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  The information presented on this web-site has been assembled from different sources deemed reliable, and represent personal views of the author on specific issues associated with handguns ownership, lawful use and concealed carry. Those views shall not constitute an advice of any kind to purchase a handgun or ammunition described below. The author shall not be liable in any way for any wrongful use, or misinterpretation of the presented information.
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CHL BASICS                                                                                                                       ...top
Buying or carrying a gun may create a false sense of security. Unless you know and follow the law, develop handgun handling proficiency, including its safe-keeping, maintenance and use, it may get you into trouble instead of providing security.

Having CHL (Concealed Handgun License) don't make you a policeman. Understand well, what "imminent threat" is, and when the use of deadly force is "justifiable". Develop "adult-to-adult" conversation skills. Your handgun is to "stop", not to "kill". Anticipate the situation and be prepared to handle it. Practice your defense skills, develop your character, develop "muscle memory" of handling your handgun. Never put finger on the trigger unless ready to fire. Never point a handgun at anybody, even if it's not loaded. Keep the handgun out of reach by anybody other than yourself.

Review handgun laws (Texas) regularly. They do change. They vary from State to State. When traveling, know which States have reciprocity, and how different the law is.  If you wish to stay informed, and support the gun owners' rights, consider becoming a member of National Rifle Association.

In Texas and most other States, failure to conceal a handgun by CHL holder is considered "criminal offense". There are many ways to conceal a handgun, which is a matter of personal preference. Plenty of options are available for various applications (pocket, shoulder, ankle, thigh, paddle, belt, shoulder or belt pouch, belly band, in waist, etc...).


Open carry may deter some criminal activity, but not every criminal will be scared of your gun. How would you know who you are up aganst? Criminals are able to read body language very well and would know who is prepared to use the gun and who isn't. Most had guns pointed at them their entire lives and many have already been shot multiple times. Those criminals won't be scared just because that gun on your hip. Instead, they may shoot you or kill you to get your gun before committing a crime. Some of them would see your gun as a challenge, but not a threat. It may boil down to whether you can draw your gun quicker. According to some sources, every year dozens of cops, even those who are trained well, have a backup and retention holsters, get their guns taken by criminals. Would they be able to take your gun out of your open carry holster? How would the element of attraction compare to the element of surprise? When you open-carry an "attraction" -- your handgun -- a criminal may catch you by surprise, but if your handgun is concealed, you have a better chance to catch that criminal by surprise.

What would a policeman think of you when he sees you openly carrying a handgun? How would the policeman react, especially in the dark? What if you make a wrong move and it is interpreted by the policeman as a threat? Imagine what would happen then?

Open-carry of a handgun will draw attention and can be viewed as a warning or threat to ordinary people, law enforcement and criminals alike. If you decide to open-carry your handgun, first think of the purpose, the objective and possible consequences. If your concealed weapon is good enough for the purpose of self-defence, why would you expose it?

If you don't carry a handgun and see someone with a handgun on his belt, how would you react? If you are carrying a concealed handgun, how would you react? If you are open-carrying a handgun, how would you react?


Firearm program for legal protection is available at

If you are in the greater Houston/Katy area and bought
a gun online or at an auction, or intend to buy one,
consider using this FFL transfer agent at www.DoubleRFirearms.net


Books That Drive The Imagination!



EXPECTATIONS                                                                                                                                       ...top
Who wouldn't want to own a handgun, which is:
> Simple (Intuitive)
> Easy to use/handle
> Light weight (Modern polymer material)
> Compact (Concealable)
> Effective (Caliber and ammunition)
> Accurate (Barrel length, sights)
> Reliable (Manufacturer, design)
> Looks good
> Feels good
> Reasonably priced
How would you choose from a huge number of designs available in the market place?

You may wish to start with the country you would want your handgun to be made in, check the reputation of the handgun designer/manufacturer, and choose the caliber.

