Monday, March 07, 2005

Mice That Roar

Shooter’s Carnival has a link to a site devoted to the joys of well, mouse guns. My post is not about the site, it’s about my affection for mouse guns, particularly ones made before 1955 or so.

My definition of mouse guns leans toward semi-automatic. Still, revolvers are true mouse guns too. Derringers are also mouse guns for that matter although I tend to think of them as something else all together, maybe we could call them hamster guns (sorry I couldn’t resist).

These firearms are small enough to be covered by a hand. They weigh less than 15-16 ounces, and fire underpowered cartridges like .22LR, .25 ACP, .32 ACP. Arguably .380 ACP cartridges and certain guns that fire .380s are mouse guns too. Examples include Baby Brownings, Colt Vest Pocket Pistols, with Walther PP/Ks being on the outer limit of what I think is a mouse gun.

Mouse guns range from expensive Colts and Berettas to cheap Jennings and Ravens. While I don’t have much use for cheap ones (no surprise here if you know my tastes), I like everything about well-made mouse guns. They’re like jewels made by engineers. Their actions are surprisingly well designed and machined. Their makers had to figure out how to keep size and weight to bare minimums while ensuring reliability.

Mouse guns represent another era. Our grandparents or great-grandparents thought nothing of putting one in a pocket. Women could carry one in a cloche purse with a specially made holster to protect their gun. Carrying one was a mark of civilization with an awareness that evil people really do lurk in at least a few shadows.

Today, concealed carry laws in all but four states have led to a revival of mouse-sized guns and consumers have more choices than ever before. You can find Berettas, Kel Tecs, Kahrs, and others. Modern production methods have helped makers build small guns in more powerful calibers up to and including .45 ACP. Gun grabbers have called these guns "pocket rockets."

Gun banners look down upon these guns as being too small and too easily concealable. They conflate cheap guns with great guns when they call them all Saturday Night Specials. The 1968 Gun Control Act banned importation of many small guns, some of which were well-made. The lawmakers stated they had no “sporting purpose” as if self-defense wasn’t purpose enough.

I own several mouse guns in calibers from .22LR on up to .357 Magnum if you’ll allow me to include my Smith & Wesson 340pd I discussed here. I love them as collector’s pieces, but I carry one fairly often just in case I need to defend myself.

Some gunnies argue that these small guns are useless in self-defense and they have a point. The bullets are small and have little stopping power. But, mouse guns have their place. Concealing full-sized guns is challenging in winter and almost impossible in summer. Yes, mouse guns are a close-range weapon and their underpowered cartridges won’t stop an attacker in his tracks. Still, any gun is better than no gun when you need one. An attacker may very well decide that he’d rather not acquire a new orifice when his victim points a roaring mouse at him.

Update: I made a transcription error in one of the paragraphs that made it seem like I almost agreed with gun grabbers--HORRORS. At 5:05 PM I added a sentence and changed a link. The changes are in italics. Sorry.

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