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Gun Review: Pocket Pistols For Self-Defense

pocket pistols review

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There have been a few events these last few weeks that brought a touchy subject to my mind about self-defense.

The first event is the release of the Glock 42, a single stack 380 Glock pistol.

The second event is a recent shooting my tiny hometown.

The shooting occurred by an employee at a car dealership. While the details are sketchy at the moment the facts are that he drove through a window and got out of his vehicle with a semi-automatic shotgun and began shooting.

Thank the Lord a good guy with a gun was there to stop him, but unfortunately he was wounded in the process, as were two other innocent people. The shooter was killed on site by the brave armed citizen. I won’t give his name to allow his family their privacy, but please keep this hero in your prayers.

The third event was my own confrontation with four men. It was not so much of a confrontation, but could have very easily become one. I’ve recently left active duty and joined the reserves and started a normal job in asset recovery. Essentially, I am a repo man. This job takes me to bad places, late at night, and often folks aren’t very keen to give up what they believe they own.

Late one Saturday night, I encountered this group of men while recovering some merchandise. They were drinking and being rowdy, and I got the feeling they were trying to corner me. I put the TV and my clip board down and gripped my small Taurus Polymer Protector 38 Special. I left it in the holster, but made it apparent I was armed without brandishing the weapon.

They made veiled threats and insults, openly wondering if I had a firearm. They even tried to call my bluff. My hand stayed on the weapon, and they got bored or decided I wasn’t worth the hassle and wandered off.

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That night I had no idea if my weapon would have been enough to handle multiple threats. Even with five 38 +P rounds, was it really enough? It sure wouldn’t be enough against a semi-automatic 12 gauge shotgun, as was used in the car dealership shooting.

There are two schools of thought for carrying a gun. The first is Guns aren’t supposed to be comfortable; they’re supposed to be comforting. The second is: A gun is only effective if you carry it, and a small comfortable gun is better than no gun. I was once a man of the latter school of I thought. I even wrote an article on the merits of a derringer. I mostly advocated its use for beach and working-out situations. I don’t know if I stand by that now, but I’m sure I mentioned that the gun you carry is better than the one you leave behind.

Stats say you’ll never need your gun to defend your life, but in the rare moment you have to, will you be facing a madman with a shotgun?  Is your life and the life of your family worth a little extra comfort?

This is where the Glock 42 comes in. The Glock 42 is a great pocket pistol; it’s small and comfortable. You also get a whopping 6 plus 1 rounds of .380. Is this the standard we use for carry? We trust 7 rounds of what’s generally considered the minimal self-defense round to save our lives? You can carry 6 rounds of .357 Magnum in a wheel gun and be relatively sure that someone on the receiving end is going to be put down.

So do I put my money where my mouth is? I think so. I now carry my Sig P250. I carry two mags of 15 rounds of Federal hydro shock hollow points. Am I over gunned and paranoid? My wife asked me the other day why I started carrying such a large weapon. I said her and my son were worth it. On occasion I’ve also carried my K frame 586 with two speed loaders, giving me 18 rounds of .357 Magnum.

Now, I’m not against sub-compacts. I believe they are the smallest a person should go. For example, the Glock 26 is an excellent carry weapon, and you’re equipped with a minimum of 10 rounds of 9mm; more than likely you purchased a few of the 12-round mags with the pinky extension, which makes shooting much more comfortable.

This is a small, concealable gun, chambered in a potent defensive caliber, with enough rounds to feel secure. I’m not personally a fan of the XDs; its capacity is too low for its size in my opinion. I don’t feel much of a difference in concealment when it comes to the 7 rounds of 9mm versus the 10 or 12 for the Glock 26.

If you can’t tell, I am now a subscriber to the mantra that “a gun isn’t supposed to be comfortable, but comforting.” I feel confident in my 15 + 1 in a compact- (but not really) sized pistol. Is it also comfortable? No, not even a little. My inside-the-waistband holster is especially uncomfortable in a vehicle. The outside-the-waistband holster isn’t much better in a vehicle. Sometimes I come home and my armpit is chafed and sore from carrying the weapon under my shoulder. Since my job requires a lot of driving, this has become a preferred method of carry.

You know how I feel when I step out for the day? I feel safe. I don’t feel like a group of thugs can overpower me, and while I don’t claim to be an expert in self-defense, I do feel like my odds have increased quite a bit against the shotgun wielding mad man. I feel much better than my eight rounds of .380 or my tiny Model 85.

Again, I ask for prayers for the hero who stopped this madman before he took any lives. And I ask all of you to ask yourselves: Do you feel comfortable with your carry weapon? Do you carry every day? I’m not trying to preach, but I am trying to open some eyes, and I only ask that you reevaluate your choice of weapon.

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