The Two-Minute Video Tip: Self Defense Weapons


In this week’s installment of the two-minute video tip, host Harlan (Hucky) Austin along with special guest Justin Johnson, Executive Protection Agent & Senior Firearms Instructor for ICON Services talk about some of the important things to consider when choosing a firearm for executive protection work.


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  • Dave Jones

    My personal choice is the Sig p226

  • Alonzo Gomez

    Now that’s a topic that may be a bit too vast for the 2-minute format, even when limited to handguns (out of all the weapons we use). So much goes into gun and caliber selection. Good points made, though, especially about the need for concealability.

    I’d still like to add that the 1911 platform exists in many configurations today (size and receiver material) and doesn’t have to be big and heavy anymore. I’m not sure I’d recommend 1911s to anyone not already into them, however, but it’s a huge can o’ worms…

  • Six

    The major considerations for me are:

    • Reliability
    • Simplicity
    • Accuracy
    • Caliber

    Reliability – when it comes to reliability most of the large modern gun makers build reliable handguns. Make sure you select a manufacturer and handgun that is built to be driven hard. It must be able to stand up to the pressure of continuous practice and training. (Springfield, Glock, Sig, S&W, Kimber)

    Simplicity – ease of operation (i.e. trigger, magazine release, slide release, and takedown etc.) should be a major consideration. In the stress free life of the square range every handgun seems fine. However under the stress of a deadly force situation you need a weapon that is simple to operate, and one you feel you can operate effectively under low light conditions.

    Accuracy – some people will think about accuracy as number one; but accuracy is a direct byproduct of training and the component you can most impact. Most of today’s large modern gun manufacturer’s handguns shoot pretty reliable groups from any gun vise, so accuracy is not about the tool, but about the operator. Most guns shoot more accurately than you can hold them.

    Caliber – I am a firm believer that most people should consider shooting the largest caliber and heaviest load of bullet that they can shoot accurately. Accuracy should always trump caliber size (it doesn’t do you any good to have a large caliber that you can’t control). Stay away from specialty calibers. Stick with 9, 40 and 45. Easy to find ammo in assorted types and availability.

    I didn’t rate conceal-ability in my big four because you can conceal any weapon with the right type of carrying system/holster. I own inside the pants holsters, bell bands, belt side, shoulder rigs etc.

    My personal preference is a full size 1911 most of the time, I like the hard hitting of the .45 and the feel in my hand of the 1911. My preferred high capacity tool is the Springfield XD45.

  • Tom Williams

    Alonzo makes a good point. This is not as simple a question to answer as it may sound. Rather, there are a number of factors which need to be considered before making your final choice. These include:

    •The laws in your jurisdiction, regarding firearms ownership.

    •The “social environment” in which you work ect…

  • Alonzo Gomez

    Thanks, Tom. While it’s easy to overthink things sometimes, taking into consideration the factors you mentioned, weapon selection does require a bit more planning than “whatever works for me”. I’ve seen too many guys think they could pull off concealing their duty gun and end up looking like “stuff” was growing out of their sides. A Beretta 92 in a horizontal shoulder rig won’t pass for a Blackberry! Because standing at attention working an event is one thing, but spending a full day around your client’s friends and kids is another. Some clients (or their environments) are very anti-gun and would freak out if spotting the outline of a piece while others are reassured by a hard look, so we have to adapt dress, weapon(s), reloads, and carry mode. Not to mention that I understand that printing is equated with brandishing in some states.

    So as a general rule, I know I play it safe and make sure that “nothing” is showing. As much as I love me a Government… my primary ends up being a bobtailed Commander.

    And another way legal/political environments affect our choices is that mags are limited to 10 rounds in my state, rendering all .45 double-stacks pretty much irrelevant (when I want 10+1 I just use an extended tube).

    The types of assignments can also dictate what gear we use so, ideally, our chosen platform would be adaptable from low to high risk work. Some jurisdictions limiting the number of guns we can put on a permit (as little as two in some CA counties), it’s not like we’ll always be able to tap into an arsenal. No way a J-frame can pull off primary duty on a robbery-suppression gig.

    I do like Six’s breakdown except that, with all due respect, I’d happily trade (mechanical) accuracy for concealability. Practical accuracy, the one that matters in defensive use, should naturally derive from shootability and familiarity with the platform/caliber combo (training).

  • Six

    If your weapon is printing your either have the wrong carrying system for your selected outfit or you made the cardinal mistake of having your clothes altered without having your tools on. Remember when you buy a new suit, put your tools on first then have your suit altered around your tools.

    If you are transitioning to an inside the pants holster, remember to buy your slacks one size larger as you are now adding 1- 2 inches of firearm width inside of your waistband. The same goes for your shirts when wearing a bullet proof vest.

  • Derek

    As stated in the video, it is what you are comfortable with. My first protective services weapons was a big military issued Berretta. It was way too big for plain clothes carry. I remember I was protecting Hillary Clinton and and as she was boarding a plane I bent over and my weapon fell out of my shoulder holster clanging on the ground. I picked it up quickly, but I bet someone saw me. We soon went to sig saur, which I carried while with several agencies. I have also carried a Glock. I am also a former firearms instructor and I love them both.

  • Jeff Morgan

    Hucky, Please call me. Jeff 954-597-2232