Need a backup hand gun : then try the Ruger LCP.

This guest post is by John B and entry in our non-fiction writing contest .

This is a topic often discussed, yet there is no clear answer as to what is best. While I was in a local gun store I happened to hear a conversation between a customer and a sales associate on which hand gun to buy as a self-defense weapon. The customer was looking at various models of semi auto hand guns ranging from the 1911 to the Smith and Wesson Body guard.

As I was listening, I saw the customer put aside the Ruger LCP and the Smith and Wesson Body guard. He told the sales associate that he wanted a gun with a little more punch, and one he could easily carry and conceal secondary to his Glock .45 cal that he carries on his hip. The sales associate (no doubt, trying to make a larger sale) agreed and suggested the Baby Glock .40. This can be an excellent suggestion and it is a fantastic gun. (I own one myself along with the Ruger LCP, and S&W J frame .38 as back up weapons).

What I have found to be true is that for the purpose of self-defense in combination with ease of carry, the pocket pistol LCP, Body Guard, Kahr Ect. Should not be dismissed so easily. Sure you are giving up some knock down power, but the human body does not like to add holes to it. In a true self-defense scenario one has to put themselves in a position where you are fighting for your life.

The goal is to get a weapon in your hand as quickly as possible, and inflict damage that will allow you to either retreat or give you enough time to place an accurate shot into an area of the body that will stop the threat. For me, there is nothing better than the pocket pistol in a left-handed ankle holster on my left ankle (that would mean the holster is on the outside of my left ankle.) I choose this for two reasons. 1) I am a police officer who carries a weapon on my right side hip 40 plus hours a week.

If I need to go to my back up weapon that means my duty weapon is damaged, my right arm or hand is damaged, OR I am trying to keep my duty weapon in my holster with my right hand while someone else is trying to remove it. 2) I have tried multiple weapons and rigging systems as backups. Some work better than others, but all have a down side. Usually it’s the weight of the larger caliber (walking miles with it bouncing on my ankle or attached to my vest in some way causing irritation to the inside of my arm.)

After 17 years I have found what works best for me. That is a Ruger LCP in a left-handed ankle holster. A right-handed ankle holster will put the weapon on the inside of your left ankle, that would mean the easiest and quickest way to draw your weapon would be with your right hand. If it comes to me drawing that weapon you have to assume one of the above mentioned circumstances has occurred. Basically the right hand for whatever reason is not available.

It only makes sense to put the weapon where I can access it with my left hand. As far as the caliber goes, yes a .380 is a smaller round. But if you pump one or two .380 rounds into someone or something, it will cause hesitation, if not kill said thing. If it does not kill said thing it will give it pause, allowing you to put several more rounds into a vital area or allow you to retreat.

Bottom line is that in a true self-defense situation, you are up close and personal. You do not care if you can hit the rings of a target at 50 yards, you care about getting the threat away from you. If you are looking to hit something and stop it at more than a few yards than it’s not a defense weapon it is an offensive weapon and the choices become endless.

This contest will end on June 5 2012 – prizes include:

First Prize) Winner will receive a Wise Essentials Kit courtesy of LPC Survival and an EcoZoom’s Versa Stove courtesy of EcoZoom stoves.. A value of over $300.

Second Prize) Winner will receive a $150 gift certificate for Wolf Ammo courtesy of   A total prize value of over $150.

Third Prize) Winner will receive copies of both of my books “31 Days to Survival: A Complete Plan for Emergency Preparedness” and “Dirt-Cheap Survival Retreat: One Man’s Solution”  and a Katadyn Siphon Water Filter courtesy of Mayflower Trading Company.  A total prize value of $107.

Contest ends on June 5 2012.

About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.


  1. Spook45 says:

    As an instructor and a ful time carrier of arms(wear mine like clothes) I hve this discussion all the time. Most peope who are gun savvy enoug to carr one want an auto, the problem is producing it from cover in a heated situatio. Wita BUG you ma find yourself having to fire from clothing or a pocket etc so fr a bug I siply point people towrad compact revolvers. In short I would rather have theLCR or a taurs utra lite etc something with fewer moving parts that I can fire from inside a pocket or other place of concealment than an auto that will foul after the first shot and send you reeling into a draw, tap and rack or tap and clear situation under the stress of an already dangerous situation.
    Revolvers are much more safe and reliable than autos i those types of situations.

    • As a firearms instructor you should know that revolvers actually have more moving parts and a more complex mechanic than a semi, mainly the exact timing required by the cylinder rotation; unreliable cylinder rotation, no boom.

  2. Some people are willing to dress around a gun and carry potent guns with lots of firepower that are long, wide, and/or heavy. More power to them.

    I’m not a LEO nor do I spend time in high risk environments. Statistically speaking, the chances of me needing a firearm are quite low. A small pocket pistol is the pistol I will carry routinely, just in case. Not much fun to shoot those at the range, but much more useful to me.

  3. John B

    I agree that the Ruger LCP is one nice gun. My CCW is a Ruger LCR in 357 mag. My decision was based on bad arthiritis in both hands. I have fired the LCP twice and it is a nice weapon, and if my hands were in better shape I would have bought one.

  4. axelsteve says:

    My friends dad used to pack a s&w 38 chiefs special that only held 5.He put plus p in it though.He put it in his shaving kit for when he traveled.

