Question of the Day: Is a 1911 A Two Bad Guy Gun?

I was talking to the rabbi last night about my new carry piece: the perfectly concealable Caracal S. The UAE 9mm carries 15+1 rounds. Add in the spare mag I schlep as a matter of course (of course I do) and I’ve got 31 Golden Sabers at my ballistic beck and call. Why do I need so much ammo? I don’t. I reckon a couple of .45s or yes even 9mms ought to get it done. Which is why I never felt under-gunned with my 10+1+10 Glock 30SF. In fact, I miss those lead-jacketed telephone poles. Yes but, the rabbi opined, the Caracal’s capacity makes it a three bad guy gun. THREE? Holy Mexican drug cartel hit squad! Why would I need to defend myself against a trio of [potential] assassins? What about people who carry ye olde 1911? That’s a two bad guy gun, the rabbi replied. Providing the shooter’s any good. C’mon. Really? And is it a good idea to think that way?


  1. avatar bob says:

    So an FN Five-seveN with its 30+1 cap. and a spare would be a 7 bad guy gun. Right?

    1. avatar bob says:

      P.s. I don’t own one but I want one.

      1. avatar Rabbi says:

        With the abysmal reputation for stopping power, the 5.7 is a 1 bad guy gun ๐Ÿ™‚

        1. avatar Hulley says:

          FWIW, brassfetcher gave the SS197 a “on par or exceeds” that of a .45acp JHP conclusion. And yes I do own a FiveseveN. Not sure if I believe that but I’ll take it.

        2. avatar rosignol says:

          With the usual effects of adrenaline and stress on combat accuracy, most pistols are actually ‘one bad guy’ guns.

          Hitting the target becomes far more challenging when the target is shooting back.

      2. avatar Rabbi says:

        Almost 50% of attacks are done by more than one attacker. I am looking for the exact details and source now and will follow up when I find them

        1. avatar Rabbi says:

          Bureau of Justice Statistics: Homicide Type by Race, 1976-2005

          Multiple offenders: black 44.6% white 53.0%

          (When you average the two, it shows that almost 50% of attacks are committed by multiple attackers. Unfortunately, it does not state the specific number of attackers)

        2. avatar Aharon says:

          That is very interesting to know.

        3. avatar Ropingdown says:

          I’d be very interested in the source of the 50% number and the definition of “attacks” in that statistic. I use BJS data often, but cannot find that table. If it were the CA Justice definition of “multiple offenders” meaning repeat offenders, it would instantly make sense. For firearm offenses or homicides, it seems an unlikely statistic. I also note the BJS doesn’t include Hispanic as a race, only ‘white’ ‘black’ or ‘other’, where other means groups like aleuts and pacific islanders. They define Hispanic or Latino as an ‘ethnicity.’ So Hispanics who answer the ethnicity question “Hispanic” but the race question as “white” fall into the white category in their statistical tables.

        4. avatar Ropingdown says:

          Rabbi: Could you please post the web cite for the table breaking out multiple offender statistics? Thanks.

    2. avatar Dirk Diggler says:

      didn’t know there would be math involved

    3. avatar Jeremy says:

      Technically the 30+1 FN would be a 31 bad guy gun. Maybe even more if you can get them to line up for you.

  2. avatar Moonshine7102 says:

    So, the Rabbi figures five 9’s per BG and 4 .45’s? Rabbi, please explain these shenanigans.

    1. avatar Rabbi says:

      No shenanigans about it. The concept of a one-shot stop is a myth. It MIGHT happen, but don’t count on it.

      Shoot ’till the threat stops. The more shots –on target– in the quickest time possible is the best recipe for real stopping power. Expecting 3-5 shots per threat, or more, is not unreasonable. Wash, rinse, repeat as necessary.

      1. avatar KWAL says:

        I don’t have a lot of actual experience shooting people, but from what I understand you are right on. Plenty of so called “one shot stops” actually happen when someone says, “OMG I’m shot”, and then lies down.

        Just the same, if I’m out and about I can use my feet or my vehicle to escape danger, and it’s not my job to confront multiple assailants. If I was attacked by three or four guys and dropped two the others would, in all likelihood scatter. That is what cowards do. For me, needing more than 20 rounds is probably not in the cards. Of course, if I worked armed security for a high risk target, or in my own home, it’s a different story. I aint running anywhere.

