Concealed Carry

Musings for a Gunfight: Are You Ready?

Drawing Glock 19 pistol OWB

Sometimes, I think there should be a Ph.D. available for the shooting disciplines, as there are in other areas of study. Certainly, there is as much — if not more — information concerning firearms and associated disciplines to warrant it. Beginners would be first graders and the sad truth is that 90% of today’s gun enthusiasts would be at elementary school grade levels 1–6.

High school would be comprised of high-level military operators, top professional instructors, and shooting champions… with some professional dangerous-game hunters thrown in. College level would be some highline writers, collectors, and gunsmiths. A handful of Ph.D.’s would be reserved for those few who have mastered most of the main areas of the subject. I suspect accreditation would go a long way to eliminating the self-proclaimed internet experts. The ones who don’t know how much they don’t know, and that’s a kind way of putting it.

DOctorate of Firearms Degree from the NRA
What the author’s Doctorate of Firearms degree might look like.

Often, when preparing for a class, I consider what I should present to the group of trainees. I do this by anticipating what might pique their interest. I address issues they no doubt will have about using a firearm. One of the first areas of interest — shooters new to defensive shooting have — is how they might react under the stress of a life treating situation, especially when something goes bump in the night.

Mental Preparation

To answer that, I echo the words of those who instructed me by explaining that the mere possession of a weapon does not constitute being armed. The most effective weapon a person has is their mind. The tools they choose as weapons only serve as an extension of their will.

The state of mind that ensures victory was defined by Jeff Cooper in what he called the combat mind set. As defined by the good Colonel, the key elements of the combat mind set include awareness, anticipation, concentration, and self-control. The major impediment to victory is also found in your mind and that is fear.

What one must understand is that fear is normal and healthy. I takes time to buildup, and it can be controlled. The best way to control that fear is to so use your anger to overcome it and that works very well. Another powerful weapon is mental preparedness, in fact it is the key to crisis management, so use it.

Using your mind in that way, along with good weapon management, will allow you to respond immediately and neutralize your adversary. Remember, any delay — no matter how slight — could be fatal. There is only one thing for you to be thinking about when you are being shot at — your shooting… front sight, press, front sight, press.

Combined Arms tactical classes at an outdoor shooting range
During the lecture portion of one of my Combined Arms tactical classes.

Stopping Power

The next question newer shooters are curious for me to provide a definitive answer for is “How many shots will it take with my handgun to stop an attacker?” Or put another way, how much stopping power do they need, and what is stopping power anyway? To answer that, I must first make them understand that incapacitating a lethal adversary with pistol fire is a debatable proposition.

One of the reasons that’s such a tough question is because of all the misinformation they have been fed by the news media, television, and movies. Additionally, firearms publications, law enforcement, military, and the gun-owning public are forever debating the definition of stopping power. The most common misconception assumes that being shot equates with being killed.

The result is bullet effectiveness suffering unrealistic preconceptions. The truth is, approximately only one-third of people wounded by pistol fire die because of those wounds. One of the most important aspects of handguns, and one I repeat over and over to my students, is that the chief asset of any handgun is its portability not its power. Remember, many of those who eventually die from pistol fire were not incapacitated by their wounds during the fight, even though hit fatally, unless the central nervous system is damaged.

What I try to have my students understand is that “stopping power” is a relative term. It refers to the ability of a projectile to terminate the intent of a violent aggressor, as quickly and efficiently as possible. To do that, a projectile must have sufficient mass and velocity.

Lion and bear taxidermy
Lions and tigers and bears, Oh my! While many realize four-legged threats, they fail to see the two-legged predators.

Without a treatise on ballistics, let me say that velocity, energy, and mass affect the resultant amount of penetration. Sufficient penetration is of paramount importance to the stopping power equation. Without becoming mired in all the scientific gobbledygook, let me say that the .45 Caliber ACP is considered by many experts as the king of the self-defense hill. Everything else falls in around it as either too big or too small.

As a rule of thumb, my advice is that each person should carry and use the largest caliber — up to and including the .45 — that they can comfortably carry and accurately shoot. The projectile launching platform plays big in the final decision concerning caliber size and that should require deep consideration and research before purchase.