Decision making is tough, and whether it's right or wrong, it would be your decision anyway.

Define your purpose, and how you're going to carry and conceal the handgun.

Which one would be a "preferred candidate", a revolver, or a pistol (semi-auto)? Would it be single action, or double action? It would be good to know the difference, wouldn't it?

Once a handgun is bought, it's a "point of no return". There would be fewer options left: keep, re-sell, trade in, put it away, or destroy it. Knowing what you need and what you are buying should mean a lot.

Here are 2 examples of diametrically opposite opinions about the same gun, found on the Internet chats:

Guy 1: "This was a big mistake of mine to buy this gun. Right out of box it jammed on me a few times and I had to send it back to the manufacturer. I would never recommend this gun to my friend".

Guy 2: "I am a retired police officer, and throughout my career I carried many different guns, which I still have, but when I bought this one, I liked it so much, and it's the only handgun I carry now. I would definitely recommend it to my friend".

Whose opinion would you follow? Is there anything wrong with the statements they made? Yes.

Guy 1 could have used a bad (cheap) ammunition. Guy 2 didn't mention which guns he carried.

So, there is no telling which opinion would be good to apply. It's good to have your own. You may wish to visit the web-sites of manufacturers to read more about the handgun you consider purchasing, then shop for it.

Once handgun is bought, keep its mechanism clean and oiled. Only use fine quality reliable ammunition and the chances of your handgun failing you in a critical situation would be reduced.

Some handguns come with Tritium night sights, and/or lasers, or designed to be equipped with them.
In addition, there are laser/flash light combos, and 140 - 220 lumen flash lights, some with strobe,
to blind/confuse the attacker, when acting in the dark.

Interesting concept of a "pocket shotgun" by Bond Arms Inc.

Single action only firearm with
16 interchangeable barrels and 22 calibers combinations
, including:
45 Colt/.410 Shot Shell (rifled), .357 Magnum /.38 Special, .357 MAX,
.45 ACP,.45 Colt only, .45 Glock Auto, .44 Special, 44-40 Winchester, .40 S&W, 10 mm, 9 mm Luger, 32 H & R Mag, .22 Long Rifle

Texas Pride

Here is a 357 Magnum "Rhino" by Chiappa Firearms, Ltd., shown are 2" and 4" barrels

That one should take care of a rhino, or a hog, or a grizzly bear, anything with thick skin and a big mass.
Note, that cal. 357 Magnum load is what makes the difference. Rhino is just a different gun design...

Another  "Pocket cal. 9 mm Pistol", short 3.2" barrel, with 7 round magazine by Ruger


Light weight semi-auto, double action only, pistol featuring manual and magazine safety.

Low recoil for quicker target recovery.

Adjustable front and rear sights.

The grip feels right, nice and slim with smooth edges. Ladies may like it a lot.

Those who may think LC9 is too big for a pocket gun, have a look at Ruger LCP .380, also available with optional crimson laser.

Recent attractive 9 mm "pocket handguns" by Bobers Arms and Sig Sauer

Bobers Arms XR9-S

Interesting design where the round is pulled backwards before chambering.

Sig Sauer P938 Equinox

Miniature classic 1911 pistol

To learn more about the above handguns, please visit the manufacturers' web-sites

"STOPPING POWER" AND AMMUNITION                                                           

"Guns don't kill people. People kill people." You heard that before, right?

Let's re-phrase it by saying
"Guns or people don't kill people -- bullets do".


In addition to popular full metal jacket or hollow point bullets, some new designs are offered for some very specific applications, for example self/home defense, hunting, or official duty-related use, not to mention various military applications. When choosing a caliber and comparing the ballistics of different ammunition and brands, a smart decision ought to be made whether the subject bullets correspond with the anticipated outcome of shooting in certain situations.  

Stopping power is always referred to when calibers are discussed. The perception is that the larger caliber has more stopping power. There is some truth to it, but...

