Classic Fighting Handguns

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JimT
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Classic Fighting Handguns

Post by JimT »

These are MY picks for Classic Fighting Handguns. You may have others and that's fine. You will note there are no "modern" or "tactical" pistols in my picks. As far as I am concerned, many of these represent the High Watermark of Handgun design.

The Texas Patterson Colt
texas_patterson.JPG
The Colt Walker
walker.JPG
The 1860 Army
1860Army.JPG
The 1861 Navy
1861Navy.JPG
The Colt Model P
ColtModelP.JPG
The Colt 1911
1911.JPG
The 1911A1
1911A1.JPG
The Colt 1917
Colt1917.JPG
The S&W Military and Police
S&WM&P.JPG
The S&W 1917
S&W1917.JPG
The S&W Registered Magnum
S&WRegisteredMagnum.JPG
The S&W Model 10
S&WModel10.JPG
The S&W Model 19
S&WModel19.JPG
As I said, these are my picks. There are other fine handguns but these to me represent the "cream of the crop" of fighting handguns. No one need agree with my choices. These fit my preferences.
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Re: Classic Fighting Handguns

Post by Griff »

Jim, I can't say I'd disagree with any of those picks! I don't have a Walker, 1860, or 1862, & I don't have any of the 20th Century Colts revolvers or the forerunners of the mdl 19; only have the mdl 65 derivative thereof. I much prefer my 1851s to the other c&b guns... but fully appreciate the earlier and later designs of the Colt! If only I could get my Paterson clones to BOTH work!
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Re: Classic Fighting Handguns

Post by stretch »

Might I respectfully suggest that you add the Browning Hi-Power to that list?

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Re: Classic Fighting Handguns

Post by JimT »

stretch wrote:
Thu May 27, 2021 12:38 pm
Might I respectfully suggest that you add the Browning Hi-Power to that list?

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A great handgun. Just not my choice. :D
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Re: Classic Fighting Handguns

Post by stretch »

Your list - you get to choose! :)

In some ways it's superior to the 1911 - field stripping, for instance.
And the magazine capacity is greater.
On the other hand, the 9mm doesn't make as big a hole as the 45.

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Re: Classic Fighting Handguns

Post by Scott Tschirhart »

Smith Model 65 in .357 Magnum and a lightweight Commander in .45 ACP.
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Re: Classic Fighting Handguns

Post by JimT »

My Personal Favorites ... .45 Colt and .44 Special
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Re: Classic Fighting Handguns

Post by Grizz »

i have a [clone] 1911-A1 because of the movie where u.s. troops held a mountain top against superior german forces. the man leading the soldiers had a 1911 in each hand and fought vigorously with them.

what was the name of that movie, and what was the battle and setting. i don't remember. not that i can't remember! i just don't.
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Re: Classic Fighting Handguns

Post by Scott Tschirhart »

Grizz wrote:
Thu May 27, 2021 3:44 pm
not that i can't remember! i just don't.
I certainly identify with this sentiment.
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Re: Classic Fighting Handguns

Post by JimT »

Scott Tschirhart wrote:
Thu May 27, 2021 4:12 pm
Grizz wrote:
Thu May 27, 2021 3:44 pm
not that i can't remember! i just don't.
I certainly identify with this sentiment.
I can remember very clearly. Unfortunately I am often remembering incorrectly!
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Re: Classic Fighting Handguns

Post by 1894cfan »

Grizz wrote:
Thu May 27, 2021 3:44 pm
i have a [clone] 1911-A1 because of the movie where u.s. troops held a mountain top against superior german forces. the man leading the soldiers had a 1911 in each hand and fought vigorously with them.

what was the name of that movie, and what was the battle and setting. i don't remember. not that i can't remember! i just don't.
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Re: Classic Fighting Handguns

Post by JOG »

I agree with Scott.
For my daily carry and not warfare I choose the Colt 1911 lightweight commander.
The S&W 66 and the Sig P228 are my others.
For warfare I would probably choose a Sig P226 for the high round capacity.
I know that the 45 acp is superior to 9mm. The 9mm has improved quite a bit in the last 20 years!
I have been know to carry a Ruger Blackhawk in 44 spl from time to time. :D
Very interesting topic, looking forward to other members opinions!
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Re: Classic Fighting Handguns

Post by gamekeeper »

If we are talking about handguns that have actually been used in combat then the Webley in .455 and the Enfield in .38 S&W deserve a mention, I know that they are not great revolvers and were not always liked by those that were issued with them, but they did serve well in the worst of battle conditions all over the world.
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Re: Classic Fighting Handguns

