When many folks I know in the LE field start to debate off-duty & retirement weapons (as retirement age for another generation approaches
), inevitably the topics of caliber and capacity understandably arise. We all think about such things, at one time or another.
When these conversations occur while we're at the range, standing around the cleaning stations or armory, then it's often a simple matter to continue them downrange, putting everyone's favorite "answers" to the test, the test being running some fast and demanding drills.
Personally, I tend to put a lot of emphasis on making the first few hits as accurate (and effectively placed, anatomically), rapid and controllable as physically possible, pushing myself within my skillset envelope.
Yes, bigger guns are often easier to run in most situations. Easier to control. Calibers and their generated recoil forces can matter, too.
When someone can consistently get those first few critical shots placed on a threat target in a second or 2, putting them in anatomical areas on a threat target which would usually contain critical tissues, structures and organs in people, I usually give them a lot of leeway in deciding for themselves what they like to carry and shoot.
Sometimes, when I'm considering a threat/risk assessment for where I plan to go and engage in my normal activities, I may decide to belt on one of my many 9's, .40's or .45's. I spent a lot of years having to carry similar guns on-duty, though, and I enjoy being able to carry less "gear" the longer I'm retired.
That means my 5-shot snubs and couple of LCP .380's have been seeing a lot more carry time as retirement weapons. It also means they've seen their fair share of qual/training & general practice time on the range, and to remind me of their practical limitations compared to larger, duty-size handguns.
It's all about risk assessment and making choices. I don't "live a carry lifestyle" (I dislike that expression, BTW). I carry a concealed retirement weapon as a dedicated defensive weapon, sure, but I don't "feel naked" when I'm unarmed for some particular reason.
If someone thinks they need to carry a bigger
caliber, or more
rounds, to offset a concern regarding their skillset and their ability to run their guns under stress and demanding conditions
, maybe they ought to reevaluate what it is they think they're trying to address and "solve".
Get everything squared away with the gear-user
, and then consider the gear against the anticipated role it may be required to serve. That's all it is ... gear.
I've seen my fair share of people (LE and private citizens with CCW licenses) who only had confidence in their weapon-handling and shooting abilities when they were able to use a specific gun, or maybe a couple guns. Is the problem with all the other guns they don't have confidence in being able to use ... or is it with their training, skillset and mindset?
Typically, when someone asks me if I think they'd be better prepared to face some deadly force situation by carrying a different gun (caliber, ammunition, magazine capacity, etc), I ask them if they think they'd be "better prepared" if they invested the attention and focus on themselves, instead of thinking to rely on just some specific piece of gear.
Things can happen to gear when nasty situations occur. Gear
can't think. Gear
can't apply previously learned skills to dynamic, chaotic and rapidly evolving situations. Gear
can't apply tactics to unexpected situations. Gear
can't use judgment to make good decisions.
Where do they really want to put their emphasis when it comes to doing everything they can to enhance their potential for survival?
No perfect answers, of course. TANSTAAFL.
FWIW, I've seen many a person who I'd rather have at my side, even if only armed with a 5 or 6-shot revolver, if I were find myself being propelled through some unexpected doorway into Harm's Way, than many other people I've seen who might be armed with gee-whiz, super hi-cap pistols.