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+P ammo cartridge casing FMJ grain JHP round

Defensive Ammo

One thing I never ask about in gun forums is ammo recommendations.  Why?  Because the answers you get will be highly subjective in nature, and although there are some guys who want to play as scientists and provide ballistics research articles, charts and other such resources, what it boils down to is this:  there are no humans that are bullet-proof on this earth.  When a bad guy breaks into your home at 2am, more than likely he’s not wearing armor, so shoot what you’re most comfortable with, ammunition-wise.

The suggested choices are JHP (or, jacketed hollow points), though.  This is because JHP is designed to do damage to flesh, but will also be less likely to over-penetrate (ie, go through the targeted body and into another person or object that might contain a person — house or car or other room).  Some people actually prefer FMJ, or full metal jacketed, but unless you know the backdrop, that is a dangerous ammunition to use for self or home defense, as the over-penetration potential will be high.  The danger is that a round could over-penetrate an aggressor and be a danger to others in the house (or even a danger to your neighbor in his or her own home).

The question I would’ve asked on a gun forum is, what type of defensive ammo would you use and why?  This question wouldn’t pertain to ammo brand, but more of what grain bullet would be preferred.  Grain refers to the weight of the projectile, not the amount of powder in the casing.  Some ammo makers use lighter-grain projectiles, as since they weigh less than standard bullets.  For example, standard .45ACP ammo is 230-grain.  I bought 20 rounds of 185-grain .45ACP…while the round might not be hotter (ie, more powerful due to additional powder in the cartridge), the 185-grain round will travel faster than a 230-grain round with the same powder charge, since it weighs less.  As well, the round will fly straighter.  The heavier round will have more penetrating power since it would have more mass than a lighter grain projectile.  There are also heavier non-standard rounds.  For example, standard grain for 9mm is 115-grain and a heavier grain is the 124-grain or 147-grain 9mm round.

To be honest, it won’t matter what type of round you use.  What counts more is shot placement.  In a typical defensive scenario, if you hit center mass 5 times, a bad guy isn’t going to be walking away no matter what type of round you’re using, JHP or FMJ, 115-grain 9mm or 147-grain 9mm.  Even .22LR pistols can kill if shots are accurately placed (I’ve read several articles where people have killed intruders with .22 caliber handguns).

I’ve some +P JHP that I mean to experiment with (bought them from Gander Mountain in both .45ACP and 9mm…I believe it’s Remington).  +P usually means more powder than normal is within the cartridge.  I’m not sure if it is actually needed, but if I decide I want more, I know where to pick it up locally.

I also have that .22TCM 1911.  Many people assume that this gun shoots .22LR.  Uhmmm….no.  This round is a shortened and necked-down .223.  It has a lot of powder and when shot from a 5″ .22TCM 1911, muzzle velocities are well over 2000 feet per second (or FPS).  Commander-sized 1911s will shoot the round a bit slower (a tad under 2000 FPS).  Rock Island Armory also has a .22TCM rifle…when shot through that barrel, the muzzle velocity for this round exceeds 2800 FPS!  The round is JHP, but will still punch through 3/16″ steel with ease (video here).

Several good ammunition articles are here and here.

AZ CA California CCW CO firearms moving NM NV OR VA

Nope, Not Moving to CA!

I’ve had a change of heart and cancelled my plans to move to CA.  Why?  After thinking on it for months, I’ve determined that I’d be a fool to move to a state that limits it’s citizen in the manner that CA does (and not just with guns, but with everything).  After submitting for my VA CCW, I had a license in hand eight days later.  In CA, depending on the county, the CCW permit process could take up to 1.5 years, with a year wait almost guaranteed.  The gun laws are generally very restrictive, even if you’re not carrying.  10-round mags.  A highly restrictive list of guns that can be sold to you via retail.  Lots of red tape even selling used guns from one CA citizen to another.  I’ve lived there before…I didn’t like it then, either, and I wasn’t even into guns then.  Some advice:  never ever try to ignore yourself when your conscious is giving you bad vibes about a decision you’re trying to make.  I already feel much better about myself, now that I’ve decided not to move to that state.

