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  1. #1
    soldierboy029's Avatar
    soldierboy029 is offline Junior Member
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    What to you constitutes the ultimate combat Handgun?

    In everyones own opinion I would like to learn what everyone feels would be the ideal combat handgun. I want to know if you prefer a large caliber like .45 or a smaller caliber like 9mm or even possibly the new 5.7mm and 4.6mm cartridges that are coming out. What would you want the gun to be built out of, if it should be double stacked magazines or single, what type of sights it would have, manual safeties or passive, full government size(usually means 5" barrel) or compact and concealable, DA or SA or DA/SA, etc. It would also be nice to know the reasoning behind these preferences and why you chose them.

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  3. #2
    DJ Niner's Avatar
    DJ Niner is offline HGF Forum Moderator
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    Glock 9mm with the following minor mods works just fine for me:

    - Steel night sights
    - Grip cavity plug
    - Optional smooth trigger
    - Optional extended slide release (old habits die hard)

    Super reliable, low recoil, low muzzle-flip, highly corrosion-resistant, same trigger pull for every shot, shoots flat for easier long-range hits (if ya got the skillz), FMJ 9mm penetrates better than most calibers to overcome the ever-more-common lightweight body armor, plenty of shots on-tap, no futzing with moving manual safeties on and off (point-N-pull when you need it, finger off trigger and reholster when you don't), no decocking, easy to strip and maintain in the field.

    For the ultimate in extreme longevity (as in, "able to be passed down to the next two generations"), add a titanium frame and replace all small/internal plastic parts with metal ones.

  4. #3
    Mike Barham's Avatar
    Mike Barham is offline Senior Member
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    I am very hesitant to pronounce anything "the ultimate." No gun is perfect, and I don't get too wound up about hardware choices.

    In terms of gun design, I look for:

    1. Total reliability.
    2. Consistent trigger that I can comfortably reach.
    3. Low bore axis.
    4. Good sights.

    Hi-cap, low-cap, whatever-cap is fine with me. Polymer, metal, whatever, but polymer is nice for the light weight. If it has a safety lever, I want it to be part of the original design, not a tacked-on afterthought, and the safety should work within the normal motion of the human hand.

    A plain-vanilla Glock in 9mm or .40 - I'm not picky - with night sights works for me. There are guns I shoot slightly better (read: 1911), but that don't offer the same level of reliability. One of my Glocks came to me with a grip reduction, but it's hardly necessary. My other two Glocks are box-stock, and that's fine with me.

    Other guns that would work for me are the CZ75 and the HKP7.
    Employed by Galco Gunleather - www.galcogunleather.com / Veteran OEF VIII

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  5. #4
    neophyte is offline Member
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    added to 'Mike's'

    soldierboyo29: Sir; I'll add to "Mike's" perfect combat handgun.
    1. when it does break
    2. when it runs outta ammo
    3. when it gets dirty
    4. when it gets to hot to hold
    5. when it gets cold
    6. when it gets a ding or two

    My list would and is long. Now my simple answers for these questions
    1. I can reasonable fix it with basic tools or reach into a pile of others; and replace parts.
    2. I can reasonably find ammo quickly
    3. I can reasonably clean
    4. it'll still reasonably work.
    5. it'll work.
    6. it'll work.

    Best absolutely best isn't worth a dang; when broken; without reasonably simple repair; readily accessible ammo isn't available.

  6. #5
    JeffWard's Avatar
    JeffWard is offline Senior Member
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    Mine's being built now...

    It is a high capacity, very accurate, light(er) weight, single action, utterly reliable, pointable, soft-shooting, 45ACP.

    Mine is a Springfield Armory XD45, soon to have a 3.5# Springfield Custom Shop massaged trigger, with a pull reduction, overtravel stop, short-reset modification, and full internal polish and fitting... Trijicon tritium night sights, and one strip of "skate tape" under the fingers of the shooting hand on the front-strap.

    Just taking a VERY good shooting gun, and making it better for my purposes.

    Some would object to a 3.5# trigger on a "combat" gun, but I grew up shooting target and hunting rifles with HAIR triggers, and my practice guns all are under 4#. And it's all in good gun-handling skills. (ie... keep yer booger-hook off the bang-switch... til you're ready to make not-nice)

    I agree with the theory that "Shot-placement is King", therefore it has to be accurate. And mine is more accurate with a better trigger.

    If so, caliber is Queen, therefore it starts with a 4.

    Capacity is Prince, and I carry 13+1. With 2 back-ups making 40 rounds...

    Ergonomics is the Princess, and mine fits my hand like a glove.

    I choose pointability under pressure (instinctual) over low bore axis recoil control (XD over Glock). The soft .45ACP, the grip tape, large hands, and practice, practice, practice, control recoil FINE for fast follow-ups. And a quicker, better trigger do too.

    Now I just have to wait for the Springfield Custom Shop to GET TO IT!!!

    Jeff

  7. #6
    john doe. is offline Banned
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    If I can hit what I'm aiming at with a bullet of 9mm or larger I'm happy with what I got.

