The Art of War teaches us…

The Art of War is a book that I’ve read many times through.  The book is simple and straight forward, much like Sun Tzu’s tactics.  One of the things he teaches, is to hit first, and to hit so hard that the enemy is unable to hit back.

Many Trainers don’t quite stress this enough in their training.  In a gunfight, there is an exchange of gunfire between the two combatants.  The most important shots are the first shots.  Trainers, even myself, stress speed of the follow up shots.  Which is fine.  But a fight can be ended before it begins if your first shot out of the holster is quick and directly on target.  Especially if you are firing a round of sufficient caliber.

I’ll leave the definition of “Sufficient” to the reader.   To me, sufficient is a .40 or .45 caliber.  To a good friend of mine, it’s a .44 Magnum.  You can’t argue with that.  Unless your gunfighting armed sentient Rhinoceros, that’s a lot of gun.  Following Sun Tzu’s teaching, he just might be the most “correct”.  Some guys I know use 9mm.  A lot of trainers advocated 9mm because they can hit the target multiple times in a very short period of time…  Lots and Fast is fine, but regardless of how fast you shoot, you are still only shooting one round at a time.  Why not make that one round a potent one?  If it seems like I’m trying to talk myself into a .44 Mag… I’m not.  I’ve already done that.  I’m just reviewing my train of thought.   I need a .44 Mag, probably around 4.5 inches with some good comfortable grips, and a gold bead front sight.  This will match my Lever Action that I’m going to be getting soon enough.

45 thoughts on “The Art of War teaches us…”

  1. Yup. Usually, the first one who scores a hit, is the one left standing. Because most muggers/rapists/whatever are not psychologically prepared to take damage and keep going. You can always end up with the psycho who doesn’t feel pain, and you should train to respond correctly when an attacker doesn’t go down, but if you play the odds, it’s most likely that the first hit will be all you need (note: I’m counting a double-tap as a single “hit,” because I’d have to intentionally interfere with my trained responses, to /not/ double-tap).

    1. That’s right. You don’t shoot once then stand back and watch what happens. You shoot till the threat stops. And that’s why we train for that.

  2. I have to second Mikes love of the .44.
    When I get my new holster for it, my Astra Terminator is going back into carry rotation.
    When I carry it, I practice with it… a LOT.
    You need to practice with anything you carry, I know this and do.
    Compared to the rest of my carry pistols, the .44 Mag is a totally different animal.
    You know this, just stating this for the others reading.
    It takes some dedication to properly master.
    Once you do, you enter the fight with Thors Hammer.
    The phrase “Get there fastest with the mostest” comes to mind.
    Looking forward to you entering the fold.


    1. may i ask what your new (and old) holster is (and was)? i finally found a terminator on gunbroker and am in the holster market.

  3. Getting into “big bore” shooting is a completely ‘nother animal and is something to not be taken lightly, espically if one is to carry that “big bore” cannon for personal protection. Collateral damage becomes a bigger possibility so that person is responsible to lay down the money to properly practice practice practice…and even more practice for good measure to be that responsible person. The bigger the ammo the more money it costs, so not having the money to do what’s right is a very poor excuse. If that’s the case then I would guess that person is just carrying a big piece to come off as a badass or tough guy, but IMO they are more like a big idiot.

  4. The .44 Remington Magnum is the reason I took up reloading.
    The .44 S&W Special is what convinced me it was indeed the right decision.
    Being able to practice with my big bores for less than most people pay to practice with their 9mms is a huge benefit.
    Any of my friends that I find out are considering a .44 get “the talk” about reloading.


  5. Just remember the rules of gunfight etiquette:

    1) Bring a gun
    2) You never get a second chance to make your first shot count.

  6. hey ogre, you haven’t make any videos about guns and knifes, why not make a video about you bike? come on, show us your bike, show us you riding it!

    1. I don’t have a computer that can process video. My old trusty laptop “Hordecaster” fried out. I’ll be getting a new one soon enough and then I can return to making videos.

  7. I guess it depends on whether you beleive in killing energy or not. I’m definitely a fan of larger calibers, and there’s plenty of study to say that wider bullets do the job the best. To me, ending a fight on the first shot, is, like some old gunfighters said, dependent on hitting the brain, heart, or heavy bone. If I can do that on the first shot, it doesn’t matter whether I use a 9mm, or .454 casull.

    I think the rule is pretty much the same for charging grizzly or armed thugs. Plenty of folks who survive gunfights say if they used a larger caliber, they would not have been able to make the second shot that actually hit the cns. I know you’re saying to end it on the first shot, and I absolutely agree, but if you can make that first shot right where you need to be, in the cns, then I don’t think it matters too much what caliber you use, or its velocity. Obviously a wider bullet has a better chance of tearing something vital, and the .44 or .45 is ideal for that, but I’m not sure the velocity of the mag is needed.

    Now, its definitely one thing to have two or three nine mils to the general chest area and quite another to replace those with one or two .44 mags, but I think the point of your post is get there first, and end it on the first shot. The only way to reliably make that happen, as I’m sure you know, is the cns, so I’m not sure the caliber matters too much at that point.

