Thursday, January 24, 2008

Personal Protection Firearms Preferences

I handle moderator chores in the Handguns: Autoloaders forum of one of the larger firearms discussion boards. I find it interesting how strongly some enthusiasts promote their OWN choice of a defensive handgun as being totally ideal for others.

For the past couple of weeks, one such thread has been allowed to run on for 'WAY too long. The stated topic concerned which pistol is better, the S&W M&P autoloader or the Springfield XD. The following is a slight rework of my ending post thereon.

Some contributors cannot accept just how subjective is the individual's choice of firearms -- firearms in general, and personal protection arms in particular. It would seem axiomatic: You carry what YOU like, and what YOU trust, and what YOU can shoot well, and I'll do the same. The rest is merely details.

Unless, of course, you're dealing with an agency issue weapon, personal preference is the ONLY thing that counts. In the case of issue pistols, if the powers-that-be tell you, "If you work here, you carry what we issue," then that pretty well ends it. You either cowboy up and adapt to the issue piece or sack your saddle and go elsewhere.

And I had to inject a bit of personal testimony at this point - - -
It happens that I've shot a LOT of different handguns over the years. I have my own personal preferences, sure. Long ago, I worked for an agency where you could carry whatever you wanted, so long as it was "Colt or Smith & Wesson double action revolver, four-inch barrel, caliber.38 Special or .357." At my next job, the requirement was about the same but by that time, the Ruger DA was acceptable, and the caliber was not specified. Even back then, my personal preference was for the Colt 1911-type pistol, but I adapted, practiced with the approved sidearms, and got along just fine.

Given my druthers, I'm still prefer a 1911 guy for when I carry a full size pistol, and I choose an Airweight .38 as a pocket piece. . But you know what? I could get along quite well with any of several other good quality sidearms.

Day to day, I like the Colt Commander .45, but my beloved Elder Son prefers his old model full-size Kimber. At least two men I highly respect prefer the 9mm Browning Hi Power. Another is devoted to a three-inch S&W .357. Something all these people have in common, though, is that they accept that it is the shooter and not the firearm that makes the decisive difference. And any of us could pick up the others' sidearm and make a pretty good showing in a street fight.

I'll readily admit that I have almost NO experience with the S&W New M&P auto, or the Springfield XD. However, I have fired several thousand rounds through my Glock 19, so I'll bet that with only minimal practice, I could handle one of the other two fairly well. Allow me a month's intensive practice with a good holster and a bunch of ammo, and I think I could shoot expert on most police qualification courses with any of them.

Here's the catch, though: I don't feel the need to promote my personal favorite as being superior to YOUR own choice for YOUR use. In an appropriate discussion, I'll tell you what I like, and why. I'll listen politely while you tell me the same. But as soon as you begin telling me why MY Commander is utterly wrong, that Steve's High Power is trash, or Marko's Model 13 is sadly obsolete, then you lose me in a hurry, and I'd jsooner be elsewhere. I SURELY won't stick around to listen to you expound on why the XD or MP.40 or HK crunchenticker is inestimably superior.

Brand loyalty is all well and good, but when one attacks the choices of others, and become tacky in the discussion, well, thats a bit out of line. For those who had their say and respectfully stood by while the other guy had his, I extended my thanks. I thought that eighty-odd entries were plenty on the topic. I invited anyone with something new to add to start a new thread. In the meanwhile, I closed the discussion.


lainy said...

Good for you for ending a very dumb conversation. Don't you just hate when people think they know everything about thing's and won't be quiet?

You impress me:)

James said...

Amen. I don't have "a" carry gun. I have at least three that I keep around for carry, which one I carry depends on where I'm going, what I'm wearing, perceived threat level, etc... I can put lead on target with any of them, and don't find the differing controls to be an issue (1911A1, Glock 36, and KelTec P3AT). I've also carried a SIG for many years, first in 9mm, then in .40S&W.

Jerry said...

I couldn't agree with you more. My current carry is a PPK. I bought a Glock model 30 for that purpose, guess why I don't carry it?

If I find a carry that packs a better punch, more shots and fits me better, I will probably switch. Until then, the PPK is my choice. (But, I'm going to look at an "air weight."

John B said...

I have most of those, or the cheaper versions. I am looking for a short slide browning detective model. Same frame, and 15 rounds with the ram-line magazines. I'm carrying the S&W 469 right now. My respect for the four rules actually makes me a calmer person than when I'm not carrying.

I feel no need to prove "My gun better than your gun." and I have qualified with the glock, 1911, and the S&W autos in .40 and .45 that our sheriff's deputies carry. Then I'm the guy, that x rings with an M-16 when someone complains of it being defective..

"Ain't nothing wrong with this rifle Marine!"

I too miss Colonel Cooper. I only met him the once, but I felt him to be like a Grandfather to me...

SpeakerTweaker said...

I have a conversation-ending piece (that I only throw out in the right company) when folks try to start flicking "My (gun/caliber) is better than yours." Here goes:

We'll step outside. We'll shoot each other in the head, one after the other. Last man standing wins. I go first.

Besides, everyone knows there's nothing superior to MY Beretta;)


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