Are Handguns a Weak Link?


Are Handguns a Weak Link?

For all intents and purposes, handguns are the top selling firearms in America right now. There are a lot of practical reasons behind this handgun movement, but the truth is that a handheld firearm may not always be the best choice for every self-defense situation.

Also, concealed carry is a huge paradigm in this country right now. State after state is passing laws to allow citizens with the proper credentials and approved background checks to get a concealed carry permit supported by the completion of proper training. This means handguns, too.

However, a compelling piece of research data has indicated that even police and other law enforcement personnel prefer a shotgun first and an appropriate rifle second over a pistol for self-defense and armed encounters. That fact alone should cause a pause for thought.

Handguns are, well, held in the hand. This means they can be more difficult to grip, control, aim, and fire with consistent accuracy. The line of sight down handgun barrels from 2-8 inches is considerably shorter than the sighting plane down a rifle or shotgun barrel. Hence, a handgun is more difficult to line up on a target and harder to keep it there.

This demands considerably more practice and regular trips to a shooting range or the back 40 to keep proficient with a handgun. Of course, shooting practice is also needed with rifles and shotguns.

Furthermore, obviously handguns are hampered by their lack of relative power and the range they are useful for in active shooting situations. Most confrontational self-defense shooting incident ranges are 7 feet to 10 yards. Forget seriously trying to engage a target at 50 yards out or more with a handgun. Sure, you might keep their heads down, but you’re not likely to hit them or incapacitate them with a handgun caliber hit.

A really serious threat can be quickly thwarted with a shotgun blast of buckshot out to 20-30 yards. A rifle such as an AR-15 can engage targets with effectiveness out to 200 yards or more depending on the experience of the shooter. A “sniper” type rifle in the right hands can deter threats out to 1000 yards.

Now, I am the first to say, sure you have to have a handgun, only if you know how to use it well, know the controls, and can manage it in action. But the handgun is not the end all weapon.

Avatar Author ID 67 - 957678308

Award winning outdoor writer/photographer since 1978. Over 3000 articles and columns published nationally. Field & Stream Hero of Conservation in 2007. Fields of writing includes hunting most game in American, Canada, and Europe, fishing fresh and saltwater, destination travel, product reviews, industry consulting, and conservation issues. Currently VP at largest community college in Mississippi in economic development and workforce training with 40 years of experience in Higher Education. BS-MS in wildlife sciences from MO. University, and then a PhD in Industrial Psychology. Married with two children and Molly the Schnoodle.

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