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In the Elvis Death Day edition of Gun Digest (August 16), jobbing journo Dave Workman almost answers the question posed by his article’s headline: Are Some Pistols Too Small? “What one must remember is that those tiny pistols can be chambered for some potent cartridges that have quite a bit of recoil in a smaller-framed gun, far more than in the full-size models for which they were originally intended. What one gains in size, or more accurately, the lack of size, one sacrifices in controllability when the shooting starts. Some folks might be able to handle that but others— and particularly women and smaller-framed men — may not . . . If one cannot control a handgun, no matter how accurate or potent the caliber, it is not much good for the job it was designed to accomplish: Getting its owner out of a potentially lethal scrape.”

So . . . yes?

Well, kinda. Instead of rejecting the mouse gun breed outright, or proffering the ultimate excuse (“the best gun in a gun fight is the one you have”), Workman focuses on the grip. Or lackthereof.

The advantage that Ruger’s LCP and similar Kel Tec have over some other small, and less expensive, .380-caliber pistols is the rather well-done molded checkering in the their grip frames. This helps reduce the chances that the gun will simply fly out even a perspiring hand at recoil.

Although the text doesn’t name names, the photos single out the Smith & Wesson Model 442 and Kahr PM9 as guns with size-challenged grips.

Is Workman damning the models with faint praise? Reading between the lines of his conclusion, it’s hard to conclude otherwise . . .

Keep this in perspective. Your life and the lives of others may one day depend on your defensive sidearm. If that gun does not measure up to that specific requirement, you’re living on imagination and, perhaps, borrowed time.

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  1. Good heavens! Does anyone really have such a big problem with .380 kick? The .380 autos I’ve shot – their barrels firmly fixed to the frame – didn’t kick much at all. There was certainly no danger of them flying out of my sweaty hands or that they were so uncontrollable that women and children can’t handle them. It’s rubbish.

  2. I always liked the gun journo cliche of 'snappy.' I will say firing a lot of my LCP ain't pleasant. But William is right- not uncontrollable.

    But people are different. I tend to tense up like crazy in a stress situation so my grip is almost too tight. Others might become as shaky as a BP exec in front of congress.

  3. It is a very small hand gun, not to be confused with a chicken gun.

    What’s a chicken gun you ask? The same question I asked my client when the chicken gun showed up at the border for customs clearance.

    Apparently they test the windshield and leading edges or aeroplanes by firing semi frozen chickens at them. And this was the gun that did it.

    So my first thought was why do you need to shoot mice at anything?


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