Having recently written about why people should stop forcing snubnosed revolvers on women, I inadvertently opened a fabulously rancid can of worms. Somehow there are still people out there who firmly believe that if you require more than five shots to end whatever predicament you happen to find yourself in, then you are either a terrible shot (hilarious nonsense spouted by wannabes who have never been in a gunfight), looking for trouble (opinion of humourless fascists who haven’t had a pulse in three decades), or you are screwed anyway (defeatist surrender-monkeys who lick boots talk like this). These people are, in a word, wrong. So, so wrong.
Back in the 1980s, when standard police-issue side arms were still predominantly revolvers, the average armed criminal also plied their trade with revolvers. Fast-forward the 30-odd years to present day and you will find that most police departments appreciate the higher capacity offered by semi-automatic firearms. And so do the criminals. The rules of the game have changed, in some cases drastically so, and outmoded perceptions of how criminals behave and which tools they use are no longer applicable.
There is this strange, almost cult-like belief among certain firearm owners that those who advocate carrying anything more than 5 rounds of ammunition (God forbid you even think of a spare magazine, you Rambo), then you must be a paranoid delusional git who expect to become involved in Hollywood-esque firefights around every corner as you attempt valiantly to pop down to the grocer for some crisps. Probably including a bitching Metallica backtrack and bullet-time effects as you dodge-roll through rush hour traffic.
Do these people actually watch the news? Do they read the newspapers? Can they, in fact, even read? Because they are either more isolated from the real world than a kidnapped Kardashian held in a Tora Bora cave, or they are suffering from the most extreme case of Dunning-Kruger Effect I have ever seen.
Newsflash, sunshine: nobody expects to become involved in an armed robbery. Criminals are not in the habit of sending memos to their prospective victims, courteously informing them of the time and place of the arranged robbery/rape/murder. Victims are generally taken by surprise. Obviously. This means that you do not know beforehand how determined, vicious, murderous, and numerous your prospective attacker(s) will be. Much like my Standard 8 Maths (HG) final exam, this tends to be a rather horrible surprise. Most rational people, when planning contingencies for worst-case scenarios, tend to do exactly that: plan for worst-case scenarios. A single criminal running tail-between-legs as soon as anything resembling a gun is produced by their intended victim is not that.
Do you own a fire extinguisher because you expect your house to burn down? Or because you would like to guard against it burning down? Capacity matters, folks. If it didn’t matter, then firearm manufacturers wouldn’t spend the money on research and development that gave us handguns that hold 17 rounds of 9mmP.
An anecdotal piece of “evidence” in this regard involves a personal acquaintance of mine, whose story I will still publish in good time, who was the victim of a highly unpleasant home invasion a few years ago. He found himself confronted by multiple armed assailants who, for want of a better expression, proceeded to kick the ever-living shit out of him. At gun point. In his own house. He managed to successfully keep his Colt 1911 concealed from them up until the point where he drew it on their already drawn guns. What happened next was basically a full-blown firefight between him and 4 armed robbers at contact range. He managed to escape down the hallway of his home, but was pursued by at least one assailant, resulting in further shots being exchanged. He succeeded in getting to cover, and realised that his slide was locked back and his weapon empty. His spare magazine was in his car, completely out of reach. Out of sheer desperation, and demonstrating incredible presence of mind, he locked his slide forward and charged at the home invaders with an empty weapon as they fired at him, and succeeded at chasing them from his house. The end result was himself suffering several bad wounds to his leg, and two deceased robbers. 7 shots were nearly, nearly not enough. If it weren’t for his display of incredible bravery the situation may have ended tragically.
Criminals are not necessarily the cowardly curs who turn tail and run from the first signs of resistance. Having had the misfortune of being forced to point my own firearm at a violent meth-addict who was attempting to murder a friend of mine, I cannot adequately express the feeling of sheer impotence one experiences when you realise that the person you are pointing a loaded firearm at is regarding it with the same sense of disquiet they would an expensive paperweight. Violent criminals are rather well adapted to violence…fancy that. “Surprise, sunshine! Your little handgun doesn’t scare me. Now what are you gonna do?”
If you want to know just how bad a single determined criminal can make life for you, feel free to read this harrowing account in Policemag (Shots Fired: Skokie, Illinois) about how a uniformed officer was forced into a firefight around his vehicle with a violent felon. The policeman shot the suspect a total of 17 times (including 3 fatal shots to the head) with a .45 ACP calibre Glock, but the criminal kept on fighting. When the fight was over the officer had only four rounds left in his last available magazine. But criminals always run away after the first shots, right? Right?
Capacity doesn’t matter…right?
Yeah, and civilians never face the same threats as police officers either. And Elvis is still alive and writing songs for Justin Bieber.
Nobody expects to become involved in a protracted firefight. But just because that isn’t what you expect to happen doesn’t mean that it never will. The choices you make today regarding the equipment you carry, among numerous other important decisions, can literally make the difference between you coming home alive to your loved ones tonight…or your corpse being carted away by a state mortuary vehicle.
That choice is yours alone.