I have been fascinated by the great buildings of the world all my life and always find architecture interesting. While Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower are monumental achievements, the Pirate’s House in Savannah, Ga., is another structure I find completely interesting. And Joyce and I love the mile-high bridge at Grandfather Mountain.
As a writer, I do my dead-level best to test and evaluate every firearm that crosses my desk in a professional manner, including extensive range testing. Many of the commercial firearms are new and unproven, even when based on a proven handgun design. Every modification and new idiom must be proofed. Occasionally, I encounter a firearm that is proven more so than the rest. And then, there are the legends. For legends, there is little I may do to add or detract from the firearm’s reputation with my own test program. That is the case with the Sig Sauer P226 MK 25 or Navy Model.
For more years than I care to remember, I have been a fan of Cold Steel knives. The Cold Steel knife company offers good quality, sharp edges and positive function. During my time in police service, my impression was that I saw more Cold Steel knives used by peace officers than anything else. The reasons are quality and affordability.
At times, you just gotta go cowboy. Among my favorite handguns are single-action revolvers. I like the feel, heft, accuracy and handling. While some say they are outdated, they sure get a lot of use.
Is there a best personal defense handgun? I doubt it; the competition is fierce, and many handguns have their good points. We also have personal needs and personal worst-case scenarios. As long as the handgun is a quality design, well executed with good reliability and is accurate and powerful enough for the task, the rest is up to you. My personal favorite carry gun is the 1911 single-action self-loader in .45 ACP. There are many variants, and while some are ironmongery, many are well made of good material.
The Stevens shotgun carries an old-time name once found on frugal field-grade shotguns. The 320 shotgun is an affordable home-defense gun that makes sense for many users. A shotgun for home defense is easier to use quickly than a handgun since it has a natural point and is very powerful. Practically any standard 12-gauge loading has four times the energy of common handgun cartridges.
The Tomahawk always has held a great fascination for this writer. Among the most intriguing cinematic depictions of the Tomahawk—a tool, a weapon and an American icon—is the one in which Mani, a Native American who has traveled to France with his good friend, takes on a gang of murderers.
A generation ago, we defined the wonder nine pistol as a high-capacity pistol with a double-action, first-shot trigger.
About 20 years ago, a fellow officer suffered a malfunction on the firing line with his new stainless steel pistol. I took the gun and the ammunition into my office for examination. The firearm was dry and devoid of lubrication. With a bit of lubrication, it began to work properly.
These days, it seems anyone with a small shop can put together 1911 handguns and offer them for sale.
When it comes to personal defense ammunition, the first criterion to meet is reliability. This criterion is closely followed by accuracy, clean burning and a good primer seal. That is the bottom line. No ballistic advantage is worth pursuing if the ammunition is not completely reliable.
Revolver history is interesting. I am leading up to something because the revolver on my desk as I write this has me going back over everything I have learned about the revolver.
A Bit of Revolver History
The revolver is older than commonly believed. Double-barrel and combination barrels were common during the flintlock era, although they are not true repeaters. Revolvers with multiple chambers were not rare—they were expensive. The revolving-cylinder handgun dates back to at least 1540, so it was a case of the technology of the day not catching up with the thinking man’s dreams.
There are two great service-grade types in the 1911 handgun—stainless steel handguns are good, serviceable pistols for hard use and commander-size handguns are a good choice for concealed carry. After all, if there were a legitimate criticism of the 1911 pistol, it would be size and weight. The 1911 is thin and heavy. Ergonomics are excellent and beyond question. The attributes of the type make modification, and even redesign, desirable as long as you keep the advantages.
One of my associates recently showed off his brand new AR 15 type rifle at the firing range. The difference between that rifle and the others on the range —it was chambered for the .22 Long Rifle cartridge. He bragged about how the stock, sights and firing mechanism mimicked his .223 so closely that he was able to practice tactical rifle shooting for a pittance. I nodded my head, put the eyes and ears on and began firing my Daniel Defense .223 caliber rifle. My cohort busily ripped through a brick of .22-caliber ammunition.