Handguns Suck

    It’s no secret, handguns are pretty terrible relative to their larger counterparts at pretty much everything. Gun guys know this, but Hollywood and clueless politicians are responsible or perpetuating the myth that they are much more capable than they really are. In this video we explore that topic a bit and try to explain to our less informed viewers why a handgun is always a compromise. Video of doctor’s lecture.

    Transcript …

    – [Voiceover] Handguns suck.

    Now, hold on, hear me out.

    This really isn’t a big secret to gun guys, as they know how much more powerful rifles are, but Hollywood and clueless politicians make handguns out to be mythical death-dealing objects that were imbued with demon tears and created by witchcraft.

    They aren’t, handguns are an amalgamation of metal, wood, and polymer that use a chemical reaction that drives small pieces of lead forward.

    And they do this rather poorly compared to rifles.

    Handguns are a compromise.

    They trade accuracy, velocity, effective range, capacity, and energy delivery, for one thing, size.

    It simply isn’t convenient or sensible for police officers, certain military positions, or civilians, to carry around a long gun all the time.

    Of course there are situations that may call for a rifle or shotgun, and as such, they are issued to certain police officers, but a police officer’s primary function is not to seek and destroy, but to serve and protect.

    Carrying a rifle generally requires special training and qualification in the USA.

    And in places like Germany, France, or Australia, a police officer will not get to handle a rifle on the job, unless they are a member of a specific police unit, akin to SWAT.

    Basically, if the proverbial excrement slams into the axiomatic oscillator, then the rifles come out.

    Same way for the military in World War Two.

    Officers were often issued with 1911’s or Colt 1903 pistols.

    And in World War One, commissioned troops in the British military generally had a 455 caliber revolver, and their French counterparts relied on Labelle wheel guns.

    Historically soldiers, the men doing the engaging, had long guns, because they are better suited for warfare.

    Of course, there are exceptions to this, such as horse-mounted cavalry.

    But generally speaking, the rifle has been king.

    Well, actually artillery has been king, but that’s another video.

    As a civilian in my state, I have the option to carry around a long gun if I want to, as does every other law-abiding citizen, but I’ve never actually seen anybody do this, that wasn’t making a political statement.

    Presumably because of how big a pain in the ass it would be, to do this, and the lack of necessity.

    After all you’re exponentially more likely to die in a car accident, than by a gunman.

    But few people drive around with a Hans device-equipped helmet, with five point harness, or have any high-performance driving classes under their belt.

    People hedge their bets based on the situations they are most likely to encounter.

    Most people, and professionals, carry a handgun because they’re small, portable, and light.

    That’s pretty much it.

    A man wiser than I once said, the only purpose of the pistol is to fight your way back to the rifle that you should not have laid down.

    And that’s more of a jab at the ineffectiveness of a handgun in a combat scenario than anything else.

    But let’s put it in perspective.

    Grandpa’s semi-auto 308 hunting rifle fires an 11 gram projectile at 820 meters per second.

    That results in about 3600 joules.

    The average nine millimeter handgun fires an eight gram projectile at 350 meters per second.

    This give us, 500 joules.

    That means mathematically, Grandpa’s 308 is seven times more powerful than your run of the mill military handgun.

    In a 2012 lecture that you can watch on Youtube, that I will link to, a Doctor Andreas Grabinsky out of Seattle talks about gunshot wounds.

    He works with the surgeons and trauma teams in the operating room.

    And he provided some information based on his experiences.

    Some of the more interesting points are, that six out of seven people survive being shot with a handgun.

    They simply have low penetration, and the most likely cause of death, is due to bleeding out.

    If the victim can get to the ER, it’s very likely they will survive.

    The doctor also notes that many statistics regarding firearm deaths are skewed by suicides being included.

    Also, he says that if a person gets shot with a rifle, there isn’t much they can do, and notes the huge difference between the severity of a rifle wound, and a handgun wound.

    Perhaps the most interesting thing said in the presentation, as that the doctor notes the resistance of human skin to handgun bullets.

    He says that our skin is equal to four inches of muscle tissue when it comes to stopping most handgun projectiles.

    Because of this, many handgun bullets stop at the muscle.

    And there’s often no exit wound.

    Rifles on the other hand, are rifles.

    So, handguns are a huge compromise.

    We trade a tremendous amount of effectiveness for portability, and often concealability.

    But in most situations your average person will face, the presence of a handgun will deter the bad guy.

    Now there are people who can do some absolutely amazing things with handguns.

    Just look at high-level competition shooters, and see what they can do in capable hands.

    But there is a reason that if somebody is going into combat to seek and destroy an enemy, they take a rifle.

    While said man may have a handgun in tow, for them it’s a backup in case their primary goes down.

    Anyway, I want the takeaway of this video to be about the inefficiency of handguns as a weapon.

    It really bothers me when Hollywood, the media, or clueless politicians make handguns out to be the devil’s paintbrush, capable of blasting someone through a brick wall.

    They aren’t.

    They are generally defensive firearms, designed for protection for situations where a long gun, isn’t a viable option.

    Thank you very much for watching.

    Alex C.

    Alex is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and Director of TFBTV.