  5. Although I do not live in the city, the recent shooting spree (of innocents) in Seattle reminded me that I need to find a gun that is small enough to carry everywhere (for example in a handbag) yet potent enough to allow me to get away when the bad guy comes around. After all, if a firearm is to large or too heavy, it will sit in the safe at home and will be of little use when I need it.

    Since I think it is silly to shop for a pink girlie gun, I started reading reviews yesterday in anticipation of my shopping and of course my try-outs. The Ruger LCD was right there on the top of my list even though it was a firearm that I had not considered in the past.

    The fellow at the range said the same thing you did “You do not care if you can hit the rings of a target at 50 yards, you care about getting the threat away from you.” Amen. Thank for an informative, useful and timely article.

    — Gaye

    • village idiot says:

      Hi Gaye, I just wanted to advise you to not carry a handgun in your purse. We had a friend who had her handbag snatched with her revolver in it. She still hasn’t got it back after several months. Always have your pistol on your person. Just wanted to pass that info along. Take care.

  6. Oops . . . I meant the Ruger LCP.


  7. I Jeff. I finally, after a long period of consideration settled on a Tarus .380, six round clip. I am not in a high risk area either, despite two ecounters in 17 months of my Concealed Permit. Each case ended in cessation of aggression. I have come to believe that most criminally minded individuals do not want holes in their bodies just like we dont. However the .380 is strictly back up and never a go to gun. My go to is a glock 27 .40 cal. I carry with magazine in, round in tube, and three extra magazines with me.

  8. Buuurr in Ohio says:

    I wear around my weapon. For me it is a 9 mm with 19 rounds. I actually plan on getting an LCP. I fell in love with one at the gun range about a month ago. Perfect for those places where an awesome looking black gun is a faux pas.

  9. John B.
    I think you hit the nail on the head. If it works for you it’s the way to go. I certainly think you have given a lot of thought to this situation and it seems most logical.
    The small .380 cal. handguns with the proper ammo are very comparable to larger calibers at close range. Load up with some good high powered ammo and at short range it will do the job. When a back-up is usually needed it will be for a 3-10′ shot and at that distance if you can’t stop your adversary with six or seven rounds you need track shoes.

  10. As a former LEO, my favorite backkup and offduty carry weapon was a small 32 caliber Walther that predated the PP. I found it lying on the top plate of a garage I was disassembling to salvage the lumber. The owner said it was not his and I was welcome to it. It had no magazine and the local gun shop modified a pair of magazines for me to smoothly fit and feed in the weapon. It had 7 round capacity and at fifty feet I could rapidly put all seven shots in a 9 inch paper plate. My service revolver was a 6 inch barreled Smith and Wesson so I hardly felt the weight of the Walther. Realizing that it was probably true what the poster of this topic said, that the right hand/arm would either be occupied or disabled, I wound up with and inside the belt clip on carry holster made from a hard plastic eyeglasses case that was very comfortable to carry, unnoticeable unless I pulled up my shirt or took it off and I was able to rapidly draw and fire rapidly, putting 5 of the 7 rounds in the paper plate while not as neatly grouped as the right hand, still close enough to discourage anyone with serious intent of committing mayhem. Surprisingly, because I have large hands, this little pistol was quite comfortable for me to use. Because of my carrying this off duty, once while in the neighboring city shopping for groceries, the presence of the little pistol cancelled an in progress robbery and was able to hold the miscreant until the local police showed up. That police chief ended up with the pistol when I resigned from the police force in the town I was living in. Cost him some serious money since it turned out to be quite a collectors item. Most of the European police officers during the post WWII period used a Walther 32 larger frame pistol for a duty gun.

    • Hi Harold,
      Thanks for sharing that story. I always like to hear about times when Americans used common sense and a little ingenuity to make items useful without spending a lot of cash.

  11. SurvivorDan says:

    Couldn’t agree more about the ease of ‘carryability’ of a smaller weapon. I typically carry a Glock 19 w/ extra mag on my right hip ITW. I ‘always’ have a .32 Tomcat in my left rear jeans pocket. (I might have another mini gun elsewhere as well). The point is that the Tomcat and the possibly hidden mini 5 shooter are ALWAYS present.

    Fortunately for me, years ago, I had a serious boxer’s break in my right hand that took many months to heal properly. But during that time, I trained myself (to much teasing by buddies about my original lack of accuracy) to use all my weapons as a leftie. Now a days I am nearly as comfortable yanking a roscoe with either hand and hitting my target. Better learn to use your non-dominant hand now than experience a desperate learning curve during a serious social situation. 😉

  12. J Stuart says:

    Back up gun: Sig P238. .380 – super reliable and accurate.
    Regular carry Sig P226, P229, or Glock any flavor.

  13. JP in MT says:

    Both my wife and I carry the LCP w/laser. Mine is the CTC and her’s is the factory one.

    I have found it to be lightweight and dependable. Since I am not LEO, I only carry mine for personal reason. It gets fired every quarter and I clean the pocket lint out every month.

    The pants I habitually wear have a “watch pocket” in the bottom of the front pocket. This is the perfect size for the LCP. I simply carry my checkbook in the same pocket and there is no outline or anything.

