Questions & Answers

Chuck Taylor Answers Typical Questions About Combat Handgunning.
Have questions of your own about weapons and tactics? E-mail 'em to us and Chuck will give you a precise, no-nonsense answer.

Q: I have owned a Colt LW Commander for several years. Until this past year I shot with it regularly at the range. No competitions, just shooting as many rounds as possible. I am still reading a lot of stuff in magazines and on internet columns that a SA pistol is not suitable for self defense because of the loss of fine motor skills under the stress of a lethal force encounter. These writers all advocate some other type of pistol such as Glock, Springfield XD, or DA only or DA/SA as being more suitable or safer. Is that a valid concern? I see no realistic way to emulate the stress of a lethal force encounter short of going through one. My lifestyle and awareness of my surroundings hopefully will let me safely avoid such an encounter. My pistol is there only if needed. Thankfully it has not been needed. Should I consider another type of pistol or should constant practice at the range allow me to operate my LW Commander just as safely as another pistol should such an encounter be thrust upon me?

Additionally, are there longevity concerns with a LW Commander?

K.T.
Oxford, Alabama

Amigo,

Claims about "the loss of fine motor skills" under stress are VASTLY overstated, to say the least, as are claims that the SA pistol in general and the M1911 in particular are somehow "unsafe". The truth is that neither issue is being kept in its proper perspective.  Moreover, more often than not, those who have had no formal training in combat pistolcraft and/or experience with the M1911 design are the ones making the claim.  In truth, the M1911 is one of the two or three easiest pistols in the world to shoot well under stress (the other two being the Glock and the XD) and is as safe as any other design.

Having been in more than a dozen pistol fights and trained hundreds of thousands of students, I've seen lots of different types of handguns in action.  And what I've seen is that whether its critics like it or not, the M1911 has always performed well, partly due to its superior caliber and partly due to its superior "user-friendliness".

Furthermore, claims that one cannot manipulate the thumb safety under stress due to "loss of fine motor skills" are patently untrue.  One fights as one trains and the operation of the thumb safety in no way impedes fast, effective use of the weapon if one trains himself to operate it appropriately.

As an interesting side note, these are invariably the same people who claim that one cannot operate a slide release lever under stress as well, due to "loss of fine motor skills" and advocate reaching up with the weak hand and releasing the slide (thus increasing protocol execution time by a substantial margin). 

There is absolutely NO proof that such a loss occurs to the degree that manipulation of the weapon's controls becomes impossible. 

In fact, the only pistol design of which I am aware that exhibits problems in this area is the SIG, because the slide release lever is inconveniently located and obscured by the swell at the top of the left hand stock panel.   Clumsy operation of it is thus a human engineering issue, not "loss of fine motor skills" under stress. 

Conversely, it's also worth noting that the slide release levers of the M1911, Browning P35, S&W, H&K and Beretta pistols are perfectly located for fast, easy operation and exhibit no clumsiness whatsoever under stress (such as during a speed load, for example). 

As for service life, my experience has been that  steel-framed guns crack just as often as do aluminum-framed ones, provided the aluminum used in their construction is of good quality (the LW Commander is made of high-grade aircraft aluminum).

However, the use of so-called .45 ACP "+P"  and "+P+" ammunition does generate pressures considerably higher than most self-loading pistols were designed to handle on a sustained basis.  This shortens their service life and makes them much harder to control in fast shooting sequences (both of which are, in my opinion, seriously negative factors).  This is unfortunate, especially in the case of the .45 ACP, because such loadings are not needed to obtain good stopping power in the first place.

As any reasonably informed combat shooter knows, I'm a great fan of the Glock and XD, but also the M1911 as well.  As such, I must point out that if its design were fundamentally defective, it would have been obvious a LONG time ago (around 1914, as a matter of fact, when it began to be used in World War One).  That no major deficiency has appeared in its nearly 100 year career proves its design to be worthy of its legendary reputation.  Bluntly put, weapons don't achieve legendary status by being inferior and the M1911 is one of the MOST legendary of fighting handguns.

Having said all this, Combat pistolcraft entails MUCH more than just going to a range and shooting.  So, no matter what kind of handgun design you prefer, you should definitely get some GOOD professional training.  Particularly in our modern world, increasingly complex tactical, criminal and civil liability concerns demand it if one is to know all the things needed to have a clear perspective on the subject and make intelligent decisions. If you don't, you'll never reach your highest possible level of efficiency or be capable of making the decisions so crucial to success when your life is on the line.

