Backup a .45 with a 9mm

As we transition into the Third Wave, we will meet new and evolved challenges.
Surveillance capabilities are likely to expand by at least an order of magnitude. Not only will there be many new ways to gather data, but technology such as artificial intelligences (AI) will greatly increase the capability to process such data into meaningful information.
More so than in the past, information will be both a currency and a weapon.
In such a light, I have been thinking a little on the requirements of covert operations. I have also been watching some post-apocalyptic fiction, so have also been considering the field of logistics, particularly in a SHTF or TEOTWAWKI scenario.
Your best option is to always avoid combat. If you must defend yourself, a long-arm such as a shotgun or rifle is the preferred choice.
There will be, however, many situations when a long-arm will not be available. For example, enemy surveillance capabilities may mark as a target anyone carrying an object that might be a long-arm or other weapon. This brings us to handguns.

Primary Handgun

I have written quite a bit about this topic on this blog and in my book “Survival Weapons”, so will not repeat myself here. Suffice to say, when combat is serious and at close-range you want a handgun that is as effective as is practical. That means an automatic pistol in .45 ACP.
Of the relatively few autos in .45 that are available, top of the pile has to be the Glock 30. The Glock 30 is hard hitting, high-capacity, compact, light, reliable, and simple to operate. Standard magazine is ten rounds, but the weapon can also take the 13-round magazines of larger Glock .45s. That is nearly twice the capacity of the larger M1911A1!
The only downside may be a logistical one. Since the US military retired the M1911A1 Colt in favour of the Beretta M9, .45 ammunition has become less readily available. Outside North and South America, .45 ammo may be difficult to acquire.

Backup Handgun

Thinking on this matter, I will propose a strategy that may be of use to some readers, particularly in a long-term scenario.
If your handgun is likely to serve as your primary weapon, it is prudent to have a backup or two.

The Pocket Gun

Elsewhere, I have discussed how a lightweight, “hammerless”, short-barrelled revolver can be carried in an outside pocket and may be more accessible than a larger holstered weapon covered by a coat or jacket. There is no hammer or slide to catch in the pocket lining should you have to fire from within the pocket.
Unfortunately, such useful weapons only hold five or six rounds. In the heat of combat, reloading revolvers has often proven more involved than a simple magazine swap.

The 9mm Backup Option

The idea that I am proposing is to back-up your .45 with a 9x19mm automatic. To keep the weight down, my weapon of choice would be a Glock 19. Many of these are available second hand, so may be found for a good price. If your sense of symmetry is offended by using a compact 9mm as a backup for a subcompact .45, the Glock 26 is an alternative.
Glock 19 Pistol
All Glocks can take the magazines of larger models in the same calibre. The Glock 26 uses a ten-round magazine and can take the 15-round magazine of the Glock 19. Both the Glock 19 and Glock 26 can take larger capacity 9mm magazines. These are available in a wide range of capacities, from 17 to 33 rounds.
9x19mm ammunition (aka 9mm Luger/Parabellum) is more likely to be encountered than .45. It is probably safe to say you will find 9x19mm anywhere you can find ammunition. 9x19mm may be harder to find in China or some former-Soviet states, but even in these regions there are 9x19mm weapons.
Rhona Mitra holding a Glock 19
It makes sense to have a weapon that can use 9mm ammo, and save your .45 for situations that really need it.
There are a lot of Glock 17s and 19s out there in the world, so there is a chance your “battlefield-pickups” may already be in a compatible magazine.
Conserve your .45 supply by using the 9mm to shoot-off locks, signal, scare-off aggressive animals, coup-de-grâce wounded animals and similar. Mel Tappan considered the 9x19mm round as good for hunting game in the 100-125 lb range (in the absence of a long-arm). Thus, your 9mm backup can be used to forage for small to medium game. Anything wolf-size or smaller.
The higher velocity 9mm has a flatter trajectory than a .45, although the actual difference at practical ranges in only a few inches. The flatter trajectory may be useful for certain applications. The 9mm could be used for suppressive fire, saving your .45 for conducting or repelling an assault.
Against flesh, a non-hollowpoint 9mm penetrates about the same distance as a non-hollowpoint .45. The .45 makes a wider wound channel, hence superior physiological effect.
Against other materials, the lighter, faster, smaller 9mm may penetrate better than the .45. The .45 Thompson was regarded as the preferred solution to road-block runners in the 1920s and 30s, so I would be reluctant to assume that the penetration of fast 9mm always exceeds the inertia of the heavier .45.
A comparison of 9mm and .45 ammunition on a variety of building materials and vehicle parts might be a useful article or video!
If you are carrying two automatic pistols of different calibre, or even differencing model, the question of how many magazines to carry for the spare gun arises. Perhaps a standard-capacity magazine in the well: a 15-round for the G-19, or a ten-round for the G-26. With this, carry at least one higher capacity (17+) magazine.

Golden Ratio and Guns?

I was beginning to watch a movie the other night, when the image of a snub-nosed revolver appeared on screen.
I was reminded of a recent comment from a friend of mine, about some things just looking “right”. In fact I think he said the F-35 looks like a donkey, so who can be surprised it has some many problems?
Why does the snub-nose look so right to me? I grabbed some Golden Ratio callipers that I had and an ancient copy of Gun Digest, and I examined a few photos of stubbies.
Golden Ratio Callipers
If you divided the length by the Golden Ratio, the transition is just behind the trigger. This worked for Colts, Smith and Wesson and Charter Arms Pugs. A photo of a Colt King Cobra also looked nicely proportioned, but clearly had a longer barrel. The callipers revealed the proportions were the same and the barrel was balanced out by the bulkier grip.
Detective Special
I knew from some previous experiments that certain proportions of the Kalashnikov were in the Golden Ratio.
AKM Golden Ratio
Using the Golden Sections guides option of GIMP, I looked at some other iconic guns:
The long Colt M1911A1 auto also shows the Golden Ratio from the back of the trigger guard.Colt M1911A1
So too does a .44 Mountain Magnum with a three inch barrel.
Mountain Backpacker 44 Magnum
The Smith and Wesson Governor is closer to Golden Ratio proportions than I expected.
S&W Governor
A lever-action Winchester shows the ratio from the pivot point of the action.
Winchester Lever
Peacemake-type Revolver
A Colt Peacemaker with a 458 inch barrel shows Golden Ratio proportions more than once. See the ratio of barrel to the rest of the weapon, and the ratio from the trigger or rear of the cylinder forward.
Glock 36
Much to my surprise, a Glock 36 also shows the Golden Ratio.
I couldn't leave this one out!
Also of interest is how often vertical proportions seem to agree with the Golden Ratio.