What is the purpose of the handgun?  It depends on whom you ask.  Those who would gut the Second Amendment would reply that its "purpose" is to kill and maim and that it serves no "sporting" use and should be banned from private ownership. Many handgun aficionados primarily into self-defense concerns would reply "to save one from unexpected attack". They usually go on to say that the handgun is there because a more potent long gun often cannot be. I submit that the purpose of the handgun is whatever you want it to be. Unlike the fools (meant in the truest form of the word) who support "gun control", those with at least a basic grip on reality can differentiate between the unlawful taking of life to the regrettable, but justified use of lethal force in dire circumstances. I have no real complaint with the shooters who say that the handgun's purpose is to save its user from harm, but do vehemently oppose the thought that this is the only purpose.


Here are some examples of what I'm saying.  Most here understand that John M. Browning's 1911 was originally conceived as a sidearm for the US military, the mounted horse soldier in particular. Does that mean that the gun's been limited to such?  I think not. This is evidenced by its having been produced in target versions such as the National Match or Gold Cup. Other companies have offered target grade 1911 pistols as well.


Looking at it from the other direction, Smith and Wesson introduced the Model 29 .44 Magnum revolver primarily as a hunter's handgun, but to a limited degree some law enforcement officers embraced it as the ultimate combat sidearm. While most might not be able to handle it in defensive shooting scenarios, for those who could, the gun served that purpose.


Some prefer the challenge of bow hunting to using the traditional rifle.  Others prefer the handgun for the same reason.  I am one of the latter.  I do agree that the large magnum revolvers are probably the best choices for these purposes, but here in Texas whitetail deer are not as large as in other states, particularly up north. Despite the protestations of some, I've found hot 9mm's, .38 Super, and .45 ACP to work fine so long as ranges are kept short (under about 40 yards for me) and only good shots are taken. This is not illegal in Texas and I will keep doing this so long as I can continue getting one-shot kills that are quick and humane. I doubt that John Browning envisioned the "purpose" of his battle pistols to be hunting deer and lessor four-legged critters.


This 130-lb. Texas doe was cleanly taken and "stopped" with one round from this 9mm from the STI Longslide Trojan pistol. Did Browning ever suspect that his 1911 would be made in a stretch version with adjustable sights or used for hunting?  Who can say? The purpose of my 9mm 6" Trojan is punching paper and precisely placing shots in the hunting fields. Your pistol's purpose might be entirely different.  I do NOT subscribe to the theory that the pistol has but one universal purpose.


I doubt that the Swiss envisioned hunting Texas javelina with their 9mm P210, but does that mean that such is not a legitimate purpose for that pistol? I think not.  The purpose of my pistols is whatever I intend it to be.  I submit that the purpose of your pistols is the same, whatever you intend. Don't fall prey to the notion preached by some that there's but one "true" purpose for the handgun. The sidearm may have originally been intended as a fighting implement, but that does not mean that it can only serve that purpose.


This S&W Model 41 in .22lr was conceived as a competition paper puncher. It has served me well in collecting small game.  Just because it was designed with a particular purpose in mind does not necessarily mean that it can only be used to that end.


This Texas whitetail doe was taken with one handloaded .45 ACP fired from this Dan Wesson Patriot. It served my "purpose" quite well.




This S&W Model 58 was conceived as a big bore police service revolver. Its .41 Magnum cartridge would certainly be ample. Mine is not used for self-protection, but as a "woods gun" as its fixed sights are "on" and its accuracy very, very good.




This little S&W snub is primarily intended for close quarters defense against human aggressors and this one's my 24/7 gun for such purposes. It has served in other roles.  When hunting primarily with a rifle, this has always been in a pocket and has cleanly applied a coup de grace on a deer that was down but not out.

The vast majority of handguns can serve more than one purpose.


What I'm suggesting strongly is that you decide the purpose of your handguns. Just as neither of us can live the life of the other, neither can we impose our "purposes" on another.