Hope have been of some help.  Keep your head down and don't forget to watch your front sight.

Warmest personal regards,

Chuck Taylor

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Q: I have read your book "Combat Handgunnery" and absolutely recommend it to anyone who seeks a good guide to defensive combat with a pistol.

My question is in regard to holster selection. I know a crossdraw rig is good for those who carry a firearm and are seated a good portion of the day but, is it as fast on the draw as a strong side carry rig? With practice could one achieve the same level of speed and proficiency as a strong side rig? Would that practice be better used on a different aspect of combat pistolcraft. Any advice or insight on this matter would be most helpful.

Sincerely,

Ryan S.
Ocala, FL

A:

Dear Ryan,

Yes, a crossdraw can be as quick as a strong side holster, provided it is carried near the point of the hip and the operator practices dilligently to achieve proficiency.

However, care should be taken NOT to wear the rig on the abdomen, because doing so makes concealment -- and sitting down -- more difficult.

Hope have been of some help and thanks for your inquiry.

Warmest personal regards,

Chuck Taylor

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Q:
Dear Chuck,

When I started shooting almost 40 years ago, one of the first rules of gun safety that I was taught was to "never point your gun at something you are not willing to shoot." That must still hold true today, since it is emblazoned in almost every gun magazine I see (usually right after Rule Number One: All guns are loaded).

How then do we reconcile this with the modern trend of attaching lights to guns?

It seems to me that when we shine a gunlight on someone to determine whether they are friend or foe, we must be pointing a loaded gun at them. Am I missing something here, or has the rule been changed to "if you use your gunlight to see what you're aiming at, be real careful"?

Your comments would be appreciated.

B.W.


A:

The Rule to which you refer is a general one relating to basic gun handling and cannot apply totally in a specialized tactical scenario such as the typical low light situation. Thus, a compromise is inescapable, but with the proviso that the trigger finger is kept outside the trigger guard during both the Search and Target Identification portions of using a gun/light combination, whether attached or hand-held.

Hope have been of some help.

Warmest regards,

Chuck Taylor

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Q: Weapons Selection

Chuck: Recently read your book "Combat Handgunnery" and I really enjoyed it. I try to read works from most of the best informed and intelligent writers and you are certainly at the top.

I am not extremely experienced, having only begun to shoot combat style handguns in the last year or so. I would appreciate any advice you could give me on the subject of weapons selection.

I have a Ruger P-97 in 45ACP. Really like to gun. Fits my hand well and is ultra reliable. The only draw back I noticed after reading your work is the gun has the classic double/single action transition.

My other weapon is a Glock 19 in 9mm. It to fits my hand well and is reliable and light weight. It does have the single type of trigger pull from shot to shot. I usually carry the CorBon 9mm 115 grain hollowpoints in the Glock and 230 hydrshock in the Ruger. Money was tight and both of these guns represented a good bargin for what I had to spend.

Am I better off staying with the 45 even though there is two types of triggers or should I stay with the consistancy of the Glock trigger and the 9mm?

Thanks,

Bob Chilton

A: Dear Bob,

My rule of thumb is to use the most potent handgun I can handle well under stress, whatever caliber it might be. I think you would also benefit from this approach.

Hope have been of some help.

Warmest personal regards,

Chuck Taylor

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Q: Thank you for your two articles - best handgun and best shotgun.

My limited comments.

Benelli Super 90 -- shot off rear sight with new gun within 10 shots. Saw another person do it in 5 shots. Factory is fixing but recommended perhaps going to Williams rear ghost ring. And this on new guns. 870 with vang comp barrel, bead sight and short speed stock work best for me. Eagle butt cup and side saddle. I avoid short stroking. I give up some speed when I gave up on the Benelli. Training, training, training and smooth is fast keep running in my mind.

Colt .45 government -- Yes, I build my own. However, I know the functioning so well inside and out that I feel confident. Practice, practice, practice. Here is a drill. All from holstered situation. All perfect shots. 3 rounds at six feet under three seconds in a zone. Do it twice. At 7 yards, shoot from behind barricade. 2 shots, speed reload, 2 shots - under 8 seconds in a zone. 10 yards now - facing away. Three targets - ten seconds. 3 shots in c zone, speed reload, three shots in c zone. Go to 25 yards. 2 shots in c zone, run 10 yards, take a knee and two more shots in the c zone - under 12 seconds.

