Handguns

When it comes to handguns, you're going to start arguments. Everyone is different on their opinions. Many love the 9mm, because it's accurate. "Shot placement" vs. "caliber" is a long running argument, and we're not going to settle it here other than to say they're both right.

The debate comes down to:

Stopping power. Can a single round from the weapon stop a threat?

Accuracy: Stopping power is great... but if you can't hit the target, who cares who you could stop if it hit? It didn't. Now you have to shoot again.

The .45 ACP is an accurate and powerful round. The 9mm is a more accurate, but less effective round. This is why shooters who shoot 9mm are trained to fire two rounds, automatically. The drills call for 2-3 rounds, over and over again.

If you hit someone in the right spot with either weapon, it's going to stop them.

9mm Vs. .45 ACPBut as you'll see on the rifles page, the target you'll be shooting at most of the time in the Tribulation is not going to be people. And head shots on a Grizzly bear with a 9mm means at the least a mauling, and most likely a fatality.

 This is why, in war, the soldiers carry both a pistol and a rifle. The Russian army carries the AK-47 and a Tokharev, the US Army carries the Browning and the AR-15.

I tend to recommend in choices. I'll tell you what I like, my reasons for it, and why.

Ultimately, it's going to come down to... what can you hit? A lot of people carry a Desert EAgle who can't hit the broad side of the barn with it. I see them ALL the time at the range, BLAZING AWAY in rapid fire, and after they've swapped out three magazines, they can take their target and trade it back in for the dollar they spent on it, because there's nary a hole in it.

It doesn't matter if you buy a 1911, and your grip is flimsy, you anticipate the shot because your hearing is too sensitive, and you're not taking the time to sight the shot. If you can't hit the target with that gun, then you need to get a .22 and practice, then get a 9mm, THEN work your way up to the .45.

Shooting comes down to 5 fundamentals, and I'll discuss it more in the shooting article. Basically, sight alignment/sight picture, trigger pull, grip, stance, breathing. Out of all of them, grip is mastered pretty much in one hour of practice, sight alignment in a few minutes, breathing a few seconds, stance immediately, and trigger pull is EVERYTHING.

I shoot a lot. I shoot in drills where you must hit the target twice in three seconds. Here's how it works...

pull the gun out quickly, as fast and safely as possible. Get the gun on target, AIM, and s-q-u-e-e-z-e the trigger back. The BANG! should always be a surprise. Why?

If you anticipate it, you flinch. If you flinch, you miss. You should ALWAYS see the gas/flame when you shoot. You can BLINK all you want AFTER the bang, but if you blinked, you missed.

What two parts does everyone get wrong?

AIM, and trigger squeeze. hold your breath for a second, the target floats into sight. Exhale, and SQUEEEEEEEZE the trigger. There should be no pause between taking up the slack (the amount of trigger pull before you feel tension) and the Break (when the gun actually fires). I'll tell you if you're firing a revolver, I do intentionally add a tiny pause between slack and break.

You will need to practice, practice, practice. Champion shooter Todd Jarrett (supposedly the fastest shot in the world) reports he felt he fired one million rounds before he began to compete. I can say that 8 hours a day of shooting instruction over a week is the equivalent of 7-10,000 rounds.

We're not talking about competing, we're talking about surviving. There are some animals that you may run into in close quarters that you will need to kill immediately. If you're one of those brave souls that headed into the desert, you're going to run into snakes. There are some of those you'll want to kill immediately, because they'll kill you first. There are others you're going to want to kill because, well, the United States Marine Corps figured it out very quick that snakes have a lot of energy producing meat. That's why Marines refer to those Marines who are special forces (like Marine Recon and Snipers) as Snake Eaters.

What kind of handgun should you buy? I suggest shooting a few to find out. I personally recommend two different pistols, that people who like one rarely like the other.

The Colt 1911 (and its derivatives) is to me the best pistol. I own a 1927 Argentinia model. The frame is slightly larger than the Colt, but it's handmade and very nice. Many who've shot the 1911 types swear by them.