    I carry the Corbon DPX rounds in it and don’t feel like it is too small a caliber. I just remember it is not my primary weapon if tensions go up, but it is the one that is usually with me, when something bigger isn’t.

    Thanks for the thought of the left handed ankle holster, I’ll be looking into that.

  14. SurvivorDan says:

    Nice choices JS. My brother (also JS), a police officer for 26 yrs, carries two Sigs and loves them. He did a tour with their SWAT team and they use the P220 for tactical work. I’m po’ so I have Glocks and Rugers.

    • J Stuart says:

      Thanks SurvivorDan, I’ll put out extra money when my hide is on the line. I have Glocks too but the Sig has now moved to the top shelf in my collection. I believe it is safer to carry a Sig than the Glock. I do love Glocks and would probably go with one if I were to have only one to last forever without maintenance under harsh conditions, or had to bury it in mud for a year or two.

  15. BUG is a .38 Police Undercover… but it isn’t really my ‘back up gun’. My preferred is on the hip, but one never knows when they may not be able to reach the ‘primary’, so the ‘back up’ is now the ‘primary’. Still, there are times when my back up become my primary when I’m in a Non-Permissive Environment (NPE) and don’t want to have any lumps showing anywhere at all, then the BUG becomes a pocket gun, which is now the primary. (Confused yet? 😉 )

  16. Soggy Prepper says:

    My DH pretty much changes his carry weapon like women change their shoes. Depending on where he’s going and which one he feels like on any given day. He has a main EDC, but he “accessorizes” for the occasion.

    My carry is the LCP. Love it. Has a laser cause it looks cool. I won’t be a sniper with this gun, but will it be effective at 1 foot where the bad guy will be standing when he gets shot? Oh Yes.
    I joke and tell my husband I will do more then the double tap then start wailing on the guy with the dang gun if need be.

    I holster carry at the small of my back. I’m going to mention the ankle holster which I’ve thought about before. Women’s pants are tighter so carrying in the pants pocket like a guy doesn’t work.

    I wouldn’t recommend women carry in their purse either. What do bad guys run by and steal? There goes your gun. Carry on your person or not at all. JMHO.

  17. Uncle Charlie says:

    My Ruger LCP is on me all the time mostly because it is so small and light that I forget that I have it one me. It is easily concealable in a shirt pocket or pants pocket. But I also have a LCR in .38 special, a Colt Detective in .38+P and an Armscor clone in regular .38. The .38+P is not recommended by some for the LCR or the clone because they are so light. I also have a Kel-tec PF-9 and PF-11 which are also somewhat concealable but not as easily as the LCP. I even have a 5-shot 32 H&R mag and a 5-shot Charter Bulldog 44 special just for grins. These are all my backups but not that shabby on their own.

  18. I really like my LCP. It’s perfect as a backup carry piece, but it can (and often does) serve as my primary weapon from time to time. Those who carry a 9mm as their primary weapon might prefer their backup to be the Ruger LC9, which is the 9mm version of the LCP. It’s slightly bigger, but there is something desirable in having one cartridge which can fit in both primary and backup weapons.

  19. If I may add my .02,… As I am both former law enforcement and was a weapons training for both civilian and active duty LE. I am always a proponent of constant training to be proficient. This is essential to survival in a gunfight. The main role of this training is putting rounds down range at a minimum. For me,. There is so much more that must be trained on but that is for a different post. In the realm of most folks here,.. simply getting to the range can be a chore due to work schedule, family, where to go, cost of range fees and so on. But the biggest deterrent to shooting is cost of ammo!

    I have no hang ups with small caliber rounds. I personally feel the .22 is the the most under rated round in the world. The only issue I have is with the cost of .380 simple ball ammo. Even though the cost has come down due to the recent popularity of the pocket design LCP an others,. it is still an expensive round and by no means plentiful. Never has been! As far as being small,… if you shove a .22 in my face and tell me do teh “I’m a little teapot song”,.. well,.. I’m a singing & dancing teapot if you get my drift! Here’s my handle- here’s my spout!!

    However,.. you will only be proficient if you practice shooting regularly. For me,.. I tend to recommend the 9mm at a minimum due to the cost factor,. ease of ability ( both now and when the poo is flung! ) and the higher performance abilities for a much lower price per round (and often firearm ) in very concealable formats. . With todays innovative design in the area of smaller frames, the 9mm is something that should be considered. You hear a lot of concern with recoil. I must be blunt! Recoil among “most” caliber handguns ( 380, 9, 40 & 45 ) is generally and issue of perception and training. Handling the recoil is not matter of dealing with it,. it is proper technique, stance and training!! I have son who was shooting at 12 (108 lbs ) and feel in love with the .45 acp once her realized that it was very little difference in recoil based on training.

    If .380 is your bag,.. do with confidence but buy up ammo now! The .380 party is coming to a close. The cost of .380,… although cheaper than when the interest started is already beginning to creep back up and availability has always been a concern. It’s not going to get better.

    As a parting shot,.. never consider a .25 for anything! I have seen fail to break a coke bottles. Seen multiple GS victims (point blank) with “literally” superficial wounds a result! Example,.. one was hot in the back of the head from 7 feet away. Victim was able to dig the round out of his head with finger nails before the EMS arrived! .32 is another that I would pass on for the same reasons of cost and performance.