I will now have to start working on your more challenging drills!

thanks.

Brian Cochran

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A: Dear Brian,

You haven't lost much speed by going from a self-loader to a slide-action if you cycle the action during recoil. I've seen a couple of my instructors stay right with very good shots using a semi-auto with little difficulty.

There's certainly nothing wrong with the Colt .45 auto! As you know, I'm also a big fan of them. Heck, I carried one for over twenty years, during which it saved my life five times.

Would recommend against shooting three shots at a time since the target's nervous system will be shut down by the time the 3rd shot arrives. Stay with quick aimed two-shot pairs and practice until you can get your gun out of a holster and hit a silhouette twice in the chest from 3 meters in less than 1.5 seconds, from 5 meters in 1.7 and from 7 meters in 2.0. Then get serious about weapon presentations with beaucoup dry-practice and use 1.0, 1.2 and 1.3 seconds at each range as your goal. Once you can do 2-shot pairs in those times, you're really "in business." Best way to do this is get formal training so...come see me at a course sometime, eh?

I, too, don't care much for the Benelli, but because I don't like its sharp edges, square angles and excessive recoil. I prefer instead the Remington M1187, souped up by Scattergun Technologies. They do great work on M870s too, so perhaps you'd enjoy taking a look at their catalog. I think you'd find it worth your time.

Best,

Chuck Taylor

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Q: Read all about your 150K rounds through the Glock 17.

What do you think of the Glock 21 in 45 ACP? The 40s? The 357SIGs?
I like the G21/45ACP best of all the Glocks myself. Carry it in a MDK Taylor Thunderbolt too!

Mike


A: Dear Michael, Have 168,000 rds. through my M17 now and still kickin'. Also like the M19, M22, M23, M24, M26, M27, M34, M35 & M30. Don't care much for the M20 & M21 because they're just doggoned large for me to grasp comfortably -- have short fingers, you see...

Don't care for the 357 SIG cartridge as it's impossible to control (recoil and muzzle flash) in fast shooting sequences and somewhat over-penetrative for self-defense work and is thus a serious criminal and civil liability problem.

Gotta go...coffee's ready! Hope have been of some help.

Warmest personal regards,

Chuck Taylor

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Q: Dear Mr. Taylor,

I was wondering what you think of the Glock 21 and 30 (.45 ACP) as personal defense weapons. What kinds of situations would one be better than the other? I'm debating between these two as my primary defense pistol. I really appreciate your input and knowledge.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Kenneth Sham


A: Dear Kenneth,

I often carry a Glock 30 for personal defense due to its compactness and the fact that because of it I can grasp the gun with reasonable comfort. Unfortunately, the Glock 21 is so large that this isn't the case, a situation that I've found common with about 19 out of 20 people. Thus, my vote goes to the Model 30. Interestingly, I've also found the M30 to be exceptionally accurate, even to the degree that I've been able to hit clay regularly pigeons at 75 and even 100 meters with it. Such accuracy could come in handy, especially if it's obtained with no sacrifice in functional reliability.

Hope have been of some help. Keep your head down.

Warmest personal regards,

Chuck Taylor

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Q: Having read numerous articles by you over the past decade, I have a great respect for your experience, knowledge, and ability to communicate your perspective on firearms and tactics. I am particularly impressed with your open mind to accept the reality of the politics behind the double action auto and not disregard the fact that many persons in law enforcement are bound by regulations circumventing them from carrying a single action auto.

That being said, and referencing your thoughts on the SIG P220 .45ACP as arguably the best DA auto available, I am inquiring as to whether or not you have attempted the ASAA Combat Master Qualification Course with said pistol. If so, how did the combination, yourself and the pistol, score? How did the SIG compare to the ten or so pistols that you had utilized in the past to achieve the required 90%? And what deficiencies would you correct in the SIG that prevented a higher score?

SEMPER FI

E.R.P.

A: Yes, I have tried the HCM test with a SIG P226. Didn't use the P220 because it's just a bit too long for me between the backstrap and trigger face.

The only DA auto with which I was able to pass the test was the S&W M39, probably because it's the only DA auto that points and indexes well in my hand. Still, only passed the test by one point, giving me the lowest score I'd ever had in comparison with the other guns I'd used in the past -- Colts M1911, LW Commander, Browning P35, Glock M17, Glock M22, S&W M10.

