Monday, June 27, 2016

- Gun Guy Problems

So I’m going through the process of getting a "residence permit” for a pistol in NYC. This is not a CCR, which in NYC is reserved for people with a lot more clout than me. It's just a range permit that lets me store my gun in the house. Of course - if things get out of hand as they are increasingly likely to do, then there are options. but for the most part all I'll be doing is going back and forth to the west side gun club, transporting it unloaded and locked and storing it at home.

The process itself starts with hiring a lawyer, and after that all you really have to do is write a bunch of mid-sized checks. It’s too complicated to bother describing in more detail. If you have the resources, the lawyer takes care of everything, and if you don’t… then you probably aren’t getting a permit. It takes a few weeks to put together the necessary documentation and then once you file, the rest of the process takes 6 months, and enough police investigation man hours to solve most homicides. Welcome to liberal paradise.

Now the fun part. The permit also comes with authorization to purchase a (single) firearm, so naturally, I’ve begun the decision making process. It will have to be registered with the police, so it's got to be a new gun that they can confiscate when they feel the urge, rather than one of my other guns imported from their legal 'out of state' location. But this is (of course) the very best of all problems for a ‘gun guy’ to solve. And since I want feedback from the regulars (who I know are terribly reluctant to chime in on something like a new gun purchase) let me tell you where I am with it.

I want a small gun suitable for concealment, but I also want my big honking 45acp. I’ve bought more than enough bulk 45acp in my lifetime to worry about the recoil not at all. This isn’t going to be a ‘relaxing day at the range gun” it will be a “legal to keep in my apartment in case of an emergency” gun. So I want stopping power. I like the small little mini 45 single stacks, which points me at a choice between a Glock 36 and an XDs 45. The XD is smaller, the ergonomics work better for me, and I have had phenomenal luck with a full sized XD9. I just love the gun.

But… I also want something else. And here is the rub. I want to mount a Mini Red Dot Scope on the gun - whichever gun it turns out to be. I fell in love with reflex scopes when I put one on my AK for kicks. I’ve also read a legitimate study where a group of law enforcement majors were given a series of shooting tests using both iron and red dot sights on pistols, and it was found they ALL shot 27% faster and with slightly better accuracy using handguns with Mini Red Dot Scopes, regardless of their shooting skill.

So let’s also talk scopes. I love the Trijicon “dual illuminated” RMR. It has no batteries, just a combination of the Fiberoptic/Tritium illumination that the ACOG uses. Some people complain that it isn’t bright enough in some circumstances with white targets and bright lights, or in low light using a flashlight. But while I’ve never shot with one, I’ve seen them many times in various lighting conditions, and I really don’t think it will be a problem for me. They are also solid enough to pound nails with and have more than proven their reliability in combat mounted atop ACOGs on M4's in the sandbox.

But I can’t find anyone who has put a scope on the XDs – only full sized XD and XDM’s. The problem seems to be that as a tiny little single stack, it’s too thin. I’m not even 100% certain you can fit one on the mini-Glock. At least I've never seen it done. And it isn't specific to the Trijicon RMR. That thing is tiny ans weighs almost nothing. The Glock meanwhile is a full inch longer than the XD but the difference is mostly barrel so it probably isn’t all that much more to conceal. And all the reviews I’ve watched put it on the same ground in all respects with the XDs 45. It comes down to personal preference when comparing the two.

Glock is also a nail pounder in terms of reliability. It’s ugly, and compared to the XD, it’s also kinda fat. But unless you guys have some other suggestions, it’s looking like the way I’m going to have to go. And thanks to the wonderfully efficient and effective respect that the New York City police have for my constitutional rights, I only have 7 months or so to decide.


Muzzlethemuz said...


I just about pulled the trigger on a Glock 23 a few weeks ago and if I were still carrying a gun for a living that is what I would carry, as a primary or concealable sidearm. The 23 can be converted to 9mm with a swap of the barrel and carry one more 9mm round in the .40 mag and feeds flawlessly. It has a rail. They disappear in IWB carry rigs. They are bombproof. Naval Special Warfare just dropped Sig for Glock. 'Nuff said.

