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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
PLEASE NOTE that the article title states, "sub .380"; therefore, it is focused upon .22, .25, and .32 caliber handguns. As well, note that this article IS NOT an endorsement of small caliber handguns for the purpose of self-protection. Personally, I feel that .380 ACP is the minimum caliber for serious consideration, as many others do as well.

Why did I then write this piece? For the reason that the manufacture and sale of this class of weapons is hitherto with us and, in fact, many people do carry them on a daily basis. I consider that one who would stake their life purposely upon a so-called "mouse gun" is probably not very gun savvy nor would they consider them any different from any other major caliber handgun, a gun is a gun right?

My hope is twofold; first, that they reconsider and select a larger caliber weapon and second, should they insist upon the continued use of their minor caliber firearms, that they, at least, understand its limitations and can use it successfully if, God forbid, they should find the need.

Thank you,
Kilogulf59

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The Mouse That Roared…
Can the sub .380 caliber handgun work for you?

By Kenneth A. Giorno aka kilogulf59

The answer to that is yes. Yes a .32, .25, or .22 can be used to save your bacon except you have to comprehend what you are using and how to use it effectively.

I tell folks to think of firearms in the same light as edged weapons and, in actuality, stick/staffs as well. Every weapon has two ranges, one is the maximum range, and the other is the effective range. The one we are concerned with is the effective range especially were pistols are concerned.


The so-called 'mouse' guns are akin to the yawara/kubotan and the sub-4-inch knife. They are extreme close range contact weapons, they are not preferred weapons but are weapons of special purpose, and they must be used properly or they are worthless. In other words, they are not true combat pistols, in reality they are an expert's weapon not a novice's, and they are certainly not the ideal 'ladies gun" as was so often touted in the thrilling days of yesteryear.

Shot placement, always significant as is penetration, is everything when one is using a minor caliber weapon. Just as it would be nearly ineffective to stab a resolute assailant under the sternum with a 3-inch neck knife so would it be equally pointless to attempt a body shot with a minor caliber pistol and expect a change in attitude. Consider as well that marksmanship has nothing to do with this type of shooting, this is contact shooting.


Your targets will all be from the clavicle on up. Your primary "aim" points will be the eyes followed closely by the mouth, ears, nose, and so forth and so on. Place the pistol barrel perpendicular to or force it into the eye and shoot straight towards the back of the skull, in the mouth and fire in an angled-up direction, directly into the ear's cavity firing towards the other ear, the nostrils angled upwards towards the brain, finally under the chin/jawbone and shoot up. Obviously, we are attempting to register brain hits through unprotected softer tissue channels.

Secondary points are straight into the throat, which will damage the vestibular fold, epiglottis, vocal fold, thyroid cartilage, cricoid cartilage, trachea, and esophagus causing shock and suffocation. As well, a downward shot, behind the clavicle at the base of the neck angled towards the heart/lung region is also an option. These are not preferred as they are (potentially) lethal…eventually…and you do not have that much time. Nonetheless, if they are your only options, take them. You can be very dead before your assailant is, keep this in mind.

Caution: when contact shooting the utmost care must be taken to not shoot oneself (YES it has happened). Know where the muzzle is and where your body parts are, especially your off-hand, as you will probably be using it to fend off the attack while firing.

I feel compelled at this time to emphasize several points of note. First is that contact shooting is not a highly recommended way of defending oneself, the farther away you can keep your attacker the better (another state is preferable).

The second is that if your assailant has a gun you will have no choice but to engage immediately. The objective here should be to get the hell out of there as fast as possible using accurate suppressive fire. Unless you are very overdue for a miracle, it is doubtful you will win a running gun battle with a .25 automatic.

A third consideration is that your enemy is armed with an edged or impact weapon. Do you really want to engage in a contact-shooting struggle now? One should always learn and practice as least rudimentary hand-to-hand skills along with shooting skills. Simply having the ability to sidestep in this situation could save your life.


Fourth and final point is ammunition selection for these less than powerful hideout pistols. From 9x18 on down, I use and recommend FMJ or for .22's solid LRN or truncated cone. Many years ago, prior to the advent of today's major caliber micro-pistols, I carried, on occasion, an Iver Johnson TP22 and used Remington Vipers, a solid truncated cone hyper-velocity round. Real hot rounds for the .22's are the Aguila Interceptor 40gr. Solid Points. This ammo travels at 1470 feet per second and is the fastest .22LR 40gr. load out there. For my Beretta 950 Jetfire in .25 ACP, I would have to go with plain old-fashioned FMJ rounds. Yes, I realize that this is the 21st century and bullet technology has come a long way but…small calibers need all the help they can get in the penetration department, they simply don't have the power to push an expanded bullet into the assailant, FMJ does that nicely. Incidentally, the .22 long rifle round is ballistically superior to the .25 ACP. However, the .25 ACP, being a center fire cartridge is more reliable.

