February 27, 2021

Only One Gun?, by Pat Cascio

I get a lot of questions asked of me, all the time, but many of them are really one in the same question, just phrased a little differently. Over my lifetime, I’ve been asked, literally hundreds of times: “What is your favorite gun…?” or, “If you could only own one gun, what would it be…?” and other similar questions from those seeking a truth or “the” truth about firearms. And, I can’t give a pat answer to these questions and no one else can, either. I can only reply based on my own experiences, the facts and my finding over a lifetime of being a gun owner.

I don’t have a “favorite” gun, if I do, it would be whatever I’m carrying at the time. And, when it comes down to owning one gun, to what end are you referring to? I look at things differently than most people, and heaven forbid that we ever have to make a decision about owning just one gun. Of course, it also depends on where you are standing at the time. If I were living in Alaska, out in the bush, then I’d elect to have some kind of .44 Magnum revolver – since there are some dangerous four-legged creatures living then. I’d pick a handgun over a rifle for the fact, that it is more easily carried regularly, compared to a rifle of some type.

There are so many different scenarios that one can play out in their minds, that it will drive you crazy, just trying to pick one gun for all your needs. I tend to look at things through the eyes of a Prepper, and towards the end of the world scenarios, and make my choices based on that. For many, many years, my choice for a one and only firearm was a .357 Magnum revolver of some sort, with a 4-inch barrel, made out of stainless steel – to help prevent rust and weather conditions from taking a toll on the gun. And, of course, you can load a .357 Magnum with a large variety of ammo, including .38 Special ammo, or the heaviest .357 Mag loads for dangerous times, or added penetration. Add a nice holster and several speed loaders, and you would be good to go. However, these days, the world is much different than it was when I made that choice.

I’m a life-long fan of the grand old 1911 handgun, in .45 ACP and it served our military for a lot of years, and even now, some Special Ops Units still carry a full-sized Government Model 1911 in .45 ACP for some missions. No doubt about it, the .45 ACP will get the job done – very quickly. Still, I had to rethink this choice not too long ago. I don’t feel that a magazine holding 7 or 8 rounds in a single stack form, is enough ammo on-hand, to take care of things, these days.

It Would Be An Autopistol

This brings us to what my choice would be, for a one and only gun, and it would be an autopistol handgun for a number of reasons. First of all, is the concealability of a handgun, over a long gun. The second reason is, lots of ammo on-board, and that means having a handgun chambered in 9mm – the more ammo on-tap, the better it is. Now, any number of double-stack 9mm handguns can fill the bill, however, after writing hundreds of articles about handguns, and shooting hundreds of thousands of rounds – maybe even a million rounds, through handguns, my number one choice would be a Glock 19X – stay with me for a bit, while I make my case for this handgun, and feel free to disagree, but this is my choice, based on experience and facts.

For those who aren’t familiar with the Glock line of handguns, they are the most widely used handguns in the world, with military and law enforcement units and there is a reason for this – the Glocks just tend to go “bang” every time you pull the trigger, and they endure, no matter what the conditions might be – and they don’t take a lot of maintenance, either. Plus, the 9mm round is still the most popular caliber in the world, and odds are you will still find a supply of 9mm no matter how bad things might get. Right now, there is a huge run on guns and ammo, because of the recent numerous riots taking place all over the country, and understandable anxiety over the election of Joe Biden. But you can still find 9mm ammo if you look around – sure, you’ll have to pay more than you normally would, but you can find it.

Looking at the Glock 19X

Just a quick look at the Glock 19X is in order. It only comes in FDE – Flat Dark Earth – color – and I don’t have a problem with this at all. It has a Glock 19 length barrel, with a Glock 17 length grip. You can load up 17, 19, 33, or even 40 round extended magazines in it – and the more ammo you have, the better off you’ll be. I own a couple Glock 19X models, because I like them “that” much. We also have night sights that are standard on the 19X, as well as an ambidextrous slide release. The magazine release is reversible to one side of the frame or another.

