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  • Hand guns. How small is to small

    I like hand guns and I like shooting them. If I was richer I would have a lot more. It seems like there is no end to the small pistols and revolvers out there. I do believe if we are talking about a personal protection hand gun we reach a point where we can go to small and we sacrifice "power and combat accuracy" for ease of carry. But any gun is better then no gun. The new 9mm Solo from Kimber looks like a sweet little pistol as do some of the small size offering from Khar, Sig, S&W, Ruger, Glock, etc. As I said, a bunch to select from. I shoot my 1911 .45, the 9mm Browning Hi Power and 3" K Frame .357 the best. They all have good triggers, sights and fill the hand and balance well for me. My 70's made little Mod. 34 S&W .22 Kit Gun is hard to shoot well compared to a K Frame .22 and my little 2" S&W J Frame .38 Spl. requires a lot of effort from me if I move past 7 yards. I have a Glock 36 .45 that has surprised the heck out of me when I shoot it and I can hit the A Zone at speed at 7 yards and still hit at 25 yards and I expect the Glock 30SF I picked up is going to be as good or better. The dimensions of the Glock 36 do not measure out much bigger then the .38 Spl. J Frame yet there is a big difference in performance and power. So if you carry a gun for personal protection make sure it is up to the task. I don't waste much time debating between the 9mm and .45 as I believe a bunch of hand gun bullets in the right place is what works. For me it starts with my 3" .38 Spl. K Frame or 9mm Browning Hi Power and keeps on getting better from there up to the .45 1911 Govt. Mod.

  • #2
    IMO, no gun is the gun that is too small

    I feel alot better with a hi-cap .22 than with nothing, but when I get into .357 energy levels I get comfortable.

    Also, in Alaska, 2 legged critters might be less of a concern than 4 legged. I would taylor my carry choices to my location.
    "When the time comes for a man to look his Maker in the eye, where better could the meeting be held than in the wilderness?"

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    • #3
      Originally posted by tailwind View Post
      Also, in Alaska, 2 legged critters might be less of a concern than 4 legged. I would taylor my carry choices to my location.
      I am always more concerned about 2 legged miscreants, but I suppose the 4 legged varmints can be hazardous as well...
      Foolishness is a moral category, not an intellectual one.

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      • #4
        Too small is one that is too small to get a good grip on. The Ruger Redhawk is too small for me with that little grip. Easy to fix but that small factory grip doesn't fit me well. Most of the small autos don't fit my hand well. I like something I can get a good solid grip on. Everybodys hand is different.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by tailwind View Post
          IMO, no gun is the gun that is too small

          I feel alot better with a hi-cap .22 than with nothing, but when I get into .357 energy levels I get comfortable.

          Also, in Alaska, 2 legged critters might be less of a concern than 4 legged. I would taylor my carry choices to my location.


          +1....................Spot on

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          • #6
            Originally posted by tailwind View Post
            Also, in Alaska, 2 legged critters might be less of a concern than 4 legged. I would taylor my carry choices to my location.
            Yep, it's either a Field Gun or a Hme Defense, gun. At the least, Field loads or Hme Defense loads.

            I like 357, but I can't tolerate those little lightweight snub-nose jobby doos, even with 38s. Our 38s have longer barrels, as does my one 357 Mag.

            The trend in handguns is too often, popularity over practicality. It makes absolutely, no sense, IMO.

            Smitty of the North
            Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
            Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
            You can't out-give God.

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            • #7
              I got a little tiny Walther that shoots 22 shorts from a buddy of mine. He gave it to me! Said he never wanted to see it again.

