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Opinions & Suggestions Requested

Discussion in 'Defensive Carry & Self Defense' started by PDX1953, Feb 22, 2016.

  1. PDX1953

    PDX1953 Active Member

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    A friend of mine lives in the hills East of Oroville, CA. She likes to hike & carries a S&W 9mm is thinking about going to a larger caliber. She's had operations on both wrists so they're not as as strong as a 50 y.o. woman's might be and her reason for a larger caliber is because there have been occasional sightings of cougars & black bears.

    I don't shoot handguns larger than a 9mm (unless you count my .223 AR pistols) so I can't really give her good advice on whether she should buy a .40 S&W or a .45 ACP. She inherited a Scandium & Titanium S&W .44 mag but knows that's way too big and furthermore I'm going to do my best to buy it for my collection.

    I asked for opinions on some FB forums & not surprisingly got a lot of "expert" advice. Her "must have" list includes a laser so that eliminates using +P or +P+ loads in her S&W Model 39. I'd heard that .40's have less recoil than a .45 but (a) have never shot a .40 & (b) haven't shot a .45 in over 25 years.

    Having weak wrists, racking the slide can be hard for her so I told her about the TacRack that I use on two of my Glocks. That takes care of one issue but given identical guns, which would have more recoil with factory loads - a .40 or a .45?

    Let the fur fly & thanks in advance.
     
  2. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    I have never encountered a cougar/mountain lion:rolleyes:,but have talked to folks who have.
    We were talking about a guy who bought a 357 lever gun for cougar encounters on his horse rides. Another gentleman chuckled and said a 22lr would scare a cougar away.
    I don't believe she is under gunned with a 9mm for cougars. That said i carry a 357 that replaced my 10mm. But I have no problem with shooting either caliber
     
  3. PDX1953

    PDX1953 Active Member

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    I've agreed to pay for whatever gun she wants as partial payment towards her .44 mag. I hope nobody tells her about Nighthawk Customs because I have one & could just about hire her a bodyguard for the same price.

    She also inherited a Henry .44 Big Boy but doesn't like lugging it around & it's on my investment list anyway. She's a hoot - rides a Harley named 'Tawanda', has a big (800cc?) Polaris ATV & is looking at drop leg holsters. If I was a cougar I'd be more afraid that she'd reach down my throat & turn me inside out vs. shooting me.
     
  4. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Is there a range near her with rental guns available? If so, I would strongly recommend she go there and try several different guns in the calibers you've mentioned. .40 has more recoil than 9mm In my opinion, .45 is about the same, but different people can perceive recoil differently. Some describe .40 as 'snappy' where .45 tend to 'push' more in recoil. That's also going to be affected by the size and weight of a gun - a sub-compact .40 will kick more than a full size, steel frame .45 So right there are several issues that weigh in here beyond just one type of load vs another.

    Personally, if I were heading out and worried about animals, I'd probably be more interested in a .357 mag, maybe a 4" barrel. Since I don't know what kind of gun weight she can manage or how she plans to carry or conceal, those are all factors that need to be considered. With the concern being both cougar and bear, I'd be considering nothing less than .357, .44 or a 10mm - maybe a Glock G20. I've got a 10mm, and it kicks, but it's manageable, at least for me. But again, I don't know how big a gun she can comfortably handle in her hands or carry on her side.

    Choosing a gun is obviously a very personal thing, and ultimately, she is the best judge of what will work for her. It needs to be something she can comfortably carry, accurately shoot and reliably operate. It should be something she's not afraid to take out and shoot regularly.

    It would be worth the time and expense to get to a range and test a variety of guns. She may find that .45 is too much or maybe .357 works well in a stainless revolver
     
    Logan Wilson and RicInOR like this.
  5. Goosebrown

    Goosebrown Beaverton Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter 2015 Volunteer

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    Stay with 9mm. If she practices with it and is OK with it, then she should use that. If she got a 40 or 45 (my personal choice, I don't like 40 which is snappy) then she'd be more likely to develop a flinch and that is more dangerous than anything.

    I have a friend who had a Desert Eagle 25 years ago and he shot that and developed a flinch so bad that he still has it to this day. I love shooting pistol with him because he can throw money at guns all day, but with a pistol, he still has that flinch and I can beat him. With Rifles, he's unstoppable...
     
  6. PDX1953

    PDX1953 Active Member

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    I've heard the same opinions about the 'snap' vs. 'push' and will discuss it with her. A 10mm would be too big and although she could get an 8-round .357 she wants to be able to reload quickly if required and is more comfortable with a pistol.

    I just discovered an indoor range with rental guns about 45 minutes from her house. She's quite comfortable with handguns so I'm going to suggest she try .40 & .45 full size Glocks. Being in CA she's limited to 10 rd magazines +1 in the chamber so that has to be figured into the mix as well. If I install a TacRack on a Glock it'll take some of the stress off her wrists. She'll wear a drop-leg holster while hiking & if she gets her CHL she'll probably carry her current 9mm.

    I appreciate your thoughts & comments.
     
    etrain16 likes this.
  7. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I would just add - if she's going to try the full size Glock 21, and if that works for her, she may consider the G20 10mm. At least in my hands, I don't notice a substantial difference in recoil, but the power for defense is greater, and the frame/grip is exactly the same as the G21. Hopefully she'll find something that works well for her.
     
