Question # 4 – What is the best defensive handgun?

June 5th, 2006  

This is Ignatius Piazza, founder and director of Front Sight Firearms Training Institute. I am answering the top ten questions as surveyed by our students on May 15, 2006.

Question No. 4: What is the best defensive handgun?

Well you knew that question was going to be in here. It is a question that comes up anytime we have any kind of discussion about anything that involves firearms. And you also know after hearing my answers for the rifle and the shotgun that Front Sight’s motto is:

Any gun will do if you will do

Again, you are the weapon; the firearm is just a tool. We cannot get that across to you enough. Because we train you to be able to pick up anything and shoot it well. All of the techniques that we teach at Front Sight are designed to be applied against all of the different weapons that are out there. However, with that said there certainly are some choices that are better than others.

So at the top of the list in terms of the best defensive handgun is clearly the Glock. The reason we like the Glock is because it is simple. That is what you need in a gunfight. When all hell is breaking loose around you, you need something that is simple, that goes bang every time, that has good sights and a decent trigger and the Glock fits the bill. It is good to go right out of the box. You do not have to do a bunch of fancy gunsmithing on it.

In fact, we could provide any kind of gun we want to our students who come out to Front Sight that do not even own a gun and there are a lot of students that come to Front Sight that either do not own guns, have never shot guns before, they are being brought to us by a family member who says, you know “This person, I’d like them to get some training,” and we could put any gun in their hand. What we provide them with in our rental program is the Glock 17 or 19. That is in a 9mm configuration. And the reason we do it is because it is simple and simple is what you are looking for.

And by the end of that two-day or four-day class, these students that previously never shot a gun, do not even own a gun, are doing extremely well with that Glock pistol. So, that is the reason why we like the Glock. And no, we do not have any financial gain in this whatsoever in telling you to go out and get a Glock. We do not have stock in Glock. We are not affiliated with Glock. It is the simplest, easiest handgun out there to use and that is why we like it.

Slightly behind the Glock is the 1911 and all of its different variations. There are probably 100 companies that build some type of a 1911. You know 1911 has proven itself in that 45 ACP caliber. It has got a great trigger. There are a few more levers and gadgets on the 1911 than there are on the Glock. That is why it is in second position rather than first. But, because it has a great trigger, good sight, ergonomically it is a very handy weapon to use, we like the 1911.

Now in distant third is everything else. The double-action autos, the Beretta, Sigs, Smith & Wesson, Ruger, you know, you name it. Those weapons that have a long double-action pull and then on the second shot you have a short, single-action pull. They have got decocking levers. You know, again, that makes the gun more complicated. It makes it more difficult to shoot well and consistently. So that is why they are a distant third.

We could get into a whole conversation on modifications and things. We do not do that. I am not going to do that here on this call, but we do that at Front Sight. We have a supplemental lecture that is entitled “Modification Do’s and Don’ts”. What to look for and what definitely not to do to your defensive handgun. We get into that in great detail. But that basically answers, you know, in terms of the best defensive handgun, we like the Glocks. We put them in the hands of our new students through our rental program and they do extremely well with them. We also like the 1911. And when you come out to Front Sight, you will see that most of the instructors carry either a Glock or a 1911. There is a reason for that. It is easy to use, it is easy to hit with and that is what you need to be able to hit with that first round.

Again, if you have any other questions regarding this, feel free to email us and I will also answer a question that I will probably get on email “What is it that I carry?” Again, you know I could carry anything. And I carry a Glock model 22 and 40-caliber. And I have been carrying it for years and years and years. And prior to that, I had a 1911. So, you know we practice what we preach at Front Sight and again, you do not have to go out and buy a gun to come to Front Sight. You certainly do not have to bring a Glock. You do not have to bring a 1911. If you have something else there in your home, we would rather train you with that so that you are great with that weapon than for you to go out and buy something else, unless you absolutely, positively want to. That is fine. But you do not have to buy a certain type of gun to come out to Front Sight. That is why our motto is “Any gun will do if you will do.” Alright. Hopefully that answers it for you. Thanks very much.