I told my wife that I’d be receptive to moving to a border state (NV, AZ, OR) or states that are relatively close to CA (Utah, Colorado, New Mexico).  She only wants CA, but that’s not going to happen.  She thinks someone influenced my decision.  No, I just woke up.

So, I’ve got 10 guns now, and the only reason I bought the majority of them was because they aren’t available via retail in CA.  That doesn’t bother me since they’re excellent guns.  It does mean that I probably won’t be getting any guns for awhile, but that’s fine too.

awareness backpack carry CCW concealed firearms holster situational

Everyone Wants To Think They’re the One-Stop Firearms Guy

Why is it that every gun forum has these guys that think that their methods of carrying (and their equipment) is the one and only methods?  These guys think that their answers are the absolute only way to address a situation.  They’re the one-stop guys…the guys that think that they’re asked first and the questioners have their answer and that’s the end of it.

Am I claiming I know better?  No, but a LOT of this isn’t one-shoe-fits-all, either.  And a LOT of it is common sense.  As well, there are soooo many variables with gun owners, their experience, and their equipment that it’s stupid to think that there’s only one answer.  These are the same people that will immediately call someone a sheep, but yet they’re giving these canned and wrong answers.

Where’s all this coming from?  There’s this guy on a forum that has two full-sized (or nearly so) handguns and he says they print too much with his summer shirts.  He wants to store his gun in a backpack when running and was asking for people who had experience with carrying in that manner.

The first forum responder asks if he’s talking about the legality or the practicality of carrying in a backpack.  He also shares his experience (he carries his in a dry bag when he’s boating or kayaking).  He also says that some carry methods aren’t optimal (carrying on a bike, for example) and that you have to do the best you can, and that “a little less reaction time has to be adjusted by more situational awareness.”  I agree.

Some others responded by stating to use backpacks that have CCW in mind, or even use a fanny pack or shirts that have robust built-in holstering.

One responder outright stated that using a backpack was a bad idea.  I responded to him by stating that there’s no absolute answer.  There are so many variables in assessing what’s best based on your individual needs that just because Owner A may use a certain holster doesn’t mean that holster will be acceptable for Owner B.  The original poster stated he wanted to carry his gun when he’s running with his dog.  His guns are difficult to conceal in his running gear, I assume.  One offered option was to downsize his guns (trade or sell his guns for smaller framed guns that are easier to conceal).  I also offered the option of maybe finding running gear that will better accomodate his handguns, or get some printed shirts that will hinder printing.  Telling the guy outright that carrying in a backpack was the worst answer was really awful…that’s what this responder did.  It started a debate between myself and the responder.  My argument was that you would need to give yourself more time to be situationally aware when carrying in this manner.  His argument was weird…he was like, “situational awareness has nothing to do with carrying”, which was the worst answer possible.  If you aren’t situationally aware and you’re also carrying, that’s dangerous, especially if you’re open-carrying.  He kept stating that it’s quicker to unholster a gun that’s being carried on your hip than it is to reach inside of a backpack.  He’s right, but no one was arguing that point.  Well, he was but no one else cared.  Several guys within the thread stated that you should always be situationally aware and if you are sufficiently aware, you could buy yourself time to get to the gun.  Another argument this person used was, “well, there was a guy in a van that pulled up next to this girl, he pointed a gun at her, demanded she get into the van, then he repeatedly raped her.”  He used this to argue his point of a holstered gun being better than a gun in a backpack.  I asked if she was carrying a gun and asked how that proved his point.  He never answered…just stated that I was being obtuse.

