Author Topic: What's a good concealed carry pistol?  (Read 1500 times)

Douglas

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What's a good concealed carry pistol?
« on: July 26, 2016, 12:08:16 PM »
I previously posted this on FB, but thought it would be a good read for those just joining in.

Whatís a good concealed carry pistol?

Well, before I give you the answer, letís frame this a bit.  At this point in your life, you likely know what size and style of clothes fit you best, as youíve been wearing and trying on clothes for many years, and have narrowed down what you like and donít like.  Itís taken time, but now you likely can order from a catalog what you want, and be pretty sure it will fit when it arrives.

You interface with pistols in two main ways:  the grip, which defines how well you can hold on to it, and how comfortable it feels in your hand, and the trigger, which defines how well you can shoot it without disturbing your sight picture.  There is no point in having a pistol that you cannot hold onto reliably and comfortably, and that you cannot hit your target with.  Everything else is secondary to those two items.

But if you are a first time pistol shooter or buyer, and you wander into your local gun shop, or sit around on the internet asking for advice, you will get a slew of opinions of what is right for you.  from people that donít know you.  Would you let a stranger pick out your pants for tomorrow, without knowing your size or style?  Same idea.

Since pistols donít come with sizing guides (this one is for fat dudes, and this one is for skinny ladies, and this one is for people with weak handsÖ.), you need some criteria to narrow down your choices.  A quick search on Google, or a trip to a reasonably stocked gun shop will reveal dozens and dozens of possible pistols, all with your name on them.  But some are not for you today.

So back to how pistols interface with you:  the grip.  If you canít hold it well and comfortably, itís not for you.  Many pistols come with different size grips, or inserts that can change the grip shape and size.  And others do not.  Given the large numbers of pistols to choose from, narrow down your list first by looking for a pistol that initially fits your hand, and that has different grip sizes or grip inserts so you can alter the grip size and shape.

Cool, now you have a smaller pile of pistols to choose from.  Letís make this even easier, letís narrow down what caliber to look at.  Stick with 9mm if you are new to guns.  Your very rich and industrious federal government, thru the FBI, has spent piles of time and money recently on this very topic for their agents, who greatly vary in size and shape, and have concluded that good 9mm ammo (I use ammo that has passed their Barrier Penetration tests) is just as deadly as other calibers, but that it is easier (and cheaper) to shoot well, and that the biggest variable in shooting bad guys so they stop doing bad things is shot placement, and that is done best with 9mm.  There is no such thing as ďstopping powerĒ, itís a myth, the FBI said so.  If you want to redo their research, knock yourself out, Iím trying to save you some money and rely on their expertise.

Ok, now to the trigger.  Thatís that little hanging down thing, that when you pull it to the rear, makes the gun go BANG!.  Yeah that.  Keep your finger off it until you are ready to fire.  Your feet and your friends will thank you.

Generally speaking, the more force you have to exert to pull the trigger, the more wobble you will introduce to your sight picture, and the more likely you are to miss.  You will find there is great variation in trigger feels and trigger pull weights.  Most good pistols require between 4 to 8 pounds of force to pull them and make the gun go BANG!  Itís hard to explain, but once you have tried a few at the gun shop, you will notice that different triggers feel different.  Some require a long pull, some a short pull, some are smooth, and some have what feels like grit in them.  At this point, itís up to personal preference what you like.  But stay away from ones that have real heavy triggers, like over 10 pounds, and very few will have triggers that are under 4 pounds.

List is getting shorter of possible pistols.

Now to operate your pistol.  Assuming you are going to go with a semi-automatic, they will have a slide on top, that cycles back and forth, and part of that is an internal spring.  Some pistols have heavier springs than others, depending on their design.  A little practice will show you how to operate any of them.  So donít be scared off if your choice has what seems like a ďheavyĒ spring.

And finally, what type of action are you looking for?  Generally speaking, there are 3 main types of actions:  1) striker fired, when you pull the trigger, an internal spring forces the firing pin forward against the primer, making the gun go BANG!  These pistols do not have an external hammer.   2) double action/single action, when you pull the trigger, an external hammer is released by a spring, hitting the firing pin and making the gun go BANG!  The gun is normally carried with the hammer down, so the first trigger pull both cocks the hammer and releases the hammer (double action), and thereafter, the slide cocks the hammer and the trigger only releases the hammer (single action).  3) single action, again, an external hammer is released by the trigger pull, hits the firing pin, and makes the gun go BANG! And the slide cocks the hammer for the next shot, these pistols are normally carried with the hammer cocked and have an external safety that must be turned off before they can be fired.

