Saturday, August 09, 2008

Comment To A Comment To A Blog-Response To...

...the House That Jack Built? Not exactly. Little bitta caliber-preenage to which Tam pointed.

I'm something of an iconoclast about such matters, believing having a gun at all is far more central to the real issue than just what caliber it is. But you know just as soon as somebody invented the atl-atl,* somebody else tried scaling it up and chuckin' heavier spears therewith, then turned to J. Random Shaggy Ancestor and pointed out the ineffectiveness of his smaller weaponry. It's how our species is wired up.

My take? I thought you'd never ask!

Sure, a .380’s not much — now, go downrange and catch one in your teeth.

What, no? Okay; I want to be fair. How about a .25? The caliber Col. Cooper said was mostly good for being able to tell baddies, “I have a gun!”

Won’t catch that, either?

Darn skippy. It could hurt.

Like everything else, choice of caliber is not so much about what will put a zombie down 100% of the time (answer, “nothing.” I’ve seen those movies) as it is about acceptable risk.

Like toothpaste brands, that’s a matter of personal choice. Mr. Lott (et al) tells us the general odds are that some 9 defensive handgun uses in 10, no shots are fired. For those, 4.25 Lilliput would be adequate; a pellet gun would be adequate, or a toy (but I repeat myself), as long as it looked real.

So, long odds of actually needing a gun at all (kind of like seat belts and fire extinguishers, which I would not do without, either), one-in-ten of having to shoot if you do, and what, maybe 50-50 the sound and fury will send the baddie running?

Any gun is better than no gun. It’s not just nice words.

I’ll carry my toy-Colt .380 (Pony Pocketlite) and hardly notice; I’ll usually carry one of my little Stars (BKM or PD, in 9mm and .45) happily enough. But the Witness compact? The Ballester-Molina, size and heft of a real 1911? Naw. Too Dadratted Big. Too Heavy. I make excuses and leave the house socially nekkid.

So I am better off with a .380. Other people? Other neighborhoods? Your mileage will vary. No sidearm is a sure-thing manstopper. You pays your money and you makes your bet.
* Can you believe spellchecker dunno this one? Me neither. Man, their ancestors musta just starved. Per Tam, I checked "atlatl" instead, the way These Modern Kids spell it, and nope! Still ungood unword. Wrongthink.


Rustmeister said...

I'm with you 100%.

There aren't too many people, when getting shot at, will say to themselves "That's just a .380, I think I'll continue my attack."

Frank W. James said...

To some of us IT IS a tiresome argument.

Especially so after you've spent several sessions of Simunitions. Granted, they AREN'T real bullets, but they are real guns shooting stuff that really hurts when you screw up and screwing up happens a lot, even to the high speed guys and I'm NOT high speed.

Having a gun, any kind, any caliber IS important. (Assuming it works reliably.) But, alertness is MORE important because it will often keep you out of trouble even when you don't have a gun.

None of these arguments are new or fresh because you have to remember firearms in general are close to 600 years old and defensive handguns became practical just prior to the Civil War. That's why some of us view them as tiresome.

All The Best,
Frank W. James

Less said...

Especially so after you've spent several sessions of Simunitions.

Fuck those things HURT

I did a simms session and the other guy shot me at near contact with the damn thing!! Gushing wound, even with the suit...

I think I still have pictures of the black and blue marks!


The best/worst thing about simms is that it is really great practice!

Chas S. Clifton said...

"Still ungood unword. Wrongthink"

I love a blogger who footnotes.

Syd said...


I don't want to catch a BB in my teeth. That really doesn't demonstrate anything about handguns. No one wants to be shot with anything. I have an NAA Mini in 22 LR. Cute. Do I depend on it for a carry gun? No, not really. Have people been killed with .380's? Of course, and they have also failed a bunch of times, and more often than larger, more powerful cartridges.

I don't carry a gun to wave around at people and hope they go away. I carry a gun because I may have to shoot someone sometime, and if I do, I want to do what I can to tip the odds in my favor. That may mean carrying a larger gun that is less comfortable and more difficult to conceal, but as you pointed out, that's a personal choice and a judgment made on the basis of some real world experience.

I would not go the other way and tell my readers that I think all handgun cartridges are equally effective, because I don't believe that to be true. Truisms like "all handguns are lousy stoppers" may be comforting to people who chose to use mouseguns, but they are more rationalization than science.

Snark all you want to. I am comfortable with my position. I will remind you that you are taking on several folks who have just a wee bit of experience in this matter.


Roberta X said...

Well, thank you so very much -- there's rather a lot of experience in my household too, though it's not me. The Resident Expert would as soon I carried a wheelgun, Tam likes 'em waymuch, but she's not distressed by the .380.

My points were that the .45's no sure answer, either; that under the most likely circumstances, one pistol cartridge is as good as another; and, most of all, the gun you will carry beats the one you left at home 'cos it was too much trouble.

I'm a skinny girl with a bad back, Syd; there's no way I can carry a 1911 other than some stupid Laura-Croft-ish thigh holster and that's not practical. What I carry has to be small, concealable, light and dependable. Sure, I could carry my PD (.45, a bit dated but a nice gun if you've got decent mags for it) and I have, but the Colt's lighter and thinner. After my motorcycle wreck, I was on crutches for an extended time and my .380 was the only practical choice.

YM (as I pointed out) MV. I'm fine with that.

Anonymous said...

I Love caliber wars
A .380 typicly hold 7 count em 7 rounds. While one shot stops are desirable they are rare keep firing until the threat is gone. One shot seven or two reloads don't stop until the threat is gone.
With smaller calibers press the attack move in the last round goes up the most available oriface.
To quote Pax if you have to fight,fight like a cornered cat.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

I witnessed an atlatl battle only last week. Fascinating little device. On I'd prattle bout the atlatl battle, but the boredom would soon induce a death rattle among the less than enlightened cattle.

Anonymous said...

Tsk, don't tattle!

I'd not characterize the preset discussion as a "caliber war;" other things being equal, .45 is stll about the ideal choice and 9mm des not lag far behind.

Problem is those "other things." They're not equal. However you slice it, mindset and training are critical and with that out of the way, the next step is to ensure you're carrying a gun to gunfights, not a sharp stick. If you can manage a .45, that's great. Not everyone can, for a great many reasons that they deem good and sufficient.