Other than the old P210, I think the SIG P-series is as good as it can be. Deficiencies mechanically are negligible, but there is quite a bit of slide mass well above the firing hand, which in conjunction with a lightweight alloy frame, cause it to flip and torque more caliber for caliber, than its counterparts. In fast firing sequences, this matters, whether the scenario is a quick, controlled pair of hits on a single target or a multiple target problem.

Hope have been of some help. Thanks for your inquiry and keep your head down.

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Q: Having read your articles and other books for years, I realized the emotional attachment you have towards the Colt M1911 .45 ACP since, as you've stated, it saved your life not once but several times. Since the U.S. military cartridge is now the 9mmP, could you say that it would have been as successful as a lifesaver in those same situations?

A: Not all of the handgun confrontations I have experienced thus far were military situations. Thus, within reason, I have pretty much had my choice of handguns and calibers. As well, as a professional weapons & tactics consultant and instructor, I have attended most of the wars of the last three decades and seen firsthand the efficiency with which virtually all of the calibers perform against human targets.

Whether anyone likes it or not, recorded history shows that the 9mm has always been a marginal manstopper. Conversely, the .45 ACP is -- and always has been -- a good one. So, my answer is an unequivocal, "no." I don't believe that the 9mmP would have given the same results as did the .45.

As much as I, too, wish it were so, there is no such thing as a "free lunch." The laws of physics cannot be repealed and the quicker we all accept this fact, the better off we'll be.

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Q: I would like your opinion on the S&W .45 Colt revolver and cartridge. As a practicing police officer, I've carried a 4-inch S&W M25-5 as a duty gun for some years and found its recoil mild and accuracy good. Can you tell me the ballistics produced with this gun and factory ammo? Also, what kind of actual results have been obtained with the .45 Colt in gunfights?

A: The M25-5 is a nice gun. It is accurate, strong and reliable. As for factory .45 Colt ammo, the situation is not as positive. Unfortunately, most of the commercial HP .45 Colt ammo now produced is drastically underloaded to prevent product liability suits in the event someone uses it in granddaddy's old single-action Colt "Peacemaker." So, regardless of how nifty it looks, so-called "modern" "Plus-P" .45 Colt ammo doesn't perform very well.

My Oehler Model 35P chronograph shows the factory Remington 255 grain LFP leaving the muzzle of a 4-inch M25-5 at 753 fps, the Winchester "Silvertip" JHP at just a bit more and the Federal SWCHP at about the same. This means that the best factory load is probably the old standby 255 gr. LFP, because even though it isn't fast, it produces the highest velocity with the heaviest bullet and does so without increasing blast or recoil. In addition, it doesn't have much muzzle flash.

This is the modern equivalent of the famous original .45 Colt load, is a good stopper and doesn't over-penetrate in humans.

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Q:  Which is better in the Winchester LE Ranger .40 caliber 165 grain JHP ammo: the SXT or the bonded? 

A: The bonded stuff is designed to minimize core/jacket separation during passage through a windshield, etc.  It therefore doesn't expand as well.  Conversely, the Ranger SXT typically expands REALLY well, and to my way of thinking, the .40 needs all the help it can get.

Guess it depends upon what you see as being the mission you need it for.  For a practicing police officer, the potential for having to deal with suspects in cars is a real concern, so the bonded bullet would be a better choice.  On the other hand, for a civilian such is not the case, so the regular SXT with its better expansion would be a better option.

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Q: I'm interested in buying a handgun to be used for self-defense from both animals and humans while back packing alone in remote areas known for their high bear populations. What brand, model and caliber would you recommend? Ideally, I'd like it to be as light as possible, easy to handle, but have good stopping power. I realize that this is a tall order, but your advice as to what compromise is best will be well taken.

I also plan to carry the gun by day and sleep by it at night. What do you feel would be the best method of accomplishing these goals?

A: I spend a good deal of time tramping around the rural areas of Alaska, and for me there is only one choice that fulfills both of the tasks you describe -- the S&W M29 with a 4, 5, or 6-inch barrel. I carry mine in a shoulder holster, although you might prefer a crossdraw when carrying a rucksack. I like a tuned action, highly polished and rounded trigger, high visibility sights and a corrosion/wear resistant finish, such as Metalife SS Chromium M.

