Your browser version is outdated. We recommend that you update your browser to the latest version.

ProSpec, Inc.

Jim Sottile


Next Class Date: 2017   Sat., 9am

March 18th at Life's Bounty

Main St., Franklin NC













Question: What gun should I carry for personal protection?   I would keep it in my home………………
(from Jane L. of Franklin)

Jane, I have some good new for you!   There have been some new developments in handguns and ammunition recently that may be helpful to you in making this critical decision.
Traditionally, the editors of handgun magazines, and many gun store owners, would recommend a 9mm automatic or a .38 special lightweight snub nose revolver.   They even come in Pink!  About ten years ago, gun manufacturers started to make .380 automatics in smaller sizes, called subcompacts, and women just loved them because they are “cute” and easily carried and concealed.   
The traditional argument is Revolver Vs. Automatic Pistol.   Many people, especially women, and seniors, don’t have the upper body strength to pull back the slide on an automatic pistol in order to load the chamber with a round (a cartridge).   Some people, especially those with arthritis, have difficulty loading the rounds in to the magazine.  You have to push very hard with your fingers.
Also, semi-automatic pistols often jam and you need that strength and know-how to pull back the slide, clear the jam, and load a new round.   If this should happen in an emergency situation, it can give you a crappy feeling in your stomach if someone is shooting at you!
Most gunfights are within 3 to 5 yards, and are rarely over seven yards, and they are over within two seconds.  Revolvers rarely jam, and they are more reliable.   They don’t hold as much ammo as some of the automatics but if you can’t do what you have to do to stop the threat of deadly physical force being used against you within the first two shots, you have a problem anyway.
If you are a regular shooter at the range, and have some experience, you will be fine with a quality automatic.    But if you have never fired a pistol, I recommend your first gun be a revolver.   Again, this is only my opinion.   Read some of the handgun reports on the internet and familiarize yourself with the options.  All the handgun magazines have websites where you can access their articles by topic.  Talk to the guys at the gun shop.
In the olden days, I was a police officer in Times Square and the west side “Hell’s Kitchen” neighborhood of Manhattan.   This was in the sixties before they cleaned up Times Square.  Later I was a Detective NYPD and did street narcotics and then citywide high level narcotics in a special unit and in the Federal Strike Force.   Briefly, I went on to be a Detective Sergeant, Supervisor Detective Squad.   In my first six years on the force I had to use my gun three times, and came close numerous times or was present when others had to fire their guns, especially when executing “No Knock” search warrants on drug dealers.    I carried a .38 Special revolver with six rounds in it and never had to reload, except in the Harlem Riots of 1964 when they were shooting at us all night long from the roof tops.   Then, we ran out of ammo and the NYPD had none in reserve.   They went to our outdoor range north of the City and brought us some boxes of wadcutter ammunition that was used for target practice.
I have no confidence in the .38 Special as a definitive self defense round.   In one shooting I shot a guy hitting him four times with the .38, once in the left arm and three in his left side.  I had emptied my gun of the six shots and he still reached me with a knife in his hands.   I was alone and had to use my fists to knock him down because the bullets didn’t do it. (I used to teach boxing!).
Now, he was high on Methamphetamine and acted like he never felt a thing.   Three days later I got a call at the Police Station from the Doctor at Bellevue Hospital and he told me I could come down and pick up the prisoner and take him to arraignment in court.  I asked how that was possible as I had hit him four times.   The Doctor said that I just didn’t hit a vital organ or bone mass or artery.   I remember telling the Doctor that if I got hit with a .22 in my butt I would probably die.  
About fifteen years ago I traded in my .38 revolvers and wanted a small automatic to carry. I went to the gun store and bought a PPK .380 Automatic, German made.  It’s the James Bond gun so I though it was cool!  I went right to the range to fire it and it jammed on me three times.   I went right back to the gun store and insisted that I cannot own that gun and returned it.   I had noticed in every gun store I visited in NYC that almost all the employees carried the Sig Sauer brand automatic, in either 9mm or .380.    I bought both of them and never had a jam.    Whatever gun you buy, you have to run 200 rounds through it at the range to break it in, especially automatics!   In my opinion, and the opinion of most handgun editors, the .380 (which is actually a 9mm short) is just not a definitive self defense cartridge.  It doesn’t have the knockdown power, which is measured in foot pounds of energy the bullet has after it leaves the barrel……..continued in next week’s column


