What is a firearm? The political debate of these times calls for a clear definition. A firearm is a tool, useful for protecting citizens’ persons from sudden insurgency when law enforcement is indisposed. That is how a law abiding citizen will define the usage of the term. To define “firearm” as an object, a firearm is a machine that anyone can use and some clever insurgents can modify and obtain with or without legal control.
This isn’t a political discussion. Most of our readers will understand the necessity of well-functioning weaponry. These rising times call for weapons that perform for our complicated guerilla scenarios. We are now the citizen soldiers, the sidewalk militia if you will, of sporadic terrorism. This is somewhat like a cold war, in that, we are aware of growing dormant threats but unaware when and where they will emerge.
What we require is diversified education about the tool we are selecting for our urban defense tactics. If we understand the science that shaped the modern available toolkit and the reasons that some of these older models became obsolete, we will make better choices for our current needs. We will understand customizations better. Frankly, we won’t be hoodwinked by arms providers if they try to sell us something we know didn’t work well in the past.
Based on our current laws and scenarios, we know that concealed carry weapons and pistols are the tool of choice. Most of our needs will be fight-for-flight in nature. We’re just posing a defensive offense against insurgents (whoever they might be) until we have ourselves and our immediate civilian company out of harm’s way.
Let’s look at the last period of history when warfare totally evolved. During the period of both World Wars, we saw the rise of ballistic warfare, trench warfare, and the new standard of sub-automatic weaponry. These situations made up the holistic design innovations that manufactured and ultimately fought those National Geographic-renowned battles. Those machines are the great-grandfathers of the ones you now own. Some of these models are still in the circuit, slightly upgraded with modern materials.
Think about the situation of World War 2 individuals. The entire globe was being threatened by terrorist insurgency, from the political structure down. The same governmental system that we often mistakenly give the total responsibility of our welfare to was collapsing. The world was falling apart! It was damage control on the part of every able-bodied, able-minded person. They knew that they would have to have weapons comparable to their enemy in order to match them with machine performance in the field.
What did the Nazi regime have by way of side-arms? The Luger PO8. Invented by George Luger to serve the Kaiser’s regime before Hitler took power, this pistol functioned with 9mm standard caliber. It was modeled on 9x19mm Parabellum cartridge innovations of George Luger, a design which owed its name to a Latin phrase meaning “prepare for war”.
This cartridge innovation allowed for a compact pistol to have a large magazine capacity. The concept has worked so well that today in the United States, the standard military sidearm Beretta M-9 uses the same magazine concept. As you see, innovation begets innovation. In the upsides and in learning from the downsides. Firearms are a science, the tool of protection.
In what ways was the Luger better than its predecessors? It was based on the original efforts of Hugo Borchardt, who developed the obscure C-9. This pistol packed a punch and was good by reason of accuracy. But the weight, the awkwardness of its body and the expense of manufacturing it was enough to render it obsolete. Luger took what bits of the C-9 were useful, its complicated toggle-lock system and condensed it to a simpler function. This made for a more comfortable, compact weapon, smaller and thus easier to carry.
The above are all things we look for in the ideal sidearm. You want power, yes. But you want it where you can handle it based on your physical capacity and survival time estimate. Lighter weapons are easier in a fatigued hand’s use. A stressed hand. Sub-automatic weapons are necessary because the space between cartridge reloads is longer. You get in more shots before you have to stop. Saving time is what counts in survival.
But in what ways did the Luger fail? The pistol had a problem where, when the breech was open, the jointed arms were sitting at a pointed angle. These angles set the pistol up for fouling problems. We need mechanisms that are dependable. If we’re in the middle of an evacuation, and we misfire, we just give the hostiles time to gain ground.
What did the Americans use as a sidearm? How did it compare to the Luger PO8? It was called the M1911 and was the World War 2 reissue/modification of the original 1911. It was designed by John Browning to operate on a short-recoil design and carried a seven round detachable box magazine of .45 ACP ammunition. The 1911 was an immediate descendant inspired by the Colt six-guns of classic cowboy era fame, notable for their carry function and the number of rounds one had available in the chamber when it counted.
The reason that the 1911 has survived to modern use and remake and the Luger has not is one of simplicity and reliability. Where the complicated Luger trigger system jammed and misfired, the military test fire of 1911 proved it could operate well even with deformed rounds of ammunition. It’s lighter more compact body and easier loading function, when compared to the Luger and its direct descendant the Mauser with its complicated chambering, makes it a first, practical choice of many gun owners today.
What can we take away from these examples? What makes this information relevant to us? We could continue talking about these innovation successes and failures for days or fill many books. What we learn from studying these examples is a logic in our approach to carrying weapons.
In choosing a firearm and in educating ourselves about the science of gun ownership, we can see that gun designs can and will be exploited by insurgents as in the example of the Nazis. Our choices should be based on something comparable to what we can suspect the criminal logic to choose for their attacks.
We see that a lighter weight, magazine capacity and dependability in trigger/chamber function all have to be taken into consideration. We have to check the facts, recheck the facts and compare. Brand might not be grounds enough to buy. We might not like a brand but our research might find a certain model from that brand to function better, in terms of the same parent designs, than a brand that we are accustomed to.
Education is key to preparedness. Preparedness is the weapon with which we fight insurgency. Our firearms are just tools of our defense campaign. Our defenses are built with our minds and mindfulness.