If It Ain't Broke...

posted on May 15, 2014
wilson2015_fs.jpg (14)

When I was a young man, quite a few Texas Rangers and border lawmen still carried the Colt Single Action Army revolver. Hearing from readers today, I find that there are still some folks who rely on a single-action for personal defense. People who are new to personal-defense handguns may find it hard to believe that many defensive shooters are still carrying double-action revolvers (a design that is well over 100 years old), 1911 single-action semi-automatics (103 years old) and the Browning Hi Power (almost 80 years old).

One of the main reasons is older shooters are comforted to carry handguns that have saved their lives in the past. It is hard to quit winners. And one should not discount those years of contact with a certain handgun design, in which the shooters have learned the gun's operation intimately. You often hear the comment, "I could field strip it in the dark." In times of great stress it is comforting to be armed with a firearm that you know everything about.

And there are new shooters who come along and decide that if a certain gun design has worked for people over all these years, it must be good. I have always liked the fact that the 1911 .45 ACP was battle-tested successfully long before I ever laid hands on one. Conversely, I have always thought it was a really bad idea to have to be the first one to test a new gun design in an actual gunfight. Too many bad things can happen.

Today we are blessed with a wonderful assortment of handguns that may be suitable for personal defense. And none of my remarks lauding the praises of the older designs should be taken to mean that I am against new gun design. I wouldn't have the job I have if that were the case.

The smart thing is to experiment with a broad assortment of defensive handguns until you find the one that is best suited your needs. Old or new, it really doesn't matter as long as you find what really works for you. Once you do find that perfect defensive handgun, buy it, no matter what the cost. In fact, buy two or three so you'll have some spares. The important thing to remember is that personal defense guns shouldn't be some sort of fashion fad, where you run out and get whatever is new. Do whatever it takes to get what works for you and then stick with it.

One of these days, if you're lucky to live long enough, you'll be saying, "Why should I give up this old pistol for something new? It has saved my life and we have a history." In other words, if it ain't broke, don't fix it!


Vaultek D2Si
Vaultek D2Si

First Look: Vaultek DS2i Smart Station

A full-featured compact safe to securely store your valuables.

Does Birdshot Overpenetrate?

Home defenders sometimes opt for birdshot, thinking it won’t overpenetrate. We put this concept to the test.

First Look: Rival Arms X1 Red Dot Sight

A new optic from a company known for their pistol upgrades.

Review: Safariland GLS Pro-Fit IWB Holster

A new concealed carry holster with built-in Level 2 retention.

First Look: Shadow Systems CR920P Pistol

A subcompact 9mm pistol with a removable compensator, which doesn't have a threaded barrel.

I Carry Spotlight: New for 2023 CZ 75 A01 SD Optics Ready Pistol

In today's I Carry spotlight we take a look at the New-for-2023 CZ 75 A01 SD Optics Ready pistol.


Get the best of Shooting Illustrated delivered to your inbox.