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Old January 23, 1999, 08:23 PM   #1
Mark M33
Join Date: November 19, 1998
Location: Fairfax,VA,USA
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What caliber are you willing to carry when your primary cannot be concealed? I carry my M85UL in Uncle Mike's synthetic holster, strong side or crossdraw. M33
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Old January 24, 1999, 12:08 PM   #2
Jeff White
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I've been known to just carry a Beretta 21A in a pocket holster, if the weather is hot enough. Remember "The first rule of gunfighting is have a gun".
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Old January 24, 1999, 01:03 PM   #3
Harry Humphries
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There is no question in my mind that the ongoing discussions of minimum caliber will go on forever.

• On the small caliber extreme side: A well placed .22 rim fire, sometimes lucky or unlucky, shot has stopped individuals. In fact there is some truth in the fact that the .22 is sometimes called "the assassins choice", but let's get real the pistol round, any round, is notoriously under powered if forgiving, instant stopping power is desired. That's simply the nature of short barreled, bullet velocity generation.

• On the realistic extreme side: You LE types are certainly aware of the super staying power demonstrated by "crack" driven perps. and the many case histories of ineffective large caliber hits on these individuals. It is not unusual to hear of mind altered perpetrators having sustained, for long periods of time, multi-hits with calibers such as .357, .40 .45 ACP, and sometimes .44 mag.. I do not have any data on .50 cal hand gun incidents as there are very few, if any authorized users of this caliber in the business.

Although I love hand guns, I suppose I have to agree with our Long Gun Instructor Officer Chris Mayer of Anaheim P.D., when he states "As far as I am concerned, the hand gun is only of use to fight your way back to your rifle that you so stupidly left behind."

I continue to stay with Jeff Cooper and will always stress large caliber - as large as practically controlled for the hand gun. For me that is the .45 ACP, although the .40 is not a bad compromise. The hotter 10 mm has a good lethality profile but I believe that the recoil resulting makes it a difficult round to control for most folks, especially in the sort barrel versions so typical of back up weapons.

Again remember the basis of the modern technique of the combat hand gun is the balance of Speed / Accuracy / Power.
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Old January 24, 1999, 04:18 PM   #4
Join Date: October 15, 1998
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The smallest caliber I would ever carry is the 40S&W. -- 01paw
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Old January 25, 1999, 12:46 AM   #5
Rob Pincus
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I used to carry a Beretta .25 regulary, but not lately.
And I have on occassion carried a .22 NAA.

When on the motorcyle and as a back-up I often cary my Tomcat .32.

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Old January 25, 1999, 08:15 PM   #6
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Smallest caliber I currently have in pistol is a 9/.40 combo. I think I need to polish the .40 chamber (failures to feed), so I use the 9mm slide and barrel. However, even this super-compact, 14 oz gun is more difficulty than I care to bother with in the call-center environment that is my "real" job. I am considering the NAA Guardian (.32), though I have even asked a fellow forum member if he wants to sell his .25 Seecamp...
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Old January 25, 1999, 08:15 PM   #7
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...(now that he has the Guardian, damn him!)
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Old January 26, 1999, 09:43 AM   #8
Byron Quick
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Spectre, YOU'RE the one who got me buying guns again, friend! I don't know if I'll sell the Seecamp. I have eventually regretted selling every gun I have sold in the past. I carry the NAA Guardian .32ACP now. I agree with the Anaheim Long Gun Instructor...the purpose of my handguns is to fight my way back to my long guns If I expect trouble I either won't be there or I will be getting a long gun out of the car. Oh, the Guardian is backup...main carry is a Glock 29. I'm still trying to figure out the fuss over 10mm recoil as the Glock 29 does a wonderful job (for something not designed by J.M. Browning).
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Old January 26, 1999, 11:29 PM   #9
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See ya tomorrow!

(and, when are you going to need the .25, but not the .32? )
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Old January 28, 1999, 04:23 AM   #10
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What the heck, I guess I'll throw my opinion in here...