Post by JimT »

gamekeeper wrote:
Thu May 27, 2021 5:58 pm
If we are talking about handguns that have actually been used in combat then the Webley in .455 and the Enfield in .38 S&W deserve a mention, I know that they are not great revolvers and were not always liked by those that were issued with them, but they did serve well in the worst of battle conditions all over the world.
When I was a teenager they were imported into the USA. We had both the Webley and the Enfield. The Webley's were around $10 and the Enfield's were $6.50. My Dad had 4 or 5 Webley's. Shot them a lot. The Webley's were converted to .45 ACP and used half moon clips. My Dad rechambered one of the Enfield's to .38 Special. The bullet could only protrude from the case about .125" (1/8") otherwise it stuck out of the cylinder. He did that for a friend who was a Security Guard. Used full wadcutter bullets. The guard got into a gunfight with some bandits who were stealing air conditioners. The bandit shot at him and missed. He fired about the same time and hit the guy in the leg. They had to amputate the bad guy's leg it was torn up so badly.

Yes... those old guns fought through many a battle.

Oh, nowdays they bring a high price here.
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Re: Classic Fighting Handguns

Post by 3leggedturtle »

gamekeeper wrote:
Thu May 27, 2021 5:58 pm
If we are talking about handguns that have actually been used in combat then the Webley in .455 and the Enfield in .38 S&W deserve a mention, I know that they are not great revolvers and were not always liked by those that were issued with them, but they did serve well in the worst of battle conditions all over the world.
I wish i could have a hot 20 year old kick me every time i didnt buy Webley 38-200 when they were under $100!

Of your list Jim, I would have to go with a 1911.
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Re: Classic Fighting Handguns

Post by AJMD429 »

.

I just could never figure out why the Walker Colt's didn't have something to secure the loading lever....!!! That seems so strange.

As I've never 'fought' with a handgun, I'm not too qualified to make a list, other than from reading and history (two of my favorite things), but I did one time display my Ruger Super Blackhawk and shout out to a woman who was on the ground being kicked by some dude "Ma'am, would you like to borrow my Forty-four Magnum...?" Of course it had the desired effect of distracting the aggressor, who looked at me just long enough for her to kick him in the testicles hard enough he went down for the count, and she took off. Me too....

The other time I had my Para-Ordnance 1911 'doublestack' clone, and actually DID point it at mid-sternum of a carjacking gangbanger, so I guess since the 1911 is definitely a 'classic' and I almost used one in a fight, I'd certainly endorse the 1911, even though my particular version isn't the 'classic' one. Either certainly would do, although my doublestack has passed the 1,000 consecutive rounds without failure to feed point and none of the singlestack ones I've owned have (probably cuz I shoot the doublestack way more often).

Good thread topic.
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Re: Classic Fighting Handguns

Post by JimT »

Both Examples count, Doc!
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Re: Classic Fighting Handguns

Post by piller »

Wadcutters probably do cause some serious damage.

I like the model 19. They fit my hand perfectly, and every one I have ever shot was pinpoint accurate.

The 1911 was a good design, but in the Army the Colt ones were falling apart. Anything else such as Remington or Singer were still great. The other than Colt ones could put more bullets in the bullseye than the shooter actually could. My 1911 is a Rock Island. No issues and it is very accurate.

The black powder Remington was a strong and accurate pistol. It did have an issue of locking up when dirty. The Colt open top revolvers were able to keep shooting even when dirtier than the Remington.
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Re: Classic Fighting Handguns

Post by Ray »

"I just could never figure out why the Walker Colt's didn't have something to secure the loading lever....!!!
That seems so strange."

I'm sure those texicans were smart enough to secure it with a twist of wire or a loop of string, thread or yarn. I use electrical tape myself.
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Re: Classic Fighting Handguns

Post by piller »

I have heard that a few people used a strip of leather to tie it up. I am not real sure.
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Re: Classic Fighting Handguns

Post by M. M. Wright »

Let's see Jim, since I shot IPSC in NE Oklahoma and NW Arkansas for several years in the late 70s and early 80s I guess I'll pick the Colt 1911A1 first and the S&W 1917 second as I really liked the revolver class. As a youngster well teenager, (barely) I got into Cap and Ball and shot it with a Remington but really preferred the Colt Army1860. But nowdays I mostly prefer and spend my time with the Colt SAA or Bisley. Oh, I've got a 2nd and a 3rd but mostly 1st gens catch my eye and cost me my money.
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Re: Classic Fighting Handguns

Post by Sarge »

IF I had to choose from each type or era-

Colt 1860

New Service 44 WCF, Special or 45 ACP or Colt

1911A1 from any GI contract maker, though I knew a patrol sgt who carried a 1945 Ithaca many years ago and did quite well with it.

