Sunday, November 05, 2006

Handguns, which one is right for me?

People often ask me, which handgun or caliber of handgun is the best.

I'm afraid that there is no easy answer to that question. It depends on what you are going to use the handgun for, your physical makeup and your own personal preferences.

There are two types of handguns, revolvers and pistols. Revolvers have a revolving firing chamber; pistols have a firing chamber that is part of the barrel. Semi-automatic or auto-loading pistols fall into this second category as do single shot pistols.

Advantages and disadvantages:


Simplicity of design.
Easily to load.
Ammunition generally cheaper than semi-auto ammo with lower power loadings for practice.
Generally, physically stronger design that will take more abuse without damage.
In the event of a misfire, trigger may be pulled to fire the next round.

Takes longer to load.
Holds less ammo than newer semi-autos.
Generally harder to conceal than semi-autos.

Pistols - semi-automatics:

Slimmer design for easier concealability.
Modern semi-autos have up to three times the load capacity of a revolver.
Can be loaded very quickly.

Complicated design can lead to loading malfunctions.
Requires more training than revolver.
In the even of misfire, bullet must be cleared from gun before the next round can be fired.



Caliber is the designation of a bullets size but may have little to do with its actual size and is little more than a name designation.

For instance, 9mm, .380, .357 magnum and .38 special; all use the same diameter bullet and often bullets of the same type and weight but the bullet cases are all different in length and configuration. The diameters for all those calibers are .355 to .356 inches. The .357 magnum and .44 magnum are actually just slightly longer versions of the .38 special and .44 special.

Any handgun in any caliber is better than no handgun at all providing you know how to use it.



It has always been my experience that any given firearm is capable of far more accuracy than the person shooting it.

More than 80% of all defensive firearm use happens within less than 10 feet of the target. When you first start your training and practice, concentrate your practice at this distance.

The secret of accuracy is trigger control And trigger control is achieved by firing or dry-firing. The best results are achieved by dry-firing a double action* revolver. Newer semi-auto pistols that allow double action fire may also be used.

Dry-firing will damage a gun unless it is loaded with dummy rounds called Snap Caps.

The advantage of dry-firing is that you don't burn up a lot of expensive ammo and you don't have to be at the range to practice. I used to practice dry-firing setting in my recliner taking aim at the clock on the wall.

To dry-fire, load your weapon with snap caps, (it only takes one for a pistol capable of "double action" fire for revolvers you must have one for every cylinder hole), take aim at your target and slowly pull your trigger while concentrating keep your weapon on target. If you have never did this before you will be surprised at how much you gun moves around while you pull the trigger.

Even avid shooter are surprised by their increase in accuracy after learning trigger control by dry-firing.



The "best" is what's best for you, what fits your hand comfortably. I prefer the .45 ACP in either the larger or smaller frame models.

For personal protection, I recommend a medium caliber medium power weapon with experienced people using the magnum calibers if personally preferred. I recommend provenly functional hollow point ammunition for 9mm pistols. (Not all semi-auto pistols will function with hollow points and some cheap hollow points won't function in any weapon at all).

Double action, means that pulling the trigger "cocks" and "fires" the weapon as opposed to "single action", where pulling the triggers, "only fires the gun", and cocking is achieved by some other means.


Anonymous said...

My guess would be the one that shuts up the ex-wife?

nanc said...

well, that's not very nice, rob!


Anonymous said...

Yes, "I'm Evilllllllllll"


Brooke said...

Hey, dry firing at each other couldbe an effective way to settle a petty argument! ;)

Thanks for the refresher course, Warren! It never hurts!

beakerkin said...

Do not fire weapons at tax forms. The IRS is very touchy about the use of tax forms for target practice.

nanc said...

works for me, brooke!

Ms.Green said...

I have a hammerless stainless steele 38 cal. Lady Smith which is very easy to conceal and is very accurate. And it's not a "wussy" gun that some think of when they think of a "ladies" gun. I would highly recommend it to anyone considering a good concealed carry gun.

Anonymous said...

Barrel length & accuracy... My neighbor had a hammerless .25 cal. revolver w/about a 1" barrel. We used to shoot it in his backyard... we couldn't hit a 2' x 3' target at a distance of 5', let alone 10' firing with it... it only had one firing mode, double action... and the cylinder fit was so sloppy, it used to spray lead all over your hand... no fun at all to shoot. The only thing it would have been good for was physically shoving into your targets gutt and pulling the trigger...

Lawman said...

I'm all for law abiding citizens owning a firearm for self-protection. The old cliche is still true: Use whatever firearm you're most comfortable with.

For those who've never fired a gun before, I'd recommend going to your local firing range and asking for some instruction. Most of the better ranges will be more than happy to assist you. The fees vary depending on where you are but it's worth it in the long run.

I'd also recommend taking a concealed carry course while you're at it. Ask your local range if they offer the course. Most of them do.

