Single action for defense??? - Graybeard Outdoors
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post #1 of 56 (permalink) Old 09-14-2019, 03:08 PM Thread Starter
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Default Single action for defense???

Yeah, I know, its nuts. I've even been told that walking out the front door in the morning with less than a 17 round Glock and two spare magazines is nuts. I guess somewhere in the middle is the truth.

I've always been a bit nuts for the single action revolver. Nuts like in for decades its been my fist choice in shooting fun. I've had a couple of bearcats, a stainless super single six that I let go for some stupid reason. And in the mid 1980's I got into the little North American Arms mini revolvers by accident.

All this is more than strange, considering that I am a born and bred city rat. City rat like in North East D.C. lower working class neighborhood. Playground was a back alley and vacant lots where something was condemned and bull dozed or burnt down. There was the bank of the Anacostia river that bordered D.C. on the east side that had all kinds of stuff in it from rusting car bodies to the occasional human body.

But there was fantasy and TV. It was a way a kid. could escape for a while, and the little black and white set in the apartment was a time travel machine. Being a kid in the 50's there as a TV show called Yancy Derringer. Then there was Have Gun, Will Travel. Paladin was the man. He had a very set code of morals and sense of decency. But Yancy Derringer was the kind of "Western" that was a non western, a city kid could halfway identify with. It took place in alleys, waterfronts, and environments I could identify with.

Then someone handed me a Louis LaAmore book. I got hooked on westerns good. When I enlisted in the army after high school to get out of the old neighborhood, they gave me three choices of duty stations if I got a stateside staton. I picked Ft. Huachuca Arizona, Ft. Bliss Texas, and Ft. Sam Houston Texas. They gave me Ft. Sam Houston. Good enough. I wanted anywhere west.

But by the time I was 18 and had read every Louis LaAmore book I got my hands on, I was hooked. My very first gun, the gun I got at age 17 from the gun guy by the dumpster in back the bowling alley, was a single action. It was almost midnight and dark, and he opened up the gym bag and shone a flashlight in on his guns. Some Germany made RG .22 revolvers, a few of the old cheap Galesi Italian made .25 autos. a couple .38 snubbie S&W and Colts that were out of my praise range. Then I saw it. In the flashlight beam the brass frame stood out. A 4-barrel Sharps look alike derringer made in Italy just like what I saw on Yancy Derringer. All of .22 short and palm sized, I took it. The gun guy even tossed in a box of standard velocity ammo to go with it.

The next day I was down by a deserted part of the river bank back in a deserted marshy area, I tried it out. I took a stick and drew a basket ball size circle in the mud and shot. I actually hit it from about 7 feet away. I found of I used he little bead front sight it would actually shoot close to the point of aim. I loved that little gun, but of course it was my very first gun. A year later I had to use it, and it went into the river after. I was sad, but it had to be done.

Then came the army and I fell in love with he Colt 1911 and to this day its the only semi auto pistol I really love. But on my own, when I bought guns, it was mostly single action revolvers. A Ruger bearcat, a Ruger single six convertible later, A Ruger Blackhawk .357 was around for a while. For some dumb reason I let the single six go in a trade, and the Blackhawk wasn't really good for carry and camping, and it was a loud sucker. I didn't hunt so a .357 wasn't really needed. Somehow the little bearcat stayed on.

When I got out of the army with a 50% disability for getting badly injured in line of duty, I had to make some adjustments. I didn't want to give up my backpacking, so I took up the new sport of ultra light backpacking. Every single ounce had to be cut. Limping down the trail on a cane, I couldn't afford any extra pounds. But one thing I wasn't ready to leave behind was my gun. I didn't care about legal or illegal, I wasn't about to go off in the boonies unarmed. I found out at a very young age that the world was NOT Mr. Rogers neighborhood. The bearcat was light and compact enough that it could be kept out of sight.

One day, while I was in a local gun shop in the Maryland suburbs of D.C. that I had moved out to, I saw them. A small display of North American Arms mini .22 revolves. Even smaller and lighter than my old trusted bearcat, I bought one on the spot. I was so impressed by the Swiss watch kind of quality, I bought a second just for a back up. Being so used to mostly single action revolvers, I didn't find it too much for a self defense kind of gun. Thumbing back the hammer can be done so quick, it didn't seem to be bad.