  8. #7
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    What does bore axis refer to? I'm thinking the grip angle, so a high bore axis means you have to angle your hand down further, and a low bore axis is more perpendicular?

  9. #8
    gmaske's Avatar
    gmaske is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by fivehourfrenzy View Post
    What does bore axis refer to? I'm thinking the grip angle, so a high bore axis means you have to angle your hand down further, and a low bore axis is more perpendicular?
    The higher the barrel is above the hand grip the more mechanical advantage the recoil has over the wrist of the shooter causing more muzzle flip. If the barrel is lower it is easier to control.

    I want one of those gun like they have in them B movies that never runs out of bullets. It's gotta be a "Good Guy" gun cause they always get the BG's without really aiming.

  10. #9
    JohnnyFlake's Avatar
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    A standard Glock 22 with Steel Night Sights & an Extended Slide Release will work for me!!!

  11. #10
    Snowman's Avatar
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    I'd go with a modern 1911. Very reliable and easy to shoot well - even rapidly. Ammo capacity is a downside, but being so easy to shoot the 9 rounds have a good chance finding their target.

  12. #11
    Mike Barham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fivehourfrenzy View Post
    What does bore axis refer to? I'm thinking the grip angle, so a high bore axis means you have to angle your hand down further, and a low bore axis is more perpendicular?
    gmaske pretty much nailed it. The higher the central axis of the bore sits above your hand, the more muzzle flip a pistol will have, other things being equal. An example using similar guns might be a Glock versus an XD. The majority of seasoned (and probably not so seasoned) shooters who fire them side by side will note that the XD has more muzzle flip. An even more extreme example might be HK 's P7 versus the USP.

    It's not the end of the world if a gun has a high bore axis, and it's usually a subtlety that new shooters don't even notice. But it does require some extra work to shoot a high-axis gun at top speed. Some people, like JeffWard, are willing to make that trade for a gun with better subjective "feel" in their hands. Personally, it's not a trade I'm willing to make, and is one of the first things I look at when evaluating a pistol.
    Employed by Galco Gunleather - www.galcogunleather.com / Veteran OEF VIII

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  13. #12
    Wyatt's Avatar
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    You can easily experience for yourself the impact of bore axis relative to your hand by simply shooting a mag with your gun held slightly lower in the grip (not too low now). You will surely notice more flip compared to gripping the gun higher. Follow-ups will probably not be as fast or accurate.

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    Okay that makes sense. Basic physics. The higher the barrel is the more leverage it has against your wrist.

  15. #14
    BeefyBeefo's Avatar
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    Well, I learned something today. Thanks!

    -Jeff-

  16. #15
    sfmittels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fivehourfrenzy View Post
    Okay that makes sense. Basic physics. The higher the barrel is the more leverage it has against your wrist.
    Yep, you've got it - the basic physics of a lever. Unfortunately, there's a lot more to it than bore axis when it comes to firearms. I own a whole flock of handguns that pretty much covers the spectrum. I like my Glocks a lot as combat handguns because they're totally reliable and comfortable to shoot. The grip angle isn't perfect for me, however, and I am much happier with my 1911 and my SIGs for that reason.

    For me, if the SHTF and I had to grab just one handgun as I ran out the door (fat chance that would happen in the real world, but go with me here), I would grab my SIG P229R SCT. It's a 9mm, smaller than a Colt Commander, with four 17-round magazines. It hides and handles like a dream with 100% reliability, and it has fantastic fiber optic/night sights. But that's me.

    I could make similar arguments for a SIG P220 Elite (.45 ACP), a SIG P226 Navy (9mm) or a SIG P229 Elite (.40 S&W). And my Kimber Custom series 1 1911 would be a great choice as well. And I couldn't argue with a S&W 686-5 7-shot .357 wheelgun, either.

    But the P229R SCT, stoked with a bunch of Double Tap 9mms, definitely would do it for me. Fronted by an FN-SLP Mark 1 semi-auto 12 gauge and an AR-15 or two. And an HK91. And pockets full of Glocks. And a custom Kahr PM-9 for concealment. But I digress.

  17. #16
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    Is there a term for grip angle, or is it just grip angle? I would think that would play into muzzle flip as well.

  18. #17
    Ram Rod's Avatar
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    SIG P220 in 45acp, or Glock in any of the other calibers!

  19. #18
    Dredd is offline Member
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    When the 1911 came out it was supposed to be the ultimate combat sidearm. Then HK introduced the USP, then the MK23, then you have SIGs which are in service now in some areas. The list goes on. I can't say with any degree of confidence that any of these or others that go unmentioned are the ultimate weapon of choice. I really can't.

  20. #19
    DJ Niner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dredd View Post
    (snip)

    I can't say with any degree of confidence that any of these or others that go unmentioned are the ultimate weapon of choice. I really can't.
    No one really can. But if a person continually waits for the "perfect" weapon, they'll never find anything at all. Or worse, they'll spend a large chunk of their life jumping from their current gun to the newest/bestest/neat-o gun-of-the-month, never developing any serious level of skill along the way (me, 25 years ago). The weakest points in the defensive chain are the user's skills and his/her trained response (software), NOT the hardware. But you gotta have some kind of hardware to build the skills and refine the software.

