Preface - My intention in writing this is not to start a caliber war. Honestly, it was more just for me to work out my own thoughts in my head and get them in order. I wrote this a few weeks ago and have been trying to decide whether to post it or not and finally decided to go ahead and do it. I mainly decided to post it because I know (from my own experience) that caliber choice is something that people that are a new to the world of CCW can sometimes struggle with and I thought that this could possibly help them.
I admit…When the specs for this gun first came out I thought it sounded horrible. First off, the weight was listed at 29 ounces. That seemed ridiculously heavy to me for a 5+1 pistol (regardless of caliber). Well, it turns out that the weight was misreported and it was actually 21 ounces. After reading this the idea of the pistol began to grow on me. There is however still my second issue which is basically this – You’re taking a big caliber (that is generally harder to control than a small caliber) and you’re putting it in a small frame gun (which is generally harder to control than a large frame one) and you’re decreasing the amount of rounds so essentially in my mind what you end up with is a big bore gun that easy to carry but has crappy capacity and is hard to connect with. Not things that go well together together for me when talking about a firearm… Interestingly enough I am still seriously considering buying one to evaluate when they come out as a possible new carry. Here’s why.
I remember a while ago an article (or maybe it was just something he said) by Gabe Suarez saying (And I’m seriously paraphrasing here) “I prefer 9mm because I prefer capacity because it keeps you in the fight longer”. Now, Mr. Suarez knows about a million times more than me when it comes to guns, tactics, and probably a lot of other things. That concept even makes sense to me in the context that Suarez is teaching it. This leads me back to the argument that the majority of people that carry a wheel gun (which is a group I was a member of for a while) tend to use when it comes to talking about capacity. That is that the majority of civilian self-defense shooting happen inside of 5 yards and are generally concluded with less than 5 shots. I admit, part of the reason I stopped carrying my wheel gun was a concern over capacity however the XDS partially corrects simply by the nature of semi auto’s generally being faster to reload than a wheel gun or at the very least requiring less manual dexterity. I think this brings up an interesting point and something that I have been giving a lot of thought to lately. It seems like I generally try to plan for the worst as opposed to the most likely.
Those of you that know me know that I am not a caliber guy. I generally consider myself above that particular fray. I think that 9mm is an effective round if placed well. I think that .40 is an effective round if placed well. I think that .45 is an effective round if placed well. I also think that all pistol rounds are generally under powered and I think that NO round is effective if you don’t hit what you are aiming at. That being said I remember watching an episode of a T.V show that I really used to like called The Unit. After a mission there is a conversation between one of the resident bad asses and another character who is strapping on their side arm.
“You pack a forty five instead of a 9?”
“Yeah, when I can…”
“Which would YOU rather be shot with?”
(I’m not trying to relate a fictional T.V show to a real life situation so don’t even start with me. I just found the dialog thought provoking)
I can say with 100 percent certainty that given a choice I would not want to be shot with ANY round. I’ve never been shot but I think it’s fair to assume that it sucks. However, given the choice I would be lying if I said that if I found myself in a situation where for whatever reason I could not avoid being shot that I wouldn’t want to be shot with the smallest caliber possible. So, what this really comes down to for me as a personal choice is capacity. Like I said earlier, planning for the worst case scenario or planning for the most likely one.
What I mean is this… It is thankfully highly unlikely that any of us will ever have to use our weapon in self-defense. In the off chance that we do, the most likely situation will be close range and will not require more than a couple of rounds. In that regard I think that in terms of my feeling confident in the round that I’m carrying getting the job done that the .45 wins out. However, we all know that situations that develop in real time are unpredictable. What if the first 2-3 rounds don’t bring the bad guy down? What if he doesn’t turn tail and run when the bullets start flying? What if he’s not a moron, makes it to cover and starts returning fire? What if there’s more than one target? What if they are both armed? Unlikely? Who’s to say. In a fight that lasts more than 5 seconds I feel that capacity wins out.
All that being said this is the decision that I have come to. The bottom line for me is that I have no business carrying a gun that I can’t shoot well. Bullets that don’t hit bad guys don’t stop bad guys. When the XDS is released I think I’ll buy one. I’ll buy a lot of .45 and I’m going to shoot the snot out of it. I will hold it to the same standard as I do for any carry gun. I must be able to connect at 25 yards. I must be able to fire it quickly and accurately. I must feel confident with the gun. If it doesn’t meet those criteria (assuming it is mechanically sound) I will simply sell it and other than losing a few dollars I’ll be no worse for wear. However, If it does meet those criteria I could seriously see myself making the switch from my G26 to the XDS and making the switch from 9mm to .45 for my carry gun. That’s assuming Springfield ever release the bloody thing…