Firearm selection is all a compromise. I’m sure I knew this, but the idea has gelled recently. There is no perfect firearm. Even if you narrow it down to one category, there is no perfect be-all end-all self-defense pistol rig. (Of course the categories put paid to any universal firearm concept. A shotgun can’t do the same thing as a conceal-carry piece and vice versa.)
Kim Du Toit often has ‘time machine’ hypotheticals, but even there he let’s you take at least TWO different types of firearms.
All the What If discussions on what is the minimum a shootist should have on hand usually distill down to 4. A .22, a pistol, a shotgun, and a rifle. Then the discussion elaborates on cost/caliber/works/weight etc. ad infinitum
But let me concentrate on the self-defense handgun. You want reliable. Plenty out there for that. You want accurate. Ditto, and on and on. Then you get into mutually exclusive criteria. You want something as small and as concealable and as ‘handy’ shooting as a Kel-Tec or Bersa Thunder in .380 size, but you also want the hitting power of a big .45 like you get with a 1911 or a Glock 22. And you can’t have that. Your 1911 won’t fit in your summer shorts and be concealed, and your Kel-Tec won’t do the job the .45 can, even with the best self-defense rounds.
The closest that there comes to such a compromise are the Glock sub-compacts or the 1911 minis like the Springfield EMP. And when you do that you get handling issue from increased kick of the big round in the small pistol.
And even if you get a shrunk down version of your favorite big gun, that big gun has flaws, anyway. Even the 1911. They are minor, but they are there. The little piston on the safety and slide released is supposed to be a trouble area, and something Browning would correct if he came back to life. And the capacity is low, even on the biggest model, at around 8 rounds. Then again the Glock is kinda low, too, if your preference is cramming 50 .45 caliber bullets into the magazine. Doable, but not practical.
So say Maryland does get shall-issue conceal-carry. The EMP might be the thing, no? Well, maybe. It has the advantage of working just like a 1911 and can fire a .40 caliber pill, but the thing is bulkier and heavier than other pistols available. Plus I haven’t tried it at the range, and the muzzle flip and accuracy may be less than optimal.
Jeff Cooper even commented on the “smallest possible ideal package” and he didn’t want anything smaller than a 1911 with a 4.5 inch barrel. Still a BIG gun. When the laws of various countries he visited for conducting training restricted his caliber or gun size he went with the largest handgun allowed with the closest functional equivalent of the .45. Like a Pony. Or something in Super .38.
There is no prefect gun, just the best for you. And even that gun might not be that close to the ‘objective’ ideal. Whatever that is.
If you waved a magic wand and I got to carry concealed tomorrow on a 95 degree day, but didn’t let me buy a new gun, I’d carry the 1903 Pocket Hammerless. If you let me buy a gun on a budget it’d be a new .380 like the Ruger, Kel-Tec, or Bursa Thunder. If you bought my gun, or I came into money, and I could pick anything it’d be the EMP in .40. And after I carried it, and shot it at the range for a while, my choice might change.
In the wintertime, I’d carry the 1911.
The Missus has a pretty nasty stomache bug - And by "pretty nasty" I'll just elide the details, if you don't mind. But she's up to the toast and seltzer stage, so *Excelsior!*
3 hours ago