Why a handgun should be your first SHTF weapon purchase for self-defense

pic of Glock 19 Gen4

Glock 19

The issue of the best SHTF gun has been worked top to bottom, bottom to top and side to side and back again, it is nothing new.

Some will say a .22 rifle or shotgun, others will suggest an AR-15 or some other centerfire magazine fed rifle and a few will tell you a bolt-action is the most logical choice.

While they aren’t wrong – at least under certain circumstances, they fail to see the big picture or fail to realize what really happens after a collapse.

It would seem many survivalist have been influenced by Hollywood or writers of fiction and can’t separate reality from fantasy. Leave make-believe to the armchair commandos and teenage boys.

Points to consider

  • You won’t be engaging constant combat after a disaster.
  • Those wanting to do you harm will not announce the fact.
  • Anyone wanting to rob or steal from you will attack when you’re most vulnerable.
  • If you’re attacked it will be up close, quick and violent.

After a collapse, violent crime will increase to levels never thought possible, theft, robbery, kidnappings and home invasion will be the norm. You’ll need to be armed at all times. Not following this rule will almost guarantee that you will be abused, robbed, raped, tortured and killed at some point.

Keeping a rifle or shotgun on your person at all times is impossible. Working the garden, feeding the chickens, cutting firewood, setting traps etc. And don’t forget barter markets where going armed will likely be forbidden. Criminals will know this and will wait to attack when you leave the market area.

It’s been said before; the first rule of winning a fight is to have a gun, in this regard a handgun makes the most sense. I know many of you look to be attacked from a distance, you see yourself returning fire from 300 or more yards away.

It could happen – but it’s not likely. In war yes; but not in a SHTF situation – most survivalist confuse the two. You’re more likely to need to defend yourself at arm’s length than from a distance of several hundred yards, if you’re attacked it will be fast, brutal and in your face close-up.

In a recent study it was found that 90% of police and civilian self-defense shooting occurred at ranges of less than 15 feet, with 34% being from contact to 3 feet.

I can’t find one justifiable civilian self-defense shooting taking place at 100 yards or beyond – if you know of a documented case please let us know.

Like any firearm, handguns are encumbered by a number of limitations; namely low power and limited range compared to a rifle or shotgun – but a handgun can be there when you need it and that is most important…

And no, I’m not saying that you should sell your shotguns and rifles and go buy handguns, what I’m saying is that a handgun will be your most useful and used self-defense tool now and after the SHTF.  If you have no defensive firearms get a good handgun first (it’s hard to beat the Glock 19), and learn how to use it, IE get professional training. Then expand your self-defense “arsenal” and training to include shotguns and rifles.

About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of TheSurvivalistBlog.net. 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. j.r. guerra in s. tx. says:

    YOU NEED TO BE ARMED AT ALL TIMES – is the money quote I read from the above. A long arm can and will be set aside while you are carrying or accomplishing another task. The handgun can be worn at all times on your person. Every second counts.

    If you have to go outside your property, you may not want to advertise you are armed. Concealing the shotgun / rifle will be much more difficult.

    Which handgun to carry – that is a lively discussion, lol, but whichever model you choose, practice with it now. Shooting it, drawing it from its holster (unloaded – check!)

  2. PrepperDoc says:

    Great points. Long distance accuracy might be needed if a community were attacked by a band detected by spotters.

    Reason you don’t see this today is that such actions would be illegal. In a complete lack of order, they might be life-saving.

    Might I suggest that several pistols/revolvers would be a good idea?

    Given the nature of our government, you might wish to have them securely secreted in various places, some of which are not easy to find. Important to secure them in such a way that children could not find them or activate them.

    Although they don’t have the greatest triggers, I have been able to pick up Keltec P 11’s for well under $200 easily. The double action trigger is intended to be more foolproof–allow second-strike. Parts for this American-made cheap firearm are available inexpensively mail order from the manufacture. Having a spare extractor and a few other parts might be wise. Individual pistols with extraction difficulties can be fixed as shown on various YouTube articles. The Keltec PF nine is concealable, has a nicer trigger. Also cheap.

    • mfitzy111 says:

      the only issue with the keltec is it will punish your hand to actually use it. they are ok, if that’s all you afford, but for another $100 getting a Ruger LCP in 9mm is a better option- but that’s just my opinion- side by side they look the same, and almost weigh the same- but the Ruger won’t beat your hand up.

      • PrepperDoc says:

        Ruger is a fine pistol; I had my father-in-law buy one. After my first couple carefully thought ought purchases, I just began to go for QUANTITY — one stored locked in every vehicle. at least three go with us on any trips sometimes along gun also

  3. Victor Fox says:

    Totally agreed! If you can buy a decent handgun and become profficient, you can even skip a rifle, depending on the game you’re after.

    When I started back, rearming myself, i went to the handgun, shotgun, rifle route. Now i’m adding a Judge .410 only for the dual purpose I said at first, defense with 000-buckshot and slugs and small game with birdshot up to 20yds.

    Just in case you don’t know, I don’t live in America and gun control confines us to .38spl anemic loads (due to laws forbidding both handloading and more power than 300J at the muzzle) and .380. Otherwise, I’d stick with a regular 9mm/.357 or such, and make my ammo. Or a big bore revolver, like the .44mag or .45 colt.

    OTOH, reloading shotshells here is allowed without special permits, so I can make blackpowder shells (readily available from CBC/Magtech) for less than the what would cost a .22lr round (yes, they’re expensive here!) or use 209 primers, smokeless and plastic hulls to load a bit more expensive round.

    The other handgun I’ll keep only for self-defense and because ammo acquisition is restricted too, I’ll won’t be able to buy more than 50rd/year, therefore there will be less shooting and training. Shotshells are controlled too, but you can buy up to 200/month and reload them.

    This idea is not mine, but I agree 100% (came from the book Locusts on the Horizon): if you are on a budget, get a 12 gauge pump shotgun, a .35ish handgun and a powerful .22 airgun (~800fps) are you’re pretty much well armed. If laws and money permit, you can add everything else later, as a scoped, hunting or combat rifle, .22 rifle, et al.

    • j.r. guerra in s. tx. says:

      This blogger likes the Judge .410 as well, but for different reasons. The option of having a shotshell or big bore slug RIGHT NOW is a major asset where he lives.


      • Victor Fox says:

        Indeed. The judge while not being master at anything is quite a jack of all trades. I wish mine would shoot .45 too, but here they are smoothbore and .410 only. Go figure gun control.
        It’s a much better option than a .38 here and also cheaper to load with factory shells.
        The .410 while not having a full house .45 power still packs quite a punch and can serve many roles.

        Also forgot to add that I was talking about brass shells from cbc. They are pretty traditional here about every one that owns a shotti carry them. Primers cost a 1/3 of the 209 type.

    • I tend to agree with Clint Smith who said “The purpose of a pistol is to fight your way to your rifle”.

      Having said that, the first rule of gun fighting is to have a gun. In many circumstances your only choice is a pistol.

      I always carry a pistol, but if I have time, my first choice is my AR rifle/carbine.

