Blast from the Past: Walther 9mm P1 Delivers

4 Feb walther p1

walther p1Like most members of the concealed carry community, you’ve probably spent a considerable amount of time browsing the goods at your favorite gun shop.  If you were actually in the market for a handgun at the time, you’ve probably experienced the reality of sticker-shock.

The growing popularity of self-defense equipment, the rise of the “doomsday preppers,” and inflation in general have created an upward price spiral in the firearm industry with no end in sight.

Luckily, there are still some bargains out there if you know where to look.

One of these is the Walther 9mm P1 semi-automatic pistol, a Cold War surplus model imported by Century Arms International.

Not only is the Walther P1 an excellent firearm, but it’s also steeped in history, originating with the renowned WWII era German Luger 9mm pistol.  The Luger was updated during wartime to the Walther P38 and then updated again during the Cold War to the Walther P1 9mm for use by West German Police.

The Walther P1 is made from lightweight aluminum and performs superbly in controlled environments.  Author Scott W. Wagner describes his reaction when first firing the Walther P1 in his article “Century Arms International 9mm Walther P1” at USConcealedCarry.com:

“My first shots from the P1 were fired with ZVS 9mm ball ammo from Century Arms and made me think ‘where have you been all my life?’ Recoil was easily controlled and accuracy — out to 100 yards — was excellent! There were no malfunctions.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)

Yet the best selling point about the Walther P1 has nothing to do with the spec sheet.  Century Arms is selling the pistol at a budget-pleasing $325 average price.  This gun will serve well as a lightweight option for carry or for recreational range practice.

The P1 borrowed the trigger system and slide-mounted de-cocking lever from the earlier Walther. It uses an open-top slide-operating mechanism.  The Walther P1 first began production in 1956, before the advent of the high-powered +P and +P+ ammo.

Although the P1 can handle limited +P use, it’s recommended to use high-quality non +P rounds to maintain the structural integrity of this vintage firearm.  As for hollow points, the only glitch is that the first round will load only when there are seven rounds in the magazine instead of the normal eight, which might be a deal-breaker for some purists.

The magazine release is “heel” style at the base of the backstrap.  This is a safety benefit for concealed carry holders, as it prohibits accidental magazine ejection during day-to-day activities.

The Walther P1 is not a high-tech all-purpose firearm for every situation, but if you’ve been searching for a reasonably priced, lightweight, and unobtrusive carry weapon, this little piece of history may be what you are looking for.

Studying is a Necessary Part of Self-Defense

15 Jan books

booksMention studying to most gun owners and images of target shot groupings or the latest issue of Guns and Ammo spring to mind.

However for the serious concealed carry practitioner, intent on honing their skills, studying is more than visiting the shooting range and leisure reading.

Developing a proficiency in situational awareness and conflict avoidance, as well as learning to recognize alternative options in potentially dangerous situations, all require a certain amount of diligence.

In his article “Are You Studying Enough”, author Kevin Michalowski reiterates the importance of devoting time to the academic side of self-defense and preservation at USConcealedCarry.com:

“If things go as far as a fight, well, that’s a problem.  It is of course a problem you need to solve and a situation in which you need to prevail, but I would still call participation in a gunfight something of a failure.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)

Michalowski recommends several books that are beneficial for people who carry concealed.  The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker is high on his list.  This book concentrates on helping the reader understand personal limitations, fears, and likely reactions in order to overcome, or at least recognize said fears when a dangerous situation presents itself.

Another book on Michalowski’s recommended reading list is In the Gravest Extreme by Masaad Ayoob.  This book is a guide to legal and ethical issues that may arise from gun ownership.  For the concealed carry community, these issues are particularly relevant.

Going to the shooting range to practice is a great idea, but it becomes less productive if you don’t know which body parts and organs you should fire at in order to neutralize a threat.  Michalowski recommends purchasing an inexpensive wall chart showing the human anatomy.

By taking a few minutes now and then to study the chart, you will soon get a feel for where to aim.  In an actual firefight, the goal is to bring the subject down as quickly as possible, not to aim for a good grouping.

A little more time spent studying will result in improved confidence and preparation not only on the range, but on the street as well.

Who Killed Tamir Rice?

29 Dec shiny toy gun

If you’re not familiar with the story about Tamir Rice, there’s enough information buzzing on the Internet to start a fire right about now. With the holiday season coming up, this unfortunateshiny toy gun situation of a 12-year-old child being killed by a policeman may even get a bit more complicated.

Due to the holiday season, there will be a lot of people giving gifts.

One thing that you know for sure is that some of these gifts will be given to children and teenagers.

Some of these gifts might be handgun replicas, very similar to the toy handgun that Tamir Rice was playing with.

Rice’s toy was replicated to look identical to a real .45. Lately, toy handgun models have been specifically marking these fake weapons to let law enforcement officers know that the replica is a toy.

These markers were created to communicate in a very strong visual way so that no one would be confused and react to a perceived threat.

