Eating Crow

A Study In Open-Mindedness

Crow is a tough bird and a good knife is required for small bites (Bear and Sons Cutlery from the EDGE line up).
Ray says you can get used to eating crow if you eat enough of it.

For a very large part of my life a Ruger Super Blackhawk in .44 mag is what followed me around. It’s the only gun I’ve had to point at lowlife to get them to cooperate and leave. As I got older, that thing just kept gaining weight. At some point I moved to lightweight .45 autos, eventually settling on a Sig P220. I know, not small and compact, but compared to the Ruger it was at least lightweight.

Over the same time frame I said a great many bad things about 9mm guns and even more bad things about .380 autos. If it did not have a large diameter, high-mass bullet I thought it was silly, if not completely useless junk. The .17 HMR received the same point of view when it came out. Bet a few of you know what I’m talking about here?


Editor Roy and I have been, um … let’s say investigating such things for years with no minds changed — at least on my part. Even Luddites, alas, can’t avoid the rapid changes in the industry today. Things like significant technology changes in the gun world — like good plastics and new bullet designs — combined with materials science meant I had to do some rethinking.

The relevance of this smacked me while reading one of Massad Ayoob’s Ayoob Files articles. The cop had a SIG P220 (Oh, cool just like me …) with “modern” bullets too. The low-life he was chasing had one of those cheap plastic “things” in “useless” 9mm. The cop and the lowlife shot the excrement out of each other at spitting distances — and both lived. Neither the cop nor the lowlife was instantly stopped; hence the ability to fire lots of rounds into each other. My interpretation from Ayoob’s article is the cop prevailed (but just) because of better training. The cop’s gun was dry at the end of it all, while the lower life form had rounds left, but was not able to use them to effect.

Ray’s move to the dark side of the 9mm was with (top, left to right) the HK P30L, Springfield XDM 5.25
and the Canik TP9SFX. He also tried out some compact 9mm’s (bottom, left to right) with the Walther 99C
and the Springfield XDE. CZ’s 455-17 proved Ray was wrong about the .22 LR. Timer is by Competitive
Edge Dynamics and is a must-have. “Dodger” the stuffed rat seems to approve of it all — including the
Ruger LCP — or is he laughing at Ray?


The lack of “Magical Stopping Power” by the .45 was an epiphany, snowflakey safe-space moment for me. Enter open-mindedness: “Maybe Roy was right and there is something to 9mm and plastic?” There is, but only if you have modern bullets too. I did not get open-minded nirvana from this one article, but it did prompt me to bug His Editorship some more and explore other info. The path was a few years, and now — at least from the picture you see — possibly a bit too much open-mindedness?

"Even Luddites, Alas, Can't Avoid The Rapid Changed In The Industry Today"

A Longer Reach

I have now field-tested the .17 versus .22 LR and proved to myself for my use (small game mostly) it is actually better. I can easily reach out farther with the .17 HMR than with the .22 LR. Before open-minded set in, I made the argument of “Why not just use a centerfire .22?” While a fair idea, the .17 has very little report, no recoil and is still cheaper. It’s also a new cartridge specified from inception to be manufactured so it would be accurate. It lives up to that nicely. The gun pictured will do 5/8″ 5-round groups at 100 yards consistently. Given I am the weak link in the system; the gun is probably capable of better. New technology worked.

If you’re going to carry a “small” cartridge, you have to have good ammo. The HoneyBadger, SIG and
similar will do the job. Depending on the gun, you might also have enough ammo onboard to use suppressive
fire if needed. It could happen.

More Enlightenment

I have used both the .44 mag and 10mm to stop small deer with one well-placed shot. Well placed or not, neither the .45 auto nor the 9mm are legal for deer hunting here in the wilds of North Dakota — and most localities. Hence a thought to ponder: Lots of humans are bigger than modest deer. Or even big deer. So the .45 and the 9mm are compromises? Who’d a thought?

One Last Bit Of Crow

A “real” shot timer is way easier to use than a smart phone. I had resisted due to being basically a tightwad. After losing track of shots while making speed runs on multiple targets using the phone, I was frustrated. The phone does not reliably “hear” the shots, at least in my experiments with various apps. Plus I can never see the phone screen in daylight. So, coughing up for a shoot timer is another bit of crow I sampled as I protested.

Eating crow is a short-lived discomfort, while the light and small plastic 9mm keeps on giving. The nine is cheap to shoot too, and it doesn’t bother my aging wrists like the bigger bores.
So, what’s the adage about old dogs and new tricks? Keep an open mind and you might just be surprised at what you find. I find I’m beginning to get used to the taste of crow. As a matter of fact, with just the right adult beverage …

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