In Rifle, one of my favorite gun magazines, I always enjoy reading Terry Wieland’s thoughtful column, “Walnut Hill.” In the May 2014 issue, he cited an important quote from a great authority on firearms, Bob Hagel.
The quote was, “You should not carry a rifle that will do the job when everything goes right; you should have one that works when everything goes wrong.”
Words to live by, and they don’t apply just to rifles.
It’s looking as if the FBI is going to scale down from .40 caliber Glocks to 9mm, starting next year. The 9mm has long been approved as an option for agents, and a recommended one for those who find the recoil of the .40 too difficult to manage in training and qualification, even though .40 Glocks have been standard issue for the Bureau since the late 1990s. The .45 caliber Glock 21, if privately purchased, is also approved, and I can think offhand of at least three agents I know who carry them, all “gun guys.” I hope that option remains for field agents if and when the Bureau goes to 9mm as its primary caliber.
It comes at a time when, as discussed here, there’s a push in the military to go back to .45 from the 9mm that has been standard issue for most elements since the mid-1980s. Non-expanding ball ammo being the norm for military pistols, I can certainly see the .45 argument: it’s what I’d definitely prefer if I suffered under the same limitations of bullet configuration. With law enforcement hollow points, current ammo has made the 9mm a much more viable defensive choice than it used to be. Of course, the same new designs make .40 S&W and .45 ACP more potent than they used to be, too.
Lower ammo cost, and smaller rounds allowing more cartridges on board, favor the 9mm over the .45 in a pistol, and the 5.56mm over 7.62mm in the rifle. Yet if there’s time for only one shot – whether it’s the winter venison or your own life that’s at stake – all of a sudden, more powerful cartridges seem more comforting.
Each of us has to assess our needs and our abilities, balance them, and make the right decision.
Where did you find your balance?