On small guns

Too many people who carry a gun for personal protection choose to carry a small gun.


I reckon because they’re more concerned with daily comfort. I get a lot of fellow Texans going on about the summer heat, and how in the summer they’ll carry some tiny gun in their pocket because anything else is too hot or uncomfortable or hard to wear and conceal in summer clothing.

If that’s your choice, it is. But I myself and many others I know strap on a full-sized gun every day no problem, even in the Texas heat, and we don’t have to wear a trenchcoat to do it.

I was reading an interview with Tom Givens. I just adore Tom because he’s got so much knowledge, and is able to say everything so dead on. He’s one of the most credible sources in this area, given his personal background and that he’s had about 60 students involved in self-defense shootings. We know what he teaches works. We know he speaks from truly knowledge, not Internet Toughguy or “been around guns all my life” bravado.

I think the place where most people who carry a micro gun screw up is that they think the primary purpose of my pistol is to be comfortable and concealed. No, the primary purpose of your pistol is to fight for your life in a sudden, unforeseen crisis. So, when that crisis presents itself, that little, bitty gun is hard to grab in a hurry, it is hard to handle correctly, it’s hard to hit anything with, it doesn’t hold many bullets, and when you hit somebody with it, it doesn’t hurt much. It’s not the optimum thing to fight with. If a fight starts, I want the biggest gun I can get with the most bullets I can get in it and the biggest bullets I can stuff in it.

As an experiment, I tried carrying the M&P Shield for a while, but I gave up on it. I do believe that gun fits particular circumstances, and if it’s the biggest gun you can get then so be it. But if you can get bigger, why shouldn’t you? Tom continues:

But think about that, if you reach for a pistol only because there is a deadly threat to you or somebody you love, you better have a pistol you can fix it with. I’ve interviewed an awful lot of people after gun fights and I’ve never had anybody say to me, “You know, when the bullets started coming back this way, I wished I had a smaller, less powerful pistol with less ammo in it.”

So Caleb asks if you’re underpowered with a wheelgun:

…and as I sit here typing this am carrying a Kahr PM9. All of those guns are not my first choice, but they’re guns and that’s something.

If it’s not your first choice, then why did you choose it? Granted, circumstances may dictate, e.g. a need for very deep concealment. These things happen. But if you have the choice, why would you intentionally cripple yourself? Tom’s thoughts:

I think carrying a small, inadequate pistol may be better than nothing, but I’m not really sure about that. You might be better to just take off running instead of shooting somebody with a thoroughly inadequate gun.

In the end, it’s your life and your choice as to how you wish to value it. And yes, I’m with Tom on this one because well… a good way to help you on the road to success is to see what other successful people do and emulate them. You may not reach the same level of success as they do, or you may exceed it. But no matter exactly where you end up, your chances of succeeding due to following success tends to be greater than if you take some other path.

I’ll leave you with these words from Mr. Givens:

One of the things we do in training is reintroduce the reality of why we carry a gun, and to put a sense of urgency into it. Maybe you’ll never need it, but if you do need it, you are going to need it horribly and maybe it is going to be your life at stake.

I saw a tagline the other day on an Internet forum that I thought was just incredibly bright. It said, “It’s not the odds. It’s the stakes.” And boy, there’s a lot of wisdom in that statement.

We don’t carry the gun because of the odds we’re going to need it today. We carry it because the stakes are our own life or the life of a loved one. That is what we are literally betting. So if you go out unarmed or you go out inadequately armed, you are betting your life, you are betting your children’s lives, you are betting your spouse’s life. I am not willing to bet the lives of the people I love on some tiny, little pocket rocket.

2 thoughts on “On small guns

  1. I’ve been carrying my lcp a lot lately due to going to the chiro 3x/week. Due to all the hands on cracking a full size pistol just would not work. Even taking it off and leaving it in the car is a PITA.

    Because of that I actually spent a little practice time with at the range.

    It works. The draw is not quick at all but you can kinda cheat a little bit by walking around with your hand in your pocket.

    It’s not what I want to use but it is allowing me to carry more.

    On a side note it’s kinda funny that I am starting my day carrying an lcp and ending it carrying a glock 20. Talk about contrasts.

    • You have to cheat and keep your hand in your pocket… it’s the only way. But at least you CAN do that.

      But you see, this is why I have the ‘wiggle room” of choice. You’re not able to choose something bigger because of circumstance. My chiro was cool with the gun thing, so I just stripped off my Batman utility belt before getting on the table. But if your context is different, you gotta do what you gotta do.

      My main point is, we have to do the best we can given our circumstances. We should choose to equip ourselves as best as possible within our constraints. But that many people COULD do better but specifically choose to do worse… and that, I don’t quite understand.

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