Sidearms, which calibre?

Discussion in 'Weapons, Equipment & Rations' started by Sleeper_service, Mar 7, 2005.

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  1. A friend of mine has just "gone outside" and is preparing to take up his new postion shortly. Apparently, he was having a conversation with his new employers, tying up a few loose ends etc, when they offered him his choice of sidearm, which incidentally will be his primary weapon. The concept of actually having a choice, momentarily phased him, but thankfully he had the presence of mind to reply with feigned indifference,"I'll let you know nearer the time.." or somesuch off-hand response.
    So anyway, hes been asking round his SOI, but none of us are sufficently expert to advise him as he has to choose from a bewildering array including: S&W, SIG, CZ, GLOCK etc, and a range of calibres, 9mm, 10mm, 40S&W, 45ACP
    Talk about being a kid in a sweetshop, he is understandably having trouble deciding.
    Not only does he want to make the right choice technically, but he doesnt want to look like a cowboy "Oh yeh, make it a .50 Desert Eagle, cus I've got nads like grapefruit!"
    I will admit to being a little out of my depth, so any advice I can pass along will be very gratefully received.
  2. From a recent discussion elsewhere:

    Personally, I carry a handgun every day to work (its a police thing) and pretty much everywhere else I go (yup, still a police thing). My choice to carry a .40 has little to do with economics or departmental policy (I write the policy and we allow officers a bit of latitude in what they carry) – it’s a choice based on the fact that its part of the overall best system I can field to allow me to accomplish my highest goal (which is to go home every day safe and sound to my wife and children). I have three varieties of .40 - all Glock (a lighted G-35 for tactical operations and warrant service; an old G-22 that is soooo sweet to shoot, and a G-23 for around the office/plain clothes/off duty) and you can say all you want about the combat tupperware, but the Glocks are in my estimation the AK-47 of handguns – they just run, and run, and run . . . . . groups aren’t too bad either – at the fall quals this old guy put away all the kids with their pricey, gee-whiz Kimber and Springfield 1911s – NOT Dumping on 1911s, Kimbers, Springfields, or .45s in general – I own two and plan to keep them). As to why my Gs are in .40 S&W, the answer is easy. A high-performance, bonded-core HP (ala Rem. Golden Saber, Speer Gold Dot, etc.) in .40 S&W pretty much approximates performance (i.e., wound channel and penetration) of extant .45 acp duty ammo, and my Gs allow me to deploy w/ 17 rd mags - all this in a 9mm sized weapon envelope. This cartridge/weapon system gives me: (a) more shots w/o reloading - more total rounds on my LBE, (b) the most potent caliber for the envelope, and (3) a weapon that’s highly dependable and reasonably accurate. It’s a compromise, but the best I’ve come across – for me personally and professionally. This size handgun fits me (and a lot of other folks) better than any of the double stack .45s. The .40 cartridge also provides a worthwhile increase in performance over 9mm in penetration of commonly encountered barricade materials (auto sheet metal and safety glass, wallboard, etc.) – its fairly simple physics (but like there are no truly powerful handguns that are practical for me to carry to work every day – hmmmm, I guess that’s why I also drag around a rifle). It was stated earlier that shot placement is the key element (I COULDN’T AGREE MORE – SHOT PLACEMENT is EVERYTHING when fighting with a handgun.) Several officers from my department (fortunately, not me - my one ordeal was long ago and favorably terminated with a 12 ga.) have been in a situation where they’ve had to shoot another person to defend themselves or another officer with their handgun in the last few years – two (2) involving a .40 S&W (poorly placed shots to the leg and arm w/ 150 gr. Cor-Bon in a running gunfight w/a very bad guy armed with an SKS fitted to accept 30 rd mags: result - bad guy stopped – the shot to the legs penetrated one thigh just below the groin and traveled abt half-way through the adjacent thigh expanding to 16mm with a total penetration of abt. 13” or so; in the other incident, the officer placed his one shot in the 10 ring and severed the spine w/ 155 gr.Gold Dot – knife wielding attacker DRT) and one (1) involving a .45 acp (one shot in the lower abdomen and another shot in the shoulder w/ 230 gr. Golden Saber – no trauma to vital organs or major blood vessels – both projectiles lodged in the target without exit: result – spear wielding attacker stopped – the jail nurse commented on her surprise at how insignificant the wounds actually were – she packs a .45, go girl). We also had one incident (like not relevant to this analysis) involving a .308 – rifle armed officer shot bad guy armed w/ an AR-15 who was shooting at the arrest team - .308 to the ten ring, bad guy DRT, no surprise – duh). I guess the point of this discourse is that a .40 might be the superior choice if you’re a police officer with many daily “unknown risk” contacts – but 9mm and .45 are certainly very good too. We issue SIG P228s w/ no complaints and quite a few of the younger officers carry single stack 1911-type .45s (I think this stems more from the fact that FBI HRT and LAPD SWAT have adopted this system than anything else).
    The best gun to have is one that: (a) fits you, (b) you’ll shoot a lot, and (c)routinely carry with you - 9mm, .357, .40, .44 or .45. All of this can be explained by Fream’s first and second laws of physics (#1 “Power is not the answer.” and #2 “If you don’t use it, you don’t have it.” JLF). Just my nickle (probably too long to call two cents)
  3. What Oddbod said! :twisted:

