Handgun carry - offense v. defense

I've been mulling this question around to the point where it might not even be a question, but I thought I'd throw it out there anyway. Is there a point where you decide whether to carry an offensive handgun v. a defensive one, or, do you just carry the most handgun you can, based on the environment, clothing, etc.?

I have two main carry guns, a 1911 and a G30 (old style). I also have a "church gun" a .380 PPK. I've been on the fence about getting a 442/642. The reason being, it would be about the same footprint as the .380, but pack more death power , and be more of a warm weather clothing option. It could also act as a more viable BUG. However, I would consider it only a defensive gun, based on it's range of accuracy.  I'm more confident in the range of the G30, and of course much more so with the 1911. I'm obviously not in an environment where I'm expecting a long range shootout, but, there's always the Nairobi Mall scenario, or even the Aurora theater. I wouldn't be comfortable relying on a snubby revolver to engage offensively in either situation, but only as a last ditch means of defense.

I think we all fall into the situation where we say, "I'm only going to ... it's a pain in the ass to grab a blaster", so less gun is better than none. OTOH, there are days when I go get more gun before leaving the house based on where I might end up.I understand that a handgun should never be considered a truly offensive weapon as a long gun is, but some do have an advantage over others.

Anyone else ever do this "what if", or am I way overthinking things, and I should just work top down instead of bottom up?

---------------------------------

It's not that life is so short, it's that you're dead for so long.

The .45-70 is the only government I trust

"I was raised in a place called America...
It's gone now, I wish you could've seen it"
- Moustache_6 quoting a WWII vet

 

Joined: 1/30/06 3:34 PM - Location:MA

Original Post

Mal,

       It seems to me that "offensive" or "defensive" is not a quality of the handgun but a product of one's mindset. Each weapon we bring to bear has its set of capabilities and limitations and , as mindful practitioners, we ought to know what they are (and for ourselves as well). Mind you this is not a criticism, just me thinking out loud-ish. You can use your ability/capability with a weapons system to drive your decision making inside your mindset. The objective here might sound like, "a pistol with which I am capable of making consistent, accurate hits at a distance of X, which has a minimum capacity of Y rounds, and  is sized appropriately for Z type of clothing."

     I humbly suggest the triage of priorities: concealability, precision-at-reasonable-distance, capacity (you choose the importance of each). Or create your own list. I'm a tall, skinny guy, but I have a G19 that goes with me everywhere, all year. It (and my ability level with it) meets my criteria for the above priorities. You may make different choices for different reasons. Add a spare mag and a flashlight and you've far improved your capabilities.

     Though, I may just be talking out of my 4th point of contact....

S/C

 

"Mediocrity is lethal."

Offensive vs. Defensive is an attitude, mindset, intent, action, etc.  When you apply the action to a weapon, then the question becomes, how good is the weapon for your intended action, i.e. offense or defense, in the context of your environment, threats, etc.

Offense implies initiative or choice.  You are exercising the choice to engage or potentially engage in combat.  You are seeking a fight.  You make a choice of what you carry for defense, but usually you aren't choosing where or when.  You are reacting, not initiating.

Your offensive choices are dependent on the amount of preparation or options available to you.  If you are properly prepared (most of the time) for being offensive, you have the option of something with more power, range, accuracy, firepower, etc. than a handgun.  The obvious example where you need to use a handgun is when circumstances force you to go on the offensive such as needing to move into danger to rescue an innocent.  This happens on a regular basis with Law Enforcement.  But I would argue that choosing to use a handgun if you don't have to is usually a bad choice.

I don't remember who said this, but I have kept it close to my heart.  I carry a handgun because it is portable and concealable, not because it is powerful, and because I don't expect I will need it.  If I think a gunfight is certain or highly probable, I choose not to go there unless I absolutely have to.  And if you have to, bring a long gun and friends with long guns.

Circling back to your post, you're an American.  Most of us are Americans.  We have more freedom of options than our non-American brethren, but even so, the law constrains your use of deadly force.  Outside your home, you are only legally justified in using deadly force when you, or an innocent person is in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm.  The exact language will vary from state to state or your municipality, but that is the general rule.  So if you are at church or in the mall, etc., you really aren't going on the offensive. 

I think what you are trying to ask is more an issue of your maximum effective range.  Do you carry gun A with a maximum effective range of 50 yards or gun B, which is limited to 15 yards?  It falls back to the old rule, carry the biggest, most powerful that you can under your circumstances.  In my area, the desert southwest, summertime temps are usually over 100 deg.  That limits what I can wear and not stand out or collapse of heat exhaustion.  So I carry a smaller, more easily concealed gun than I do in winter when I'm wearing a jacket.  My advice, carry the most you can carry.  If it is just a 5 shot .38spl, that is usually better than a sharp stick or bare hands.

-------------------------

Mark

Swear allegiance to the flag Whatever flag they offer

Never hint at what you really feel

Teach the children quietly For some day sons and daughters

Will rise up and fight while we stood still

 

Joined:  2/24/2003                          Location:  Nevada, USA

Can you use a  snubbie wheel gun and go on the offensive? Jack Ruby sure did.

Not meaning to be flippant, but carry what fits where you are going and you can use the best given those limitations. How/when you employ the tool depends on you. In the old street racing analogy, "You run what you brung." 

Within the context of this conversation, from the basis of principle:

This is mostly a mind set topic, as others have alluded to. Defense is what you do right up until a fight is presented. Then you switch to the offense until the fight is over. Body armor and a holstered gun are defensive. A blaster in hand and searching for a threat with the intent to eliminate it is offensive, even if it started from a defensive posture.

That said, it does not matter what you have on your belt when the balloon goes up. Use it to finish the fight. 

