Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Change Seasons, Change Guns

It's just about bundling-up weather, which means my dear little .380 (Colt Pony Pocketlite, one of the best guns I ever paid too much for) probably should be set to pasture in favor of a pocket gun with more oomph.

The question is, which one? I have a slim 9mm (8 rounds) and a nifty .45 (6 rounds), both classics and lightweight, the model BKM and PD, respectively, made by Star. Not modern super-duper wondergunz, but it's not like they get tons of use; I can't carry to work (it's considered rude by the owners) and I try to avoid gunfights anyway.

My preference varies -- having 2 more rounds of loud noise and muzzle flash is a good thing. On the other hand, a .45 makes really impressive "eye contact." On the other other hand, I tend to shoot better with a 9mm.

(And I didn't say "stopping power" even once! Oh, ooops.)

Don't have to decide right now. Looks like a warmish week.


Anonymous said...

I'd go for the 45 plus an extra mag; practice tac-reloads at the range. If I could, I'd carry the 9mm micro-Uzi pistol; it's WAY too big to carry (although the Feds manage) but it does make a strong visual statement. So in a bow to practicality, I carry either a little .32 PPK (1946 German) or a Glock 17 (if I'm wearing a coat).

Anonymous said...

East german Makarov or cz 82. Inexpensive, reliable, fun. I open carry the 82 in its issue holster and most people don't even recognize it as a gun.

Roberta X said...

Those are nice, Vinnie, but this is a self-defense sidearm and on my budget, it's got to be one I already own.

I like .380s (and 9x18) but in Winter, I prefer something a bit more insistent. The .38SAs I own are too big for easy concealed carry, so that leaves me with 9 Parabellum and .45 ACP.

Turk's suggestion is a good idea, though Stars won't drop magazines free unless one removes the magazine safety -- and in the case of the PDF, is then very carefui not to lose it! Model BKM/BM parts are easy, but the PD has gone a little scarce.

Anonymous said...

Vinnie, cz's sure are polite-looking (Makarov, not so much). I have a CZ27; with its one-piece wood stock, it's so civilian. And that little flapped pistol-pouch--to die for.

The Beretta .25 regularly is mistaken for jewelry.

Roberta X said...

Mistaken for jewelry? Comatus, you do have an interesting take on things!

--I not my finger turned the honest PD into a slow-loading .pdf above, oops.

In a self-defense sidearm, my criteria are simple: it has to be lightweight, dpendable, conceablable and it has to look like a real gun. So the pink polymer Witnes is right out. Since most self-defensive use of firearms does not involve discharging the weapon, I'd as soon give the badguy a head start by presenting him with a statement he doesn't have to ponder: a clear look at the business end of an obvious gun. The little black Stars and the grey and stainless Colt do that job very well. I may as well flip a coin, or alternate weekly.

The Duck said...

On thing on the Star PD's replace the recoil spring from time to time, as they were known for weakness, if you don't you can crack the frame
Brownells carries them

Carteach said...

I might disagree with the idea of changing carry weapons without a seriously good reason.

The reality.... if you need it, you NEED it... and planning on scaring someone so you don't have to use it is not a good plan. If there is a need to draw a civilian CCW weapon, then there should be a need to fire it in self defense. Looks are pretty much secondary at that point, as its a very short hop from "I ain't got no gun!" to "BANG BANG BANG"

I practice with my CCW weapon fairly often. It's almost always draw/fire practice, with very little 'accuracy' practice.
Note: Even the 'draw/fire' practice is aimed fire, usually at 3x5 index cards at 10 yards or so.

My CCW choice is a smaller 9mm with minimal controls and excellent ergonomics. I choose a bullet/velocity combination that police testing concluded is substantially effective. I rely on such testing as I have no experience in shooting anyone myself, nor do I plan on doing so. I DO plan on being able and prepared to do so, effectively, as required by circumstances.

I love my .45 Commander, but it's a bit large and heavy for full time all year round carry. That being the case, I carry the 9mm all year, and practice with it all year, and maintain my confidence in it all year.

I think.... should I ever need it for defense of myself or family, then my ability to hit the target quickly and accurately outweighs the larger bore and bigger bang of the .45, no matter how menacing it might look from the front. That reliability comes directly from frequent practice with what I carry, so my 9mm M+P compact is my CCW choice.