Homo sapiens are not African lions or grizzly bears, and comparatively speaking, we are a fragile species. However, some individuals hyped up on drugs, or having a surge of adrenaline, can prove problematic. That said, studies show the advantage of caliber is very slight, compared to the benefit of precise shot placement.

Ammunition

As for ammunition choices, many believe that ball ammo is the best way to go because it provides the best penetration and, after accuracy, it’s penetration that matters. I happen to be one of those by the way. Admittedly, although ball does offer excellent penetration, the streamlined configuration of ball provides the smallest temporary wound cavity. One of the reasons for that is that the air passes around the bullet with minimal resistance and turbulence.

With hollow point ammunition, the air is trapped and compressed within the hollow point. It’s released on impact, with bullet expansion resulting in what is referred to as hydrostatic shock. Unfortunately, hollow points are notoriously inconsistent when it comes to penetration and expansion. Many assume incorrectly that the greater temporary wound cavity and organ displacement mean greater stopping power. However, that is simply just not the case. It’s also important to remember that more expansion equates to less penetration. And, less penetration might not get the projectile to the vitals it needs to disrupt.

.45 ACP 1911 handgun next to a .22 LR pistol for comparison
The largest, or smallest, doesn’t seem to matter much according to studies. I still believe bigger is better however, and that it buys you a larger margin of error.

That is, of course, the $64 question — bullet size, weight, velocity, and shape. What is most important in the stopping power equation? Unfortunately, you can only pick one. Plus. you never know your assailants’ time, place, size, clothing, temperament, ingested drugs, stated of mind, and desperation. It is exactly because of those unknowns that this is my choice in order of importance or preference.

  1. Ball or shape
  2. Size
  3. Weight
  4. Velocity

I want to penetrate deep, make the biggest hole I can, using a relatively-heavy fast-moving bullet in whatever caliber I have chosen.

One final comment on ammunition. Not all ammunition is created equal. For self-defense, I recommend you stick with ammunition manufactured by a frontline U.S. company and use the commercial reloads and foreign manufactured stuff for practice only. Additionally, you should routinely perform a visual inspection of all the ammo you intend to use — especially the self-defense loads.

An assortment of modern defensive ammunition and projectile designs
An assortment of modern defensive ammunition and projectile designs currently available.

Things to look for include:

  • Is it the correct caliber?
  • Are the rounds the same length?
  • Are the case mouths consistent?
  • Is the degree of crimp uniform?
  • Are the bullets concentric with the case?
  • Are any of the primers in backward or missing?

The good news, any defects that cannot be seen are most often more annoying than anything else. A good practice is to take a new box of premium ammo, practice with it, and then load your carry magazine with what remains in that box. That way, it is the same lot that you have tested, sighted in, and proven reliable in your handgun.

Stay safe, train often and practice, practice, practice!

Are you as prepared as you can be for a gunfight? What questions do you have regarding self-defense? Share them in the Comment Section.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (33)

  1. @Ed, I really doubt you will post this, BUT… I find your effete condescension to be rather unbecoming, ungentlemanly, and definitely unwarranted. I think Bob said it very well in this thread. “Don’t every assume anyone who writes doesn’t have an extensive background in the professional world. Or that they do” The same should be applied to your audience. I would also add, you know what they say about assuming. It seems your standards here are very subjective and rather egocentric.

    Years ago, in an Army Leadership program, I was taught that it is a small man who elevates himself by belittling and insulting others. It is difficult to respect anyone who disrespects others and especially when that one insults the intelligence of those around him. And I saw that lack of quality in many physicians who demanded respect but refused to give the same to anyone not a physician. More than a few were men of less than great acumen or skill as a physician. Many of those who behave in this manner are lacking, not just in social skills, but in their own inner security issues causing them to belittle and insult anyone who might have a different take. The words transference, displacement, and projection come to mind.

