Ever since I created the Katrina Rifle, I’ve considered adding a Katrina Pistol to my loadout. So when Glock read my mind and released their Modular Optics System (MOS) pistols, I knew the time was right to build a Katrina Pistol. Based on the same survival philosophy as my Katrina Rifle, the Katrina Pistol needs to be good enough to sit at the top of my short list of things to grab when running out the door for possibly the last time.
by Doc Montana, a contributing writer
Symptoms and Solutions
The features of the Katrina Pistol are based on the need for a versatile, multi-purpose firearm. To be clear, the Katrina Pistol is not intended to be the simplest gun on the planet. If that were the case, the Katrina Pistol would be an overbuilt revolver in .22, .357 or .500 S&W. Instead, the Katrina Pistol is a hard working gun with features specifically chosen to make it effective and manageable. The Katrina Pistol needs no instruction book, fires when the trigger is pulled, lights up the night, paints the target, floats a red dot on the point of impact, and launches jacketed lead downrange with extreme prejudice.
When developing this pistol, it was not hard to outline the general features. Choosing a Glock for the platform was an easy choice. Perhaps, it was the only choice. No other pistol has the same reliability and lack of external safeties as the Glock. The cartridge, a 9mm, was another easy choice. The ubiquity and global popularity of the parabellum round minimizes the likelihood that this bullet will ever be in short supply.
The two Glocks most likely to claim my Katrina Pistol title are the Glock 17 and Glock 19. Both are 9mm, have rails, and double-stack magazines. Since the G17 and G19 are available in MOS, or Glock’s Modular Optics System, it was a no-brainer to move in that direction. To be clear, the capabilities of an optics-ready pistol are a game-changer. In the same vein as the Aimpoint on the the Katrina Rifle, a red dot on the target can make all the difference in the world for the shooter.
The rail is necessary for a weapons-mounted light. If possible, so are attached lights and lasers. Running a weapon-mounted light is essential for one-handed operation and positive target ID. If two hands are needed to operate both a light and a pistol, then you are out of hands when it comes to climbing, carrying, and breaching. Without a weapons mounted light, there is a very real chance of needing to put the gun down in order to light the way. That’s just not in my plan.
Follow The Laser Brick Road
Adding a laser is an excellent sighting solution that does not require alignment of front and rear markers, or a red dot superimposed on the target. Lasers can mark the aimpoint right on the target so there is no need for the gun to be aligned with a dominant eye. A laser-aimed Katrina Pistol can be fired from the hip, around corners, and off balance.
Further Reading: Bug Out Long Term (B.O.L.T) Pistol
Green lasers are physiologically more advantageous than their red counterparts. The human eye is much more sensitive to short wavelength green than long wavelength red. There is an issue with green light than can be both an advantage and a disadvantage. Particles in the air will reflect (or Rayleigh Scatter) the shorter wavelength green light more than red light. This bit of physics is the reason a green laser visibly shoots a line through the air, and even into outer space if you point your gun skyward. The danger is that a bad guy can trace back the green line to its source. This can be to your advantage if you work it right.
Back on Task
The Katrina Rifle article followed two lists: things I did and things I avoided. The semi-auto handgun, like the semi-auto rifle, is a mainstay of any modern planning. Glock is an obvious choice for handgun load-outs. Here are seven features I chose for the Katrina Pistol
1. Caliber: The cartridge of choice is the 9mm. No questions asked. The parabellum round is likely the most common defensive round in the global arsenal. It’s a battle-proven round with plenty of bullet options. Other considerations include the .45, the .40, the .22 Long Rifle, and the .380. But those other calibers, while effective, each carry their own inherent disadvantages. So to simplify the start of this project, 9mm it is.
2. Weapon Mounted Light: There are small lights available today that fit small pistols, produce small lighting areas, and have short lives from their small batteries. For my Katrina Pistol, I want a huge, mountable light output. The perfect choice is one that blasts out hundreds of photons across a wide area for a long time. CR123 batteries are fine since they are powerful and have a 10 year shelf life. Moreover, they work in freezing temperatures.
For this build I went with the Streamlight TLR-2G. It’s a rail-mounted 300 lumens light with integrated green laser. Three hundred lumens is bright enough to travel fast and ID targets, but not so bright to impede your own vision. Just be careful not to Barney Fife a hallway mirror and blind yourself. I played with smaller light/laser options like the TLR-4, as well as slimline brighter lights including the Surefire X300-Ultra. In both cases, I felt the green laser was necessary for a pistol to be Katrina-worthy. If needed, the laser can be turned off or run separately from the light.
