The RG23 is the quintessential cheap handgun and never had a good reputation. Many owners have claimed a lack of reliability, so I suspect that quality control wasn’t in the same class as the old Smith & Wesson revolvers. The rough trigger makes accuracy difficult, even for experienced shooters. The steel inserts in Zamak alloy construction are corrosion cells waiting to happen. The revolvers are so inexpensive, they are not economically worth repairing. They sold, in 1969, for 19.95. The current price on the used market is around $50. But, they are guns . . .
They will put a hole in someone most of the time, if the shooter does their part. More importantly, they’re recognizable as being a real gun. That’s important because in the vast majority of defensive gun uses, the person holding the gun doesn’t have to pull the trigger. They just have to show that they’re willing to shoot. Most guns used defensively are used for deterrence, rather than to injure or kill.
That is precisely what happened with the RG23 in the photo above. From wkrg.com:
When he came out they found the thief rummaging through his garage and all of their lawn equipment moved on the verge of being stolen.
That’s when Taylor grabbed his pistol and held the burglar up until police could get there.
“He was compliant with what I told him to do. But he was scared he was real scared,” said Taylor “He kept saying he didn’t move anything and I probably would have let him go if he didn’t just stop lying and then when I saw all my stuff pulled out and he was going to steal it, it kind of made me angry”
“Scared.” “Compliant.” Imparting the emotion to obtain the response is the major purpose of the defensive pistol in peacetime. Peaceful and responsible gun owners don’t want to shoot anyone. They want criminals to be scared so as to be compliant and deterred. In the worst case, they want to be able to stop crazy, drugged up, drunk, or reckless perpetrators who are not scared or compliant.
Fortunately, the cases when shooting is necessary are relatively rare. That’s why there are only about 1,000 to 1,500 cases of justifiable homicide every year in the United States. The FBI Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) only catches about 20% of those, about 300 a year, due to the way in which the UCR has cases reported and defined.
Even a cheap pistol is gun enough nearly all the time. I prefer tough, well made, accurate, easy-to-shoot, powerful, durable pistols. The market has told me that’s what most people prefer, too. But there’s a market and a purpose for cheap guns, too. And always will be.
©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.