    I have not talked about any other credentials I may have or things that I have done, outside of my military and healthcare experience, in the Army, in civilian hospitals, and other venues. But I earned other credentials inside the gun community, albeit many years ago. Life got in the way of continuing with some of those things. My ego is not tied up in any letters on a certificate, medal, award, or other accomplishment unrelated to the things that are most important. Also, I wanted to keep my marriage intact which was difficult after we buried a son. I was willing to sacrifice some of those other things in order to not sacrifice my marriage.

    When I was teaching, I was subjected to a number of lectures given by PhD.s who told us what not to do while teaching, things that they were themselves doing in the lecture of what not to do. It was “Do as I say, not as I do.” There is little you have done with that last comment that anyone should desire to emulate.

  2. @NO NAME, NO FAME. Back many years ago in the Army, we had a list of what were called “Murphy’s Rules of Combat.” I don’t know when someone finally started writing them down and I found that different units had different rules that were more relatable to specific units. Anyway, do a search for Murphy’s Rules of Combat. Even today, I often refer to any one of those rules. As a corollary to your Mike Tyson quote, we had, “No battle plan survives initial contact.” I have also seen “No Op plan survives first contact.” They are all the same in meaning. Corollaries to that one are things like, “There is no perfect plan.” Or “If your plan is going perfectly, you are about to be ambushed.” One that too many men forgot and suffered for was “Remember, you are NOT Superman.”

    One that we used but does not show up on many lists went something like: “No contingency planned for will happen. Only contingencies not planned for will happen, and that will be at the most inconvenient time. So Plan for those!” I may not have the wording exactly as it was 50 or so years ago, but I have used the premise many times.

    That being said, I have been in a number of situations since I came home where the situation could have taken a very negative turn. I found avoidance to be the best strategy. Retreat is not a cowardly act, or even shameful, especially if you can return to your home and no one is injured or killed.

    There is a man in Norman, Oklahoma who is currently on trial for murder after he killed another man in a road rage incident. If he had not stopped his car to engage the other man, he would not be at risk of going to prison for many, many years. It was avoidable. Stand your ground does not mean you are justified in taking part in a thoughtless, angry discussion where tempers are flaring.

  3. Gunwriting is indeed a small part of most our experience. My degree is in criminal justice and minor in psychology. My professors were officers on the Federal level, a retired revenue agent who was wounded on the job, and a prominent trail attorney who taught evening classes. My training abstracts were published on a Federal level. My psychology lead was a Colonel in the National Guard. I have no military experience.
    As for dropping behind enemy lines I dunno but our soldiers work against the odds every day.
    My young son is an Army Major with a great deal of experienced. Dont every assume anyone who writes doesnt have an extensive background in the professional world. Or that they do.

  4. To all of you that clearly have reading comprehension issues the article was NOT about experience in one area that grants a higher degree but rather a higher degree of knowledge and experience in multiple areas. As an example you could be a veteran of 50 gunfights and still be in elementary school unless you had similar experiences in other areas like, firearms history, development, gunsmithing, collecting, competition, hunting, and all of the many specific areas within those categories.and more. I hope this clarifies things for the cognitively challenged amongst you out there.

  5. Read Applegate! In WWII he trained operators to night drop in to occupied Europe, armed with a 1911, to meet up with partisans they have never met! No one here will ever go willingly into a situation that dangerous!
    Study Applegate!!

  6. I believe Mike Tyson said, “Everyone has a plan until you hit them in the mouth.” First, I try to avoid situations. I am no expert, nor highly experienced “gun fighter”, but at my very moderate shooting experience and training level, I would try to hit them wherever I can, as often as I can no matter what caliber I happen to have at my disposal at the time.

  7. I’m reminded that when I was a student many years ago, none of my professors had ever worked in the field they were teaching about.

  8. How surprising that a gun writer would rank gun writers at a collegiate level of gun fighting knowledge while ranking high level military operators at a high school level.

    And you wonder why almost all gun writers are considered a joke by the gun community.

