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Handguns, an opinionated overview
Discussions related to Guns and Firearms
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Handloader
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 11:27 pm    Post subject: Handguns, an opinionated overview Reply with quote

Somewhere between WWII and the present, the role of the handgun has been altered or expanded. With the advent of the 44 Mag, 454, 480, 460S&W, 500S&W, et al, there has been a trend toward heavier handguns with longer barrels and optics optional packages. In fact, some scope equipted handguns rival compact rifles in the weight department! Part of this reflects a more affluent society in which pragmatic useage is secondary to image and perception as well as an expanded role for handguns themselves.

It wasn't too long ago that hunting game served both as sport and as necessity. Putting meat on the table was an important aspect of economy and feeding one's family. In some cases, more rare as time has passed, putting meat on the table was a part of survival. Few today require the benefits of game meat for their existence and the whole arena has shifted toward sport rather than necessity. But, in times when meat itself was critical, the rifle was the most pragmatic choice to anchor a deer, antelope or elk quickly and decisively.

No longer are handguns viewed in the role of defensive short range firearms. Many enjoy hunting with them despite the hunting handguns being less practical in terms of power and results. Its a challenge that is born of the luxury of our times. I have no quarrel with those that choose to do this, incidentally. But the influence of the hunting handgun has altered somewhat the perception of "correct" choice for defensive handguns.

Today we obsess about accuracy with defensive handguns at ranges they were never intended to be used. Who cares if a 1911, a 357 or a 44Mag can shoot 1.5" groups at 50yards if that handgun is for defensive purposes? Of what possible advantage is a defensive handgun carried daily with barrel lengths in excess of 4"? What strong case can be made, even, for adjustable sights on a defensive handgun? I won't even begin to address the money pit issues of night sight, laser and attached flashlights, none of which render a defensive handgun more effective or defensive. IMO, of course.

I was pleased to see S&W bring the Model 21 and 22 back. There are rumors of a reissue of the Model 58! Scandium frame S&W 1911s are selling in record numbers. Lightweight Glocks and XDs (light, that is, until the magazines are loaded) sell well too, and SIG sales are at record levels, so some practical thinking is happening in the market place. We have more choices than ever before.

So, what's my problem? It centers around embellishing handguns that really need to be more basic, not more complex. It centers around the influence of the commercial rags that would try to influence the new buyer to products that may not be the best choice. Its a reaction to the daily stream of customers that have skewed perceptions of what is needed to be effective --- and that takes some time and effort to correct.
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roklok
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 1:00 am    Post subject: Re: Handguns, an opinionated overview Reply with quote

HHHMMMMM, have to agree with a lot of your opinions, however I prefer a 5" 1911 and tritium sights. My 2 Kimbers, a series 1 Classic Stainless and just aquired stainless TLE II both are 5" and are equipped with tritium sights. I think that the night sights are practical on a defensive handgun. I totally agree on lasers and handgun mounted lights, neither appeal to me one bit. Doing building searches at night I prefer to hold my flashlight out away from my body in case the light draws fire. I dont find that the extra inch or two on a full size 1911 is the hard part to conceal for off duty carry. While a defensive handgun does not have to be a tackdriver, reliability is certainly more important, accuracy sure helps build confidence in a gun. Just in case a threat from a distance requires engaging. Everybody has different ideas, for example some time ago you posted that you were really tempted by the Kimber Raptor, which doesnt attract me at all. In fact in my opinion the Raptor has the needless embellishment that you are addressing in this post. To each his own!!
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SwampFox
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 7:55 am    Post subject: Re: Handguns, an opinionated overview Reply with quote

Handloader,
What you are truly looking at is the effect that handgun silhouette (IHMSA and NRA) and the practical shooting (IPSC, USPSA and IDPA) have had on the handgun industry since 1976.

The first International championship IHMSA match was won with a 1911 and 230 grain round nose ball ammo. By 1981 if you were not shooting an XP 100 with a rifle cartridge chambering, you were wasting your time. The IPSC games started out as "reality" shooting events and evolved by 1986 into science fiction (all alone and you go after 6 guys with shotguns). I attended the FIPT three times, the last time I went they had a 50-yard, standing event, for speed..... steaming road apples.