    I keep getting reminded of the guy that killed a charging grizzly with a .30-30, the first shot went almost clean through the bear, and the charge ended when the second thuddy blew the brain out the back of the bear’s skull. The guy who survived said he would not have been able to make that followup if he had been using something larger caliber like a .338 or so that everyone had been recommending to him.

    One african hunter on an article I wrote, went on and on about using .416s and nitros and such, but every hunt he was recounting had him shooting the animal, from cape buff to lion, with a bruiser caliber slug in the shoulder, to anchor it, and when the various beasts seemed to charge him everytime anyway, the situation was ended with a shot to the brain. I am sure a .30-06 would more than have sufficed, and if he hadn’t placed the bullet where needed, a .50 cal wouldn’t have saved him.

    Now, I am not trying to say you are advocating bullet size over skill in training or shot placement, I just can’t get over the fact that if you don’t hit that vital spot, you’re going to need a followup, and if you do, it wouldn’t have mattered much if it was a .38.

    I agree that hitting first is neglected and is undoubtedly the best course, and emphasis should be placed on that, but as much as I love the bigger caliber, I’m not sure its worth the trade off, and I would love to talk myself into .44 mag for carry, especially as I could then justify getting a levergun just for that. All in all, .44 specials might be a better bet, unless you can train to where follow up shots are plenty easy even with the magnum. Just my two cents.

    1. Don’t count on being able to aim for a CNS hit, under stress. To be able to do that reliably, takes extraordinary amounts of training, both in shooting skills, and in teaching your body to respond well during stress situations. It’s not realistic to expect any substantial fraction of the population to be capable of that.

  8. An addition to the cost factor is how much recoil can you take during your practice sessions? How much meat, bone, and strength you have in your hand, wrist, and forearm, will be a factor in your choice of caliber and the weight of the firearm. Your choice for a CCW will be different from a dangerous animal weapon.

  9. Mad Ogre you mentioned gold bead as a sight, I have found that the XS big dot sight in a stressful situation to be on the money.

  10. I understand the argument about big bore being better. Still, when it’s all that I can conceal in business casual dress, I carry a 9mm. Under a shirt, I have a .45. I’m also familiar with Clint Smith’s claim that he never met anyone who survived a gunfight who wished that he had had a smaller gun. I do have to wonder, though, if a .44 Magnum isn’t too much. Humans aren’t built like grizzlies and don’t generally need that much stopping power. There’s also the concern about overpenetration.

    On the other hand, .44 Special rounds sound like a good idea for a self defense revolver.

    1. The .44 Special is SOOOOOO under-rated and I don’t know why when people want power & performance don’t give the Special a better look…hell, or even a chance for that matter. The .44 is extremely easy to load for and there is an EXCELLENT selection of projectiles. Now I don’t know why, with the flood of “exotic” rounds like the .357 SIG, 41 AE, .50 GI, etc., no one thought of a .44 Special Rimless/Auto (.44SR/.44SA/.44SAR) and a 1911 conversion to start with. The rim is what’s holding this round back and it’s a shame because the .44 Special is right between the .45ACP and the .357 Magnum and IMO would make an EXCELLENT personal protection system.

  11. I am a fan of 200 gr Gold dots.
    They open great at .44 special velocities, and are violent at .44 mag velocities.
    My carry .44 loads, special and mag, are in the 180-200 gr range.
    Also, my magnum carry ammo and my carry special ammo are very similar.
    The specials are hot, the magnums are not hunting rounds.
    I dont think anyone will be carrying magnum hunting rounds.
    My carry rounds are similar to .45 Super loadings.
    I do however carry a speed loader of 240 gr hot hard cast. Just in case.


  12. What? I thought you were looking at 10mm in a 1911 or a Glock?

    Just WHAT has crawled into your ‘hood lately?

    Who needs to take his Superblackhawk to the range, but not in a pocket holster..;>

  13. That’s good advice Ogre. This issue came up for us when we transitioned to the Sig 226. Most of the officers had a very hard time with the first DA trigger pull. Most of them were hitting very low (some very, very low) as they jerked the trigger. (If you look at the research on police shootings you’ll find a depessingly low first hit percentage overall.) We addressed it through training, including slow, methodical, repeated DA presentations where we decocked after every shot. We had to be careful however so as not to inculcate this as an every shot behavior. After all were comfortable with the DA trigger pull and were hitting COM routinely, we dropped the DA specific training and went into normal drills. Did it work? I can only cite our shootings. In every duty shooting we had there was only one instance where we had failure to hit with the first shot. That one was 2 detectives, who are notorious for missing range days, who unknowingly rolled into an active bank robbery.

  14. I have a 9mm, mostly because the ammo is cheaper, and at the time my gun was the only one I would have for the foreseeable future, so I wanted it to be easy to practice with and pretty easy to conceal. Is 9mm as effective as a .45? No, but I can’t afford a new gun right now, so I compensate by using +P hollow points. I recently switched to Golden Sabers because they were the only +P rounds they had at my favorite gunshop. One day, I’ll get a .45, but until then, I’ll practice getting my first 9mm on target quick, as well as the subsequent ones.