My point is, every gun owner that carries (whether concealed or not) should be performing mental risk assessments to determine how to best deal with potential problems based on the equipment they’re planning to use.  There are so many variables in assessing risk (gun, owner’s experience and training, owner’s holster, owner’s ammo, the potential defensive situation…), you can’t just say, “a bag isn’t going to cut it”. There’s no absolute answers. You deal with it the best you can. Even if you practice daily, real life situations aren’t scripted. You’ve to adjust as it happens.  Situational awareness is going to help with that.  His example of the girl being raped, for example…she could’ve done several things based on the risk involved.  She could’ve run, or yelled at the top of her lungs, or did both.  A gun wouldn’t have solved that and would’ve escalated the incident.  Running and yelling would probably have worked because those are defensive actions…potential rapists don’t typically shoot their potential victims if they yell or run.  People have been killed with holstered guns, as well.  Having a gun does not stop bad things from happening, but even if you’ve a gun, carrying in a manner that is basically looking for a confrontation with a bad guy is…bad.  If you see a bad guy coming toward you with a gun, are you going to just stand there and wait for him to get to you?  You should move, run, hide, or at least make enough distance between you and him so that you can get the gun from the backpack.  A backpacked gun is better than no gun in that situation.  One could argue that someone could steal the backpack.  Well, one could bumrush a person CCWing and take his holstered gun as well (remember the Walmart incident in Florida earlier this year?).  The gun by itself isn’t the weapon…your MIND is the weapon too.  Don’t let yourself be lulled by the fact that you’re carrying concealed.  If you’re printing and not aware of it and have the attitude that you’re safe, you’re now in a higher level of danger and you’re in a complacent state of mind, as a bad guy will more than likely see your printing gun and see you as an immediate threat.  I’m not even a LEO or have been through advanced or even basic defensive firearms courses and I know this.  What’s crazy is that it seems that everyone wants to be the internet expert on armed confrontation…they think they’re John Wick, I guess.

Is a backpack the best equipment to carry a gun?  NO!  But if it’s all you have, then you make the best of it, or get something that’s a bit better than a backpack (maybe a backpack that’s designed around CCW), or get a smaller handgun.  Work out what’s best for you and what you can cope with, risk-wise.

carry concealed mistakes usacarry.com

7 Common Mistakes of Concealed Carry Licensees & New Shooters


I’m not sure I agree with all seven bullet items that the article describes, but this could be because I see the firearms training industry as money-grabbing organizations.  A lot of those courses are damned expensive and cram so much into a short session that the classes themselves become meaningless.  You’re supposed to take away something from those training sessions.  And not everyone needs operator-like training…yes, the article is talking about basic training, but basic training really just needs to reinforce the fundamentals…that doesn’t really take all that much other than reinforcement via repetition (this is coming from my military experience and in training lower enlisted in basic firearms safety and operation).  I refuse to spend large sums of money on training courses unless there’s some assurance that I’ll come away with knowledge I don’t already know.  I guess it depends on how you’re using firearms and how comfortable you already feel with C&Cing firearms.

A lot of what the article states is logical and common-sense information, especially pertaining to bullet item #1, “NOT UNDERSTANDING THE GREAT RESPONSIBILITY OF CARRYING A CONCEALED WEAPON NOR ADOPTING THE RELATED MINDSET AND TRAINING PLAN”, but do you need an actual training plan to carry concealed (while keeping in mind that not everyone is a soldier nor have a soldier mindset)?  There have been many people that took these training courses and still ended up in jail after a defensive shooting.

Now, I certainly agree with ensuring you’re getting any legal/statutory updates from your town/city/county/state law enforcement organizations so that you’re current on the laws that could get you locked up if you’re cited for violation.  I also agree with the other non-training aspects of the article.

It’s a pretty short but good read.  I think I’ll bookmark it.  In fact, the whole site seems pretty good!

45ACP P320 Sig Sig Sauer

SIG Sauer released the .45ACP P320!

SIG has released the .45ACP version of the P320! I guess I need to eventually get the conversion kit for my P320 Compact.

UPDATE: Bad news…there will be no .45ACP conversion kit! 🙁 Apparently they’ve run into design issues and can’t make a .45 conversion kit, although they’ll make the pistol itself (it just won’t convert to other calibers). You’ll still be able to change frames and such, though, from my understanding. More info is here.

NOW SHIPPING: The P320 in .45ACP. Oh, yeah. #P320
Posted by Sig Sauer on Wednesday, May 6, 2015