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ASD - Chapter 4: Purchasing a Defensive Handgun. Revolver or Semi-Auto? - The Original American Sheepdog!
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Thread: Chapter 4: Purchasing a Defensive Handgun. Revolver or Semi-Auto?

  1. #1

    Default Chapter 4: Purchasing a Defensive Handgun. Revolver or Semi-Auto?

    Carrying the Kimber Twins

    Since no two people live the same lifestyle it is hard to develop a universal strategy for all carry situations. The choice of handgun to carry or holster to carry or the place on the body to conceal the handgun depends on individual differences and situational differences. I can tell you the choices that I have made for effective concealed carry and why, then you can decide what parts of my decisions might apply to you and your life situations.
    I have spent decades working with mentally ill criminals so I know how pervasive mental illness and criminality is in our society. All I have to do is remember how often I saw truly dangerous patient/inmates get released to the streets and I long ago decided to avoid crowds at all costs. I spend 95 per cent of my time on a motorcycle in rural communities and often find myself in the wide open spaces all by myself and love it.
    My primary carry handgun is the Kimber Ultra CDP (concealed defense Package) 2. The Kimber ultra is a seven shot 1911 45 caliber, with a three inch barrel. It has an aluminum frame and one of the easiest to conceal large caliber handguns made. It is light weight and easy to point and shoot or to take aim for precision shooting at considerable distances. I train to shoot at distances from one yard to 100 yards. I often train to shoot at greater distances with a handgun because I spend so much time in wide open spaces and recently, there have been criminal acts in large public areas such as shopping malls which often would require long shots to make life miserable for some bad guy. Being practiced at shooting at distance and with both hands would be helpful in most open spaces with considerable distances. Recognize that it would be hard to justify “immanent threat” with a bad guy 100 yards away in most situations but the ability to know how effective your shooting skill is at long range is important, give 80 percent of your shooting practice to close range and 10 percent to medium range and 10 percent to long range handgun practice.
    I will carry a second Kimber Custom CDP 2, with a 5 inch barrel. This full size 1911 45 caliber differs from the Ultra in some important ways even though the two look cosmetically similar. The clip for the kimber custom will fit the kimber ultra but the ultra clip is too short to reload the larger kimber, so when I carry both handguns I carry only the larger 8 shot kimber custom clips for reload purposes in either handgun.
    The Kimber manufacturing company recommends that 400 to 500 hundred rounds should be shot thru their handguns for break in purposes and I can not stress enough that this recommendation should be followed before the handguns are used for concealed carry. The Kimber ultra shot faithfully out of the box and has never failed to discharge a round but the Kimber Custom would about 10 percent of the time print an impression on the primer but fail to ignite the primer on first strike, as I put more rounds thru the handgun, the percentage eventually reached 100 percent with all rounds being fired effectively. I believe that the tight clearances at manufacture require the recommended break in rounds. The Kimber Ultra has an 18 pound spring while the Kimber custom has a 16 pound spring but both recycled rounds equally well. DO NOT DEPEND ON THE KIMBER HANDGUN FOR PERSONAL PROTECTION BEFORE THE RECOMMEDED BREAK IN ROUNDS HAVE BEEN SHOT THRU THE HANDGUN!
    No doubt that having to fire 400-500 rounds threw a handgun to break it in is both a pain and expensive but the fact is that after you have broken in the handgun, it will be reliable and a solid well built weapon to last years and years. I highly recommend the Kimber products in spite of the break in period and the pricy cost of the handguns.
    Generally, people will have a primary handgun and a smaller back up handgun (BUG) but because of my lifestyle, my primary handgun is the smaller Kimber Ultra which is simply an amazing concealed carry weapon that is easy to handle, reliable and is quickly brought into action from the lock and load configuration. Having the Kimber Custom as a back up weapon for me is a good idea because it has a longer sight radius and more rounds and better for distance shooting and clips will work well in the kimber Ultra if needed.
    One of the custom details on both Kimbers is that the trigger guard has checkering on the underside to assist with the grip but it makes it very difficult to break in a holster since the checkering will grab the holster which helps with retention but can make a tight holster hard to clear.
    You may have noticed that carrying two larger caliber handguns will bring the carry weight with a couple clips to five pounds and maybe a little more. This may not work well for everyone. I always carry the Kimber Ultra in a belt carry on the strong side, the back up Kimber Custom is bigger and I will often carry it in the waist band (IWB) weak side cross draw in warm weather and in a shoulder holster cross draw in colder weather.
    The biggest advantage to carrying the twin Kimbers is that they feel and operate identically and in a panic situation, they will require the same motor skills with no thought adjustment for different style handguns. Having a primary and secondary handgun being nearly identical reduces the confusion of switching from one gun to the other, for me a good plan.

    by Bebo
    Last edited by rkbartley; 08-25-2011 at 06:08 PM.
    It takes only seconds to call the police, waiting for them to arrive could take the rest of your life...

