HD/Field sidearm

Defensive carry handguns.
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Dubhan
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HD/Field sidearm

Postby Dubhan » Tue Mar 29, 2016 1:51 am

Since I had to downsize my small collection a couple of years ago due to financial pressures, I have been content to stick with my compact and j frame carry guns. I am contemplating moving one of those into permanent gtfo bag rotation, and find myself in need of another weapon.

It will ride the nightstand or desk 95% of the time, and will be my camping/hiking sidearm. It will also be my goto sidearm in any open carry situation.

High capacity is good. Size is not so much as a concern as weight is. I will carry this thing on long walks, so every extra ounce matters. We have large predators in my state (not just the human kind), and our open spaces are pretty heavily regulated, so long guns are frowned upon....

My primary debate is whether to go with 9mm or 10mm. Obviously 10mm is more expensive and harder to find, so in a shtf situation, I am making my life much more difficult. On the other hand, 9mm is cheap and easy to find, but is very unlikely to dissuade an angry bear in time to prevent injury.

The ideal situation would be a platform that allows for both, but while there are aftermarket solutions for the G20, they dont seem super reliable. The Nate on my shoulder says, "BUY ONE OF EACH!", but I am not a wealthy or materialistic guy. I like owning less stuff, and It seems ridiculous to own an extra weapon just in case the shtf or for the 1/100,000 chance of a bear attack while out in the mountains.

Existing inventory is a non issue. I currently stock .45acp and .38 spcl, and no, I'm not considering .45 acp for this weapon because it is substandard at both high capacity (social) and large predator situations. When having to choose between 6 or 7 (or 7 or 8) in my pocket, the extra ass of .45 makes sense. When choosing between 10 or 15/17, I'd much rather have the extra capacity.

I'm currently contemplating a G17 with a threaded barrel, or a G34 or 40 with the extra barrel length and optic. But I am open to considering other options.

Thoughts?

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Re: HD/Field sidearm

Postby LWP » Tue Mar 29, 2016 10:44 am

I find your reasoning faulty. In grizzly country, you need much more than a handgun, but some will carry a .44 magnum. In black bear country, any loud pop from a little handgun will scare them away, you don't need to kill them. Also, don't bait them with your food, keep it out of your camp. Against human predators, they are cowards and any handgun will do. I have backpacked all my life in areas infested with blackbears and humans and my most fearsome weapon was my Swiss army knife. But in the city, I am well armed.

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Re: HD/Field sidearm

Postby Nathan » Tue Mar 29, 2016 12:03 pm

LWP wrote:I find your reasoning faulty. In grizzly country, you need much more than a handgun

I understand his (original poster) logic completely; his position is valid. While in grizzly country you carry a long gun but also carry an adequate handgun as a back up. While camping in grizzly country I was trail riding and stopped for a break. For whatever reason I didn't think to grab the shotgun off my ATV and walked about 50' off the trail to take a shit. When a grizzly bear stood up less than 50 yards away I felt pretty stupid for leaving my shotgun on the quad, but dang glad that I was still wearing a .44 Magnum. Luckily for both of us he dropped down and lumbered off because I really didn't want to kill him but I really didn't want to get mauled even more. Since then I've grown to trust 16 rounds of 10mm (220 grain hardcast Buffalo Bore) more than 6 rounds of .44 Magnum.
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Re: HD/Field sidearm

Postby Nathan » Tue Mar 29, 2016 12:10 pm

I carry a Glock 20 10mm (loaded with Buffalo Bore 220 grain hard cast) in the woods. It isn't my primary defense weapon but it's my final defense weapon. It is the last tool standing between going home and getting processed and digested into bear shit. I trust it completely as a last resort weapon. I'm also considering a Glock 40 10mm with an optic that I imagine would be even better if being charged by a bear.

