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To thine own self be true...or realities concerning defensive handguns we really oughta know about...
                  editorial by Mark Freburg

The longer I'm a gungeek the more I'm convinced of two things. First, there is no one perfect defense handgun--and that I believe is a truth. There may be handguns that are about as perfect as humanly possibly for a given individual, but that same handgun will not be perfect for someone else. When we read gun reviews in gun magazines or on the web, we should always consider the author's perspective, and if he is a writer worth reading, he will consider that you are not him and he is not you. To that end he will offer comments that should help you decide if a feature he is discussing is a feature that would be useful for you--or not!

The second thing that is apparent to me is that all shooters are different in both ability and experience. That may seem patently obvious but when we read reviews of a handgun where a certain shooter did an accuracy test, or perhaps a speed test shooting action targets from a holster under a clock, we have to take the results with a grain of salt.

The test shooter may be very good or very poor at shooting small groups. Most likely he is average and the performance he gets may be considered something we might also be able to get with a similar handgun.*

If he runs an action shooting test the same points about shooter skill apply, but even more so we should never discount muscle memory. Our tester may be shooting a TDA auto today, but he has spent a lifetime shooting a 1911.  I can tell you from experience at having transitioned from revolvers to 1911s to TDA autos to consistent/light-trigger, striker-fired pistols that you don't pick up a strange pistol and do your fastest work immediately unless you are an exceptional human being. If you are a shooter, as most of this audience is, you can probably make significant progress in an afternoon. And some folks might take several shooting sessions to adjust.  Others will go back to their preferred pistol and say "heck with it."  This all effects what you should take from reported performances.

The best tests will feature several shooters of different skill levels shooting the same guns under the same conditions (this is a hallmark of certain gunzine writers who like to pass pistols around to get more input and to set up multiple shooter tests). Still, no other shooter is you, so be skeptical.

The bottom line if you accept these two truths is that you must be the best judge of what gun(s) work best for you. Know your abilities, learn what handgun features work best for you, know how much time you are willing to spend to get to know your guns and to practice with live ammo.  Don't let me or someone on the web or a gun shop clerk or a shooting buddy or a gun magazine writer tell you what you should be using for your self-defense needs.  They aren't you.  Suggestions and advice are good.  But you should be the captain of your ship.

* I say "similar handgun" because even if we buy the same model and use the same ammo we are using a gun built on a different day with the tooling at a different wear point and we are shooting ammo most likely from a different lot. Both of those things will affect performance of the gun.


Uploaded: 3/8/2008