In context but outside of principle:

I have carried most common designs over the last twenty or so years. Some were carried for a short while , as their limitation surfaced.  Looking back, the common thread has been a full size or compact Glock or MNP for general purpose carry. The church gun ( discreet environment) has been a 442 or currently a S&W Shield. I also carried the 442 as a BUG in uniform. But the 442 never made me comfortable. It is thicker than the Shield, holds less rounds, has poor sights, a heavy trigger, is harder to grip, and harder to shoot consistently. In short, it was (and is) a compromise at every step.

The Shield gives me all of those things back, and gets me to maybe an 80% solution. Which means I carry it only in very specific roles, that imply high levels of concealment, with relatively low threat levels. So, generally speaking, carry on my own time means a Glock 22, a spare magazine and a Surefire G2. With this pistol: I can control my environment past 50 yards with a high degree of hit confidence. I can service multiple threats. I can reasonably conceal it. With 31 rounds available I can hold or gain ground for some length of time (think Westgate Mall). It is as close to being a crossover defensive/offensive pistol as I can get without carrying a MK18 in a backpack. 

Another consideration:

We usually shoot on the square range, with static targets that usually have no cover/concealment, therefore our training may not reflect reality. In the initial surge of people at an active shooter team event, there could be many people in the way of the dynamically moving active shooters. Do you wish to engage them with a pistol that is hard to consistently hit with, or do you wish to have a full size gun that you can confidently shoot accurately, quickly and with relatively less concentration?

Longeye posted:

The Shield gives me all of those things back, and gets me to maybe an 80% solution. Which means I carry it only in very specific roles, that imply high levels of concealment, with relatively low threat levels.

Ok, this is what I was getting at, and maybe muddied the waters around it in my first post. What is the line in the sand where you (the plural LF you) make that decision where there is a threat level delineation enough to go from one carry gun to another?

---------------------------------

It's not that life is so short, it's that you're dead for so long.

The .45-70 is the only government I trust

"I was raised in a place called America...
It's gone now, I wish you could've seen it"
- Moustache_6 quoting a WWII vet

 

Joined: 1/30/06 3:34 PM - Location:MA

Dorsai posted:

It falls back to the old rule, carry the biggest, most powerful that you can under your circumstances.  In my area, the desert southwest, summertime temps are usually over 100 deg.  That limits what I can wear and not stand out or collapse of heat exhaustion.  So I carry a smaller, more easily concealed gun than I do in winter when I'm wearing a jacket.  My advice, carry the most you can carry.  If it is just a 5 shot .38spl, that is usually better than a sharp stick or bare hands.

I think Dorsai once again nailed it. I carry a G19 with a 17 round reload the overwhelming majority of the time. I live in the same desert as Dorsai so sometimes I fall back on a G43 plus extra mag depending on the need for a more concealable gun. This was an evolution, and I'm fortunate that I hadn't been caught short. 

In patrol I carried a G22 and G27 on duty and G23 or G27 off duty. When I went to a detective unit almost 15 years ago the older guys scoffed because I carried a G23. It was too big, we were a covert unit, nobody here carries a gun like that, you're going to get burned, etc. So against my better judgement I bought a pocket pistol. I was NEVER comfortable carrying it, I ALWAYS felt undergunned. After a few months I felt more comfortable with my new job so I went to a J Frame with a Speedstrip. One night I stopped a guy who had shot someone three days earlier with a .45. Fortunately, he didn't have it with him or want to get into a gunfight. I thought, what's the real difference in weight/concealability between a J Frame and a G27? I went  to the G27 and an extra mag. About the time the Sandy Hook murders happened I thought about what gun I'd want to have on me if that happened while I was at my kids' school. The difference between a 27 and 23 wasn't that significant. I went to a G23 on and off duty with one or two extra mags, and the G22 or G27 occasionally, depending on the situation. About a year and a half ago I switched to 9mm and got a Gen 4 G19. I was going to buy new Gen 4 17 and 26 to replace the .40s. I shot my G19 and old G17 side by side and shot better with the 19, no idea why, I just did. So I just carry the G19 (with or without a light, depending on the situation) in an OWB holster on my strong hip, with the extra 17 round mag. I consciously sacrifice some concealability for comfort, consistency and a gun I am confident in. Long story short (too late), the gun, mag and holster I carry is the result of a long process of trial and error and compromise.

Oddly, I generally seemed to go bigger when I applied some real thought to the gun selection process, rather than smaller. I would have been fortunate to have had Dorsai's advice from the beginning.

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"One of the nice things about being around other soldiers is they will suffer your bullshit gladly, knowing sooner or later you will shut up and listen to theirs." - Jim Morris, War Story

 

"The military was strange like that. In the middle of the night you run into a major problem that requires you to put your faith in someone you never met before and probably would never see again. But that person knocks himself out to do his job and helps you get on with yours." - Harold W. Coyle, Team Yankee

Low threat= gatherings of very close friends, and some family members in "safe" locations, with minimal travel through population centers and vetted (or at least controllable) stops along the way. The Shield is acceptable for this level.

Medium threat= anything above that level of commitment or uncertainty. My rifle and gear are in my POV. The Glock is the answer for this level, and this is what I consider a normal level.

High threat= Travel through or near areas that are unstable, while in the context of travel between normal areas. For example, I flew to St. Louis last year for a conference. One of the activities involved travel on the periphery of the Ferguson event in a bus. I did a threat survey beforehand with a couple LF'ers that live in the area. Most of the conference, I simply wore my full size MNP .40. When we traveled off the secured campus for meals and tours, the MNP was supplemented with a handful of spare magazines in my laptop bag. I would have preferred to have a LAW stocked MK 18, a few CS canisters and ideally some M67's along, but what I did have would have bought some time at a protest barrier.