  9. I suppose that as a practical matter, I would only be in grammar school by the standards laid down by the author. However, I did wear a badge and gun for a living for 40 years. Call me arrogant, but I claim some insight. Though I was lucky enough never to have to fire a shot in the line of duty, I have on numerous occasions had to draw a weapon to cover a suspect or to persuade someone to follow lawful orders to comply. Some of my compatriots were not so lucky.

    What we have here is supposed to be a discussion among those of common interests. Some seem to take the disagreement personal. People of different experiences sometimes seem to see things differently. Difference opinion is not a crime. Why can’t we read opinions, make our own choices and let others do the same? The argument about effective caliber has been going on as far back as I can remember. I don’t foresee it being settled anytime soon. I’ve made my choices. I may even adjust them if new and credible information or experience tells me to do so.

  10. @Grumpy 49. Over the years, I have been friends with a number of LEOs. Some of them were in firefights with bad guys. One such fight took place in the wee hours of the morning in a restaurant somewhere between 20 and 30 years ago. There were several officers who had spent several hours looking for a suspect wanted for murder to no avail. They stopped at the restaurant to get something to eat when they found a lone customer who matched the description of their suspect. The suspect drew a gun on them after the officers recognized him. All the officers fired their weapons until they each had empty magazines. Fewer than half the rounds expended struck the perp and fewer than a third of those were considered mortal wounds by the ME’s office. It was at “spitting distance” and there were bullet holes “all over the place” per one of the officers.

    Three of those officers were on the police pistol team, had competed and placed on a National Level and still had more misses than hits. They all were astounded at how stressful this incident was and found it hard to believe that things they thought they could do in their sleep were not even in the realm of possibility when the rubber met the road. One common complaint with all the officers was they could not see the $%#&@ sights on their weapon during the incident. More than one stated privately that they did not feel they had the right kind of training for this situation. These were all veteran LEOs, each with more than ten years on the force. When they got into the situation, they felt almost overwhelmed by the stress, especially when it was over. I have known more than one officer who took his/her own life in the aftermath of a shootout. It is not like on TV.

    There is very little Critical Incident training that addresses the kinds of situations seen in many of the mass shootings. Uvalde and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida comes to mind, but there have been others. My perspective is the officers did not have adequate or realistic training to engage the shooter, resulting in more casualties.

    However, the shooter at The Covenant School in Nashville was taken out by two officers who were both military veterans and they were far more prepared to take on this kind of situation than any of the other responding police officer. Their experience in real firefights had them prepared. I have known a number of officers who have stated that most PDs have not invested the time for training needed in these kinds of tactical situations. More than one PD in Oklahoma has started doing the kind of training that prepares their officers to engage in a mass shooter scenario. That is a new development and has been needed but was not felt to be that important in the past.

    I am not disparaging LEOs. I believe realistic training is the problem. It would take a lot of money for any department to set up a tactical shoot house and train every officer. I have known some officers that even though they had a proficiency rating with their weapon, I would be afraid to be their partner. Some of them would be the guy who emptied his gun into a car when, it was determined later, an acorn fell onto the hood of his car, and he thought he was being shot at with a suppressed weapon. That really happened in the last year or less.

  11. No one is ever ready to be in a gunfight.

    As a survivor of three gunfights (and that’s what you are….a survivor – never a winner) you never want to be in another one if you can possibly avoid it. There is no glory in blood, guts, pain and death.

    The more gunfights you survive, the more you realize that although skill, tactics and PRACTICE make a difference, it is God’s Grace and the will to survive that will get you through.

    On the other hand, I credit my survival in one case to alternating JHP and FMJ ammunition in my defense load magazine, regardless of the ammunition I happen to have on hand.

    God Bless

  12. As a certified instructor, training counselor, and chief range safety officer, all of these comments and questions have value. Having two kids that are police officers, I have heard and learned quite a bit from them. One of our instructors was an emergency room Dr. for quite sometime. He stated the worst wounds he saw was from a shotgun, or a 22 cal. In my classes caliber was not as important as shot placement, two rounds in the head with a 22, 380, etc beats 4 rounds of 45, 357, in the door frame every time. Mindset, awareness, preparedness, and practice, practice, practice!!

