Currently, my company is retooling our 9C1 gun frame to incorporate a Picatinny Rail, for the attachment, of among other things—a real bright flashlight.

Ten years ago, when we began developing our product, this rail system had not completely infiltrated every part of the market.  Today, if you want to sell polymer framed handguns and you are manufacturing anything other than a pocket pistol, your piece better have a Picatinny Rail.

I was recently asked to recommend the best gun for home protection that might easily be accessed from your pillow.  The fact is, a handgun is only one portion of the defensive system.

I always get nervous when posed with these gun questions.  There are always variables—are there any children around?  Is this for a man or woman?  Does this person have experience with firearms?

My initial response is almost always, "Get a double-action revolver".  If it doesn’t shoot the first time, just pull the trigger again and you get another try on a new cartridge and you won’t have to worry about getting hot shells in your jammies.

I personally like the Smith & Wesson 617, a .22 caliber with ten rounds.

Unfortunately some buddies have big egos, "Dude, a .22, come on, I need something bigger than that."

"How about a .44 magnum?"

"Yeah that sounds good."

"So you want to get the bad guy, go through the front door, kill the neighbor, and then knock your wife out when the gun recoils back and whacks her in the head?" 

"Uhhh…"

If you really have to soothe a macho ego, get a Smith & Wesson 627 and load it up with thirty-eights instead of .357 Magnum, that way we don’t repeat bullet through the front door scenario.  If you empty the thing and miss every time it’s big and heavy enough to use as club. 

The other thing about the 627 is that you can get it with a Picatinny Rail and it can be fitted with a super bright tactical light.

After studies showed that most gun battles encountered by law enforcement took place in low light conditions, innovative companies began researching and manufacturing "tactical" lights for police.  As the market became more sophisticated so did the products.

Today there are a variety of manufacturers that provide these products.  I am partial to SureFire.

The fact that I have been consulting with SureFire’s former head of engineering might have something to do with my partiality, but even so, SureFire is the big boy in the business and their headquarters isn’t but a few minutes down the road from my factory.

After enduring a heavy critique at the hands of our new consultant, I asked a dozen or so questions and was rewarded with, "You’re ignorant, but you don’t appear to be stupid, so I think I can help you."

I find that when you’re dealing with old crotchety guys it’s best to say "Yes Sir" and "Thank You very much" a lot.  I actually managed to win the gentleman over after taking him around our facility.  There are lots of guys who have been able to build a gun prototype or two, but to actually demonstrate the ability to design, manufacture, and bring a real product to market puts you in a league with only a handful of other manufacturers in the country.

The most important information imparted to me by our pugnacious advocate was that when law enforcement used a tactical light in their pursuit and apprehension of criminals, the incidence of resistance encountered was dramatically reduced.

Bright lights used in low light conditions usually had the effect of causing suspects to immediately turn their heads and often desist.  The immediate response was involuntary and it always gave officers a second or two advantage if a gunfight were to ensue.  Regardless what gun you choose to have at your home, fitting it with a good tactical light and a quick trigger switch will give you a big advantage, especially if your encounter is incurred in a low light condition.

One problem I witnessed, however, at least one of my genius buddies used their tactical light as a handy flashlight; running around the house pointing their gun at all kinds of stuff.  Tactical lights are very bright and designed to startle whatever they are pointed at, and you’re only suppose to point your gun at things you intend to shoot, so if you do get a tactical light and mount it to a gun, don’t use it like a flashlight!

So here is the list:

S&W 617 ten round revolver:  I know this won’t thrill the macho egomaniacs, but it’ll stop the bad guy.  I have a good friend, a big guy who got shot in the chest with a .22 (lucky to survive) fifteen years ago, he told me after the bullet hit him he immediately fell to the ground. 

S&W 627 with light rail:  Kind of bulky, but won’t go off unless you deliberately pull the trigger.

Beretta 92F:  The military didn’t adopt this one because it wasn’t dependable.  I like the fact that it has the double action first shot capability; I wouldn’t want a single action loaded and laying around the house. 

Ruger Mark III:  I know, another .22, but it’s a classic, and one of the most reliable autos around.  It’s easy to handle, but it does break my no single action rule, so proceed with caution!

H&K USP:  A little pricy, but one of my favorites.  Excellent feel, any caliber your want, and plenty of accessories. 

My Sales Manager will kill me if I don’t mention one more:

FMK 9C1 DAO: Soon with integrated Picatinny Rail which will nicely fit a Sure Fire X300 tactical light!

FMK Firearms can be viewed at www.fmkfirearms.com.