    Just "pull the trigger" and pick one. Same applies to ammo. There ain't no magic bullet, just pick one that has a rep as being reasonably effective and that you can afford to shoot LOTS of, and then shoot LOTS of them (preferably with some training/guidance in advance), and get good. This course of action will also give a person a solid basis for judging new guns against what has worked best for them in the past.
    Last edited by DJ Niner; 02-22-2008 at 01:50 AM.

  21. #20
    Liko81 is offline Member
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    Define "combat". Are we talking traditional armies where both sides have armor, automatic weapons and nightvision, an invasion of a conventional or semi-conventional army that must be resisted by ordinary folks with civilian weapons, or your average 1-on-5 attempted gang robbery where you have to take tactical considerations into account just on sheer numbers, but your enemy will likely not?

    There are 4 Cs involved in selecting a diamond; let me posit the four Cs of handgun effectiveness:
    * caliber,
    * cavity depth (because penetration's not a C ),
    * capacity, and
    * controllability.

    The two major factors of wounding are the size and depth of the hole the bullet makes (caliber and cavity depth). Added to this you have controllability, which governs shot placement and rapid fire, and you need enough bullets to do the job; capacity. Together, all four considerations can be used to judge a gun's effectiveness in any given scenario.

    I think in any case, the ability to put as many bullets on target as it takes, as fast as possible, is the top priority, so capacity and controllability are key in a multi-target scenario ASSUMING you don't totally ignore the other two factors. If you're down to your handgun or its your only weapon from the start against multiple baddies in a quick-fire situation, your only saving grace is putting as many down before they start shooting as possible to shorten the odds. If it takes a double-tap to each target and there are 5 targets, you're going to have to reload your average 1911 before you get to the last one, and even if you're a perfect shot with a revolver, two per target means you'll get 3 out of 5 and have to reload while under fire from two directions. The record for firing 6, reloading, and firing 6 more is 3 seconds, and that was at one target, stationary, with nobody firing back. It's far easier just to have 12 ready to shoot. So, sufficient capacity and controllability to send lead in multiple directions quickly, assuming adequate caliber and penetration, is crucial in any multi-target scenario.

    Of almost equal importance are caliber and cavity depth. Two slugs to the center of the chest do very little if they don't make a big hole in vital organs, meaning the bullet has to go deep and damage big.

    The ideal level for all four is unattainable; big bullets travelling fast are going to kick h*** out of you, reducing your ability to rapid-fire, and big bullets also take more space to the point where it can become impractical to carry a pistol with a 15-round mag. You generally have to sacrifice at least one of the four, and generally they're in pairs; you either get good cavity and caliber, or good capacity and controllability. The pairs can switch, and at least one is dependent on shooter skill, but this is GENERALLY the way it goes.

    In addition, against someone with body armor, armor-piercing rounds further separate penetration and big hole. It takes a 30-06 rifle bullet to go through Class IIIA armor (the standard for most tac teams, and a similar, possibly slightly lesser standard is used in the Army). The only handgun bullet that will reliably penetrate NATO body armor is the 5.7x28 which was purpose-built for the task. Of course, a civilian cannot buy AP rounds from the local gun store, but if you're a soldier facing other soldiers you want to maximize your target by shooting through armor.

    I think the best possible depends on the scenario. In all cases you want to be able to make as many holes as possible, but the other considerations depend on where you can actually make holes, and the effectiveness of each hole reduces the capacity required.

    Against a traditional army with body armor, there's no other choice but AP, and that means FN 5.7, as many as you can fit in the gun. If you're a civilian, you take a full-size 9mm with plenty of ammo and go for the head and neck. As your only effective target is the most vital part of the body, any bullet that will pierce the skull will incapacitate immediately so big hole is only a concern for sufficient muzzle energy. In an adrenaline-charged, one-vs-many scenario you're going to want as many chances to hit the head as you have bullets and time for, so capacity and controllability are more crucial than caliber.

    Against a paramilitary force that is heavily armed but not armored, AP is no longer a key consideration, and the 5.7 at that point becomes inferior in caliber. 9mm or 45 are both better, and which you take depends on whether you'd prefer to double-tap your targets or put a single slug dead-center, how many you expect to face, and how quickly. If you're good one-handed and off-handed or you simply want the most .45 ammo loaded and ready, get two .45s or a .45 with mag capacity of ten or better (G21, M&P, any extended mag), otherwise I'd have to say a good 9mm with expanders would be your best defense. If you're a soldier and thus limited to ball ammo, 9mm doesn't make a big enough hole; go .45 and aim well.

    Against your neighborhood gang-bangers take whatever's comfortable. Capacity is always a consideration, but armor, distance, and what's presented for a target are not a factor so get the biggest bullet you can reliably place in a B-27 target and carry as much as is feasible no matter how much you can fit in the gun at once.

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