Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Stephen Hunter - Why 33 Rounds Makes Sense in a Defensive Weapon

Writer Stephen Hunter - Hey! I was just talking about him the other day! - explains why an extended magazine makes sense for a self-defense weapon:
(E)xtended magazines are rarely featured in crime - and that awkwardness spells out the magazine's primary legitimate usage. It may have some utility for competitive shooting by cutting down on reloading time, or for tactical police officers on raids, but for those who are not hard-core gun folks it's an ideal solution for home defense, which is probably why hundreds of thousands of Glocks have been sold in this country.

But that's not why I'm linking to his article. Forget Hunter's subject; admire his style. Here's why I like him as a novelist, as a movie reviewer, as a columnist:
Guns were the software of the 19th century; the most dynamic age of development was roughly 1870 to 1900, when the modern forms were perfected. Two primary operating systems emerged for handguns: the revolver, usually holding six cartridges and manipulated by the muscle energy of the hand, and the semiautomatic, harnessing the explosively released energy of the burning powder to cock and reload itself. Since then, design and engineering improvements have been not to lethality but to ease of maintenance and manufacture, or weight reduction. A Glock is "better" than a Luger because you don't need a PhD to take it apart, nor a fleet of machinists to produce the myriad pins, levers, springs and chunks of steel that make it go bang. Moreover, you can lose a Glock in a flood and find it six months later in the mud, and it still will shoot perfectly, while the Luger would have become a nice paperweight.

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