Some examples:

Striker fired - Glock, HK VP9, Sig Sauer P320, SW MP series
DA/SA - Beretta 92F, Beretta Px4, CZ 75, Sig Sauer 220 series
SA - Colt 1911 and clones

Iím sure there are others, but you get the idea.

For novices, Iíd avoid any pistol with an external safety that must be turned off before the gun will fire, so that would mostly reduce your list to striker fired and a few DA/SA pistols with de-cocking levers (such as a Beretta Px4 model G).  You are new, you havenít been shooting and practicing for many years, so you want simple.  Pull the trigger, gun goes BANG!.  You donít have to remember to turn the safety off.  As you get experience, you may wish to revisit this, but for now, KISS (keep it simple silly) (no one here is stupid, just new).

So, to answer the question at top:  Whatís a good concealed carry pistol?  One that you shoot well and that you will carry with you.  The above should narrow your choices quite a bit, and further, Iíd add that you should, if possible, select a double stack pistol, that should give you a magazine of 13 to 17 rounds before having to reload.  If that is not physically possible, then go with a single stack, but you will only get 6-9 rounds in your magazine.

And one more thing:  some pistols require you to pull the trigger before you take them apart for cleaning (Glock and SW SD9VE are examples).  If you can, put these type pistols lower on your list.  There are confirmed cases of people shooting themselves because they did not empty the ammo from the pistol before doing this step.

So if you are headed to a gun shop in the near future, take this advice to heart (maybe even copy and print it out), and begin your search with the following:

ďHi, Iíd like to see what you have in 9mm striker fired pistols with double stack magazines that have multiple grip sizes.Ē 

Additionally, almost all gun makers have websites with all sorts of useful information about their guns, including trigger pull weights, overall dimensions, capacities, etc, so you might go to the gun shop to see what they normally stock, head back home to do some research on a few guns, and then head back to make your final decision.  Make a smart decision, not a quick but poor decision.

That will narrow things real quickly.  Then find one you like, find the money to afford it (donít buy a gun just because itís cheap, youíll end up buying another one down the road to make up for the short comings of that first pistol), and learn to use it safely and effectively.

Iím sure this will generate discussion, but those are my 2 cents, hard won over the years, having shot many types of pistols.

Gwendolyn Patton

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Re: What's a good concealed carry pistol?
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2016, 12:25:01 PM »
This is a great topic of discussion. I'm sure there's no end of viewpoints on this!

My first carry weapon was a FEG clone of a Browning Hi-Power 9mm. It's a great weapon, but it's also full-sized and a big heavy lump of steel. That's not necessarily a bad thing when it comes to shootability, as the large mass of metal absorbs a lot of the felt recoil, and it's a very reliable and accurate weapon. It's just hard to conceal because of the size, and can weigh you down a bit.

Later, I got a job maintaining the website of a local gun shop, and traded web maintenance for guns. The owner transferred over several nice, but not very popular weapons over a few months, including an NEF .32 H&R Magnum 5-shot revolver, a Jennings J-22 semi-auto, and a Kel-Tec P11 in 9mm. He actually transferred the Kel-Tec to my partner, who still carries it from time to time. The NEF was a very good carry weapon, once I made some pseudo-speedloaders for it using some acrylic tube. I could carry a tube or two, containing 5 rounds each, padded at each end, and I practiced ejecting the empties, flipping the cap off a tube, and running it around the cylinder like a pencil, the rounds dropping into the cylinder in just a couple of seconds. Then a flip of the wrist and the action is closed, back to firing. It worked very well.

The Jennings is a typical junk gun, made of plated zinc and not very powerful. I tried using CCI Stingers in it, but the chamber was just a TAD too short, and the cases would get stuck, causing failure to eject. I did a bit of research, and switched to Aguila Super-Maximums, which are hotter than Stingers but have a standard-length case. I like to use Super-Maximums in ALL of my .22lr firearms, as they're VERY fast and have a decent amount of kinetic energy for their size.

Eventually, I got a Kimber Pro-Carry Ten II with a 14-round .45acp magazine, and I love that weapon. It's another full-sized weapon, and heavy, but I didn't mind until I broke my neck in a car accident. Now I can't take that weight or recoil for long without it incapacitating me, so I now carry a Kel-Tec PMR-30 when I carry. It's lightweight, reliable, and has almost no recoil. The 30 round mag doesn't hurt.

