Originally Posted by sodbuster
Yes braking is weaker with just the hand brake ...
I assume that was just a typo: you meant rear, right? Even on integral brakes, rear does not provide the same braking power as front.
With the tremendous power of the front brake, you were justified in assuming that just the front lever is good enough - although, as others pointed out, both are better and using both is the correct technique.
For what's worth, BMW instructors teach the following emergency routine:
- clutch in
- hard on rear brake
- then, as weight is transferring forward, smoothly onto front brake.
Again as it is pointed out, you need to have the routine ingrained as result of practice. You will not act rationally in panic. The justification for clutch release is that a lot of people while applying front brake in emergency, tend to twist throttle up and add gas. Needless to say, covering front brake and clutch levers is an essential safety precaution.