Also consider .45 Super loads in your existing .45. Check with the OEM. Only HK will give you clearance to shoot .45 Super in weapons chambered for .45 ACP (I've already beaten those bushes years ago) but any OEM will give you a round count recommended spring change if you do run them (in HK it's 3,000 rounds). Avoid the 185 grain .45 Super loads. If .45 ACP isn't enough for the threat then you need big heavy bullets. .45 Super in 230 grains (preferably in a hard cast load) would be minimally acceptable. Do not carry hollow points for bear defense. Even still, I would recommend the 10mm loaded to potential over the .45 Super. In automatics, 10mm is the Hammer of Thor; it gets no better.
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Re: HD/Field sidearm

Postby Hand and Steel » Wed Mar 30, 2016 3:27 pm

For defense against bears, I would go with a heavy caliber revolver. I also consider LWP's advice to be quite sage - remember that the native Americans survived thousands of years amidst dangerous wildlife without any firearms whatsoever. Bears are quite "reasonable" in most instances. Just don't piss them off.

For dealing with human aggressors - which is a much more likely contingency - I would take the 9mm over the 10mm hands down. The ammo is available, capacity is generally higher and it is easier to control. Here are some good options in my opinion.

Browning Hi-Power - Hard to go wrong with a classic. Traditionally holds 13 rounds, can hold 15 rounds in flush fitting Mec-Gar magazines. Aftermarket 17 round, 20 round higher capacity magazines are not too difficult to find. Awesome ergonomics. Full length slide and barrel with compact frame. Despite the all-steel construction, they weigh only about 32 ounces. Regardless of nonsense rumors mostly originating in 1990s gun magazines, these are very durable pistols. Reliability and accuracy are also there. It is a single action only pistol - some like that, some don't, and some are indifferent to it. Expensive if bought new - a relatively inexpensive route to go is to find a used one (can be had in the $500 and lower range) - if buying used I would certainly replace the springs to ensure long term reliability. I would also recommend the Arcus and later model Kareen pistols, since they are essentially Hi-Powers designed to withstand long term use of higher pressure ammunition and can usually be found at a very low cost, but they have been increasingly hard to find as of late.

CZ 75B - Slightly on the heavy side, but well balanced with good ergonomics. Double to single action capable, though also able to be carried cocked and locked (except for the BD version, as they are equipped with a decocking lever instead of a manual safety). Great durability even with long term use of high pressure ammunition, however, some minor modifications should be made to prevent small parts breakage (16 pound recoil spring and solid firing pin retaining pin). Great reliability and accuracy. 16 round standard capacity, 17 round with flush fitting Mec-Gar magazines. Factory 25 round magazines are also available. The price is quite good. Many variations exist. There are also some quite good clones like the Tanfoglio Witness, sometimes known as a "TZ 75".

Taurus PT 92 - I know, it's a Taurus. However, it's a trustworthy sidearm that is combat proven the world over. After 36 years in production, they are still going strong. Basically a divergence of the original Beretta 92 design with some modifications that have been added over time. Lightweight alloy frame, meaning this pistol weighs around 34 ounces. Open top slide, manual safety that can be engaged hammer down or for cocked and locked carry as well as doubling as a decocking lever for a double action first shot (the PT 92's safety/decocking lever is essentially the precursor to the FNP's safety), and 17 round capacity. Mec-Gar makes 18 round flush fitting magazines, and both 20 and 30 round magazines are available. These guns are very rugged, but the dropping locking block has been known to break on high mileage pistols. Fortunately the block is inexpensive and easy to replace, and certain steps can be taken to extend its service life. Accuracy is surprisingly good. The ergonomics are very different from what is found on Browning-designed auto pistols, but I personally find them to point just as naturally. Newer versions are equipped with an integral tactical rail. Price is very reasonable for what you're getting. The only area of concern is Taurus' somewhat infamous problems with quality control - while all of my PT 92s have been excellent as they came from the factory, I would still be careful to make sure you do not buy the "Friday Afternoon Special" by carefully checking the machining and function before making the purchase. Endless debate abounds as to whether the Taurus 92 or the Beretta 92 is the better pistol - personally I think that they are both excellent pistols, but my preference is towards the Taurus. I think that either pistol would probably suit your needs well.

