Hand Cannons of Choice

I’ve had a couple of requests for me to bite the bullet (LOL! Ha! Pun intended) and go ahead and discuss firearms as they relate to preparedness. I think my hesitation lies with the fact there can be so much contention regarding the whole topic. Whether or not to own firearms. Which models/calibers are best. And on and on and on.

Well let’s get the first issue out of the way right off the bat. I’m from the South, the Great State of TEXAS to be exact, and to even further declare my heritage, the piney woods of East TEXAS. And so where do I stand on firearms? Right in the middle of as many as I can afford. They are a way of life where I grew up and as a prepper, they ought to be one of yours as well. Quite frankly, you need to understand that the overwhelming majority of society think prepping and preppers are crazy. They are not preparing. They are not going to be prepared.  When the moment arrives, they are going to be possibly injured, and definitely hungry and thirsty. They are going to be desperate to survive. Their survival instincts are going to kick in and eventually they will end up at your doorstep in search of things like electricity, medicine, food, and water. If you have kept your prepping a family secret, then you will be fine until the random door-to-door pillaging starts. If you have blabbed about your prepping activities, then guess what? They are coming to your house first and they are coming in droves. And if karma keeps kicking your tail as much as it seems she is in that moment, they are coming armed. You better be armed to the hilt as well. If, no WHEN, someone shows up at your doorstep either begging or demanding to share in your preparedness bounty you had better be ready to defend your goodies. I’m not going to debate the second amendment, because I can read. And having read it, I understand it. Enough said.

Having cleared up that issue, let’s talk about firearms as they pertain to protecting your Keep. Just as there are two main areas of focus for preparedness (shelter in place verses evacuation), there are two main schools of thought on this home front. Handguns verses long guns (i.e. rifle, shotgun, etc.). Tonight all I’m going to discuss is the handgun. If you are a fan of Pulp Fiction you may affectionately refer to it as the hand cannon. But then  again I guess that may also depend on the caliber you choose, wouldn’t it. 🙂

Many, many people have asked me following my preparedness presentations, “what caliber do you recommend for home defense/preparedness?”. I’ve got to be honest if you already subscribe to firearms, you most likely have a preference and it’s just one of those “to each his own” things. If you have zero experience with handguns, then quite frankly you have some research…also known as play time :-)…ahead of you. My personal opinion? The best choice is whatever you are comfortable with. I’m not being trite here. The truth is that everyone is different as far as height, weight, strength, stamina, comfort, and experience with a firearm. All of these things make a huge difference in your handgun proficiency with regard to model/caliber. If you have a particular handgun model/caliber that you are comfortable with, then by all means, make that your weapon of choice. If you don’t know yet, because you just haven’t had the opportunity to experience any, then get yourself on down to your local gun range and try some out. Enroll in some courses. Read about the various options and features with regards to their functionality and capability and then try them out and choose. But the most important part is GET COMFORTABLE with your weapon. Get proficient. This will never happen if you don’t practice. You know what you will have if you just buy something and never practice shooting it? A hot mess. You will be dangerous as hell. Those in the law enforcement world call it “muscle memory” and you need a healthy dose of it when it comes to your sidearm. Muscle memory what is obtained when you have practiced till you are blue in the face. You have practiced under all conditions to include hot and cold weather, inside and outside, standing and proned, behind cover and exposed, with and without a boat-load of adrenaline pumping through you system. Having muscle memory means that your hair could be on fire and the world falling down around you and you would pick up that weapon with absolute confidence, draw down on your target, and release a round without so much as one inkling of hesitation, with proficient accuracy.

Now, if you are one of the uninitiated with sidearms, you may still be wondering where to begin as far as choosing. I think the best way is for you to hear other folks testimonials. I’m going to give you mine and I sure hope we will get some comments regarding others. (Let’s keep it cool though, there is no right or wrong, only preferences and experiences.)

Having spend time in law enforcement, I received an obscene amount of training with the Sig Sauer P229 (SIG .357). Because of my training with this weapon, it is in fact my fist choice for a pistol. This is for all the reasons I stated above. I have an enormous amount of confidence in my ability to use my 229. Regardless of the fact that I’ve been out of the realm of law enforcement for many years, that weapon in my hands or on my hip simply feels natural to me. I’m so comfortable with it and its operation that it feels like an extension of myself. I personally, wouldn’t carry anything else simply because of the training that I’ve had. Can you easily receive this level of training? No, probably not, but if you practice, you can achieve that level of confidence.