  13. Lots of excellent comments! I’m an NRA Pistol Instructor and I’m also 71 years old. I’m not in a battlefield in Afghanistan nor am I a cop on patrol. Unless there are riots, I only have to reasonably worry about being robbed by a drug addict or being attacked by someone due to road rage. In either case I revert to the “rule of three.” Most self-defense shootings involve three shots within 3 yards in 3 seconds. So long distance accuracy isn’t that important. What is important? Comfortable concealable weapon, and low recoil. A .44 magnum on your dresser isn’t going to help you. And three quick accurate shots with a .380 beats the hell out of one shot with a .45. So my EDC is my Kahr P380 in a pocket holster. But if there are riots or other major disruption of order, I’ll be carrying my HK P30SK.

  14. Thanks to all who have posted about this great article that prompts further learning. 45 yrs of hand gunning has given me basic function and handling skills but without practical real life experience in dramatic firefights I realize I am a novice. I’ve practiced for decades for a fight I hope to never have. Therefor I think I fit into the biggest category of reader and am qualified to comment as such. No military or LE background, just a working stiff ready to protect the family. To those like me, Practice to infinity, educate yourself, wipe MSM and Hollywood out of your mind. One must have book is The Art of War. We are coming closer to anarchy in the US and vigilance is of paramount importance. Thanks again to all who have sacrificed in Military and LE. BTW. I graduated from 9mm EDC to 1911. <

  15. It is impossible to cover every aspect of defensive shooting in one short article. It would require a book. Ed LaPorta’s comments would make a good preface for that book. Since carrying a rifle or shotgun in public is not considered socially acceptable, I have settled on handguns, none of which I consider adequate to the task. That’s because every handgun is a compromise when compared with a rifle or shotgun. It is the nature of the beast. And every single person is different in terms of attitude, physique, and ability. So each individual must decide for himself what is the best choice. Nothing constructive is achieved by mocking or belittling them.

  16. BO – First, you have knowledge that can only come from being there. Even LEOs can go their entire career without ever shooting at anything other than paper targets. Friends and relatives who were given free trips to SE Asia by their Uncle Sam are my major point of reference about handgun performance. Please note that the “spray and pray” shooting technique shown by Hollywood only makes sensible self defense shooting harder to explain. As Col. Cooper told me, “A handgun is what you use to fight to get to your rifle”. Given a choice of a .38 spl, 9mm, .357, or 45 ACP, I prefer a .357 in a HENRY “X” rifle. My 357 revolver is for when a rifle would be impractical to carry.

  17. I disagree with the author about ‘ball ammo’. Correct me if I am wrong, but a number of major police departments got away from the 9mm 115grn ball ammo, due to over penetration issues. Over penetration with ‘ball’ ammo is an issue, regardless of caliber (except with the 45). I don’t carry a 9mm due to the Miami Shootout in 1986. My .40, .45, and .38Spl/.357 Instill more confidence in me if I have to use one of them for self defense.

  18. I have to agree with BO in regard to this post.
    I’m not sure what defines ED as the most interesting MITW …. the self-indulgent spewing of half-baked opinions isn’t it, further I don’t believe knowledge based on any real world experience. More like a movie version of the reality that isn’t.
    About, the only thing I found agreement with, and that only in part, was the last comment about using non-US produced munitions. If indeed you’re going to rely upon whatever platform you may choose, please use reliable ammunition, from a reliable and proven manufacture, practice with that ammunition and then USE that ammunition in your ready magazine.
    Foreign munitions, especially military surplus, should always be suspect.

  19. @DeadArmadillo. My first question to you is how many people with GSWs have you seen? The second question would be how many times have you been under fire? And, thirdly, how many times have you physically drawn a weapon to fire at another human being?

    My answer to each of those questions is pretty much the same answer- too many to count. Sometime back more than 50 years ago (I am 73), I was in the Army as a medic on an overseas team that did SAR/Recon. I carried a 1911. We would go out into the boonies to retrieve those unfortunates whose aircraft encountered difficulties, frequently due to pieces of metal traveling at high velocity which caused malfunctions. One of our jobs was to go get them and bring them back to safety. In a perfect world, these missions would take place without any negative contact with anyone who might take umbrage at our presence. We never lived in a perfect world.

