Logistics of the Irregular Force Warfighter: Sidearms

On Sidearms.
The reality is, as has been determined over and over ad nauseum by the militaries of the world, the pistol is largely irrelevant in military/paramilitary combat. That having been said, as the man pointed out, that doesn’t mean it isn’t important to the individual soldier who suddenly needs a sidearm and happens to have one on his hip. I carried a pistol in the field from the first moment I was afforded the opportunity, and never regretted the extra weight.
9mm, .45ACP, .40S&W; the caliber is ultimately irrelevant when the issue is purely anti-personnel lethality. Pistols are largely irrelevant as man-stoppers anyway, all claims as to the “knock-down power” of the .45ACP notwithstanding. The only caliber selection issue that may arise in the future is battlefield recovery, which means choosing a caliber common in your area, or within the U.S. military. The argument can be made however, if you are picking up ammunition off dead bad guys, you can just pick up their weapon too.
For the guerrilla fighter, the possession of a pistol is even more important. Besides the obvious ability to continue the fight despite malfunctions of the primary arm, in the absence of supporting fires, there exists the very real need for the guerrilla to be able to go armed clandestinely, when the rifle would create too much of a visual signal, and result in compromise to security forces.
While I personally choose to carry a Glock (Model 19, since I know you’re dying to ask), due to the time-proven reliability of the weapon, I don’t think it’s some sort of magical Austrian talisman. I’ve carried the M9, the 1911A1, Sig-SAUERs, and even a Makarov on more than one occasion. Whether you stick to the ridiculous old notion of “never carry a pistol that doesn’t start with at least the number four,” choose a 9mm Parabellum, or some off-the-wall cartridge like 7.62×25 or .454 Casull, the subject of caliber and model are largely irrelevant. At handgun distances, they’ll all make a hole. The only issue of importance is developing the ability, through training, of using the weapon effectively and efficiently, under combat conditions.
If you’re still hung up over the issues of caliber and model selection of your primary arms, you’re spending too much time on inconsequential non-issues. Quit worrying about which weapon to use and master as many as you can, in the context of the likely combat paradigm you will be required to use them.


  1. Michael says:

    Once you’ve carried/shot a rifle long enough, a pistol seems barely adequate. I do admit to being comforted though by my carry pistol! I agree about caliber…just carry one!

  2. Sheepdog says:

    And, if at all possible, carry a full sized pistol. Due to the inherent limitation of pistol arms, there is little use in aggravating the limits by carrying a pocket pistol. I learned this the hard way when I entered and searched my home after an attempted burglary. That snub nose was NOT enough.

    Additionally, full capacity mags improve combat capability over smaller capacity mags. Better yet still, carry four or five or six extra mags.

    Practise pushing the guns capability… 50 yards plus silhouette hits. Combat shooting, failure drills, running to cover, etc.

    An excellent compromise is you want a pocket gun is to carry a Glock 26, 9mm. Then carry fully capacity mag reloads (17 rounders). Best of both worlds. I don’t recommend this with the Glock 27, due to the flat nose of the .40 tilting down and jamming into the feed ramp.

    Other than buying good quality, my two caveats would be-
    Avoid excessively large chamberings (too much recoil)
    Avoid odd European military configurations and other manipulation challenged ergonimics (mag releases on the bottom, backwards safeties, etc…)

    TRAIN like your life hangs in the balance…. It DOES.

  3. Oathkeeper Scott says:

    Here here! All the debating about caliber, design, make is akin to worrying. There’s always another ‘what-if?’ and possibility for which the tool du jour is less-than-ideally suited. Each tool has its place.

    How many of the super-opinionated are in shape? I’ll wager that many are soft, pudgy types who couldn’t run around the block once or push out 10 push-ups. But they know what’s *best* gear-wise. Awesome.

    The best thing any of us can do is harden up our bodies. Get in the habit of doing daily pushups, situps, and squats. Take the stairs whenever possible. Walk. Run. Sprint. Practice moving tactically.

    A dude with a .22 revolver, in great physical condition, will be way more lethal and capable than some soft, over-sized guy who can’t move without huffing and puffing, brandishing the most elite, cutting edge super-weapon.

  4. Tino says:

    I know nothing more enjoyable than after a long day at the range with AR15s, AKs (not a “battle rifle” I know), handguns, etc, than shoot head shots from 25 yards with my LCP.

    Also, I never forget listening a professional of a foreign country telling how his team exterminated ‘freedom fighters’ in Europe with reduced-load .22 Berettas.

    But, then again, my “guerilla” warfare training wasn’t that of a US Ranger.


    P.S. Since you’re eager to know, I carry a G19 and a .357 or the LCP as a bug.

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