Unfortunately the 23 does not come with the MOS system feature, Glock's new proprietary optic. Whatever you do with an optic just make sure you can co-witness on the iron sights and make sure they are iron. Glock stock sights are plastic day sights and I would replace them to Tritium immediately. I wouldn't trust plastic sights to cycle the weapon against concrete, etc. and Tritium is a necessity for low-light conditions. I use Meprolights on my Sig but all my USG-issue weapons had Trijicon. In my career Tritium sights had to be replaced. They start going dull after about 6 - 7 years.

I qualified with and carried reflex optic sights for years and have shot with Aimpoints, Trijicon, Elbit, and Eotechs and while they are faster than iron sights, I have literally seen all of them fail up to and including falling off of the weapon. However these were all on AR platforms. I have not shot handgun with a reflex sight.

The Glock subs I looked at (26/27) are awfully off balance for my tastes with the shortened grip and full size slide. You may want to check out the Glock 30S sub as it's in your .45 and has a rail. I think a light is essential. Used my light for years & would prefer that a house gun have one. Things tend to go bump in the night more often then they do in the day.

I carried a .45 for a few years and dropped it as I didn't practice enough nor was I working out enough to manage the recoil. I carried and qualified with 9, .40 and .45 over the years and settled on .40 as my duty carry and a 9mm as my backup, all Sig platforms.

Being as you are in NYC I would be real interested to know what the NYPD is carrying these days and probably be inclined to carry the same ammo that they are. And if it's not the NYPD patrolling the streets during a SHTF scenario it will probably be the military and my guess is everyone's carrying 9.

These days I'm seriously looking at wheel guns for EDC. I find I just don't plink with semi-autos but I love shooting wheel guns all day long and I backed out of the Glock to purchase a Smith & Wesson 686 Plus PC (L frame) or the space age 360 PD. Still deciding. Probably not applicable for what you are looking for and if I pick up the 360 I will likely carry it in addition to my .40 compact.

You can't go wrong with any of them, M&P, Sig, Glock, ad nauseam. It's really a matter of personal preference.

American LE seems to be moving in mass to the 9mm and the +P stuff has tremendous ballistics and low recoil. I would have no problem carrying it. The "Miami Shoot" is quoted again and again in the gun blogs but I have seen every round fail and every round work as intended in my career. There is no magic bullet and in LE your sidearm exists merely to buy time so you can get to your rifle. There was a video shown at FLETC for years (it may be open source now) of a State Trooper who gets killed by an assailant's .22 LR but not before the Trooper empties his .357 Mag into the perp. Perp lived. Perp was also morbidly obese. If six rounds of .357 won't do it not much will.

Shot placement is very important but if your assailant is behind cover, peppering them with large chunks of lead can also be dissuasive. And be mindful that the more charge, the more grains, the more flash and disconcerting noises you're going to have to deal with in confined spaces. If I get a .357 revolver I will most likely be qualifying with and carrying .38 +P's. Just don't need that much concussion in front of my face. That's why we have the 4th of July.

Happy 4th everybody!

Tom said...

First, thanks for the thoughtful and carefully written response.

Now here's the thing. In NJ where I am a legal gun owner and most of the closest gun ranges to NYC actually are, HP bullets are not exactly illegal, but they're close. A few years back our liberal protectors decided that HP's were armor piercing 'cop killers' and though they didn't make it a crime to own them or to practice with them, they did make it it's own class of crime, regardless of circumstances, to shoot at someone with them. In other words, shoot a man in an obviously self defense situation (even saving a bus load of black abortion activists on their way to protest a klan rally) and even if you don't hit him with a bullet, you will still be going to jail. LE get the only exception to that rule.

Without HP, I have no faith in the 9mm. I know there is no magic bullet, but I've seen that video of the gang banger pumping 5 FMJ rounds at close range into the center mass of a fellow gang banger in a pool hall (I think it was LA). The guy with the bullets in him slipped in the blood, then stood up, and ran away down the street. They found him deceased about a mile away. I know... placement. Fair enough. But I imagine the shock that comes with the 45 would give me a bit more latitude there too.

Your advice about shooting what your enemy is shooting (or at least what is actually in greatest supply... assuming I'm not being shot at by cops) is worthy. But we aren't talking about the collapse of civilization here. I'm too old for planned firefights, and will mostly be using shots fired to get somewhere else. Multi-attacker crime or discouraging the riotous mob is really all I'm thinking about. In the latter I can use anything, and in the former, without a hollow point, I'm amorous of the 45acp.

