When is a handgun useful?


Phantom Warrior
April 29, 2003, 10:02 PM
I was talking with a friend the other night about the Minnesota CCW bill. In the course of the discussion he remarked "Why would you need a handgun? If someone has a gun pointed at you already what are you going to do? Try and beat them to the draw?" I did point out that isn't the type of situation where you would want to go for your weapon.

But it got me thinking. The debate around CCW is usually about the responsibility of permit holders, not how practical it is. I'm going to raise that question. If someone asked you "In what type of situation would a gun be a useful?" what would you say?

To avoid being flamed or accused of being a troll, I fully support concealed carry and firearms. I just think this is an issue that isn't very often addressed directly and I'm interested to hear what people wiser than I have to say about it.

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April 29, 2003, 10:18 PM
The best way to answer this might be to look at real life situations.


April 29, 2003, 10:20 PM
I dont think anyone is going to try and out-draw someone with a gun to your head. Maybe Bob Munden could do it. There are a lot of situations that are short of that though. Being mugged by people with knives or a group without weapons. Being threatened in general. A store robbery where the gun isnt pointed at you. A woman who is at a physical diasadvantage to a man in general. There are a ton of situations where the gun could save you. In addition it is basically about being aware of your surroundings. If I am at a light where there are "undesirebles" then my hand might go to my CCW so that I could beat them.

Most CCW cases where the weapon was used are simple brandishings. Letting the scumbag know and see you brandishing a gun will tend to end the situation. If the guy allready has a gun pointed at you then most likely you werent paying attention.

Zak Smith
April 29, 2003, 10:26 PM
Remember Tueller!!

Alternatively, if you are with grappling distance of someone holding a gun on you, you should be able to redirect his gun to a safer direction before he can react.


April 29, 2003, 10:27 PM
apartently you never have broken the pull tab off the last beer either .... :D a 357 comes in very handy then ..messy but handy :D

April 30, 2003, 05:32 AM
LOL Coonan.

I've got two that haven't been mentioned:
Roadrep's Experience (http://glocktalk.com/showthread.php?threadid=126319&perpage=25&pagenumber=1) on Glocktalk.

My dad and his friend were camping one time. My dad's friend, let's call him Bob, had to...take care of business, so to speak. Bob prepares to poop into a bucket. Bob is a fairly round fellow. He informs my dad, "You know, if I get stuck on this bucket you're gonna have to run your finger down the crack of my butt to break the seal." To which my father replies, "No, I will shoot a hole in the bucket with my .357 to break the seal!"

April 30, 2003, 08:49 AM
Thanks for the visuals.

April 30, 2003, 09:30 AM

Excellent link LiquidTension on RoadRep.
I copied the link to word just to make sure it is accessible if the link ever gets deleted.

I think he was there, he composes him self-well.
I like the line . . .

A whore thinks everyone else is a whore. A thief thinks everyone else is a thief. A liar thinks that everyone else is a liar.

Double Naught Spy
April 30, 2003, 10:01 AM
In a given situation, you may or may not be able to gain access to your carry gun depending on how much the bad guy got a jump on you, distance, etc. It happens. If you read some of the real life stories, you see the heroes are not always able to produce a gun on demand in a tense situation. Sometimes, they have to use patience and wait for an opportunity.

One thing is VERY DEFINITE, you very definitely won't have the option to draw your gun if you don't have it with you or close by. AND just because you have a carry gun does not mean you have to use it. Having the gun simply means you have the option to use it should you decide it would be prudent, sort of like the fire exits in movie theatres.

April 30, 2003, 12:57 PM
Have a buddy who says that hanguns are for shooting yourself when you run outta rifle ammo.:neener:

April 30, 2003, 01:20 PM
I would recommend you get in touch with the Lethal Force Institute and look into taking their "Judicious Use of Deadly Force" class. This particular issue is covered in great detail there.

For example, Massad Ayoob teaches that a firearm is not a magic talisman, it is a tool. It occupies the highest and narrowest band of the spectrum of self-defense. The broadest and lowest band on that spectrum is awareness of your surroundings - if you are not floating along in your own little world, you may be more apt to notice and avoid the thug before he gets close enough to put a gun to your temple.

The vast majority of defensive situations don't involve an assailant sneaking up to you and putting a gun to your head. A gun may not be useful in every last possible situation, but it's useful enough in enough situations to control and subdue violent criminals that the police carry them all the time.