      2. avatar Jason says:

        You’re going to have to rely on it. You’re not going to fill 4 or 5 bad guys with lead, serially. “Bang-bang-bang-bang-bang, ok, he’s down, bang-bang-bang-bang…” While you’re putting lead on one, the others are not going to be standing around, politely waiting their turn. Even a Mozambique is too much time and assessment when you’re outgunned. That means two shots at most, and if there’s 3 or more, you might even want to go “boarding house rules”. (Nobody gets seconds until everybody’s been served once.) This is what the Dozier drill is intended to demonstrate. And that drill is based on a real-world case!

        Scenarios where you’re significantly outnumbered are actually an argument for major caliber handguns. These are cases where you will be forced to rely on sheer one-shot stopping power. The magazine is not your limiting factor, it’s the response time of your opponents. You don’t have time to pause, reflect, evaluate, assess. Only to get one shot on each and move on. And you’ll be lucky to get even that!

        The truth is, if you’re that outnumbered, and they really want you, you’re probably meat. But if you want to make the best of it, it’s not magazine capacity that will save you, but sheer shock & awe. If I’m going up against a dirty-half-dozen, make mine not just a 1911, but a 1911 in 10mm or maybe .38 Super. I want to put as many down on the first shot as I possibly can. I’ll worry about the rest of them if I’m granted that gift. With 9+1 in the gun, there’ll still be a few rounds left over.

        1. avatar Rabbi says:

          You make several good points. John Farnam’s Border House Rules: “Every one gets firsts before anyone gets seconds” may be best if faced with multiple equal threats. Various threat levels may be best served one at a time. Only your exact situation will dictate the best method.

          Another great saying of John is that “you will probably run out of time before you run out of ammo.”

          “Scenarios where youโ€™re significantly outnumbered are actually an argument for major caliber handguns. These are cases where you will be forced to rely on sheer one-shot stopping power.” I agree, and that’s one reason I prefer .45. I carry and XD so I have 14 rounds. I consider it the best of both worlds.

          Even if heavily outnumbered, I am going to fight and take as many of the bastards down as possible.

  3. avatar Loyd says:

    I’m curious to hear the Rabbi’s arithmetic.

    1. avatar Loyd says:

      If we go by the movies and every bad guy gets a Mozambique Drill, that’s 3 from the 1911 (8+1) and 5 from the Caracal (15+1 for good measure).

  4. avatar Aharon says:

    Does anyone know the make and model of the knife in the photo?

    1. avatar Rjason007 says:

      I am not sure but the picture is from Wilson Combat’s site, so It might be a Wilson Combat knife?

      1. avatar Aharon says:

        I went to the Wilson site and while the above knife isn’t offered the knives they do sell are friggin pricey. Knowing a bit about knives I think their knives are way overpriced. Thanks.

    2. avatar KWAL says:

      @Aharon It’s a Boker Cop Tool. One place you can get them is through the company that makes the gun in the photo, Wilson Combat. They also make one with the same style blade, just longer. It’s a decent blade, if over priced, and comes in handy for the third bad guy when your 1911 runs dry ๐Ÿ˜‰

    3. avatar KWAL says:

      Actually I just checked WC’s site and they don’t list it now. Only the arger version by Becker, which is more like a small machete. Anyway they can be had on Amazon:

      1. avatar Aharon says:

        The linked Boker @Amazon is nice yet a bit small at 1.75″ long though they are using 440C which is a better steel than 440A or B. If it was really inexpensive (not $46) I would probably buy it.

        I’m familiar with the Becker line of knives and the BK3 the tac tool knife/pry-bar hybrid. It is one heck of a tool! A solid 7″ long.

        I own the BK2. Today, I’m ordering the BK5. Over at the some of the Beckerheads are today customizing the BK5 into an even more effective combat knife. If you’re interested scroll down and then go to page #2 of the thread:


        1. avatar Aharon says:

          Clarify: the blade is 1.75″ long.

        2. avatar spymyeyes says:

          No thanks.

          I will stick (haha) with my tried & true Gerber MkII.

          I have yet to find a problem that I could not fix with that knife and the quality is still unmatched to this day.

    4. avatar DaveM says:

      Wilson version looking at the pistol.
      Cop Tool $140 and Boker makes one similar for about $60.
      Not sure if Boker is 1/2 as good or just 1/2 the cost

      1. avatar Aharon says:

        Not sure myself. Most likely for a one time emergency the Boker will work just as well as Wilson. BTW, I’m finding all ranges of prices on Amazon for the Boker; I just found it at $43 down from $60. Maybe if I go back a third time, I can find it at $20?