Colt Official Police, 4" 38 Special
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Re: Classic Fighting Handguns

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Grizz wrote:
Thu May 27, 2021 3:44 pm
i have a [clone] 1911-A1 because of the movie where u.s. troops held a mountain top against superior german forces. the man leading the soldiers had a 1911 in each hand and fought vigorously with them.
i don't remember. not that i can't remember! i just don't.
Same thing :roll:
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Re: Classic Fighting Handguns

Post by piller »

Some things are not important enough to worry about.
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Re: Classic Fighting Handguns

Post by Blaine »

If it goes bang several times in a row....reliably....and makes holes in stuff I'm not real picky.
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Re: Classic Fighting Handguns

Post by Grizz »

1894cfan wrote:
Thu May 27, 2021 4:17 pm
Grizz wrote:
Thu May 27, 2021 3:44 pm
i have a [clone] 1911-A1 because of the movie where u.s. troops held a mountain top against superior german forces. the man leading the soldiers had a 1911 in each hand and fought vigorously with them.

what was the name of that movie, and what was the battle and setting. i don't remember. not that i can't remember! i just don't.
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THANKS FOR THAT INFO
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Re: Classic Fighting Handguns

Post by Scott Tschirhart »

Blaine wrote:
Fri May 28, 2021 1:32 pm
If it goes bang several times in a row....reliably....and makes holes in stuff I'm not real picky.
I'm VERY picky about my carry gun. I don't think I need more than five shots, but I need to really trust it.
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Re: Classic Fighting Handguns

Post by Blaine »

Scott Tschirhart wrote:
Fri May 28, 2021 3:08 pm
Blaine wrote:
Fri May 28, 2021 1:32 pm
If it goes bang several times in a row....reliably....and makes holes in stuff I'm not real picky.
I'm VERY picky about my carry gun. I don't think I need more than five shots, but I need to really trust it.
I'm pretty sure I said that, Scott. "Several times in a row....reliably"
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Re: Classic Fighting Handguns

Post by Scott Tschirhart »

Truth be told, my most carried gun these days is a .357 J frame
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Re: Classic Fighting Handguns

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Never heard of one of those failing.
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Re: Classic Fighting Handguns

Post by Scott Tschirhart »

piller wrote:
Fri May 28, 2021 7:46 pm
Never heard of one of those failing.
Exactly. On either end.
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Re: Classic Fighting Handguns

Post by Sixgun »

piller wrote:
Fri May 28, 2021 7:46 pm
Never heard of one of those failing.
It's a S & W.......they always work........right out of the box fresh from the factory......so fresh that if you put your nose close to them, you can
As for Jim T's question, I would not know....never had any experiences in gun fights to be able to know what works the best but if I had to choose, I'd say my model 629 S&W "Tunnel Rat" loaded with 210 gr Hensley & Gibbs at 1
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Re: Classic Fighting Handguns

Post by Scott Tschirhart »

I just love that slip gun. What a cool piece of history.
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Re: Classic Fighting Handguns

Post by JimT »

Scott Tschirhart wrote:
Sat May 29, 2021 6:57 am
I just love that slip gun. What a cool piece of history.
I AGREE!
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Re: Classic Fighting Handguns

Post by piller »

Interesting how revolvers are still thought of when it comes to using a gun in a life or death situation. Reliability still reaches the top concerns for everyone. Yes, a few semiautos are in there, but not many. I am glad I have never actually been in that situation. And there were some semiautos around back when the West was really still wild.
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Re: Classic Fighting Handguns

Post by Grizz »

IDK, I'll stick with my Springfield XDs in preference to anything else I have in the box. My XD 45 will feed hand loads that choke my 1911, which feeds ball ammo flawlessly, but has a tight chamber ... so, my vote is 14 rounds in my 9. which is the equiv of two revolvers, and then some... i bought the 9 because someone had just tried, over 20k or more rounds, to make an XD9 quit working, and failed.
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Re: Classic Fighting Handguns

Post by piller »

Grizz, the XD is a good design. However, I would call it a modern design. I thought this was a discussion on classic guns. Yes, there is an XD somewhere within what I would call reasonably easy access to me. It is in 9mm. Some calibers and firearms are meant by me to be used by both me and PillHer. So, yes I have tried it and it is trusted.
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Re: Classic Fighting Handguns

Post by Sixgun »

Thank you gentlemen....that slip gun is going to die with me......no where near my most valuable, but definitely my favorite in the "gun fighting category".

From what I've read no one really knows how they will respond to a real deal gunfight when the time comes.....(hopefully, for me..NEVER..)....then I read where your training will automatically "take over"......