Douglas

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Re: What's a good concealed carry pistol?
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2016, 01:11:02 PM »
i saved some of my other, longer posts, and i'll put those up over time too.

redenow70

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Re: What's a good concealed carry pistol?
« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2016, 01:45:14 PM »
I picked up a S&W 9mm Shield Performance Center.  It's slim, small, single stack, and shoots good.  Got a S&W Bodyguard .380 for my daughter that works well and is small enough for her to carry with ease as she is petite.

Big Gay Al

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Re: What's a good concealed carry pistol?
« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2016, 03:34:41 PM »
My response is a little bit shorter.  The quick answer, whatever you're comfortable with, that you can hit the target with, that conceals well enough that only YOU know you're carrying.

However, I live in Michigan, and this is an Open Carry state.  Therefore, 9 times out of 10, I'm most likely to be OCing, rather than carrying concealed.  I've done this for at least 10 years without a single serious incident.  OC is not for everyone, so decide for yourself if you prefer to carry concealed, or openly.

Oh, and don't pay attention to those fallacies about being the first target for the bad guys.  That's been pretty much disproven.  :D

Texican1911℠

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Re: What's a good concealed carry pistol?
« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2016, 05:59:24 PM »
I'd like to add to the original post, a lot (most?) of commercial ranges (ranges you don't have to be a member of, usually attached to a gun store) will have rental guns. Bigger cities like Houston have tons of ranges. Smaller cities maybe not. It might be worth an hour to drive to shoot a gun before buying it if you're not very familiar with guns.

See if there is a PP FB page for your area. I'm a member of the Houston one. Ask if someone has a gun you're considering, and if so if you buy the ammo can you shoot it to see if you like it.

If you can afford a second gun, buy you a .22 pistol to learn the mechanics on. Far cheaper to shoot and you can shoot all day without fatigue. If you can find one that works similar to the gun you plan to carry, even better.

Douglas

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Re: What's a good concealed carry pistol?
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2016, 06:10:51 PM »
i've added my name to the Blazing Sword map, and have made a standing offer to teach basic pistol shooting to anyone who asks.  no charge.  i have several (cough) different pistols, so they could try different types of actions and manufacturers, to get a sense of what they like more.

it helps if you can find someone you can borrow from and try before you buy.

Indigodog

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Re: What's a good concealed carry pistol?
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2016, 10:36:37 PM »
Quick reply, Big enough to get the job done effectively but small enough to be a surprise when you deploy it. Shape and weight matter, for both the gun and the carrier. Caliber is relevant more so on the receivers end..
Life is an adventure. Make it awesome.

John

nicki

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Re: What's a good concealed carry pistol?
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2016, 02:33:09 PM »
There is no one size fits all, rather a balance of criteria.
Than said.

1. First have a gun, in a gunfight a cheap gun is better than no gun.
2. Weight issues, lighter the gun, more control issues when you use it.
3. Have a gun that is ergonomic for you.
4. Have a gun you can actually shoot, personally I want a gun that I can shoot one handed with non dominant(Left) hand.
5. Reliable with defensive ammo you are carrying. A "double feed" or "stove pipe" malfunction is something you don't want in a gunfight.
6. Smooth and reasonable triggers, I like triggers in the 4 to 5 pound weight range. Lighter triggers risk negligent discharges, heavier triggers increase jerking the trigger, especially under stress.
7. Ergonomic safeties.
8. Weight balance of gun.
9. Something that has enough ammo.
10. Something that can be reloaded quickly.
11. Where is gun going to be "carried", if you need it, you must be able to immediately access it.
Guns are not fashion accessories, if your defensive gun is buried in your purse, it may not be readily available when needed.

12. GUNS should be carried in holsters that securely cover the trigger, especially handguns that don't have a manual external safety. Fumbling around with say a "Glock 19" in your pocket risks a negligent discharge where you could shoot yourself.

My primary carry guns are Colt XSE 45, Kimber Tactical Custom Two 45 and a Kimber Eclipse in 10mm. I stay with the 1911 because it has both a grip and manual frame mounted safeties.

For me, my firearms won't discharge if bumped, I instinctively knock off the safeties as I draw so any slowdown in my draw is more than compensated by the subconscious mindset that I'm not going to inadvertently put a bullet in my own leg if my finger slips onto my trigger as I'm drawing (something 20 percent of LA Sheriffs were found to do).

Semi auto versus revolvers.
While most people go for semi autos, many people still go for revolvers.