    Learn,.. train,.. learn and train some more! Then do it again! Big caliber bullets are not a substitute for poor shot placement.

  20. My FFL guy carries one on him at all times . The thing is just small enough that you can rear it with a pair of shorts on with the right holster and nobody would even know it .

  21. I’m new to prepping and don’t have any guns yet. I do like your view that defensive shooting is actually close range. I’ve always wondered why civilians train for shooting 50 yards away.
    I’ve been planning on buying a Glock 31 .357 SIG for a while as main handgun. I was thinking of buying a S&W Govenor .410/.45Colt for back up. Glock cross-draw on left side & revolver on inside right ankle for backup. I know they are heavy but if the muscle growth continues at current rate I ahould have 12″ forearms & 14″ calfs by October – November. Might not sound like much to some, but I’m only 5’8″ so it will be enough for me. Yes they are both expensive to shoot, but life is worth alot. I’m also planning on buying a Kel Tec KSG 12ga. bullpup shotgun for home defense. (Hopefully extra for car before SHTF too.) Good or should I just buy a Remmington?
    Now I’m probably going to sound very stupid, but why should I carry so no one notices a gun under my clothes? I figure no one would try to rob someone if they know that person has a gun. I’m obviously not LE so I think the guns should be obvious. (I’ll carry them once I get a CCW.)

    • TomFish says:

      Many states have “open carry” laws, thankfully mine does, you might want to check on that. I’m of the same opinion that a gun can do more good on your person if a bad guy can plainly see that it is there. CCW is fine, but I don’t see paying over $200 in training/permit when I can hang one on my hip in full view for free. Just my 2 cents.

    • To hit your points one at a time…
      If you can hit a target at 50 yards, you’ll have no problem hitting it at ten yards. The reverse is not true. Start close- about ten feet, and work your way out to 100 yards and beyond. That’s one reason to practice long shots with a handgun. Another reason, and probably the most over-looked, is it’s fun.
      The .357 Sig… a bottle neck round you’ll have a difficult time finding ammo for if TSHTF or in most ‘country’ stores. A 9mm, .40 or .45 will be tremendously more easy to find any where you look compared to a .357 Sig- which, BTW, is not useable in any other .357 handgun such as Ruger .357 mag. Totally different cartridges.
      The Govenor as a BUG… whateever floats your boat, but as a BUG, the Govenor defeats the purpose of a BUG, which is to be an unnoticed weapon you can get to should you be unable to reach your primary. Or if someone just happens to get your primary away from you. Like the Judge, the Govenor is much too large to carry in an ankle holster- and I don’t care how big and strong you are. It isn’t impossible, but you’ll definitely walk with a limp. Go for something smaller than a Gov. (which is what this article was pointing at). To carry something that big around on your ankle is going to be discouraging and eventually you’ll stop carrying it.
      Cross draw holsters… well… cute, practical for a police officer sitting in a car, but not for a civilian walking around the office or town. There are much better ways to carry a handgun that will make it more easily accessible than a cross draw. An Inside Waist Band (IWB) would be much more practical for a great number of reasons, top among which is the relationship of the gun to the drawing hand. That alone makes IWB an easier draw. Also, IWB is the most concealed you can get outside a pocket or purse/waistpack. The best way to carry IWB is at the appendix position (AIWB), but you may get nervous with a gun muzzle aimed at your jewels. (Some people are that way, and it does feel funny there at first. :X)
      Bullpup shotgun for home defense. Well… actually, may not be a bad choice, though you may want to check around blogs and shooty sites for reliability comments on the KelTec. Being a bullpup, it’d certainly be short enough to manuever inside a house/room compared to a longer barrel. That said, there’s nothing wrong with the Mossberg 500 or Remmy 870 or Ithaca 49 or Winchester ’97- all proven designs used in combat at one time or another.
      Why should you carry under your clothes so no one notices? Well, just in case you haven’t noticed, not all places allow open carry. In fact, some states frown on carry, period. So to have a weapon plainly visible just plainly does not make sense. Also, it frightens the children and we don’t want to do that, do we? Guns have a bad enough reputation. ‘No one will try robbing you if they see a weapon.’ You hope. Just because you carry a gun does not make you immune to stupid people or superior numbers or surprise attacks. Of course, having a gun hidden does not make you immune to these, either- but it increases your odds of surprise compared to a weapon they can see and, possibly, remove from you totally unnoticed. Also, an obvious weapon can be ‘jammed’ by an attacker, negating your drawing it. If it’s hidden, he’s much less likely to notice it and you’ll be able to employ it.
      Police officers carry their primary weapons in the open i retention holsters you’d need a wrecking bar to grab the weapon out of. You don’t see the snubbie they carry in an ankle holster. One reason for LEO carrying visible is just that: a deterrent. A bigger factor is it makes them look threatening, and a cop who is threatening can pretty much do what he wants when and where he wants. It’s proven almost daily around the country. So, you don’t want to ‘look’ like a threat and be stopped by every LEO who really is a threat. Or the mugger who has a gun as well. Or the punk gang that likes the looks of your rig and decides they want it.
      Many, many reasons to not carry open.
      Now, back to that .357 SIG… do some research and consider another round. You may appreciate it.

