Col. Walter Walsh died just the other day. He was 106 years old. For those of you who are not familiar with Col. Walsh, he was an FBI agent during the gangster era and shot it out with some of the Barker gang and other crooks. Col. Walsh was also a Marine officer who saw combat in World War II and, later, an Olympic shooting coach.
I met Col. Walsh at one of the Outstanding American Handgunner banquets and shared a table with him during the festivities. What I found interesting about this authentic fighting man is that he was probably only 5 feet 6 inches in height and couldn't have weighed over 130 pounds. Yet, during his career as a gang-busting FBI agent he usually carried a 3.5-inch Model 27 on his hip and a Colt .45 ACP under his arm. Now, folks, that's right at five pounds of handguns!
All of which has gotten me to thinking about the guns that we carry for our personal defense. Too often, I fear, we carry the lightest, littlest gun that we can find, mostly because it is more comfortable. Well, as my friend Clint Smith likes to say, a defensive handgun should be comforting, not comfortable.
Now I have heard all the rationalization for carrying little guns and, frankly, have used some of those arguments myself. The fact, however, is that the smaller the gun, the more difficult it is to shoot accurately. And smaller guns are usually less powerful. They are great to carry, unfortunately they are very difficult to fight with.
Oh, I know that times have changed since the days when Col. Walsh took on the Barker gang. We don't wear suits nearly as much. In my neck of the woods, we hardly wear suits at all and rarely need coats that can be used to hide the big guns. Still, if we are serious about our personal defense, we ought to minimize the times that we carry the little guns. We should also consider clothing options that allow us to carry a full-size defensive handgun as much as possible.
When carrying a little gun during warm weather, it is a dandy idea to have a larger, more powerful handgun nearby. It might be stashed in the car or it might be kept in a briefcase, man-purse, or fanny pack, even closer. And there is no reason that handguns that stay in the car, on the bedside table, or stashed around the house, can't be full-size service pistols.
Properly concealing a large service pistol is a challenge that we all face and have to deal with. However, to just simply give up and always carry a little hideout gun is not a good solution to the problem. I love to carry my little Smith & Wesson Model 442, but when a fight starts I sure want my 1911 .45 ACP in my hands. Thinking about Col. Walsh has caused me to think more about personal safety than being comfortable. You should, too.