              Of course, he was all bandaged up when he handed it off. When he was bracing it for a shot he got the first finger of his brace hand out in front of the barrel and shot the tip right off. For him at least, it was just a might too small.
              "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
              Merle Haggard

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              • #8
                Originally posted by BrownBear View Post
                Of course, he was all bandaged up when he handed it off. When he was bracing it for a shot he got the first finger of his brace hand out in front of the barrel and shot the tip right off. For him at least, it was just a might too small.
                Ouch! Bad deal for your buddy.
                Foolishness is a moral category, not an intellectual one.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I'm with you guys on what has been stated so far. A handgun just has to fit my hand right first, then have a decent trigger pull. It is funny though that a rare small handgun can be very accurate. One of the only ones I have found I can shoot decent is a Beretta 21 in 22LR. It has trouble cycling reliably with anything but CCI Stingers. Shooting these, it is 100% reliable and can hit targets way out given its size. Amazing considering the tiny crude sights?? Just don't make sense.

                  For me, ideal carry size and shootability, its a commander sized 1911 with a full sized government model not much harder to carry/conceal. For DA/SA autos, I really like a Sig 229. For revolvers, anything less than a 4" barrel for me becomes inacurate?? It is funny how every individual will have preferences and shoot well with that handgun and the next guy couldn't hit the broad side of a barn with it?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by HUNTERKJL View Post
                    It is funny though that a rare small handgun can be very accurate. One of the only ones I have found I can shoot decent is a Beretta 21 in 22LR. It has trouble cycling reliably with anything but CCI Stingers. Shooting these, it is 100% reliable and can hit targets way out given its size. Amazing considering the tiny crude sights?? Just don't make sense.
                    Same here.

                    I'm amazed at how accurately, Beretta my 21 shoots.

                    I could keel a Wabbit, I betcha.

                    I don't shoot nuthin but CCI Blazer Ammo, and it's never jams.

                    Smitty of the North
                    Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
                    Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
                    You can't out-give God.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Yea Smitty, one fine day in AZ, I was regularly hitting gallon jugs with mine out maybe a 100 yards! Took several rounds to figure the hold over amount, but by gosh I was hitting regularly. I never could do that with a 38 snubbie? Always wished Beretta would have made a tip up barreled 380 about the same size, but it must not be possible with the design as they only made them in 22, 25, and 32. They make for a nice little pocket gun.

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                      • #12
                        Here is a excert from Handgunner mag...Big gun Medium gun.....Ear Blaster
                        You recently got a letter from a guy
                        who thought the .357 magnum was
                        uncomfortably loud and he was afraid it
                        would damage his hearing. You recommended
                        a 9mm or a .38 Special. You
                        failed, however, to point out the .357
                        magnum has superior stopping power
                        when compared to either a 9mm or .38.
                        I don't know your correspondent, but it
                        appears he is more concerned about his
                        hearing than about his survival. In addition,
                        I feel it's unlikely that as many as
                        six rounds from a .357 will cause permanent
                        hearing loss. I presume he's not
                        regularly firing full magnum rounds in
                        his bedroom!
                        Jon Lawrence
                        Eureka , Calif.
                        Jon, I've fired .357 magnums in an
                        enclosed room during training. The
                        muzzle blast and noise are numbing. I
                        checked with my doctor friend Davis
                        Bronson, who is also a shooter: "Six
                        rounds - even one round - from a
                        high-intensity round like a .357 in an
                        enclosed area will likely cause hearing
                        damage and it may heal - or it may
                        not. And the likelihood of causing permanent
                        damage is definitely there."
                        Also, after seeing several people shot
                        and some killed over my 20 years as a
                        street cop in San Diego, I can personally
                        attest the difference in "stopping" power
                        between a good quality 9mm load, a .38,
                        .40 .45, .357, etc. is minimal. During
                        post-mortems I was fortunate enough
                        to attend with my old friend Gene Wolberg
                        from the crime lab, I learned it's
                        almost impossible to tell the difference
                        between the wounds of pistol-caliber
                        rounds. It's always better to have something
                        controllable that doesn't knock
                        you senseless from muzzle blast, noise,
                        flash and recoil. Hitting accurately and
                        fast is what's critical. At the time I left
                        the PD (around 1999) we had killed 74
                        criminals with 147 gr. sub-sonic 9mm
                        loads. Most were one- or two-shot stops.
                        If they were hit right, they went down.
                        And the 9mm proved to be controllable,
                        easy to handle and quick for follow-up
                        shots. Since their change allowing .40
                        and .45 handguns, the stopping rate has
                        Continued on page 100remained the same, regardless of caliber.
                        On a side note, I once watched a
                        gang member take a load of police
                        buckshot into his lower back area from
                        about 35 feet when he pulled down on
                        a group of cops during a felony vehicle
                        stop. He ran almost a block, shooting,
                        before he fell. So "stopping" power
                        isn't all it's cracked up to be, unless
                        you're using a centerfire rifle of at least
                        medium caliber. And Clint would be
                        happy to talk to you about that! Editor