There should be a measure, by which the Stopping Power is measured, a certain number.

Would Energy be a better word to describe Stopping Power? When a projectile hits human body and stops there, then all energy is transferred. If a projectile passes through, the energy is transferred partially. Let's see...

E = (Q x V squared)/ 2G, where:

E is energy
Q represents the weight of projectile (Variable)
V is velocity (Variable)
G is gravity (Constant)

It is obvious that the higher the weight of projectile, or it's velocity, or both, the higher the energy.

Now, let's look at 2 scenarios. You are hunting, and would like to make sure you have a gun that would stop a bear, or a big wild hog. Ideally, you would be wanting to transfer ALL energy, rather than "pierce" the animal and only transfer a portion of the energy. If that's the case, would 357 Magnum load with a heavy projectile be a good solution? Yes. It is known to be a good solution - lower velocity with heavier projectile, optimized for energy transfer. According to the information presented below, .45 Auto with 185 grain projectile would deliver 453 ft lbs energy at a 1050 fps velocity, similar to 357 Magnum ammunition designed for hunting. The ammunition, believed to be the most effective (damaging), i.e. 357 Sig, is rarely used/available and expensive, thus is left out of the discussion. By no means should .357 Sig be out-ruled though. Handguns with barrels designed for .40 S&W can be converted into 357 Sig by switching the barrel accordingly.

With the same caliber load, projectile with lower weight would travel at a higher velocity, and will have a higher piercing effect. Higher velocity would also mean a better penetration, but on a flip side - a higher chance of ricochet. Self-defense handgun ammunition is designed for an animal with thin skin and a tissue containing 80% of water, i.e. us, humans. It appears that hollow point projectile causes most shock/energy transfer, when it hits the target it's designed for. Otherwise, in cases of higher velocity loads, ricochet may present a serious problem.      

For self-defense, a hollow point ammunition that provides for about 350 - 500 ft lbs of energy at velocities of 1000 fps to 1200 fps, would probably be most effective. Higher velocities would create a kick back and make it harder to recover the target due to muzzle jump.

From the table below certain .38 Special, 9 mm, .40 S&W and .45 Auto would be sufficient, although using smaller, or less powerful ammunition, can be equally effective in certain situations. With 357 Magnum ammunition, that delivers higher velocities, the energy it creates is high, but so is the piercing effect, and it is hard to say how much of that energy is transferred to the target, and how much continues to push the projectile farther. With possible innocent by-standers in mind, would you load your revolver with 357 Magnum ammunition to be used within city limits? Probably not, as it would be beneficial to avoid collateral damage by all means.

One other important matter to mention is the length of the barrel. Longer barrels have better accuracy and deliver higher velocities. The ballistics presented below is measured for 4" barrel guns. In the concealed carry world, 2.5", if that, and 3.5" barrels are often used. So, expect the energy and velocity to be less than such in the table, if you use handguns with shorter than 4" barrels.


Left to right:

.32 Auto
380 Auto
9 mm x 19
.40 S&W
.45 Auto
38 Special +P
357 Magnum
.40 S&W Solid Copper

(The select ammunition referenced below)                        ...top
ft lbs
.32 Auto 380 Auto .38
9 mm
9 mm +P .40 S&W .45 Auto 357 Magnum Velocity
123 60 (S)               960
215     110 (F)           930
216   90 (F)             1040
249     110 (H)           1010
290 +P     110 (H)           1090
339 FTX       115 (H)         1140
345 SC           140 (B)     1120
345       105 (F)         1230
364       124 (S)         1150
364 SC       93 (M)         1330
387     115 (ES)           1185
396 FTX           175 (H)     1045
410         124 (S)       1220
443       124 (SS)         1165
453             185 (S)   1050
480           150 (CB)     1200
496           155 (S)     1200
506 FTX           165 (H)     1175
510               180 (F) 1130
532 SC           60 (L)     2000
548               158 (H) 1250
584               125 (S) 1450
624               125 (H) 1500

Bullet weight (Grain)

The ammunition manufacturers may discontinue certain items shown below and offer different new items, especially pertaining to the bullet designs and their intended applications. It is a very competitive and dynamic market to track.