Nicki








Douglas

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Re: What's a good concealed carry pistol?
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2016, 02:52:36 PM »
i have a variety of pistols, including 1911 types, DA/SA types, and striker fired types (my 44mag revolver is rather big for concealed carry), and i've shot them all both in practice and in timed competition (IDPA), and have learned their pros and cons and my preferences.  it's with that in mind, as well as this being targeted to new shooters, that I have offered the above advice.  for more seasoned shooters, who have had a chance to learn and practice over time, the field is a bit wider open.  my daily carry is a Beretta Px4 compact in 9mm with G type decocker (only decocks the hammer, does not have a safety, so always ready to fire, either DA or SA).  i shoot it quite well, and it gives me 15+1 to start, with extra rounds in a spare magazine.

if, after some searching and experimenting, you find a pistol that you shoot well and that you carry with you always, then i'll call that a win.

sos24

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Re: What's a good concealed carry pistol?
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2016, 04:07:41 PM »
Thank you the post, I think it will be helpful to people that are unfamiliar with guns.

One thing I will add with choosing a gun is you have to be comfortable with it, especially if it is going to be a carry gun.  A lot of people highly discourage safeties and say the only safety required is between the ears. Some people will also discourage DA/SA guns because it is better to have the same trigger pull every time.  Although I understand their reasoning, I also understand that for some people, a gun with a short light trigger pull and no safety, like many striker-fired guns, makes them uncomfortable because they don't have confidence.  For them, I say learn about each and choose what makes you comfortable then train to become even more comfortable because in reality the best gun for you is what you are comfortable enough to carry/use, shoot well, is reliable and will have when you need it.

Texican1911℠

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Re: What's a good concealed carry pistol?
« Reply #11 on: July 28, 2016, 03:40:40 PM »
I think in a high stress situation, which we can all agree shooting someone will be, the 12# pull on a DA/SA first shot vs the 5# on the second shot could cause a ND to someone who hasn't practiced a lot with said gun. Although, anything worth shooting is worth shooting twice.

That said, my HK USP CT45 V1 operates just like a 1911 with the exception of having a decocking lever (the safety) so you can carry DA/SA on half-cock. When carrying it, it's set like that with the safety on. So it's just like shooting a 1911 except for the heavy ass first round.

Indigodog

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Re: What's a good concealed carry pistol?
« Reply #12 on: July 28, 2016, 09:34:37 PM »
I prefer the SA autos myself, but go figure ... my carry pistol is DAO. for now,,,
Life is an adventure. Make it awesome.

John

Werz Waldeau

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Re: What's a good concealed carry pistol?
« Reply #13 on: July 28, 2016, 10:01:23 PM »
While I agree with most of what you said, I do think that double-stack magazines, for the purpose of personal defense EDC handguns, are vastly overrated.  The average (mean) and median number of shots fired in a defensive shooting is two shots; when more shots are fired, the defender usually empties the gun, regardless of capacity.

Single-stack handguns are lighter and conceal better, and for smaller hands, they are easier to grip, which is one of the issues you raised.  The less bulky a handgun is, the more psychologically comfortable you will be with carrying it.  And there is one indisputable fact involved here:  the gun you actually carry is always more effective than the most powerful and high-capacity gun that's kept in the gun safe.

BuddhaFett

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Re: What's a good concealed carry pistol?
« Reply #14 on: July 30, 2016, 01:04:57 PM »
I carry a Glock 19 with an Agency Arms trigger, a SureFire XC1 and a nickel boron slide.  I will soon be replacing that slide with a Unity Tactical ATOM slide so I can attach an Aimpoint T1 to the slide.  I always carry with one in the chamber as should anyone else.  I don't know of any instructor that teaches to carry chamber empty.
I highly recommend doing lots of research into the holster as well and to spend good money on it.  Don't buy a $500 gun then but a $15 holster for it.  I use the T-Rex Arms Sidecar holster that allows me to have a spare mag for a total of 33 rounds on me.  This holster is high quality kydex and will last me many years.  I can also wear it to formal events as it is a tuckable holster which means I can tuck my shirt between the holster and the clips on the belt which makes it extremely concealable.  It cost me $140 but it is well worth it.  Make absolutely sure the trigger is covered.
Oh and one final thing.  Research your carry ammo and verify its function in your gun.  I use 124gr Gold Dots and use the Lawman ammo for practice.  They are designed to mimick the Gold Dot in every way for practice without the $1 a round price tag.
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The world is filled with violence. Because criminals carry guns, we decent law-abiding citizens should also have guns. Otherwise they will win and the decent people will lose.