If I have pants on, I've got a gun on. There are very, VERY few exceptions, and they are notable enough to prove the rule. It's not that I'm paranoid; it's just that there is little point to carrying a gun unless I do it all of the time, as one can't predict infrequent (and yet altogether too frequent) tragedy. Over the years, I've made some bad people unhappy with me, and I plan to keep doing so. Should bad people commit horrible acts against me or others in my presence, I'm going to intervene. I understand the concept of "holding back and being a good witness;" I simply believe that there are times when that's not a possibility. So I carry a gun. Always.
But because I'm a realist about myself, in the warmer months (about 3/4 of the year) I carry the smallest, lightest guns available
in the minimum calibers that I would consider defending myself or others with. Usually these are a 7 shot P3AT .380 acp
or a 5 shot M37 .38 special, either one of which is on the happy side of one pound, loaded. I tend to just drop them in my pocket, in a ratty old pocket holster to keep them oriented correctly and keep crud out of their actions and trigger guards. (Note to self: obtain new pocket holsters!)
But for some reason, for years I've failed to carry a reload.
Dumb, right? Handguns are inherently poor manstoppers
by their very nature. If they were particularly good, soldiers would carry only pistols, or pistol-caliber rifles. Then we take and reduce the caliber, barrel length, sight radius, and grip area to make a given pistol less effective and harder to control, and you end up with something that requires a LOT of practice to excel beyond "belly gun" status. It would make more sense to hedge my bets, and carry as many rounds as possible for such an inadequate weapon.
My rationalization has been that very few gunfights have ever involved reloads. But this means little; few people carry
reloads. I know this myself from my own observations and experience. Hell, when, as a young college student, I woke up one night to chase some burglars out of my house and down the street with a 6" Colt revolver, I
didn't have a reload with me. (Or pants. But that's another story, for another time.) When bad guys go on rampages in schools, malls, and churches, a spare round or two might be the most worthy pocket plunder I ever carry.
For some odd reason, I found it easier to to begin carrying a reload for my .38 Special. Silly, when you consider that 5 rounds of Buffalo Bore 158g LSWCHP
are bound to be about 5 gazillian
times better than 7 rounds of .380 acp
, with the first round being JHP
and the rest being anybody's FNJ
. I started with small snapped dump pouches. These are very handy, holding 6 rounds of .38 Spl
ammo in a tight little packet that can be dropped in an opposite pocket, or worn on the belt in an unobtrusive
, completely covered black pouch. But it's a little slow. Faster, but bulkier, is the 5-shot speedloader
. Open the cylinder, dump the empties, insert the bullet tips of the fresh load into the chambers, twist the knurled knob to drop them into the cylinder, and close the cylinder again, with a loaded gun in your hand.
But only last night did I finally think, as I started out the door to go to my Statistics class, how short-sighted it was to rely soley
on the 7 anemic rounds for that sad little .380 in my pocket, without a spare load. I never had the availability of a reload for it until friend Peter
gave me a spare magazine. But when I got it out of my sock drawer (Well? What's in your
sock drawer?), I didn't have any ammo in it. I rummaged through the drawer. .357 Sig rounds. .38 Special reloads. .45 acp SWC
reloads. A 12 gauge slug. Some collar brass. Oh, and some socks. No .380. I stepped to my front closet. .35 Whelen
. 5.56mm. 7.62X39. .38 S&W in both lead reloads and Ishapore
Gold Dot. .22 LR, short, CB Cap, and Long. .22 Hornet. .243. 9mm. .32 acp
. (Really?!?). .30-06. 12 gauge. 20 gauge. A round on the floor that looked like an old .303 round. No .380.
I got in my car, thinking I'm bound to have some in my trunk. I checked in my glove box and found a baggie of 158g Federal Nyclad
.38 Special loads that Dad gave me. I felt under the seat and found a quarter box of .38 Special 158g LRN
reloads. I found some more collar brass. (Hey! So there it is!) Parking at the university, I checked the trunk, and found Federal bulk pack .22 LR, 12 gauge slugs, 12 gauge buck shot, a Crossman
760 and .177 pellets for same, 2 pair of hearing protection, a box of .357 Sig reloads, a half box of .357 Sig Gold Dot, a few rounds of .45 acp
, and a Sierra bullet box with a single round of .35 Whelen
rattling around in it.
I walked to class, thinking, "I'm a piker. I couldn't find a single round of .380 acp
in my car, my sock drawer, or my front closet."
Today, I found 50 rounds of .380 acp FMJ
in my patrol bag in my trunk. The rest, I know, is in storage.
Labels: guns, handguns, self defense