The point is, I personally believe that choosing a handgun is extremely personal. I would discourage taking someone else’s opinion at face value. Sure there are lots of choices even beyond model and caliber. I haven’t even gone into the realistic differences between revolvers and semiautomatic. I realize it may feel extremely inhibiting to walk into a gun range and admit you have zero experience, but unless the guy is an ass (and if that is the case, deny him your monies, get in the car  and drive to the next range), most likely he will do his job and help you. He will take your level of experience and intended use into consideration, make some recommendations, and let you send some rounds down range. After having that experience, take some time to evaluate what feels right and maneuverable to you. Guns are very personal. Take some time, do some research, and practice to figure out which one speaks to you. Did you see any of the Harry Potter movies or read the books? LOL. Harry goes to pick a magic wand and the salesman tells him that actually the wand will pick him. And that’s exactly what happens…let the gun pick you. (If you are interested, the scene is linked below. 3:25 into the video below will be the line.) Trust me, the right one in your hand can feel the same way.

We’ll talk later about long guns. Let’s take it one step at a time. A hand gun can be used for home protection as well as concealed carry, so let’s start there. For those of you also reared on the second amendment, I’m positive you’ve got a “baby” of your own. Speak up and lend your advice and experience to our prepper brothers and sisters. Gimmie some comments detailing your preferences. I’ll never betray my baby the 229, but that’s not to say I’m not in the market for brothers and sisters well :-). I’m always open to your advice.

Take care.

11 responses to “Hand Cannons of Choice

  • Dan

    You are soooo right in the Pistol picking the owner. Also one can not over state the need to practice, practice and more practice. In my line of work I don’t have much contact with the Public, though I do carry (the only one armed in the Facility) I take time to practice my draw, aim and trigger control(dry firing of course). I personally prefer the Glock Model 22 in .40, like the Keeper and the Sig 229, because it’s what I’ve had most training in. Another Pistol I like is the S&W M27 in .357, very nice weapon.

  • Sam

    I am a fan of my Ruger 9mm. Relatively inexpensive…but a great gun, if you can deal with the safety features. If you don’t want to deal with double action, a S&M 9 is a great gun. Not ideal for folks who are not into a tough trigger pull. But for those who haven’t the slightest clue, try a 22…again a Ruger is good. I am a long rifle fan…but that is just me.

  • S.A.

    I have an older police issue S&W 4006 that I’m very confident with, and man that thing is built like a tank. If i ever run out of ammo I will still have a serviceable bludgeon.

    My wife doesn’t like to shoot it very much because of the recoil, but at least she knows how to handle it. I have been shopping around a bit for a .22LR for her to practice with. Looked at the Sig Mosquito but ran into a LOT of reviews saying the reliability was hit or miss. Same with the Walther P22. I recently saw that Ruger is now making the SR22, one wonders if there would be any reason to go with this weapon as opposed to one of their more proven models.

    • Sam

      The Walther p22 was a let down. Hit or miss and ammo selective. Stick with what you are comfy with!

      • S.A.

        Exactly the same thing i read over and over about the Mosquito too. Definitely leaning towards a Ruger at this point.

      • Sam

        I am definitely all about Ruger…great guns. I wish a Smith and Wesson 10mm was practical for women. Love them too…but they take larger hands and again…trigger pull.

  • David

    Something else to keep in mind. A smaller handgun, like the 9mm, can generally hold twice the number of rounds in the magazine, and won’t blow through so many of your house walls if/when you miss. It’s important to remember one of your kids might be on the other side of the wall behind the bad guy. Sure, it’s not going to stop someone with body armor, but unless you expect Chinese paratroops to drop on your house, it might be better to go with a round with less kick and more ready rounds for an extended event. Of course, I say that, and I have a .45.

  • Amanda Rea

    Perhaps for those that are ‘gun shy’, they could purchase a tazer?

  • michael hamilton

    A lot of good information on handguns and handgun reviews. Something that hasn’t been brought up is ammunition for your handgun. I’ve seen a lot of people get their “Dirty Harry” but can’t afford to shoot it. Also, it is heavy, so when you’re planning on a weapon, handgun or long gun think about the same caliber to minimize the different kinds of ammunition you’ll need to maintain. My last comment is something to think about “How much ammunition do I need”…mike

  • David

    Amanda – I don’t trust Tasers. Allegedly (obviously I’ve never tested it) you can beat a Taser by simply putting an arm over your head before you get shot. When you get zapped, you arm convulsively get pulled down as you cramp, and it yanks the wires out. Game over – you’re weaponless in front of someone that’s now EXTRA angry.

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