Others prefer Glock pistols. I recommend them both. Which is actually unusual, because if you like the one, you usually don't like the other. I think both of them have their good points. The 1911 is very good. Strong points? Single action initially, and a safety. The Colt is designed to be carried "cocked and locked", meaning you load it, load one in the barrel, ... then click the safety "up".

The 1911 has a grip safety and a manual safety. To fire, you have to be gripping the pistol, and flip the safety off... and pull the trigger.

The .45 is a joy to shoot, but you'll swear at it endlessly to clean it. Easy to clean, but.... reassembly is annoying. There's the barrel link, and I guarantee it will teach the most even tempered person to swear grievously. The Barrel link must be tipped backwards to reassemble the gun correctly. What it basically boils down to is, you almost need to stick something in there halfway through the gun reassembly just to keep it in the right position. Once you get that, it's a breeze. It's not impossible, just annoying. Remember, GI's in WWII could not graduate boot camp unless they could put the thing together blindfolded.

The .45 ACP round is big, and it does pack a whallop. Now, I did a side by side test between my 1911 and my Glock 9mm, and although the kick is noticeably harder, it's not that much harder. Proper grip and stance (two of the easiest shooting skills to learn) alleviate that risk.

I would almost recommend .45 ACP firearms for men, and 9mm for women. Just remember, what the difference comes down to is, if someone finds your hideaway and determines to take your hard earned supplies and tools, they're probably not going to leave you alive to cry about it!

If you have to shoot in defense of your life, it will probably take three times as many 9mm rounds to stop the person, as opposed to a .45. Another reason why 9mm weapons carry 17+1 rounds as opposed to the 7+1 of the 1911, or the 10+1 of the Smith & Wesson M&P .45 or the Glock 21.

Glock 21

 

Next, the Glock 21. It is a .45 ACP as well, but holds slightly more rounds. The butt of the gun is much thicker, because those 10 rounds are staggered into the same space that the 7 rounds are in the 1911. Glock owners usually are down on the 1911, because it is a nicely designed gun.

however, it's polymer. The 1911 is mostly metal, and absorbs some of the recoil. The polymer construction Glock 21 does not absorb it. I recommend full size frames, because in the Tribulation, you won't be worried about concealment.

The Glock is double action only, meaning you load the magazine in, rack the slide to put one in the chamber, and holster. There's no safety. Technically, Glock insists they have three safeties, but if I stuck something into the trigger and pulled back, the Glock will fire. There's good points and bad points to that... the Glock is always ready to go. They're very accurate and fast guns, and they break apart easily into four parts for cleaning.

I have fired Glock pistols for years, and I do recommend them. You'll have to try them to decide whether you prefer the 1911 to the Glock 21.

 

 

Smith & Wesson M&P .45

The last pistol to talk about is the Smith & Wesson M&P .45 ACP. It has a slightly smaller frame than the Glock 21 which is not as good, but it is a heavier gun, meaning it absorbs more recoil, making it more accurate. Smith & Wesson boasts that Glock shooters will find their scores going up about 11% higher than the Glock. The S&W has two safeties, one of which is the magazine well safety. If someone gets the drop on you, and they're wrestling the gun from your hand, EJECT YOUR MAGAZINE.

The S&W now will not fire. There's still a round in the magazine, but it won't fire without a magazine in the well.

It seems like a design flaw, and for years I was opposed to it, but Smith reps also boast that they've NEVER had anyone come to them and complain about that feature.

Both the Glock and S&W come with grip additions. meaning you can swap out the grip for a smaller or larger one. The 1911 is well, basically it.

I will state my opinion is that all three pistols are very good. There are good points and bad points to all three. And each has their fans, who will argue incessantly about the perceived merits of each one.

What's the biggest drawback to the 1911? Price. If you're motivated solely by budget, the Glock will be your choice. It costs slightly less than the S&W, and a lot less than the 1911. Keep in mind that the 1911 is also made by a number of companies (including Smith & Wesson) and that many people swear by Rock Island or Springfield Armory 1911 pistols.

Eventually, you have to decide.