One fellow I know from the wa-ccw mailing list recounted an incident where untucking the back of his shirt was enough to cause four young thugs crossing the street towards him and his companion to veer off in another direction. I had a similar experience in Arizona about a year ago.

In both cases, we were aware enough of our situation and surroundings to be able to percieve a potential threat and make a gesture that was evidently understood by the approaching individual when they were 30-40 feet away, as opposed to right next to us.

You should ask your friend why he thinks that the uselessness of a handgun in 0.0001% of defensive situations should mean that they are unsuited to the other 99.9999%?

April 30, 2003, 04:09 PM
A pistol is for when your cover garment cant keep your Krinkov, Colt Commando or Shorty 12ga from printing horribly.


April 30, 2003, 05:14 PM
... handguns are for fighting your way back to your rifle!

April 30, 2003, 05:27 PM
I once used a .22 pistol to open a military-issue #10 can of M&M's. Took 15 rounds before I could tear the top off.

Standing Wolf
April 30, 2003, 06:42 PM
A hand gun is an excellent way to frighten off a menacing individual or group of criminals intent on foul plan. If worse comes to worse, it's usually not a remarkably effective weapon, but it beats the socks off none at all.

April 30, 2003, 07:01 PM
I find a handgun on the right hip to be quite useful to counter-balance the weight of extra ammo on the left side.

April 30, 2003, 07:18 PM
had an out of town kid hold a sawed of .22 to his head.

the guy knew firearms and before the kid realized it the victim had released the magazine from the rifle AND jacked the round out of the chamber...

so now the kid has an empty gun...

he starts to try to club the victim but lo and behold mr victim pulls out his .380 and pops a few off.

unfortunately he only managed to graze his assailant

the cops got em (there was another one there) shortly thereafter.

hows that for quick thinking?

if you feel you have no choice...

another method is to completely relax your body suddenly and let gravity take you to the ground, the assailant cant react in time and should the gun go off it will be firing over you.

the trick is to also access your own weapon at the same time and be ready to fire as you hit the ground.

of course, if you never practice this stuff your odds of success will be limited severely.

this is why i like the pocket gun, i can say "here, let me get you my money" and put my hand in my pocket, once my hand is around the grip, i'm hittin' the deck and my ccw is coming out as i'm falling.

sounds good on paper anyway...


its also useful for hammering in the tacks when youre putting up a target:what: :neener:

May 1, 2003, 12:14 AM
There was an incident posted here where a gun store/indoor range holdup turned into a hostage situation. When it became apparent that the crook was going to execute the employees one employee drew against the crook and won.

It may be unlikely, but it can happen and even be successful.

Guy B. Meredith
May 1, 2003, 01:34 AM
I love these scenarios where someone purposes a situation and it is accepted as the norm. DUMB!!

The idea that someone is already pointing a gun at you is one very specific situation and not likely to be the norm. If you are on alert you are considering cover and ready to draw. Puts you at least on an equal basis.

Other than that, when first seeing the title of this thread the answer that popped into my mind is "competition and marksmanship". My revolvers were not obtained with the idea of self defense. They were obtained (two were 'free' thanks to S&W sponsering of competition) for recreational purposes.

On the other hand I do keep one in the bedroom at night as I would not want to have my recreational revolvers sitting out of reach if some Bad Guys decided to kick in the door and attack an old fart in this senior community.

May 1, 2003, 07:32 AM
me and a friend got robbed at knifepoint in broad daylight walking down the main drag in good ol' waukegan illinois (ever been there?)

the knife was in our faces before we knew it. we were both young (18) and unarmed.

i was wishing i had some $ to give the (expletive deleted), there were 3 of them, but i didn't. not a dime. i was lucky they believed me. they got $20 off my bud.

somehow i remained strangely calm throught the ordeal.

me, "i just got paid."

bg "i KNOW!" with a grin

me, '"yea but what you DON'T know is i haven't cashed my check yet. i havent got a dime on me. you can check"

bg, "get out of here!" with a growl...

and away we went...

somewhat wiser if nothing else

now i can answer, "here, let me get my money for you", as i reach into my pocket...


May 1, 2003, 08:15 AM
another method is to completely relax your body suddenly and let gravity take you to the ground, the assailant cant react in time and should the gun go off it will be firing over you.

the trick is to also access your own weapon at the same time and be ready to fire as you hit the ground.

But first you must snatch the pebble from my hand Grasshopper.

Or how about just wetting your pants and pooping allover your wallet. No self respecting P.O.S. would want your cash once you've completed the Super Secret Squirrel combat Stop, Drop, Roll and Poo maneuvers….

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