I recently took the state-mandated NRA pistol course at a local range. This course is required for anyone in Hawaii looking to purchase a hand gun. Now, I was interested in buying a pistol but didn't have too many preconceived notions going into the class.
During my military time I had to qualify at the range with a Beretta M9. I've always enjoyed shooting, never had a problem qualifying, but never really took much enjoyment out of my time with it at the range.
A pistol is almost an essential survival tool. I say "tool" because that's exactly what it is, a tool used for a purpose. A pistol is a self defense tool.
Now, during the course of the NRA class we shot a multitude of pistols in various calibers. 22lr semi, 9mm semi, 45acp semi, .357 double action revolver, and .357 single action revolver. The single action was equipped with a cylinder chambered for 9mm. It was a Ruger Blackhawk Convertible, it shoots .38 special, .357, and with the second cylinder, 9mm. An interesting option for the would-be survivalist, three rounds in one gun.
Want to take a wild guess which pistols I enjoyed shooting the most?
Ruger Blackhawk Convertible
The title of the post probably gives it away, but I absolutely loved shooting the two revolvers. Especially the single action pistol. It might not be the most practical survival pistol, a single-action revolver, but it was by far the most fun to shoot. Not only did I like shooting the revolvers the most, but I shot better with those than any of the others. I shot two bulls-eyes at twenty yards, first time up, using the S&W 686 in single action. With the 9mm Glock I was lucky to hit the paper.
That's something important to keep in mind when choosing a defensive firearm, how much you enjoy shooting it. "Enjoyment" sounds like such a peripheral thing when considering survival tools, but if you enjoy shooting it you're going to shoot it more often, have a higher proficiency with it, and you'll be more likely to have it close at hand during a survival scenario. In almost any scenario I would rather have a 6 rd revolver that I'm good with, comfortable with, than a 15rd Glock that I've hardly handled. All other technical specifications aside, if you don't shoot it frequently than it's going to be of very limited use to you.
As many survival board forum posts say: the best firearm is the one you have on hand when SHTF (Sh!t hits the fan). The gun you have, the gun you're good with, the gun you enjoy shooting, it is the most practical to have in a survival scenario.
Besides, a .Smith & Wesson .357 revolver makes a handy pistol-whipping weapon when it runs out of rounds. And the intimidation factor is impressive, almost as good as having a shot gun. "Make my day..." :)
Cowboy or not, I'm glad to know what kind of gun works best for me. Do you know what works best for you?