Friday, February 20, 2004

For years I carried a .45 Colt Combat Commander. Given the clothing I was wearing, it was easy to conceal AND with small kids in the house, I wasn't going to leave a gun out anyway. At night I took it off and then set it up at bedside. However...

The wife took exception to my having a cocked pistol next to the bed. Explanations of the mechanics were futile. Now the kids are grown, the daily clothing and work schedule have changed and has been easier to have a S&W M13 3" or Ruger Speed-Six (both .357s and no longer made, get a M65LS instead) for both uses. When I leave the house (I now do most of my non-profit work at the house), it is easy to pick it up and go. The springs are always at rest and the cartridge will do what I want including required applications at the farm.

Sometimes either of these guns is just too big. Then I carry a S&W M36. Very little transition needed.

I have used an alternative which I consider inadequate for winter work due to the heavy clothing some people might be wearing. That is the Pistolet Makarov using the 9x18mm cartridge. Pluses include low cost (VERY important to some people) of both the firearm and the ammo (which you can get for $60 for 500 rounds delivered!), light recoil (like the .38 Special), moderate capacity (8-9 rounds or more), and the double action feature (which makes MY wife very happy). Negatives are the bulk of the gun for the round utilized, what might be considered under-penetration by the 9x18 HP round, relatively limited effective range (compared to the heavier .38/.357 and .45 bullets), and limited range of support equipment such as holsters (although this has improved).

Most people don't have to use their carry gun on the farm but many do have families with whom they want to or must interact and whose skill set they must consider. For me, the answer is a .357 Magnum or .38 Special level load (including the 9x18mm Makarov) in a double action pistol or revolver.