There is a tidal movement to shooting pistols as quickly as possible. Instructors and wannabe “Know It Alls” are using 9mm to accomplish this. More bullets, smaller and lighter… rapid fire. This movement was very slow at first. Then The Art Of The Dynamic Handgun video came out. Haley and Costa rocking those M&P’s like they were SMG’s looked cool. Then all the sudden everyone wanted to shoot like that. Who wouldn’t? Those guys look like rock stars doing it.
Some instructors I know have been teaching that stuff for some time, but MagPul videos really did open the flood gates.
I understand the arguments and theory surrounding the use of 9mm and shooting fast… and that’s all fine and well. I can shoot that way myself if I want to… Even with a .40. However, I find myself moving more and more to bigger and harder hitting rounds. Slower fire but well aimed. Heavier for caliber load selections, bigger bullets, make the shots count. Shooting the 9mm’s the other day… 9mm Just doesn’t do it for me. Oh, I know all about the Modern Ammo. You know what? That Modern Ammo is really good in bigger calibers too.
Yes, I know all about Ballistic Gel Penetration comparisons. However that isn’t the whole picture when it comes to wound trauma and terminal ballistics. It’s not the whole picture when it comes to barrier penetration and deflection. Those Gel numbers are engineered, people. The results are just what the ammo companies want you to see. To get those numbers some loads are hopped and the others are neutered. Some rounds open more and others slower so those penetration numbers look great in the gel tests. Again – these Gel results are engineered to show just those results. Why? To sell ammo of course. “See, our 9mm is just as good as the rest.”
Porsche does the same with their sports cars. Boxster, Caymen, 911. The Caymen being detuned to fall perfectly in between the two other cars… when it has all the potential to beat the 911. But that’s another story.
I remember an incident where 9mm pistols were being fired at a windshield… the bullets were glancing off. One round of .45 Auto, fired by a steady hand penetrated that windshield and ended the situation. There are also incidents of 9mm failing to really even jostle a maniac when it impacted. FBI Miami Dade, anyone? Bank of American LA, anyone? The search for Magic Bullets is now as it has always been, an attempt to find a Unicorn. Don’t glue a paper cone on the head of a goat and tell me that’s its a Unicorn. I’m not buying it. Not even if you run a whole herd of them past me as fast as possible. They still look like goats with paper cones on their heads.
As far as “Fast” goes, fast is good. But fast follow up shots are not as important in a gun fight as the first round. That first shot is the most important shot you will take in any engagement. It needs to be made fast. But not at the sacrifice of accuracy. Shot Placement remains critical. Using a smaller round that can be fired at a higher cadence, if that’s your beat, that’s fine. I’m more Heavy Metal than Techno. I’d rather have slower heavier beats. See, I hear so many guys say, yeah but I’m more accurate with 9mm. I call bullshit. I’ve seen many guys who advocate shooting as fast as possible… cant keep a group. Why? Because they are losing the front sight and jerking that trigger like a 14 year old with a Playboy… They are giving up the Fundamentals in favor of Rapid.
Bullets hitting tissue is a rather predictable science. The only variables are the vector through the anatomy and the barriers the projectile have to penetrate before hitting that anatomy. The bullets all pretty much have the same effect. Displacing fluid (like rocks hitting water) and tearing and pulverizing the permanent wound channel. Bigger heavier rocks displace more fluid. That’s just a fact. Try it out at your closest body of water. That water gets displaced and then it comes back. In water, you have some cavitation effect briefly and what is left is the permanent wound channel that allows blood to flow out. The bigger the whole, and the more torn up that wound channel is, the more blood is going to flow out. That’s just a fact. And ask any hunter, the more blood you have flowing out, the less you have to track that deer. You put that wound channel vectoring through a heart, or CNS… Winner Winner Venison Dinner. That is meat on the table. For a defensive situation, that’s a Resolved Problem.
But then there is another problem. The fact of the matter is that no matter what school of thought you have – you remain legally liable for each and every round you fire. So I’m going to slow it down a notch. Fire a bigger and heavier bullet. And make sure those rounds go where I want them to go.
I know a few guys that can fire super fast, with accuracy. A few. And I’m not saying they should change… because that is working for them. But I’m just not feeling it myself using small calibers. I’m following Sun Tzu here. “Hit first, and hit so hard your enemy can’t hit back.
Sure, all handguns are less ideal than rifles or shotguns… but some are better than others. I’ll take my .40 calibers with my 180 grain loads. I’ll take my .45’s with 230 grain loads (when I used to prefer 185’s)
I think instead of drilling so much on Balance of Speed and Accuracy drills… I think more emphasis should be on the drills from the holster to the target from a Buzzer. Because that shot… that first shot right there is the key. You have to be fast on that shot. Before the threat can shoot you back or get to you with a knife, or cut the throat of a hostage or whatever reason you have that justifies the use of deadly force. I want to make the most of that first shot. I’m not looking at Gun Fight Averages here. Because most gun fights are 1 point something average or 2 point something. You know what they all have in common? That first shot.
Make the most of it.