You say close quarters hand to hand combat is difficult yet you think shooting it out in a tube full of innocents is a better solution? Wow.
No, I think hand to hand combat with a determined and well trained inividual who is prepared to die is not a good scenario. The Bad Guy will win. I do think, however, that anyone with a little training is capable of putting an aimed round into a target 3' away filling a doorway. That is where the firearm will be used, do defend the cockpit when the Bad Guys breech the door (you DID see the video where it takes only 1 minute to breech the new "secure" door, right?)
There are better solutions. The pilot is not qualified for this just because his ego says he is. I am very well qualified with handguns and I can tell you that in no way do I feel I would be capable of defending an airliner in a crisis situation. There are too many circumstances.
No, he'll be qualified after he takes the manditory training classes. I too am quite capable with handguns, and I don't doubt my ability to hit a man sized target 2-4' away from me. If I couldn't do that, I wouldn't bother carrying.
The gun is there to protect the cockpit, not the airplane.
If you really don't care about passenger safety, as your 1 to 4 acceptable "collateral damage" statement would indicate, then you have your heroic crew don their O2 masks and dump the cabin. Sure, some people get ear and maybe sinus injuries out of the deal, but the hijackers go to sleep and then you can restrain them without any further risk.
How familiar are you with the current climate? If the Bad Guys get access to the cockpit, the WHOLE PLANE will be shot down. No ifs ands or buts. That is how it will work, why do you think they scramble the fighters at the leats provocation now? Against THAT possibiliy, yes, the remote chance of a handful of passenger casulties is regrettible, but far better than the whole plane being shot down (BTW, I doubt even ONE pax would get killed in the first place)
Lets see, we'll dump the cabin. OK
lets assume the Bad Guys don't get an O2 mask that the pax will use. Let's also assume that we'll have to descend anyway, because more than a few minutes at airliner altitudes without O2 will result in brain damage, not just "falling asleep" we DON'T want to kill everyone, do we? And the young and elderly will be dropping long before the young, fit Bad Guys will.
And, let's not forget that the gun is a LAST resort once the cockpit door has been breeched. Dumping the cabin won't do any good once that door is open and the Bad Guys are in the cockpit fighting the crew anyway. Best you could hope for is the captian crashing during the emergency descent.
I for one will not put my family on an airline who arms the pilots. If I don't know if they are armed or not, then I will just take the car. I know I am in the minority on this opinion, but I will stand behind it.
I guess you wouldn't have been flying much in the past then. You DO
know that airline pilots were armed until the mid 1970's, right? And that there were less stringent provisions in part 121 to arm pilots until 9/13/01, right? Those regulations were removed AFTER 9/11 by congress. All this is is fixing that mistake.