As we have seen recently, travel is the risky part of the equation. If the pistol is the only option, it needs to have the ability to take extended magazines, so that one can peel a crowd off the car or bus at a hasty protest barricade. Again, there are better tools for the job, but there are packing constraints that need to be balanced with the threat level, and transportational realities. This were a Glock with handful of 22-29 round mags can be useful. It is low profile but can spread the good news for some time.

 

I have a friend in Europe (who can carry concealed).  Due to the issues involving "immigrants" earlier this year, he supplemented his carry with a folding stock 5.56 in a backpack.  It didn't look like he was carrying a long gun...but he was.  Going back to my original post.  He didn't have the option to NOT go where he needed to go, so he brought a long gun.

-------------------------

Mark

Swear allegiance to the flag Whatever flag they offer

Never hint at what you really feel

Teach the children quietly For some day sons and daughters

Will rise up and fight while we stood still

 

Joined:  2/24/2003                          Location:  Nevada, USA

I see the question as "do I carry a different handgun based upon the threats I could possibly encounter" as opposed to an offense/defense mindset. If I am planning on going on offense at the point where I have time to select weaponry out of the safe, there will be a rifle along for the ride. Now, have I selected a more powerful handgun based upon what we were dealing with? Absolutely.  A few years back, there was a rash of armed robberies where the bad guys were wearing body armor.  I was a member of a unit that was assigned to stake out likely locations in an attempt to stop them. Based on that, I chose a handgun that was more likely to penetrate some soft armor (10mm) than my usual sidearm (9mm). I never considered it an offense/defense choice. I considered it a know your possible adversary choice. I don't normally carry a 10mm handgun because it's not going to be enough more effective than my normal choice to make up for the issues with a larger/more powerful handgun. The vast majority of potential threats to mine or someone else's life will not be wearing body armor absent some planned event, so the Glock 19 with extra magazines is (in my opinion) a great handgun for everyday carry that will deal with the majority of issues I might encounter. That being said, there's a 10mm setup I can grab out of the safe in short order should it be better suited to the contemplated/probable threat.

"Hold my beer and watch this"

Rearding -

@JW104 long process of trial and error

@Longeye three threat levels

Now here's a monkey in the wrench. As has been said many times here in many situations, x is x, until it's not. So, when does a threat level change? When it does. Example - many years back, my first date with my current g/f,  we're off to the movies. She puts her arm around my waist and asks why I'm carrying when we're only going to the movies. This was long before Aurora. What if it had been Aurora? When did going to the mall become a higher threat? Getting gas? Going to school?

I guess that's the crux of my questions, and maybe it's rhetorical, when does that line become that line?

---------------------------------

It's not that life is so short, it's that you're dead for so long.

The .45-70 is the only government I trust

"I was raised in a place called America...
It's gone now, I wish you could've seen it"
- Moustache_6 quoting a WWII vet

 

Joined: 1/30/06 3:34 PM - Location:MA

Malpaso posted:

...snip...

I guess that's the crux of my questions, and maybe it's rhetorical, when does that line become that line?

For me that line becomes that line the moment I set one foot outside my front door or hit the button to raise my garage door after checking to make sure that only things or people that should be there are there.

Mojo/Mark
__________________________
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Joined: 9/30/09
Location: Northern Nevada (Reno/Sparks)

"Based on that, I chose a handgun that was more likely to penetrate some soft armor (10mm) than my usual sidearm (9mm)"

Unfortunately 10mm is not likely to defeat current soft armor much better than 9mm; a center fire rifle is a better option...

DocGKR posted:

"Based on that, I chose a handgun that was more likely to penetrate some soft armor (10mm) than my usual sidearm (9mm)"

Unfortunately 10mm is not likely to defeat current soft armor much better than 9mm; a center fire rifle is a better option...

I had a rifle. The 10mm was my secondary to my AR. While it's not much better than a 9mm for that role, it is some better.

"Hold my beer and watch this"

Malpaso posted:

Rearding -

@JW104 long process of trial and error

@Longeye three threat levels

Now here's a monkey in the wrench. As has been said many times here in many situations, x is x, until it's not. So, when does a threat level change? When it does. Example - many years back, my first date with my current g/f,  we're off to the movies. She puts her arm around my waist and asks why I'm carrying when we're only going to the movies. This was long before Aurora. What if it had been Aurora? When did going to the mall become a higher threat? Getting gas? Going to school?

I guess that's the crux of my questions, and maybe it's rhetorical, when does that line become that line?

You carry what you can carry when you can carry it.  If you can't carry what you want to, or feel you need/should carry, then you have a choice to make.  Go or don't go.  Let's use your scenario, a public movie theater.  I normally carry a full size handgun, with a reload or two, and a light.  I can get by in the summer with an open shirt like a Hawaiian shirt over a t-shirt.  That might be too hot if I was spending much time outside, but it is a short walk from the AC car to the AC theater.  Here at least, backpacks and purses get at least a cursory look inside by the theater attendants.  They might be looking for weapons, but more likely it is outside food and drink.  If I wanted to bring a backpack with a folding stock SBR, they would see it.  Dollars to donuts, they won't let me in the theater and they'll call the police.  The minimum that will occur is they will deny me entrance.  If I don't leave, I've committed a trespass and I'll be arrested.

 So I make a choice.  If I want to see a movie in a theater, I don't bring a long gun.  If I want a long gun, I don't get to see the movie.  I believe that is your choice as well and it is an individual choice.  I'm not going to tell someone else what the threat levels are in their area.

I've been saying this for years, and no, I didn't come up with it.  Someone else smarter than me.  I've simply appropriated it.  I carry a handgun precisely because I don't expect there to be a problem.  Just like I pay for insurance and wear a seat belt.  I don't expect there to be a problem and I avoid issues and accidents if I can.  But if the unlikely occurs, at least I've got something.

