Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Final Handgun Class Update

Well, the term is done and I am finished with my handgun class. Time for a last report.

I'm glad the class was done. It was fun. I'm glad I learned so much. But now I can spend my time planning my science fiction role-playing game's adventures, which was the whole point, rather than acquiring background information.

I'm not about to buy a pistol. As I keep emphasizing, Eugene is a safe city. (And as I also keep repeating, if home invasion robbery were to become a serious enough threat I would want a gun then a shotgun is far superior to a pistol.)

But spending so much time thinking about home safety did prompt me to buy an exceedingly bright flashlight and a "home unit" size self-defense spray.

The Surefire 9P with the 200 lumen bulb was the brightest small light. Two hundred lumens is a whole lot of light.

Sabre spray is a mix of both pepper spray and tear gas. I tried it out the "home unit" in the yard and it emits a huge, thick spray. The smaller pocket-sized units I have tried of this brand and others only let out a small spray appropriate for if someone is wrestling with you or almost that close. With the big unit I could spray someone on the other side of the hallway from me, being sure of hitting their eyes, nose, and mouth. Then I could step closer and spray them a second time for a more concentrated dosage.

Now I do not need to worry about the responsibilities of gun ownership but have a very defendable home. Making an intruder painfully blinded and then heavily sprayed would be sufficient to get myself and my family to safety.

Still, it is an interesting question which pistol I would but if I were going to buy one.

The class had a third range day. I used a Browning Buckmark, which was the most pleasant to shoot of any gun I've used. But it uses the .22LR, so it is only for target shooting, not self-defense.

My first choice among the pistols I have handled would be a Walther PPK, which is comfortable to shoot and uses the low-recoil .380ACP (basically a 9mm with less powder). Of all the commendable small semi-automatics I tried it best fit left-handed use. Its only drawback is that, as with any centerfire ammunition, practice is expensive.

(Note: this informative essay suggests the Kahr PM9, which I have not seen or handled. None of the small .380ACP pistols were very friendly for left-handed use, so I'm glad further options exist.)

The other option would be the NAA Black Widow I misprepresented earlier as a gun for helping someone run away. It turns out to be ideal for those on a budget, if purchased with both the .22LR and .22 Magnum cylinders. What I did not know before was that a .22 Magnum cartridge can be as dangerous as a .38 special. (Its bullets are smaller but of higher velocity, so slightly better at longer range and slightly inferior up close.) Thus this pistol is ideal for someone wanting to own only one gun but wanting something that uses the inexpensive .22 LR for practicing while retaining a viable self-defense option.

I really doubt I would ever get the Walther PPK. I could imagine at some point in the future having a group friends that regularly did target shooting, thus prompting me to buy the NAA Black Widow.

UPDATE: In 1994 Glenn Reynlods (Mr. Instapundit) wrote a long but interesting article about the gun ownership issue and what it revealed about politics.