      • TomFish, thanks for the advice. I’m planning on moving to a state with open carry. Where I live now open carry is only allowed with a CCW. Though JSW made some really good points for concealed carry. I’ll probably get a CCW for back up at least, maybe carry concealed mostly. At least in urban areas where it’s more likely that someone could try grabbing my gun. If the only other one is on my ankle, it would be a bad situation at best.

        • JSW, thanks for the detailed response. I wasn’t expecting to get so much help. I like the reminder of needing to hit a target at 50 yards. I had a couple of colleagues several years ago who were gun enthusiasts. They talked about target parctice and defensive shooting a bit. Plus the fun of shooting. FERFAL says the .357 SIG is best because it has a higher capacity mag & as much stopping power as a .45. I read about his book in a homesteading magazine published by Steven Dick of Tactical Knives. Forgot the name of it. He agrees with you that the .357 SIG isn’t the best. Just like Mr. Aguirre’s knife recommendations- too big, Argentine guacho ideas. I think I’ll check out the Glock 21 .45 auto. Only 10 rounds instead of 15, but it’s better to be able to get more ammo later.
          I’ll check out Charter Arms .357 Mag snub nose, and .38’s. Probably go with a .38 for BUG, maybe a small pistol. I’ll check Ruger, S&W too. Charter is cheap, but I reliability is obviously more important than cost.
          I thought a cross draw might be better than AIWB because that seems insane (don’t think I’d stop worring about it accidentaly firing). I’ve watched a few demonstrations by Konstantin Komorov and he carries that way (AIWB). Though he is using the perspective if Russian Spetsnaz & being a bodyguard. Demonstrating shooting out of your vehicle and how it is easy to hide movement of drawing a pistol from AIWB.
          I figure it’s better to start with a Remmington 870 since it’s several hundred less than the KelTec, and proven. Probably won’t need one in car like in Lights Out. Your comments on concealed carry make complete sense. Open carry is probably only good on rare occasions. Maybe camping?
          About Konstantin Komorov and the Russian martial art Systema. Many MMA fighters on YouTube hate it. And I admit, some of it looks impossible. But I think it’s very practical. I’ll be going to lessons about an hour from where I live in a week or two. I went to a Meetup group nearby but the guy running it moved to the Dominican Republic. The instructor in Cambridge is LE and a use of force instructor. Most Systema instructors have many years of ma experience in other styles before adopting it. And Jack Spirko has an ad for Val Riazonov’s Systema balistic striking DVD’s. I think Mr. Spirko would only have good advertisers. Mr. Riazonov says he can’t move out of the way of strikes as Vladimir Vasiliev & Mikhail Ryabko teach. V.R. says to focus more on taking the impact of the strikes like Maxim Franz does. K. Komorov is a retired Spesnaz major & PhD in combat psychology. I’m not all that pro-Russian, I just think Systema & kettlebells are great things from Russia. Maybe Russian lit is better, but most is beyond me. I like some Russ. classical music too. Most Rupublicans are too big gov for me. I know this might be a little bad for OPSEC but you can chek out the school here.

          • Marcus, the ‘stopping power’ argument has been going for decades and has still not come to a definitive conclusion, especially in view of modern bullets. There is so little difference between a 9mm and .45 in stopping ability that to carry a .45 today is based mostly on preference, not practicality.
            I agree that the .357 Sig is a powerhouse the .45 just dreams of being, yet it isn’t a .357 mag in power, either. As for carrying a .357 snubbie- spend some time developing your wrists ‘cuz it’s gonna recoil lots due to lack of weight. But they do handle .38s as well, so is a practical weapon to own. (My .357s are the preferred child when it comes to shooting, but I carry an XD Nine or S&W Nine- more BBs in the mag.)
            Ankle holsters are viable for a lot of reasons- but fall pretty short of concesalment when shorts are de-rigguer for the day. Too, pant cuffs have the tendency to hang up on them so the weapon is visible. One idea for a BUG is that it can be a ‘roving’ gun: meaning it doesn’t have to be in an ankle holster, but can be in a pocket, in another waistband holster such as small of back, opposite waist from primary, a shoulder holster, tucked into a waist pack, etc. Don’t get locked into an ankle holster. Too, AIWB carry is as old as handguns, and shoulder holsters are centuries old as well, so nothing new about carrying them in such manner. As to the gun going off with AIWB- guns only go bang when they’re told to: trigger control and an educate trigger finger solves that problem. As has been noted elsewhere, if you don’t have a trained trigger finger, maybe carrying isn’t for you. It takes practice and thought.
            Knives… interesting little things, aren’t they? Like calibers and guns, everyone has their ideas on what the best is and how to carry it. Really popular now are folding ‘clip-ons’, and they make a lot of sense (I carry two- one on each pocket, plus a third on the Leatherman.) And like a gun, one should practice ‘drawing’ their knife, opening and presenting it for use. One feature of a knife in an SD situation is that they tend to strike a lot of fear into people: no one likes being cut, probably more so than being shot. But they’re nose to nose weapons, so not always practical and it takes a special mindset for someone to slice and dice on a human.
            Shooting out of a vehicle is a special technique requiring a good deal of thought and training if you want to do it right. Lots more to go wrong inside a vehicle than standing. Too, if you have mobility, the vehicle is the weapon, not the gun: stomp the gas and drive through or past the problem. When that fails, then a gun may be the right tool.
            Martial arts… absolutely nothing wrong with any of the styles you can learn in the world. Some are geared more toward combat, such as Krav, Systema, and Combato. Even plain old boxing is a combat oriented martial art everyone should have a basic understanding of. Regardless the style you study, look at it from the SD/combat perspective and strip it down to its basic form. Also, with all H2H martial arts, it’s more the practitioner that makes it effective rather than the style. A Bruce Lee maxim comes to mind: There are no superior martial arts, just superior fighters.
            As for ‘big government’, there isn’t a government or politician any where that doesn’t dream of being omnipotent, so it isn’t a GOP thing. Besides, democrats have always made government grow exponentially faster than when GOP is in power. Neither party is Constitutionally minded.
            Good luck in your quest. God bless.