-------------------------

Mark

Swear allegiance to the flag Whatever flag they offer

Never hint at what you really feel

Teach the children quietly For some day sons and daughters

Will rise up and fight while we stood still

 

Joined:  2/24/2003                          Location:  Nevada, USA

@Malpaso

For me the difference between low, medium and high threat is certainty level. I have a different threat matrix in my own town than I do for cities I travel through. The reason is certainty or comfort level. I know what the patterns of life look, smell, and vibe like in my hometown. I generally know the players. I don't have that same comfort level in new areas, so I rachet up my awareness and mechanical ability in those new areas. I also do not know the roads and terrain like I do at home. That means I don't know the "bad" areas, or how to avoid them, or egress most efficiently from them. 

Getting back to the Ferguson example, the person who has lived there all their lives knows what 'different' is within the local context. As a traveller, I do not know that. Having done some LF pre-trip research, I knew that Ferguson is not Ohiocamp, MT and that extra prep and awareness was indicated. I also knew which police agencies would be responding to an event and what their general level of competence was. While being aware that many people live and work in that area, they also know where and when to be or not to be. I don't know that, so what is normal  (medium threat) for them becomes a hard line high threat for me, to keep the tables stacked in my favor.

At a more local level, there is a reservation town west of me. Based on experience, observation, LE knowledge, and basic awareness, that town is high threat. Tourists wander through more or less blissfully, and stop for gas, trinkets or buffalo burgers. I go through that town without stopping, and enter it at Condition Red. The town has racial tension, high crime, a patchwork of LE, and is a sovereign gray area. Certainty levels.

Medium threat is the order of the day. It elevates based on recent history in the area, or any one of those pucker factors that makes your awareness go from yellow to bright orange.

Statistically, USA is pretty safe. But statistically, most victims of crime didn't expect it to happen to them. If they did, they wouldn't have been there or been doing whatever it was they were doing. This has been born out in almost every interview I have done. The fact that they got their ass handed to them is caused by two factors- lack of situational awareness, and lack of effective tools to deal with the problem. If we address those two, we still have a third, which I alluded to earlier. That is contemplating what the fight might realistically look like and then training past the problems which might arise. That is done by reading formal AAR's of proximal events, then thinking, really thinking about how that experience applies to your situation. Be aware of outliers and anomalies. After that, go to the range or gym and drill through the things you need to fix.

Everything is a compromise and a hope that you compromised in the right direction when choice  faces reality.

If it is in the holster it is defensive until it goes into your hand and then it becomes offensive and one of the tools you use to impose your will on the adversary.

What you would like to have in your hand at the time of the incident will not be what you  can daily comfortably  and consistently carry.

Finding the sweet spot between portability, shootability and effectiveness is the reason we've all bought new guns and holsters in the hopes of finding that answer only to find it isn't perfect and start all over again.

Now add lifestyle, individual risk, experience, training, environment, physical size, possible engagements and carry methods and there really isn't an answer.   It is like picking the perfect wife or job, there isn't such a thing but there is  a choice of what negatives you are willing to live with while meeting  most of your demands.

 

 

DocGKR posted:

Not much has changed since I wrote this:  http://www.lightfighter.net/topic/the-new-j-frame

Time for me to re-read that

---------------------------------

It's not that life is so short, it's that you're dead for so long.

The .45-70 is the only government I trust

"I was raised in a place called America...
It's gone now, I wish you could've seen it"
- Moustache_6 quoting a WWII vet

 

Joined: 1/30/06 3:34 PM - Location:MA

A fight is a fight, whether it came to you unexpectedly or you deliberately entered the situation with eyes wide open. So I feel that discussing "offensive" vs. "defensive" handguns is just threading a camel through the eye of the needle.  An exercise in semantics. Labeling a handgun one or the other has historical context but little relevance vis-a-vis ammunition capacity, weapon size, caliber, portability, etc.

1. The only formally labeled "Offensive Handgun" I'm aware of was the HK MK23 adopted by SOCOM back in the day. Because they needed to justify a procurement program by differentiating that weapon (and its need) from the handguns they already carried.  A special purpose weapon. "Offensive Handgun" briefed well to bean counters & deciders. Something that accomplishes a job that already issued weapons do not.

2. "Defensive Handgun" is one of those semantic safe phrases [like "DGU" (Defensive Gun Use)]  that entered the civilian CCW /Self Defense lexicon about two decades ago. Because words matter when it's time to go to criminal or civil court... or speak in conjectural terms on the internet or in publications.  Frankly, it's a form of PC-speak having nothing to do with the capabilities or limitations of the physical hardware. Nothing wrong with the term, but it really isn't about any particular handgun selection choice.

In this Golden Age of Handguns, common sense says that a CCWer should walk around with a reliable, service caliber, double stack,  concealable, semi-auto pistol.  And at least a reload and a light. But folks are going to carry little hideout BUGs, single stacks, revolvers, and chopped capacity baby duty guns for a lot of other reasons.  Familiarity and comfort with one particular design. Convenience of carry. Caliber. Or just plain ability to shoot a particular weapon better than a theoretically better choice.

Sub-optimal capacity choices are an assumed risk. And yet, a bazillion folks daily choose to carry little 5-shot revolvers, tiny .380s, or even service caliber single stacks. BTDT. As have most of you. And they're generally enough... until they aren't. Or events overcome your ability to reload fast enough.

It's the Goldilocks Theory of Gear Selection: A choice can be Not Enough, Too Much, or Just Right.  

Speaking of Goldilocks and the Three Bears...

