Defensive Tools- The Automatic Handgun

These weapons posts I wrote for another blog and I’m reposting them here
22 Sept, 2012
As much as a rifle is the ultimate firearm where defense/survival is concerned, there are quite a few times, when it is inconvenient at best, and impossible at worst to carry a longgun. This is where the handgun has made a niche for itself, and this is what I recommend to clients and friends when it comes to picking a handgun. Keep in mind, the only two categories of handguns which I recommend for defense are the automatic, and the revolver. This week we’ll talk about the automatic handgun.
     Glock– First on my list of recommendations, would be a Glock brand handgun. I believe Glock makes the best handgun for the money, of any manufacturer, anywhere. Glock reliability is well documented, and the accuracy potential can be match grade if you do your part. magazine capacity is as high as, or higher than anybody else’s cartridge count, and the availability of reliable, extended mags is better than any other manufacturer. Chambering available are 9mm, .357SIG, .40S&W, 10mm, .45GAP, and .45ACP. From which, I’d chooses a 9mm, or a .45ACP due to universal availability, and military use. with .40S&W as an outside possibility, due to law enforcement popularity. Advantage Arms makes an excellent .22lr kit for most models, and is a great item to have for practice, and small game hunting.  Four sizes are available for the 9/.40 size frame- Tactical, Full size, compact, and sub compact, with capacity being 17/15, 17/15, 15/13, and 10/9 respectively.  The 9mm also has a fifth size avalable, which is a 6 inch competition model (17L). In the 10/.45 size guns there are two sizes, full size and compact, and capacity is 15/13, and 10/10 respectively, with the .45ACP also having a single column mag compact model which holds 6 rounds (36). Cartridge conversion is available by replacing the barrels in guns that have the same approximate cartridge head size. Your can shoot 9mm and .357SIG in a .40S&W, and make your .45ACP perform like a 10mm or .44 magnum by replacing the barrel with a .400 Corbon or .460 Rowland barrel. More accessories are available for Glocks, than almost any other handgun except maybe the 1911. New prices range from $400-$500, but you can usually find them used for about $350.
Smith and Wesson Military and Police Series– The S&W M&P series guns are similar to Glocks, but without the track record, and range of options. Ergonomics are slightly better than the Glock, and controls are completely ambidexterious. Accuracy is on par with the Glock, and reliability appears to be almost up to Glock standards, which is excellent. As with the Glock, the 9/40 size frame is available in three sizes, and the .45 is available in two sizes, with capacities on par with the Glocks. A .22lr M&P is now available, which is something Glock has not had the foresight to come out with, so kudos to S&W. S&W has a brand new M&P out called the “Shield” it is single column 9mm or .40S&W compact, and from shooting it, and all  the great reviews, I would say it’s gonna be a winner in the compact market.
1911- An old design, but still a contender in the defensive handgun market. Until the Glock came along, the 1911 was the standard by which automatics were judged. Top (Non custom) manufacturers are Colt, S&W, Sig, Taurus, Kimber, Ruger, Springfield Armory, and Para-Ordinance. Thw USMC just contracted with Colt for a $22.5 million contract. .45ACP is the popular caliber in this design, but the others we’ve discussed are available in this design. Reliability is usually good, but most of the guns I’ve seen were in need of tweaking to get the best reliability out of them. Accuracy goes from acceptable to Match grade, but I’ve noticed more reliability issues with match grade guns of this design, and this is not a problem with Glocks. This Browning designed pistol has over 70 parts, as opposed to 35 for most Glocks, and this could translate into a reliability issue (more to go wrong with it). Sizes range from Sub compact to 7 inch barrel full size models, and everything in between. If your stick with a well known manufacturer, you shouldn’t have a problem with quality and prices usually start at around $400 and go up from there. .22lr kits are available for this design, which is a big plus for training. Capacity ranges from 6 rounds for the sub compacts to 14 rounds for the double column mags from Para Ordinance. If you want nostalgia, go for the 1911, if you want a hard use duty handgun, I would pick one of the ones listed above.
Others available- Sig and HK make great reliable, accurate handguns, but for the money, I don’t believe they are worth it. Beretta’s 92FS/M9 military issue pistol is ok. It’s reliable to a point, with parts breakage due to a design flaw, being a real problem. It’s accurate enough, but for the money, the Glock or M&P is better in every category. Keltec are innovators in the fireams industry, especially in the sub compact market. The P3AT (.380 ACP), and the PF9 (9mm) are marvels of light weight technology, so much so, that Ruger copied both of them (imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, right?) It’s hard to beat the price for either of these pistols too, usually between $200 and $300, and reliability and accuracy are excelent. I can recommend both for concealed carry without hesitation, as I  carry them every day. Ruger hasn’t come out with an idea of their own in decades, and is at its best copying someome else’s design. Ruger products (I’ve owned about 20 of them), generally speaking, are reliable, relatively accurate, and modestly priced. Springfield Armory‘s  XD/XDM series of pistols are great guns. They are fairly accurate, are very reliable, and, at least for the XD series, are very modestly priced. I would definitely recommend this series of handguns. Models available are very similar to the Glock and S&W M&P pistols in size and capacity, with the exception that SA pistols have a grip safety, similar to the 1911.
Next week we’ll discuss revolvers for defensive/survival hunting use.
American by BIRTH, Infidel by CHOICE


4 thoughts on “Defensive Tools- The Automatic Handgun

  1. Pingback: Irresponsible “Activism” | Gun Safety Blog

  2. Pingback: Top 10 Handgun Manufacturers in USA | angryid

  3. I’m quite surprised CZ wasn’t brought up. I’ve carried one a lot and they offer as much or more than the above manufacturers at a very competitive price point.

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