I have a friend who’s a police officer in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area of Minnesota. He’s got more than twenty years service, and is looking forward to retiring soon. He’s had a lot of “street” and “hands-on” experience, and knows whereof he speaks. I’ll call him Mike for the purposes of this discussion (not his real name).
Mike got in touch a few days ago. After the usual pleasantries between friends, he got down to business. He said that the current crop of synthetic marijuana, sometimes known as “spice” (and by up to 700 other street names), is producing some truly weird and sometimes very dangerous effects in its users. He’s personally encountered several addicts with superhuman strength, who don’t seem able to feel pain at all. Even a Taser will only slow them down, not stop them. If they’re shot with standard police handgun rounds, they often don’t go down, and require a large number of rounds to do the job (which are often lethal, of course).
Mike warned me that such addicts are being encountered more and more often, and in more and more areas. He said that it’s no longer safe to assume they’re a big-city problem; they’re being encountered in smaller towns and rural areas too. He also said, very soberly, that typical deep-concealment (i.e. small, lightweight) pocket revolvers and pistols are simply not adequate to deal with people under the influence of this stuff. His personal opinion was that .32 ACP, .380 ACP, .38 Special, and even 9mm. Luger or .357 Magnum rounds, if fired from smaller weapons whose barrels aren’t sufficiently long to give high velocity and promote bullet expansion, are not going to get the job done against a hopped-up addict who won’t even realize he’s been shot.
Mike knew I had a couple of revolvers chambered in .44 Special and .45 Colt. He recommended very strongly that I get a couple more, and use them for pocket carry instead of smaller weapons, because with the right ammunition (I use Buffalo Bore’s .44 Special hard-cast wadcutter), they’re much more effective at stopping someone who won’t notice hits from smaller calibers. He says they’re not nearly as good as a shotgun slug, which he recommends from personal experience, but in a small, concealable weapon, he says such rounds are more likely to get the job done, particularly at halitosis range.
I’m taking Mike’s advice; and I thought I’d share it with my readers, in case any of you have read reports about this sort of thing in your area, and want to be better prepared to deal with it if the need should arise. Please God, it won’t: but in this day and age, one never knows.
If you don’t have a compact revolver in either .44 Special or .45 Colt, consider the Charter Arms offerings. I’ve handled and fired both the .44 Special Bulldog (reviewed here, and shown below) and the .45 Colt Bulldog XL (reviewed here: it no longer appears on Charter’s Web site, so it may be discontinued). I recommend either model as a low-cost entry-level revolver.
Charter Arms’ quality control can be spotty, so one has to inspect their revolvers carefully and test-fire them to make sure everything works; but if you get a reliable example, they’re worth having, and at a reasonable price, too. Holsters of various kinds are freely available to fit them.