  15. I am curious as to what you can reload the .44 special or magnum for. I’ve wanted to start reloading as a hobby, but I have been waiting to choose a favorite all around caliber, and mostly just stock that. I would be fine with a lever revolver combo and the .44 would certainly move me well up into big game at short ranges, deer to black bear and gator.

  16. I don’t carry a .44 Magnum because I feel I need to, exactly. I’ve gone many times with nothing but a 5-shot .38 Special snubby in my pocket.

    I carry the .44 Magnum because it’s my favorite, and I’m confident that if I do my part it will never let me down. I carefully select the carry ammo I use, mainly for recoil management purposes (I don’t worry much about the bullet; there’s no such thing as a bad .44 Magnum load). It’s a handful, especially my little super snubby.

    But there is an undeniable sucking-in-of-the-gut that people do when you pull a big gun. It’s the same reaction you get from racking a twelve gauge.

    Would I feel under-gunned if stuck with a Glock .40? No. But I’d lose the +5 Charisma bonus that comes with the Wheelgunner perk.

    It’s not something I’d recommend other people do. The clubhouse for dedicated sixgunners is pretty small. We like to keep membership exclusive. 🙂

  17. In the above I am asking about the price range .44 can be reloaded for.

    I do like the idea of a .44 for ccw though. Worth doing as a carry gun, all in all. Everytime I have shot a .44 mag I can only think about how much it would suck to get hit with one, anywhere. ANy bullet would probably ruin my day, I am sure, but its just a much more cringe inducing feeling thinking about how the other end of that recoil would feel.
    Since, yes, its awful hard to hit the cns anyway, and alot of people seem to catch bullets in the hands or arms and still remain somewhat functional, I’d be willing to bet any arm or hand hit with that .44 would be very, very damaged, adrenaline, drugs, or no.

  18. Currently, when stateside anyway, my carry is a .38 S&W model 14 with a 4 inch barrel. Plenty happy with it, but yeah, I have always wanted a ridiculously massive revolver. Think hellboy massive. Has got to be at least worth +6 charisma. Was thinking for a time about a .45-70 magnum research revolver, just for kicks. I’ve heard bad things about magnum research, but this would be one of those…

    “Thats not a gun, this is a gun…”


  19. Thanks! I’m fine with that, should be able to afford plenty of practice with that kind of cost. Don’t mind paying high dollar for defense or even special hunting loads. Do you load the special or magnum? or both?

  20. Do you use jacketed bullets for practice or lead? I used to shoot a lot of semiwadcutter in my lameneted, lost S&W Bounty Hunter (which in some ways I liked more than the super snubby S&W sent to replace it), but the barrel got so badly leaded that I had to have GunDoc clean it out for me. It was beyond redonkulous.

  21. I shoot hard cast lead for practice.
    Mostly Venom Ballistics and Oregon Trail.
    I am soon to order a batch from Missouri Bullet Co.
    No leading issues yet.
    What lead were you firing?


  22. Jim, the lead I had issues with was cheap stuff. HSM bulk .44 Mag semiwadcutter from the gun show.

    I’m going to get set up for reloading here pretty soon. I need some good bullets that don’t lead. Also need jacketed bullets for practicing combat style shooting; lead bullets are a PITA to use with a speedloader.

  23. Hmmmmm… never had speedloader issues.
    Then again my VB rounds were more conical… and my 180s are more of a truncated cone also.
    Was it more the shape or drag from the lead?


  24. Both. Flat nosed round suck with speedloaders. Roundy-nosed (to use a technical term) are much better. Jacketed is better than lead, in my experience. .44 caliber FMJ bullets are hard to find, though. Most of my shooting will probably be lead. But when I take it to a handgun class or something I want jacketed.

  25. Gotta ask, sorry. Out of a 16 to 18 inch carbine, whats the longest you could trust this caliber, loaded hot for? 200 yds? 300? deer or goblins?

  26. One more point, is as far as I know, going .44 is the only way to have a revolver, lever, and bolt combo in the same caliber….

  27. But seriously… you can also get a Ruger 99/44 and have a semi auto rifle also.
    I see no reason to not own a fleet of .44s.
    I do plan on a section of the safe, or maybe a small safe itself dedicated to .44s.


  28. do they still make the 99/44? I was just looking at the bolt. A semi auto .44 seems like a rockstar combination.

    WHo has a bolt .45-70? I have been tryin to simplify my collection, but a three or four act combo in .44 and .45-70 seems like plenty of bang for the buck…

    1. Siamese Mauser conversions.
      The balance on the one I handled was…interesting.
      A 26 (or was it 28 or 30)-inch .45-70 barrel will do that to a Mauser with a very skinny sporterized stock. Velocity should have been quite respectable, even without going to the heavy loads.
      Yes, a Bubba was involved.

  29. Gibbs/Navy Arms made a few Enfields in .45-70.
    I passed on one a few months back… and still kick myself from time to time.
    No mfgr but Remington Lee produced one, but there are enfield and mauser conversions.
    There are a few on gunbroker right now.


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