Guncraft is a risk-management discipline. Much like driving an automobile or fitness training, how we train, what we do, and the stuff we do it with is not something that lends itself to a simplistic right/wrong analysis. Rather it, like almost everything is life, it is heavily dependent on context and risk assessment.
Most areas of life are like this. I allow myself to eat more sugar than my wife does because I am not at risk for diabetes like she is, but I sure don’t eat as much as I’d like to! I drive a mid-size car because that was the intelligent risk/cost decision for me, although it provides less crash protection than a Hummer…but that decision would be different if I lived in an environment where a bad crash was more likely.
You get the idea.
We are not in the gun fighting business; we are in the risk management business. At least we civilians are. We can’t deal with everything that might happen to us; we have to make trade-offs.
So back to that tired old saw about “carrying enough gun”. The “enough gun” risk/cost* decision is a function of two things: the likelihood of a bad event occurring, and the severity of the event if it occurs. See my nifty diagram below (I’ve never been to Russia, but all the movies make it look this way!):
So yeah, sometimes a small gun – a J-frame or a .380 pistol – is a reasonable risk management decision. Sometimes that’s foolish and a service pistol with a few reloads (or a rifle, if you can manage it) is the most intelligent decision.
Note that where most people go wrong in thinking about this is that they assume that this decision is only one-dimensional — that is, the decision involves only one of the dimensions in the above chart. But it’s a two-dimensional problem.
*Cost here refers to inconvenience and risk of being “made”.