Sam’s thinking about carrying. So I brought a few potential carry pieces to The American Firearms School for her dining and dancing pleasure. To supplement the School’s wide range of handguns, I packed a MPA Protector 380, Ruger SP101, Smith & Wesson hammerless 642, Ruger LC9 and a Springfield XD 9. Oh, and Sam’s Smith & Wesson 686. The 686 is definitely last but not least; it’s morphed from my birthday present to “Sam’s gun.” To make a long story short, Sam wants to carry . . . her 686. Four inch barrel and 42 ounce heft be damned. She’s dead accurate with it and feels more comfortable (at least psychologically) with .357s on board. But she’s got a bad case of bullet envy . . .
On the way home, driving through the fattest snowflakes I’ve ever seen, I tried to tell Sam that six .357s were sufficient for self-defense. At least potentially.
“If you use your sights and hit the bad guy, you won’t even need that many.”
“What if there are two of them?”
“Even more reason to aim carefully and not shoot a single bullet more than necessary. Per perp.”
“If .357 revolvers are so great,” Sam asked, leaving no beat skipped, “why did cops switch to semis?”
“Because they need all those bullets,” I said. “Multiple bad guys, uncertain environments, God knows what. Besides, generally speaking, cops are lousy shots.”
[New York Times: In 2006, in cases where police officers intentionally fired a gun at a person, they discharged 364 bullets and hit their target 103 times, for a hit rate of 28.3 percent, according to the department’s Firearms Discharge Report.]
“So why do you carry 13 rounds of .45 in your Springfield?”
“To save your ass.”
“See? See? I need more bullets!”
“You need more training,” I replied.
“And more bullets.”
“But then they wouldn’t be .357s,” I countered.
“But I’d have more of them.”
“But then you’d be more tempted to spray and pray.”
“Like the cops?”
“Well they did at that Detroit police station invasion.”
“The bad guy better pray if he’s looking down the barrel of my 686,” Sam said, with characteristic timidity.
And that was that, really. Save for Sam’s newfound desire to learn how to speed load her Smith (knowing full well that it’s not bound to go well in combat conditions).
I thought about stopping power vs. capacity today. And psychology. I reckon a gun with fewer bullets would force some (though not all and maybe not even a majority) of self-defense shooters to shoot more carefully and, thus, successfully, than a gun with 16 rounds like the Springfield XD(m) 9. What’s your take?