Tiger McKee

Shootrite Firearms Academy

Compact Pistols

Mid to large caliber pistols with small frames, short barrels, and grips that are reduced in length are easy to carry, especially in a concealed location. That’s an advantage.

But, as with all things, there are disadvantages you should considered. These compact pistols can be difficult to operate properly. Notice I said can be; some people can operate them efficiently. The majority of people, when there is an option, would be better off carrying a mid to full size pistol as opposed to the compact versions.

Compact pistols are difficult to manipulate. When it comes to manipulating smaller weapons – loading, unloading, which we do a lot of, reloading, and clearing malfunctions, which are sometimes necessary – are difficult to perform properly, especially if you have large hands. It’s common to see those larger hands covering ejection ports, creating stoppages.

Large hands also mean you have to modify your grip to allow the magazine to drop free during empty reloads, since the bottom of the palm is actually covering the mag’s base. The grip has to be opened up to seat the mag as well, otherwise it won’t seat, and you can get a good bit of your hand pinched between the mag and mag well of the pistol. As a matter of fact people with smaller hands have problem as well due to the fact that the recoil springs are stiffer, requiring more strength to cycle the slide aggressively.

The short sight radius, the distance between the front and rear sight, of compact pistols can make it difficult to shoot accurately. For most situations, where the fight takes place close and quick, this shouldn’t present a problem. If you’re forced to make a shot from extended distances, or at a small portion of the target, a longer sight radius makes those shoots easier to accomplish.

Compact pistols are lighter weight, which means more recoil, and that increases the time between shots. This is especially true for newer shooters who have not had the time to get their grip, stance, and that type stuff squared away yet. In a fight the lower the split time between shots, as always only shooting at the speed that places your rounds in the proper location, the quicker we stop the threat.

As Jeff Cooper said, a fighting pistol must fit your hand properly, in addition to having a crisp trigger and sights you can see. The only way to determine whether your pistol fits you or not is through intensive training and practice, working on the fundamentals of marksmanship and manipulations, over and over again.

If you discover the size of your pistol if keeping you from performing these skills properly, then you should get another weapon, regardless of who gave you the small pistol, what type sentimental value it has or what brand it is. When forced to use your weapon to defend against a violent attacker, none of these things will matter.

Get a pistol that fits your hand. Work with it until it becomes a natural extension of your body and mind. This is the way to defeat your threat.

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March 1, 2011 Posted by | Auto Pistol, Concealed Carry | Leave a comment