One can always make his/her own list of favorite rounds based on their availability.

Speer Gold Dot (S)   Extreme Shock (ES)  
.32 Auto 23604 .38 Special "EPR" 38SPL115EPR20
9 mm Luger 23618 Cor-bon (CB)  
9 mm Luger +P 23617 .40 S&W SD40150/20
357 Magnum 23920    
.40 S&W 23961 "Clean" Target Practice Ammunition  
.45 Auto 23964 Remington (R)  
Federal Premium (F)   380 Auto UMC Target LN380AP
380 Auto/Low Recoil PD380HS1H 9 mm UMC Target LN9MM3
.38 Special/Low Recoil PD38HS3 .38 Special UMC Target LN38S11
357 Magnum Swift-A-Frame P357SA .40 S&W UMC Target LN40SW4
9 mm Luger "Guard Dog" PD9GRD    
Hornady (H)   Magtech (M) Light weight to carry
38 Special "Critical Defense" 90310 9 mm "First Defense" Solid Copper FD9A
38 Special + P "Critical Defense" 90311    
.40 S&W FTX "Critical Defense" 91340 Liberty (L)  
.40 S&W FlexLock "Critical Duty" 91376 40 S&W Solid Copper USM40
357 Magnum "Critical Defense" 90500 - 90562    
9 mm Luger FTX "Critical Defense" 90250 SIG SAUER (SS) Elite performance
Barnes (B)   V-Crown JHP E9MMA2
.40 S&W "Tac-XPD" Solid Copper
YouTube Demo

"Critical Defense" bullets are said to have been designed to expand quickly upon entering a human body, thus transferring most of its energy, and least likely to ricochet, or have an excessive "piercing" effect that might cause collateral damage. The key word is "defense".

Contrary to that concept, "Critical Duty" bullets - "high-antimony lead" barrier ammunition - are designed to penetrate through heavy clothing, sheet metal, glass, wallboard, plywood, etc., and continue on its pass to hit a human target. The key word is "duty".

More information about the Hornady's bullet concepts could be found on the company web-site.

EPR = Enhanced Penetration Round. EXTREME SHOCK rounds are designed to transfer 100% of their energy to the target through controlled fragmentation, which causes massive shock trauma, instantly shutting down the Central Nervous System. Its frangible and reduced ricochet properties provide for a greater level of safety in urban and home defense applications. Some tests show that due to fragmentation, only a small portion of the bullet reaches the desired depth. So, claims about effective penetration may be over exaggerated due to dissipation of the energy resulted from fragmentation, whether pellets or metal powder is jacketed in the bullets.

Relatively new trend in ammunition

There are a few reasons for the recent ammunition developments. One reason is that the environmentalists insist on prohibition of lead core bullets and are succeeding in various States. Another reason is to reduce the weight of the ammunition used by the military and for concealed carry. More and more manufacturers are moving towards the lead-free ammunition. So, the ammunition with bullets made of solid copper is seen in retail stores more often.

Obviously, the copper bullets are lighter than the lead ones and travel at higher velocities compared to the lead bullets. To compensate for the loss of bone crushing energy due to the loss of weight, higher velocities are necessary. For example, higher pressures (+P) are used in 9 mm and .45 Auto ammunition. The .40 S&W caliber appears to produce sufficient pressure.

The velocities of 2000 fps and the energy of about 500 ft lbs have been achieved according to public information with 50-60 grain all solid copper bullets. The question remains as to how the piercing effect can be reduced and most energy transferred with certain calculated penetration, i.e. 12" - 16" in standard gel test with 4 layers of denim in front.

