Five Of The Most Powerful Handguns In The World

July 24th, 2015

It seems as though my past post on hunting dinosaurs is still causing some to consider the premise.  A quote from an email I received …

“So you have written about which rifles you would use to shoot dinosaurs.  What sidearms would you carry?”

Handguns fill many roles, but their main purpose is to provide a portable, go-anywhere self-defense tool.  Long guns will do better in just about every other job.

Still, it is prudent to consider what will happen if your long gun fails in some way.  Best to have a handgun holstered at your hip in case you really, really need it.

leather flap holster with magazine carrier

Since the premise is to go toe-to-toe with extremely dangerous game, it would be a good idea to invest in high powered handguns that pack a respectable punch.  But where is the line between “powerful” and merely ordinary?

The most common military and police caliber in the free world today is the 9mm Parabellum, and a standard pressure load with a standard weight bullet produces around 360 ft/lbs of muzzle energy.  A cartridge much admired in the United States amongst shooting sports enthusiasts is the .45 ACP, and it produces around 395 ft/lbs of muzzle energy.

And so we have a baseline for ordinary, which is a handgun producing a bit less than 400 ft/lbs of energy at the muzzle.  If we want to protect ourselves against large and dangerous game animals, we will have to do better than that.

(Please click on the handgun name for the Wikipedia page discussing that particular gun, and click on the ft/lbs numbers for ballistic information.)

Tokarev TT Pistol ( 511 ft/lbs)

worn tt-33 with holster

When the Communists took Russia over after WWI, they looked to modernizing the armed forces.  Revolvers, which had been the mainstay of most officer sidearms, were replaced by the Tokarev starting in 1930.  Millions were produced over the next 25 years, manufactured not only in Russia but also in just about every other country with a Communist government.  A large number of these firearms can be found on the surplus market for a surprisingly low price, with examples of perfectly functional guns going for less than $300 USD (£200).

This design has earned a reputation of extreme reliability and ruggedness, which sounds like just the thing if one is going to go running around in a sweltering jungle during a dinosaur hunt.  Most of the reliability comes from the bottleneck cartridge, a shape which is much less prone to jamming.

762x25 tokarev cartridges

The gun fires a small .30 caliber bullet at very high speed, which has advantages and drawbacks.

The advantage is that the bullet will have very good penetration, so the chances are good that the internal organs will be reached.  The disadvantage is that the hole punched into the hide of the dinosaur will be small, so it will take longer for the animal to pass out from blood loss.  Glass half full, or half empty?

Impressive though the performance of the Tokarev might be, there are better choices out there.  The main advantage is the low cost, so an eager safari hunter can still afford a powerful sidearm even after spending tens of thousands on a fancy big game rifle.

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WARNING : Bad Language Alert!

July 20th, 2015

(EVERY LINK ON THIS POST IS NSFW!!  You have been warned!)

Someone going by the name Michael Sonmore has published a confessional op-ed that has made some waves.  The thrust of the article, if “thrust” is the correct term, is that he is completely fine with his wife going out to have wild animal sex with other guys because he is a “feminist“.  (Hat tip to Glenn.)

barbie sitting on ken

Gay writer Milo Yiannopoulos thinks is just great news!  Since feminists are turning what would otherwise be straight males into submissive homosexuals, the time has never been better for men who are attracted to other men.  It is like being a kid in a candy store!

man in a candy store

(A top, obviously.)

There have been a mountain of pixels spilled concerning how Mr. Sonmore, the author of the original tell-all article, is such a milksop girly man that the human race owes him a big thank you for voluntarily removing himself from the gene pool.  But what is his wife thinking?  What is her grand scheme?

The best explanation I have ever heard can be found here.   I don’t want to steal any thunder from the Monkey, so you are going to have to just clickety-click your way over to his lair and give a listen.

There Is Still Much To Learn

July 20th, 2015

The reason I keep this blog going after more than a decade is to provide a forum for people to ask questions concerning self defense and home security.  I have given advice to people from all over the world, including those who hail from places where private ownership of firearms is forbidden by law.  Right or wrong, I count that as being one of my greater contributions.

