For the past 5 years, my daily carry was my full size model 1911 in .45 acp. Carried cocked and locked with 8 rounds in the gun and two more 8 round mags on my belt, I felt confident that I could stop any threat presented to me. I'd fired over 5,000 rounds through my 1911 and knew without a doubt that it was a great gun. So why the switch?
A little history:
In 2004 I suffered a severe injury to my lower right back and hip, and had to go through six months of physical therapy. I still suffer from back pain and sadly gained a large amount of weight after this injury. Carrying a full-size 1911 is a lot of weight on my hip and causes lower back pain after only an hour of carrying. I've tried suspenders and other methods of carry but none seem to help.
Last year, I was looking for additional firearms courses that I could take in order to maintain my edge as an instructor. I stumbled across I.C.E Training and Mr. Rob Pincus. I began following Rob on my facebook profile and was entranced by his level of understanding the defensive firearms training. Rob takes a no-nonsense approach to these matters, but what he teaches is different from all other schools of training out there. Unlike some industry professionals out there, Rob doesn't preach that his way is the only way "just because". Rob backs up his way of teaching with massive amounts of scientific and applicable data. He has also gathered together some of the top minds in the training industry and proven that we are constantly evolving.
The following article began my thought process on switch to 9mm after my body had decided I need to switch to a lighter gun. Being Wrong is Important... and, Admitting It is too!
Wanting to believe the above article I decided to find out more information so I turned to another industry professional who had recently finished an article on stopping power. Greg Ellifritz, is an intructor with the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy, as well as the Tactical Defense Institute. He wrote the following article: An Alternate Look at Handgun Stopping Power
Both of these articles caused me to admit some of my error and to write this article, so what I've learned is below:
1. The 1911 is a great pistol, but is not the end all solution and is definitely not the best for concealed carry or even self defense in the home.
2. Just because the caliber starts with a "4" does mean that it is the ultimate show stopper in a fight.
3. The gun that you carry is better than the one that you don't. What I mean by this is that I found myself not carrying my 1911 due to pain, and found myself spending more time unarmed.
4. Placement wins, and the only way to improve placement is practice. 1,000 rounds of 9mm runs around $200 currently, while 1,000 rounds of .45acp runs closer to $350. That is almost double the amount of practice with a 9mm for the price of the .45 acp.
5. I was training wrong. I had been trained that we fight the way we train. I was trained that there were certain ways of doing things and that nothing else worked. I was wrong and have had to adapt my training courses to some new methodology. My goal for this year is to participate in one of Rob's Combat Focus Shooting classes so that I might better apply the principles he teaches and carry that over to my own students.
6. I learn more from teaching than I probably teach my students.
So with that being said, I'm looking at switching to a 9mm compact platform. I have my own requirements as to what I like, and as such you will never hear me say that Brand X is better than Brand Z. The only way to find out what works for you is by going out and putting it to the test.
Thanks for listening,
Sheep Dog Tactical