Everyone always wants to know what everyone else carries and which is the best handgun on the market for self defense. The truth isn’t as easy as people want to believe. The truth is that each person is an individual, each has their own needs, and there is no handgun that will fit everyone. People will tell you that their handgun is the best, but they are bringing their own bias to the conversation. Companies are desperately trying to make that one handgun that will fit everyone and every need. It just isn’t going to happen… Ever!
I carry a Glock, not because I like the gun, but because I believe in the “one gun” philosophy. The old saying, “be ware of the one gun man, he probably knows how to use it,” is what I train for. I only have one carry gun, my Glock. I didn’t go out and try to pick it, it was picked for me.
Years ago, when I worked for an armored car company, I had a Ruger P89. Good gun, but I got it because it’s what my dad had and it’s what I learned on. Then I started getting training and experience and found the Para-Ordnance P14 Limited double stack 1911 (I still have that gun). I carried that for almost a decade. I even bought three more of them. I bought a short version for concealed carry and as a back up gun. It was a great gun, and great system. My only complaint, it was heavy. But I got over that for almost 10 years by having good gear.
Then I got hired as a contractor to go to Iraq and do base defense for the Army, my primary weapons, an M4 and a Glock 19. I never liked Glocks, the trigger sucks, the reset was long, the grip angle was off, there was no safety, and it didn’t recoil right because it was made of Tupperware. But I figured if my life was going to depend on it, I better learn to use it. I borrowed one from a friend and found that the smaller gun was more fun to shoot because of how the recoil felt over the full size Glock 17. I then traded 2 of my Para’s for a Glock 19.
I started training with the Glock so I could go to a training course and do a qualification that many people where failing. I over prepared and shot a thousand rounds before even going to the training course. After my training/qualification for my first job overseas, I trained like crazy with the gun to get deployed to Iraq.
In Iraq, I continued to train everyday with my Glock and M4 because my life, and the life of the soldiers I was protecting, could depend on my ability to employ those weapons. I also had to train the men under me to use their weapons, so I’d better know what I was doing. Then I got another job overseas and was more manager and trainer than actual doer. So, I upped my training with my Glock because I normally was only carrying that and not my M4. I still had a rifle issued to me, but was expected to go see high-ranking soldiers that didn’t expect me to bring a rifle with me to meetings. So the Glock became my only defense. I trained even harder with it.
Over the 6 months working up to, and the year overseas, I put about 10,000 rounds through a Glock 19 and did hundreds of thousands of draws and dry trigger pulls. When I returned to the real world and started carrying concealed again, I looked at my Glock and my 1911 and decided to stay with the Glock because of all the training I’ve done with it. Since then, I’ve continued to train with my Glock and really see no reason in changing it. The system just works for me. It’s probably the most common handgun ever and I can get all sorts of different things for it and customize it any way I want. Plus, there is an armorer on every corner that knows how to fix the thing if something breaks.
When you choose a self defense gun, pick one that works for you, that you like, and that you think is the best. Then test it. As long is it goes “bang” when you pull the trigger, it works. Keep a log so you know how often it doesn’t go bang. There is a point that any handgun will fail. If you haven’t had a malfunction in your gun, you haven’t shot it enough. Keep a log (Podcast on Keeping Logs) and find the gun you like the most. Then buy another one as a back up. Forget buying extra parts or springs, or any of that stuff, just buy another gun set up the same and you won’t have any issues.