3. Green Laser: The concept behind a laser is simple, but the execution of using one is a little more complex. Painting a target with a laser mounted on your handgun expedites ballistic performance. Where a laser really comes into play is when using the pistol away from your face. While red dot sights negate all discussion of sight radius, lasers negate the need to have your eyeballs behind the gun. A further benefit is that he laser can be used for one point-of-impact distance and another sighting option can be for a different, likely much greater distance.
4. Red Dot Sight: As anyone who uses a red dot on their AR 15 knows, it simplifies the aiming process to epic proportions. One eye, two eyes, blurry eyes, daylight, darkness, through a gas mask, offhand, weaver stance, flat on your black, strong hand, weak hand, both hands, it doesn’t matter. The bullet hits the dot.
For this Katrina pistol build I am going with toughest sight I know of, the Trijicon RMR. The RMR is a battery operated reflex red dot sight that is small, lightweight and one of the top choices for the Glock MOS system. Running for years on a single 2032 battery, the RMR, Ruggedized Miniature Reflex, is an adjustable-brightness red dot optic available in several MOA dot sizes. Furthermore, the red dot system is housed in an incredibly tough aluminium housing with specially engineered corners to distribute force.
5. Co-Witnessing Iron Sights: Co-Witnessing is often overrated. Mostly it is used to guarantee that the backup sights or iron sights will work fine with the optic in place. In other words, a single sighting plane must contain both both the red dot, post, and valley of irons. For this Katrina Pistol, I selected the all-black Ameriglo Tall Flat Black Sights. Besides being on the inexpensive side, the Ameriglos are a fast and simple replacement for the factory glock hard sights. Rising above the fray, they are, unlike standard sights, easily visible through the Trijicon RMR. Alas, the Glock MOS for RMR does not entertain such indecision.
6. High Capacity Magazines: Sometimes called “Happy Sticks”, the Glock-branded 33 round magazines are worth every cent. While it’s true that some other guns will run oversized mags, few do so with the reliability, durability and capacity of the Glock’s. But that is not surprising. In reality, the Glock 19 will happily accept any magazine sized for the Glock 17,19, 34 and larger. In fact, the only double stack 9mm Glock mag the 19 won’t eat is the 10 rounders for the Glock 26. This particular Katrina Pistol will be running mags with 15, 17, and 33 round capacities.
7. T-Reign Lanyard: Ripping a page from military history, this Katrina Pistol has a lanyard option in the form of a T-Reign retractable lanyard. Using the factory-installed hole at the base of the Glock’s grip, the retractable lanyard is easily attached and detached using a Nite-ize clip. It has the retention necessary to keep the pistol tethered under reasonable conditions. Moreover, it does not impede aiming the weapon. If this feature becomes unwanted, it can be detached with little effort.
Related: Prepper Pocket Pistols
There are many reasons to include a pistol lanyard. A Katrina-level event will provide plenty of opportunities to lose one’s grip on a pistol. Having a gun just a yard away is always a good thing. Furthermore, the lanyard will not interfere with holstering.
Taking it Home
The next step is to assemble the components and take them from theory to practice. I can’t initiate a Katrina-Level event to test the gun. This doesn’t mean I can’t test the Katrina Handgun in other ways. Keep an eye out for Part 2 to see how well the Katrina Pistol works.
READ Katrina Pistol Part II (Click Here)
Photos By: Doc Montana
Looks good so far, not everything is my taste but I see the reasoning behind it. One thing, I’d lose the lanyard permanently. There’s a reason it’s gone out of fashion, use a good holster and do whatever you need to do to ensure you don’t lose your grip on your pistol.
Thanks for the read Pierce.
The Katrina Pistol is a personal item. While lanyards are equally bug and feature, I chose the option of a lanyard based upon the use of lanyards for other things that can become life-or-death kit whether knives, flashlights hatchets, gloves, fire starters, compasses, GPSs, or monoculars.
I had a custom Kydex holster made for this Katrina pistol and it will be featured in part 2. But once a gun in in hand, there is a very real possibility that it can be dropped, lost, knocked free, or simply let go of in order to grab someone or something else. Ever tried to swim in a river with a pistol in your hand?
Since the concept is to survive a Katrina-level event, all traditional bets are off. Purpose-driven function is king and feel-good customs are for calmer times.