I never carry anything smaller than a 9mm, and usually I carry a .45. I only carry the 9mm if it is very hi-capacity, and I figure three rounds of 9mm have to equal one or two rounds of .45 somehow...
I can fire the 9mm very fast and accuractly, but I still tend toward the .45, which I can shoot almost as well.
The new compact .45's that are coming out these days due to new CCW laws are a dream come true for me.

Honestly, if I have to carry anything smaller than a 9mm, I carry a good knife. Your mileage may vary according to your training etc, but I can do a HECK of a lot more damage in short order with a knife than a small caliber handgun, and it is much wiser for ME to pull. Drawing and employing the knife are much quicker for me than trying to draw and aim one of those puny little popguns. I figure that at the ranges that a mousegun is useful, I could probably cover the ground and fillet the guy a lot quicker...and I KNOW he is going down.


Ps- I would only carry a knife as a primary weapon if I could not find a place to stash a large caliber gun first! I can carry my Mad Dog Operator in nothing more than a pair of regular swimming trunks and no one is the wiser due to it's flat profile.

[This message has been edited by thaddeus (edited 01-28-99).]
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Old January 28, 1999, 07:36 AM   #11
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Smallest caliber = 9mm. Smallest GUN=.45
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Old January 30, 1999, 07:33 PM   #12
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this is an excellent question! What do yu think will work for the unexpected. I have been carrying a 45 single shot lately with the idea of fire and run. This is outside the usual idea of auto's vs revolvers but it helps me answer the question ; do I think a small 22 auto will be convincing to a bad guy / car jacker? I cannot carry a large handgun on my person conviently due to my work but from what I read a carjacking is only going to be defeated by what is on your person when the event hapens. Any comments on this will be appreciated.
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Old January 31, 1999, 07:59 PM   #13
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The smallest caliber I ever carry is my .32 Tomcat loaded with those cute little 60 grain Silver Tip hollow points. I carry it in a Kramer pocket holster.

I admire your self confidence and capabilities with a knife. I have no knife training and I am not in real great shape. For me, it makes no sense to take a knife to a gun fight. I think I am better off with my mouse gun.
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Old January 31, 1999, 08:48 PM   #14
cornered rat
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I would carry anything up from 22LR, though .38 would be my choice. I would view the fight against gun control wom when I can walk around with a PPSh on my shoulder and not get hassled...but would settle for merely being able to go about with a S&W 686 in a shoulder holster. Concealability not being an issue, My personal preference would be for large-frame revolvers...though I can see why the 1911 crowd would have a different pick.

A small-frame .22 revolver would work,as would a .32 or better semi-auto...I would have reservations about .25/.22 autoloaders, though.

If you believe in freedom and means of protecting might be a gun nut.
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Old February 2, 1999, 11:42 PM   #15
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Forget comments re purchasing Guardian. New- and definite- choice would be Kel-Tec P-32, for the situations where keeping my P-11 or G23 on my person is not practical. At SRP of $335 for the parkerized version, it is definitely less expensive, too.

Please see the pistolcraft forum for more info.
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Old February 8, 1999, 06:44 AM   #16
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38 spl. smallest I carry
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Old February 9, 1999, 10:40 PM   #17
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The smallest that I would be most comfortable with: 9mm

The smallest that I can carry and not attract attention is .22/Beretta 21A

Again, having any gun is better then no gun at all. Also, the average BG's mindset is to take on the easiest/weakest target. Having a small .22 will be enough to make them look else where.

Thanddeus has a good point: a knife is always a good choice to have. Being a "Farm Boy" I usually have one... There a hell of alot useful then a gun (and more quiet!)
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Old February 10, 1999, 09:56 PM   #18
Walt Welch
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Thaddeus; to paraphrase a quote above yours, I only carry a knife to fight my way back to the handgun I so stupidly left behind; I use the handgun to fight my way back to the rifle I so stupidly left behind.

You, some posters may not know, are extremely well trained in the use of a knife, have survived street encounters using a knife, and have seen people killed with knives. So, you may be an exception to the rule. Certainly, I can't imagine any way to conceal a 1911 in swimming trunks!