Unfortunately many handgun shooters, writers, manufacturers and sidewalk experts get sport, games, hunting and defense all balled up into a mish-mash of wrong thinking. To do it right you need a gun for each. But many think they can have a gun that will do it all. That skewed thinking spells a gun that does nothing well but does everything. Like using a bass fiddle for a boat oar.

Sorry, but you store guys are left to sort the dupes from the dupsters. The real sad part is that 99% of the dupsters do not know any better.
Ed

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Last edited by SwampFox on Wed Jun 06, 2007 7:57 am; edited 1 time in total
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tracker
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 7:56 am    Post subject: Re: Handguns, an opinionated overview Reply with quote

I tend to agree with you Handloader, seems like everyone wants to be Dirty Harry.

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tracker
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 11:04 am    Post subject: Re: Handguns, an opinionated overview Reply with quote

I should probably correct myself, it's not necessarily the shooters wanting to have the "Dirty Harry" image, it's the manufacturers/marketers trying to pimp it. One of the handguns in the Ruger catalogue has a tag line that reads "you'll get used to the tough guy persona in no time" Puh-leeze, like some poor critter is going to see me coming toward him in the woods and say to himself "oh oh, that one's a tough guy, I better scram" Usually just knowing there's humans around is all most of the animals I'm aware of need. And of the six billion other homo sapiens on the planet (that's right I said it, I called you all homos) I really don't care if anyone wants to think I'm a tough guy or a wussie or anything else. But the guy selling me the firearm? Oh yeah...he knows... Very Happy

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keetoowah
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 2:19 pm    Post subject: Re: Handguns, an opinionated overview Reply with quote

you a wuss?? hahaha not even.
I feel that putting meat on the table from hunting IS still a necessity today.
I am not out for a tough image but to have that kind of power in my hand
oh oh oh oh..

I still cannot see hunting as a sport.
sport with a gun would be like competition shooting of some kind
I see hunting as a need to feed myself and to make things I need in trying to live closer to the Earth and more traditional way.

I have noticed more now how people do seem to want to have that "dirty harry" image as you say Tracker.
I see my hand gun as a short range defence all the time. Whole reason I bought it.

Are there any draw backs in having a Stainless Steel gun?

regards

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Handloader
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 9:47 pm    Post subject: Re: Handguns, an opinionated overview Reply with quote

keetoowah: and advantage/disadvantage to SS is that it is more obvious when one is displaying or presenting it. If one feels that the obvious presence of a handgun can de-escalate a confrontation, then SS may be considered an advantage. Of course, it could also cause the situation to worsen. OTOH, if one feels that a stealthy presentation is best, then a blued or matte finish may be a preferred choice as the handgun is typically less obvious.
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george20042007
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2007 12:02 am    Post subject: Re: Handguns, an opinionated overview Reply with quote

Handloader, what's the dilemma? Someone comes into the store, says I need a self defense gun. Show him all you got. Offer no opinion, just answer any questions. He'll buy what impresses him, then after a while he becomes aware of his bad choice, he comes back to the store, makes a better choice. Realizes he needs yet another as he now realizes you have to have more than one gun for the many situations that come about, comes back to buy more guns to fit all scenarios. And all this time, you've been a great help. When he comes back again to BS a little (because he's a good customer & feels he made a friend), you can now get him interested in a gun that shoots 45LC, 454 Casull, & 460 S&W, pointing out how convenient such a gun would be.

Sounds like a win, win situation. When you started this thread, were you complaining about something? I'm a bit confused Confused

Keep it coming...
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Handloader
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2007 12:22 am    Post subject: Re: Handguns, an opinionated overview Reply with quote

Howdy George, thanks for your response.

There is no dilemma, really. What I was attempting to point out is that there is a gap between perception and reality when it comes to the choice and the expectation of handgun useage. In a sales situation, there is little effort to pursuade a customer to buy a specific handgun, rather, there is a lot of effort expended to qualify what is being sought and to demonstrate the features and benefits of various firearms that may address those needs. Along with that, it is sometimes appropriate to reorient the customer to choices that may not have been considered. Most of the staff at our store is experienced enough to do so effectively and, in so doing, help the customer arrive at a buying decision that will be valid for the purpose intended. What we don't want is someone buying a firearm only to find that it was the wrong or inappropriate choice.

