Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Home Front: Reader pistol ownership answers

I had four intrepid readers contact me answering my questions about their pistol ownership, and I am grateful for their trust and openness is laying out for what to some is a rather contentious topic.I wanted to gauge what pistol owners had to say about their decisions, training and mindset. In Victoria, Australia, where I live unless you are in the Federal or State Police, a licensed private security guard or a competitive sporting shooter, there is very limited civilian pistol ownership here

I grew up in a staunchly "no-gun toys" house, with exceptions made for my 1977 Han Solo and Stormtrooper blasters (which I still have). I did manage to trade my way into owning a .177 break-barrel air pistol whilst living in Dubai, UAE, in 1989, and left behind in Calgary, Canada in 1991. My dad gave me his Vietnam era Army pistol instruction, and I plinked away at paper targets, bottles, cicadas and the like. I did some quick draws, turn-and-shoots and the like, and generally made like a teenage Billy The Kid.

 Other than that, I've only had a limited experience with live firearms and some with laser trainers.  This is why I go out to the people with the experience to ask the questions. 

Obviously, I only have the replies from those who wanted to and did reply, so it's a subsection of my readers, but I think these folks have some interesting views and offer some insight to why people carry, what they carry, and how they carry. 

So, here are the answers to my questions from four pistol owners, all from the U.S.A., with LEO and Mil experience in some capacity in all four respondents. Lets hear it from their perspectives: 

How much pistol is too much pistol
  • Ed N: A pistol is all about what you intend to do with it. If you are carrying it concealed you want something comfortable that you can wear all day. I don't like to go any smaller in caliber than a 9mm. If you go too big, you won't carry it and it becomes useless.

what is your current go-to pistol
  • Ed N: In the woods I carry a Glock 20sf 10mm. Day to day, I carry a Ruger Lc9 9mm. For plinking, I prefer a Glock 34 9mm.  
    • I did have a question. When out in the woods, what might you expect to need a pistol for? Hunting? Defense? And if so, what and from what?
      • Ed N:I am much more worried about the two legged problems than I am 4 legged. I am not a hunter and would go well out of my way to harm an animal unless it is an immediate defense situation or survival was in question. I carry the largest caliber pistol with the largest capacity I could find because in the end, I just want to be prepared for anything. When I went camping, I used to carry a 44 magnum. Honestly, they are just a little too loud and reloading can be a problem in a pinch. The Glock 20 in 10mm seemed like the best compromise. I say all of this having never had to shoot at anyone or anything in the woods in all of my years carrying. I keep my pistol concealed and don't broadcast it and have never had a problem. However, I carry it for the same reason I carry a firestarter I have never had to use outside of practice. I would rather have the option there when I need it, than wishing I had it. And there is a pretty dramatic trade off. A couple pounds is a lot when you are hiking in the woods. Having a large pistol concealed on your person, (because having it in my pack would defeat the purpose of being prepared), is tiring. But in the end I would not do it any other way.
  • Hunato (CONUS):Sig Sauer P238 
  • Richard (Virginia, USA): EDC a Glock 19. Also carry a Glock 26 during the summer months when the 19, as small as it is, is to much with holster for the humidity. 
  • Rob (Pennsylvania, USA): My go to pistol is a 1911.  I have a full custom on order, and I should have it soon.  Right now, my 1911 is a Sig Nitron.

what caliber and cartridge, and was this a deciding feature? 
  • Ed N: 9mm is my go to caliber. With modern ammo it is the equal to 357sig and 40 with almost no ballistic differences. 9mm allows more rounds and a lot of options. You can pick up fmj (full metal jacket) rounds for cheap practice and jhp (jacketed hollow points) for self defense.  
  • Hunato: .380 various PDR (price forces choice) 
  • Richard:  9mm hollow point. 9mm has enough strong power and the size allows for a bigger magazine capacity. An additional deciding factor was that my wife is more comfortable with the recoil than a .40 or .45.
  • Rob: The caliber I prefer is the .45, It was not the deciding factor in my choice, I just like the .45 caliber.