    I've never fired a round in anger or carried a wpn for real, but the only thing I can add to it is that if you're not going to train a lot, use a 9mm cos it's easier to control & is less likely to get you gun-shy. As for what he said for the Glock, it's spot on - I hate the Glock with a passion on the range, but if I were allowed to carry, it would be my 1st choice (G19 in particular). It's definitely a love-hate thing! Oh, and another point - the Glock has no manually-settable safety, so if you go with that one, train lots and lots and lots holstering & unholstering to avoid damaging yourself.;read=656

  4. Thanks for that Oddbod. A few of us were sitting around yesterday afternoon discussing this, and the G22 did come up as a serious contender. Some other suggestions were the Berretta 92f, which was dismissed quite quickly (frame cracks ?) SIG P226, good, but only 9mm, and too obvious, Browning Hi-Power :roll: H&K USP (extreme waltism) Obviously, the rest of us were all slipping into Hollywood fantasy mode, which wasnt really helping. Somebody even suggested (with a bit of an excitable gleam in his eye) a Walther PPK! the bruises will be gone in 7-10 days.
    But seriously, The .40 Glock does sound like a good choice.
  5. Thanks Stoatman, thats two votes for the Glock. He certainly isnt gun-shy, and as its a racing cert that he will have to use it in anger, the .40 has the edge, just a bit more performance all round.
  6. If i was doing it all again, I'd probably choose a Glock .40 as the best balance of useability, handling and stopping power.

    Having said that, I did once carry a Webley MkVI .455 - more intimidating than an auto from the wrong end, and a big lump of metal if it comes down to biffing the locals.

    If your friend is as inexperienced with handguns as he sounds, then maybe a revolver is the best thing to carry - always ready to hand, but safer than having one up the spout in an auto.
  7. I guess experience is all relative. He is proficent and competent with a handgun, but I always like to err on the side of caution. He has 12 years in, but I knew that there would be people on this forum with 20, 30 or even 40 years experience, I take that sort of expertise very seriously, as it never pays to overestimate yourself.
  8. Must be a pretty rough fücking office:

    "Do we have any more paperclips"

    "Check the stationery cupboard"

    "I did, it's empty"

    "No it isn't"

    "You calling me a liar?"

    "Goddamn right I am"

  9. Fantastic! 8) The emperor-king of all shorties! You have my utmost respect for using an icon of the empire operationally. Do tell us the circumstances.

    You could only go one better by lumping around a pair of .577 howdah pistols. 8O

    PS Is the 4(T) of your moniker in relation to the No 4 sniper variant?
  10. An acquaintance of mine was issued with a .455 S&W M1917 in the 2nd big adventure - he thought it was a gahstly thing. He much preferred the Luger he'd captured in Norway at the start of the war, but his CO wouldn't let him carry that!
  11. Go for all out funny and pick a 44 magum. See what his employer does.

    On types of ammo, don't bother going above .40. I've fired both .40 and .45 and the difference between the recovery of the two is amazing.
  12. Cutaway

    Cutaway LE Reviewer


    What sort of 45 have you been firing ? Long Colt from a derringer ? :D

    I've never had any problem with either the 40 S&W or the 45 ACP, and I wouldn't describe the 45 as being particularly more difficult to control.
  13. Stoatman wrote:

    1. "the Glock has no manually-settable safety..."

    That's true. However, I see that they are now available as an after-market modification. It's a thumb-actuated dingus that blocks the striker, I believe. Similar in appearance to the safety on a Browning Hi-Power.

    2. If you are going to carry a Glock with a live round in the chamber, you need a holster which fully enshrouds the trigger guard. Glock makes a good plastic holster. In no event should a Glock be carried informally stuffed into the operator's waistband. (I don't think that's a good idea with any handgun, but it can be particularly disastrous with a Glock.) If Sleeper_Service's pal is taking a civilian job in the middle east, he probably needs to carry with a live round in the chamber, from what I've read of the place.

    3. Most of the accidental, self-inflicted gunshot wounds, involving American policemen, of which I've read, involved Glocks. I suppose it's the combination of the relatively light trigger and the lack of an external safety. I doubt whether that really represents an intrinsic flaw of the weapon. I could guess that it does exemplify uncritical continuation of habits of carrying and handling developed with other handguns.

    4. I've never fired a shot in anger at anyone (and it'll be no tragedy if I never have to do so). Nevertheless, my "armchair commando" opinion is that it's a good idea to carry a handgun as powerful as circumstances, including the physical characteristics of the operator, reasonably permit. It wouldn't do to inflict a mortal wound on your bad guy, only to have him live long enough to kill you.

    I'd therefore like to put in a good word for the 10 mm cartridge. Half again as much kinetic energy at the muzzle as a 9 mm/P. I'm an average-sized man and I can handle it without difficulty.
  14. I spent a coupla weeks in south africa last year. I spent christmas eve with my host on the range with colt .45's, making pretty holes in paper cut outs of what appeared to be a nelson-mandela/idi-amin look alike competition.
    Cracking fun! Also did a robin hood type competetion, with a coathanger at 20yrds.
  15. I recall reading, a long time ago, that the bodyguards protecting the royal family used to carry those.

    As I remember, they dumped the PPK after two incidents in which the officers were obliged to draw, and attempted to fire, only to be stopped by jams.

    They switched to H&Ks, or so I read.

    All the same, Walther products, including the PPK, have an excellent reputation.