I carry a 9mm S&W 9606 as my personal weapon. For normal duty wear, it's the .40cal Glock 19.

For fun at the range, it's the Ruger Super Redhawk .44mag.

Elmer's Brother said...

I need some men to chime in on the previous post or the women to lay off this one.

I prefer a rifle Sir Warren.

Anonymous said...

...This is my rifle, and this is my gun. This one's for shooting, and this one's for...

Oooops. Better save that one for the movie thread...

Anonymous said...

...what kind of sights do you recommend?

Anonymous said...

I prefer my P226 over the military issue .45. One of these days I am going to get a new barrel for the .45 because I think it's been ran through the mill thousands of times.

The P226 has smoother action and handling during shooting at the range, and I feel it's a lot more accurate.

FLORIAN said...

The only one I have right now is a .40 S&W MP. I love it but I did have an incident where the gun jammed on me the first time I fired it. Next one will definitely be a revolver. My mom wants a .38 special revolver 5 rounds without the hammer (double-action only). Perhaps I'll consider it a Christmas gift.

FLORIAN said...

Ms. Green: I love the design of the Lady Smith so much that I might even buy myself one of those. It might even be my carry on for the new year.

Mr. Beamish the Instablepundit said...

For pure stopping power, nothing beats a SMAW-NE.

For convenience, it cooks deer right at the kill site. Barbeque sauce not included.

Warren said...

beakerkin said...
" Do not fire weapons at tax forms. The IRS is very touchy about the use of tax forms for target practice."

If I could carry it I'd take the whole tax code with me to the range for the next rattle battle! (machine gun shoot)

Warren said...

Ms Green, I believe that the only reason its called a lady Smith is for marketing reasons. A little larger grip and you have a chief's special.

What made it inaccurate wasn't the barrel length.

The way the cylinder aligns with the barrel has more to do with it. Since it was shaving lead the bullets were entering the barrel crooked.

I noticed on one of my revolvers that I consistantly had a tight group with one outlier. I numbered the cylinder holes and squeezed off several 6 shot groups checking the target with a shooting scope after every round. Number 5 hole puts a bullet about two inches to the right and 4 inches high at 25 yards.

I prefer large square trapdoor sights trimmed in white. My target pistol has a replacable insert in the front sight where you can put in the color of your choice. Most of my rifles have the ring and post.

That hole is probably less than .002 inch off. Imagine how bad it would be if it shaved lead.

Lawman, good words of advice.

Warren said...

Steve, I'm sure that the Sig Sauer is a much better gun than the government 1911 model. They aren't really comparable though.

The 1911 I qualified with was so loose it rattled when you shook it. :^)

My friends that own Sigs swear by them.

EB, I prefer rifles also but even my M-4 knock-off with the 16" barrel and collapsible stock is really hard to carry concealed!

Beamish, I hope they start making the Davy Crockett again. It would be just the thing to settle those parking lot arguments

Ms.Green said...

I had to share my excitement. I purchased a slightly used S&W 357 today for....$200.

Will make a nice Christmas present for my oldest son.

You don't get a deal like that every day.

BTW - my Lady Smith is suprisingly accurate. (or maybe it's just me (grin))

Elmer's Brother said...

EB, I prefer rifles also but even my M-4 knock-off with the 16" barrel and collapsible stock is really hard to carry concealed!

I think you're being too modest here Sir Warren.

nanc said...

careful, ms. green, you're liable to become a longrange partner!

cube said...

There's a simple solution. Get one of each and alternate depending on the circumstances ;-)

Mr. Ducky said...

Glad to see you're armed. Wouldn't want you to be defenseless when some towelhead decides to stuff Mrs. Warren into a burqa.

What kind of a craphole do you live ing that requires such a fascination with firearms.

The Merry Widow said...

Hey Warren, when I move and get my house built, you want to come down with the Mrs. for a visit? I plan on putting in my own shooting range... Shouldn't be to far to drive for y'all!


nanc said...

smart people who live in all sorts of conditions own firearms, plucky - while we still may. must you always be so contrary?

you're the only one here who will walk quietly into dhimmitude and have the need for a burkha!

kuhnkat said...

Little Che Sucky the Fascist MORON laughed:

"What kind of a craphole do you live ing that requires such a fascination with firearms."

I can't speak for Warren, but, I live in San Francisco. The murder rate is going up steadily here. I'm sure you heard of the Halloween shootings!!

Richmond, Oakland, East Palo Alto, San Jose... have had high violence rates for years.

Don't you find it interesting that EVERY city and town with high murder, rape, and general violence rates are run by the Democrat party??


I'm sure you eastern elite feel soooo much safer by keeping the riff raff priced out of your home areas!!



kuhnkat said...


While the Davy Crockett has the edge on raw power, the COP is easier to carry concealed and will deliver 4 rounds of .357 as fast as you can pull the trigger. Much more appropriate in those tense parking encounters.