Let us look at some training procedures so if the shoe drops you will have some idea of what to do. Basic marksmanship with this style of pistol is a rather uncomplicated affair. Shoot one-handed, at eyelevel, at 5 to 7 feet from the target. A paper desert plate makes a fine target because it is about 7-inches in diameter or roughly face-sized. All your shots should be well within the plate. Start using slow aimed nevertheless unsighted fire and continue speeding up your shots as long as all remain on the plate. Your goal is to bring the pistol up and empty it into the plate as fast as you can pull the trigger; the pistol should sound like a machinegun.

Once you are comfortable with the speed shooting drill, add some movement. Your attacker is not going to stand there while you fire into his face, if he does not run at the sight of the gun he will charge you. To cover 7-feet takes the blink of an eye so you have to not be there when he arrives.

Your movement need not be drastic, a simple side step or pivot to the right or left will suffice. All the while, you are waiting until you can push that pistol into his ear or just behind it as he goes by, the other alternative is his neck.

The actual contact shooting is rather self-explanatory and I am uncertain how an average person would go about practicing the movements. Personally I do not feel that aspect of it is necessary just remember to know where your body parts are, while in the clinch, prior to shooting.

There is undoubtedly more involved however, I feel I got the collective perception across. Always avoid a fight if possible, always fight to win, always use the most effective weapon you can, always cheat, and always remember your goal is not winning a contest; it is to save your life…smash the ant with the hammer…twice.

As far as my personal sentiments on the subject are concerned, I will surmise as follows:

  • 1. .22, .25, and .32 caliber pocket-type weapons do have a niche, albeit a small one.

    2. Most people do not truly understand their limited application and therefore the guns are, or can be, misused.

    3. I consider guns of this type as contact weapons more than true combat pistols.

    4. The only target that should be considered is the face/head area and at arms length. Honestly, I always assumed if I ever had to use mine, it would be tucked under my assailant's ear or chin, more of a knife that goes bang.

    5. Use the hottest and finest ammo you can get, as you need every edge you can with the diminutive calibers.

    6. Small caliber hide-out guns need to be absolutely reliable (as do all weapons). By the time these tools of last resort are deployed it is already too late for any malfunction corrections and they're too light to use as a sap.

    7. Do I advocate their usage? No, certainly not nonetheless, if it is all you have at least have some idea of how to use it and what to expect from its use.

    8. .22's, .25's, and .32's are effective killing rounds, as are any firearm cartridges, but they are not so-called stopping rounds. You may very well be dead before your attacker.
So-called mouse guns ARE killers, they're NOT stoppers...that's where the confusion lies and, truth be known, no handgun is a true "stopper".

David killed Goliath because David had complete knowledge of his weapon and confidence in his ability to use it effectively...and he was lucky!



Here's the PDF version: https://dc239.4shared.com/download/M12f8v5o/The_Mouse_That_Roared.pdf
 

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Hi Ken, yes a mouse gun is better than no gun, but the bad guy can still beat you to death before he dies. IMO for carry, nothing smaller than .38 Special for me.

Regards,
Richard
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
PLEASE NOTE that the article title states, "sub .380"; therefore, it is focused upon .22, .25, and .32 caliber handguns. As well, note that this article IS NOT an endorsement of small caliber handguns for the purpose of self-protection. Personally, I feel that .380 ACP is the minimum caliber for serious consideration, as many others do as well.

Why did I then write this piece? For the reason that the manufacture and sale of this class of weapons is hitherto with us and, in fact, many people do carry them on a daily basis. I consider that one who would stake their life purposely upon a so-called "mouse gun" is probably not very gun savvy nor would they consider them any different from any other major caliber handgun, a gun is a gun right?

My hope is twofold; first, that they reconsider and select a larger caliber weapon and second, should they insist upon the continued use of their minor caliber firearms, that they, at least, understand its limitations and can use it successfully if, God forbid, they should find the need.

Thank you,
Kilogulf59
No argument...:D But let's face it, people do carry them, the guns are still being made and probably always will be so perhaps this may help someone who is determined to carry one...I hope...
 

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I myself prefer 38sp +P and .357 Magnum, but unfortunately my wife has proven over the last four years she can't or won't handle anything beyond .22 long rifle. She keeps a Bersa Thunder and we also have a Ruger 10/22 with a hi-cap magazine. CCI Mini-mags and CCI Velocitors have proven to be utterly reliable in both firearms. And the gel tests I've seen conducted show reasonably good penetration for both.

While not ideal, I feel much more comfortable that she has the Bersa (w/ two magazines) and 10/22 handy in the house when I'm out of town for work. I figure ten rounds with a retreat to the 10/22 whilst dialing 911 is probably better than nothing. But yeah, you're right. The 22 is a concession caliber.


Good article. Especially considering aiming points.
I've always focused on having her shoot 2-3 for COM then eye sockets.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hey at least she's armed, that's step one and the most important.

Personally I'd recommend any solid point hyper-velocity round and my preference is the excellent Aguila .22LR Interceptor - 40 Grain

  • Fastest 40 grain 22LR on the market
  • 1470 muzzle velocity, 192 ft./lbs. energy at the muzzle
  • At 100 yards, these have the same velocity and energy as 40 grain subsonic loads have at the muzzle

Reference here for the cheapest prices...Ammo Seek Aguila .22LR Interceptor

BTW, how do you all like the Bersa?
 

