Random thought of the day

I was listening to some older episodes of Handgun Radio, and got to episode 121, where they were talking about the “Ring of Fire” guns and other “Saturday Night Specials.  It got me thinking.

I know there was a time when .32acp, .25acp, and other calibers that are now considered woefully under powered rounds for self-defense were popular.  Especially in pocket guns that were primarily bought for that purpose.

I’m curious if the trend to thinking that they were under-powered, and therefor mostly useless (except for the .22, which fell into the “cheap target shooting round” duty) relates to the passage of the GCA of ’68 and the introduction of the import point system largely aimed at killing those small pocket pistols.  I will readily admit that I have done zero research to back up this hypotheses, but I could easily see gun owners creating the mindset of “well, those stupid little mouse guns are useless, anyways,” when the majority of the supply in the US was cut off.  Could be similar to the fairly common statements of “machine guns are only useful for burning through a lot of ammo fast and not hitting anything” that is around today.

Not saying that I’ll be trading in my 9mm carry guns in for ones in .25acp anytime soon.  There’s no doubt that 9mm, .45acp, or whatever your common carry gun round of choice is (yes, even the .380) does more damage to the bad guy than the little .25acp.  Just one of those random thoughts.

5 comments to Random thought of the day

  • I don’t know if they would be written off because of the restrictions, or because of genuine lack of energy (even though some 32 gets pretty decent depth in gel).

    I can’t remember where exactly I had read it, but I did see a comment somewhere about the small pocket guns potentially being more feared before the advent of antibiotics, because of how likely a deep, narrow puncure was to develop a lethal infection.

  • Loess has the gist of it.

    Advances in medicine and trauma care, especially the aforementioned antibiotics, mean that the odds of living through being shot have gone up dramatically.

    So the trend went towards guns that would stop bad guys with immediate damage rather than putting the fear of a nasty death from infection into them.

    The push to ban cheap little guns in 1968 has more to do with the public perception of whom was packing them rather than their deadliness (or lack). .25 ACP was a “pimp’s gun”, for example.

  • oddball

    Interesting. I knew that there was a much larger issue of infection back in the days of black powder, since the bullet wouldn’t get hot enough to be sterile (especially going through clothes), but I hadn’t thought about the fact that antibiotics weren’t really available until the mid-century.

    That said, I’m not sure I buy that explanation. Folks were carrying these guns for defense, which means that they needed to stop the bad guy *now*, not “oh, he died a week later of infection.”

    Now, public perception, I will completely buy. After all, switchblades were banned largely due to trumped up tales of gang use.

    • HSR47

      The point was that it didn’t need to be an extremely potent caliber, because it was such a powerful psychological weapon.

      When everyone knows that a GSW is an almost guaranteed ticket to amputation or death any gun will serve as a power psychological tool.

      Nowadays, the survival rate after being shot with a “pistol” caliber is very high regardless of caliber. Criminals know this instinctively; its ingrained in their culture, and worn as a badge of honor. Given this, calibers that do more damage and make bigger holes are now highly indicated.

    • The bullet might be sterile from firing, but the clothing and crude it drags into the wound won’t be.

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