Choosing Handguns

I bought a Glock 17 in complete ignorance as my first defensive weapon when they first arrived on these shores. I then joined a gun club to learn how to use firearms. I ignored copious quantities of flak about my “Tactical Tupperware” from guys whose opinions I quickly learned deserved no respect.

I also ignored the advice of EVERYONE in the California gun culture who said I couldn’t get a CCW in that state. When I got my permit I bought a Glock 26 because it fit in fanny packs so much better – or, more accurately, fit in smaller, more comfortable fanny packs. Though it makes no discernible difference to accuracy or handling, I was not comfortable with the subcompact’s short grip that leaves my little finger gripping air. So I added the comforting pinkie-bottoms to both mags.

Then I got an opportunity to compare my thusly modified subcompact to someone’s unmodified compact Glock 19 … almost no difference at all in external dimensions… and they get to pack 15 rounds to my subcompacts 10. No advantage in size along with disadvantage in firepower. Hmmmm. I think Gaston Glock got it right. If you want the compact, buy the compact. If you want the reduced dimensions of a subcompact, learn to use it as designed.

By then I had taken advantage of a generous gift that helped me afford a trip to Front Sight (while they were still in Bakersfield, CA). There in a wide range of scenarios shooting at posters of armed enemies, I began to reconsider the adequacy of 9mm when heavy clothes, arms or other objects might prevent my shots from stopping the threat before it caused me harm. I had also shot enough rounds that power and recoil in mid-range handguns didn’t make any difference to me (9mm, .45, .40, .357). So my compact is a Glock 32 that holds 13 rounds of .357 auto (aka .357 Sig) that come out with 502 ft/lbs of energy VS the 9mms 336 ft/lbs (and .45s 412 and .40s 496).

If I were buying my everyday companion again, I would probably get the more common .40 as its straight-walled cartridges are easier to reload. On the other hand, I think the effects of the .357 are theoretically better in a couple of inconsequential ways, the accuracy is measurably but insignificantly better and the very unusual-in-handgun, bottle-necked cartridge has a cool-factor (that I, of course, am unaffected by ๐Ÿ˜‰ ).

Since its arrival in my home, Bam-Bam (then around 15) claimed my ‘baby Glock’ as her baby. She couldn’t shoot it until she could disassemble and reassemble it. She couldn’t do that until she built hand strength. It took precious little time for her to accomplish both. When she turned 21, I lost my subcompact… to a good home. Now my home has a serious shortage of subcompact Glocks. I have targeted the 650 ft/lb, 10mm Glock 29 for that role.

One problem I have yet to resolve is justifying the expense when I can’t find the need. I don’t have enough of a whole lot more important things like food and ammo. I also know full-well that the extra energy will make subsequent shots come a lot slower which is far more important than the mostly wasted additional energy of that first shot with a 10mm – unless you are shooting natural or artificially thick-skinned animals. In which cases, get a hunting handgun, shotgun, hunting rifle or defensive rifle… and for goodness sakes, “Don’t take a handgun to a gun fight”.

9mm -.357 semi-autos = 300-500 ft/lbs
44 magnum revolver = 780 ft/lbs
20 – 12 gauge shotguns = 1300-2100 ft/lbs
.223 -.308 rifles = 1200-2800 ft/lbs)