However, friends don't let friends carry mouseguns. Sorry, but I favor carrying the same thing wherever you go, whatever you are doing. If you pack something less powerful than what you usually carry, you have already made a conscious decision that you are in less danger than usual. That may be a fatal mistake. Of course, YMMV, Walt
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Old February 13, 1999, 11:28 PM   #19
Clay Whitehead
Join Date: November 1, 1998
Location: Centralia, WA USA
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When climatic or social conditions won't allow carry of the G-17 or S&W 3914, I carry an OMC Backup with Speer/CCI factory .380 hollow points. This pistol has a decent trigger and shoots well for me, even with the minimal sights. I can carry it in a hip pocket or the front compartment of my non-gun type fanny pack.

After all the discussion of the Kel-Tek P32 here in TFL, the Backup may have to audition to keep its roll in the defensive lineup(no trades or free agency anticipated however).

I know that friends shouldn't let friends carry mouseguns, but sometimes that's the only way to comply with Rule One of gunfighting: Have a Gun!!!

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Old February 14, 1999, 12:32 AM   #20
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All right, I confess, yes I do have and sometimes carry a mouse gun. Its a baby browning clone in .25acp. This is my gun for those times when I can't carry a gun. I'm a believer in any gun is better than no gun.
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Old February 14, 1999, 04:03 PM   #21
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I carry a taurus pt111, in 9mm, I fell well armed with 124gr. hydro-shock jhp. Nickster.
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Old February 14, 1999, 07:16 PM   #22
Jim March
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Walt's seen my smallest: a Freedom Arms .22Magnum minirevolver, 4shot, 1.5" barrel and grips the same size as an NAA .22LR minirevolver. It's *small*, absolutely and totally discrete.

He also saw me drop all four onto a 4"x6" steel plate at around five healthy paces, firing one shot per second. This one's marked "Casull's Improvement" and is about 10 years old, it pre-dates FA selling the minirevolver biz to NAA.

I paid $140 total for that little beast, made my own pocket holster for it. It's a "deep cover front-pocket surprise"...any mugger wants my wallet, he's gonna get a 30grain JHP doing 1,200FPS in the face.

I've also got a 4" bull-barrel NAA Mini Master with a trigger job in dual .22LR/.22Mag convertable. THAT discrete little pup can stay within 5" at 25 yards with defense-grade Mag JHPs.

Either of these runts should at least be able to penetrate skull on a headshot...and they're absolutely undetectable on the street. I carry the .22LR cylinder for the 4" loaded with Yellowjackets, in the probably vain hope I could keep their heads down with "Baby" the FA mini while reloading the 4" with a "Clint Eastwood style" cylinder swap.

I also favor .38 snubs...but the two minis put together still add up to less bulk.

Jim March
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Old February 16, 1999, 03:43 PM   #23
Mike Spight
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Depends on weather conditions. When it's hot, S&W Mod 60 (hard chromed, hard rubber Speigel grips) loaded w/158gr LSWCHP +P Federal ammo. Carried in a IWB holster along w/5 extra rds in speed strip in trouser/jeans/shorts pocket. Concealed with oversized polo type shirt, untucked. In cooler/cold weather when coats are worn, SIG semi, either 220, 226 or 229 (.45/.357/.40) In a straight drop holster, w/one extra mag of ammo in pouch on weak side.
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Old February 16, 1999, 11:33 PM   #24
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The gun I carry most often is a .38 Spl. S&W Model 38 Airweight Bodyguard. I carry it in a Galco Deep Cover IWB holster that allow the shirt to be tucked in over the gun. I also carry a speedloader in my front pocket (strong side)--why does anyone bother with those ridiculous speed strips? I use the Federal 125 gr. Nyclad HP "Chief's Special" load (non-plus P). I would not carry any lesser gun or load. I always carry a Spyderco Endura as well.
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Old February 17, 1999, 04:33 PM   #25
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The smallest I would carry is .380. The smallest I actually carry is a .38 spl. Although more often than not, I'm carrying a .357 sig.

Stay safe.
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