        1. avatar Sig says:

          I bought mine years ago for about $35. It’s a great tool. I reviewed it a few years ago.

  5. avatar American Gun Guy says:

    Way off topic here, but based on UAE’s refusal of Israel’s right to exist along with all the anti-semitic policy I would not touch the Caracal with a ten foot pole.

    1. avatar JustSayin says:

      I was thinkin’ the same thing ..

    2. avatar Aharon says:

      Thanks and good comment.

    3. avatar Jason says:

      I touched one. I won’t buy it.

      Didn’t Farago get offended at Nazi memorabilia guns? The Nazis are gone. We beat ’em, and I think it’s ok to commemorate that fact. They’re not going to see a profit on the guns that sell at auction. The Jew-haters in the UAE are still alive and active, and they are getting the benefit of the Caracals that sell.

      To buy one? A shanda un a charpeh.

    4. avatar Daniel says:


      Why on earth would I support such a group of people when we’ve got some very fine, tested and proven designs which fit the bill made right here in America (or Austria)?

      1. avatar Matt G. says:

        One of the reasons I’d much rather try ou that new russian/Italian strike one pistol

    1. avatar KWAL says:

      Good link Keith. That’s where I got the one I have.

  6. avatar Dirk Diggler says:

    Robert – why do you carry Golden Sabres over other defensive ammo, say Hornady, and isn’t MA a 10 rd max cap state?

    1. avatar Zealot says:

      MA is a 10 round cap state for NEW magazines but preban mags of higher capacity are okay.

      I don’t know what type of mag the Caracal takes; perhaps a Glock mag whose full cap mags can still be had here or else he’s not talking about in MA.

  7. avatar ST says:

    Let us use the NYPD as a baseline.Since they don’t use sighted fire and employ the spray and pray tactical regime with double action only sidearms, we can use them as a worst case scenario/lowest common denominator for a DGU involving a prolonged gunfight. In their latest incident, they fired 84 times with 14 shots connecting , none of them life ending hits. We have a hit percentage of 16% from that episode.

    Using the “NYPD Formula” assuming the shooter scores a lethal hit at random with each round that connects, we get a bad guy number of 1.28 for the 1911 , assuming an 8 round magazine is used. The figure becomes 1.12 for a 7 round magazine.

    The FN Five-Seven gets a 4.8 bad guy number, and the S&W 5946/Glock 19s used by the NYPD get a 2.4 body tally, as does the Caracal 9c.

    Moral of the story , if you don’t know what those bumpy things are on top of the slide give the gun to someone else.

    1. avatar Hulley says:

      The Five-seveN takes twice as many rounds as a 9mm? Damn, I still love my Five-seveN, its a hoot to shoot and I hit beer…er…soda cans at 80yds easily. I cant do that with my CW9. I’m no pro though either so I’m the CW9 in capable hands could do it.

  8. avatar Michael B. says:

    It’s better to have more and not need them, IMO. Of course there is a balance between capacity, practicality and comfort.

    I for one believe in carrying what you feel most comfortable with and shoot best. If you shoot a 1911 best and don’t have any issues with it being a somewhat heavy gun then by all means you should carry it over something you don’t like or don’t shoot well.

  9. avatar spymyeyes says:

    This is one of the reasons I have choosen a 45. magnum revolver.

    I due believe that a 255 grain 45. longcolt hollow point would drop anyone under 200lbs with one shot, as long as it was near center mass.

    200lbs plus and you will need more penatrating/stopping power to put down a person than one shot will give you IMO, especially if that person is in a rage and or high on bath salts!

    That is why my first and second rounds are longcolts, my 3rd round is a 454 casull hollowpoint @ 300 grains and that will put any human down with one center mass shot….high or not!

    Oh, and pratice, practice, practice, is your best friend when TSHTF because your muscle memory is “on the range” while your head is freakin out!

    1. avatar Moonshine7102 says:

      “45. magnum revolver”
      You keep using those words. I do not think they mean what you think they mean. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      1. avatar spymyeyes says:

        yes I do.

        the “magnum” handle was given to it by the manufacturer because it can handle both the 45. longcolt round and the 454 casull round, and at 4lbs and about 1,000 rounds later I can tell you it is true!