A month or so back, I escorted my new puppy out into the backyard darkness to conduct a late-night fire mission. Local coyotes are a routine threat to small pets, so I played armed over-watch while my little boy voted Democrat.  As we stood there, a loud snapping of dead fall (and my Fenix handheld) revealed a largish Black Bear about 20 yards away. A locally recognized 400ish pound boar. Me standing there with my hand gripping a little 5-shot .38 Special in my pocket.  He casually ambled off when I shined him and no harm done, but as we moved inside, DocGKR's up-thread thoughts echoed in my mind. That's the second time in my life I've encountered a black bear at close range with only a .38 Special 5-shot snub. Not really enough gun for the potential problem.

I got complacent about my own backyard. Next night saw me out back with better choices to hand.

Horses for Courses.

 

 

 

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The moral high ground is sometimes just a head on a long pike... - Astronomy

 

A new Plt Ldr is like a first time new mother. The Plt Sgt is a lifelong midwife and nanny. It's your baby, but he knows a lot about changing diapers and other ugly things. - Astronomy

Big picture:

"Offensive & defensive" are irrelevant; deadly protective force is just that - deadly protective force. And the means with which DPF is administered are irrelevant; bullets, blades, bricks, bats, barstools, BFRs, Buicks, ad infinitum...

That being said, carrying _________ for protection is never comfortable - it's comforting.

THAT being said, the one immutable truth of the known universe is that the situation always dictates the tactics - and the gear.

I always carry a pared down version of my first line gear: gun, ammo, blades, some manner of IFAK, Etc.

ALWAYS.

Be emulable. Try not to suck. Persevere. 

I don't want to get wrapped up into semantics, but if the discussion is going to be useful, it helps if we can agree on some concepts if not definitions.  This is the context in which I use the terms defensive and offensive when it comes to personal weapons.  A defensive weapon is what you carry when you don't expect to get into a fight and you're not intending to start one.  An offensive weapon is the one you bring when you're going "hunting".  I agree that if you are carrying your handgun, not expecting a fight because it's just a night at the movies, and a fight happens, you are going to aggressively end it.  So yes, you are going on the offensive then.  And if you'll probably wish you brought a long gun and friends.

As others said, everything is a compromise.  I think we can all agree that when you aren't going hunting and things look calm and peaceful, concealability and portability (not comfort) are of greater importance than the ability to take down a pack of wolves.  And if you step out the door intending to engage that pack of wolves, then concealability is probably not a consideration at all.

Anyway, I haven't read anything I disagree with.

-------------------------

Mark

Swear allegiance to the flag Whatever flag they offer

Never hint at what you really feel

Teach the children quietly For some day sons and daughters

Will rise up and fight while we stood still

 

Joined:  2/24/2003                          Location:  Nevada, USA

I think I posted this graphic in another thread where the discussion was something about when to carry a BUG, or maybe when to carry a reload for your BUG. This discussion is in the same spirit. How much is enough?  When? Can we hash out a spectrum of circumstances? A flow chart?

I don't care about statistics. I care about winning. (I know, hardcore, right? ) Seriously though, consider what's at risk...who's at risk...and proceed accordingly.  As I sit here with my dogs and HH6, it's quite clear, it's all about the "who" and there ain't much of a spectrum of failing them in the sense we're discussing here.

"The best defense is a good offense ". 

I have carried .38 snubby, .380 pistols in the past. Now older, wiser and having attended a bunch of autopsies the smallest I carry is a  3.3" .45 XDs which is oddly accurate and 100% reliable.   I prefer to dress around a real gun aka 1911, VP9 or even a S&W Mountain Gun if going into the forest.    The VP9 isn't much harder to conceal IWB than the XDs BTW  

Reload? Check. Flashlight? Check.  Knife? Check.   I'm lacking an IFAK and some training.  Probably the more apt to be needed in an emergency after the light. 

I'm going to go along lines similar to Generic_User_7.

I've carried a Walther P22, a Kel-Tec P32, and a Sig P230. Then I started reading copious amounts of DocGKR and the like.

I currently carry a USP Compact in .357Sig in my right front pants pocket - with option to go to an M&P Fullsize 9mm with X300U. After fucking up and finding a reload for the wrong gun in my pocket several times, I decided to order up a P30S and P30LS for the same basic thing but with a common magazine. Those pistols have some design aspects that are not quite what I'm looking for, and I've not gotten around to fucking with them. Some day, but you get the drift.

Recently I've added an M&P Shield 9mm. The goal is to get this as concealed as my USP Compact/P30S, but accessed differently so I can - for example - get the motherfucker out while I'm seated in a car. I'm still working on it, but the goal is to carry a pistol the size of a USP Compact that I can shoot well plus a BUG - preferably which takes the same ammunition.

My line is... How fucking stupid is today likely to be? Is there a reason to think that there are more than the usual number of assholes out and about? Is this a major party weekend where some shit ALWAYS goes down on our block? Rifle bag. Much like a pistol, I hope I never need it... but I'm a have and not need kind of guy.

Thankfully I basically make my own rules at work and no one thinks twice about me walking in the front door with an oddly long single strap backpack. I've also got my desk arranged so it disappears once inside.

This coming Saturday will be a Rifle Bag day. I think the past 3 years there have involved, for lack of better words, 'suspicious person with gun' calls within half a block of us. Eventually, if you believe in The Law of Truly Large Numbers, something will actually happen.

I think my sig line pretty much sums it up. The guy who said it is a pretty smart fella.

I want to start each day with a minimal chance of being outgunned. If today looks like it might be a shit show, I want to make that chance as close to zero as possible.

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"A pistol is what you carry when you do not expect a problem. If you expect a problem you can't avoid, and you are not taking a long gun, you are not very smart." - DM

 

Joined: 04Nov2007         Location: Indiana

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DocGKR posted:

Not much has changed since I wrote this:  http://www.lightfighter.net/topic/the-new-j-frame

There's little else that needs to be considered that isn't contained here, particularly the observation that what is considered adequate in terms of size/capacity is most influenced by previous experience with violent situations. Those who have not tend to feel smaller will be adequate.