Glock also finally got the message, that most shooters simply didn’t like the finger grooves on the front strap. (See the photo at left for that older design.) There is excellent pyramid points instead of checkering on the frame for a sure hold under the most adverse weather conditions. And, to top it off, you get several back straps, so you will be sure one size will fit your hand. There is also a (removable) lanyard ring in the butt of the grip frame. We have a Picatinny rail on the dust cover, should you run a laser and/or light on the gun. Plus, there are thousands of after-market products you can add or swap out if the factory set-up gun isn’t enough for you.

The Glock 19X comes with three magazines, one is a flush-fitting 17-round magazine, and the other two are 19-round extended mags – so you have plenty of ammo with all three mags loaded and ready to go. Plus, you can usually find Glock mags for $20 to $24 each – so no reason why you can’t buy plenty of extra mags for this gun. The best thing is, a Glock always goes “bang” when you pull the trigger – and I’ve run a lot of different 9mm ammo through quite a few Glocks in that caliber, and no matter what the ammo was, it always fed and functioned – 100% of the time.

I haven’t run across many people who say that they Glock handguns actually “fit” their hands as well as they’d like – I’m one of those people. However, over the years, my grip on a Glock has gotten my hand used to the feel of these guns, and it is “muscle memory” that makes these guns feel like an old friend. Having spent 35-years in the martial arts, one thing I always taught my students was that, in order for a move to come naturally, they needed to do the move at least 5,000 times correctly before it was instilled in their muscle memory.

I could also live with my old Glock 19, if I didn’t own a Glock 19X – same gun, except shorter in the butt, and it holds a few less rounds of ammo – my particular Glock 19 has night sights and nothing more added. I do have several of the 15-round mags with a plus-two base plate, giving me two extra rounds. Plus, it will also take 17, 19, 33, and 40 rounds mags – but they stick out of the grip frame a little bit. I really love the little 19, and carried one for years as my EDC piece.

The Tried and True Glock 17

Next up would be a Glock 17, and this is a full-sized model with a longer barrel, and the same longer grip frame that takes 17, 19, 33, or even 40-round magazines – it’s a little bit harder to conceal than the 19 or 19X is. Many law enforcement departments still issue this gun and it was the very first Glock handgun design produced.

If all I had were a Glock 22 I could live with it – it is chambered in .40 S&W caliber and is the same size as the Glock 17 is. Many PDs are still using this gun and there is nothing wrong with it at all. Next up would be my Glock 35, this is the long-slide version of the Model 22 and it would make for a dandy pistol for hunting some type of game – even some bigger game could be taken with it, with the right ammo.

Ammo Choices

I just wanted to touch on ammo briefly, there are a lot of choices you can make in 9mm and even .40 S&W, as well as .45 ACP. I keep my Glocks in 9mm stoked with Black Hills Ammunition 100-gr HoneyBadger loads, and it is a +P rated load, just great for self-defense. If I lived out in the wilderness, and all I owned was a 9mm handgun, I’d keep at least one magazine loaded with the Buffalo Bore 147-gr +P hard cast outdoorsman 9mm load, it will penetrate deeply and that’s what you need for large and dangerous critters. And, there are more 9mm loadings, that you can surely find some that will fill your needs.

I admit to owning more Glock handguns than anyone one person should be allowed to own, but I like them for many reasons, and number one is that, they will always work, even with very little maintenance. My wife and oldest daughter both own a Glock 19, with plenty of spare magazines. The youngest daughter still doesn’t have one, and I might have to gift her with one, someday soon.

Now, if all I had, I would surely take a 1911 in any form, but my favorite is a 4.25-inch barrel Commander sized version in .45 ACP – I wouldn’t feel very handicapped with “only” 7 or 8 rounds in a magazine, with several spare mags on my hip ready to go. Still, after years of thinking about this, I’d have to go with a Glock 19X over all the others.

I’ve played the “what if” game tens of thousands of times in my mind, and I’m sure you all have do the same thing “what if ‘this’ happens?” or “what if ‘that’ happens?,” –what gun would you want on your hip, given all that you know? It is not an easy decision to make – never will be, and I’ve changed my own thinking several times over the years, and for the time being, I’m very happy with the Glock 19X as my choice for a one and only handgun – let’s just hope it never comes down to owning just one gun for the rest of my life.

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