  2. #2


    What Is the BEST gun for concealed carry?

    That is the big question heard in gun stores, forums, radio shows, gun magazines, and ranges all over the country and I have the answer,… or rather the answers.

    If you are walking through a gun store, admiring chrome and dry firing everything you can get your hands on, searching for that perfect gun to carry for self defense- STOP. Put down that .50 Desert Eagle Sir and give the nice man back that Scandium alloy revolver with the pink grips Maam. Yes Sir, your friends WILL think you look like Sylvester Stallone with that Monster gun and true Maam, that little revolver will fit nicely in your purse but there are a lot of things that go into a decision like this, beyond posing in the mirror or how a gun fits in a purse.

    Carrying a gun is an awesome responsibility. There is a huge risk, that by deciding to carry a deadly weapon, you have started a chain of events that will lead to you spending the rest of your life behind bars. Imagine yourself staring out your cell, wishing you could tell the past you to put the gun down and forget about carrying. That is a distinct possibility. I am not trying to be overly dramatic; this is a reality you need to understand before even getting started. If you cannot control your weapon, you may hit an innocent person. That will land you in prison, no matter how noble your intentions were when you pulled the trigger. If your chosen round is TOO powerful you may zing right through your target and hit someone on the other side of a wall. Not cool. This means that before you start shopping for guns, you need to leave your pride behind and come to grips with the fact that this isn’t about cool. This isn’t about impressing your friends or compensating for your lack of self esteem by carrying a Dirty Harry .44 magnum. This isn’t about finding a gun that fits in your purse like its not there so you can never shoot it and have a false sense of security. This is about stopping bad guys from hurting you or your family and doing so in a way that doesn’t lead to you being pimped out by your cell mate for 3 cigarettes and a honey bun.

    Ok. Now that we have had our reality check, we know that the Desert Eagle and the Scandium revolver are not going to be our primary concealed weapon. Carrying a gun is all about compromise. First of all, despite what the movies lead you to believe, handguns are woefully underpowered. Rifles and shotguns are where it is really at. Unfortunately, concealing a long gun is out of the question for most of us. That means that we have discovered compromise number 1. You are going to carry a weapon that is not the most efficient means of stopping an attack. Having accepted that, the best we can do is find the most efficient caliber in this inefficient manner of self defense.

    If all you could do to stop an attacker was hurl rock at him then by gosh you want the biggest rock possible right? What if you are too small to pick up the biggest rock? Well than you pick up the biggest rock YOU can pick up and chunk it! It’s pretty much the same rational with deciding on a caliber. A .45 or .357 may sound like the biggest rock to you but if you can’t chunk it accurately then its not going to do you much good is it? That means that the best caliber for me might not be the best caliber for you. Don’t let anyone tell you that if you don’t carry caliber X you are under armed and are wasting your time. There is a sweet spot out there for you and with some effort you can find it. The generally accepted smallest caliber for concealed carry is .380. You really don’t want to go any smaller than that. Guns aren’t magic and even head shots aren’t guaranteed stops in any handgun caliber. Bullets can do funny things. Spend a little time reading stories about shootings and you will hear about lots of wild bullet reactions. Sometimes a bullet will enter the head, slide around the head between the skull and the scalp and exit. This leaves the attacker in some pain but not stopped. He may sit down and give up or he may continue his attack. If he is a determined attacker, meaning someone who has strong motivation to harm you like drugs, mental illness, adrenaline, etc, he will most likely keep coming. The smaller the caliber, the more your chances go up that you may shoot and he may not stop. As I said, A large or high powered round is no guarantee either but your chances of a stop increase with caliber and accuracy.

    You might be thinking to yourself at this point that the obvious choice is going to be the biggest caliber. Perhaps you are right, but there have been many people who have bought a big round in a big gun thinking that they would be making a mistake in not selecting the most effective round possible. Then that person struggles to conceal the weapon, becomes frustrated, and slowly begins to carry less and less. Eventually that big gun in that big bad man stopping caliber, finds a permanent home in a dresser drawer, leaving you defenseless. Wouldn’t you have been better off with a slightly smaller caliber that you could conceal and that you would carry? Another scenario has you buying a big bad gun in a big bad caliber and not being able to practice with is because it feels like being hit in the palm with a meat tenderizer every time you pull the trigger. What’s worse, you flinch in anticipation of the pain when pressing the trigger and your rounds start hitting things you aren’t aiming at. Slowly but surely you stop training. One day you have to use that weapon and you hit a pregnant woman in the stomach instead of the bad guy who was attacking you. Wouldn’t you have been better off with a slightly smaller caliber that you could shoot well? Am I making sense here? Armchair commandos on the internet will rant and rave about their big .45’s and .357’s calling everything else a “mouse gun” and you, looking for good advice, listen to those fools and end up with a gun you don’t carry or WORSE, end up using a gun you cant control and wind up killing an innocent person. Now, to balance that statement out, I carry a .45 and a .357. I don’t want to give the impression that I am discouraging you from carrying a large or powerful caliber. I am only trying to counteract all the bad info out there. By all means, carry the absolute BIGGEST, BADDEST, round out there that YOU can conceal and YOU can control.