Not to dwell too much on semantics, but I would posit that "defensive" vs "offensive" is also about mindset. 

To wit, if I leave the house with a "defensive" mindset and get into a situation with multiple assailants, at what point does that become "offensive" and ergo go back to Doc's original point. 

In my humble opinion, I want to be prepared equally,  irrespective. I certainly don't want to "over carry", with a firearm that is impractical- but when would I do that anyway? When does the impractical become practical?  Is that possible?

Furthermore, if my primary weapon with which I  have trained is, say, a G19, why not always carry that?  Why not simply change the way I carry to make it more concealable?

And what about the mag changes that are a central part of many drills? How does that play into your firearm choice? Are most people only carrying one magazine?

_______________________________________________________
"Idque apud imperitos humanitas vocabatur, cum pars servitutis esset"         

 

"You are never out of the fight."

 

Joined: 9/5/2011 Location: The Former Empire State, now The State of Anarchy

METT-T always dictates.

Simple, no?  Occam's Razor -- usually the simplest solution is the best.

Are you walking the dog near your home, or going 2-3 blocks in formal clothes  from theater to parking on Martin Luther King Boulevard at 0100 (after the "After-party") on a moonless payday Friday night during Malcolm X and Rich and Vibrant Week after the "Celebrate Crack" concert?

Carry the gun that you want to fight with!!! If it can't be a rifle, then always carry the handgun you want to fight with!! Find a way to carry it, dress around it, etc..                                    Don't compromise! 

Allow me to twist the METT-T equation just a little, and apply it from the bad guy's perspective. If I were a bad guy with some planning and organizational skills, I would choose to target you when and where I strongly believed that you were most vulnerable... a "soft target", if you will.  As a bad guy I would assume, based especially on the above comments, that you would be traveling most heavily armed and prepared when you visit areas of known danger, but I would feel relatively secure in the fact that you are not so heavily armed and prepared if I were to visit upon you in your relatively safe areas. So I apply METT-C and determine that I will strike offensively while you visit your hometown movie theater, the parking lot of your favorite upscale restaurant, outside of your favorite neighborhood watering hole, or when you are out walking the dog just blocks from your home. 

When we talk mindset, we tend to consider "our" mindset. Be assured that the bad dude's mindset is always "offensive", no matter how minor his bad acts. Plan and act accordingly! 

 

 

 

"Think thou that these magnificent, victorious Legionnaires became what they are through some arbitrary stroke of fortune? Nay! They do not sit around congratulating themselves in the wake of each victory. They spend every moment refining and improving their craft. Without apology, they pursue excellence. Each one knows and understands that he alone stands between the empire and oblivion. Watch them! Indeed, they appear to have been born with weapons in their hands!"

Dux posted:

 

In my humble opinion, I want to be prepared equally,  irrespective. I certainly don't want to "over carry", with a firearm that is impractical- but when would I do that anyway? When does the impractical become practical?  Is that possible?

Furthermore, if my primary weapon with which I  have trained is, say, a G19, why not always carry that?  Why not simply change the way I carry to make it more concealable?

And what about the mag changes that are a central part of many drills? How does that play into your firearm choice? Are most people only carrying one magazine?

I've been thinking about this topic a lot lately, I think in large part because of the activities I've been involved in since starting a family. As my kids continue to grow, they're becoming involved in more activities and going more places that can make it challenging to carry.  Places like trampoline parks, Chuck-e-Cheese-type "restaurants," and playgrounds often require me to be more physically involved (which I enjoy doing with my kids, of course), which can be "revealing." I'm not going to compromise my kids' experience of growing up, doing physical activities, and going to parties / play dates with friends.  I'm just going to make sure I'm there and prepared to protect them.

I normally find it pretty easy to carry / conceal my USP Compact .40, which has been my primary for almost a decade.  I really consider it to be a full-size pistol in terms of dimensions - I wouldn't carry anything larger.  I'm considering switching to a Glock 19 because of the extra capacity and less bulky slide.  I also don't think I shoot the .40 that well (took me a while to figure that out) and want to switch back to 9mm. However, because of my recent experience with kids described above, I've been looking hard at a single-stack 9mm - Shield or Glock 43 - to carry in those situations.

As far as training goes, I look at it from the opposite direction: the pistol that I choose to carry becomes my primary weapon for training. I don't shoot other pistols on a regular basis because I don't want to change my mechanical memory when it comes to the USPc.  However, training is another consideration as I look at changing my primary pistol.  I've had a really hard time finding equipment for the USPc - there's just so much more gear made for the Glock, including different styles of Safariland holsters, lights, etc.  I carry my M9 at work in a Safariland 6378 holster on a MOLLE belt, and I'd like to have the same holster for my personal carry pistol to train with in carbine course, for example. That model and several similar holsters aren't available for the USPc.

As far as magazines go, I always carry a spare and feel strange without one.  I actually somehow walked out the door with my mag pouch on but no magazine in it a couple weeks ago - no idea how I forgot, but I didn't like the feeling when I realized it while I was in Lowe's or some other place. While mag malfunctions are part of the reason for carrying a spare, I've also had it thoroughly ingrained in my brain that as soon as there's a lull in the fight, you top off your weapon with a fresh magazine.  Regardless of the situation, I would not feel comfortable standing around with 3 rounds left in my pistol when I could carry a spare magazine at no real extra cost.

