In which Caleb says we’re wrong

(Via Say Uncle)

And where I say, not so much.

It’s been way too long around here without discussing the Gun Thing. A post at Gun Nutz in which Caleb is “imploring people to resist the temptation to run out and buy the latest trend in gun stuff, the pocket 9mm as exemplified by the Ruger LC9 and the Sig P290. It seems now that the word has been heard by others and they too are picking up their drums to implore people to not buy guns based on marketing” has me motivated to end that.

Caleb’s POV on this is that “We’ve said it here before – there is nothing you can do with a “pocket” 9mm that you can’t do better with a legit subcompact gun or a proper pocket pistol in a mousegun caliber.” His point being, I believe, that because the 9mm gun is physically small, it’s too hard to handle in 9mm, so stick with the smaller caliber so it will be easier to handle. Besides, it’s almost as effective, and we can prove it because a .380 penetrates ballistic gel 11-12″.

I’m sorry, but my reaction to this (outside of a sincere “whiskey tango foxtrot, over?”) is twofold. First, Caleb is correct in urging people not to buy a pocket 9mm (and I extend that to “any gun at all”) because of marketing. I didn’t buy my preferred carry gun, a Kel-Tec PF9, because of marketing. This is a Good Thing, because Kel-Tec pretty much sucks at marketing.

I bought it because, as Caleb says, a .380 with the best self-defense ammo you can buy is “just about enough gun”. Note that “just about enough gun” does not now and never shall equal “enough gun”. A 9mm with a good mass-market self-defense ammo (in my case, the Federal Hydrashok) leaves me feeling that I have “enough gun”.

Second, I am not going to buy that you can’t control a compact 9mm well enough to make 25 yard shots. You can; I can do it. It’s a matter of duplicating the route to Carnegie Hall–practice, practice, practice. This is also how you learn to control any small pistol. Or, for that matter, any other gun.

I will admit to not being a pistol person. I grew up shooting long guns, and my preference in self defense guns for everyday carry would be an M4gery with a couple of spare 20 round Pmags. Unfortunately for me, that kind of takes the whole open carry debate to new heights that I don’t care to go to. And while I luvs me some 1911s in .45 ACP and some XDs in 9mm, when the uniform of the day is shorts, a t-shirt and flip-flops, they just don’t work for me as a carry piece. (And so help me, I will drop the Ban Hammer on the first person who tells me that I need to adjust my dress to suit the “right gun”.)

But folks, with a bit of training this old Long Gun Guy can take his bitty PF9 and pop 25 yard torso targets with combat-effective shots at 25 yards until he can’t keep a grip on that bitty PF9 any longer–call it 100 rounds, if I’m not in a masochistic mood. If I can do that, I have to think anyone who has average hand-eye coordination and is cross-eye dominant can do it as well.

This is a self-defense gun, meant to be used in a hurry when you have way too many hormones dumping into your bloodstream in way too short a time. I’m not trying for a 2″ group, I just want to make Mr. Bad Guy stop what’s he’s doing and assume a horizontal position.

And somehow, I just don’t trust a .380, no matter how wonderful the ammo is, to do that. So I’m sticking with my compact 9mm. My suggestion is to follow my methodology–get a gun, in the largest caliber possible, that you can shoot with accuracy and comfortably carry all the time. That way, you’re much more likely to have it when you need it, which is, after all, the real first rule of a gunfight.

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