    So how can you know what caliber gun is for you? What gun is going to hit that sweet spot of concelability, accessibility, and shootability? It is very simple. Go to a range, rent some guns, and shoot them. If you are hard up for money and this seems like a big expense, please, please, please, take my advice. This is much cheaper than going to a gun store and guessing. At a range you can learn what type of gun works for you and how big of a caliber you can handle. A $10 to $20 rental is a lot cheaper than a $500 to $1000 mistake of a gun that you have to trade in for 40% of what you paid- if you’re lucky.

    As I said earlier, .380 is the smallest recommended size ammunition. The largest recommended calibers are the .357 and the .45. In my opinion anything bigger is more likely to over penetrate your target or to recoil so hard you need gloves to shoot it. Sorry Dirty Harry. Save your .44 magnum for self defense in bear country.

    Another thing to keep in mind- not all ammunition costs the same. .357 SIG or 10mm may sound great but if you cant afford to buy the ammo or you cant find it anywhere to buy, then it is going to be hard to practice isn’t it? Also remember to only rent guns that are of a size and shape that you can conceal. A .45 in a large 1911 or a .357 in a Raging Bull revolver may not give you an accurate measurement of that calibers recoil. Rule of thumb, the bigger and heavier the gun, the less the felt recoil. If you can conceal a Raging Bull then go for it but if you can only conceal a snub nose revolver then don’t judge the .357 by the recoil of the ammo in a monster size revolver. Shoot it in a snubbie. Trust me- it is a huge difference.

    Ok, so you have decided on a caliber so it is time to run out and buy that gun right?!!!!!


    How do you plan to carry this gun?... Are your shirts long enough to conceal that? What if the wind blows and your hands are full? Is your gun still concealed? How about at work? Is the gun concealed when you bend over? How about when reaching up? There are a lot of questions that you have to consider. Most people who carry guns for self defense have a drawer full of holsters that didn’t work. We thought they would work when we bought them but in practice there was a problem. The more time you spend thinking about this and trying on holsters if the store allows it or trying on your buddies’ holsters, or some friendly folks at the range’s holsters, the better off you will be and the less money you will spend on holsters that didn’t work.

    The perfect gun is useless if you cant/don’t carry it because it hurts to conceal or it’s too big to conceal. That said, don’t be a wuss. Don’t wimp out and say, “This gun is uncomfortable; all I can comfortably carry is a .22 derringer”. “A .22 will do the job just fine!” “Do you want to volunteer to get shot with it?”

    Please. I don’t want to volunteer to get shot with an airsoft gun but that doesn’t mean it is appropriate for self defense. It has been said that a gun should be comforting not comfortable. I don’t expect you to walk around in pain because of your gun all the time but don’t expect there to be no inconvenience of any kind! Even a pocket holster with a little .380 in it will make your thigh sweaty sometimes. Be sure that whatever gun/holster combo you decide on is the best tactical system for you. More often than we would like to think, a bad guy doesn’t stop an attack just because you show him your gun. You may have to use it to protect yourself and your family. If you biased too much toward comfort of carry in your selection, you may not live to regret it.

    Revolver or Automatic?Shhhhhh! Don’t read that so loud! This is like the Hatfield’s and the McCoy’s here. There are people on both sides that will argue till they are blue in the face over this topic. Some believe that revolvers are archaic and some swear that 5 for sure is better than 14 maybe. I believe they should all grow up and open their minds a bit. Both Automatics AND Revolvers, have some great benefits to concealed carry. I will try to hit the high points and give you enough info to make an educated decision.

    Automatics usually carry more rounds than revolvers. Even the tiniest automatics usually carry 6 in the magazine and 1 in the chamber. A concealable revolver usually carries only five. Automatics are usually easier to shoot. They generally recoil less than revolvers. The smallest automatics are smaller and flatter than the smallest revolvers. Reloading an automatic is easier and faster than a revolver.