            • Thanks JSW, I appricate all your help. And thanks for not yelling at me for saying too much about where I plan to take martial arts. I realized after that I should have just added links to other schools. Since Martin Wheeler also teaches military and SWAT. Plus he lives far from me in L.A. Not that I’ll need what he demonstrates here but it shows some of the defensive aspects. Martin Wheeler A&E Interview
              Systema usually focuses on defense which is another main reason I like it. I also did NOT mean democrats are better. I know third parties don’t win but maybe if WY has enough libratarians relocating there they might. But I’m not counting on it.

          • JP in MT says:


            Actually, unless otherwise prohibited the Glock 21 in 45 ACP hold 13 rounds.

  22. Prudent says:

    Question for anybody out there: Got a Savage Mod. 10 FCM Scout. I own the 110 in 223 and love the trigger and action. This rifle will fit my skill sets just fine. My knowledge of balistics is however as good as my spelling. Need some advice on a load for this rifle. Thinking 160ish gr. ballistic tip er ???
    A ‘quality’ load for all around use. I will be putting a non-regulated 2-7x glass on this and I would like to pick up a case lot of rounds for a percission rifle class next spring. 400 yards is my max. personal range. Bulk Nato ball I can find by the ton but I want to have this ‘Iron’ zeroed on a good load regardless of the the $$.

    Serious as a Heart Attack about this so I would like to hear form the Pack. Thank You all!!

    • Prudent,

      I would try several loads to see which is the most accurate in your rifle. My scout likes 168 gr HP-BT – Federal Premium Sierra Match King Gold Medal but they’re not cheap…

    • JP in MT says:


      Although I don’t have a Model 10, I like using 150 gr bullets. In a handload I like the Barnes TTSX and TSX, as they are a single metal bullet.

      There are factory loads that use these bullets, but off hand I can’t recall what the brand is.

      I also like the scout style, but I had to build mine on a Remington ADL. I also use a 2-7x pistol scope.

  23. Prudent says:

    AnI hope to Gawd I shoot better than I spelk!!

  24. Encourager says:

    Thanks for a very good article, John B. A few questions:
    1. Would this little gun be good for a gal with arthritis in her hands?
    2. How bad is the kick-back?
    3. Are there 22 cal small pistols out there that would work at close range?

    • BK in KC says:

      I can only speak from personal experience, I don’t claim to be an expert.

      1. I depends on how bad your arthritis is. It’s a small gun but if your hands are weak you will probably have trouble racking the slide and the trigger pull is fairly heavy as well.
      2. The kick isn’t too bad overall, but more than I expected out of a .380. The thing is that this gun is extremely lightweight, less than 10 ounces unloaded. That means that it doesn’t absorb recoil as well as a heavier gun. Having said that, I found it comparable to a larger 9mm in terms of recoil.
      3. At close range .22 is a deadly round but lacks that “knock down” punch. However a well-placed shot or three from a .22 will kill any human, I don’t care how large they are. Even so, if enough drugs are in them they may kill you even though they are mortally wounded. That’s the exception rather than the rule though, and a .22 can serve you well as a personal protection round. If I had to choose a .22 pistol for personal protection my first choice would be the Ruger SR22. There are plenty of other options though.