    As far as Ed’s education degrees, I would have at least a Bachelor’s Degree because when I got out of the Army, I became a nurse and worked civilian ERs for more than 30 years. I have seen hundreds of GSWs in many calibers. The only people I have heard use your argument above were all people who would answer all of my three questions to you with NONE, ZIP, ZERO, NADA. About the only thing that is more devoid of intellect is when people want to know how many people a veteran has killed. The answer to that is NUNYA. I know of no vet who will address that question unless they are lying through their teeth and claim to be a war hero. If you have not walked this path, what do you have to offer with your condescending, unwarranted comments? They are unwarranted and frankly irrelevant to the discussion

    It has always amazed me how so many people know so much about what goes on in a firefight, but they have never been there. SPOILER ALERT! If you think it is anything like you have experienced before, you are WRONG! Another spoiler, it is not like what you see on any screen, either large or small. Your world is changed FOREVER! There is NOTHING romantic or thrilling like you can see on any screen.

    I have never seen a center of mass hit with a .45 fail to stop the person being hit and I have seen more than a few. Getting a center of mass hit is much more difficult than most people think because of the Fight or Flight Responses. No one has control over this. The author has mentioned it in other threads, and I have addressed that many times in other threads. One of those Fight or Flight responses is tunnel vision and it is virtually impossible to acquire the sights of your weapon and your target at the same time. It takes multiple episodes of being in that situation before your body figures out that it has been here before and then you notice, hey, I can see the sights of my weapon.

    I have seen many people who were shot with calibers that the local cops considered to be inadequate for self-defense. Too many of those patients killed their shooter after being shot and we still saved their @$$. Seems to me that if you shoot someone and they can still kill you after being shot, it was a failure, especially if they go to prison for life for your murder. When you have seen as many GSWs as I have, (well into triple digits) come talk to us about what works and what doesn’t.

    As far as dumb questions, one of the dumbest I have ever heard is asking what caliber a person would prefer to be shot with. Another SPOILER! No one wants to be shot with any caliber. A paintball will not kill you but depending on the brand and where you get hit, it can hurt like hell. Which would you rather get shot with?

    Most of what you had to say was a non sequitur to the article. When you talk about the people who quit talking, they are not dumb. They quit talking to you because you have demonstrated a vast boatload of ignorance and realize that like talking to a preschooler who knows so much, you are almost unteachable . They quit wasting their breath.

  20. On my doctorate certificate, NO NRA stuff. NRA was a fine operation many years ago. They tend to be a great compromising force these days. I would prefer GOA. Thank you! “Shall Not Be Infringed”.

  21. I had an experienced, proficient, tested and proven LE firearms instructor put it simply. If you know you are going to be in a gunfight you take the most powerful weapon you can accurately handle with you. Pick what you want and load it with what you want, it’s your life at stake.

    As for preparedness look for someone who has actually been tested in life, which is not likely someone who is bragging about it. Physical preparedness without the proper mind set is of little use.

    There are four reactions to a life threatening situation. 1. Run towards the problem and address the issue. 2. Take cover and address the issue. 3. Freeze up. And 4, run away. Which number are you? Interesting number 3 is the only wrong answer, depending on the situation all the others may apply.

    For me personally I tell my partners, win lose or draw, as long as you are in the fight to the best of your ability I’ll work with you.

    Thank you Ed for another interesting article, though I know you have been there I’ve never heard you boast.

  22. I had an experienced, proficient, tested and proven LE firearms instructor put it simply. If you know you are going to be in a gunfight you take the most powerful weapon you can accurately handle with you. Pick what you want and load it with what you want, it’s your life at stake.

    As for preparedness look for someone who has actually been tested in life, which is not likely someone who is bragging about it.

    There are four reactions to a life threatening situation. 1. Run towards the problem and address the issue. 2. Take cover and address the issue. 3. Freeze up. And 4, run away. Interesting number 3 is the only wrong answer, depending on the situation all the others may apply.