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Very nicely done, sir!
I have a few suggestions, based on decades of rummaging around inside people with gunshot wounds.

Including an image of a lateral cross-section of the head and brain will allow folks to get a mental picture of the anatomy, and (hopefully) let them think in 3 dimensions to get the shooting angle correct to reach the brainstem or midbrain (commonly called "deep grey matter").
And that is what one must try to hit. Pushing a mousegun bullet through the upper parts of the brain will do damage and perhaps even eventually kill, but the only immediate effect is likely to be loss of 3rd grade math and a few other memories.

Stressing the contact shot is beneficial not only for the obvious reason of putting that little bitty bullet into the relatively small effective area, but it also takes advantage of muzzle gasses: if they can be directed into the cranial vault instead of being wasted outside the body or in the soft tissue of the face, more damage will be done where it counts. It's not a huge difference, but mouseguns need every little advantage they can get, and even a small volume of 10,000 psi gas injected into a closed space does a fair amount of damage.

Finally, the listed neck and torso targets are so ineffective that they might as well be struck off the list. As you noted, they may eventually cause death, but are lousy stoppers. Your comparison of the mousegun to a knife is very apt, and the effective "soft" targets are similar. In the neck, the carotid arteries are the target for knife and gun, but even a mousegun can damage or destroy the upper cervical spine, which is a pretty good fight-stopper. A contact wound angled upward and toward midline just behind the angle of the jaw has the advantage of being pointed into the area of carotid artery, upper c-spine and brainstem.

A final practical note: the Beretta tip-up pistols and their Taurus copies suffer from a potentially fatal design feature. Because of the tip-up design, there is no extractor - the guns depend on the empty being blown back out of the chamber with sufficient force to cycle the gun. A dirty or pitted chamber that keeps the empty from being blown back will tie up the gun until it can be pried out of the chamber with some sort of tool. That lack of an extractor has directly lead to a few deaths.
 

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I myself prefer 38sp +P and .357 Magnum, but unfortunately my wife has proven over the last four years she can't or won't handle anything beyond .22 long rifle. She keeps a Bersa Thunder and we also have a Ruger 10/22 with a hi-cap magazine. CCI Mini-mags and CCI Velocitors have proven to be utterly reliable in both firearms. And the gel tests I've seen conducted show reasonably good penetration for both.

While not ideal, I feel much more comfortable that she has the Bersa (w/ two magazines) and 10/22 handy in the house when I'm out of town for work. I figure ten rounds with a retreat to the 10/22 whilst dialing 911 is probably better than nothing. But yeah, you're right. The 22 is a concession caliber.

Good article. Especially considering aiming points.
I've always focused on having her shoot 2-3 for COM then eye sockets.
Hi Risasi, my wife is also recoil sensitive. However, she has a S&W 686 under her side of the bed loaded with +P .38 Special. The weight of the revolver has recoil almost nonexistent. If you have a lighter .38 Special, 38 Special wadcutters has the experience of shooting a .22 rimfire. A wadcutter will at least punch a 0.36" hole in the bad guy where better bleedout is possible than a .22. IMO don't give up on her being able to effectively use a 38 Special.

Regards,
Richard
 

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A 686, eh? My wife doesn't even like the weight of my SP101.

Before we were married I also tried a 1911 with an aluminum .22 upper kit on it and she could shoot it, but not accurately and didn't like the weight. That's when I realized I'd best stick to .22 and find a handgun that would fit her hand. After trying several she finally settled with the Bersa Thunder. She can empty an entire magazine into a 6" group at about 7-10 yards. And with the 10/22 she can shoot 3-4" groups at about 40 yards. I had her handle a few different lever rifles in 38 / .357 and she liked the Rossi w/ a 16" barrel.

My most likely scenarios where we would need a rifle are home break-in/invasion, or as a camp rifle for defense. I want to have her try to test fire one when we get a chance.

Anyway, I don't want to drift this thread any further.
 

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Risasi, she doen't like weight? A 230lb bad guy on her will weight much more than any .38 Special. ;)

It's amazing what a woman can do if properly motivated. The camp carbine (pistol caliber) makes a lot of sense for a home defense gun.

Regards,
Richard
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
You can't force someone but if she's willing to take a class the instructor can help her. I have seen this many time, it's the old "don't teach your own wife to drive" thingy...

Now, back to the world famous soap opera..."As The Thread Turns" :D
 

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the 40 gr load will be 900 fps at best in the Bersa .22 pistol, MUCH less power and penetration than is possible with the .22 rifle. Quite often, the .22 pistol fails to peirce the cranial bones, but it still rocks his world, letting you pour in more bullets to head, throat, heart. the issues, then, tho, are DO you have the determination and skill to do that, and can you handle the psychological issuses that arise from having done that, and possible legal issues about repeated attempts at the head? A woman will have less legal issues, especialy if she is elderly or petite, but probably will lack the required skill and determination.
 
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