Yes, that is a pretty vague title, but what I’m referencing has to do with the ultra-compact pistols we have been seeing in our Concealed Carry Tactics classes. Having seen several now is there a point of diminishing returns and the answer is yes.
Get over it
Let’s for a moment put aside the argument of “a gun is better than no gun”. This is a comment I will use so as not to alienate those who are not inclined to carry a larger blaster. I am really happy to see these folks attending our classes and my belief is the more they discover regarding concealed carry the more they will recognize their first choice may be relegated to backup for a pistol better optimized for concealed carry. The more I play with these ultra-compacts the more I actually like them, but I also recognize their limitations. Would I carry one as a primary? Of course, because a gun is better than no gun. However, those situations would be in-extremis in nature and therefore it really doesn’t matter, just get it done.
Hail of gunfire, sort of
That leads me up to this next point, is there really an argument to be made about being shot with a 22cal? I think it is safe to say nobody in their right mind would use as their basis for an argument or decision I will only carry down to a 32ACP, because I don’t mind getting shot with anything smaller. It is a good way of side stepping the real issue. Is it enough, so I will pose this question back to those who are quick to comment if someone where to shoot you with a 380ACP would you stop fighting? Would the damage caused be enough to stop you from fighting for your life. If the answer is no, then we can put this argument to bed as well. I remember thinking back to the home invasion where the suspect broke down the closet door only to be meet with a fusillade of 38 specials to the chest. He retreated to his car, drove off the road a few miles away and was taken in for treatment. Yes, that would technically be a stop, but I think we all see the point I making, you are at best sending lead down range at worst failing to quickly stop the fight.
Define good enough
Lastly I want to take a look at the terminal performance of some of these rounds. One of the first things you should notice is the enormous amount of ballistic data from reputable sources. Did you catch my sarcasm? Yeah, I was laying it on pretty thick; we need a sarcasm emoticon to help make my point even better. About the best that can be expected is information on the 380ACP loads. What I have discovered is as it relates to terminal performance, the information concludes these rounds are poor performers. Specially unreliable expansion and inadequate penetration. One thing of interesting note is performance out of what is considered “short barrel pistols” or SBP…I just coined a new term…it’s trademarked by the way. These shorter barrel pistols really have a hard time achieving optimal performance simply because either the velocity is too slow or the bullet is too light. So, the efforts are even more compounded to achieve optimal terminal performance.
Again, at a certain point folks will become self aware and recognize that for superior performance they need to step up to at least a 9mm. Let’s just hope that in the mean time they don’t have to learn that the hard way.