Good post, Selco..
I would add that generally, if you know you’re going to be in a shooting scrape, bigger and more is better than smaller and less. Having carried the M16/M4 and the M14 both, the heavier 30 caliber is more effective against human targets. This isn’t to say that the lighter 5.56mm, even the “bad old” M193, 55g round isn’t effective. People who dismiss the 5.56mm as ineffective haven’t shot anyone with it or seen anyone shot with it. It’s just simple physics – a big, heavy, fast bullet will destroy more tissue than a small, light, fast bullet. Can you carry more small rounds than big rounds? Yep. Big rounds are heavier and bulkier than smaller ones, so you can only carry so many…
Selco is right about the individual being hit, too. When I was active duty, my platoon sergeants, etc, were all Nam vets. They told me stories of how the VC would be so hopped up on a cocktail of drugs (amphetamines and opiates) being struck squarely in the heart, but their blood pressure was so high their blood kept circulating for up to 15 minutes, enabling them to fight on. You shoot until the threat is down and stays down. Period.
My personal carry weapons vary with the season, but I get the most use out of a heavy Colt revolver in 45 Colt, and a plain Jane, G.I. issue M1911A1 in 45 ACP. I don’t run hardball (FMJ) ammo. Why should I? I usually use some hollowpoint type, like Winchester T ammo (which is the infamous “Black Talon” ammo, only without the black and under a new name). Expensive, but very much worth it.
It isn’t the weapon which kills, or the bullet. It is the hard heart that kills. You have to have the will to do what the other guy won’t. Use the best, most effective weapons you can obtain and become proficient. When the time comes, bullet placement is critical – head, heart, liver, spine. Prison inmates use medical books to study where the critical areas of the body are, in case they have to stab someone. I suggest you all study that as well, since a critical area is the same, whether you have a blade or a firearm…
Edit: One thing I can speak with a bit of authority on is the effectiveness of the shotgun. I carried one in the jungles of Central America for a couple years and have used it for building clearing. At close range, it’s not only a game-changer, it is a game ender. Especially with No. 1 buckshot.
Look, it breaks down like this.
A 12 gauge shell, 2 3/4″ in 00 buckshot has only 9 pellets of .33 caliber.
A 12 gauge shell, 3″ in 00 buckshot has only 15 pellets of .33 caliber.
A 12 gauge shell, 2 3/4″ in No. 1 Buckshot has 16 pellets of .30 caliber.
A 12 gauge shell, 3″ in No. 1 Buckshot has 24 pellets of .30 caliber.
Which means that a bad guy, being hit with a load of No.1 Buckshot from a 3″ shell, is being hit with the equivalent of 24, .30 caliber rifle bullets simultaneously. You’re only trading .03″ diameter for a 63% increase in pellets. The total weight of the payload does not change. But the number of pellets increases dramatically for only a tiny tradeoff in individual pellet diameter. One thing I can tell you all from personal experience is that at close range, the shotgun is devastating, and I have never seen anyone get up after being hit with a charge of No.1 buckshot.
This might be a bit gruesome for some of you, but hunters will know what I am talking about – when a body is hit with a charge of buckshot at extreme close range, the wound pattern is commonly referred to as a “rat hole”. It literally looks as if a rat has gnawed it’s way clean through the body. The wound channel is just enormous. At farther distances, the pellets have a chance to spread out some and there are individual 30-something caliber holes spread fairly evenly. Each pellet has its own wound channel, does its own amount of trauma, delivers its own shock. The body that keeps on going after one hit with a rifle rarely gets up after being hit with over a dozen 30-something caliber pellets. Internal organs are just shredded, destroyed.
The downside is that the shotgun has a limited range. You can stretch it some with the use of rifled slugs (100 yards or so), but that’s about it. Bottom line is that guns are a toolbox and what works best for one situation might actually compromise you in a different situation…
The wicked flee when none pursueth..." - Proverbs 28:1