I, for one, applaud the addition of a lanyard to the bug-out kit. I have one ready to rumble with my out-the-door Sig P220. However, the lanyard isn’t something you can hook on and be good to go; it’s definitely a practice that needs to be practiced to get used to it!
I’ve never been a fan of lasers due to the parallax issues, but they do have a place in short range quick or unorthodox shooting positions, as the good Dr. has stated.
I look forward to Part 2! Questions: what knife is pictured with Katrina Pistol, and what
brand is the orange carrying case? Thanks for the great work.
Hi Norman. Thanks for the read.
The knife is a Gerber LMF. Nothing special, but for a budget blade, I really like it. Especially if you don’t know if your knife will be coming back home.
The case is a Pelican 1170. It’s a great shape for a handgun and accessories, however I bought it to hold my Google Glass glasses, speaking of gizmos.
You really love the gizmo’s Doc. 500S&W? WTF????? Are you hunting dinosaurs? NOTHING could be more useless as an SD weapon. IMO the more crap you hang on any pistol the less effective it becomes in a real gunfight. I call it “AR-15 sickness”. That’s when you become so invested in the cult of the black rifle, that you try to turn EVERY weapon into a range Barbie. The best SHTF pistol? The TT-33 in 7.62X25 with upgraded Tritium sights . Small, easy to hide, and hits harder than a .357 S&W Magnum. Like having an M1 carbine in your pocket. If you really must carry a glock with a bayonet lug , you should by a .38 revolver as a back up for when your “plastic fantastic” gets dirty, or the “many things” fail and it craps out.
Thanks for the read. Dinosaurs? Possible. A charging grizzly might as well be a dinosaur. All depends on where you bug out, and what you’ll encounter along the way. Frankly, I have settled on the .44 mag for that project. Stay tuned for more on that later.
I would have to disagree that this a Barbie build. A stock Glock with a bombproof red dot sight and a rail mounted light is hardly a safe queen or range baby.
That said, I completely agree that there is always a risk with anything bolted on to a gun. But I read the bayonet lug as a misdirected jab. That is someone else’s poor decision.
A near hundred-year old TT-33 over a 21st century Glock? I get the idea, but modern powder loads and bullets limit the difference between 9mm and any non-magnum pistol caliber. And all of them pail compared to a rifle. The 30 carbine was pretty much a handgun load that came out of a long gun, kind of like the Thompson. If this was 1935 I would agree with you. I’ve been shooting Glocks since 80’s and they are, in your words, Plastic Fantastic. If the TT-22 had such reliability they would be in service in more than just the North Korean and Bangladesh armies. But I do think they started the quest that has led to the higher power pistol rounds like the .45 GAP and the .357 Sig while maintaining traditional form factors.
Back to the RMR, if you’ve ever racked a Glock with wet or cold hands, with bulky gloves, or against an object, then you will thoroughly appreciate having a nice large handle on top of the slide that doubles as a red dot. But I would only recommend using the highest of quality optics for this purpose.
Stay tuned for part 2.
Great article – I loved the original article on the Katrina Rifle. I used it as a blue print for building my SHTF rifle. Thanks Doc!!! Now I gotta get a glock…. 🙂
Great article as usual, Doc. I’m looking forward to part 2.
How are you attaching the lanyard loop on the T-REIGN through the grip?
Hi D – Ray,
I’m using a small Nite Ize S-biner to connect the cable loop of the lanyard to the hole on the Glock. There is plenty of room to make it easy to clip on and off.
all of my EDC and home defense handguns are Glock 19. It is perfect for the gun you leave in your bed room, gun I keep in my truck and conceals nicely when you want to carry, licensed of course.
Late to the party . Comment most likely to remain unread, anyways . . .
Think this is a great build for ” Katrina-like “scenario.
Large urban area , hostile locals , WROL , etc.
Only caveat is expense. Glock 17 $600 ( Blue Label little cheaper but only for LE / Mil. ) Light laser combo $300 Red Dot sight $ 475 ( prices rounded-off for incidentals like mags and batteries.
The other issues are the tightening gun laws especially in urban areas . It’s now 2019 and the Dems are continuing their disarmament of the American people.
Of course trying to get out of the city during a SHTF a $1,400 pistol would a veritable bargain.
Would be interested to hear your ideas on a cheaper and more accessible defense for unfortunate Urban dwellers 🙂
if you have a brain, you’ll have night vision and luminous sights, a passive IR scanner and a solar charger. Eff that showing a light bs.