As several people stated, all of this comes down to what you're personally comfortable with in the end.  This is a very minor point, but I think from a legal standpoint, it's best to always think of it as carrying for defensive purposes.  You can still be defending yourself and others when you're advancing towards a threat.  Even a rifle can be used for defending / protecting others.  I prefer to keep defensive and offensive actions separate in my mind from a legal standpoint, kind of like Rules of Engagement vs. Rules for the Use of Force at work. Your mindset and the way you fight a threat should be pretty constant, regardless of the terminology you use.

On a side note, I caught a guy unconsciously pulling at his untucked shirt tail at the 4 o'clock position while he was walking into Lowe's in front of me. I've suspected other people of carrying at times, but that was probably the clearest one I've seen. I'm sure we've all done it but trained ourselves to stop it (or check more discreetly) over time.

Dave

It seems to me that a lot of people are overthinking this...by this I mean the difference between offensive / defensive and attaching with those terms a lot of baggage in terms of preferences. 'I like this pistol' 'I like this holster' etc. While all of those are, in my opinion, productive conversations to produce learning, let's please not confuse them with terms such as offensive and defensive. There is no defensive holster, there is no offensive holster, there is simply, a holster. Much the same with a firearm, you can use any firearm for either, it is your mindset which makes the difference. I can do a lot of offense with a  j-frame assuming no one knows I have it until it is too late (ala Jack Ruby, and yes I know he didn't use a j-frame) but does a j-frame become a good fighting pistol for today's known and expected threats? To me, in my world, no, but to others eh, maybe. (anyone wanna go head to head with Jerry Miculek with a j-frame? No, thought not) It all depends upon who you are and what your skill level is, and what your expected or likely threats are.

In my opinion the choice is fairly easy. Take all the pistols under contention to a range that will allow you to draw from concealment and then fire each in a realistic threat (for you) drill cold. Meaning, no warm up shots, no draw and walking  through it dry, fire it live, cold. Using the same drill fire each of your perspective candidates and then ask. Which pistol do I feel the most comfortable firing-under realistic conditions- if it meant my significant others / children's life are at risk.  Likewise how much / type of ammo do I need for that scenario and what other ancillary gear do I really need to lug around? 

When I'm on duty, I have more tools available to me and I'm expected to go into harms way, off-duty my job is to intervene only when lives are at risk . That doesn't mean becoming strictly defensive, no far from it. If I have a tactical opportunity to exploit then my mission is to end an encounter, swiftly, decisively and with a large degree of violence of action, as long as that is within the bounds of the law and my own morality. 

As Pat always preached, mission drives the gear, lets not over-complicate it with what if's.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My preferred off duty carry is a G19, which is a close match to my duty gun.  Since I live about an hour and a half from my office (short term issue), returning home to pick up my gun is out of the question.  I used to carry a Shield as my main off duty piece, but sold it to have a duty gun duplicate for the above scenario, as well as for training and parts commonality.

I also have 2 J-frames- one for on duty BUG and one for off.  The duty BUG stays at work, and as of next week will be carried mostly in an ankle rig (plainclothes and class As for me- PS&IA). For me, the off duty J is either for A) a BUG for high threat areas, B) a carry option for NPEs- 3ACR_Scout is right, IME, about some kids' activities, and C) running.

On the subject of NPEs: I respect the idea of always dressing around a larger gun, but sometimes that just isn't an option.  For a few reasons hinted at above, I consolidated on 9mm Glocks and .38s.  Since I carry under department policy and LEOSA, my department can limit what I choose to carry unless I get a CCW permit.  So I f I want to carry, which is about anytime I'm out of the house and sober, it's either a G19 or a 442.  Most of the time, I can easily carry the G19, or at least make it work.  For the maybe 1% of the time it won't work, the J does the job.

As an aside, on most days in my new assignment I will be parking 2-3 miles short and running.  J-frame for that.  The paths are well lit, high viz, and are not frequented by miscreants.  That, and I don't exactly look like an easy mark.

I also keep on top of my PT, combatives/less lethal, and awareness training.  This should go unsaid, but if you're carrying small, for whatever reason, understand that the rest of your defensive layers, especially your S/A and escape plan, had better be on point.

"Absorb what is useful.  Discard what is useless.  Add what is specifically your own." -Bruce Lee

After re-reading this thread I, while st my local movie theater stepped off some distances. This theater has done relatively small rooms. As small as only 60 seats per screen room. Those are still 20 yards wide by 15/18 yards front to back row. The hallway to get to each theater is another story. Didn't step off the entire length but it's got to be somewhere on the order of 150 yards long. My local Wal-Mart has aisle ways that are really long as well, not 150 but maybe up to 75 yards. Kind of precludes a back up gun for me.  It's making me re-think ever carrying anything less than my G19 or G17. Either of which just disappear appendix carry under a pullover hoody, and that's with 2 reloads and a handheld light on my belt as well. 

Mojo/Mark
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Yo homey, is that my briefcase...?
Vincent from "Collateral"
__________________________
You want the good life, you break your back, you snap your fingers, you snap your neck... Prong/Demon Hunter

Joined: 9/30/09
Location: Northern Nevada (Reno/Sparks)

Chameleox posted:

For me, the off duty J is either for A) a BUG for high threat areas, B) a carry option for NPEs- 3ACR_Scout is right, IME, about some kids' activities, and C) running.

On the subject of NPEs: I respect the idea of always dressing around a larger gun, but sometimes that just isn't an option. 

I'm reminded of this discussion as I'm at the trampoline park with my kids today. G19 is doable but a bit awkward. Fortunately the VersaMax 2 has a good grip on it!

Dave

Astronomy posted:

1. The only formally labeled "Offensive Handgun" I'm aware of was the HK MK23 adopted by SOCOM back in the day. Because they needed to justify a procurement program by differentiating that weapon (and its need) from the handguns they already carried.  A special purpose weapon. "Offensive Handgun" briefed well to bean counters & deciders. Something that accomplishes a job that already issued weapons do not.