    Now for the downside. Automatics need more maintenance. They are more difficult to clean. They are far more prone to malfunction than revolvers. If you neglect to oil and clean your automatic regularly it may jam in the middle of a fight. If you get a bad round in an automatic that doesn’t go off when you press the trigger you have to make sure the magazine is pushed in and then you have to rack the slide to chamber another round. In a revolver with the same problem, you just pull the trigger again and it will automatically go to the next round. Revolvers are easy to use. Activate the cylinder release and push the cylinder out. Drop in your rounds and close the cylinder. Pull the trigger. That’s it. Nice and simple. A revolver will work when dirty and neglected much longer than an automatic, although a revolver will still eventually lock up with severe neglect. Revolvers are easier to conceal than Automatics of comparable calibers. Revolvers are inherently accurate, but require more skill to employ accurately because of the short sight radius, a long stiff trigger pull and the lack of a recoil absorbing slide. In a close quarters situation a revolvers barrel can be jammed against an attacker and fired while an automatics slide might be pushed out of place (battery) causing it to not fire. A revolver can be shot while tangled in clothes, in a pocket etc, while an automatics slide will not be able to cycle correctly in these situations, usually causing a malfunction. As a note, if you should ever need to shoot a revolver while in your pocket, there is a good chance your pants may catch on fire so be ready for that!

    In my opinion, The Revolver VS Automatic race is too close to call. Both have great features and abilities and I suppose that is why the argument is such a hotly debated one. Maybe that’s why so many people carry both, the high capacity auto as a primary weapon and the trusty Revolver as a backup.

    My personal opinion is that a new shooter should stick with an automatic as a primary weapon unless the shooter is committed to spending the extra time it takes to master the revolver. Another thing to consider is that Revolver shooters are often better looking while any old butter face can shoot an Automatic. That’s why the Automatic shooters are so jealous. But I kid.

    Either way, Auto or Revo, you can’t go wrong if you spend your money on a good, name brand, quality firearm. Don’t go buy the cheapest thing out there. Don’t buy the flashiest thing out there. A good solid time proven firearm is best. If you buy a quality automatic and do the proper maintenance (break in, cleaning, oil, only use trusted ammunition that you personally have tested and verified on YOUR gun) you will most likely never see a malfunction in your Auto. I have NEVER had one in my Sig Sauer, Glock, or XD. I say that to avoid giving the impression that you have to carry a revolver to avoid malfunctions.

    Ok. NooOOoow you are ready to buy a new gun. Don’t carry that gun just yet though! You need to take it shooting. As i mentioned above, A lot of guns, especially automatics have a break in period before they can be considered reliable enough to carry for protection. Both Revolvers and Automatics can be picky about what brand ammo they will shoot, though Auto’s are far more prone to this than revolvers. After your gun is broken in, you have to continue to practice. Don’t just practice close range either. Imagine you are in a mall and a guy walks in with a rifle and starts executing people. You may have to take him down from 25 yards away and if you’re first shot misses, you will likely not live. Don’t neglect this long range practice.

    Get Training. I know this article has been SO informative that you are probably feeling like you could go shoot a gun match against the Navy Seals but trust me, The more you learn about self defense and concealed carry the more you realize how little you know.

    God bless, be safe, and practice a lot.
    By Decline 8-21-2011
    Last edited by rkbartley; 08-25-2011 at 06:11 PM.
    It takes only seconds to call the police, waiting for them to arrive could take the rest of your life...

  3. #3


    *Reserved* *Reserved*
    It takes only seconds to call the police, waiting for them to arrive could take the rest of your life...

  4. #4
    ASD Senior Member
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    Jul 2011
    Moore Haven, FL
    Thanked: 112


    When my daughter graduates from nursing school in May, she will finally come home and I will get my snub nose revolver back from her. I sent it out there with her because I did not want her to be in a strange place around strange people that she doesn't know and not be armed and able to protect herself should the need arise.
    But before I take possession of the snubby from her, I am going to take her gun shopping, to every gun shop within a reasonable distance from our home. Why?.... you ask? Because I want her to pick up, feel and hold, and fire anything she may be interested in.
    First of all, it has to comfortably fit in her hand. If it doesn't fit in her hand, it's not going to be in her home, or purse, or car, or any other place/conveyance she will be in. THAT is my responsibility to her as her father. And it all begins with her hand. The caliber doesn't matter, because shot placement is more important than actual caliber size. And when she finds that handgun that fits her hand, I will buy it for her.
    I am not worried about her as long as she has the ability to defend herself from any POS that wants to make her his victim. She's smart, has good common sense, and keeps her eyes & ears open to her environment. And she's not afraid to pull the trigger if she needs to.
    She's fond of 9mm's, because they don't kick like most handgun calibers do. She likes my .40 S&W, but it's a little too big for her, and she's said so to me. She likes the .38 special I sent out there with her, but she isn't fond of the long trigger pull of a revolver every time. So we're going to concentrate on finding her a good 9mm.
    But having a personal handgun has to start with how it fits and feels in your hand. If it doesn't fit comfortably in your hand, it isn't for you! Just my own personal take on this subject.

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