I spent the better part of Saturday hanging out with our man Leghorn. As I watched TTAG’s T&E guy wolf down half-a-pound of Schmidt’s barbecued brisket (moist), we talked about carry vs. home defense guns. I asked Nick why he carries a Wilson Combat Bill Wilson Carry 1911 (review here) but relies on a suppressed SIG SAUER P226 Mk25 for protecting home and hearth. Nick said he carries the 1911 because . . .
“It’s badass.” While it’s hard to argue with that kind of logic (or lack thereof) I did my best. “You do realize that the 1911 is the best gun in the world to shoot someone with,” I said sipping from a styrofoam cup of Mexican diet soda. “And the worst gun in the world not to shoot someone with.”
“You mean the trigger,” Nick replied.
In a high-stress situation fine motor coordination disappears. Fingers feel like flippers. If your flipper finger “touches” the 1911’s trigger during a defensive gun use (DGU) chances are it’s going to go off. In contrast, if your flipper finger checks (a.k.a., “registers”) the go-pedal of your average polymer pistol or any double-action revolver, chances are it’s not going to fire – until you consciously squeeze the trigger. Generally speaking. In theory.
“If I’m outside and I draw my gun, it’s because I’ve identified a threat,” Nick said. “I can see it. It’s in front of me. Odds are I’m going to need to shoot. So I’m not that worried about not shooting. If I’m at home, I probably won’t see the threat when I have my gun. I might be half-asleep, confused. The threat could be anywhere. I might be mistaken about what is a threat. I need that extra margin of safety.”
After that conversation, TTAG reader SL send me this DGU story from PA’s wabc27.com:
A 31-year-old Glenville woman was alone when she heard someone trying to force their way inside Wednesday, so she grabbed a handgun that she trains with on a regular basis, Southwestern Regional police said.
She then called 911 and reported a burglary in progress, police said.
When the man eventually kicked in her front door and entered the home in the 7700 block of Glenville Road, the woman leveled the gun and told the intruder not to come any closer, police said.
He obeyed her order and was found on the front porch of a neighbor’s home when an officer arrived minutes later.
Cory R. Gootee, 19, of Stewartstown, told the officer he had left a neighbor’s house to smoke a cigarette, became disoriented, and believed he had been locked out of the neighbor’s home, police said.
Police said Gootee may have been intoxicated.
We don’t know what kind of gun was involved or if the homeowner had her finger on the trigger during any part of her close encounter with an inebriated home invader. But the story seems to back up Nick’s contention that it’s good to have a home defense gun like the double-action P226 with its 10 lbs. initial double-action trigger pull. A trigger you can touch without firing. As opposed to the single-action-only Wilson Combat with its 3.5 lbs. trigger pull – if “pull” is even the right word – where the slightest squeeze sends lead downrange.
Then again . . .
What’s so different about street life? A bad guy comes towards you with a knife, you aim the gun at him or her and order them to stop. They do. If you “register” the trigger of your 1911 at any point in the proceedings, oh dear. The noise, paperwork and legal fees could be immense. Lest we forget, it’s also possible to mistake a scary-looking guy reaching for a cell phone as a life-threatening perp. Cops do it all the time. Spec-ops high-speed low-drag operators operating in operational environments wielding 1911s? Not so much.
Yes, there is that. Some members of the special forces crowd are partial to 1911s, as are some SWAT guys and gals. Surely they wouldn’t carry “hair-trigger” handguns into situations where a negligent discharge could be a career killer. How come they can carry 1911s but civilians can’t (i.e. shouldn’t)? Former Wilson Combat media guy John May asserts that “a 1911 is an expert’s gun. Unless you train hard with it you should think long and hard about carrying one.”
A lot of 1911 owners think they train hard. They fire thousands of rounds through their 1911 every year, most at square ranges, some at competitions. The train themselves to shoot well. But they don’t practice not firing their gun – as military and police special units do. Those guys train to maintain muzzle and trigger discipline during a variety of high-stress simulations. Non-coms and non-LEOs simply don’t know whether or not they’d check the gun’s trigger during a DGU before making a conscious decision to let loose the ballistic dogs of war.
I mention all this because I’m buying a Wilson Combat X-TAC. And I’m thinking about carrying it (for a variety of reasons). While I hardly consider myself an expert on anything other than the inadvisability of marrying beautiful women, I’m no newbie. Still, short of a real-life DGU, there’s only one way to find out if I’m up to the challenge of carrying a gun with a breathe-on-it-and-it-fires trigger: force-on-force training.
I’ll take some more force-on-force training and ask someone to watch my trigger finger. If I can keep my booger hook off the bang switch until I need to fire (or not), I’ll carry the Wilson. If I can’t I won’t. Fair enough? Oh and I watched an IDPA competitor’s Wilson choke this weekend. Extractor issues, I believe. More food for thought.