The markers are there for protection purposes in order to avoid another Tamir Rice incident. By placing a loud orange color on the tip of the muzzle, the toy manufacturers are doing their part to communicate that their products aren’t real guns. However in Rice’s case, the orange part of the toy had been removed, making it harder for police to see the difference.

Author Rick Sapp goes in depth about the dangers of replica guns manufactured to look real and why they could be dangerous in his article “Who Killed Tamir Rice?” on USConcealedcarry.com:

“The audio of that call is available online. ‘There is a guy with a pistol,’ the caller says. ‘It’s probably fake, but he’s pointing it at everybody.’” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)

If you do buy a toy handgun for a family member or friend this holiday season, you should be sure to take out time and explain to the children the importance of these additional features and why they shouldn’t be removed.

You should also stress that the toy is something that kids shouldn’t go around pointing at everyone. Teach them to treat the toy as if it were not a toy, and you’re providing a great lesson, maybe one that will lead them to be responsibly armed Americans later on down the line.

Have a face-to-face conversation so that you can be absolutely sure that the child or teenager completely understands what you’re saying. Of course, if you can’t be there in person, it might be smart for you to consult the child’s parents first to see if the gift is really a wise idea in the first place. Many parents don’t want their children to have guns, toy or not.

The important issue is that of using the tragedy of Rice’s situation to make sure that no more children die. Police should never have to encounter a child with what they believe to be a handgun so that they’re forced to respond. Make sure that all safety features remain intact and that kids understand that you should NEVER point a weapon, even a toy, at an officer of the law.

Concealed Carry: Do We Need Heavy Hitters?

4 Dec baseball player

One of baseball’s loftiest achievements is the elusive .400 season batting average, last attained by Ted Williams in 1941.  Today, any player that can consistently hit .300 or better can easily command a multi-million dollar salary. baseball player

This is roughly the same proficiency as a law enforcement officer.

In his recent article “If More Is Better, Why Are There No More .400 Hitters In Baseball?” on USConcealedcarry.com, author Rick Sapp reported that a 2014 FBI study questioned whether a larger caliber bullet could more effectively stop an adversary than a smaller caliber one:

“The intent of the report was to study — yet again — the effectiveness of caliber… The FBI noted that most law enforcement shootings result in only about 30 percent of the rounds hitting their target.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)

A 30% performance rate in professional baseball is considered hugely successful.  The same proficiency in law enforcement is often considered to subpar at best and in many circles, dismal.

In order to offset the perceived inefficiency, the caliber of the weapon used by law enforcement is often considered to be the equalizer. Stopping power is defined as the ability to incapacitate a target from further resistance. This, in theory, makes sense.  The larger the weapon’s caliber, the more stopping power the shooter has.

Yet in reality, a target can be incapacitated with any weapon. Most law enforcement personnel load their weapons with hollow-point configuration or expanding full metal jacket bullets.  The most common calibers are .38/.357, 9mm, .357 SIG, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP. Needless to say, any of these can inflict serious damage.

At 30% proficiency, a clip of 6 bullets only yields 2 hits at best and may not incapacitate the target.  The pressure on a law enforcement officer using deadly force in volatile situations is exponentially greater than that of the pressure on a major league hitter, whose greatest fear is a bruised thigh or shoulder from a wild pitch.

Law enforcement officials use their weapons when lives are on the line. Most would agree that more bullets are better than larger bullets when it comes to firepower. As mentioned earlier, a clip of 6 bullets only gives two target hits at best, but a clip of 12 or 15 with a backup magazine increases stopping power considerably.

So like the professional hitter who does not want his entire season average based on two or three at bats, an officer on the street prefers to have as many opportunities to bring down the target as possible, no matter the caliber.

Choosing a Knife for Self-Defense

13 Nov lapel dagger

It’s commonly accepted that if you carry a firearm for self-defense, then a knife should also be part of your system.

lapel dagger

A knife is a simple form of force enhancement that is not susceptible to the mechanical malfunctions that can happen with guns.

However, knives come nowhere near a handgun in terms of stopping power and if you have to use a knife for self-defense, you’ll have to get much closer to your adversary than is normally advisable.

However, in last resort cases, you’ll be glad you had a knife instead of nothing but your fists.

Statistically speaking, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll ever have to use a blade against another person. The knife will usually be used as a tool to cut things like rope and to open packaging, which is useful in and of itself.

Make a point to actually use the knife you carry as part of your self-defense gear. Always return it to its holster or the pocket you clip it to. Using the knife and returning it to its place will help automate the process of accessing it.

If the time should come for you to need to draw it, you’ll know where it is and be able to get to it without fumbling around. Familiarity with your knife and its location is key to an emergency situation.

When it comes to selecting a knife, there are many different makes and styles. Knives aren’t very expensive in the grand scheme of things, so there’s no reason not to own several. You’ll probably end up with one or two that you prefer and that’s normal.

