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point, the Corbon +P 115-grain jacketed hollow point, and the Federal 124-grain Hydra-Shok jacketed hollow point. The truth is that all of those rounds are a bit hard to handle in a sub-compact handgun. However, they are not so powerful that they are unmanageable. A bit of practice will allow the shooter to do good work with any of them. The .38 Special 158-grain [soft] lead hollow point was issued to plain-clothes cops all over the country. It was used in a lot of shootings and apparently did its job well. There are, however, other .38-special rounds that are effective. The Federal Hydra-Shok ammo is good because it has a little rod sticking up in the middle of the hollow point that prevents the hollow point from filling with clothing or other impedimenta and failing to expand. I carry the 129-grain Hydra-Shok in my own .38 Special. What is not mentioned, and which is one of the worst choices possible is the old 158-grain lead round nosed ammo that was issued to street cops for a half-century. It failed so many times it came to be expected. Most

of the more ballistically knowledgeable cops carried something else in their guns and only had the LRNs in their belt loops for show. Stay far away from this stuff; even the standard target wadcutters are a better choice. Now you need to make a decision or three. First you need to decide if you are going to carry a semi-auto or a revolver. Next you must decide how you are going to carry it. And then you need to decide on the caliber. If you dress correctly you can carry almost anything you want; if you wear oversized shirts of dark colors or large prints it will not be readily visible. However, a large weapon is, as my friend, Kendal Hemphill, has discovered in his quest for concealed carry truths, a physical encumbrance. A gun that is too large and too heavy, if it is worn on the belt, will pull your pants down. If it is uncomfortable to carry, most people will not carry it all the time, and if you do not have in on your person, it is useless. Again, the perfect carry gun is a compromise between power and size. I generally opt for a Commander-sized

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1911 .45 ACP; I have two that I carry interchangeably, a Colt Lightweight Commander and a Kimber Pro-Carry II. These are small enough and light enough without being too small or too lightweight. A gun this size and weight fits my everyday circumstances perfectly. In your case, I expect the circumstances are considerably different. You may wear a suit; you may have to wear a dress; you may wear a uniform or costume. In those circumstances you may have to choose a less powerful gun to find one that is small enough for you to conceal. That’s okay, because the smallest gun is better than your teeth and fingernails. But if you carry one of the pipsqueak cartridges, do not expect it to stop an attacker with one or two shots. Just keep in mind the first rule of gunfighting: 1. Have a gun. If you fail on Rule Number One, nothing else matters, because, as the wise man said, “Only a fool brings a knife to a gunfight.” And any gun is better than your teeth and fingernails.

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March 2012  

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