Years ago, I bought the .380 because it was small and I could just put it in my pocket.   The goods news today is that gun manufacturers are now making the 9mm in subcompact sizes.  The one made by Kahr fits in the palm of your hand.   I was out the other day shooting with another NRA Pistol Instructor and he was carrying one.   I was really impressed!   Also, Sig has just introduced a subcompact 9mm that looks really neat.  It is smaller than the .380 Sig I have.   I can’t wait to see one in the gun shops.  There is no longer a reason to buy a .380 when you can get a 9mm in the same small size.
Now, as far as revolvers are concerned, there’s very good news:   The Federal Cartridge company has developed and introduced a new cartridge designed for personal protection:   The Federal .327 Magnum.  Most men dream about owning a .357 Magnum (which is the most popular of the magnums) and think it is the ultimate self defense weapon but we shy away because of the huge kick.  However, it will stop anything that comes at you!   Now we have the new .327 which almost reaches the stopping power of the .357 but has much less kick.   Roughly, the .357 is a .38 size round and the .327 is a .32 size round.  This new Federal cartridge is really hot!   It develops 45,000 psi of chamber pressure, higher than 9mm, .357 Magnum, .41 Magnum and .44 Magnum and it has eye popping velocity.   Dirty Harry will be impressed!  The muzzle energy of the .357 is 575 ft.lbs and the new .327 has a muzzle energy of 500 ft.lbs, compared to the 258 ft.lbs. of a .38 special.  Getting slugged in the chest with 500 ft.lbs of energy is pure knockdown power.
Federal Ammunition makes the new .327 Magnum in an 85 grain Hydro Shok cartridge for personal defense.   It is labeled “low recoil” but has a high operating pressure.   For shooting at the range you can load less expensive ammo, such as the .32 S&W,  the .32 H&R or the .32 S&W Long.   So, pistols that are .327 Magnum will shoot four kinds of ammunition.   I understand that .32 wadcutters are available at reasonable prices. Ask your gun dealer.
The .357 Magnum produces uncomfortable recoil and muzzle blast, and with a 125 grain bullet it kicks your hand with 7.22 foot lbs. of energy compared to 3.08 foot lb. kick from the 85 grain .327 Magnum round.
The new .327 Magnum bullet pops out of the barrel at high velocity, 1400 feet per second.  When sighted in at 25 yards, it will drop about 4 inches at 100 yards.   I can see this new cartridge being used in the Henry and Marlin lever action rifles.  It would be an excellent round for large predators such as coyote.   The gun magazine writers are all talking about this happening in the near future.
Some editors tested this new round by firing it in to a side of pork.   It penetrated fourteen inches, and inside it expanded a seven inch hole.   (My friends at Tallent’s Produce Stand will save up some melons for me when I test this new round at the range)
This new .327 Magnum cartridge is being introduced in the Ruger SP-101 and the Smith & Wesson Model 632 Carry Comp Pro.   Taurus and Charter Arms are also producing this new caliber in compact revolvers and I have seen them in local gun shops and pawn stores.  You can buy a used one on the internet.   Ruger introduced their pistol over a year ago and it is being written about in all the gun magazines now for a long time but you can’t find the pistol in the stores.    
So, Jane, you now have the answer to your question.   I orderd the new Ruger SP-101 in .327 Magnum caliber.   I am also having him send the pistol to Magna Port to have the gun magna-ported.   They machine two slots in the barrel to relieve some of the pressure and reduce the kick when the pistol is fired.    This will make the pistol more docile when I give individual instruction with it to people at the firing range.  This .327 magnum will fire four types of 32 ammo, including .32 wadcutters, for target shooting,  which are inexpensive.



1.  If you bring a pistol to the firing range you must comply with all NC laws regarding

“open carry”, or, if you have a NC Concealed Carry Pistol Permit you must comply with

the NC concealed carry laws and restrictions. (website: NCDOJ)

2.  When you arrive at the firing range you must step up to the firing line to unload

your firearm while pointing it downrange.  You are not to unload or load a firearm while

behind the firing line or behind the firing tables or near the rest room.  When loading or unloading, keep your finger off the trigger.   No firearms are to be taken downrange.

3.  The cooperation of all shooters using the range is required for safety.  All shooters

on the range have to agree and acknowledge a “ceasefire” before going downrange

to change targets.  The range is declared “cold” when no one is allowed to fire.   The range is then declared “hot” when everyone agrees to start firing.

4.  When a “ceasefire” is declared you are required to unload your firearm and place it on the firing bench with the cylinder, or bolt or slide locked open and visibly empty.

Any person on the range can call a “ceasefire” if they observe an unsafe condition.

5.  Every shooter should wear eye and ear protection while shooting.

6.  All firearms should be pointed downrange at all times, even when placed on the

shooting bench.  During a ceasefire all firearms will be kept unloaded and open.

7.  Keep your finger outside the trigger guard until you are actually pointed downrange

and ready to fire.

8.  Not more than two people can fire at one time from any one bench position.

9.  You may never load or unload a firearm while behind the benches.

10.  You are required to pick up your brass and targets when finished shooting.  You can take them with you or place them in the receptacles provided.

11.  Only soft targets should be used.  You may not use hard targets that can cause

a ricochet.  You should not fire into the air.

12.  Targets are to be placed on the wire fabric, not on the wooden posts.  Shooting at the wooden support posts is not allowed.

13.  Because the firing point table is concrete you may choose to bring a small rug or towel to place on the table to protect your firearm.

14.  If you experience a misfire, keep the pistol pointed downrange and wait at least

30 seconds before opening.  Contaminated ammunition can “cook” and cause a delayed


15.  If you experience a “stove pipe” or jam and a ceasefire is called you must announce that you are still “hot” until you can clear your firearm and empty it.

16.  Ammunition that is contaminated with moisture or oil, or very old ammo, may sometimes fail to fully ignite and will cause a “squib load” or a partial ignition.

The bullet may be stuck in the barrel of the firearm and you should check the barrel with a cleaning rod to insure it is clear.  Firing a second round into an obstructed barrel may cause the firearm to blow up and cause serious injury.

17.  The use of skeet or trap machines and clay targets is prohibited.  No aerial targets

are permitted.

18.  Alcohol and drugs are not permitted at the firing range.

19.  ALWAYS point the pistol downrange, never point it at a person.  Keep finger off the trigger and on the side of the pistol until given the command to fire when ready.