what is your motivation to own a firearm? 
  • Ed N: Self defense and it is just fun to shoot. I have been shooting for 25+ years and it is a Hell of a lot of fun. 
  • Hunato: I am a free man in a Republic.  I have children under my roof and two legged wolves (literally) come down my street time to time. 
  • Richard: Raised around firearms in a law enforcement and military household, so firearms safety began as soon as I could walk. After my service, my father gave me a sidearm, and I have carried ever since. It is always better to be prepared and [not] need it, than need it and not have it. 
  • Rob: I grew up on a farm and was always around firearms.  When I got into law enforcement as a career, naturally, the pistol training came with it. 
what was your motivation to carry a firearm?
  • Ed N:I started off in an action oriented career before giving it up and going for money instead. I have been shooting and been around guns most of my life. 
  • Hunato: Travel and home defense.  I also enjoy the sport of shooting. 
  • Richard:  (as with reason to own)
  • Rob: Even without my career choice, this world is getting dangerous.  I would carry a pistol regardless.
do you open-carry, concealed-carry or store-secure?
  • Ed N: I conceal carry 99% of the time. I have friends that are very open-carry oriented, but I can do without the hassle of a soccer mom feeling threatened by a pistol on my hip and calling the cops. In my opinion, it is best to keep it completely concealed and hidden away from private eyes.
  • Hunato: On some rural land I own, open carry.  Out and about conceal carry (license) at home ALWAYS store secure.  My oldest child was 8 before he realized we even have firearms 
  • Richard: I am fortunate to live firearm friendly state (Virginia) and carry concealed ever day. During the weekend, I may carry openly while running errands, and when I do that carry a Glock 17. 
  • Rob: Conceal carry.
what features of your pistol made it appealing for your use?
  • Ed N: Overall size, grip comfort, ammo capacity, and accuracy with the pistol.
  • Hunato: Can be carried condition One with high reliability, thumb safety (1911-ish design) my wife and I carry identical weapons, interchangeable. 
  • Richard: I have stuck with the Glock family as they are inherently simple and safe to operate. In addition, if my wife is carrying the 26, and I am incapacitated, she can reload using the spare magazines for my 19 or 17 as I always carry at least two additional. 
  • Rob: My Sig is the standard Sig pistol.  However, my custom 1911 was ordered with Heine ledge sites, a light rail, and a magazine well.  These, to me anyway, are needed for a true combat style pistol.

what training have you had?
  • Ed N: I have had and later taught gun safety and target shooting. I actually spent more time learning tactical shooting with a shotgun than a pistol. While a pistol is the best self defense weapon, overall it does not compare to a long-gun.
  • Hunato: Scouting Merit Badges, Law Enforcement Explorer Academy, Concealed Carry Permit Class, Active shooter class 
  • Richard: My farther is a firearms instructor with the state, and have also trained during military service, although not as extensively as I do with my dad. With him, quick draws, fire from concealment, weak hand operations, threat identification, and more 
  • Rob: Like I said, I grew up around guns and used them my whole life, for not only hunting, but target shooting as well.  I learned the safety issues surrounding guns at an early age. After high school, and during college, I joined the military, where my training continued and became more advanced.  Finally, my law enforcement experience has continued my training over the years.

what regular training do you perform?
  • Ed N: I shoot on a semi-regular basis. Currently I hit the range about once every month. I tapered off a bit a couple years ago when ammo prices went through the roof. 
  • Hunato: Monthly Range Day, weekly Dry Fire practice (including draws with Blue Gun). I used to think the NRA was "over the Top".  Now, after NY, PA, CT, MD, CO, PA, IL, CA, DC, and the English, Oz, NZ, and Canadian removal of self defense rights, I am a member. 
  • Richard: As accuracy requires constant up keep, my wife and I go to the range at least monthly, more so if our schedule allows. In addition to that, we will randomly load a dummy round to simulate a failure and build muscle memory. I hope this answers your questions, and to add additional information, both my wife and I are ccw licensed in multiple states. We carry to ensure we do not become victims, and offset if that is also not putting ourselves into a situation where that could occur. Neither of us have ever had to resort to our firearm as a civilian, and hope never to need to. But I believe that I would rather carry for another 50 years, before seeing harm come to a loved one, and not have the tools to save them. 
  • Rob: I continue to receive training through my department, and I shoot when I can on my own.

So, thanks to all the folks who sent me in replies, and I hope I've represented you all well.  It makes for an interesting read, and I am pleased to see responsible gun-ownership mentalities in place in all the replies. 
Be responsible, stay safe. I hope that none of you ever feed the need to use your pistols for anything other than because it's fun to shoot guns, or to put food on the table!

For those who object to all of this (and are still reading) , or thick skinned gun owners don't mind a very Australian ribbing, here's Jim Jeffries talking about an Australian take on the very American gun-culture.

And finally, to throw my own hat into the ring, if I had my choice of pistols to own, it would likely be the 
H&K SOCOM Mk23-Mod 0, being a "big gun that holds a lot of bullets", because I would want to put a lot of big rounds on target until it went away and accessories are what I'm all about ...

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