I would suggest that you might need to leave the area before shooting that dirty SUV that stole your parking space with the Davy Crockett!!

Does your insurance cover the surrounding area??


Warren said...

Someone leave the door open?

The Merry Widow said...

I'd guess a gust of wind blew a kuhnkat through the livingroom! LOL!
Kuhnkat- We lived in San Jose for 4 years, left in 1999, the crime rate was a factor in our deciding to come home to Florida! That and not being able to let your children play out in the front yard or go to a friend's house without adult supervision! Having your child kidnapped by child molestors and murdered didn't give one a warm fuzzy feeling! And yes, plucky, it was a good neighborhood!


Warren said...

It was just Nostradumbass.

Kuhnkat, I remember the COP! 4 Revolving barrels. Right?

Elmer's Brother said...

Hey Sir Warren just do what I do with all my other stuff...put it in your sock.

Warren said...

Like a boy scout, EB, always be prepared!

You must have some bodacious feet!

I forgot about my holdout knife once when I went for a physical and it hit the floor in the examination room while I was doing jumping jacks... whoops!

The doc said, "What the hell is that!!!"

Uuuuhhh... that's for cutting string, Yea! That's the ticket!

Elmer's Brother said...

Ever see that Budweiser commercial with the guy who can only get bowling shoes that are way too large. All the girls are staring at his shoe because you know...if you have big feet you have a big...well

that's not me

but I can still hide stuff in my sock

D.Daddio Al-Ozarka said...

I've always wanted a BRNO Czech CZ-52 (7.62 X 25). I finally got one recently but I've only fired a clip through it in my backyard. It's an awesome weapon. I'm looking forward to going to the range and firing a couple boxes of ammo through it.

Warren said...

The Merry Widow said...
"Hey Warren, when I move and get my house built, you want to come down with the Mrs. for a visit? I plan on putting in my own shooting range... Shouldn't be to far to drive for y'all!


I would dearly love to do that!

Warren said...

Daddio, I've never shot a BRNO. Hows the recoil?

Thats a healthy sized cartirge for a 7.62 bullet out of a pistol!

I think it would be a good idea to buy a couple of cases of ammo while its still cheap, that surplus ammo won't last forever. But make sure you get the pistol ammo. There's a sub-gun round made in 7.62x25 that's loaded quite a bit hotter and I wouldn't fire it through the pistol.

You might pick up an extra firing pin too, that's supposed to be a weak point in the pistol.

I bought a Makarov in 9x18. It was punishing to fire. My son wanted it so I sold it to him. He collects Eastern block and Nazi firearms.

nanc said...

elbro - bwaaaaaaaaaaaaahahahaha!

nancpop can easily pick up a basketball with one hand and wears a size 12 shoe and love to say, "you know what they say about big hands and big feet, babe?"

me, being the straight guy, "no, what?"

nancpop, "big gloves, big shoes!"

Elmer's Brother said...

nanc - I can never get my wife to play rowan to my martin...she gets upset when I start telling others about all the inter-breeding in her family...

I'll have to live with my size 9 1/2 size shoes.

nanc said...

then get her to be george to your gracie! remember the episode where gracie put an envelope in the mail addressed to either her mother or sister and george's manager said, "gracie, there's nothing in this envelope!" gracie said, "i know, we haven't been speaking for several months."

i've done that to a couple of people in know including my mom - people start calling in a hurry!

then the other was nothing in the envelope and the punchline was, "no news is good news!"

there was a pair right there, i don't care who you are...

Elmer's Brother said...

they sure personal favorites...lewis and and costello....the marx brothers

kuhnkat said...


the COP was all stainless with 4 fixed barrels and a rotating striking mechanism. Sounds a little flaky but very reliable in use. It was only slightly smaller than a Chiefs Special or similar and heavier. More like a large derringer.

Wish I had one. Another item banned in California unless you are a Dhimmicrat with friends!!

Elmer's Brother said...

BTW it's not how long your barrel is, it's how you use it.

nanc said...

barrel size is everything! you don't go out shooting waterfoul with a pistol...

Elmer's Brother said...

you can if you live near a city park.

The Merry Widow said...

Warren- When we get to that point I may enlist you and Nancpop to design my shooting range, keep in mind inexpensive labor intensive!
Good morning, G*D bless and Maranatha!

May have to plan a Housewarming/Blogfest Weekend, Nanc!

nanc said...

design a shooting range?

here in the south it usually consists of a hillside and a couple of bales of hay with caricatures of your not-so-favorite politicians ducktaped to them!

The Merry Widow said...

That'd work!


The Merry Widow said...

Actually my son did that with an old piece of plywood and a sniper paintball gun! He and his sister used to draw Kerry during the '04 elections! Funny as all get out!


whozzit said...

Hey! Has anyobe seen my keys?