Monday, May 4, 2015

Choosing a Handgun and Ammunition for Home Defense or Concealed Carry

People that know my experience and training have asked me on more than one occasion what the best handgun for home defense or concealed carry might be? This then gets in to ammunition as well. I am not here to get wrapped up in a debate or cater to preferences. What I hope to briefly show is the logical and most reliable choices based upon my training and experience.

The two most important criteria when choosing any handgun are reliability and efficiency. A reliable handgun is one that is simple to use with a consistent moderate trigger press. A handgun that is efficient accomplishes its goal with a minimum of time,effort and energy. Based on these criteria different handgun operating systems can be categorized.

Acceptable - Double Action Only ( example SIG P250). These handguns have a higher bore access,higher felt recoil and a heavier trigger press. This heavier trigger press can affect your ability to stay on target ( deviation control.)

Mediocore--Double Action/Single Action (example Beretta 92 FS). These handguns have a different and inconsistent trigger press depending on if they are in single action or double action mode. They have the most complicated of operating systems.

Poor- Single Action Only (example 1911). These handguns have a complicated operating system that requires an external safety. They also have a lower cartridge capacity than other operating systems.

*DAO Revolvers are in the acceptable to mediocre catagory

Preferred- Modern Striker Fired Pistol (example Glock, M&P Series, or XD Series) They are simple, reliable and consistent. They have no additional external controls and they have a lower bore axis which aids in recoil control.

When choosing a MSF Pistol for home defense you should choose a full size handgun. When choosing one for concealed carry you should decide based on the handguns reliability and concealability. Choose the largest handgun you can effectively conceal.

You should also look at the fit, feel and cost of your handgun. Fit means your handgun allows you to manipulate all the controls with one hand while not breaking your firing grip. How does the handgun feel to you? If it meets all criteria but feels uncomfortable in your hand ( I am looking at you Kahr CW40) then you won't practice. Finally what is the cost? You need to get the best handgun you can afford.

Ammunition can also be categorized.

Ball ammunition is used for training and practice.

 Hollow point ammunition is used for self defense.

Your self defense ammunition should be a bonded hollow point bullet heavy for that caliber.

Acceptable defensive calibers are - .380- 10mm

Viable defensive calibers are - .38-.45 (. 38, 9mm, .40, .45). Wound characteristics between viable calibers is negligible.

Preferred- 9mm. The benefits of 9mm are cost. 9mm is generally less expensive than other calibers so theoretically individuals can afford to practice more often. Handguns chambered in 9mm have higher magazine capacity than those chambered in other calibers. 9mm has less recoil than some of the other calibers so affords the opportunity for more efficient recoil management. This translates to more efficient deviation control. These three benefits translate into a higher wounding capacity for the 9mm caliber.

So to sum up an individual should choose a Modern Striker Fired semi automatic handgun chambered in 9mm. Utilizing a bonded hollow point with a bullet heavy for caliber.