        1. avatar Joel says:

          “45. magnum”

          He means that there is no such thing as a “45. magnum” round. We understand that you mean 45LC, but there is no 45 magnum. that, and the period comes BEFORE the numbers anyway, as it refers to it’s size in inches. a 45. round is 45 inches in diameter. “.45” is how it’s supposed to be written.

      2. avatar Don says:

        As a reloader, to me “magnum” means loaded to higher than standard pressure by a margin outside +p and +p+. So I think you could definitely make yourself .”45 colt magnums” for a .454 casull frame… or call the .454 a “.45 magnum” and be technically accurate in that verbiage.

        1. avatar spymyeyes says:

          thank you Don.

          They do require “magnum” primers to reload as well.

  10. avatar Don says:

    A 1911 was good enough for two bad guys for about a hundred years, and probably still is.


  11. avatar GS650G says:

    If your carrying half a box of ammo it might be time to consider moving to a safer location and changing your life a bit.

    1. avatar spymyeyes says:


      I got 6 in my heater with 2 speed loaders.

      If I need anymore than that then it’s time to break out my ole boomstick…..

    2. avatar Aharon says:

      Great comment.

    3. avatar Matt in FL says:

      I have heard of some people carrying an extra mag or two opposite the gun, just to help balance out the the weight on the gun. I might do it, but my expanding waistline doesn’t currently allow it.

    4. avatar CarlosT says:

      There are more reasons to carry an extra mag than just the ammo. There are certain kinds of failures that are best addressed by ejecting the current mag and replacing it with a fresh one, because the current mag itself might be the source of the problem.

      Also, trouble doesn’t just restrict itself to bad neighborhoods and the middle of the night. The cafe that was shot up in Seattle last week was in a solidly middle class neighborhood in the middle of the day, about a five minute walk from my high school. It could be considered one of the safest neighborhoods in the city. But in that particular cafe on that particular day, things went very wrong.

      Let’s say you’re in that situation, and to your chagrin you discover your magazine is causing feeding problems, are you saying to yourself, “oh shucks, should’ve moved to a safer location” as the psycho is gunning you down?

  12. avatar Twinkie says:

    Rounds in the gun = time in the fight.

    I’d rather have a 30 shot .22 Mag than a 2 shot DoubleTap ™. I’d go so far to say I’d rather have one more shot with my CZ 83 in .380 over a CZ 82 in 9×18.

    A 1911’s capacity isn’t what makes it a bad self defense (SD) gun. It’s the size, weight, unreliability, poor ergonomics, tendency to screw up those stupid safeties, *and* low capacity that make it a bad SD gun.

  13. avatar "Dr."Dave says:

    It all depends. Figure under panic, you can crank off 3, maybe 4 rounds a second. So in order for me to empty my GLOCK 17, that gives me about 4 seconds of solid, consistent shooting. For a 1911, best case scenario, you get maybe half that amount of time of constant fire.

    So, even if you have more than twice the ammunition, you do not nessescarially get to shoot for twice as long.

    And the way it goes…If you need to shoot for that long, and you haven’t stopped the threats already, you’re pretty much screwed, anyway. One on three, in, lets say, five seconds, you can probably empty a 15 round magazine. And so can the three people you’re fighting. Except they’re throwing 45 rounds at you.

    So the handgun doesn’t matter. Its the person in the fight that does.

    What saves lives and wins gun fights are accuracy, situatonial awareness, use of cover, and how fast you can bring your gun to bear. If you’re a second slower than the bad guys, and there are three of them, they could have shot you nine times before you clear leather.

  14. avatar LeftShooter says:

    While I understand the sentiment, personally, I tend not to focus on the kill ratio of an unknowable such as the number of likely assailants but instead focus on what I can know: how to shoot and reload the gun I carry in a highly efficient manner.

  15. avatar Joel says:

    if you have Biological Aimbot (aka the Hickok45 syndrome) the 1911 is a 9 bad-guy-gun.

  16. avatar Hal says:

    1) Draw and move offline
    2) Engage with a string of shots (2-5)
    3) Continue to move and reassess/identify targets
    4) If necessary engage with a second string of shots or engage second BG

  17. avatar jkp says:

    Three bad guys with firearms (of any kind) that are determined to kill versus Robert Farago armed with…just a handgun?

    Mr. Farago, I hope you’ll forgive me for placing my money on the three bad guys in that scenario — no matter WHAT you’re carrying.