  4. We have the glock model 42 in 380. It fits DW’s small hand better than any other ones she’s held. I had to get the pinky extender for mine for it to be comfortable. A larger revolver is also in the mix. After our last trip to the eye doctor for new specs her aiming point changed and she’s been frustrated ever since.

    • K&M, We have the Dane Burns grip reduction done on our Glocks. It makes a big difference in grip angle and size. I also like the rounded trigger guard and aggressive grip texture.


      • Sierra Grey says:

        Wow. The grip mods look really nice. I found that with the sub-compact Glock the limited grip space was pushing my finger into the sharp edge of the grip guard. Honing it down a bit with a Dremel and sand paper really helped. I realize that most folks are hesitant to take abrasives to a gun. I’m glad that Burns Custom offers it. With the G-36, it already has a very different grip geometry so I didn’t have to modify the magwell area. Adding the A-Grip really helped stabilize the small grip size in my big hand. At first I didn’t like the fact that it covered over the mag release, but it turns out not to be a problem at all. The only thing I don’t like about putting the A-Grip on is that I don’t feel comfortable dropping the frame into my ultrasonic cleaner. Recently I added an ArachniGRIP Slide Spider to the slide and really like the increased ease of racking the slide. Having some crippling of my hands, it makes the already fairly easy process of chambering a round even easier. Not that the Glock 36 was not an acceptable and useable gun right off the shelf, but the mods have made me like it even more. With large hands the fairly short mag well was just a little smaller than my hands–I don’t like my small finger looking for a place to live. The better grip surface and the mods seemed to make the difference.

  5. J From Mt says:

    M. D. Is pretty much spot on with this article, in a pervious life I was trained for just this type of fighting 95% of my training was for gun fights from 2-7 ft away, of that 95% half of it was training for gun fights that would be “oh sh*t scenarios” where your gun would just clear your holster or ribs, with the perps hands going for your pistol. The gun is very important to the fight as well I love my 1911 and it is always with me but my glock is always on me even trained professionals are told the more bullets one has on hand the better nothing like being shot at and having to reload after 7rounds, not to mention having to fight all the human instincts in a life and death situation and also remember to switch the saftey off. Training is key and simple is best, go run a mile then blind fold yourself hold your breath then see how you hit the target. On another note that is way off topic any of you ever heard of the cdc’s Chempack? I don’t buy the its just for good line.

    • I’ve been briefed in on Chempacks. Their major drawbacks are accessibility and the red tape for accessing them. I know of one city where the chempack is in an 8-5, 5 days/week facility. Try to get to that in the middle of a chemical terrorism event at night or during the weekend or holiday.

  6. I agree with the handgun idea. Its Quick to access and easy to conceal and carry. I also agree with a Glock. Glock is hands down the most indestructible and reliable gun made and has been proven so. I wouldnt choose a 19 for simple fact of it being underpowered. A 21 sf would be way more useful in a .45 auto. Not to mention it is a high cap full size pistol and is a 13+1 carry. You get a few more round per the 19 but i will take a few less rounds and twice the power. I wouldnt mess with a small low cap carry gun for my main piece. I would still have it as a back up but i would go with a full frame, high cap for a main protector. In this SHTF situation you probably wont care too much of people seeing a gun open carried on you. You will appear less vulnerable to then if they are watching from a vantage point seeing you with a lethal weapon. There will always be easier prey out there and they will probably choose that first if they know you are a threat. So frame size shouldnt matter for a pistol. The bigger the better. Remember rules and regulations wont matter at this point and carry what you feel gives you the best overall protection at all times since you will have to be on the “clock” at all times.

    • I agree but my choice is a Glock 22. 40 cal power with 15+1 gives you the best of both worlds. Not to mention extended mags 25+1 like a pocket tommygun !!!

      • FatDaddy says:

        Also, with a barrel change, you can shoot 9mm, and with a barrel, slide and mag change you can shoot .22 with it… very versatile weapon.

    • poorman says:

      You may be right about people seeing you with a full sized pistol strapped on in a full SHTF situation, but in that case you could be carrying a battle rifle or shotgun also. I think the purpose of the article was concealment not what caliber weapon you were carrying.

  7. Curley Bull says:

    Very well written and “right-on” article MD. Could not have done it better myself. The only thing I would have a problem with is the suggestion of brand and model to buy. However, I guess it would depend on your target audience.

    Again, well written and on target otherwise.


  8. Thomas L says:

    I know the subject of calibre has been discussed ad infinitum but Gabby Giffords was shot thru the brain with a Glock 19 (9 mm) and she is walking, talkin, singing, and dancing, if she had been shot with an M-1911 A-1 (45 cal) thru the brain she would have been dead before hitting the ground.

    • Curley Bull says:

      Thomas, there is always the “exception” to the rule.

      Only God knows if she would live or die. Remember the 14 year-old black boy that was shot in the head with a 357 mag during an armed robbery some years ago blowing out the entire right side of his brain? He graduated with a master’s degree a few years back.

      I remember back in the ‘70s in Bossier City, La., in the parking lot of a nightclub on what was known as the “Bossier Strip”. A state trooper radioed for backup, five minutes later was back on the radio screaming for backup, and about three minutes later radioed for the coroner. He had put six 357 mag HPs in the suspect’s chest at about fifteen feet and blood was pooling around the body. The coroner sent the fella to ER. Thirteen weeks later he was still in ICU, but was still alive.

      One just never knows, but like you I want to believe that if I pop a “varmint” with my 45, it AIN’T GETTING UP!

      • Sierra Grey says:

        Indeed. And despite their current plans to move to a smaller caliber, the FBI has long collected data from around the US concerning any situation in which a LE officer had to return fire and neutralize a shooter. That data consistently points out that the ability of the LE officer to secure their safety, and the number of rounds that were needed to do so, was directly related to (1) a large/powerful round such as .40, .45 or .357, and (2) hollow-point ammo.

        • Indeed. Even the Marines have gone back to the large/poweful round in the .45 and I heard a rumor not too long back that the Army was going to reevaluate its standard issue sidearm and was heavily leaning towards a .45.

          • Sierra Grey says:

            Andy, I heard that about the Army, also. Apparently related to CQB as in having to clear buildings.

      • I will neither confirm nor deny my knowledge of all things on “the strip” ! Not blues,the whiskey gogo,or southpaws.

        • Curley Bull says:

          Do you remember the Peppermint Lounge? I went to high school with the owner’s two sons and was making extra money on weekends as a bouncer when I was too young to even be in there. Did you ever checkout the interior of Kim’s? Wow!

          Course I was about a decade and a half ahead of you.

    • axelsteve says:

      From what I remember of the Gifford case. It was a fluke that she survived and if her head was in the other direction side by side enter and exit. She would be Taking a long nap right now.

  9. Ferfal also agrees, having lived through a collapse in Argentina. It’s difficult to drive or work with a rifle or shotgun ready for immediate use, it also makes you more of a target. A concealed handgun can be carried at all times and doesn’t make you stand out. What kind? The kind you will carry and are accurate with.

    • Victor Fox says:

      “What kind? The kind you will carry and are accurate with.”

