I am now officially a short timer on this deployment and would like some advice for when I get home and move to our next duty station. I've read some other websites and I think I would get straighter answers here.
Thank you for your candor and sharing with us your situation.
I have been a CWP holder for about 11 years and have run the gamut on on "what to carry" and practice. However, I have never attended Gunsite, but have have read "all good stuff" about some of the shooting programs run by national recognized first class instructors.
I wish I had the money and time to devote to the subject, but there are better those qualified here to share in their experiences.
Your Military Training will bode well for your choices for home defense! I witnessed last week for the first time what my young Marine son could do with an M-4 and we keep two in the house. I also own several shotguns of "combat" configuration.
As to what to carry for a CWP weapon, I have always followed some of the excellent advice that runs along the lines of the largest caliber/capacity that you can conceal well for everyday dress and situations. Some folks will offer that the SIG 220 can be concealed and carried everyday and some will say that your FEG will satisfy your needs.
Personally, in most of my environs of late, it would be a S&W M-642-2 in the pocket.
However, the caveat to that is that it took me about a year of constant practice with 158 grain LSWC handloads to break the little revolver in and become competent enough to hit a target with regular firing at 15-25 yards consistantly. However, practice makes the task easier.
This is by and in large my experience only and hopefully others will share theirs.
Given that I can imagine that you have to commute to your on base assignment, work in an Office and then commute home, there may not be a "single" solution for you, but a mix of all of the above weapons you have access to, i.e. a personal carry weapon, car gun, and finally "house gun".
This is all food for thought and hopefully we'll hear from our other members.
Doc: I spent 4 years in the state military college, two years in the USMCR, I was Army (all but the last 8 in combat arms) for over 28 years as a regular and a reservist and I was a LEO for a little over a year or so. The best handgun training I have ever had was at Thunder Ranch TX. If I could have I would have gone to Gunsite but it doubled the deal and the Colonel was not available. Clint and Jack fixed me up.
I advocate nothing less than 38 SPL/9mm in +P for CCW purposes. I also think a few IDPA matches will show you your true skill level at a reasonable price.
Many states won't allow .22s for CHL/CCW carry - at least as a primary.
Every man and his dog will tell you what calibre is the right one or the bottom end of the acceptability curve. I won't. I will say pick and pack what you feel most comfortable carrying, shooting, and believe will do the job. I've even carried a .32 Walther PP for a close protection assignment, but that was part of the job at the time.
Training, there are many, many well qualified schools and instructors out there. Choose one that has a national reputation, i.e. one you've read about in the gun magazines. I say that because they will generally stand behind their training and their trainees. They - at least Massad Ayoob, will provide you with a list of well-qualified, experienced lawyers who will do self-defence shooting representations.
As always, be alert, think first, stay 'cool', avoid if possible and act when only when the need is real. Remember, a 'tactical retreat' beats a 'no-win' situation every time. That's real world.
When home I do participate in a tactical shooting club . It's not exactly IDPC and empahsizes transition to and from a carbine (Mostly ARs) and pistol in a dynamic enviroment. You are scored for time and accuracy. We'll do stuff like have the shooter sit at a table and hold a cup of coffee. When the timer starts the shooter has to drop the cup and engage the target that just popped up in front of him before it drops again. Once that target has been cleared, he will have to move to a different area like a fake door way and engage a turning target or a "hostage" target, when those target s clear he has to run to another station pick up his AR, get it into battery, and engage a specific sequence of targets. It's a lot of fun and no one takes themselves too seriously. That and my military small unit training has helped a lot with my ideas for a home defense plan which has included buying a 2 story house, arrangements of bedrooms, fire and emergency escape plan, safe room., a Winchester 1200 pump, the AR15, and a tuned up AK. I think that I am better prepared and more comfortable with defending a fixed point than I am carrying outside the house. I also bought a house, on purpose, in a nice neighborhood where 3 LEO's and an Asst. Fire Chief bring home their cars.