This is mainly an issue with first time buyers. There are many customers that know exactly what they want, but, most fall somewhere inbetween.

If there is a complaint in my post, it would solely be toward a marketing oriented press that often distorts the very basic purpose of owning a firearm. Too, much emphasis is placed on the equipment and far too little on the useage or proficiency aspects, with some notable exceptions.

BTW, what's with all the magazine photos of handguns with knives?
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Dimitri
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2007 7:51 am    Post subject: Re: Handguns, an opinionated overview Reply with quote

Handloader wrote:
BTW, what's with all the magazine photos of handguns with knives?

Its the tactical craze, more weapons on you the better, you are already carrying a Handgun BUT also carry a knife for "hand to hand". Nuts

Dimitri

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Bushmaster
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2007 10:27 am    Post subject: Re: Handguns, an opinionated overview Reply with quote

And all I want for christmas is my three .357 magnums...Colt SAA, Ruger Blackhawk and S&W mod 19 Combat Magnum...You fellas can keep your supper, "my bore is bigger" dupper handguns...'course I do have a Colt 1911...But for all around usage .357 magnum is about all I need. The Colt is semi-retired (I used it for handgun hunting), the Ruger is used for hunting and the S&W is used for winter carry (CCW).

As far as all these fancy gun crazes are concerned. Especially the "big bore" handguns. It sounds like a supliment for something that you may be missing. I'm not...I am a bit tired of salesmen trying to sell me what they bought and can't sell and passing it off as "The Gun"...

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tracker
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2007 12:51 pm    Post subject: Re: Handguns, an opinionated overview Reply with quote

Bushmaster wrote:
Especially the "big bore" handguns. It sounds like a supliment for something that you may be missing.

I think you've made another very valid point there, Bushmaster. Kind of goes with the biggest possible 4 wheel drive or the shiniest red sports car huh? wtf I'm gonna start packing a derringer Very Happy Very Happy

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d_hoffman
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2007 7:04 pm    Post subject: Re: Handguns, an opinionated overview Reply with quote

I'm going to agree with you Bushy ( I know, scarey thought huh) wtf Nuts The .357 magnum has long been concidered the best self defence weapon along with the age old .45acp. I have and would again carry a .40s&w. As far as the 454casull, .460, .480 or the 500s&w goes in a handgun... Thumbs Down If I want something like that I'll get it in a rifle such as the H&R Handi in the 500s&w. Even the good old .44 magnum IMHO is too much for defencive use.

On the other end of the spectrum, the 9mm and .38spl again IMHO would be borderlined as too light for defence. Even the millitary is agreeing with that. The soldiers in Iraq are wanting a handgun with more stopping power. I personally think they should go with the Taurus 24/7 OSS in .45acp.

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Handloader
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2007 8:22 pm    Post subject: Re: Handguns, an opinionated overview Reply with quote

d_hoffman: 9mm FMJ has proven to be ineffective as a personal defense choice and, like you said, the armed forces are seeking a new option.

OTOH, 9mm personal defense ammo, prohibited by the Geneva Convention, has proven to be a superb round. The Golden Sabre, the Federal HydraShock and the Speer Gold Dot have acculumated a very high percentage of one shot stops that is right on the heels of the 40S&W and 45 ACP when personal defense ammo is used with those cartridges. The 357 SIG is getting good marks, too. That said, the 125gr JHP 357 Magnum continues to lead the pack in terms of effectiveness in one shot stops.
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d_hoffman
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2007 9:00 pm    Post subject: Re: Handguns, an opinionated overview Reply with quote

You have a point about the 9mm rounds mentioned in normal situations for a defencive round, however ther has been too many police documented cases where the 9mm fell short in stopping power. Mostly because of the perp. was so high on drugs that it had little effect on them. Which is the reason that many law enforcement agencies went to the .40s&w and (thanks for reminding me) the .357sig.

I recall a Michigan State police incedent where one of the troopers emptied his gun on a drug crazed individual and didn't stop him. His partner pulled his .357mag and dropped him in his tracks. It started as a routine traffic stop.

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