      I might add, when applicable, the kind you can buy… In Brazil there’s s huge restriction on calibers and quantities (2 handguns legally per person), i guess california and new york, as well as other places have some tight restrictions of gun control. In UK AFAIK, handguns are banned.

      • axelsteve says:

        Allot of restricians In komradfornia also. When someone says there xyz whatever holds 17 rounds of 9 mm I say good for you skippy. Try buying it in the once golden state legally.

        • poorman says:

          The biggest restriction in Ca is the 10 round mag. Aside from that I have multiple pistols,rifles,autos,shotguns ect in multiple calibers. Were I live in Nor Cal you can walk into a gun store and buy an AR,AK or whatever handgun you like. If you wanted to you can drive to Nevada and buy bigger mags but I wouldn’t want to get caught with them in a weapon. Now in a SHTF world they would be useful

  10. L.A.West says:

    A gun is a tool that is a deadly weapon. When you buy a car – you buy what you can afford, fits you comfortably and what best suits your day to day needs. Same with gun.
    I wouldn’t buy a 650 hp American muscle car – because something like that is completely ridiculous for my needs – so I wouldn’t buy a Dessert Eagle .50 – as it is far too big for my hands – therefore dangerous for me personally. But I can handle with great skill – a 1911 45 cal ACP semi auto. I could buy a 9mm, or a 22cal… but considering what I want that tool to do for me – which is like buying a hammer to drive a large nail… I wouldn’t buy a 12 oz. hammer – I’d go with a much heavier driver— plus what I want to do is make sure that first NAIL counts – a 45 cal will do it. A 22 cal might stop an attacker – but there is NO second guessing a 45 cal. ability to do it right the first time. For others, they might find the 45 cal over whelming and too much – so they go with the economy cars of the handguns. I don’t have a Judge 45 -410 Zombie Killer revolver – but I would sure like one. I don’t own a Dodge Hemi Cuda either – but I would like one. You have to go with what you can afford and what best suits your perspective needs in the unforeseeable future. = A Cadillac SRX and a S&W all stainless 1911 45 cal ACP semi auto!

  11. The author makes some good points but misses the essence of the issue: in my opinion, if the SHTF it will be long guns that rule while handguns perform a vital secondary role. The reason most firearm threats today come from handguns is because of the rule of law: individuals openly carrying a long gun will be confronted by law enforcement. Without the rule of law that will change: in addition to open carry of standard long guns, short barreled rifles and shotguns with folding stocks or pistol grips will be concealed and carried. Anyone who wants to take on a rifle or shotgun with a hand gun fails to appreciate the vastly superior firepower of a long gun. Without question, there will be circumstances where a handgun is the only option, but that handgun will primarily be used to get to a long gun.
    If I am on a strict budget, I begin with the proposition that I MUST have both a long gun and a handgun. I can buy a Kel Tec SU-16C ($600 new or $500 used; uses AR-15 magazines and plentiful 5.56/.223 ammo; folding stock makes it relatively easy to conceal but may be fired when folded) and/or a short barreled shotgun ($200-$300 new, less used) and a used Ruger P series 9mm handgun ($250). If you shop carefully you can buy all three used for $1,000. Add 1,000 rounds of .223 ($400), 250 00 buck shotgun shells ($80 at Midway right now), and 500 rounds of 9mm ($150) and you are ready for the S to HTF. Put a decent optic on the Kel Tec (Vortex 1-4 power with illuminated reticle for $250 or Bushnell TRS-25 red dot for $80) and you are effective from 200 yards to your front door for less than $2,000.

    • RickS,

      I didn’t say to not buy a “long gun”… I said a handgun should be first on the list when buying a defensive firearm… for a full list of recommended firearms see my book 31 Days to Survival. Also read my article Warning: Do You Recognize these Five Common Piles of Prepper BS.

      • MD: your point is well taken. However, if we agree that a long gun is also essential, then which firearm is purchased “first” becomes academic: if you have the funds you purchase a handgun and a long gun simultaneously and if you do not, you purchase the first one (handgun or long gun) to become available at a price you can afford, then immediately begin to save for the other and hope the S does not HTF before you are able to get both. If the S does HTF and you do not have a long gun you will be in serious trouble: a handgun alone will NOT be enough.
        While you clearly did not intend to suggest that a handgun is enough, it appears that at least some in this thread have concluded that it is.

      • PrepperDoc says:

        M.D.: I read that second article, it was extremely well thought out, and surprised me with how much my thinking is similar to your doctrine.

        I live on 5 acres in A well-to-do neighborhood, potentially defensible, outside a small city. ( I picked this neighborhood for potential resale value, before I was aware of some of the risks to our nation, in 1998). We are now growing experimental plots of vegetables and corn, and are able to ramp up to feed ourselves fairly easily.

        In a tough time, I would have the ability to educate and arm trusted neighbors and turn our neighborhood and potentially the one next to it –and the small cattle farmer !!–into a secure area

        Your thoughts on migration in tough times are especially intriguing because of their historical foundations

  12. Yup. Although I’m of the opinion that one’s first handgun should be a revolver with six inch barrel and .357 caliber, even if only .38s are shot through it (though not a great idea). This is one round that can “do it all”, from close-up self defense to actually dropping deer sized animals out to 100 yards- more if one really works at it (metallic silhouette shooters regularly go to 500 yards).
    After this, go for the small semi-automatics like Glock and SA/XD and LCP- though stay at least 9mm with these. Though fine, the .380s and smaller really are a bit anemic.

    • PrepperDoc says:

      Yeah, I hear you, and I have probably four 38specials, and quite a few 9 mm, but only the 380s fit in my pocket well for concealed carry. I know they’re kind of planning, but something that I’ve GOT is better than something I can’t carry well.

      • PrepperDoc says:

        Puny not planning

      • I’m 5’10” and 160#… “scrawny” as my 6’2″- 170# kid tells me… but I have no problems carrying a Ruger Police Security Six hidden under my T-shirt. No, my normal carry is an XD in an anemic caliber or a S&W (also double stack 9). I mention this only to point out that it can be done by nearly anyone who wants to carry. As for pocket carry, my first carry piece was a .357 Centennial snubby, but it kind’a irritably poked things I didn’t want poked.

  13. Thomas L says:

    I do not understand. What happened to my comment of about 30 minutes at?

    • Victor Fox says:

      I may say it’s probably a software or server error. I have put some other 4 or 5 comments too and they don’t appear. In one case the site returned something like ‘you have already posted that’ or such when I tried to repost but they still don’t appear here.

  14. PatrickM says:

    I agree as well. From time to time I will have a long gun on a road trip within State, however, I always have a center and rimfire handgun for those trips. With both, I can defend and provide for myself.

    Attack would likely be from ambush, near (most likely) or far (think of backshooters in some western movie). Train for both defending from and initiating.

    Ferfal has given us a look at society breakdown with his descriptions of the Argentine collapse. He also states a submachine gun as being an asset (if available).

    A handgun is also easier to pass off to a waiting companion if going to a meeting to barter or purchase goods. I would imagine some of the ‘seller’s’ do not allow ‘buyer’s’ to be armed if they have a security team.