  8. PDX1953

    PDX1953 Active Member

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    Her S&W .44 mag is a lightweight model with a Scandium frame & Titanium cylinder. It was one of a handful that went through the S&W Performance Center & was ported. S&W recalled some of them (hers is within the affected s/n range) because the frames can break apart. If it wasn't a problem gun the .44 Spl might be a viable option but I'm willing to buy her a new gun and lot's of ammo because I want the gun for my collection.

    629.jpg
     
  9. PDX1953

    PDX1953 Active Member

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    "...I don't notice a substantial difference in recoil..." Maybe I missed something - you were comparing the recoil of your 10mm to what other caliber?
     
  10. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Sorry, I was comparing it to the .45 in a G21. Again, since recoil is often perceived differently by different people, it could just be me, but what it feels like, to me, is kind of a snappy version of the .45 But then, that's why it's important to try guns for yourself, since one person's feel is going to be different from another's. I have a G21 and a have a complete G20 slide that I can swap back and forth and compare the two. Honestly, I like the feel of the 10mm, it's comfortable to me - a fun round to shoot.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2016
  11. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Perhaps. The SF in the 20 or 21 is nice if you have smaller hands. Mine are not large, I do like the SF frame, but have fired the full size as well. All the more reason for her to try them first. Some folks have surprised me and like the full sized grip. I've learned not to underestimate the ladies when it comes to guns ;)
     
  12. PDX1953

    PDX1953 Active Member

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    She doesn't have "man hands" so a large Glock might not be right. She mentioned liking the looks of a Sig so I'm making up a spreadsheet that will compare her S&W 39 specs (weight, barrel length, width, etc) with a number of other guns in .40 & .45 calibers
     
    etrain16 likes this.
  13. Doc In UPlace

    Doc In UPlace Tacoma-ish Well-Known Member

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    I keep thinking Mossberg 500 persuader with a sling and some std. vel. 00 Buck.
     
  14. bgdawgrr

    bgdawgrr Washington Member

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    I second the "keep the 9". With good ammo like Federal HST etc, I'd think the capacity would be more important than caliber. I was a big fan of .40 S&W when I first started carrying. It has significant more felt recoil than 9mm and much more "snap". My round of choice is 45. Felt recoil is different (~slower) and I like it much more than shooting .40.
    9mm recoil is just nice compared to either.
    Taking all things considered, a full sized, high cap 9mm with quality defense ammo would be my recommendation.
     
  15. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I've always understood that you don't ever want to use expanding ammo for animals such as cougar and bear. You need some deep penetration, and you won't get that with a hollow point.

    Here is an interesting article concerning bears and ammo/caliber selection - it's by the folks at Buffalo Bore, so obviously weighted toward their products, but still some important info regarding defense against bears:

    https://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_list&c=108

    They (Buffalo Bore) do happen to make "bear" loads in 9mm (+p+), .40SW, even .38sp +p - those products are listed in that link.
     
  16. Larrytpdx

    Larrytpdx Portland, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Keep the 9mm.
     
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  17. Goosebrown

    Goosebrown Beaverton Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter 2015 Volunteer

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    Just FYI there have been only 14 attacks on people by mountain lions in California in the last 30 years and only 3 were fatal.

    https://www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/lion/attacks.html

    I reckon a nine is enough. They are not that big, big enough, but not that big. 60-220 lbs and they really don't like people. One shot with a 9 and they'll run.
     
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  18. PDX1953

    PDX1953 Active Member

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    Can't have a "high capacity" magazine - it's The People's Republic of Kalifonia & I doubt if her 25+ year-old S&W 39 would handle +P rounds.

    I'll try to figure out where she can go to rent a couple of guns. She's in the middle of nowhere, which is a nice place to live if you don't like to be bothered but I was looking for ranges/rentals & there might be one within 45 mins of her. If the weather is nice she'd make any excuse to take her Harley for a spin.
     
    Joe13 likes this.
  19. Joe13

    Joe13 NW of Vancouver Opinionated & Blunt Bronze Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    I wouldn't put +p rounds in my 39-2 either ;).

    Too bad she is against revolvers. A 6" gp100 is heavy enough to help handle the recoil while still tossing "hunting rounds" down range. And you can work up from .38's.

    Even with a couple more rounds - I doubt she would have time to reload anything should something charge her or pounce on top of her. If she is fighting people then speed loaders behind a tree should work.

    In all my time in the woods, I have only seen a black bear twice, both times his arse while I was driving logging roads.

    I have never ever seen any kind of big cat, hope not too unless I have a tag and its in season...
     
    PDX1953 likes this.
  20. PDX1953

    PDX1953 Active Member

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    She's not 'against' revolvers she just 'prefers' pistols.

    I doubt she'll ever have a problem with cougars or bears either but she wants what she wants.

    She inherited a lightweight S&W Scandium/Titanium .44 mag but S&W wants it back because it's one of a small batch that are potentially dangerous. From what I've read, once they get their hands on the gun they refuse to give it back & don't offer much in compensation. I argued with them via email & they finally gave me a number to call so I'll be able to talk to someone tomorrow.

    If she can get to a range & try out a variety of makes & calibers I'm sure she'll be able to find something she likes. I'm footing the bill so I'm not going to let her see my Nighthawk Custom. A new one like mine is $3700 now.
     
    Joe13 likes this.