    • Encourager- I’m not John, but I’ll throw my two cents into the ring if you don’t mind (and I’ll mix my metaphors as well). I’ll answer you in reverse order, though.
      There are small .22 caliber pistols and revolvers ‘out there’ that will work at close range. However, due to the reliability of the .22 round, it’s not a recommended self defense gun except in a pinch: if it’s all you have, at least you brought a gun to the fight. The problem is that .22 primers don’t always go off the way they’re supposed to. (Several bloggers have begun a year long test of .22 rounds for reliability, and for my end, so far I’ve had none fail to fire (FTF) out of two thousand. But that is unusual in my experience.)
      On the Ruger LCP, being a .380, the recoil will be pretty moderate if the weapon is held properly (here comes that ‘training’ word again!). True, recoil is user-subjective, so your mileage may vary. Also, being a fairly compact weapon, the LCP will have more recoil than a larger cousin of the same caliber. Too, with arthritis, gripping it may be an issue that increases felt recoil.
      Arthritis in the hands is an issue. I, too, have developed some dexterity and strength problems from the aging process. If your arthritis is so bad you cannot open a jar or work a hand crank can opener, you may be better suited with a revolver type action than a semi auto. Reason being: the semi auto requires the slide action be worked to load, clear, and fix any malfunctions. This is done by griping the slide and racking it backwards (of course), and allowing it to spring forward on its own. Some days it’s all I can do to grip my slide (there are ways around this and I employ them so it isn’t really a ‘big’ deal, but it has potential to become so). Also, this pistol is small in size, which could add to the problem of gripping it.
      With revolvers (cylinder action), the mechanics are simple: push a button to release the cylinder, load, and close. Drawbacks are lower number of rounds- usually 6 except in some newer models which have 5- (though an LCP is also only 6 shots) and slow to reload without lots of practice and use of speed loaders (and still that ‘P’ word).
      There you have one person’s opinion on your questions. And, that is all it is: we will all have different answers to the same question. Some will say a ‘revolver is not a pistol, semi-autos are pistols’- but that depends what era we grew up in. Some will say a .22 is as good as a .380 and better than a .25 (I will, anyway). So mostly the way to answer your question is to find a gunshop, handle a few weapons, work their actions (insure they’re unloaded even in a store! and keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction away from people), and ask questions. Too, ask if there’s a demo gun you can fire. And ask if the store offers an instruction service for new shooters, or about gun clubs that offer such to non-members.
      Hopefully this helped you a bit. If not, spit it out and no hard feelings. Good luck in your search. God bless.

  25. To those of you who are concerned over the recoil of the LCP you might consider carrying a .22 magnum handgun. This is quite an upgrade from a standard .22 cartridge and has practically no recoil.

    I think most people fail to acknowledge that the secondary weapon is more of a last resort weapon and the smaller calibers will have their maximum statistics since the shots will probably be at very close range.

    There are several derringer types that are easily concealed in pocket or purse as well as some other revolvers and semi-autos. Not to belabor a point but recognize that we have many calibers available to us and if the weapon is well made it usually will do the job for which it was intended. Just learn to use them properly, shoot reasonably well and they will suffice.

    • Hugh,

      The 22WMR is a rifle cartridge. The powder burns slower. You will not get the good numbers for velocity/energy with a 4 inch barrel. The WMR gets excellent numbers with an 18-22 inch barrel. With a handgun barrel the numbers are about 40% of that of a rifle, but still better than the 22LR.

      Secondly the 22WMR in a handgun configuration is loud, extremely loud. Thirdly, for one or two cents a round more you can shoot 9mm. Also, it is a rimfire so you can’t reload them.

      The 22WMR as a rifle cartridge is excellent for varmits. It is quieter than a centerfire, but louder than a 22 LR. I think it would make an excellent rifle for small deer etc.

  26. Uncle Charlie says:

    I have trouble racking the slide on my LCP and most semi-automatic hand guns due to arthritis so I keep one in the chamber at all times. This is not usually recommended but the Ruger is not supposed to fire when dropped as I can attest to having had it fall out of my pocket dozens of times onto hard surfaces. I use Glaser Silver Tips in revolvers but not semi’s because of possible feeding problems. Effectiveness depends upon the ammo used. Chuck Hawks’ tables shows the spread. However this table is base on field use and there are no statistics for the brand new self-defense loads that are cropping up all over the place. You pay your money and take your chances. The % figures are for 1st shot stopping power. As mentioned before, the LCP is a CC back-up gun and with all firearms, bullet placement is tantamount. Stay safe.

    380ACP Federal 90gr.JHP 1005 200 14.4″ 11.06 sec. 69% 3.6″ SIG
    .380ACP Rem. Golden Saber 102gr.JHP 925 194 9.4″ n/a 64% 3.6″ SIG
    .380ACP Remington 88gr.JHP 1000 195 12.8″ 13.46 sec. 54% 3.6″ SIG
    .380ACP Federal Hydra-Shok 90gr.JHP 1007 200 10.5″ 10.94 sec. 69% 3.6″ SIG
    .380ACP Cor-Bon +P 90gr.JHP 1041 217 9″ 11.12 sec. 70% 3.6″ SIG
    .380ACP Fed, Rem, Win. 95gr.FMJ 955 190 17″ 22.8 sec. 51% 3.6″ SIG
    .380ACP CCI Gold Dot 90gr.JHP 1030 212 8″ n/a 67% 3.6″ SIG
    .380ACP Glaser Blue 70gr.Frag. 1313 268 5″ 7.94 sec. 75% 3.6″ SIG

    • Uncle, there’s nothing wrong with carrying with a round in the chamber as long as you have goof-proof finger control during the drawing and presentation phase. Carrying in Condition One or Two is, as you noted, perfectly safe in ‘most’ modern handguns. (There’s always a lemon in a bag of oranges.)
      You’ve dropped your weapon dozens of times from your pocket? Time to get a holster that holds it in place. With today’s laws in many places, dropping it could land you in a tight spot.

  27. Uncle Charlie says:

    MD: I’ve been having trouble submitting comments and got the following message after a long wait:

    Internal Server Error

    The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.

    Please contact the server administrator and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.

    More information about this error may be available in the server error log.

    Apache Server at Port 80

  28. Phil in L.A. says:

    I live in Los Angeles And my Kahr pm40 goes with me every where, it is small enough and light enough in my belly band holster that no one even knows I carry and I like it that way. Even though the odds are low for me actually needing it, I always say, a Gun is like a condom, I’d rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.