    Around here and from experience, it is alot easier to tend garden, feed livestock, repair fences, go foraging, etc. with a handgun. There are times when a long goes as well but a handgun is always present.

    • Victor Fox says:

      Yes. He lives near us, I live in Brazil and I can tell you. Our collapse will probably happen this year. Unemployment rate is the sky govt raised and created more taxes, business are guess what, going out of business, you can’t buy a car or house, the prices are in the sky while the incomes are still the same, inflation is roaring, violent crimes too. Govt is involved in lots of corruption scandals, and of course is a communist govt. I’m buying food and the staples as medicines and ammo because you never know… Also planted my small plot of land and planning to drill a well there. Quite desperately covering my bases. In Brazil everyday is shtf. If you take a look at Rio de janeiro’s drug lords you’ll see there’s a war happening in the favelas (shack villages) involving themselves and the police. We don’t need zombies, they already exist here. In the city of Sao Paulo the section called cracolandia (land of crack) shows a lot of drug addicts living dead, acting like zombies, trying to take everything from who dares to enter there, in the same way zombies do, going around the victim in packs. Thankfully I moved from there and live in a northern state, which while far from perfect there’s still more room for scaling and preparing.

  15. I would NEVER EVER recommend a gun for a beginner, the choices are just too overwhelming! After some research & experience w/a knowledgeable teacher, the beginner can make a better decision! W/the purchase should come: cleaning kit, practice ammo, extra pads & Hoppes! For the newbie, a pump shotgun makes sense. The click/click chambering sound is even more scary than forgetting the child support check(s). Which can help even the combat trained. JSW has some great thoughts for the beginner….which I pretty much am….for the beginner I’d recommend revolver around .38 w/a longer bull barrel….less movement more accuracy. After getting ready w/the pump. Eventually parts & a rifle will become necy. Lastly, I do enjoy zombie targets

    • I wouldn’t worry about the bull barrel, and certainly if you’re going to go with a .357 caliber bullet, get a real .357 caliber handgun. You’ll never regret getting bigger but you will regret getting smaller.
      However, I do recommend a handgun for beginners- or anyone who wants one. Training is easy to get any place in this country (unless living so far back in the boonies that even God doesn’t have your address).
      As to the ‘click-click’ of a shotgun being pumped: you’ve just shorted yourself one round and told the perp where you are. That chamber should be loaded already and the only sound a perp should hear is the safety going off- if you use the safety (which I don’t in S-D situations, but I’m a crazy man- just ask anyone here).

  16. All of our above thoughts are predicated on trust….to find the trustable, we must be trustworthy! God Bless America!

  17. Sierra Grey says:

    Good advice, MD. Guns should match the need. In a serious semi-military situation, or for serious property defense, a long gun is simply the most effective weapon as far as the ability to put an attacker out of commission. The issue is caliber, power, and accuracy. There is no practical handgun that is a great self-defense weapon in terms of these factors. Thus infantryman don’t carry handguns for the most part. All that said, as you point out, the situation and scenario associated with a world in which there is some sort of civilization intact, as we can expect, a handgun is superior due to it’s size and the fact that it can be easily concealed and carried in such a world. It will go and do, therefore, what a long gun cannot do as well in those situations.

    As far as stocking up on ammo, I swing the other way. Preparing for any serious self-defense of property in a semi-militarized SHTF scenario requires long gun ammo. If it comes down to having to serious, repeated shooting the long gun will the factor and that is where the real ammo need lies. Handgun use, as you describe so well, will likely not be sustained. Ammo needs are much less. So if stocking up for a seriously bad time is the need, go heavy on the long gun ammo.

    As you rightly point out the primary need for a handgun, I also believe that prepping the ammo supply for the handgun needs to be balanced. If money is no object, buy only hollow point ammo. If money is a problem, as in my case, consider good hollow point ammo for use, and ball ammo for practice. Thankfully there are good inbetween’s–lower cost hollow points between the pricepoint of target ammo and high-end self-defense ammo.

    • Sierra Grey says:

      I all my verbage, I failed to echo strongly enough that I agree with MD. The first priority for a prepper is a handgun. If you can only have one gun, a handgun is your choice. Sorry for the confusion if I led anyone there.

  18. Papaswamp says:

    Disagree completely with this article. Handgun is the last firearm that should be purchased. it is a short distance backup weapon to your main.
    -One of the arguments is if someone is going to jump you they are going to do so close range. This is an assumption. In a PA situation, if I’m the one doing the robbing, the last thing I want to do is be close. This sets me up for a high chance of injury in a time when a cut can mean future death ( think infection). I will instead ambush you at a distance, in an area of my choosing, and clean up at my leisure.
    – can’t garden with a shotgun/rifle on your back? It’s called a sling and there are some fantastic ones out there.
    – accuracy…handgun is far less accurate and possesses far less ‘punch’ than rifle or shotgun. Being very effective with a sidearm at CQC is extremely difficult and requires a massive amount of practice. Have someone stand 10 paces away.. Have them rush you while you try to clear your sidearm from concealed holster ( use a toy gun not real so someone doesn’t get shot). Most people won’t make it. Now try to do it with a pack or other gear on.
    – power projection…you are limited to 25-50m. Engaging bad guys at +100 meters increases my survivability substantially.

    • Papaswamp,

      Looks like you’ve read to much prepper fiction and watched to many movies. Go do some actual research into countries who’s economies have collapsed, and or had other disasters, and you’ll see that a handgun is the most used and useful firearm to have. Plus M.D. did not say, to only buy a handgun, but to buy a handgun first and learn how to use it, then get other firearms like shotguns and long guns.

      Plus I’m sure that M.D. could not care less if you agree with him or not lol.

    • Sierra Grey says:

      Good points, although it’s very hard to predict what the future holds for us. If it involves serious and intense use of a firearm, obviously a long gun is the only effective weapon. But I think MD is addressing a period of time or a scenario that would make a handgun superior, IF you only have one gun.

      For those on a retreat/homestead and limited to that interaction, or in a tactical environment, obviously a handgun is a weaker choice.

      As I re-read the article, it seems that MD is giving good advice to the general survivalist who has no gun and needs to acquire one.

      I thought about one situation in which the answer becomes clear–bugging out of an urban or populated area, or through them. What will you pack in your bag? Size and the need to conceal a weapon will make a long gun impractical if not impossible.

      I’ve got a couple levels of bug out bags. I have my personal bag and equip for having to hoof it. I won’t be toting a long gun, as much as I would like to have the power of one. Yes, there is always the break-down type, but the weight of a long gun and ammo is prohibitive. Handgun is the only option.

      Next level up is my bag for my vehicle. There I have added a long gun to the mix as I won’t have to carry the weight and there is the added ability to conceal the gun in the vehicle.

      If we look at real world scenarios such as the situation of refugees from disorder in places like Ukraine and Argentina, the greatest issue they faced was the danger of confiscation if the gun could not be hidden. Obviously trying to go through any checkpoint with any gun is not going to work well.