Spare parts are not hard to find for the weapons I listed. Personally I feel it is wise to have at least a spare set of springs for a gun which is owned for serious purposes, so that it can be maintained in optimal working order under less than ideal societal circumstances.
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Re: HD/Field sidearm

Postby Nathan » Wed Mar 30, 2016 6:00 pm

Hand and Steel wrote:For dealing with human aggressors - which is a much more likely contingency - I would take the 9mm over the 10mm hands down.

...hold up. I love 9mm and carry it quite regularly....I trust it when loaded heavy...but are you seriously saying that if an attacker was approaching and you had two similar guns in front of you, a 9mm and a 10mm and could only pick up one that you would pick up 9mm? I don't urban carry 10 because it isn't necessary to sacrifice concealability but I never believe for a second that it is in the same league as the 10mm (.41 Magnum ballistics when loaded to potential). If I could find a true compact 10mm I would carry it every single day. The only reason Michael Myers and Jason lasted through so many sequels is because 10mm hadn't yet been invented. :D
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Re: HD/Field sidearm

Postby Hand and Steel » Wed Mar 30, 2016 7:30 pm

I mostly choose to carry a 9mm instead of a more powerful pistol because of greater magazine capacity and controllability. Of course the 10mm is a significantly more powerful cartridge, as are several others, but power isn't the only factor I'm taking into account.

I have owned a 1911 chambered in .45 ACP for some time, and personally there is no centerfire auto pistol I can shoot more accurately in two handed sighted fire than the good old 1911. However, if I have to use a handgun "in the dark place", I suspect that one handed point shooting, probably from below eye level, is more likely to be used given the typical circumstances of a defensive pistol shooting - and I happen to shoot 9mms (particularly of the 9mm Browning and Beretta 92 style) the most accurately when it comes to one handed, rapid fire point shooting. With the 9mm pistols I personally choose to carry, I also have significantly greater magazine capacity than with the more powerful .45 auto. Since carry pistols are generally carried for defending against unanticipated assaults which can possibly involve a large number of aggressors, a higher magazine capacity has much to recommend it. It also gives the ability to fire follow up shots without too quickly depleting ammunition reserves which might be needed against another immediate threat. So while I like and trust my .45 for defensive purposes, and would prefer it for specific applications, my overall general preference goes towards a high capacity 9mm.

While most mainstream cartridges are good all around choices, usually with a specific advantage in at least one certain area, I think that the 9mm represents a good middle ground for a general purpose cartridge, with a good mix of power, capacity and controllability - especially one that is used to deal with sudden, unexpected and previously unknown threats. I can say from personal observations that the vast majority of interpersonal violence between private individuals occurs at very close distances - often close enough that raising a pistol to eye level with both hands is an invitation to be disarmed (not to mention the other factors that can sometimes make a fully extended two handed grip a bad idea) - and that it is not uncommon at all for one of both of the belligerents to have plenty of "back up". While I have huge respect for the capabilities of the .40, .45 and the 10mm doomsday cartridge, under the majority (but not all) of real world situations of mayhem, I would grab the gun that has decent power and I know I can make good hits with quickly and under extreme stress, with plenty of rounds in reserve if they are needed. I would not hesitate to use a .40, .45, 10mm, .357, or .44, or a less powerful cartridge like .380 if that's what was at hand, but my own preference is for that middle ground caliber.

Here's another reason why a 9mm is a good choice, and it again has to do with controllability - I suspect that most of us on this forum are relatively physically strong individuals. While I'm not a "big dude" by any means, I have a relatively high degree of upper body strength maintained through years of physical training and working in various trades, and that certainly contributes to my ability to handle heavy caliber weapons quickly and accurately. However, I know that I probably lose about half or more of my optimum strength when I am fatigued, sleep deprived or sick. I have made it a point to practice pistol shooting while fatigued and sleep deprived - that might not be wise for everyone, but it's something I've done - under such circumstances in which it is difficult to quickly focus mentally, and physical strength is humbled, my accuracy with the more powerful weapons decreases significantly - however, when using the 9mm my abilities are not so much diminished, and I can remain proud of the speed and accuracy of my instinctive shooting even when I can barely stand or keep my eyes open.