I received an email from a reader who I will call Chris.  It seems that he had painted the main room of his dwelling a blood red hue, and had hung crucifixes upon the wall.

crucifex wall

(Click pic to enbiggen.)

That might keep the living room safe from non-traditional home invaders, but Chris was looking to create a safe perimeter.  He packed thick sections of PVC pipe with salt, joining and bending the tube into a single unbroken unit.

pvc pipe bent into shapes

(These are not the pipes Chris actually used.)

The salty pipe was buried around Chris’ home, never coming closer than 20 feet (7 meters) to the outside walls.

old rusty mobile home

(This is not where Chris actually lives.)

Next to the front door rests a shotgun, loaded with rock salt.

rusty single barreled shotgun

(This is not the shotgun Chris keeps next to the front door.  Um, actually.)

At this point, I made a profound error.  I wrote Chris back!

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Revolvers Are Scary?

July 17th, 2015

It seems that every news article I read that supports gun control features a picture of a revolver.

j frame and standard cylinder revolvers

The standard practice is to send a photographer to a gun store and have them snap a shot of some wheel guns in a display case.

revolvers on a gun store shelf

Just about every one of those signs advertising a gun free zone features a drawing of a revolver.

gun free drug free zone sign

The recent incident where a crazed terrorist killed some US Marines occurred right where those signs are prominent.

gun free zone marine shooting

federal gun free zone sign

This seems rather odd to me, as the handguns which gun control advocates find most alarming are of the semi-auto breed.  (“So many bullets!  Catch me while I faint dead away!“)

So why the images of a revolver?  Do the people who go in for gun control think a drawing of an autoloader will be ignored over a revolver?

I just don’t get it.


Owl In Flight

July 16th, 2015

owl in flight

Shotgunning Raptors

July 6th, 2015

My previous post concerning the proper guns to be used against carnivorous dinosaurs has prompted a question from long time reader knirirr

IIRC the hunter in the original film was using some sort of shotgun to go after the “velociraptors”, presumably loaded with rifled slugs. It seemed an odd choice to me – what do you think?

Keen eye, there, knirrir!

The professional hunter employed to control the dangerous livestock in the first Jurassic Park movie was played by the late Bob Peck, an actor whom I always felt deserved more recognition for his work and talent.  The gun knirirr mentions as being wielded by Mr. Peck in the film is known as the Franchi SPAS 12.

jurassic park spas 12

spas 12 with sling

spas 12 with stock deployed

A fascinating design, the SPAS 12 could be set to fire either pump action or as a semi-auto.  No longer manufactured, the importation of the gun into the US was banned in 1994.  There were only about 1,800 of them shipped to America all told, and it would appear that a fair number were snapped up by the film studios to be used as props in action movies.

spas as used in graceland

spas as used in the terminator

spas as used in the matrix

(Hover your cursor over the pics to see which movies these pics are from.)

The rather complex workings of the gun, as well as the fact that it had to be imported into the US, resulted in a sticker price of $1,500 USD (£1000) back in 1993.  I always wanted one, if for no other reason than I thought the concept of a pump and semi-auto all in one was really cool, but could never justify the price when brand new Winchester pump actions were going for about $300 USD (£200) or so at the time.

At any rate, I have yet to address knirirr’s question.  What do I think about the choice of a 12 gauge shotgun to take on resurrected dinosaurs that weigh 300 lbs (135 kilos)?

My answer is that it would work just fine!  Even the enlarged head of the beast, no doubt packed full with dense and hardened skull, would start to come apart if a deer slug was applied.

velociraptor head and eye

Another advantage a slug-spitting shotgun would have over smaller projectiles is that the chomp-chomp lizards tend to keep to heavy brush.  Not only would most encounters be up close and personal, so the longer range of a rifle would not be required, but it would also be best to shoot something pretty massive in order to plow through all those branches and leaves without your shot being deflected too much.  Looks like a shotgun would be just the thing!