      One of the questions that pops up in my mind, and one which none of us can answer, but which MD addresses pretty well, is the issue of who, when, and where we might need to have something to protect ourselves. Without knowing specifics, we can guess one thing for sure–it will be an escalation of the crime we already have. Increased need to protect oneself at home and when traveling around other people. A handgun makes the best sense.

      But as you point out, when it comes down to power–the long gun is the answer. Wish we had a crystal ball!

      • Curley Bull says:

        YOU TELL EM!! I’ll cover you! I’ve been listening to this “best gun” – “best caliber” arguement for 20 years and came to the conclusion that my best choice is “MY CHOICE”.


        • Sierra Grey says:

          It’s an argument that will go on forever. There are so many factors in “best.” And there are too many variables that never get accounted for–such as the fact that a smaller caliber in the hands of a well-trained shooter will most likely trump a cannon in the hands of a novice.

          I look it as putting the best odds in your favor. Own a gun. Become very proficient at using it. If concealed, practice drawing and shooting. In all cases, practice reloading and clearing a jammed weapon. But more important than those two, shoot it frequently, at least monthly, even a few rounds. In a life and death scenario, our brains go into survival mode. Vision goes to hell. Our motor skills are reduced to sludge. Whatever your “accuracy” in a range environment, divide that by 10.

          Too many people think that a gun is protection, in an of itself, and that the fact that they pack this or that cannon will make the difference. Visit a firing range that is giving a concealed carry class and observe the “renewal” candidate shooting. Scary. Many are clearly unfamiliar with their guns.

          All handguns are inferior self-defense weapons due to limitations of power. The best we can do is push the odds in our favor. The gun should be something the shooter can handle well, whatever the caliber. Beyond that, the larger the caliber and capacity, the better the odds. I used to carry a full-sized semi-auto in .40 or .45. I like those calibers and feel comfortable shooting them. But age and disability moved me to a sub-compact. I chose .45 ACP because I shoot that caliber well. It seems to like me. My choice. I accepted the smaller capacity as a trade off for size and weight. To make up for that, it’s up to me to stay proficient. And accept the limitations.

  19. TPSnodgrass says:

    When I graduated from the police academy in 1976 and started my law enforcement career, we had it drummed into us that the overwhelming majority of all “OIS” officer-involved-shooting” situations were at “bad breath” distance. Unfortunately, I found that to be correct in my case during that career. A hand gun is probably THE single most important tool one can have in their “tool box”, as that tool will never be needed, until it is needed badly.
    M.D. is correct, get a handgun first over any other firearm. Choose what FITS your hand, not what someone else suggests will “fit”. While I do have several Glock pistols and multiple Glock 19’s due entirely to their accuracy, and their having the fewest parts of most manufacturers to break, they are still YOU-gly(far beyond ugly in my book). No, they are not and never will be “works of art” nor do they look “tacti-cool”. They do work when you need them to work and parts interchangeability is a great thing to have access to. I was very late to getting on the Glock band wagon, and find now, I won’t get off. I still “prefer” blue steel as I am “old school”, but won’t sneer at a polymer wonder-pistol. My latest “lust” at present is for a Glock 21 SF, which seems to fit my hands far better than any other Glock .45ACP. I do not “see” at present any need in my sphere of influence for the .45 GAP caliber at all. I “like” and appreciate the capacity of the Glock 21 variants over my 1911 pistols in .45 ACP(which I like a LOT for ergo’s) I have always preferred capacity over anything else, but that is just MY personal tastes. In fact, I’ve got a deal on an acquisition from a close personal friend for his 21SF that he is wanting to send to a “good home” as he prefers his Glock 30 variants far above the 21. I have zero problem concealing the 21 SF on my person, even in a suit.(Had the suit tailored around the GLock platform) I feel that a concealable handgun or ANY handgun is far better than any other weapon for any kind of personal defensive situation save an all out riot. Even then, (being an alumnus of the 1992 Rodney-King-Street-Festival) nobody wants to get shot with ANY firearm. I’ve never seen any suspect who has been shot and struck with any caliber, say, “Oh! You ONLY shot me with a _____!” Nope, all of them were crying, fearing impending death, or were unconscious and on their way out of mortality at the time. Besides, having a functioning concealable handgun on your person, for your personal defense gives you the ultimate element of surprise against all predation, be it two-legged or four-legged. Excellent article, and get what best fits your hand combined with your budget and you will not be at the mercy of societal predators.

    • Hi TPSnodgrass, “get what best fits your hand”

      I think that cannot be emphasized enough. I shot 1911s with arched mainspring housings for a long time before trying one with a flat mainspring housing. The difference in instinct pointing ability was amazing.

      The somewhat bigger arched housing pushes the muzzle off to the right for me. I always had to adjust my aim: that takes precious time.

      With a flat mainspring housing, where I am looking is where the pistol is pointing.

      The difference in time it takes to get on target between a gun which only sorta fits and a gun which really fits could be the difference between living and dying.

      A gun which fits the user points instinctively at what the shooter is looking at. A gun which does not fit points somewhere else.

      To my way of thinking, the way to shop for a handgun…or a shotgun, for that matter…is to pick the gun up, look at a target, and bring the gun up to shooting position without looking at it. Only then should you look at the sights. If they are pointing at where you are looking, it fits. If they don’t, it doesn’t.

      After that, choose between guns which all fit you, because if they don’t fit, you will be slow onto target. Sometimes it is as easy as changing the grips for bigger or smaller ones, or in the case of a 1911, switching mainspring housings.

      In any case, the difference in pointability between a gun which is the right size for one’s hand and one which isn’t is hard to believe until you have used one which really fits one’s own hand.

  20. J From Mt says:

    Don’t know about anyone else but I really don’t want to be shot, not even by a HP pellet gun. The Gabby Gifford thing is all luck not gun or caliber well unless we get into what ifs, dude shoulda used a barrett 50 then the bullets vapor trail alone would have done the job,but then we’re just detracting from what M.D. said, a hand gun is a must and should be everyone’s first purchase especially for home defense remember short barrel rifles are awesome and great for the job too but theyre ammo has way to much power in residential areas you want to kill the bad guys not the neighbors or your kids in the other room

    • Sierra Grey says:

      TP, you really helped to put an “Amen” to MD’s comments with your real-world experience. A lot of people are looking for the perfect answer to their gun questions, but you make it clear that the bigger picture is the important one. Thanks.

  21. gthomas says:

    I’m finna write an article that consists of two words, “weapon choices” just to set a record of responses on this fine, informative site. Lol Folks might toss out a barb about the death of fiat money, the benefits of consuming fermented foods such as sauerkraut or the best water filters but broaching the weapons thimgy? Lawd

    I bought my wife the ruger lcr 38 sp. +P first for her new ccw. Then I bought the Browning buckmark .22 for cheap range practice. Next I bought the G19 and then I bought a rem 870 youth model for me and my smaller statured wife and me for home protection; all within 2 years mind you. Prolly got it all wrong though. I “feel” protected though.

    • Sierra Grey says:

      🙂 So true. Guns and politics are always the comment getters.

