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Small Guns for Self-Defense?

An Editorial by Allan Tarvid


In my opinion, the large volume of sales in small guns has nothing to do with them being a great choice for carry. Popularity is often nothing more than the result of good marketing. The market for carry guns is exploding in this country as states are making concealed carry legal. This is bringing countless first-time gun buyers and other buyers with little to no self-defense shooting expertise out of the woodwork to buy their first carry gun.

We have talked about the lack of gun savviness in the great majority of CCW holders here before. Anyone with an IQ above that of a slick river rock can see that we are our own first responders in a dire emergency. Those bumper stickers that read, "When seconds count the police are just minutes away..." represent a sobering shot of common sense for any thinking person. The need for us to protect ourselves and our loved ones is impossible to intelligently argue against. So, how do people answer the call?

Unfortunately, I believe that most people buy a gun and a holster, attend the mandatory class, get their license and that's it. They have a gun, they can carry it and as far as they are concerned they're safe now. They don't get any additional training, they don't practice enough to become proficient and they don't worry about it. They have this neat new talisman they can wear that wards off evil. If a bad guy is silly enough to sneak through their newfound juju they just pull out their gun and shoot him, right?

So, which gun do you buy when you don't know enough to make an intelligent decision on your own? You buy what the gun counter guy suggests and of course he suggests one of the "popular" guns he has in stock. Or, you buy what CCW-oriented, gun manufacturer-sponsored shooting magazines, television programs and Internet sources suggest, if you bother to research the subject beyond the gun counter guy. Throughout all of your research you are exposed to a brilliantly executed marketing machine that includes practically all aspects of the aforementioned media. Add to all this the fact that most people who carry small, convenient guns concealed are in La-La land about either their ability to control and effectively shoot the little guns or, in the case of mouse guns, their personal choice's ability to stop a serious attack. Put all that together and you have the major reasons behind the huge sales of dinky guns.

I have joked about seeing ads in the paper for a "Like-new .338 Remington magnum rifle and 19 rounds of ammunition." Someone convinced the owner that he needed that much gun for deer and elk and he didn't learn any better until he shot it once. I see something very similar here at the local gun shops. There are always several tiny 9mm semi auto pistols and super-light .38/.357 snubby revolvers sitting in the used gun display case shining like new. The stories behind them vary; somebody bought one for himself, his wife or his girlfriend, loaded it with appropriate self defense ammo and the new owner actually fired it. If that didn't cancel the desire for continued ownership then it happened when they tried to actually hit something. It's like trying to start a kid out shooting trap with a .410 shotgun. These little firearms are expert's guns and you have to take the time, trouble, ammo and perhaps even extra training to become an expert with one. If you don't, betting your life on them is potential suicide. Since I don't believe the great majority of CCW license holders do that, I do believe that buying stubby, light handguns for self defense puts them on-course to fail both themselves and their families.

.................. I feel better now.

Copyright 2012 by the author and, all rights reserved.

Uploaded: 11/4/2012