This marketing slogan of the early 1900s described pistols chambered in the lowly .32 ACP cartridge. The guns were touted as being good for everything from home defense to assassinating important persons to self-defense against brown bear. To the modern reader, such claims appear outrageous, but why were they taken seriously back then? The rounds that 32ACP superseded were mainly the black powder .320 revolver cartridges loaded with lead round nose bullets. 80 grain unjacketed bullet at about 550fps lacked penetration and typically did not expand. Five or six of those from a revolver were rather less likely to end a fight than eight jacketed pistol bullets propelled by smokeless powder at 900fps. Neither round would equal the performance of .38 Automatic or similar, but then neither would the larger guns fit pockets, whereas the .32 could. Note that neither the higher velocity nor the greater penetration were at all significant for target shooting, so the Olympic pistols use .32 S&W Long even today.
Posts Tagged ‘Keltec’
The single shot Thompson Contender pistol shown in chambered in .500 Whisper. It is suitable for short-range hunting of medium-sized game and can be used with open sights due to the relatively large size of the target.
The Keltec Sub2000 carbine is a very unusual weapon. Conceived during the ban years, it folds in half in the middle of the receiver and can be safely carried loaded. This design wasn’t prohibited by law simply because our evil law-makers didn’t think of banning something this innovative.
Most people frown on off-body, considering it an amateur approach. The cite the slow access, the possibility of purse-snatching and other practical problems to dismiss the practice. And yet gun purses for women continue to sell well, as do various man-purses. Turns out that off-body carry has several advantages.
The first advantage is that it permits amateurs to carry guns. And, imagine this, most of us are amateurs and we carry guns for non-professional reasons. We have to carry other items — laptops, cameras, diaper bags, grocery packets — as primary, while guns ride along against the rare case of dire need. Depending on the weather and the social occasion, dressing around the gun may be impractical or nearly impossible. Could one conceal more than a P32 or a PSA .25 in the outfit shown on the left? A woman can try to justify a cover garment on an evening dress or she can bring a purse and have a decently sized defensive pistol available in it. Would that be an ideal solution — probably not, but then fighting for your life while wearing heels isn’t ideal either. Then point is that many people do not want to subordinate their lives and their wardrobes to concealment of a sidearm, and off-body carry allows them to still go armed. Under less glamorous circumstances, a diaper bag attracts less attention than a dedicated gun purse and new parents have to carry such items anyway. Adding a revolver to the child welfare and protection kit is a logical step. It is important to separate the weapon from all other contents and to practice rapid access. A fouled-up zipper or snagged grip should be discovered at the range, not during a defensive shooting. Cold weather is another circumstance when off-body carry may be advantageous. Trying to reach a gun under a thick winter coat can be difficult, while carrying an extra weapon in a pocket means that it would have to be somehow secured or transferred once the person takes the coat off indoors.
The plus side of such a carry method is in being able to tote a fairly large weapon comfortably. Double-stack pistols with larger magazines than typical of subcompacts fit in a shoulder bag just as easily and they are usually easier to shoot well. The major requirements are keeping the bag secured at all times and training with it at the range. The mechanics of deploying from a holster not attached to the body can be quite different from the expectations. The payoff can be quite considerable: being able to go with a full-size service pistol or even a rifle-caliber handgun instead of a subcompact.
Where legal, off-body carry even enables bringing a long gun along. Most useful in conjunction with a handgun, a carbine like a folding Sub2000 can be carries easily behind a laptop and deployed rapidly if greater reach is required. Too slow to counter a mugger at five feet but just right for a rampaging active shooter at thirty yards. Commonality of magazines with the carry pistol means that you would never confuse two kinds of ammunition under pressure.
One of the most common discussions on gun forums is about the usefulness of accessories. Should shooters use a telescopic sight when irons are available? Are light, laser and wind speed indicators necessary on a home defense carbine. Are battery-operated red dots helpful or just another item to fail at the most inopportune moment?
The benefits of each piece of gear are clear: sights provide better practical accuracy, light provide positive target ID, lasers give alternate aiming options (especially when wearing a gas mask), and wind speed indicators help with calculating long-range windage. So what are the down sides?
For one, all of these accessories cost money. Good, durable accessories can be expensive. Fortunately, users can amortize their accessories over many years and the benefits of having a good scope can be well worth the few dollars per month in depreciation. Most accessories also add weight. A red dot here and a white light there, plus a side-saddle with ammo and a bayonet, and soon you are looking at pounds rather than ounces of extra weight. You are also looking at new corners that can snag during use. Maintenance is another issue: a plain-jane shotgun can sit in a closet for years and still work, but the laser battery might not last as long (though lithium batteries can last for years on the shelf). Regular rotation of batteries becomes a scheduled task.
The real cost of accessories is not the weight, the money or the maintenance requirements. It’s the training time. If you have a light/laser unit, can you turn it on and have it in the mode you want by feel, without having to think about it? The simple shotguns may be popular for reasons other than cost and a large bore — users generally operate it as point and click device with no elaborate sighting or mode selections. If you have a rifle with elevation-adjustable sights, do you make the changes for range or just aim off to allow for the expected deflection? If your gun has multiple possible modes, your sight has multiple settings, and you have the option to use light, laser, or both, how long before your decision-making slows down. In offensive use, operators can configure these options in advance, but what about the much more likely defensive situation?
Should we take the time to learn how to shoot while wearing a gas mask? The time taken to learn that would cut into the basic marksmanship or movement practice. How about using a sight with a busy range finding reticle instead of a simple dot or cross hairs — would the distraction affect of all that extra information ought-weigh the benefit of long-range precision it facilitates?
The same question applies to training of new shooters: simple or complex? Do we want the laser to help diagnose issues with sight picture and trigger control, or would plain iron sights be better? Should we teach with scopes that permit observing hits and misses, or with a red dot that’s forgiving of cross-eye dominance, or stay with the old reliable notch and post? Is even using sights an unnecessary complication when a plain barrel and a trusty bayonet were good enough for the illustrious ancestors? What do you think — should we embrace the technical progress or concentrate on the basic katas using un-accessorized sticks?