Soooo, I guess in my long winded way, I'm trying to say I don't find a single action revolver to be that bad a choice. Yes, its limited in firepower compared with modern guns. But...and I find this a big BUT...acording to the department of justice figures and most all I can find on the internet, plus my own experices with close range crime in a crapy part of the city, its all over in a few shots at a few feet, in a few seconds.

Would you really be bad off with say, a NAA black widow in .22 magnum vs a J frame double action snubbie that you really know and practice with the Black Widow?

Would you be at terrible handicap at 2am in the morning with some low life breaking in your back door and you have a Ruger Vaquero instead of some other wonder gun of the month that holds enough rounds for a fire fight with a Mexican drug cartel?

Don't over do it, just enough will do.
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post #2 of 56 (permalink) Old 09-14-2019, 04:10 PM
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In a gun fight you never hear I wish I had less ammo or slower reaction to multi attackers . Mags and speed loaders rule!
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post #3 of 56 (permalink) Old 09-14-2019, 04:16 PM
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I would not feel the least bit "undergunned" with a big bore single action Ruger. While someone was "spraying and praying", I know that one well placed shot would end it.

Aim small, miss small!!!
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post #4 of 56 (permalink) Old 09-15-2019, 12:22 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by casull View Post
I would not feel the least bit "undergunned" with a big bore single action Ruger. While someone was "spraying and praying", I know that one well placed shot would end it.
Its funny that you use that term. Thees two local shooting ranges here that I go to. They are both indoor ranges with clear plexiglass or glass dividers. You can see the shooters on either side of you and down the line with little trouble.

The level of marksmanship, or lack of that I see on the public ranges is atrocious. I mean, with a full size silhouette at 7 yards, they are missing the target with rounds scattered all over it and on the border of the paper. It seems like the run of the mill shooter with a in vague semi will see how fast the can get rid of the ammo. Hitting the target seems to be a secondary goal. Doesn't matter if a 9mm or a .40 or .45, just absolute horrible shooting. Just last Tuesday I watched the guy in the next lane run his target out to 7 yards, put a magazine in, and proceed to dump his rounds like he was Mel Gibson in a Lethal Weapon movie. Of the 17 rounds in his Glock 17, I counted 7 rounds in the black, 4 or 5 rounds on the white border, couldn't be sure, the rest who knows. Somewhere down in the backstop I guess.

Only guy I would be scared of was a white haired old guy with a beat up old model 10 S&W that was putting all his rounds in the 8 ring and in at 10 yards pretty quick. Don't know he was retired LEO or what, but he was good.

No matter what range I go to, there just doesn't seem to be a good level marksmen ship going in the general public. Think I remember reading in Bill Jordan's book, No Second Place Winner, that speed was dangerous, but accuracy was deadly. Bill Jordan and Jim Cirillo stressed accuracy.

Don't over do it, just enough will do.

Last edited by cb51; 12-01-2019 at 06:59 PM.
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post #5 of 56 (permalink) Old 09-15-2019, 03:44 AM
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worked for Matt Dillon.
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post #6 of 56 (permalink) Old 09-15-2019, 04:44 AM
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Originally Posted by fatercat View Post
worked for Matt Dillon.
Usually does in the movies , there"s a reason L.E. s went to large capacity/semi"s not to mention military . And attackers don"t always line up or take turns (one at a time) ,a lesson taken by survivors with a large capacity/semi that take the time to practice !
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post #7 of 56 (permalink) Old 09-15-2019, 08:23 AM
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I think what lost in gun recommendations is the fact that as a civilian your not taking on an army or 6 bank robbers. Probably in over 90 percent of incidences of civilians using guns the fight is over with one shot. Probably 9 percent with 2. Reloading slower yes and no. Ive seen people in just combat simulations doing mag changes fall right apart. Being able to do it on the range isn't the same as doing it when someones shooting at you and if you even have to your probably in one of those big gun fights that makes the national news.People watch way to much tv. Ive carried my 45 colt montado in an in the waist band holster I had made for it. 6 big 255 grain bullets probably gives the smack on target that twice that many 9mms give. If I knew for absolute sure I was going to get in a gun fight that day and it might be that one percent would I take a single action? Probably not but I sure wouldn't feel under gunned leaving the house. Id bet a good many of those who say it wont work carry little 7 shot 9s or 380s. Id take a 45 colt sa over one of them. Another thing to keep in mind is if your like me you've practiced A LOT. Practiced drawing and shooting your gun over and over and over. Most criminals probably haven't even shot there gun and if so don't have a clue as to proper gun handling. Now if your unlucky enough to run into one of those made for tv sernerios where theres 6 bank robbers with full auto m16s and sawed off shotguns forget all what I said. Good luck with even a glock. Remember too who your asking here. I don't know if a single guy here as a civilian actually used a gun to defend himself. If there is someone id like to hear how many shots they fired. Truth be told I don't know and have never even met a civilian who used his ccw gun. About like asking a bunch of guys from Michigan and florida what the best grizzly bear stopping gun is.

MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN! STEEL FOR TANKS NOT FENCES!!!
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post #8 of 56 (permalink) Old 09-15-2019, 10:38 AM
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Carry what you can use the best. I too carry a single action a lot. Mine is a .45 Blackhawk w/ 3 3/4" barrel and carries/conceals very well. In my case it's what my old hands and fingers can operate effectively. My right index finger can no longer cycle a double action trigger, and, I need a hammer that I know my left thumb can negotiate, every time without fail. I grew up on Single Six's, a Bearcat and Blackhawks, and can manipulate them in my sleep. Yeah, I also have and carry a .45acp slide-o-matic that I can and do carry in condition one. Like you, Uncle Sugar gave me three years training with a 1911 and I don't think there is a better defensive handgun to this day. But the simple fact is that if TSHTF I'd feel most comfortable with that old Blackhawk in my hand.
And BTW, Thank You for your service.
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post #9 of 56 (permalink) Old 09-15-2019, 12:03 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lloyd smale View Post
I think what lost in gun recommendations is the fact that as a civilian your not taking on an army or 6 bank robbers. Probably in over 90 percent of incidences of civilians using guns the fight is over with one shot. Probably 9 percent with 2. Reloading slower yes and no. Ive seen people in just combat simulations doing mag changes fall right apart. Being able to do it on the range isn't the same as doing it when someones shooting at you and if you even have to your probably in one of those big gun fights that makes the national news.People watch way to much tv. Ive carried my 45 colt montado in an in the waist band holster I had made for it. 6 big 255 grain bullets probably gives the smack on target that twice that many 9mms give. If I knew for absolute sure I was going to get in a gun fight that day and it might be that one percent would I take a single action? Probably not but I sure wouldn't feel under gunned leaving the house. Id bet a good many of those who say it wont work carry little 7 shot 9s or 380s. Id take a 45 colt sa over one of them. Another thing to keep in mind is if your like me you've practiced A LOT. Practiced drawing and shooting your gun over and over and over. Most criminals probably haven't even shot there gun and if so don't have a clue as to proper gun handling. Now if your unlucky enough to run into one of those made for tv sernerios where theres 6 bank robbers with full auto m16s and sawed off shotguns forget all what I said. Good luck with even a glock. Remember too who your asking here. I don't know if a single guy here as a civilian actually used a gun to defend himself. If there is someone id like to hear how many shots they fired. Truth be told I don't know and have never even met a civilian who used his ccw gun. About like asking a bunch of guys from Michigan and florida what the best grizzly bear stopping gun is.
Lloyd, you touch on a point that was on my mind.

Open carry became law here on the 1st of January 2016. In that time since, Ihave seen exactly two people carrying openly. Thats it. This is including time spent hiking with my better half on wedded trails and out in the boonies. One was a young lady wither dog and she had a Glock sticking out of her back pocket. The other was a clown that was trying for a reaction with a thigh mounted tactical rig, several spare magazines and punches for flashlights and so on. He looked like an ad for the tactical rig company, and frankly he looked like a clown. He was even getting stares with people shaking their heads. I don't think many people are walking around actually carrying what they say they do. According to the guy at the gun counter of the local Academy sports, the small .380's are flying off the shelves with the Ruger LCP and S&W .380 bodyguard being the top sellers. The small 9mm's are also big sellers.