An understanding of the mindset of human predators suggests that when we are under compromised conditions - exhaustion, hunger, sleep deprivation, illness, etc. - we are a much more attractive target. Few people want to mess with a healthy, strong and alert individual who exudes confidence, and a violent sociopath is specifically looking for someone who is in a weakened state. It is also not unlikely that in a prolonged disaster type situation, an individual will quickly become exhausted or sick, or subject to weakening hunger, and find themselves in a dangerous situation in which they may need to defend themselves or others - so being able to use your weapon effectively when not at your best is in my opinion a valid consideration in selecting a personal sidearm for general purpose use.

If most of us were built like Rambo I might feel differently about this - but most of us in the real world can only claim to be "strong", and not extraordinarily strong, and must deal with the realities of sometimes compromised abilities. It is also worth noting that it is probably not very difficult to age gracefully with a 9mm as your weapon of choice - in his insightful review of the Taurus PT 92, the late Stephen Camp made an interesting point about why that particular gun was a "keeper" of his, citing that it is nearly impossible to limp-wrist a properly functioning PT 92, and that it was therefore a worthy consideration for an old man's pistol.

There is also the question of ammunition availability. 10mm is a relatively unusual cartridge, and in a situation where ammunition had to be scavenged, it could prove a challenge to keep a 10mm pistol loaded over a long period of time. On the other hand, the 9mm is the most commonly used pistol cartridge in the world, and can be found quite readily in most of the inhabited regions of the Earth. For someone who considers their handguns as weapons for defense in a long term survival situation, and not just for self defense in easier times, the 9mm has a lot to recommend it. The relatively low weight and size of the cartridges also lends the 9mm quite well to survivalism.

Certainly there are applications in which the more powerful cartridges are obviously the better choice than the 9mm, and those who chose a more powerful round for general purpose use have many strong arguments in their favor. However, all in all, unless there was some specific, uncommon circumstance in which I felt that a heavier caliber was more advantageous, I personally suggest that 9mm is the most logical, all around general purpose caliber for most of us.
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Re: HD/Field sidearm

Postby Hand and Steel » Wed Mar 30, 2016 7:32 pm

Nathan wrote:The only reason Michael Myers and Jason lasted through so many sequels is because 10mm hadn't yet been invented. :D


Yeah, but in Hatchet, Victor Crowley got decked with a single shot from a 9mm Hi-Power. Movie logic, yo. :D
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Re: HD/Field sidearm

Postby Dubhan » Fri Apr 01, 2016 2:55 am

I appreciate everyone's feedback, but I think some of you are basically dismissing the threat that predators present. Sure, it's remote, but it isn't remote to the people who get mauled by a bear or cat in the mountain states every year. Since there is a dedicated effort to reintroduce grizzlies to these parts, I may eventually have no choice but to invest in a big revolver for remote recreation, but in the meantime, I don't think its fair to completely dismiss the advantage that a mag dump of hot loaded 10mm into a charging black bear (or SD loaded into a pack of home invaders kicking in your front door) would provide over 9mm.

Yeah, its costly, yeah its harder to find. I would definitely have to invest in new reloading dies.

And I do appreciate that 9mm is going to be a lower recoil, faster sight re-aquisition, etc., but is it really going to be that much different when shooting standard SD ammo, which is similar in recoil to .40? Probably not.

Guess its time to find a range with some 10mm rentals and do some testing...

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Re: HD/Field sidearm

Postby hkguy » Fri Apr 01, 2016 12:53 pm

i would not trust my 9mm's to be able to reliably put down anything besides a 2 legged critter. THere are a few people that make "Heavy" 10mm loads like Buffalo Bore, HSM, underwood, etc. that should work adequately for wilderness duty.