Roberta X said...

A bit of backstory: I carried a Star BM and then a BKM for years; had some back trouble and switched to the .380 Colt for weight reduction, switched back to the BKM once I was all better, then wrecked my right leg (and a motor scooter) and spent most of a year on crutches (back and forth as things healed and were worked on more) and had to carry the Colt (weight and size), which brings us to this past Spring.

There's nothing wrong with a .380 for self-sefense in Summer but there's considerable argument about how they do against heavy Winter clothing. Since I learned to shoot handguns using a 9mm Star BM and had carried one for a long time, I was considering going back to that basic type.

The PD is an easy option; I've carried one in the past. Ergonomically, it's nearly identical to the BM and a lot of other Stars in various calibers: riffs on the basic JMB design with simpler lockwork, carried in Condition 1. For that matter, the frame of the little Colt is based on a single-action Star design (Model SS?), with Colt's light-ish DAO lockwork; I tend to ride a safety that isn't there when shooting it, which does no harm. They're natural pointers in my hand.

These are all I will carry for self-defense. My hand knows them, so I don't have to hunt for the controls nor try to remember which direction is "on."

On the "scare away" thing, I see I was not clear. I won't draw unless I've made up my mind to shoot -- but I won't shoot a man in the back. (Case-law in my state frowns on it; YMMV). I really think little cutesy guns in designer colors make running away less of an option because of the time it takes a goblin to recognize 'em as a threat. I wouldn't count on the malefactor being scared off but I see no point in making it less likely.

Before I carried, guns were pointed at me by bad guys twice. The first time, he was wired up on something (adrenaline?) and bugged out at high speed when a car turned the corner and its headlights painted us. He had not shown much nervousness or agitation at my fumbling in my purse, stalling for time: he did not view me as a threat.

When that car turned the corner, I had palmed a tiny can of hairspray. It could easily have been a mousegun. I don't know if he'd've recognized either.

If there's a next time, I'll have a weapon in my hand that's very clearly a weapon.

Carteach said...

Sounds like you have good reasons for changing weapons on occasion.
Thanks for explaining, but of course I had no right to question it.

As none of my pistols have a control set that matches any of the others, I settled on one carry piece and leave it at that, as much as possible.

The exception to this rule being my beloved Taurus snubby. It's controls are easy... squeeze and bang.

I've never had a weapon pointed at me in anger or crime. Lucky I guess. I plan on keeping it that way if humanly possible.

Just for fun and giggles, I have tried this drill at the range....

On the table is a lidded box. While I turn my back, a buddy chooses one of my pistols at random, places it in any condition he chooses, and places it in the box. When tapped, I uncover the box, arm myself, and fire two at the target.

It fun to see just what happens when you are on the clock, but don't know what weapon you get or what condition it's in.
It's amazing how long it can take to load and fire a single action big bore, and how quick you can shoot a cocked and locked Colt.

Roberta X said...

If you don't question things, people will have less cause to examine their reasons.

My Stars are pretty archaic by most standards, but I can move from them right to a 1911 and the only practical difference is the size. And at least $500. :)

At one time, I carried firearms with a bewildering variety of controls. The day I found myself at the range, putting the safety of a Witness on instead of off before trying to shoot it, I decided I had better stick with just one type to carry.

Having firearms pointed at you is not an experience I would wish on anyone. The second time, I ran away, threw a bag of groceries at the guy when he caught up, ran again and only stopped after he fired a shot. And missed. It was then I decided the Dalai Lama and L. Neil Smith were right: if someone shoots at you, shoot back!

Anonymous said...

Hard to beat the BKM in kinetic energy per ounce carried. PDs are fat. I've been a Star fan forever, though I'm down to one now (favoring instead a disgraced American revolver brand).

Love the blog.


Roberta X said...

I agree, the PD feels a little "fat." The BKM is a better fit and (untactical though it may be) I like the overall look and feel of it better. It just seems right.

Thanks for your kind words about my blog! I had a look at your blogs, D., and they are very cool indeed. I share your attraction to raw space for a home.

...S&W is back in US hands, btw; the company that makes the silly little lock you noticed on your revolver ended up buying them after their sales dropped seriously off after the Brits (Bandar Punta? Some name like that) did their shuck'n'jive to Washington.