I personally believe you will react parallel to how scared you are concerning your own life.....after all, when a soldier loses his fear of dying, that's when they become a good soldier. .....yea, I read that too......When I was in my twenties, I'd do anything to stay alive...at 66 not so much anymore......the party is near over and coming close to "going home".

Either way, no matter how you will react, which will come only after your first "experience", I'd much rather have a revolver...not much thinking involved....pull and shoot..that's all!

John Taffin did a write up on my slip gun a few years back. .....that gun sat in a showcase for 6 months and everyone thought is was a butchered up old Colt...then I walked in, saw it and bought it.....mmmmmm IIRC...$900 :D

Master Jim T is also mentioned in the article. That's why Jim is the Master and I'm only a protege.....and I'm not laughing.

A good five minute read.

https://gunsmagazine.com/guns/handguns/ ... -slip-gun/
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Re: Classic Fighting Handguns

Post by Grizz »

piller wrote:
Sat May 29, 2021 11:13 am
Grizz, the XD is a good design. However, I would call it a modern design. I thought this was a discussion on classic guns. Yes, there is an XD somewhere within what I would call reasonably easy access to me. It is in 9mm. Some calibers and firearms are meant by me to be used by both me and PillHer. So, yes I have tried it and it is trusted.
Yes. striker fired. i didn't catch the distinction.

Both my Crossman .177 springer and my Philippine built 1911-A1 have "American Classic" rollstamped on the side, so I am entering both in the roll call of the classics. :lol:

the springer is pleasantly accurate out to 45 feet, where it will still penetrate a spray can of something or other.
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Re: Classic Fighting Handguns

Post by Ray »

Does a 1990 version of a 1973 design change of a1955 model inspired by the 1872 work of misters mason and richards count?
IMG_20210529_010446_kindlephoto-160326210.jpg
Bisley New Model Blackhawk .45 Colt.
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Re: Classic Fighting Handguns

Post by AJMD429 »

... John Taffin did a write up on my slip gun a few years back. .....that gun sat in a showcase for 6 months and everyone thought is was a butchered up old Colt...then I walked in, saw it and bought it.....mmmmmm IIRC...$900

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Re: Classic Fighting Handguns

Post by Sixgun »

Well Doc....in a moment of excitement I may have been off in my estimation of "six months in the case".....believe it was closer to six days.....-----6
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Re: Classic Fighting Handguns

Post by Scott Tschirhart »

Sixgun wrote:
Sat May 29, 2021 11:46 am
From what I've read no one really knows how they will respond to a real deal gunfight when the time comes.....(hopefully, for me..NEVER..)....then I read where your training will automatically "take over"......
I have read that as well, and I do not think it is true. It was not in my case.

I have seen an officer who could qualify on the range but who emptied his gun without hitting anyone at a very close range in a very narrow hallway. [I do not criticize this man, or the men who simply could not pull the trigger when the time came. They may indeed be better men that I am.]

Some people who used guns and grew up using them for hunting did a lot better. I personally remember being terrified right up until the moment I made the decision. Then, I was absolutely calm until a short time after it was over. Subsequent events were easier with a lot less of the terror and more of the calm.

I think we do a disservice by thinking about these things as "gunfights." There are just fights and they involve a variety of tools. By the time I left police work to study law, I got to where I got to the calm place very quickly in just about any violent encounter. These days, there is little use for such a skill.
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Re: Classic Fighting Handguns

Post by Sixgun »

Thanks for the insight Scott......what I do know is that as I've aged, I can keep my cool much better which is most likely a common trait in most men.....age brings confidence which comes from gained skills.....I've had a gun in my hands since youth and do feel very confident in my ability to hit what I want to hit...fast...especially with a single action Colt.

I hear of people getting buck fever.....shucks, I was 12 in 1966....those deer came running through the woods and I thought nothing of raising that Winchester, putting the front bead behind the front shoulder and popping him good.

I will not be a victim or prey from a low life.-----6
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jeepnik
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Re: Classic Fighting Handguns

Post by jeepnik »

I suppose folks select a firearm based on many factors. It seems to me one should be what works. Another should be personal experience. But these days fewer and fewer folks have personal experience. That’s not a bad thing.

