Tactical Tips – How to be Combat Ready with a Handgun Part I

Springfield EMP

What’s Up Killa’s!!!

Today we are gonna stay true to the blog name and go over some tactical procedures. If you own a gun then you should know how to use it, you should be tactically ready because you never know when you will need it. If you are not ready it could be the difference between your life or the life of a loved one, if you are ready then it should be the life of the person who made the wrong choice to F with you and your family. I’m gonna go over how to be combat ready with a Pistol, their are other weapons that can be used as a self defense/home defense weapon but we are gonna focus on Pistols. Pistols are the most widely used gun for defense from the home to Law Enforcement to Military. Unlike the latter two groups we as civilians do not have extensive training using handguns. I highly recommend taking a handgun class when you purchase a gun. It will go a long way in helping keep you and your family safe from yourself.

The primary purpose of this post will be practicing with the pistol to be used in a defensive manner, but many of these techniques will easily translate to offensive use. While revolvers are a very common handgun, we will be focusing on semi-automatic pistols, since they are more widely used in tactical situations. It is true that revolvers are more reliable and unsurpassed, but when all factors are considered, semi-autos are the weapon of choice for police and armies around the world especially special forces. One important thing to remember is that just because you know how to use the weapon doesn’t mean you can use the weapon when push comes to shove. Not only do you need to know how to use the weapon tactically but you need to have a tactical mindset. 

Before you can learn to use a handgun you have to choose the right handgun for you. The right handgun for you might not be the right handgun for someone else, so don’t take someone elses word for it. Take the time to do the research and go to the firing range and test as many different handguns as you can get your hands on. The choice of weapon can seriously limit your ability to protect yourself with lack of accuracy or, more importantly, reliability. Here are some qualities to look for when purchasing a weapon for this specific use. Remember none of these are absolute as there are exceptions to all of them, and a pistol that fits you personally is always the best choice. Below are some points to remember when choosing the right handgun for you:

  • Larger handguns are usually more accurate than smaller ones, usually larger handguns are more easy to hold since your hand will cover the whole area, weight of gun and the length of the barrel usually helps reduce recoil which aids in grouping and faster follow-up shots.
  • Small pistols are easier to conceal and are lighter to carry.
  • Smaller calibers will result in less recoil, which once again helps with faster follow-up and better grouping. The one trade off is stopping power. Smaller calibers will usually require more shots to slow down or stop the perp. Unless your shot is strategically placed in the head or heart(or if you knee cap them 😉 )
  • Larger calibers will have more stopping power but more recoil.
  • A reliable pistol is more important then accuracy, purchase a high-quality pistol and make sure that you clean and maintain the weapon at all times so that when you need it, it is ready.
  • Semi-Auto’s can be more complicated then revolvers but new polymer guns are pretty simply and do not have that many pieces.
  • In my personal opinion point-shoot accuracy is more important then sighted accuracy when it comes to self defense tactics. 1st: You will want to determine basic point-shoot capabilities of the gun. Take an unloaded gun, close your eyes and point the gun with your finger next to the trigger, but not on it, at a makeshift target. Once you think you have aquired your target open your eyes – the sights should be lined up exactly where  you wanted it. At five yards, it should be no more than a couple inches off center-target. 2nd: If your handgun is pointing high or low, this can be compensated for with practice. For example anyone who has never used a Glock has a high point-shoot location due to the ergonomics of the gun, but with practice you can correct the location. But, if you then pick up a better-fit gun, like a springfield XD(m) you will notice that your point will a lot closer but probably a bit low due the the natural ergonomics of the gun. 

Next up we will be covering how to select a Caliber. This is a very tough choice, I am constantly second guessing myself and changing my mind on what I want. I go back and forth between 9mm or .40S&W. Do I want a bigger caliber with more stopping power or do I want a smaller caliber with less recoil. Also 9mm holds more rounds then a .40S&W. Can I stop the perp with more rounds if they are accurately placed or can I stop the perp with only a couple shots no matter where they are really placed. 

  1. An important rule of thumb is that no cartridge is perfect, so consider both the benefits and drawbacks. Handgun rounds are mostly considered weak and placement is much more important then the round itself. There are some advantages of one round over the other and in a fight the advantage should always be on your side.

