Wednesday, March 24, 2010

wilsonblogclassic® Originally posted Thursday, May 7, 2009

Shot in the head with a .25 auto... and really really angry

After the concealed carry piece that I had written back in March I thought that I would elaborate on the incident that finally caused me to give up using a .25 automatic as my primary carry gun. The final proverbial "straw" that broke the camel's back. This incident occurred over a dozen years ago.

At the time I had been carrying a Colt Model 1908 (.25 Auto) and then had recently switched to a Beretta in the same caliber. I knew in the back of my head that my little pistol was not up to the requirements of a main carry gun and that I might actually be in trouble if I really had a need for it. I guess you could say that I was in denial.

My denial did last a while but it wouldn't last forever. You see, while I was living in happy ignorance it wouldn't be too long before it began eroding as I read story after story in gun books and magazines about the lackluster performance of little mouse guns and just how marginal these calibers were. When the local television news reported about a "drive by" where the bullets from a thug's .25 automatic didn't even penetrate the metal screen of his intended victim's front door that was just about all that I needed to hear on the matter. And then came the "final straw".

"Jay" was a friend of mine from work. We were well acquainted but didn't really hang out after hours, he was about 8 years younger than me and we had different interests in life. Jay was in his early 20s, an average guy, and like many young men his age spent a lot of his weekend free time in bars chasing the girls. That is where he found his trouble.

One Saturday night while at a bar Jay got into a conversation with a girl, the guy that was with the girl didn't like that. Words were exchanged and before anyone knew what was going on the other fellow produced a gun and fired a shot. Before he could get off another round though my friend proceeded to beat that man into unconsciousness.

When the police arrived they found the unconscious instigator, a dozen or more witnesses and Jay, who had a minor head wound. The police took him to the hospital. Jay had a cut to his head, which by the time he arrived at the hospital had already stopped bleeding. Although the doctor wanted to take x-rays Jay was feeling better and didn't want to stay. At his insistence they patched it up and he got out of there. Within a couple of days though Jay started having bad headaches. He went back to the hospital and the doctors immediately found the source of his problem, a .25 caliber bullet lodged in his temple.

I won't try to defend the actions of my friend. Knowing him then, I've no doubt that he said things that probably helped escalate the situation. Given the age of the two young men involved, the setting, the abundance of both testosterone and alcohol, I would say that both had a part to play in this drama and neither were completely innocent. The point I am trying to make in this long-winded story is that MY FRIEND WAS SHOT IN THE HEAD AND HE DIDN'T EVEN KNOW IT! In fact at the time he thought the bullet had missed him completely! It wasn't until the fight was over and the other guy lay dazed and bloody on the floor that someone pointed out to him that he had been hurt. Jay told me at the time that the effect of the guy shooting at him (actually shooting him) was only to make him angrier, I am sure that this fellow took a worse beating because of it! I am also sure that if the other guy had a larger caliber gun my friend would have been killed. Having seen the actual bullet wound I have very little doubt of that.

Very shortly after this incident I began looking for a better carry gun, I eventually settled on the classic Smith & Wesson "J" frame in .38 Special. Which I now consider to be the absolute minimum caliber in a main carry gun.

I've not owned many mouse guns since, and never again as a primary carry gun. But even I must admit that they do have their limited uses. If I do carry one as "back-up" it is knowing that I am going to unload the gun into the person attacking me. I have no delusions of "one-shot stopping power" or the effectiveness of these minuscule calibers. I simply acknowledge them for what they are, a desperate last-ditch effort.

Of course arguments can be made for using these small pistols, both for physical, practical, and other reasons. At times I have made these same arguments myself. I will not try to talk others out of their little guns, it is their decision to make, it is their life to live. All I can do is simply relate the very personal reasons why I no longer chiefly rely on them. Why I can no longer accept their role as anything but supplemental. For me, to do otherwise would be to deny the simple facts that I have observed with my very own eyes.

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