While virtually any kind of .44 SPL or magnum load you might carry is effective against humans, there is no handgun in the world that is truly a "bear gun," and don't let anyone tell you otherwise or you're going to get seriously injured or killed. Bullet placement is critical and penetration is paramount, so go with the heaviest bullet you can handle. I like the Keith 245 gr. SWC, hard cast and 22 grs. of #2400 powder, with a standard pistol primer. It produces 1150 fps from a 4-inch barrel, 1250 fps from a 5-inch and just over 1300 fps from a 6-inch, is highly accurate, penetrative and about as good as it gets in a handgun.

However, it is a magnum load and produces substantial recoil, so you might find it tough to handle in fast DA work against a human adversary. Unfortunately, there is no one load that gives optimum performance against both kinds of attacker so you'll have to make a choice -- and mine is for the magnum.

When in bear country, my .44 never leaves my person, even when sleeping, for most bear incidents take place at night when the victim is at rest. This being the case, if you don't have the weapon with you, its effectiveness or your skill with it becomes academic.

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Q: The question I have is about "white box" "USA-brand" .45 ACP ammo. In your experience, is it as reliable, accurate and of as high a quality as the more expensive ammo?

A: The generic brands of .45 ACP ammunition are pretty decent and, for that reason, many law enforcement agencies use them for both practice and duty. This is primarily because the .45 ACP cartridge itself is one of the easiest to "get along with," e.g. almost anything can be loaded in it with good results. However, muzzle flash is always an issue and all of the generic ammo I've used produces substantial flash.

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Q: I've heard of the practice of placing a drop of Mercury in the tip of a HP bullet and sealing it with wax. This supposedly produces devastating results in soft tissue targets as well as anything else it hits. Does this practice have any merit or is it an example of pulp novel folklore? Could it be used to compensate for poor ballistic performance in the weaker calibers?

A: The mercury issue is more fiction than practical fact. As far as I've been able to determine, the idea first surfaced in Frederick Forsythe's novel, "Day Of The Jackal," and took off from there. Mercury is too unstable for satisfactory use in bullets. As well, remember that the laws of physics apply here, regardless of the materials used. In other words, if the HP bullet in question won't expand in its normal configuration, it isn't more likely to expand with a small amount of mercury in its cavity.

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Q: I was surprised at your opinion that the SIG P226 is probably the best DA 9mm auto. What happened to the Czech CZ75? Was your opinion given more for police who would have a hard time purchasing these expensive pistols or has it changed?

A: My opinion hasn't changed, but the availability of the CZ75, it's spare magazines and spare parts has not become such that I can consider it as a serious contender.

As for expense, I don't think it's much different from either a SIG or Beretta, both of which will cost you about $600 new.

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Q: I'm thinking about buying a M1911 type pistol of either Colt or Springfield Armory manufacture, but am confused as to which is the best. Locally, I've heard that the Colt has a better frame-to-slide fit and is more reliable. On the other hand, in my area, the SA costs less than the Colt. Please advise.

A: Your question is a tough one, for I have had nothing but good luck with both Colt and Springfield Armory built .45s. So, I must say that the only difference between them as far as I am concerned is the Series 80 "safety" modifications versus the standard M1911 mechanism. Of the two, I much prefer the straight M1911 design because it is simpler, time-proven and allows faster, easier gunsmithing.

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Q: I owe you an apology! I've been reading your work for the past twelve years and it annoyed me! I would read it, fully aware that your views concerning the .45 ACP were 180-degrees opposite mine. Heck, anyone with any knowledge of handguns would know that the .357/125 gr. JHP was definitely the only way to go when betting your life! My way was the only way to go...I thought. You came across to me as a "born again Christian" who had "seen the light." Preach, preach, preach!

Then a funny thing happened. Because all of my friends shoot .45s, out of curiosity last spring I decided to buy one, just to see what you were talking about. After putting 500 rds. through it, I decided that it was definitely a "keeper!" Since then, I've had high-visibility fixed sights put on it, a trigger job and am having a ball with it! Now I rarely use my other handguns -- you know of what you speak!

A: I appreciate your appreciation. It's always nice to see someone, as you put, "see the light!" It sure worked for me!