    For me personally I tell my partners, win lose or draw, as long as you are in the fight to the best of your ability I’ll work with you.

    Thank you Ed for another interesting article, though I know you have been there I’ve never heard you boast.

  23. When the 45 ACP was designed, the only sure thing was that a bigger bullet, going deeper, could make enough of a wound channel to be effective. 110 years latter, modern ammo will perform in ways that old timers would have never thought possible. Real problem is that most shooters will not shoot to stop the threat. As hydraulic shock/wound channel is the biggest measure of realistic ability to shop a threat, no handgun round reaches the ~2400 fps required for true “one shot” stopping power. But+ any bullet/caliber/handgun combo that can be shot accurately enough to hit a 5″ target at a given distance, could provide reasonable performance to use for self-defense roles. A solid hit by a 32 ACP is superior to a miss from a 44 mag.

  24. You did not mention fluid displacement bullets like Underwood, Lehigh, and Black hills manufactures. I believe they can be effective or at least could be effective by gel testing results. The Xtreme Defender .45 round is 135 grains with advertised velocity around 1300+ FPS. So they as a rule are light for caliber higher velocity cartridges which are barrier blind and do not rely on expansion to be effective. If you carry say a 45 compact this cartridge is already larger in diameter than a 9mm and about as fast as a 357 Sig. and the magazine is about 1 ounce lighter.

  25. Bob, Thank you very much for the complement and for offing comments in my behalf… Coming from you means a lot.

    As for the unknown gendered Dead Armadillo… I would recommend that you enroll in some remedial reading comprehension classes because you clearly do not understand what you are reading. I am sure it must be affecting everything you do in life and to help out I will gladly contribute to your tuition.

  26. I suppose I am one of the dumbest, deadarmarillo

    Am I mistaken or is the .308 a rifle cartridge?

    The .357 Magnum is a terribly effective cartridge in full power form. In a mid range load in a snub nose – not so much. The point is the .45 ACP offers a combination of superior wound ballistics, manageable recoil, and a rapid second shot as well as being chambered in a self loading pistol. I carry the Magnum when hiking or camping because it feels right, but in my neck of the woods the .45 would be good. Keep the point of the discussion in the context it was began. The point is- all pistol calibers are not the same.

  27. DEADARMADILLO
    I don’t get into those arguments because I realize everyone has what they think is best. When someone puts down what I carry caliber wise I ask them would you want to get shot with a 9mm or a .45, there obvious answer is neither one.

  28. Ed, unfortunately this article is timely and may be useful because of the current socio-climate we find ourselves in. I emigeated over 50 years ago and not once during this time have I ever considered carrying a gun for protection, until now so thanks for rhe reminder.

  29. .45, 1911, blah, blah, blah. Of course you don’t want to go into a treatise on ballistics because the .45 ACP doesn’t come out looking so good in comparison to others. When someone starts a discussion with me about how wonderful the .45 is and state that the only reason they shoot a .45 is because they don’t make a.46 I ask them a simple question. If you think a larger diameter bullet is the answer, I assume you would rather be shot by a .357 magnum? Or maybe a .308 which has an even smaller diameter? Except for the dumbest, that usually ends the discussion.

  30. Me, I would be in elementary school as far as being qualified as a competent gun fighter, yes, I know how to shoot and shoot accurately the problem is there is a big difference between paper and a person. I would like to think I would do everything right if I’m ever in that situation, but tunnel vision can take over rapidly and things can go south in a hurry. One thing that I practice is situational awareness and do everything I can to not have to pull my firearm on someone, this has served me well. The thing is sometimes you could find yourself in a situation where there is no retreat, and it is do or die. I have made it very clear to my wife that if she is with me and I have to pull my firearm out I’m going to use it there will be no warning shots as at that point I will be of the mind that my life as well as my wife’s is in extreme danger.

  31. Excellent

    This all calibers are the same BS has adversely impacted many shooters, and is for the most parroted by those with little to no experience. Started long ago with the various stopping power hoaxes.

    Good Job Ed!
    Bob

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