      I don’t think you have made bad choices, at all. The 38 SP and the 9mm are both acceptable choices, especially in the hands of a trained shooter. A lot of us rant on about larger calibers but it should never be in the vein of saying that others are perfectly capable rounds. I’ve carried the .38 and the 9mm in the military (yeah, I go back to the days of a S&W Combat Masterpiece as the USAF sidearm in the Security Police). I have a buddy who is carried a featherweight 38 SP hammerless revolver. Just tucks it into his jeans pocket, or wherever. I’ve given it some thought as an ankle carry.

  22. PrepperDoc says:

    I’m not an expert, but I’ve read about the calibers and taken care of a GOOD number of people with the wounds.

    Rifle round creates devitalized tissue with its huge energy component, the ICU guys tell me stuff keeps necrosing further and further out from the center of the wound track. We don’t see too many of those in my small city

    Handgun punches a hole, diameter of the hole and how deep it is depends on the round & the energy and luck etc. if you believe in luck

    There is an important real estate inside the chest, if you nick something big with high pressure in it, they’re going to die pretty quick. If all you get are small vessels in the lung, and there’s a crack team on call at the hospital, they usually make it sometimes without even surgery.

    Put a hole in the heart, and that’s usually all she wrote. I took care of a guy once with knife in the heart, and it wasn’t pretty what happened in his care. I take care of a person who ripped their
    Aorta on the steering wheel in a deceleration injury crash, and their entire blood volume hit the floor in the OR and less than one minute.

    Tummy wounds just usually end up with a colostomy and lots of ick recovering.

    BUT. if you hit the vena cava or take out big vessels in the liver, there are very very few surgeons that I have worked with who will get you through that alive. Most of the surgeons will kill you. That’s exactly how I got my first deer. He went down real quick.

    Brain is a picky problem. Hit a blood vessel and no drainage path to reduce the pressure in the head and flow stops to the entire rest of the brain. Dead within four minutes. Not functioning after 60 seconds.

    Have a drainage Path so the pressure doesn’t accumulate and a crack neurosurgical team, and you may survive if enough important structures remain inside the head. Right left redundancy built into the brain. Hit with enough energy to create mush inside, all she wrote. I would say that that is the most likely outcome, but I haven’t done an extensive survey

    If you’re on the receiving end, pray that they don’t hit your gut, a big vessel, or your brain. Without medical care A gut hit equals incurable sepsis, a big vessel means you bleed out ; in your brain you’re not gonna make it more than a few moments.

  23. JP in MT says:

    Well, here’s my take.

    1. Why do you want/need one?

    2. For what purpose? hunting, pest control, protection, defense?

    3. What can you aford/are allowed to own?

    Remember: “The purpose of a handgun is to give you time to get to your rifle.”

    For a EDC concealed carry/pocket gun: I’m going back to a Ruger LCP in 380 ACP, loaded with power ball/Glaser Safety Slugs and a second magazine with Corbon DPX.

    Primary Concealed carry: Ruger SR9C with the same loads as above only in 9mm. Glock 19’s don’t fit my hand.

    Standard sidearm: Glock 17, all JHP’s (3 spare mags).

    Within reach of where I sit 90% of the time: 1911 45 ACP.

    When traveling: Glock 17 (soon to be replaced with an S&W 66), a Trapper (16″ barrel) 357 mag rifle, and the DW’s 9mm.

    As things get worse: Close by with an AR style rifle in 5.56/300 AAC/ or 308.

    The shot gun(s) are for CID (Close in Defense) of house. If I’m leaving the building I’ll have a rifle.

    Guys, I’ve spent the last 35 plus years trying to find the “perfect” gun FOR ME. I stopped listening to the “experts” some time ago. Over the years, I’ve prbably “invested” $250,000 in guns and accessories.

    I go with what I can operate, what is comfortable, and what (caliber wise) I have the confidence will “work”. I’ve got guns that won’t penetrate your Level 3 plus armor, but you’ll wish it had. I’ve got ones that will go right through it (at least one side anyway). I’ve got ones that will go through a person “like a hot knife through butter” but they won’t put Charlie on Angel Dust down with 5-6 good hits.

    If your not sure, keep asking. If you can hit with 4 of 5 out of a 38 but none out of 19 w/a 9mm, then you have answered part of you question right there.

    I agree with MD, for defense, a pistol/revolver 1st. One you can hit with AND WILL CARRY WITH YOU! It does you no good to have a 500 S&W locked in the car or gun cabinet when trouble is 15 feet away.

  24. Chuck Findlay says:

    The first handgun should be a revolver as it’s simple.

    It has no safety to click on or off, or wonder if it’s on or off.

    No problem jacking the slide to load it. Older people and woman have a problem with this.

    It has no chamber to wonder if it’s loaded.

    It is more reliable then a semi-auto so you know it’s going to go BANG when you pull the trigger.

    It can sit for years and be ready when you pick it up.

    A 357 Mag revolver is hard to surpass as it’s powerful when you use 357 mag rounds in it, but at the same time you can shoot 38 Spl. Rounds in it for lower power.

    Normally I would say a 22 revolver is the first gun to own, but being that SHTF times may be upon us any time a 357 Mag is the better gun today.

    But a 22 is still a very good choice for a second handgun.

    After that a pump shotgun, 22 rifle (Ruger 10-22) and a center-fire rifle. A lever-action 357 Mag to go with the revolver is a good choice, but certainly not the only choice as personal conditions may dictate another choice. Out in the rural West a more powerful rifle would likely fit better. But for most people a 357 Mag rifle is more then enough as it will kill a black bear and a person with no problem to at least 100-yards.

    What ever gun a first time buyer gets, please don’t let TV and Hollyweird shape your decision. Think it through and get good advice on what you should buy. And understand one gun s not enough, different guns have different uses and you realistically should have at least 4 of them.

    And buy and read FerFal’s book as to why a handgun is the SHTF gun to have. He lived through SHTF and gives good advice on this subject.

  25. TimeHasCome says:

    Great article and timely . I too agree to be armed at all times . The slime balls are really out there and I am reluctant to leave the farm to venture among them . I have a cheap compact Kel-tec 9mm that I carry and I don’t if it gets scratched or worn as long as it goes bang.

  26. Chuck Findlay says:

    This is going to sound wrong but it’s not when you think about the reality of the legal system we have in place today.

    Every gun I take with me when I’m out doing things is an off-the-books gun that I bought from a private owner (bought legally, but with no paper work or government involvement.) and if I did have to shoot someone in self defense I could (and likely would) walk away from the shooting and throw the gun in the river after I gave it a wipe-down with alcohol to make sure my fingerprints are not on it. Yea guns are expensive and throwing it away seem hard to do for some people, but keeping it has put a lot of people in jail.

    And by the way if you do this and have a semi-auto you should wipe down the brass cases and load the gun using cotton gloves so there is no prints on the spent cases.

    Not trying to break the law, but more of an understanding of the reality of today.

  27. Patrick mm says:

    I believe you should carry what you can shoot well. A miss with a big caliber gun is still a miss. A hit with an anemic caliber is still a hit. And if it is in a vital area of the body, the person will be DOA. Saw a video of a robber in a carry out, shot in the crotch with a revolver. He went down in a heap and in extreme pain. The counter person was able to use the revolver and hit a target with one shot that took the robber out of the fight.