There are also historic designs that inspire some people and they enjoy carrying these for this reason. Author George Hill describes one such knife and its history of being used against the Germans in his article “OSS SOE Lapel Dagger” on USConcealedcarry.com:

“…a small, concealable dagger that they could use to quietly dispatch unsuspecting Nazis standing guard. The knife was a 2-inch, double-edged dagger with no handle. The whole knife was essentially a blade. The rear portion was unsharpened with some line or checkering filed into the metal to provide grip.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)

When it comes to blade type, keep in mind that no knife holds its edge forever and will need to be sharpened many times throughout its lifespan.

So-called stainless steel blades are popular today because they require very little maintenance and aren’t prone to rusting.

However, stainless steel blades don’t hold their edge quite as well as high-carbon steel blades. The downside to most knives made of high carbon steel is that they rust more readily.

The final decision is largely a personal one. Both metals work well, but there is no reason not to own a few of each style, just to see how they hold up and perform on a day to day basis.

Self-Defense: What to Do When You Have Few Options

23 Oct man aiming gun

Part of your training in carrying a firearm for self-defense should include the possibility that you’ll be caught by surprise and faced with an opponent who already has their gun drawn and pointed at you. This all happens before you have the chance to draw yours. man aiming gun

Realistically, this is a situation with a small chance of success and very few ways to do anything to improve your odds.

Unfortunately, there is a chance it could happen and you should make an effort to understand the dynamics at play.

You should practice different responses so you have some skills at your disposal and don’t go down without a fight.

Generally speaking, if you are in a situation where a gun is drawn on you, then you might have failed regarding situational awareness.

It is possible to be surprised even when you are situationally aware, but it’s much more it’s far more difficult for a person who’s been paying attention to be unpleasantly surprised.

The issue with trying to access your firearm when one is already pointed at you leaves you with few options. The ticking of the clock is not on your side here. In the few seconds it takes you to draw, aim, and fire your weapon, the other person can already fire several rounds into you.

Author Gabe Suarez tested this very situation out with a “bad” guy aiming an airsoft pistol at an armed “good” guy who had to draw and fire while having a gun aimed at them. He describes the results of the experiment in his article “Outdrawing the Drawn Pistol” on USConcealedcarry.com

“Every good guy got shot. A few managed to get shot peripherally, rather than in the center of the body, but nonetheless, they got shot. If they stood still to draw, they got shot immediately. The best results were achieved by moving off-line and sharply to the adversary’s outside line (the 1:00 o’clock or 11:00 o’clock) while drawing.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)

Gabe also mentioned that trying to run away often results in the fleeing person being shot in the back. Unfortunately, if you are facing a drawn weapon, your options are severely limited. Escaping this type of situation unharmed will often come down to how you respond and what the attacker is looking for, not to mention a little luck.

For example, if all the attacker is looking to do is rob you, then your best option by far is to slowly and carefully remove your wallet or purse and throw it between the two of you. Hopefully this will be what they want and allow you to escape the scene unharmed. A few dollars and a driver’s license aren’t worth anyone’s life or health.

However, if you’re certain that this person intends to kill you, and then you may decide to take the 3 to 1 odds that Gabe Suarez mentions in his article and go down shooting.

No two situations are alike and the result can come down to your ability to rapidly assess matters and make the best decision for the specific events facing you.

Shooting Stances for Those with Physical Limitations

2 Oct men aiming guns

Like many other physical disciplines, there is a commonly accepted way to stand and perform. For basic shooting stances, the most commonly used examples are the Isosceles or Weaver positions to aim and fire.

men aiming guns

These so-called standardized movements are taught to almost everyone initially.

The trouble many shooters run into with these common stances is that the instructor may be teaching with the assumption that the shooter is fully-functional physically and has few or no joint or muscle problems.

Few people have perfect bodies without any physical issues and as a result, some people become frustrated with trying to learn the basic positions exactly as they are taught. Some shooters are bent over or have a limited range of motion. Others have arthritis or weak grip strength or something else wrong with them.

Naturally, if you aren’t able to draw, aim, and fire your handgun using the basic techniques comfortably, then it’s time to find a method that works for you.

As author Bruce N. Eimer, PH.D. says in his article “What’s Your Stance?” on USConcealedcarry.com:

“The basic goal of any stance is to put your handgun up into the position where it does the most good. Your stance functions to align your point of aim, your front sight, your rear sight, your dominant eye, and to get all four points into a straight line.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)

Receiving professional instruction or learning from videos and magazines are great ways to start, but then it’s up to you to figure out a way to use your weapon as effectively as possible with the body you currently have.

You have to begin somewhere, so there is no harm in starting to learn standardized shooting stances. Yet, if it becomes apparent that these shooting positions aren’t working, the next step is to try variations on what you’re doing until you find something that works for you.

Do the best you can with what you have and focus on continuing to improve. The more familiar you become with yourself and your gun, the easier it will become to see better ways to work around any issues you may have.

And as always, the basics like having good balance, a solid stance, and good control over the gun are paramount concerns. Otherwise, you run a much higher risk of losing some control.