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Thanks for postin that Oneriver:

                          Smitty of the North
                          Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
                          Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
                          You can't out-give God.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by HUNTERKJL View Post
                            Yea Smitty, one fine day in AZ, I was regularly hitting gallon jugs with mine out maybe a 100 yards! Took several rounds to figure the hold over amount, but by gosh I was hitting regularly. I never could do that with a 38 snubbie? Always wished Beretta would have made a tip up barreled 380 about the same size, but it must not be possible with the design as they only made them in 22, 25, and 32. They make for a nice little pocket gun.
                            I wish they would make the Tip-Up barrel a lot longer. That might qualify it as a Survival, or Kit gun.

                            A long time ago, I owned a Beretta, about the same size as the 21, but it didn't have the double action on the first shot feature.

                            It was chambered for 22 Short. I used to shoot it at trees, and the trees didn't notice, but my ears certainly did. The sound was reely sharp, and as I remember, the accuracy wasn't very good.

                            IIRC, they had a longer barrel version. I never seen one, but I can picture, pictures of it in my mind.

                            Smitty of the North
                            Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
                            Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
                            You can't out-give God.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by tailwind View Post
                              IMO, no gun is the gun that is too small

                              I feel alot better with a hi-cap .22 than with nothing, but when I get into .357 energy levels I get comfortable.

                              Also, in Alaska, 2 legged critters might be less of a concern than 4 legged. I would taylor my carry choices to my location.
                              I have had much more trouble with 2 legged critters than the 4 legged variety. I carry a 1911 or a M&P and my wife carries a J-frame .357. Between my former shady neighbors, and getting shot at on Glenn Hwy, I don't leave home without my handgun. The incident where my car got some unwanted ventilation occured at the Mt. View light on the Glenn. It was on the news after it happened. My insurance adjuster asked me to repeat the story of what happened again after I told him because he thought I was joking.

                              I still carry a .44 or shotgun when in the woods hiking, fishing, or doing whatever. I have had to fire a warning shot once. This happened near the Russian River ferry when a pair of young brownies started herding fisherman down the bank so as to get at their stringers. Everyone got pushed down to the end of the cut bank into my fishing spot. The bears kept coming and were showing no fear. They weren't being outwardly aggressive either. There were several guys out there with guns drawn, and I figured I would scare the bears off before someone got stupid and shot one of them. I fired two rounds into a stump and the bears beat feet.

                              I think that the size of the gun is irrelevent if you can't shoot it in the first place. The smallest pistol I carry is my wife's J-frame occasionally. I can put all 5 rounds into center mass on a military M9 target at ten yards. If I couldn't do that with repeatability I would not carry that pistol. If my wife couldn't she wouldn't carry it either. I can do the same with my 1911 and my M&P. If I couldn't what would be the point in lugging it around? I would not be able to effectively defend myself, and I would be a serious danger to others unlucky enough to be in the area. I think that a lot of people go out and buy handguns for self defense because they are comfortable to carry or look cool. By doing this they fail to spend the time to find something that they shoot well. So in answer to the question about how small is too small, I would have to say the the gun that you cannot effectively defend yourself with is too small. The smaller the grip and sight radius the more difficult it is to shoot. Maybe not for everyone, but for 98% of handgunners out there, yes.

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