Not that I’m claiming any sort of effort went in to determining the most logical weapon to equip the security forces of an imaginary theme park.  The prop masters for the film probably thought the SPAS 12 looked cool, all shiny and futuristic, and so they just used any that were lying about the warehouse where they store such things.

Nice Alligator!

July 6th, 2015


(Picture source.)


Hunting Dinosaurs

July 6th, 2015

I recently made my way to the cineplex to catch the latest dinosaur film.  I don’t think I’m revealing any spoilers when I say it turned out just as expected.  Extremely dangerous beasts are poorly contained, they get loose, and scores of innocent people lose their lives.

child eating apple while lounging on dinosaur sculpture

The few times we see guns being used, they are effective only against the smaller fiends.  What type of firearms are deployed against the larger lizards?

chris pratt in jurassic world

According to this website, the hero uses a rifle from gun manufacturer Marlin known as the Model 1895SBL.

marlin 1895sbl

As one would guess from the 1895 in the name the design is pretty close to rifles used back in the cowboy era, at least so far as handling and operation is concerned.  The ammunition used is also a throwback, being the .45-70 cartridge that first appeared in 1873.

selection of 45 70 ammo

(Picture source.)

This particular cartridge is robust, powerful, and of a large caliber.  It is certainly capable of harvesting any large game found in North America, but I think I would be more comfortable with a gun that has a bit more punch when going up against something the size of a T. Rex.

t rex from original jurassic park

For many years, the most powerful rifle cartridge that was commercially available was the .460 Weatherby Magnum.  Designed to be used as a “stopping rifle” for hunting guides in Africa, the concept was to make a cartridge that would drop a charging animal just before the guy paying for the safari was stomped into red paste.

rhino charging out of the brush

This would most certainly be very useful if confronted by a surly T. Rex.

Capable as the .460 is, I am an old school kind of guy.  If I could afford it, I would be equipped with a double gun chambered for the .600 Nitro Express cartridge.

600 double nitro rifle

There are no advantages to be gained if I do, I just like the look and feel of those old big game rifles.  Besides, it was the favorite arm of people who play in my Call of Cthulhu games.  If the round is good enough to be used on shambling horrors from beyond this reality, it should be plenty good enough to put down a few overgrown lizards.


Three Truths

July 2nd, 2015

Lynn Russell is a former cable news anchor.  Her husband, Chuck de Caro, is also a former journalist.

lynn russell and chuck de caro

They are a great deal more than that, however.  Ms. Russell is also a private investigator, has two black belts in karate, and served as a reserve Deputy Sheriff for ten years.  She also writes books, both novels and her memoirs.

Mr. de Caro is a former member of the 20th Special Forces Group, learned how to fly military fighter jets while a civilian, and consults with the US military concerning the use of media as a form of warfare.  He is also a lifelong shooter, which is nothing less than one would expect from such a resume.

The couple were taking a road trip from Washington, DC to California when fatigue came upon them.  They stopped at an inexpensive hotel in Albuquerque, New Mexico and settled in for the night.  But Ms. Russell had forgotten something in the car, and was followed back to her room by a gun wielding criminal.  He forced the woman inside before demanding cash and valuables.

According to this news report, the Ms. Russell and Mr. de Caro worked to distract the criminal.  It didn’t take long before Mr. de Caro managed to procure a 9mm handgun.  What ensued is what I like to call a “elevator gunfight”, as the two blazed away at one another from  barely more than touching distance.

revolver muzzle flash

The end result is that Mr. de Caro was struck three times, but is expected to survive.  The criminal was also wounded, and he ran from the room only to collapse and die in the parking lot.

I believe that second guessing the people who were actually involved in such a situation is wrong, particularly because it seems they did better than could have been expected.  But there are still lessons to be learned from the tale.

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I Don’t Think That Is What He Meant

June 22nd, 2015

I mentioned in the post immediately before this one that Steven has shared what would make the perfect aerodynamic shape …

Aerodynamically, the ideal shape is blunt in the front and strongly tapered in the rear. (I know that’s counterintuitive, but it’s true.)

Does he mean like this?

original falkor model in 1989