Image from wkrg.com
The RG 23 is the quintessential cheap handgun. It never had a good reputation. Many have claimed a lack of reliability, so I suspect that quality control was not in the same class as the old Smith & Wesson revolvers. The rough trigger makes accuracy difficult, even for experienced shooters. The steel inserts in ZAMAK alloy construction are corrosion cells waiting to happen. The revolvers are so inexpensive, they are not economically worth repairing. They sold, in 1969, for 19.95. The current price on the used market is about $50.
But, they are a gun. They will put a hole in a person in front of them, most of the time, if the shooter does their part. More importantly, they are recognizable as a real gun. This is essential, because in the vast majority of cases, the person holding the gun does not have to shoot for an effective defensive gun use. They just have to show that they are willing to shoot. Most guns used defensively are used for deterrence, rather than to injure or kill.
That is precisely what happened with the RG 23 in the picture above. From wkrg.com:
When he came out they found the thief rummaging through his garage and all of their lawn equipment moved on the verge of being stolen."Scared". "Compliant". Imparting the emotion to obtain the response is the major purpose of the defensive pistol in peacetime. Peaceful and responsible gun owners do not want to shoot people. They want criminals to be scared so as to be compliant. In the worst case, they want to be able to stop the crazy, drugged up, drunk, or reckless when those perpetrators are not scared or compliant. Fortunately, the cases when shooting is necessary are relatively rare. That is why there are only about 1,000 to 1,500 cases of justifiable homicide every year in the United States. The FBI Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) only catches about 20% of those, about 300 a year, due to the way in which the UCR has cases reported and defined.
That’s when Taylor grabbed his pistol and held the burglar up until police could get there.
“He was compliant with what I told him to do. But he was scared he was real scared,” said Taylor “He kept saying he didn’t move anything and I probably would have let him go if he didn’t just stop lying and then when I saw all my stuff pulled out and he was going to steal it, it kind of made me angry”
Even a cheap pistol is enough nearly all the time. I prefer tough, well made, accurate, easy to shoot, powerful, durable pistols. The market has told me that is what most people prefer.
The RG 23, in my opinion, is a lousy gun to teach shooting with. It is horrible for hunting, terrible for training, dreadful for defense. But there is a market and a purpose for cheap guns, and the story of this little old RG 23 reminded me of that.
©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.
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