Tag Archives: self-defense weapons

Blast from the Past: Walther 9mm P1 Delivers

4 Feb

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.


Choosing a Knife for Self-Defense

13 Nov

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.

How to Accurately Hit Your Target without Using the Sights

21 Aug

In most self-defense situations, your target will be close enough that traditional aiming by using the sights won’t be necessary. For the most part, the threat will be there right in front of you, no more than a few yards away.
hands aiming pistol
Generally speaking, this is the case because an attacker wants you or something you have.

To get what they want, they must approach you within speaking and grabbing distance and as a result, they are close enough. 

They have said or done things that let you know they are a true threat as opposed to someone making threatening gestures from across the street.

There are very few times that shooting an attacker at a distance such as across a street is appropriate. You carry to defend yourself and most threats must be up close and personal to warrant deadly force.

In fact, if someone is shooting at you from across the street, your best action at that point would be to get behind something solid and avoid firing shots back. You never want to risk a stray bullet hitting a bystander.

As a citizen carrying concealed, you are primarily interested and licensed to carry for self-defense. Most offensive shooting is best left to the police who are trained for such situations. 

Author Jim Malo talks about how sights are not usually needed in his article “Pistol Perfection” on USConcealedcarry.com: 

“One thing that may save you is the point shoulder (point shooting) method of firing your weapon. You draw the weapon, focus on the center mass of what you see coming at you, point the front of the weapon (the muzzle) at the center mass and press the trigger, using a double tap. You will be amazed at just how close the shots will fall.” (Read more from Malo at USConcealedCarry.com)

The process of lining up the sights adds time to your response and that extra second or two can mean the difference between surviving and getting shot. 

It is important to note that target practice at the range is still incredibly necessary. Using the sights to accurately place shots on targets helps you get to know your weapon better and use it more instinctively.

Practicing with your firearm helps imprint how it handles into your mind. Take every available opportunity to practice shooting both with and without using the sights. You may have to defend your life tomorrow.