But using the above criteria I have selected the 1911-A1.
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Re: Classic Fighting Handguns

Post by OldWin »

Good stuff everyone!
While I've never been in a shooting fight (other than neighborhood BB gun fights with my buddies), I have given it considerable thought. I have carried for longer than I care to admit. Since I was very young, I have been blessed with a very steady nerve. I'm just not a panicky type, and my hope is that it is to my advantage. I pray I never find out.
Out of MY handguns, I think these would probably be my choice for the classics that would give me my best chances in a shootin' scrape. All 3 are excellent performers. I've shot all 3 extensively, and have confidence in them.
If forced to choose one, the Colt LW Commander in the middle would get the nod. I've had it for almost 25 years, and it is in a Milt Sparks SS on my hip a lot.
I still consider the 1911 the finest all around fighting handgun for me. I have Glocks, and their great, but I shoot the 1911 better. To make a draw and get rounds on target in a hurry, I do best with Old Slabsides

As for a list......
I feel there are few "classics".
1851 Colt Navy
Colt SAA
S&W K-frame
Colt D-frame
1917 Colt or S&W
1911
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Re: Classic Fighting Handguns

Post by Griff »

Scott Tschirhart wrote:
Sat May 29, 2021 9:47 pm
Sixgun wrote:
Sat May 29, 2021 11:46 am
From what I've read no one really knows how they will respond to a real deal gunfight when the time comes.....(hopefully, for me..NEVER..)....then I read where your training will automatically "take over"......
I have read that as well, and I do not think it is true. It was not in my case.
I have seen an officer who could qualify on the range but who emptied his gun without hitting anyone at a very close range in a very narrow hallway. [I do not criticize this man, or the men who simply could not pull the trigger when the time came. They may indeed be better men that I am.]
Some people who used guns and grew up using them for hunting did a lot better. I personally remember being terrified right up until the moment I made the decision. Then, I was absolutely calm until a short time after it was over. Subsequent events were easier with a lot less of the terror and more of the calm.
I think we do a disservice by thinking about these things as "gunfights." There are just fights and they involve a variety of tools. By the time I left police work to study law, I got to where I got to the calm place very quickly in just about any violent encounter. These days, there is little use for such a skill.
All I know is that when faced with overwhelming odds, a tactical retreat is in order...

I still remember my last nite on the street... about 2am the lieutenant asked, "ok, this slug pulled a knife on you, why am I not doing a death report?" My only answer was that he never threatened me with it!

I've read that "...your training will take over..." also, but what I believe is that "...your training, but more importantly, your PRACTICE will take over". Back when I had my first combat training, we were taught how to incapacitate an attacker armed with a handgun. And were made to practice it until we had it down "pat". Later in life, I went thru a new cycle of training where a martial arts trainer came to the department and taught a similar technique with the goal being to "take the gun from the attacker". I was perfectly happy to sit in the class and absorb something new. Then the instructor had the bad sense to pick me to demonstrate to the class of deputies how even an "older guy" can master this technique. Even worse was his choice of handgun... a squirt pistol... because he had to walk around the rest of day with a huge wet spot in the middle of his chest... which my long ingrained training and practice routine showed why one does it! Yes, I was excused from the rest of the day and told NOT to teach that variation to any other deputies...
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Re: Classic Fighting Handguns

Post by Ray »

The 1851colt has been mentioned. When the mason-richards colt was submitted for the army trials in 1872, it had the 1860 gripframe but the accepted 1873 version had the, more or less, 1851 shape and dimensions. Obviously someone at the top preferred the 1851 to the 1860.....
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Re: Classic Fighting Handguns

Post by piller »

Never been in a gunfight, and would not place it very high on my list of things I want to do. Somewhere between shaking hands with Hillary Clinton and peeing on a live electric fence. Even though I have successfully avoided a gunfight, I do try to keep a reliable and proven handgun available as much of the time as possible. Just knowing that it is there has given me the boost I needed to pay attention and avoid trouble at least once. No need to get in trouble just to prove how tough I think I am.
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Re: Classic Fighting Handguns

Post by Sixgun »

I practice everytime I am out and about.....pumping gas......at a street light......in a store,or store parking lot......the bank, especially the bank......at home....in the house, garage, barn, basement ,"if my wife starts screaming", post office......

NOTHING is more important than being aware of your surroundings.....I've probably avoided gunfights just by eyeing people up, but just like a flu shot, you'll never know if it worked.

I question myself, "what would you do if bad man started some S....you have to be smart enough to mentally decipher the aggression level.....like, I'm not gonna shoot some 16 year old kid walking through my front door who has a beer bottle in his hand....(then again I'd know well in advance where that kid is before he has a chance to walk in the door. I live in condition yellow, even when I'm sleeping.

There's a lot of people who know I've got a fair amount of nice guns and always carry a wad of Bens....but I make sure they also know there's going to be a good chance I'll aerate their upper chest cavity if they decide to have evil intentions.

Like Clint Smith said, "your best weapon is your mind" and I also live by the Colonels color codes....
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