If I were a cop, or SEAL, or caped avenger protecting Gotham, I'd go with a full size Glock or Sig 226. But I'm not. I'm a retired senior citizen machinist that lives quietly in Georgetown Texas. Once in a while the wife and I go down to Austin for a music venue or lunch at our favorite Irish pub on 6th street. Thats about the most daring thing we do, as 6th street is not a great pale at night, but so-so in daylight. There I carry both my NAA mini's.

I think it matters who you are and what you do. The wife and I have not, to our knowledge, angered any Hells Angles or Banditios groups that we know of, nor do we have anything to with any Mexican drug cartels. Keeping in mind who we are and what we do, how much gun is needed by two seniors going about a quiet life of retirement? We've scaled back in a lot of ways as we got 'older' and our activities changed. Our backpacking days are over, and even our so called hikes are not that far into any wilderness. We don't do bars at night, and since Memorial Day 2017 I only stop at large busy travel centers like Pilot and Flying J while on our road trips to California to see the daughter and grandkids.

Most my life I've carried a small pocket pistol, and its been fine. The few times theres been a problem, it got solved. Only once was a shot fired, and since most criminals are cowards and run, a small gun is as good as a big one.

But...since the increase in mass shootings, I went a bit off and bought a more modern gun with more rounds than my old mini revolver. I bought a Ruger LCP and now regret it. Its on its way back to Ruger because the third time out it became a jam-o-maric with failure to ejects in every magazine. Should've stuck with revolvers. In 50 years of handguning, I've never had a revolver fail on me, let alone a single action one. My Bearcat since 1972 has never missed. beat. My S&W 63 from 1980 has never failed. I'm second guessing my move to a semi auto and am thinking that Should have just stayed with what has worked from since I was a teenager. My Ruger Bearcat may only be a .22, but unlike the LCP, it has always worked, and I can hit tens balls at 25 yards with it. A local gunship has. Rugged Vaquero with the birdshead grip and short barrel that is actually a compact gun. Kind of chunky, but so was the Charter Arms .44 bulldog.

My thoughts now are turning to this; if its not a true pocket pistol, then why not just go for a full size gun in a good high ride holster for concealment? The midsize guns don't make sense to me anymore, nor do the small semi autos that are finicky. I had a Glock 26 for a couple of years, carried it twice as it was too big for a pocket. And I just never bonded with the gun. I didn't like it. It was very reliable, very accurate, but I just never liked the feel of it. For whatever emotional factor, I'm a revolver guy. They just click with me. I'm not taking on any mob, I'm not the Lone Ranger, I'm not even the guy who feed oats to the Lone Rangers horse.

The most likely criminal I'm going to face is some low life that thinks the white bearded old guy limping along on a cane is going to be easy pickings. Like the two illegals that tried to car jack me at the highway rest stop out by Ft. Hancock Texas in 2017. A little single action did just as well as a 17 round Glock with no shots fired.

I'm thinking of when I get the LCP back from Ruger, selling/trade it off on a larger but still cartable single action like the Bearcat modded for .22 magnum?

Don't over do it, just enough will do.
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post #10 of 56 (permalink) Old 09-15-2019, 12:10 PM Thread Starter
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Carry what you can use the best. I too carry a single action a lot. Mine is a .45 Blackhawk w/ 3 3/4" barrel and carries/conceals very well. In my case it's what my old hands and fingers can operate effectively. My right index finger can no longer cycle a double action trigger, and, I need a hammer that I know my left thumb can negotiate, every time without fail. I grew up on Single Six's, a Bearcat and Blackhawks, and can manipulate them in my sleep. Yeah, I also have and carry a .45acp slide-o-matic that I can and do carry in condition one. Like you, Uncle Sugar gave me three years training with a 1911 and I don't think there is a better defensive handgun to this day. But the simple fact is that if TSHTF I'd feel most comfortable with that old Blackhawk in my hand.
And BTW, Thank You for your service.
Walt

Tell me about it, Hopalong!

A career of cranking on mills and lathes has left me with some respectable ostio arthritis in my hands. Loading magazines and racking slides is a PITA now. Same for my wife. A revolver is just so much easier and less painful to deal with. I have been using the left thumb for hammer cocking for a long time now. I learned from a cowboy action shooter that it is way faster to shoot that way. I think a lot of people underestimate how quick a single actions for the first few shots. Most times it's over by then anyways.

Don't over do it, just enough will do.
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