Point taken with the .22s. I'll relegate them to be "back ups to the back up" and look at the PA-63 as the "always" gun and back up to the Sig or BHP. I've already replaced the springs it with a set of Wolff springs and it has made a tremendous difference. I j need to settle on an apporpriate choice of ammo and I need to change the grips. The OEM one's with the thumb rest are nice, but don't help in concealing it. I'm not a small guy, so I can effectively conceal large framed guns dressed properly. In certain situations, though, they will have to be relegated to being "car" or "briefcase" guns. Amen on the tactical retreat. I'm also not one to hang out in the seedy parts of town but I have seen low riders cruise through nice neighborhoods, the local thugs that hang out at Wal-Mart and the 7-11s, especially after dark, the car jackings, the home invasions, etc.
I have a colleague who went to Front Sight and loved it and another who went to Blackwater's defensive pistol course and loved it. Blackwater is right down the road for me. I may need to look at what they have to offer. I'm also interested in LFI, especially with having Ayoob and Company availible to their graduates.
Anyway, my mind is open (my wife would say empty) to all.
As for what to carry, my own experience is that a good holster - can make even your 220 easy and comfortable to carry. while a bad holster can make even your .22 a pain.
Of you current inventory, which is certainly nice, I would choose the 220. Although the CD 9mm (I am assuming this is a hi-power clone) would also be nice provided that you are comfortable carrying cocked and locked. The reason I like the 220 for you is the caliber and the fact that the manual of arms is similar to the M9.
I can only hit this board a couple times a week lately, so your post slipped by, and I just now caught up with it.
As far as training goes...
I had the Air Force's handgun course several times in my career (retired now), and always thought it was a yawner. Taught very little about practical handgun handling, administrative and tactical. Luckily I never had to use this "knowledge" while on duty.
What I did find tremendously useful, as a concealed handgun license holder/carrier, were some books and courses by John Farnam. From all available research I have done, he is of the same caliber of instruction as Clint at Thunder Ranch, the late Colonel at Gunsite, or any other top tier school. However, John and his wife Vickie are itinerant teachers -- rather than having a fixed base, they travel the country teaching at various ranges. They have also several courses to Marines, on Marine bases, prior to the Marines deploying to Iraq. Last time I met with them they were getting some interest from the Army as well. John himself is a Marine (Vietnam era) and a deputy sheriff as well.
His self-defense courses provide what I think of as "full spectrum" self-defense skills and knowledge.
- Excellent foundation of administrative skills, e.g. loading, unloading, general handling, how to draw/reholster safely, chamber checks.
- How to stay out of lethal confrontations in the first place; failing that, legal basis for using force and deadly force, how to ensure people (and cops) realize YOU are the good guy in an encounter
- Lots of practice of practical tactical shooting skills (including malfunction drills, reloading). Night/low light shooting. Handling different handguns.
- How to deal with the cops AFTER a self-defense shooting.
You can check out his website at http://www.defense-training.com/ and find his schedule of classes. You and your wife should both go. You can order his books from the website, but they do not substitute for getting trained by him and Vickie in person. And as far as I can tell, his course prices are very competitive. If your future station happens to be in or nearTexas, or if you are interested in coming to his course in Texas, PM me and I can fill you in on the courses he does twice a year at Victoria, TX. (A couple are coming up the first of March). We always seem to have lots of docs and other healthcare people in those courses, so you'd be warmly received!
I wrote up my experiences at his basic and advanced handgun courses on this forum; here are links to those posts.
Oh, and I see you have a BHP. Wise man, you have lots of company on this board!
I have both the 9mm and .40 versions, I prefer the 9mm one - -just feels ever so slightly "better' in my hand, but I think both are excellent. I carry mine ALL the time in a C-TAC holster by Comp-Tac. I wrote a review of it here
Thank you for your recommendations and insight. I believe Mr. Farnam has a course coming up at Quantico through their Rod and Gun Club. I'll have to look into it when we are home.
Until then I will research and read whatever I can.
P.S. Re: Docs, nurses and other healthcare providers. We see the same dregs of society and the death and destruction they bring with them. I choose to be one of the ones that say, "Uh-uh, not on my watch!" There are more of us than many people think.