    • Sierra Grey says:

      Sadly, the reason that such videos come to light is that they are rare. Or, we can think it a good example, carry a 22LR and practice crotch shots. I’ll stick with the largest caliber I can comfortably and accurate shoot, lots of practice, and pray that the handgun is sufficient. But, as you say, a large caliber miss is of no help. In addition to having a handgun to begin with, we need to practice, something that doesn’t happen for most owners.

      • Considering the number of vitals in the crotch not a bad choice. Femoral arteries, hip bones, genitalia, but the intimidation factor of any gun aimed there….

        • Sierra Grey says:

          Not sure it’s a great idea. Body mass central is a wiser choice only because it’s a bigger target. In a self-defense situation the body goes into “panic mode”. The field of vision narrows and darkens. The motor skills go to crap. Shooting for the largest target is the wise and standard training practice. Placing a shot becomes critical when there are only so many that you can shoot, either by the limits of the gun’s capacity, time available before he crosses the short distance between you and him, or shoots. But if the idea is a vital area, might as well shoot for the head! As for me, I plan on shooting for his body mass and praying I hit him.

          Reminds me of a cop I treated once. This was 15 years go when his force was packing .45 ACP in a Beretta. He was knocking on a door at a filthy old hotel to ask residents about a recent crime in the neighborhood. Little did he know that the suspect he was looking for was in that very room. Fellow opened the door and begin firing with a .38 revolver loaded with wadcutters. First shot hit the cop in the left femur, shattering it. Cop began to collapse and the next shot hit is left hand, severing the ulnar nerve. Third shot entered his left cheek and exited the right upper eye orbit. By good training in that moment he had emptied his weapon with most rounds striking the meth-powered attacker. The slimeball was still standing, pulling the trigger, the empty chambers just going “click”. The cop’s partner was behind him in the hallway. As his buddy collapsed on the floor it gave him a clear shot. He also returned fire, with several rounds. Thankfully one hit the attacker in the forehead, collapsing him. Or so described the coroner’s report.

          The cop lived. Took him months to recover, but he ended up keeping both his eyes and being able to walk again. The nerve damage to his hand was permanent so he was disqualified for return to duty, although I’m not sure he really wanted to return, anyway.

          Meth turns attackers into zombie supermen, sometimes. And this one example is a good one to teach the limits of handgun wounds. Even with a hollow-point, “bleed out” did not quickly bring the zombie down. As another poster pointed out, it’s all about cavitation. Not the size of the hole but the expansion of the cavity, dynamically, from the bullet passing through soft tissue. As the cavity expands during bullet penetration it rips and tears arteries. In the best case scenario, the bleeding is so massive that is causes a dramatic loss of blood pressure and flow to vital areas. That’s the ugly beauty of a rifle wound, being the combination of the size, weight, and shape of the projectile, it’s stability (or rather instability), and the velocity of penetration. Handgun calibers are grossly handicapped in the area of velocity. So the best remaining factors are weight and size. The best expanding round you can get along with weight are vital. There is a trade-off, of course, with weight of the bullet and velocity. A heavier, expanding bullet will travel more slowly, and is more likely to be limited by layers of clothing, winter insulation like ski vests, and anything else it has to pass through. Higher velocity handgun rounds (due to be lighter) may better penetrate but won’t have the same delivery power once they reach soft tissue.

      • TPSnodgrass says:

        Ahem! “crotch shots” are politely referred to as “Street expedient field vasectomies”. Please DO try to remember this for the future!
        In all seriousness, I like shooting “across the pocket line” for times when you put a few center-mass and there “appears” to be little or no affect to the suspect/s. Shooting the “pocket line” horizontally, almost always strikes a number of arterial extensions that cause the suspects do automatically shut down even when they are methed/cracked/combo’d up on who knows what. Plus, you will probably nick the Femorals with ricochets internally.(source: my brother the ER Doc with thousands of shootings he’s treated in his Level 1 Trauma Unit).

  28. I have two minds when out comes to shtf guns, for cartridge the .357mag levergun revolver combo is hard to beat. Add to that a Lee Precison field loader and a two cavity bullet mold. You’ll be shooting when the ammo runs dry. The other is the 1857 Remington with a 45 long colt conversion cylinder and a .45 Auto conversion cylinder. Three rounds one gun, cylinder change as fast as a speedloader. Bullet molds, powder formula, ball mill, and a tap-o-cap percussion cap die, long after all ammo is used up this rig will still shoot, it also comes in a carbine. Still a same ammo rifle pistol combo. These were my choices way before Y2K. If I were just starting out the Glock with a magazine matched carbine like the Keltec, would place high on my list. I’ll just make do with my Rossi .357 combo a 6″ 971VRC and Puma 92 both in stainless steel.

    • Chuck Findlay says:

      Yep my Marlin 357 Mag rifle and S&W 6-inch revolver is at the top of my list.

      And they are a lot of fun to shoot.

      And I also have the Lee loader along with a bench-mounted press.

      • Victor Fox says:

        Since you mentioned this big bore you can even make modified shotshells (not the speer capsuled thing) for the .45 colt using .410 hull or many types of brass. 410, 444 marlin and 303 come to mind. These shells can hold up to 1/2 oz of shot and can be useful against snakes and small game (mostly sitting I guess) , but the .45 colt is a nice asset for a prepper due to its intrinsic virtues.

  29. idahobob says:

    Ive shot people and I’ve been shot. It sucks to get shot with ANYTHING! While I have many,many weapons.my favorite to shoot is a 1911 style .45. My most favorite is my Gold Cup(purchased in 1972 for$225NEW),HOWEVER, the pistol I’m MOST competent with is my 1939 Walther PPK in .32. Brought back from WW2 by a family member.TheGerman Major it was taken from was killed in a tank battle.ANYWAY, I practice weekly(about100 rds) with this gun and am “surgically exact within 20 feet” very quickly. Granted, rather carry my Gold Cup, but with sandals,tank top, and shorts(yes,sometimes in Idaho), this little dude is still very concealable.Undergunned? dunno,never shot anyone with THIS gun,but my practice target is 3in x 5in index cards ONLY at ranges from 2yds to 7 yards.Its a “belly gun”, but appx 88% of the time I can get BOTH rounds in -the-card(two shots always). Having killed 200lb deer with a single .22lr at 25ft,head shot…….I cant understand WHY 2 71gr rounds in the forehead would not ruin anybodys day. If I cant pack my 5o cal Browning snubby revolver(LMAO), I’ll keep packin this beauty. It’s been internally polished,maintained,and actually carried for about 35yrs by ME. As noted.”CARRY WHAT YOU ARE GOOD WITH”. NEVER give up something you are comfortable with, for the most “in-vogue” plastic gun, or something that holds half-a-box-of-shells.IMHO. If needed, I can “double-tap) x 3, and still have 1 round in the pipe. At handgun range,aimed fire is best. But, back to the thread…Being competant with a handgun is likely the best “first-choice” for most preppers. It teaches control,accuracy,discipline,and awareness. SHTF scenarios require discretion,OPSEC, and planning. If we EVER see those events………the survivors will be people that plan,and avoid.not the ones that spray a street with double-stack mags.

