Living With Them

Carrying your gun should be a natural and familiar thing to do.

posted on March 3, 2024
Sheriff Jim Wilson

As I got ready to go out this morning, I slipped on my canvas brush jacket and put on my silverbelly hat. And, as an integral part of my morning routine, I stuffed a Smith & Wesson 2 1/2-inch Model 19 into my belt. I got to thinking about the column that I wrote last week that included the admonishment to live with your defense guns and this compact revolver sure fit that bill.

Many moons ago, as a young peace officer, I discovered the Model 19 revolver and found that I shot it pretty well. I’ve never been without one since then and particularly get along well with the 2 1/2-inch version. A pair of them have lived with me for years, sporting pinned barrels, recessed cylinders, smooth magna stocks and grip adapters. Extra ammo is carried in HKS speed loaders and Bianchi speed strips.

Not being monogamous, I have also had a long-term relationship with the Commander-size 1911 pistol. One old friend is a Colt lightweight that has had Novak fixed sights added, with a gold bead in the front and a trigger job. The Colt also wears a set of custom silver stocks with my badge in the center of each panel. My newest is a Border Special from Nighthawk Custom which I had a hand in designing. It, too, wears combat fixed sights with a gold bead on the front sight.

Through the years, I’ve certainly shot and tested many defensive guns, revolver and semi-automatics, but these are the two designs that I always come back to for my personal use. They are like old friends, and we have seen some rough, dangerous times together. I give the revolvers the edge for accuracy while the Commanders get the nod as pure fighting guns.

I was fortunate to have had good advice from old Rangers, other lawmen and gunfighters not only about gun selection, but about using them when the chips were down. Col. Jeff Cooper’s teachings were also a great help. I tried to listen and remember when my elders were speaking.

It all comes together when you combine quality guns with the commitment to shoot them often and a lot. As time goes by, and it does take time, a fella will settle on guns that just suit him. The proof is in how accurately and how quickly one can get lead in the air.

I’m not, for one minute, suggesting that my choice should be your choice. Just know that the selection process takes time and commitment. Once you’ve been down that road, you’ll find that it’s hard to quit winners.


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