Looking at Pistol Caliber a Different Way

Dear Fellow Survivalist;

Back in 2018, I took an extensive look at pistol calibers with you, talking about the four most common pistil calibers used in self-defense. As far as I’m personally concerned, the discussion is really between 9mm and .45ACP, depending on whether you are more concerned with bullet penetration or energy transfer (knockdown power). Both calibers have their fans, and both groups of fans have good arguments for the calibers in question.

I personally carry a .45ACP as my primary carry gun, due to my belief that any criminal I have to deal with is either going to be high on drugs or high on adrenalin. They might not feel a 9mm round pass through their body, even if the shot ultimately ends up being a kill shot. At least with the .45 I could be sure that the impact would have some effect on them, even if it doesn’t actually knock them down.

But… and this is a very big but… that gun is heavy, especially when you add the weight of two extra magazines, loaded with cartridges. That causes problems with keeping my belt up, a common problem for those of us who carry concealed. Making matters worse, my belly is larger than it should be, making it much easier for my belt to slide down.

This can cause serious problems, especially with some activities, which might increase the chances for my belt to slip. In such cases, I have a choice of having my pants slip down around my ankles, leaving my pistol at home or carrying an alternate firearm. The alternate I have available is a small .380ACP, which can very accurately be described as a “pocket pistol.” I’ve also heard it referred to as a “belly gun,” because it you are at any greater range than belly to belly with your opponent, it doesn’t have enough accuracy to guarantee a hit.

I have two options available to me for carrying this less than perfect pistol. The first is to carry it in a pocket holster in my front pocket, with the spare magazines in my left hip pocket. This option has the advantage of making the pistol easy to reach, at the cost of losing the pocket I normally carry my keys and pocket knife in. My other option is an ankle holster, which totally eliminates any idea of drawing the gun quickly, but is an excellent place to hide a pistol, as nobody thinks to check one’s ankles, looking for a bulge there. It also doesn’t add any weight to my pants, helping ensure they don’t end up around my ankles.

Granted, none of those options are great and many would say that I should ignore them, carrying my pistol on my waist and finding some way to prevent my pants from falling. But leaving that aside, allow me to explore another option; a reason to go ahead and carry the smaller pistol, even carrying it in an ankle holster.

The purpose of carrying a firearm is self-defense. By extension, that includes protecting those around us as well, especially those who are close to us. With that being my goal, I work hard to maintain my situational awareness, keeping myself in condition yellow. With that being the case, my chances of needing a fast draw are minimalized. If things look like they might be about to go south, I just unholster my gun early, keeping it hidden in my hand, up against my clothes.

Seventy percent or more of the situations where a concealed carry holder needs to use their firearm are within five feet. Another twenty plus percent are within 10 feet. With those statistics, I don’t need to worry about long shooting, in most cases. Here’s another surprising statistic; more people have been killed with .22LR pistol shots than any other caliber (not counting military). While .380ACP might not be a great caliber, it’s fantastic compared to .22LR.

I decided long ago that it was better to carry than to go unarmed. With that being the case, I want to carry the best firearm possible. Hence my ownership of both 9mm and .45ACP pistols. But we have to factor in the phrase “best firearm possible.” The best possible often isn’t the best firearm I have available; but rather what is best to carry in that particular situation. If I’m building a shed in the backyard, like I was doing last weekend, it may not be all that practical to carry my .45. On the other hand, I can carry that little .380, without it getting in the way of my work.

The .380 isn’t my first choice. It’s just the choice I fall back on, when I don’t feel like I can carry my larger pistols. Like I said, any pistol is better than going unarmed. Going without means being unprepared. Carrying anything is like keeping my powder dry and my survival gear close at hand; it ensures I’m prepared.

Dr. Rich

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