Evan Marshall's Ammunition Stopping Power Site
Stopping Power


The more serious member’s on this board carefully prepare for an event we hope never takes place, a lethal confrontation. Some of us would rather avoid this sort of event as we’ve been involved in them in the past.

The tragedy is this; too many good people are focused in the wrong direction. They fixate on “hardware” instead of “software.” Do we need a reliable handgun? Of course! But, we do not need to spend almost $2,000 on a handgun to get a reliable one. Last year at the Hoot & Shoot 2003 many looked askance at Keith Jones because his carry pistol was a DAO 9MM Ruger. Keith as survived gunfights and is allowed latitude in a duty pistol and he like me doesn’t worship what essentially is a tool.

Currently there is great interest in the 1911 as a carry, self-defense weapon. People have seemed to lose sight of the fact that most of the current crop of out of the box 1911’s are ill-suited for self defense. When I can buy two or three Glocks for the cost of a reliable 1911, it is not a hard choice for me. I’m not more dangerous when carrying my Wilson CQB than when I’m carrying my Taurus PT-145.

Once we’ve decided on a reliable handgun, there are some items that need to be purchased. A quality holster, belt, magazine or speed loader pouches, a minimum of five magazines or speed loaders, a quality cleaning kit, and a street worthy flashlight. We then need to buy a significant quantity of ammunition and become familiar with the gun, holster, and ammo carriers. Places like Ammoman.com sell fmj ammo at reasonable prices and both the gun and you need to be function checked. All the magazines or speed loaders have to be tested to make sure they are 100% reliable. We cannot scrimp on magazines. The only after market ones I’ve personally found to be street proof are the Novak 8 round magazines for my SIG P220 and the Wilson mags for my CQB.

We need to pick carry ammo based not on Evan Marshall’s results, but based on what functions 100% in your pistol. Any of the loads that land in the top one third of my stats, that also function 100% in your carry gun should be fine. None of this process is inexpensive, but if you’re going to put a price tag on your life you probably don’t need to read further.

Actually, you should carry at least two handguns though I carry three. Almost 62, my speed reloads are more shuffle reloads, so I find Jimmy Cirillo’s invention, The New York Reload, a lifesaver. This is simply a matter of pulling a second gun and continuing the fight.

Quality training is very difficult to find and you can’t get it out of a gun magazine. Too many “gun fighting” articles are written by people who don’t even carry a gun on a daily basis and are more concerned about getting their egos massaged than providing street relevant training. We put on the Hoot & Shoot event every year, where you can get world-class training at very reasonable prices that include your meals. This year it will be the weekend of July 24th, near Benton Harbor, Michigan. In addition to the instruction you receive at the Hoot & Shoot, you get to spend the weekend in the company of great people with none of the ego mongering and boorish behavior too often found in similar venues. The courses are run at a pace so that everyone can benefit.

The problem with carrying a gun is that too many people beg the question. If you’re not prepared to take a human life you have no business carrying a defensive handgun. Please note, I am not ‘anxious to take a human life.’ Nobody I respect is anxious, but the people I admire and trust who do carry have already “Crossed the Rubicon” and made it.

In the middle of a gunfight we need to be: shooting, moving, and communicating. Standing still and ignoring, or failing to correctly identify valid cover turns you into a bullet magnet. We need to use a weapon that is powerful enough to be what Keith Jones calls “a channel changer” and I refer to as “a wake-up call.” We need to disrupt our attackers focus in such a fashion that he or she immediately forgets us and starts focusing on getting to the hospital.

My favorite “channel changer” is a sawed-off double-barreled shotgun loaded with slugs, but Greg Kramer refuses to make me an IWB holster for one. We need to hit people hard, early, and often. It’s often difficult to tell that people have been hit and they never act that they do on TV. Forget trying to tell if you hit them and continue to seek cover, communicate, and continue to pound them with bullets. I recommend shooting to lock back and so do all the people I know that I’d be willing to take to a gun fight.

These are only a few of the critical components of gunfight survival. Come to the Hoot & Shoot 2004 and I and the other instructors will discuss and demonstrate the rest.


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