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Q: I'm a Marine, stationed at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and have a few questions. I already have a Colt Government Model, but upon my return to the U.S., I am considering the purchase of another handgun chambered for the .45 ACP cartridge.

My two choices are a Colt "Stainless Gold Cup" or the SIG P220. I want to carry the gun for sport shooting as well as personal protection and the .45 seems best suited for this. My questions are: 1) Which pistol would you prefer for everyday carry? 2) Will the alloy frame of the SIG wear more than the stainless Colt? 3) Will both pistols reliably feed CCI 200 gr. JHPs without feed ramp polishing, etc.? If not, who can be trusted with the job? Cost is not the issue.

A: I think we should remember that the Gold Cup, whether in regular or stainless steel, is a highly refined target pistol, designed to shoot target ammo, not full-powered, self-defense loads. Thus, while everyone knows of my preference towards Colt .45 autos, I must recommend the SIG instead for the purposes you describe. I think you'll find that, like the Colt LW Commander, it will last longer than makes any difference.

Whether or not the guns will feed the CCI 200 gr. JHP is a highly individual matter and can only be determined by trying them in each gun. If "throating" is required, any decent gunsmith should be able to handle the job, which should not cost more than $50.

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Q: As a police officer, due to department policy, I was always required to carry a revolver. So, the debate in the gun magazines about the 9mmP versus the .45 ACP, while it made interesting reading, didn't affect me.

Now, I can carry an auto and through the years, I've pretty much agreed with you -- that the .45 auto was best. But recently, a couple of writers have claimed the equality of the 9mmP with "new" bullets and loads, even claiming actual studies of their own to back up their claims. What gives?

As a lawman, I want to stop the trouble before it stops me -- as quickly as possible. Is there any truth to these claims?

A: You're not the only one who is confused at the current goings-on. However, a careful analysis of the issue will give you the perspective you're looking for. As for me, I give those so-called "studies" little credence because they defy the laws of physics and use irrelevant definitions of the terms, "One-shot Stop," and, "Hit Placement" to tie together their otherwise meaningless statistical data. This by the way,is an opinion shared by many ballistitions and forensic pathologists.

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Q: I want to ask your opinion about the best way to handle my personal situation. I am 5 feet, 3 inches tall, weigh 133 lbs. and have a Florida CCW Permit. I have had training in firearms usage and am now being trained in street combat and defensive techniques. However, I'm finding that the information I've been given is as different as the person giving it!

I carry a S&W M60 "Stainless Chief's Special", loaded with Glasers, in a concealed holster while I work in the office. When not at work, I carry a Colt "Officer's Model" .45 ACP in a GALCO M8000 paddle holster, also loaded with Glasers. I am right handed.

My specific questions are:

Which ammo do you suggest for street/home defense -- the Glasers or Winchester "Silvertip" JHPs?

Am I using the proper holster and carry positions for each of these guns?

While seated or driving my small two-seater sports car, should I go to crossdraw or keep the weapon under the seat or in the glove box for easy access? Behind my right hip just doesn't get the job done!
A: I concur with your choice of Glasers, provided you understand that while they're highly effective if used properly, they aren't designed for use against anything except unarmored targets in the open. Against even light cover or concealment, they often disintegrate entirely.

I am puzzled, though, that you carry two different guns, one for the office and one elsewhere. I've found that the old axiom of "Beware of the man with one gun," is quite true, because of his superior understanding of his weapon's capabilities and limitations.

If extreme concealibility isn't the issue, I prefer the Colt "Officer's Model" .45 to the S&W M60. It's more versatile, powerful and much easier to shoot well under stress. As for your choice of holsters, there is certainly nothing wrong with your GALCO. However, if you spend a lot of time seated, a crossdraw is definitely worth considering. It is just as quick as "strong side carry," perhaps even a bit faster. Although I for many years carried my handguns strong side, with increasing frequency I find myself slipping on a crossdraw rig these days.

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Q: I carry a STAR M30K 9mm on duty and would appreciate your evaluation of it. It has never misfired, nor have I experienced any problem with it thus far. Some officers say that it doesn't receive the respect it deserves, while others claim that it makes a great boat anchor! I look forward to your assessment.

A: From a design standpoint, the STAR M30K is an entirely satisfactory gun. However, STAR has been around a long time and has occasionally been the victim of various metallurigical problems which have contributed to functioning problems. It is my feeling that this particular problem, now claimed by STAR to have been rectified, is the source of the negative opinions your describe.

