Thursday, June 27, 2013

Which Pistol For You?

By Dave Dargo

I love the M1911. I think the number one reason I love it is because of the deep respect I have for Mr. Browning's engineering skill and art in creating a pistol over 100 years ago that is still, arguably, one of the best pistols to carry on a daily basis. When I go to a gun store I try not to pick up a 1911 for fear that I'll buy another one. I probably have four or five too many already.

I love how the 1911 feels, how easy it is to operate and its easy manageability. Just because I love the 1911, though, doesn't mean it's the right pistol for you.

Once in a while I carry a Glock 21. I like the Glock very much, as well. My Glock has a 13 round magazine capacity vs. 8 rounds for my 1911. We refer to the Glock as an all-day shooter because it holds so many rounds and doesn't require a reload as often as the 1911. I think the Glock feels a little smoother than the 1911 but it doesn't have a thumb safety, something I instinctively look for when drawing my pistol.

When my wife and fellow instructor, Wendy, was looking for her first pistol she was on the receiving end of a lot of advice - too much advice, in fact. A lot of friends advised that Wendy get a small (cute) handgun because she's a woman. There was no discussion about caliber, recoil, mass, carry style or any other characteristic. Wendy's a woman, therefore, Wendy should get a small gun.

I knew better. I told her why I liked my 1911 but I was not about to tell her what handgun to buy. Buying a pistol comes down to personal preference. Telling Wendy which handgun to buy would be like me telling her to order vanilla ice cream instead of chocolate because I like vanilla. Wendy is the only one on the planet who can determine what handgun is best for her.

One suggestion I did make to Wendy was to seek opinions from everyone who owned a gun on why they liked their gun; that is, not what gun Wendy should buy but why that person chose the gun they bought for themselves. The other suggestion I made to Wendy was to go and shoot a lot of guns to see how they fit her hand and how they felt to carry, fire and manipulate.

Wendy must have rented 20 or 30 pistols before narrowing her selection and, ultimately, choosing an M1911.

The 1911 that Wendy chose is a forty-five caliber pistol. Many people are under the mistaken impression that such a caliber will have too much recoil to be manageable, especially for a woman. The opposite is true. Wendy finds her 1911 quite manageable. The more mass a gun has the less recoil will be felt. If Wendy had gone with one of those cute, little guns she would have felt much more recoil than she gets from the 1911. Many people start with a small handgun, for a variety of reasons, and are turned off by the amount of recoil and just figure the 1911 with its larger caliber will just be that much more. It's an unfortunate assumption because those people are often turned-off by guns before they ever get a chance to understand them.

There are many considerations when selecting a pistol:
  • What feels comfortable to manage
  • What feels comfortable to shoot
  • What feels comfortable to hold
Notice the use of the words "feel" and "comfortable". That's an important clue. Selecting a pistol is a personal decision. Speak with your friends who have pistols and ask them why they like theirs. Ask your friends to take you shooting. Find a pistol you can easily manage and manipulate. Find a pistol and method of carry that allows you quick and easy access to it in case of an emergency. Finally, find a pistol that allows you to deliver an accurate shot quickly, smoothly and reliably. At the end of the day, that's all that matters when selecting a pistol for self-defense.

No comments:

Post a Comment