40 cal or 10 mm, noble as they are, are not in as common use as the 9mm (choice of NY policemen for capacity and weight) and the 45. It looks to me very much like the least bad option.

With regard to the gun. It's hard to complain about a Glock, but I agree with you and everyone else on the planet, that Glock iron sights are crap. They will be replaced and raised for co-witness behind the Trijicon. I actually found a gunsmith who said he's throw an RMR on an XDS even though it will be wider than the gun body, but there would be no room for the iron with the XD chambered round indicator in the way. But the longer Glock barrel accommodates that.

I don't know much about the 30S except it carries a lot more ammo (3 more), and is thicker and harder to conceal. If I were in Law enforcement looking for a conceal gun I might go that way. But for me the 36 is the gun between a double stack like the 30S and the XDs which is much smaller - just a bit too small for what I want actually. Don't imagine me subduing an evil do-er as much as running for my life.

You raise excellent points though, and I will at the very least wear a 30S around the store a bit before I decide. If it feels pretty close in terms of concealabilty I'd be happy to have the extra rounds.

Tom said...

BTW, I always check what NYC cops are carrying. I've spoken to a few if they seem inclined to discussion about it, but it's sort of like asking them what they're favorite brand of Pot is. Without LE creds, they assume I'm up to something. So if I'm dressed for work and look like an obviously respectable citizen I might ask, but if I'm dressed down I might not. And like everyone else, some are more friendly and inclined to discussion than others.

They have 3 approved service pistols, all 9mm. Sig 226 is the most popular, followed by the Glock 19, and S&W 5946. Knowing that I can tell just by walking past them which is which. And as you know, critics of the 226 and G17 have long ago learned to shut their holes. I've never seen anyone carrying the 5946.

Muzzlethemuz said...


I have ongoing involvement in the LE profession and friends out your way. I'll do some sniffing around and see what the opinion is. The HP ban out in your neck of the woods is a factor I had not considered though I am aware (as we have discussed) of the NJ situation. Yeah, I don't know what to say about that. All my personal defense stuff is HP. I was issued it for years. We practiced with frangible and qualified with and carried HP. I hand load hard cast .45 LC for my cowboy and plinking activities but haven't really mulled over what I would do if I couldn't carry HP. I'll have to think about that.

True story... my best friend growing up spent years in 5th Special Forces ODA. When the guys first started going to Afghanistan in '01 the stories coming back included the CQB events @ ±5' with AQ dudes and so I am told, AQ guys were getting stitched with 5.56 FMJ and not going down, stuff went right through them. I've read the same accounts in Black Hawk Down. At the time I was carrying soft point 5.56 in a 16" Colt Carbine as my agency-issued long rifle and my buddy said not to worry, I'd be fine with the soft points & he would not have had a problem with the NATO round if they had been issued soft points as well but his feeling was FMJ's for an anti-personnel (AP) round were useless. So, maybe soft points are an option for you too.

I'll be mulling this over.

Thanks for the discussion.


Tom said...

I've heard that story too. It's the unstable ballistics issue. With standard 16 inches of rifling, the 5.56 isn't wobbling enough to properly cavitate on impact if you're too close. It needs 40 yards or so to become unstable.

It's funny if you can step back from it and think about it technically instead of an issue of life or death. That marriage of barrel rifling speed and bullet ballistics is so supremely effective at achieving the minimum-weight/maximum damage objective that you need a different bullet based on how close the enemy is. It's part of why the SF guys go with slower rifling. I think about that as compared to the Russian AK philosophy of minimal effectiveness per dollar, and it just blows my mind. Entertaining minutiae.

Oh ... one last thing. There is that carefully thought through 'large capacity magazine' ban in effect in NY state. It's legal to own a standard 10 round mag, but it's a felony to put more than 8 rounds in your gun. They even originally forgot to exempt the police from it, which caused much uproar when they originally passed the law (at 3am and without debate.)

So I can get the 30s if I want, but I can't use the whole mag or I go to jail. So long as that's an issue, I might as well go with a 36.

I appreciate the energy.

Tom said...

FYI Muzz - After considerable reading, I'm finding your suggestion of the G30S very persuasive. I'll need to go hold one, which I haven't done yet. But it looks like an excellent compromise for the additional (out of state only ... wink) capacity.

Muzzlethemuz said...

Tom, I'm on the road, checking this intermittently. Glad to be of assistance.

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