Read the following statement from a commenter on the post below about revolvers as self defense weapons:
The female shooters I have instructed also seem to prefer revolvers far and away above compact and subcompact semi-autos of all stripes.
Before I continue with this, I want to establish something – I am by no means picking squares with any of the commentors that disagree with my opinion, but I want to point out a thought I had earlier today. Whenever I see comments like that, where an instructor is saying that “most of my x students (where ‘x’ = some common characteristic such as gender, height, left-handedness, etc) prefer y gun type” my first thought is that I’m running into confirmation bias on the part of the instructor. Take for example the oft-repeated “women that are new shooters should get a snub nosed revolver”. I am on record as saying in many places that this is a terrible idea, because snub guns are wretched difficult to learn to shoot well. How that bias affects me is when I’m talking to a newbie shooter about what gun to select, I am going to unconsciously steer them away from the compact revolvers towards a gun that I feel is a better platform. Then if I say “all my shooters pick Glock 19s so ergo Glock 19s are the best guns for newbies” I have thus demonstrated confirmation bias.
I wonder then how many new shooters pick sub compact revolvers not because they’ve made an informed choice, but rather because the bias of their instructor has directed them towards a particular gun? I’m not saying that the instructors do it out of malice or incompetence, but rather because they genuinely believe that gun x is the best for demographic y, without necessarily evaluating the actual person standing in front of you.
Again, this isn’t taking shots at anyone – the scope of my “introducing newbies to firearms” is usually done via email or friends that are considering their first gun purchase. But for just a moment, let’s take an honest look at the snub nosed revolver and see if it really stacks up as the “optimal” defensive firearm. And I say that to you while I’m carrying a j-frame myself.
I’m guilty of this myself – I often push people towards what I believe to be the “best” firearm for personal defense, when I fact I should be encourage people who are shopping to get out there and shoot guns until they find one that they like and that works for them. Carrying a gun doesn’t do you any good if you cannot get lead on target during a dynamic critical event; the bottom line is that only hits count. But to build that proficiency, you have to train with your carry gun whether it’s a 2 inch j-frame or a 5 inch 1911 – only hits count.