While I don't think they were much called that, I can think of two specific classes of offensive handguns: 

  • Concealed action initiation. There have been a handful of (now public source) hostage rescue (and I am sure plenty of secret things of all sorta) where at least some of the people can only bring a concealed gun even though they are initiating action. 
  • Specialist roles where a longarm is not suitable but there is a fight expected. I think the only case that escalates to this is a shield man (e,g, K9 has a handgun to defend as the dog is his weapon). And some of them I have seen/known in the past especially had a second handgun specifically for this role. Their duty pistol was their defensive arm, safely in a holster still. 

 

But this is almost entirely not what this thread is about, and therefore I think it's important to consider the terminology and real role of the (rare) offensive handgun.

Anything concealed for day-to-day carry is not an offensive handgun. It's just a more- or less-capable concealed emergency defensive solution, as several have said very well. 

The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life. – Theodore Roosevelt

 

Joined: 19NOV2004   Location: Mission, Kansas

Astronomy posted:

A fight is a fight, whether it came to you unexpectedly or you deliberately entered the situation with eyes wide open. So I feel that discussing "offensive" vs. "defensive" handguns is just threading a camel through the eye of the needle.  An exercise in semantics. Labeling a handgun one or the other has historical context but little relevance vis-a-vis ammunition capacity, weapon size, caliber, portability, etc.

1. The only formally labeled "Offensive Handgun" I'm aware of was the HK MK23 adopted by SOCOM back in the day. Because they needed to justify a procurement program by differentiating that weapon (and its need) from the handguns they already carried.  A special purpose weapon. "Offensive Handgun" briefed well to bean counters & deciders. Something that accomplishes a job that already issued weapons do not.

2. "Defensive Handgun" is one of those semantic safe phrases [like "DGU" (Defensive Gun Use)]  that entered the civilian CCW /Self Defense lexicon about two decades ago. Because words matter when it's time to go to criminal or civil court... or speak in conjectural terms on the internet or in publications.  Frankly, it's a form of PC-speak having nothing to do with the capabilities or limitations of the physical hardware. Nothing wrong with the term, but it really isn't about any particular handgun selection choice.

In this Golden Age of Handguns, common sense says that a CCWer should walk around with a reliable, service caliber, double stack,  concealable, semi-auto pistol.  And at least a reload and a light. But folks are going to carry little hideout BUGs, single stacks, revolvers, and chopped capacity baby duty guns for a lot of other reasons.  Familiarity and comfort with one particular design. Convenience of carry. Caliber. Or just plain ability to shoot a particular weapon better than a theoretically better choice.

Sub-optimal capacity choices are an assumed risk. And yet, a bazillion folks daily choose to carry little 5-shot revolvers, tiny .380s, or even service caliber single stacks. BTDT. As have most of you. And they're generally enough... until they aren't. Or events overcome your ability to reload fast enough.

It's the Goldilocks Theory of Gear Selection: A choice can be Not Enough, Too Much, or Just Right.  

Speaking of Goldilocks and the Three Bears...

A month or so back, I escorted my new puppy out into the backyard darkness to conduct a late-night fire mission. Local coyotes are a routine threat to small pets, so I played armed over-watch while my little boy voted Democrat.  As we stood there, a loud snapping of dead fall (and my Fenix handheld) revealed a largish Black Bear about 20 yards away. A locally recognized 400ish pound boar. Me standing there with my hand gripping a little 5-shot .38 Special in my pocket.  He casually ambled off when I shined him and no harm done, but as we moved inside, DocGKR's up-thread thoughts echoed in my mind. That's the second time in my life I've encountered a black bear at close range with only a .38 Special 5-shot snub. Not really enough gun for the potential problem.

I got complacent about my own backyard. Next night saw me out back with better choices to hand.

Horses for Courses.

 

 

 

Great post.  Everyone else seems to have the right idea also.  Unfortunately when being judged by our peers, we may not find the wisdom that is being said here.  As I don't have the luxury of living in the land of 'should' and 'supposed to', I would rather a jury see a small wheel gun than a semi with a RDS, WML, and extended magazine.  This is unfortunate, because  given the recent state of affairs that second option is exactly what I would like to reach for when confronting an individual acting on the hate in their heart.

USSOCOM HK MK23: "Offensive Handgun Weapons System—Special Operations Peculiar". That's what the project was called. Nobody called it that after it was fielded. On the Army side of the house, they mostly sat in our arms rooms and gathered dust. You damn near needed a little red wagon to drag 'em around with.

When I went through 5th SFG(A) SOT in 1978, our primary CQB weapons were 1911A1s (don't laugh... it was the preferred technique of the times). Arguably an Offensive pistol. But when I returned to my unit, the very same handgun sat in a leather flap holster (Secondary) while I carried an XM-177 (Primary). 

Any firearm can be used for both defense & offense, regardless of label. The question is whether it can accomplish the expected job.  

If I'm an armed robber and pop the local stop & rob with my Hi-Point, it's an offensive handgun. If I use the very same gun to defend myself from a rival drive-by shooter, it's a defensive handgun.

I think the OP's concern is less about dedicated intent and more about capability (firepower, terminal ballistics, & combat effective range). In other words, do I have more than enough gun, just enough, or not enough? It's the Goldilocks Theory of Sidearm Selection. Threat drives Selection. You buys your ticket, you takes your chances.

I guess I just don't see the point to semantic pigeonholing.  Defensive? Offensive? Meh... all I want is Effective. 

 

 

 

 

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The moral high ground is sometimes just a head on a long pike... - Astronomy

 

A new Plt Ldr is like a first time new mother. The Plt Sgt is a lifelong midwife and nanny. It's your baby, but he knows a lot about changing diapers and other ugly things. - Astronomy

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