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Any psychological effect for gun size mattering in a defensive situation?

Discussion in 'GATE Self-Defense Forum' started by G19Paul, Feb 24, 2011.

  1. G19Paul


    Likes Received:
    Mar 10, 2009
    Any psychological effect for gun size mattering in a defensive situation?

    Out of the gate here I have to admit to being a total civilian. My seven year Navy experience never put the bad guy directly in front of me. I have frequented mini-marts and malls that have been victim to various crime events so now I always think about my situational awareness and mentally practice retreat and/or tactical involvement.

    Through the years ( a bunch of years, by the way) I have transitioned numerous handguns in and out of legal CCW and I will also admit to brief periods in my life of not carrying at all.

    When I cloud my mental preparedness with all the fictional ploys of Hollywood and website tales, my question to you is whether or not there is any effect to diffusing a confrontation if you are the one holding the bigger gun?

    With caliber and bullet-type being the same, are there any substantial data points to consider where intimidation by holding a full-sized 1911 could outweigh holding a mouse-gun, for example, in the eyes of a bad guy?

    I am not trying to start any pro/con debate about “size matters”, but rather obtain true feedback regarding psychological effects with intimidation. Maybe another way to inquire: Do all bad guys start shooting at police when they roll up with badges, blue lights, and shooting proficiency, or do real-life bad guys know enough to give up?

    (Do I really need to tattoo my brain with an image that I'm probably involved with a defensive shooting situation and not waste precious seconds with debating all the verbal shout-outs – halt, freeze, stop, etc.).

    Thanks so very much.
  2. Mas Ayoob

    Mas Ayoob KoolAidAntidote Moderator

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    Nov 6, 2005
    Paul, there's no way to tell quantitatively, but some folks do believe that the larger or shinier gun gets more respect, if only because the bad guy is more likely to see the damn thing and know you're not bluffing in poor light.

    I'm absolutely convinced that no one in the criminal subculture fears your weapon.

    What they fear is the resolutely armed man or woman holding that weapon on them.

    It's a complicated business; sometimes the attack comes so fast there's nothing to do but shoot or die, and trying to verbalize would be counterproductive. However, for cops and civilians alike, it's far more likely that things will end when the suspect is taken at gunpoint. This means it's a good idea to memorize command sequences and practice giving them in an explosive command voice. For the armed citizen, I recommend "DON'T MOVE!" followed by "DON'T TOUCH THAT WEAPON!"

    Best wishes,