Can You Really Get By With Only Six (or Seven) Bullets?

In war and gun legislation, much is made about magazine capacity. It would seem this has always been the case and though practically anyone who teaches self-defense would tell you more rounds are preferred in any conceivable attack, politicians love to claim otherwise and as such have been passing and trying to pass magazine capacity limitations for over 30-years now.  The results have been mixed.

Some states limit shooters to 10 rounds, others state’s a few more, others still less, while here in New York state, we have to deal with the admittedly absurd (and some would say punitive) limit of only seven rounds.

limiting_ammo_insanityThe number of bullets a weapon can fire before reloading is something that both sides of America’s never-ending story gun debate obviously feel strongly about (regardless of the relative ignorance when it comes to defending oneself displayed on the gun control side) and like it or not, it is going to be something American shooters are going to have to contend with (well, until we get some new blood in office and some black robes who know what the word infringe means).  If history is any indication, magazine capacity is something the gun control cabal will always overzealously target and with insane new laws popping up like weeds in my own backyard, I think it’s time to talk about the realities of only have a bullet for every finger on you in some places while concealed carrying.

Said better, can a shooter really stake his life on six (or seven) bullets?

Six-gun shooters unite

Most people who know me, know me first as a revolver shooter. I have always carried revolvers despite the fact that I am limited to five or six rounds.  Because of this penchant, my neighbors used to chide me as old fashioned (a compliment in my book), but now that these folks are all limited to seven bullets, so my five or six round wheelgun is not as ‘old fashioned’ as it used to be.  To me though, this six-gun stigma underlines an important point in self-defense: for a lot of us, revolvers never went out of style.

S&W Model 19

S&W Model 19.

Though they’ve stood behind a couple of decades of semi-auto, polymer craze that has for all practical purposes overtaken the national handgun market, revolvers are still considered viable weapons by any standard in law enforcement and civilian circles. Comprehensive defensive handgun training looks at both semis and revolvers, shot placement is complemented by the large calibers wheelguns can tame and they are above all else deadly reliable. Indeed, there are many candidates out there in the world of six-guns that can handle the job of individual defense despite being “old fashioned”.

S&W Model 36.

S&W Model 36.

If you’re a reader, you’ll know that a personal favorite gun of mine is the Smith & Wesson Model 19 and its stainless steel counterpart the Model 66. These guns have served in law enforcement agencies and have been carried for personal defense since the 1950’s and they are just as good in a pinch as always.

You can load them up with .357 Magnum as intended or if you must carry them with .38 Special +P ammunition. With a 4-inch barrel they are the same size as any duty pistol and in the shorter lengths they can be notoriously easy to conceal. There is no arguing with the more powerful .357 Magnum cartridge for defense either—in many minds it has been the standard by which all other calibers have been judged since 1935.

Colt Mountain gun

Colt Mountain gun.

If you want something more concealable, there is a whole host of “battle tested” small revolvers.  Most are limited to five rounds, but for what they’re intended for that’s probably more than you’ll ever need. Smith & Wesson (you know I’m a fan) has an entire line of small revolvers based on their J-frame like the original Model 36 up to the latest Airweights. In .38 Special and .357 Magnum these little guns are nothing to sneeze at. Likewise Ruger has their own line with the LCR’s that weigh about a pound or just a little over and are also in .38 Special and .357 Magnum.

Charter Arms Bulldog in .44 Special.

Charter Arms Bulldog in .44 Special.

If you fancy a used gun, don’t overlook the older Colt Detective Specials.  These will give you six rounds in a gun that’s the same overall size as the Smith & Wesson J-frames. There are enough used snubnosed sixguns out there in everything from .38 Special on up to fill a battleship. If big bores are your fancy Charter Arms has their .44 Special Bulldog which will certainly ruin anyone’s day.

Semi-auto handguns for a strange, new world

I have been trying to amass a list of semi auto pistols out there that one can get by anywhere with in this world of magazine capacity restrictions.  It’s a short one, but there are some very nice guns on it.

Glock 36.

Glock 36.

I would put at the top of the list the Glock 36 in .45 ACP. This little subcompact is only six and three quarter inches long and four and three quarters of an inch tall. The Model 36 packs six rounds of .45 in its stout magazine.  With one in the chamber and a full magazine you will be carrying seven rounds overall and while it is not as ideal as carrying ten rounds, it is certainly a nice package and one that you can carry in the most restrictive states in the union.

As a side note Glock also has their new Model 30s in .45 ACP that features a 6+1 configuration… I just haven’t shot it yet.

If you can live with only one less round than the Springfield XDs .45 is another great choice. It is slightly smaller than the Glock 36 at six and a third inches long and a bit under four and a half inches tall.

Kel-Tec PF9.

Kel-Tec PF9.

Springfield XD(s)

Springfield XD(s).

So .45 is not your thing? I know some people who just don’t shoot .45 pistols well, especially the smaller ones.  These folks are not out of luck by any means. There is the new Kel-Tec PF-9 which is less than six inches in length and is just over four inches tall. With its seven round magazine fully loaded the whole gun only weighs a bit more than 18-ounces. In the same vein is Ruger’s little LC9 pistol which has the same magazine capacity as the Kel-Tec and is nearly the same size.

Make and make due

In this shooter’s estimate, our rights have been infringed upon that is for certain, and at this moment gun owners cannot do much about it other than wait until the next election or until the courts get their collective heads out of their backsides and follow the Constitution instead of interpreting it in their own eyes.

Until that moment comes we have to live with our options, limited as they may be. While the new laws on magazine capacity might have hurt gun owners choices in terms of what we can own and what we can carry, there are still choices out there whether you prefer to go old school and carry a revolver or carry the latest semi-auto pistol technology.

Realize, we still have the right to buy and carry guns for personal defense despite the best attempts of some politicians to deny us that. So yes you can get by on six or seven bullets if need be.  If need be…

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