    • Sierra Grey says:

      I like your emphasis upon training and familiarity. Too often preppers and gun enthusiasts find comfort in gear. Having this or that gun. And while there are better selections than others, nothing beats or takes the place of training.

      I carried full-size automatics for years. Big steel. 1911 and a Browning Hi-Power in .40S&W. Why? It’s what I was most comfortable and experienced with. I still love the 1911. I avoided the newer guns with a passion. It wasn’t until I got hit with medical problems and age that I had to rethink things. My grip got weaker and racking the slides became an issue (the Browning Hi Power in .40 has the strongest spring in the business). So I modified the Hi Power with a slick replacement safety mechanism that allowed me to carry it with one in the chamber and the hammer down. All it takes is to release the safety and the hammer cocks automatically. Finally the darn weight became an issue. So, I reluctantly tried some Glocks, something I had previously hated. Found the Glock sub-compacts to be incredibly accurate. Found that the G36, with it’s single stack mag made for a very non-Glock grip feeling. Added a Plus One extension to the mag to give it 7 rounds, like the 1911. Applied a modern fabric grip and a “Slide Spider” to make the easy slide racing even easier. For a gun that probably costs $100 to make, I’ll have to admit it’s darn effective. And the .45 ACP round gives me that old cherished recoil I loved from the 1911. No, it ain’t a 1911, but for anyone who has a weaker grip or doesn’t want to try to conceal a 1911, these plastic guns are a good and reliable consideration. Could I still manage a 1911 or Hi-power with the degree of comfort I once had and without the doubts in the back of my mind, I would STILL carry them.

      Can’t overemphasize the validity of your comments as to comfort, where comfort means being able to handle the gun better than others. I’ve had to change my use of tactical rifle calibers, too. I was once comfortable with a semi-auto rifle in .308 Winchester. Despite military exposure to the 5.56/.223, I was never convinced that it is a better option to the .308/7.62. But I noticed that my age and disability were making me uncomfortable with trying to shoot rapid fire. Accuracy just wasn’t what it was before. And the weight of the ammo in a SHTF scenario became a concern. Rethought my situation and I am now in the process of switching over to the .223. Not happily. I DO NOT like reloading .223, nor am I totally OK with a 22 caliber tactical rifle. Equipped myself with a Mini-14, again due to age and disability. I weighed the option of the AR platform and decided that it’s greater sensitivity to dirt and need for more field cleaning would be a handicap as I got even older. The Mini-14 has it’s drawbacks, but in the stainless steel and composite version it’s about as weather proof as a gun can get. No, it’s not “tacti-Kool.” But I am developing a degree of comfort that you refer to as the most important factor.

      • TPSnodgrass says:

        If, I am having to “go to war” to protect hearth and home, my BHP(9mm) is always ON me, plus extra mags. I use Mec-Gar mags exclusively. I am an “old dog” and the .40 S&W was “transitioning” to patrol about the time I got out of patrol work. I’ve never warmed up to the ,40 S&W but that is just me. Hurts a tendon in my right wrist to shoot it much, not so with any .45ACP though. Love the BHP pistols.

        • Sierra Grey says:

          I agree with the difference in the .40 S&W and .45 ACP recoil. In the BHP, I seemed to handle it fine, but when shopping for smaller pistols in .40, I found the “snap” to be too much. The .45 ACP even in the light Glock 36 is quite fine, even for his old man. I sold a target BHP in .40 but still have my old carry piece. Have considered buying a conversion barrel and magazines in 9mm. (You know, when I when the lottery. . .)

    • TPSnodgrass says:

      Ditto on the 3X5 cards, I put them on my range targets for speed drills(with accuracy of course) It is harder to do then one might “think”!

  30. Some really good comments and thoughts.
    If you are going to have a gunfight on your own terms and on your own turf, then choose a rifle and keep the fight at long range. If you are going to choose to have an up close and personal fight then choose a Street Sweeper (automatic 12 gage shotgun with a 50 round drum magazine. )
    Keep a pistol with you in case of an unexpected situation.
    But for the most part a man armed with a pistol will not do well against a man armed with an automatic shotgun or rifle.
    That being said I keep a pistol with me and practice with it often. In a lot of possible situations the pistol will be the only choice.
    Pistol skill is a difficult skill and must be practiced often.
    Paint ball training is the best way to develop the skills.

  31. Lynn McGuire says:

    I agree. That is why I own a few handguns. And want more, something like a small 38 revolver to throw in the front pants pocket.

  32. While Glock 19 is popular and I also own one as well – it is by far not the best option in handguns, I would suggest HKVP9 for striker and Beretta 92fs for metal frame hammer type. Glock is Ok but ammo sensative, also not easy to learn how to hold it well, not that good in hands.

    • Leo,

      Glock ammo sensitive… really….

    • Sierra Grey says:

      I didn’t like the feel of the Glock grips at first, although I’ll admit that they shot accurately in my hands. I find the single-stack Glocks like the 36 to feel quite natural. Further, I took a dremel tool and smoothed off some of the angles I didn’t like. Then wrapped it in an A-Grip. What a great feel!

      I also did not like the trigger of the Glock so I lightened the pull, although I would advise against this unless one shoots their gun often and regularly.

      I haven’t found any ammo sensitivity with the Glock. It does beat up my cases a bit more than my other guns, which is just an issue for reloading. Glock advised not to shoot unjacketed ammo, or even reloads. I found no issues, but I upgraded to a Lone Wolf barrel, said to remove any problems due to unjacketed ammo. All that said, I have had NO ammo issues with the Glock 36.

      • Sierra Grey,

        I know, I’ve worked as a gunsmith and currently own five different Glocks and none are “ammo sensitive”, nor have I ever seen a Glock that was “ammo sensitive” or even heard anyone else say this lol. Never had any trouble with the grip either, nor has anyone that I’ve ever trained with a Glock.

        • Victor Fox says:

          Only Glock I know that’s ammo sensitive is the G25 .380. Since it’s derived from the G19 AFAIK, it won’t cycle well with low powder .380s. Otherwise, it’s a fine gun.

  33. This w/e bought a S&W bodyguard 38 with crimson tracer revolver, based on recommendations from a friend. I have a fairly small hand. Took it to the shooting range today and had a tough time with accuracy, about 4 inches off to the left. And it was really tough on my hand , after two rounds my hand was so bruised, I put on a glove and shot 2 more rounds and still had a lot of discomfort…didn’t help with accuracy I’m sure. I usually shoot a taurus with 45s and a larger softer grip and have better accuracy, but wanted something for CC. Any suggestions on how to minimize the discomfort, or other CC options. Thanks!

  34. T.S Davis says:

    I Prefer a Sword. One you can Sick Your Sword in the Ground,work outside, Close by.You will get very few Dumbass Questions, when you do this. You can cut down Weeds, Pop Out Dandilions, for Medicine, hack Down Small Trees or the Occasional Islamonazi Attack, DE OPPRESSO LIBER, Chief

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