    BY the way if you are looking at getting a Kahr PM40, it is very unreliable until you break it in with about 200 rounds and also I know it is expensive but shoot it with the Ammo you are going to use for self defense, gotta look for 100% reliability. I Shoot winchester Ranger FMJHP. The 5 round Mag it comes with is worth less, you cant control the gun because your pinky finger hangs over. I recommend the six round mags, for concealment and 7 rounders in your mag pouch.

    Keep up the great work everyone

  29. Rugar (imho) is under appreciated. Not viewed as glory guns. But, boy howdy, I have found them to be reliable, durable, and affordable. I don’t buy on impulse, I ponder & read up & handle numerous times before buying. I badly wanted kimber solo but couldn’t buy something that had issues. My lcp is a sweet thing. And the lc9 as well. Recoil does not hurt my hands in spite of carpal tunnel. I could shoot a box of each very comfortably. A lady may have more trouble concealing a big gun on her person so the lcp may be a help there. Im, um, well rounded with not much room in my waistband, and she fits in there with me comfortably. Check out the flashbang holster ladies! Lcp hides in your blouse, too.awesome. the gun is the star, but the holster gets the “supporting” role.

  30. Eagle,
    I am very much aware that the .22Magnum Cartridge is a round usually made up for rifle usage. My comment was intended for those who feel that size, recoil, slide racking etc., is a problem, that there are other options for a small back-up weapon.
    I own several weapons in a lot of different configurations and can find many good and bad factors among them all, so its simply a matter of what one chooses to use. I know for a fact that most women do not like the weaponns that the men use. They prefer ones that fit their hands. While we need the weapon to be able to do the job at hand sometimes just having a weapon will do the job.
    Your assesment of the round is right on the money .

  31. Uncle Charlie says:

    JWS: Don’t worry, I only drop it at home when I bend over (because my knees don’t work) and I’m carrying in a shirt pocket. When I go out it’s always in a dedicated pants pocket so it can’t fall out unless I stand on my head which I can’t do anymore. Now that’s it’s warmer and I’m wearing T-shirts around the house, it’s always in a pants pocket. Also the finger never goes on the trigger when I take it out of the pocket. I’m always aware that I am in condition one even when carrying a revolver. Besides, a handgun is only meant to help you get to your real gun, a carbine, rifle or shotgun.

    • Chuckling here, Uncle, about ‘fighting your way to your rifle’. I always chuckle at that comment ‘cuz it implies you’re out looking for trouble. Truth is, an handgun is a tool to help you get out of a tight situation when all alternatives have failed. If you’re going to fight your way to a rifle, then you’ve left the danger zone and no reason to head back into the devil’s playground, so a rifle is moot.
      Still, it’s a cute expression probably written by a soldier or LEO.

  32. M.D.
    I too have been having the server cut out after waiting a minute or so when I place a reply. However I believe your server accepts the message everytime because even though it kicks me out the message soon appears. I think it is just a glitch but takes care of the problem anyway. I am sure that it reaches an over-load at times.
    The Server may be smarter than the messages it receives.

  33. Uncle Charlie says:

    JSW: I paraphrased an old saying. I can’t remember who said it but I looked it up once and the source might be attributed to one or two persons who are semi-legends. I never put my self in harms way, but then you never know what’s going to happen. If I’m out of my car, say in the parking lot of a grocery, I will have an LCP or PF-9 or even Colt Detective on me but I may have .357 Mag in my glove box or 40S&W or .45 ACP carbine in my trunk or behind the seat of my pick-up. The same thing could happen in your own back yard while grilling. I’ll bet even someone like MD who lives out in the boonies has something bigger and better inside the door of his cabin that he is not carrying while he is watering his garden. Obviously, the originator is more fond of rifles than hand guns, like in “Quigley DownUnder.” For me anyway, I am a much better shot with a 16″ carbine than with a snubby. I hope I am never in a situation where I will need any of them but it never hurts to be prepared even before tshtf. After all, that is what this site is about.

  34. Uncle Charlie,
    What ever floats your boat. When the SHTF its our own rear end on the line. If a sling-shot works use it, however don’t take a knife to a gun fight.
    I love your humor, we need more of it. We can be very serious about life but take a lot of your time to have some fun or its not worth being here.

  35. Mike S. says:

    The Ruger LCP is a near-copy of the Kel-Tec P3AT. The LCP was still fairly new when I got my Kel-Tec, so I went with the more established model.

    For me, the beauty of a compact .380 pistol like the P3AT or LCP is that they are small enough and light enough that they can be carried all the time. The only places I don’t carry my pistol are at work, where my employer has an aversion to armed employees, places I’m prohibited by law from carrying it, and in the shower. That little pistol is small and light enough that it disappears into a pants pocket. Even when I wear a suit, it disappears into the suit pants pocket.

    While larger guns may have more stopping power – and I appreciate those arguments – it is the gun that is with you that will get used.

  36. When reading and researching the concealed issue in light of concern for the women in my life, I encountered the following site and it seems to offer a good alternative. Obviously you would need to dress around it but it would be secure and comfortable. I am in no way connected to this site, just find it very interesting.

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