Times are tough, life is hard especially if you’re elderly and on a paltry fixed income.
You may also be an easy target for bad guys.
I’ve seen old timers with a variety of old handguns kept for defense, often war souvenirs but not always.
The most interesting was a brass 1858 Remington reproduction cap and ball,
but I’ve seen a French 9mm Unique brought home from Viet Nam, a Polish Radom from WW2 as well as a 1917 S&W, a Walther P-38, another Walther PPK a German Luger a few Browning Hi Powers and a Colt Pocket Automatic, all owned by senior citizens of both sexes.
Have you come across situations like this? If you didn’t have the bucks for your Glock and not the opportunity of saving any because of medical bills, would you consider relying on your Granny’s pearl handled .38?
I think that it would be fine to carry anything made in the past 50 years, as long as it is from a reputable brand (Beretta, Colt, Ruger, S&W, etc.), in good condition, and practical to carry. I agree that it would be better to sell/trade an “antique” gun, and buy something newer to carry.
As in ‘‘would I trust a new firearm’’ with out testing.
currently my wife’s CC Charter arms ‘’‘The Boxer’‘’ is in for repairs.
after 200 rounds of practice ammo it failed 4 rounds in a row
barely marking the primer.
This an interesting topic to me. I have discussed this with my Dad regarding his model 1894. Since it was originally designed for a black powder cartridge, we have had reservations concerning the chamber pressures. We haven’t found any cowboy loads on the shelves yet. I did find a trusty handloader to fill our need.
Wouldn’t the same be true for turn of the century firearms? SAMMI wasn’t around, and modern ammunition generates higher chamber pressures (if my understanding is correct) than back then.
I understand that this is a discussion about true antique firearms, so this wouldn’t include replicas.
Any firearm that is reliable and functions with current ammunition is useable for self defense. You do not need the latest and hottest ammo in a close encounter unless it is a bear. I often carry a light 38 spl revolver loaded with 148 grain wadcutters. Light but very under rated load primarily used for target shooting. The blunt face acts much differently than a round nose. Standard pressure JHP does not always expand in short barrels.
Many of those older pistols and war souvenirs you named may well be collector pieces that could easily bring the price of a new pistol. Browning Hipower is not one to dismiss. WW2 Lugers and Walthers could bring enough for a few guns.
I trained a gentleman in his early 80s on a fixed income sporting a 1920s Spanish .25acp with a 10 shot mag. It was all he could afford and the gun was a good quality pistol in very good shape for a 100 year old pistol. He was doing well with the gun but we’d have the occasional jam that we could not explain. He had taken it to several gunsmith that told him it was common problem with inexpensive pistols and one guy asked for $100 to troubleshoot the problem.
I took his gun home with me and cleaned it for him and looked at every part on the gun. The problem was a 100 year old magazine that had developed a TINY little crack on one of the feed slips. I reshaped the lips with needle nose pliers to make it reliable again but knowing the crack would open up again I sent my seizable network of friends and gun enthusiasts on a search for a new mag. We actually found one in like new condition and I procured it and gifted it to him. I gave him a few boxes of ammo from my stores and we made sure it operated at 100%. He actually became rather proficient real fast.
When I told the story to a buddy his initial reaction was “a .25 round won’t stop a bad guy.” My reply, How aaboiy 10 of them swiftly and accurately delivered to the center chest? And by the way, isn’t this setup better than being unarmed and screaming in terror like the kid in Home Alone?
So yes, I’d be more than happy to work with someone if their only choice was an antique.
BTW every once in a while if I feel jiggy I’ll carry my personal copy of the Indiana Jones S&W 1917 stoked with 230gr HPs and two reloads on moon clips JUST to be different. I just love that gun.
Originally in .455 Webley and reworked to fire .45 acp in moon clips or .45 AutoRim, exactly like the movie original. It even has the same British proof and import marks. I’m a huge fan of the movie and since I couldn’t afford the $5 Million they were asking for the original I launched into a 3 year search to find the right gun. I found this sweetheart on Gunbroker but it had the wrong grips and someone had gotten rid of the lanyard ring.
Getting the correct lanyard ring was relatively easy but finding those grips was a nightmare! Those are ultra rare, we’re only made for a few years and if you find a set they are EXPENSIVE.
But one of my buddies is a world class S&W collector and he found exactly the right set for me. In this configuration the only difference between the movie gun and mine is the length of the base on the front sight, mine is slightly longer but another friend of mine, an amazing handgun gunsmith that has done custom revolvers for me, has already told me he’ll fix that and make it identical. But after such a long search I just can’t bring myself to let it out of my sight just yet
I wouldn’t feel poorly armed with a 100 year old 1917 Colt or S&W revolver in .45 acp with a handful of half moon clips. That is, provided it is in decent shape. Obviously even a new gun that doesn’t work all the time is far worse than a reliable old-timer that one has put thousands of rounds down over its lifetime and knows exactly where it shoots 245 grain .45 bullets. I have seen old timers run three shots through a single shot 12 ga. almost as fast as the guy with a pump action. They may have been running that shotgun in duck blinds more years than the guy with the pump is old. Most of the time they don’t need the three rounds unless they are taking 3 birds.
I have my Dad’s .32 S&W long Harrington & Richardson revolver. It wouldn’t be my first choice for a self-defense gun, but if you think it is worthless in a defense situation, let me put six rounds from it in you from across my living room and see how worthless it is.
I have a Walther PP in .32acp that I have shot on occasion. It is not something I would CCW though. The only issue I had was the ejector blew out of it and went full auto!
Parts were expensive and hard to find. I was told it was because the recoil spring was weak and replaced along with the extractor.