The only way to definitively ascertain the suitability of your gun's metallurgy is to have a metallurgist test the steel for hardness. This will conclusively answer your question and eliminate personal prejudices.

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Q:I would like your opinion on the Glock Model 30 .45 ACP. I already own Glock Models 22 and 23 in 40 S&W and have a high degree of confidence in them. Do you feel that the .45 ACP cartridge is superior enough to the .40 S&W to warrant my trading them for a M30 or should I not worry about it?

A: While the Glock Model 30 is indeed a potent little weapon, it should not be considered a service pistol. In fact, it's more of a compact like your Model 23, which means that, due to it's abbreviated size, configuration and shorter sight radius, it's tactical capacity is somewhat more specialized than the full-sized Model 22.

Reguardless of the fact that the .45 ACP is more powerful than the .40 S&W, it should also be said that the .40 isn't exactly a slouch, either! Thus, plus the fact that you have confidence in your two Glock .40s, leads me to recommend that you stay with them in preference to the Model 30 .45 ACP -- unless, like me, you simply like guns and want to add a Model 30 to your armory. That's as good a reason as any!

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Q: When I first started reading your articles I felt that my H&K P7 9mm was the equal of any .45 when loaded up with "Silvertips" or Federal JHPs. After all, they expanded well in gelatin and in my own wet newspaper tests! Then I noticed that out "in the woods" where I go shooting, they plug up in wood and other materials and, if at all, expand only marginally.

Here in Utah, we have cold winters, and if I had to shoot someone in self-defense during this time, he would most likely be wearing heavy clothing, which might plug up a JHP bullet with fabric, preventing it from expanding. This, of course, would substantially reduce its effectiveness. Because of this, I went to a SIG P220 .45 ACP and 230-grain Ball ammunition and have found that it shoots into 3 1/2-inches offhand at 25 meters and is reliable. I am now thinking of staying with it in preference to the 9mmP and wonder if you could suggest a practice load that approximates factory ball, so I can practice economically.

A: The effect of JHP bullets plugging up with fabric from clothing and not expanding is known as "cocooning," and is a common occurrence. And, yes, you're right -- if that JHP bullet doesn't expand, it is less effective. That's why I prefer bigger bullets like the .40, .41, .44 and .45 -- they're already large and don't depend upon expansion to produce a large permanent wound channel.

For practice with your .45, try 6.2 grains of UNIQUE and any 225-230 gr. cast lead RN bullet. This load duplicates ball specs and has for many decades been a favorite practice load of many .45 shooters, myself included.

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Q.     I have been following your advice for many years.  I got seriously into handguns after my wife was held up at gunpoint in our driveway in New Orleans about 15 years ago.

 In addition to the weapons I keep in the house for self defense (40's and 45's) I have a couple of 45's I bought for "fun" shooting at the range a few years ago, a Kimber Custom (a full size 1911 type) and a EMF "New Dakota", (a cowboy type).  The Kimber is remarkably accurate, and reliable on the range and I was thinking of using it at home for self defense.  Then, I remembered your comments about the Gold Cup and it occurred to me that the same might be true of the Kimber. What do you think? 

We have a second home in the mountains of North Carolina (hope it's our retirement home soon!) and I was thinking of leaving a weapon there.  I thought of the cowboy gun, but I wasn't sure about the advisability of using it as a defensive weapon.  It is pretty accurate on the range, even with the fairly primitive sights. Obviously, it would be slower than an auto, but what about the stopping power?  The only alternative I have, other than buying a new pistol, is a Beretta 9 which I bought before I read your book, and which is gathering dust in the gun safe.

     Thanks for all the help over the years.

    H.W.

A:     Compadre,

I would forego using the SA "Cowboy Gun" self-defense since, as you say, the average person finds it slow to bring into action and operate, as well as too cumbersome to reload quickly.  So, if your Kimber functions reliably and isn't intended strictly for target shooting shooting like the Gold Cup, it should handle the full spectrum of .45 ACP  ammunition without difficulty. 

However, I would avoid any .45 ACP ammo that's marked "+P", since it merely increases recoil and beats up the gun/operator, all unnecessarily, since the regular .45 ACP loadings demonstrate excellent manstopping capabilities without being loaded to excess pressures.

Hope have been of some help.  Keep your head down.

Warmest regards,

Chuck

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