Academy of Personal Defense and Security
402 Old Wilson Road, Wendell, NC 27591
Personal Defense Firearms and Ammo Selection:
Choosing a firearm for Personal Defense and Conceal-ability , generally, does not lend itself to accuracy or marksman characteristics. Depending on the size of the person, conceal-ability is determined by the ability to “hide” the firearm from normal view with-in the clothing/accessories. Comfort of carry, especially weight of the firearm should be considered as-well. Shorter barrels and smaller frames are generally the better choice. Two factors that follow are 1. Caliber/power factor and 2. Sight Radius (distance between front and rear sight). Recovery from the recoil of higher caliber/more powerful cartridges is more difficult with smaller, lighter framed pistols. As long-range shots are generally not required in the personal defense scenario, shorter sight radius may not be as critical.
**Note: this is NOT the firearm that you'll want to learn to shoot with! Range time and experience with larger frame (heavier and longer sight radius) or smaller caliber (with longer sight radius) ARE better tools for learning fundamentals and marksmanship.
Semi-automatic vs. Revolver
Semi-automatic Pistols, seeming to be the preference these days, have some advantages over revolvers. The most notable one being ammunition capacity. A lot of semi-autos of .380, 9mm, 40S&W carry a minimum of 10 rounds with some holding as many as 19 in their magazines. While this is considerable “fire-power”, most defensive scenarios require, maybe 3-4 rounds. Familiarity with the operation of your semi-auto is imperative! Maintenance and cleaning is required for the firearm to operate reliably. The operator should be able to recognize and clear stoppages in-short-order. Practice is important! Knowledge of the firearms ability to “feed” the “carry ammunition” is important.
Revolvers, a.k.a. “reliablility” generally do not carry the same number of rounds in their cylinders. Modern day revolvers generally carry 5 to 6 rounds of ammunition. While maintenance/cleaning is required, consider a revolver when carrying in dusty environments (ankle holsters). Small, light-weight frames, short-barreled revolvers are readily available from most manufacturers.
Caliber and Power
If you subscribe to“Hatcher's Theory”, then you know that “stopping power” is made-up of a combination of factors. Bullet momentum, frontal area, velocity, and a 'form factor' are to be considered. Logically, the necessity to shoot an assailant infers a desire to incapacitate him/her, immediately. It then follows that, the most effective method is for the assailant to “absorb” the stopping power of the bullet. To much power and the bullet goes right through. Not enough power and the assailant continues the assault. Wikipedia has an article that goes into greater detail on Stopping Power.
For defensive shooting scenarios, for conceal-ability, for reliability, small framed, light-weight revolvers are recommended. In our estimation, .38 special works well for most defensive shooting scenarios.
For those that insist on a semi-auto, in our estimation, .380 caliber, 9 millimeter, and .40 S&W would be recommended.