Originally Posted by uz2bUSMC
Fastbolt, I enjoy reading your posts. Always very well written. Anywho, I just don't agree with this part...
I think this phrase is sung quite often without much thought, it seems to be the "easy" way to categorize the performance levels of a platform. I feel this to be unfair when actually investigated. An M4 with an uber cool 11.5" bbl is set up to be a slouch. It is a rifle, yes, but you're probably better off with a handgun with missiles constructed to perform on people.
I understand (and agree) what you're saying about the possibility of the "it's just a handgun" being somewhat of an over-generalization, or simplification. I'd offer that it depends on the situational context, though.
Personally, I don't use it without thought.
I often use the generalization when I hear some younger folks splitting hairs and trying to argue nebulous shades-of-gray merits of one major caliber in a short-barreled service pistol over another ... after having just qualified them, or having observed another instructor having qualified them, and assessing their relative skills and abilities.
I often suspect that some of these young folks (for the most part, but obviously not exclusively) are sometimes mentally substituting - either intentionally or unintentionally - caliber or bullet design in hopes of making up for their abilities and skills. Something along the lines of it being faster and easier to "buy" a perceived potential advantage than investing the time and effort in a developing a physical/mental one (and maintaining it).
Yes, no and maybe. Depends.
There's arguably a primacy in assigning priorities to all the various mental (knowledge/mindset), physical (strength/endurance), equipment (weapons, holsters, ammunition) and skills/abilities involved in using a successfully and effectively using a handgun as a defensive weapon when both lawful and appropriate. The trick is to figure out the most critical priorities and influential factors which may come into play in any given set of circumstances or situation.
I like having access to the better designed, more modern hollowpoint loads when possible, myself, but I don't place an emphasis on doing so to the extent that I neglect developing and maintaining skills (or maintaining a given handgun properly).
Some folks often give the impression that they seem to think a certain caliber is going to get them safely past the 'make or break' point, and others seem to like to think of make/model handgun or bullet design factors in much the same way. Dunno.
The "Talisman Effect", perhaps?
I use the "it's just a handgun" comment to see if it jars their thinking, or prompts them to reconsider their assessment of potential priorities, as well as reconsider the relative importance of being able to use whatever handgun they have at their disposal in the first place.
I'd rather go into Harm's Way with an experienced, if grizzled and worn, veteran who can decisively, accurately & effectively employ his well-worn S&W Model 10 than some young hot-shot with his cutting edge gear and state-of-the-art ammunition.
Confidence in equipment is fine and laudable, but I'd offer that it shouldn't be unreasonably elevated above the relative importance of the knowledge, skills, abilities, experience and mindset of the equipment user
Of course, given the choice between facing a given situation armed just with a handgun, instead of a shotgun or patrol rifle?
In the greater scheme of everything that may be encountered or the specific situations which may occur ... it's still just a handgun. It's still just a piece of equipment. Maybe some nuance or subtle quality of the individual piece of equipment (or ammunition) may be just enough to allow the user to prevail, or maybe the 'user qualities' may overcome any inherent superiority of design or performance capability of the equipment.
Just depends how many eggs and how many baskets someone wants to juggle when it comes down to the potential for serious consequences, maybe.
I agree with the M4 configured with the shortest barrel options essentially being 2-handed machine pistols of arguably lesser advantage regarding ballistic capability (as well as the disadvantage of the increased muzzle blast and noise) ... depending on ammunition selection, of course ... but there's always going to be the younger folks who go for the appearance/cool factor.
You know, the 'team leader gets the coolest carbine' sort of thing? Hey, maybe they'll grow out of it, or reconsider the totality of their experience and 'working wisdom' after surviving some experience or other ... and when it comes right down to it, the configurations wouldn't be made if they didn't sell for whatever reason or weren't being requested.
Doesn't mean I'd want one instead of a good pistol, though, either.