    1. avatar "Dr."Dave says:

      It would be a little more fair if he had a long gun…

      1. avatar spymyeyes says:

        OR…….if you live in an FFL state that still also respects the 2nd amendment you could walk around with a pair of super shorty’s hand-cannons…

    2. avatar Robert Farago says:

      No need. I don’t fancy my chances against one bad guy, never mind three. But I will do what I can as long as I can.

      1. avatar Moonshine7102 says:

        “I donโ€™t fancy my chances against one bad guy, never mind three. But I will do what I can as long as I can.”
        Friends, that is one of the most honest statements you will ever see on these-here interwebs. +1, Robert.

  18. avatar Dubya Bee says:

    For myself, I have put an end to all of this bickering by buying the double-drum, 100 round mag for my KelTek P32.

  19. avatar Ralph says:

    I often carry a five-shot Smith & Wesson 642. I consider it a 5 bad guy gun.

  20. avatar Malthus says:

    Nice thread fellas. It’s interesting that there is not a true consensus here, but this thread has helped me decide a question I’ve been kicking around for months.

  21. avatar KR says:

    Data and anecdote from Tom Givens’ set of 57 student-involved shootings: average number of rounds fired: 3.8. Highest number of rounds fired: 11. Number of students who reloaded during the fight, used a second gun, or “fought their way to their rifle”: 0.

    One incident he described in a class involved a student who ran his 8 round gun empty, fighting 2 attackers in his home. The student’s last round stopped attacker #2, and the student’s post-incident action was to switch to a higher capacity gun. Givens was a single stack 1911 guy for decades, but a few years ago he switched to a Glock .40.

  22. avatar karl hungus says:

    enough of this mindless quibble… on to a more important question…

    what is that fantastic knife in the banner pic?!

    1. avatar Leo Atrox says:

      Boker Plus Cop Tool

  23. avatar Leo Atrox says:

    Two words: “Supressive fire.”

    I know that it’s a faux pas to talk about shooting without guaranteeing that the area behind your target is clear, but if it gets my family out of a bad spot, I’m sending lead down range at a high rate of fire.

    I see my 20+1+20 Sig P226 SCT as a “one bad situation” gun. I don’t care how many bad guys there are. My first priority is get my family out of harm’s way. Engaging and incapacitating the threat is a distant second.

    1. avatar Leo Atrox says:

      All this is not meant to say that I wouldn’t simply put a round or two into an assailant if the opportunity to end “one bad situation” quickly presented itself. I would. But if I could not hit the bad guy, I’d sure as heck like to have enough ammo to keep him behind cover and give my family time to get out of there.

  24. avatar LC Judas says:

    It appears, if I imagine the context of being composed in the self defense situation to 100%, that yes I could decide to portion my magazine appropriately with passable accuracy. The only problem with this is that tbe theory doesn’t allow for adrenaline (covered in the comments), injury (as a gun is not an instant death ray) and the situation where you may not be able to shoot back whether you have cleared leather or not.

    If you are in a situation in broad daylight on the sidewalk and your assailant has his back to a major thoroughfare in heavy traffic. Your firing rate will drop low enough to where how many badguys you can incapacitate turns into how many unsafe shots can you make in a hurry. How many bad guys your gun is remains an issue as to how well you wield it when the time comes, not what you theoretically assume you and it combined can do should the time come.

  25. avatar Mark N. says:

    In California, it’s a moot question, as capacity is limited (except for LEOs) to ten rounds.

    1. avatar CarlosT says:

      I’ve heard that some gun control advocates lamented that when magazine capacity bans went into effect, sales of larger calibers went way up. My reaction was well, what did you expect? A big part of the caliber wars between, for example, 9mm and .45, is the debate between trading off between capacity (a 9mm advantage) and making big holes (a .45 advantage). Well magazine capacity bans settle the debate for you: it’s got to be big holes because capacity is out of the question. If you can only have 10 rounds, make them as big as you can handle.

  26. avatar Matt G. says:

    Come on Robert, golden sabers? Cerberus sucks ass at Marlins and ACRs, why would they be good at defensive ammo? (hint: they’re not.)

  27. avatar J.A.P. says:

    What if we rate the guns by the magazine capacity? For example, a standard 1911 with an 8-round mag would be an 8-bad guy gun. I know not everyone (me included) are as skilled as Sgt. York, but I thought I’d put it out and see what you think.

    (BTW, Sgt. York did kill eight bad guys with eight rounds.)

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