There are a few attributes which should always be considered in a caliber:

  1. Permanent Cavity is the resulting “void” in a target where the majority of a bullets energy was transferred and tissue was destroyed. The bigger the Permanent Cavity the better the chance you have to cause fatal damage to the organs or the central nervous system.
  2. Penetration is highly important. If the trajectory does not Penetrate deep enough it may not cause fatal damage to the organs and the damage to the central nervous system may be less severe. It is recommended that each round should penetrate at least 14-16 inches to be considered reliable. This allows the round to penetrate the body at different angles some less desirable then others and still have enough energy to cause maximum damage to vital organs.
  3. Recoil is not talked about enough when it comes to bullet ballistics b/c it is a very subjective and weapon-specific characteristic. Low recoil allow you to have better grouping and faster follow up. Also each handgun will transfer the recoil differently.
  4. Bullet Energy is an extremely emphasized feature. Handguns have an extremely low Bullet Energy. “Knock down power” is a fable born from action movies; stories of people being knocked down when shot is all mental, it has been proven that they fall down because thats what they assume is supposed to happen. People shot with a .22 LR in a non life threatening area have fallen down b/c they assume that since they were shot they should fall down and die.

Last we are gonna do a comparison of the most common semi-automatic handgun rounds:

  • 9mm Parabellum is the most common caliber in the world. The 9mm has a low recoil which allows for quick, accurate follow up shots and small grouping. The 9mm magazine capacity is usually much greater than other larger rounds. They also cost less and the availability is excellent, which in turn makes it the number 1 choice for long term practice. Finally there are wonderful higher pressure loads available called +P rated rounds, producing outstanding self-defense characteristics (make sure your handgun is rated to shoot +P loads).
  • .40 S&W is one of my favorite rounds and is also very common. The .40 S&W is the newest of the three rounds it was created only a few decades ago, to replace the 10mm and was specifically made for Law Enforcement because the rounds they were using at the time (9mm and .38 special) were not cutting the mustard. A couple of benefits of the round is that the flat nose of the bullet creates a larger temporary cavity and also to allow the energy to transfer at a quicker rate to create a sizable permanent cavity.
  • .45 ACP is the largest of the 3 bullets but travels at a lower velocity. The caliber is the only round that can be used efficiently with the sound suppressor due to the fact that the standard round (230 grain) is subsonic under almost all circumstances. The permanent cavity on a ballistic gel of a JHP .45 ACP is about 40% larger than a JHP 9mm. Some of the negatives about the round is that the recoil is vicious but manageable with the correct stance and grip and also the magazine holds a lot fewer rounds then a 9mm or .40 S&W magazine. It is a common saying in LE that if you don’t hit them in the first 3 rounds then you are not gonna hit them at all. So, if you live by that theory then a smaller capacity magazine shouldn’t be a problem.

Those three rounds are the most commonly used rounds in semi-auto pistols but they can also be calibered in .38 special, .357 Magnum, and .44 Magnum. These are common revolver cartridges. The .357 SIG ( a 9mm bullet in a necked down .40 cal casing) and 10mm Auto are also somewhat prevalent autoloader calibers. Another specialty round is the 5.7x28mm, made by FN, (Fabrique Nationale) designed to defeat Class III body armor with this ammunition. These steel-core rounds are not widely available to civilians, but the advantage of the round as a very low-recoil, high velocity round cannot be denied. Due to the calibers tumbling effect in soft targets it will inflict a considerable amount of permanent cavity while still penetrating the required depth of 14 inches. There is a very similar round with similar characteristics is the 4.6x30mm that is created by Heckler and Koch.

Thank you for joining me in Part I of How to be Combat Ready with a Handgun. Please remember that these are my opinions based on the research that I have done and also my experiences shooting and using handguns. These opinions are shared by many experts in the handgun field so please read them carefully. I hope you have learned something reading my blog today. Stay tuned for Part II of How to be Combat Ready with a Handgun. We will be covering how to reloading your pistol, pistol malfunctions, point shooting and flash sighting, how to train yourself, human targets and quick draw. Please leave any comments or questions below and also don’t forget to click the follow button so you don’t miss out on any future posts.

Thanks!!!!

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One response to “Tactical Tips – How to be Combat Ready with a Handgun Part I

  1. Pingback: Observations on handgun and rifle usage for self defense: from a father of two young children | Jesse Talks Back

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