From a 9 v 40 debate, your correct, 9mm can do everything 40 can and slightly better with modern quality carry ammo (HST, GoldDots, T-Series) and you typically get an extra 2-3 rounds over 40 too.

IF you get a 10mm, get the 40 cal conversion. you will thank yourself later. all you have to swap is the barrel and the rest is interchangeable.

http://thehuntingshack.com/?page_id=25
https://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l ... list&c=160
https://www.underwoodammo.com/10mm-auto ... flat-nose/
https://www.underwoodammo.com/10mm-auto ... flat-nose/

ive had some experience shooting a G29 with commercial 10mm (really 40 +p) and it was surprisingly not that bad. a little more felt recoil than shooting a G27 but accurate follow up shots were easy and no more difficult than shooting other calibers. get a 10mm and be happy!
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Re: HD/Field sidearm

Postby Hand and Steel » Fri Apr 01, 2016 1:44 pm

Since large animals seem to be your main concern, I think that a large bore revolver is probably going to be the best option for you. A Ruger Redhawk with a 4 or 5" barrel could do nicely. You can get one version of it in .44 magnum, and also shoot the lighter recoiling .44 specials out of it for home defense, or you can get the .45 Colt version that will also shoot .45 ACP - that way you could keep it loaded with .45 Colt +P for the woods, and the much less expensive and easier handling .45 ACP for home defense, which you have mentioned you already keep a supply of on hand. Given that angle, I'd be most inclined to go with the .45 Colt / .45 ACP version. It's not inexpensive by any means, but when nothing else will do, nothing else will do. Limited capacity can also be mitigated by carrying one of your J-frames or compact autos as backup.

http://www.ruger.com/products/redhawk/s ... /5032.html

Down the road at some point a used 9mm might make some sense as well, if you choose to go with a heavy caliber revolver in the near term. Used Hi-Powers and CZ 75s can often be had for well under $400, and I've seen PT 92s that were in great condition for as low as $200 used. Other great deals on used 9s can be found with a bit of searching.
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Re: HD/Field sidearm

Postby Nathan » Mon Apr 04, 2016 2:16 pm

hkguy wrote:From a 9 v 40 debate, your correct, 9mm can do everything 40 can and slightly better with modern quality carry ammo

I waited days to respond to this section because I want to challenge this belief while also agreeing with it and I don't know how to do that without at least seemingly contradicting myself.
In most cases I am absolutely confident in 9mm JHP @ 147 grains and I carry it regularly. In gelatin it does indeed perform as well as and often better than .40 JHP @ 180 grains (it always out-performs .4o JHP @ 165 grains). My point of disagreement however is when you compare the performance of both (9mm@147/.40@180) into dense media that is more similar to pumped up muscle (similar to that of a weight lifting parolee) such as a pork shoulder. In dense muscle the 9mm still performs quite respectably but the heavy .40 performs better. Expansion is very similar between the two, but the .40 consistently penetrates deeper. This is not discounting the properties of the 9mm; it does quite well....it's just that the .40 does even better often times increasing penetration ≥1".
I carry 9mm regularly not because I believe it is superior to the .40 but because I am better with 9mm than I am with .40. I simply shoot it better so for me it makes better sense to carry 9mm but this is an issue of shooter performance and not bullet performance. Since I do shoot it with greater accuracy then for me the 9mm is the superior caliber but again, this is unrelated to ballistic performance. When I'm in a rural setting (where grizzly bear is possible) I carry 10mm, but when in semi-rural areas (where I'd be more likely to encounter a wolf/cougar than a grizzly) I carry .40 for the additional penetrative qualities. While 9mm is essentially equal for most human threats, if my threat were a 6'7" muscle-bound parolee tweaking on meth I would still prefer the .40...yet I still carry 9mm regularly.
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