A GLOCK is significantly more reliable than a 1911. I carry a 1911. Why? Because reliability is only one variable in a defensive gun use, and far from the most important one . . .
Defending your life with a firearm is all about minimizing risk. The first and most important variable that you can control: avoid stupid people in stupid places doing stupid things.
Sure, bad things can happen anywhere. But the chances of being attacked in a good neighborhood are significantly less than the chances of being attacked in a dodgy area. At night. Alone. If you can’t or won’t avoid times and places where an assault is more likely to occur, like, say, a parking garage after a concert, fair enough. Your risk is higher than mine.
The second variable is situational awareness. If you can sense danger before it turns life-threatening and avoid it, perhaps by leaving, result.
The third variable is your ability to move out of the way. If you have a choice between moving out of the way of an attack or shooting from a stationary position that puts you in harm’s way, which would you choose first?
The fourth variable is your ability to bring your gun to bear on the bad guy or guys as you move. Most defensive gun uses end without a shot fired. If you have quick access to a firearm, if you can draw your gun efficiently, you significantly lower your chances of being a victim.
The fifth variable is shot placement. If you can hit the bad guy or guys with bullets it will provide a strong disincentive for them to continue their attack. Everything after that – including the caliber of round with which you hit them – is relatively unimportant.
And that’s why I’m not bothered about my gun’s reliability: I place all of the above above my gun’s reliability. Especially accuracy. I have confidence I can hit what I’m aiming at with my 1911. I also shoot my gun often enough to know that it’s acceptably reliable. In other words, the chances are high that it will function when I need it to.
Yes but – why not carry a GLOCK and take that variable off the table?
Again, I value accuracy over reliability. And I am mentally prepared to continue fighting if it doesn’t function. I’ve got a spare mag to try to fix a problem and enough sense to not try if I don’t have the time. Or ditch the idea of using my gun entirely.
If you own a GLOCK because you believe it will never fail, you are making big mistake. All guns fail, whether through mechanical function or operator error. Especially operator error. As in failing to get it out in time or dropping it or missing your target or running out of ammo.
At the end of the day, it’s best to carry a gun that you can use effectively. A gun you carry well and shoot well. I will never question anyone’s choice of weapon – if they’re comfortable carrying that gun and can hit their target, they’re good to stow.
Truth be told, I have three carry guns: a 1911, a compact 9mm SIG and a Kahr pocket nine. I feel comfortable with all of them. But I don’t assume that any of them will work. Why would I?