It all narrows down to the bullet design. Most solid copper bullets either fragment and under-penetrate upon entry causing severe shock and residual bleeding or flower-bloom to avoid over-penetration in excess of 16".  In real life the outcome depends on the angle of entry, distance to the target, length of the gun barrel and other factors.

Evidently, bullets that are designed to penetrate thicker animal skin and then expand would be very different.

Liberty Ammunition has come with USM4 rounds in 9 mm +P (50 grain) and .40 S&W (60 grain) with the velocities of 2000 fps and the energies of 444 ft lbs and 532 ft lbs respectively. The bullet design is lead-free hollow point and supposed to fragment on entry and transfer most of the energy to a human body, causing an immediate and extreme shock. Appropriate for use by law enforcement and in self-defense situations.

According to Liberty Ammunition, more calibers for pistols and center-fire rifles will be made available to gun enthusiasts and hunters.

Barnes, known as a quality bullets manufacturer, is now coming up with their own line of ammunition with impressive ballistics.

Sig Sauer V-Crown 9mm Luger

SIG SAUER's recent addition to the ammunition market is an impressive Elite Performance Ammunition -- 9mm Luger V-Crown JHP.
Made in the U.S.A.


AIMING AND SHOOTING                                                                                         ...top

Currently, there is a big variety of handgun sight designs, other than classic or fixed. Knowing exactly how to aim your handgun is a must.

Knowing how accurate your handgun, and your shooting, is a plus. So, you may wish to target practice at different distances, say, 15, 10, 5 yards, and work on improvement of your target acquisition, accuracy and develop so much needed "muscle memory". In-bore laser sightings could be used for precise adjustment of gun sights where possible. But unlike the laser beam, the bullet trajectory is affected by gravity (depending on the bullet's weight, its shape and speed), not to mention the wind strength. In particular, for rather long distances, using laser dot for aiming would be counter-productive.

These are some examples of aiming with various sights:
Traditional Three-Dot sights, standard white dots, or Tritium night sights (muzzle and rear) Big Dot Tritium Express sight (muzzle and rear) Revolver with a night sight muzzle and adjustable rear sight

Depending on handgun design, red or green laser could be installed to help improve "point and shoot" aiming experience for shorter distances. Nevertheless, practicing without using any type of aiming aid would be beneficial to shooters.
One should try to avoid revealing his/her whereabouts in the dark when using lasers and/or high intensity tactical flashlights. Learning and practicing to surprise intruders with those extra tools would not be a bad idea. The application would be different from a S.W.A.T. team assault mission, say, the opposite of it. So, discussing the specific tactics of a defense mission with your gun instructor would be advisable.

Series 60 Pro Smith & Wesson Revolver - 357 Magnum (3" barrel)
@ Indoor Range (Tactical Firearms, Katy, TX 77450):

Distance to 8" target:

15 yards

.38 Special FMJ/115 gr. (Remington UMC and Estate)

Shooting methods:
Single and double action

Factory original
No aiming aid

Sig Sauer P938 - 9 mm (2.7" barrel)

@ Indoor Range (Tactical Firearms, Katy, TX 77450):

Distance to 8" target:

15 yards

9 mm FMJ/115 gr. (PMC Bronze )

Shooting methods:
Single action

Factory original
No aiming aid 

Aiming posture is believed to be a matter of personal preference, while the straight posture (on the left) is said to be mostly recommended by gun instructors during CHL classes.

In this case deviation of windage (along horizontal line, left or right) is reduced/controlled by a triangle (body - left arm - right arm), not so much the elevation (vertical line, up or down).  

The alternative posture may provide for
a better control of both windage and elevation.  In addition, it may reduce your own "target size" that is aimed at by an offender. 

The trigger is pulled with a tip of index finger to avoid deviation along the horizontal line. Using a "point and shoot" technique should avoid deviation along the vertical line, or both.  ...top



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