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frank002 03-10-2009 10:57 PM

Questions on concealed carry
I am thinking about getting a gun for concealed carry and have a couple of questions. I have heard that the .380 is underpowered and not recommended. A of of people recommend the 38Spl or 9mm. I was also looking at the Ruger LCP, which has an ideal size for carry but it only comes in.380. A couple of small frame revolvers from Smith & Wesson look good and come in 38Spl. Suggestions appreciated. Thanks.

dragunovsks 03-11-2009 02:19 AM

I've heard that anything below a .380 is underpowered and is not for concealed carry, I've also heard the same thing starting with the 9mil. I want to be sure, and I like big guns so I carry a .45. Personally I wouldn't go with anything smaller than a 9mm.

This may be starting something but I definately like the .45 ACP round's knockdown power over the 9mil. The latter has the tendancy to "fly" straight through your target causing little damage.

Bighead 03-12-2009 11:04 AM

It is a constant trade off size versus convenience.

If you knew you were headed into a fight you would take the biggest handgun you had...and a shotgun...and a rifle. Then again if you knew you were headed into a fight it might be advisable to change directions.

If you are in your "man about town" mode, you want to have something to help be prepared in case you can't avoid a violent confrontation. First question is, "Do I want to be shot with a .380?" The answer is no, because I don't want to be shot with anything. So if an ultra compact like the LCP is something that you will carry regularly, then I think it is a fine choice. In the trade off the LCP offers a very small, very flat package for a slightly anemic round like the .380ACP (also know as 9mm short), but never the less it will help you settle the argument.

Would a Smith snubby is .38 Special be better? That depends on whether you'll regularly carry it. Even for a small gun the J-frame Smith's are quite a bit larger than something like the LCP. But you get some more "oomph" if you have the pull the trigger. There's your trade off.

JD will be around in a bit, and he (like many others) is not comfortable with a 90 grain .380ACP. He trades the convenience of carrying a small, lightweight pistol for the, I don't know, lets call it "assurance" that comes with a brickbat 1911 spitting 230 grain .45 ACP fireballs. I can't say that I don't see where he is coming from, cuz I like big guns & big bullets too. However, in the summer I've been known to pocket carry a Smith 442 or (don't laugh guys) a Kel-Tec P32 (before the 3AT or the LCP models came out).

The tradeoff in carrying a gun like a .32 Kel-Tec is small bullet/mediocre reliability for super-ease of carry. I considered my risk potential and accepted that a P32 was all the gun I was going to carry that day. Those decisions are personal for everyone, but I say better the .32ACP in your pocket instead of the .45 ACP that got left on the nightstand.

Risk assessment is part of it as well. Would I suggest a night manager at the local stop & rob doing his bank deposits carry a micro-compact .380? Probably not, just like I wouldn't go into the street as a police officer carrying anything less than a full-size fighting pistol.

The long and short of it is that you have to decide what your risk potential is, and decide what the biggest gun you think you will regularly carry is.

One more thing, and I can't remember where I heard this, but I liked it so I'll pass it along: "Carry guns are supposed to be comforting, not comfortable."

Bighead 03-12-2009 11:26 AM


Suggestions appreciated.
Smith 442/642

Kahr PM9

Glock pistols: 26, 27, 19, 23, 36

Walther PPS 9mm

SigSauer P239 or P250 compact.

I'll leave others to discuss 1911s for carry because I've never owned anything but 5-inch guns, and never carried one regularly.

Scrapper 03-12-2009 12:12 PM

As previously said, it's convenience versus confidence.

Small guns are easy to carry, easy to conceal, and don't interfere with your life. They are also inherently weak.

Big guns are very comforting. .45 ACP is a proven man-stopper, as is .357 magnum, .44 magnum, and .40. These frames tend to run larger and heavier as a logical result.

Good compromises are out there. There are some very small/light 9mm autos out there. While some disparage 9mm, it has a decent track record for making bad guys change their minds about doing ill to the bearer.

I like carrying a .357 snubbie as a compromise. Lightweight frame, plenty of power. .38+P is pretty handy too.

At the end of the day, it's up to you. There is an old saying where I come from:

"When the sh!t hits the fan, a (snubbie/.380/.25acp) in the hand is worth two 1911's at home in the safe."

Gojubrian 03-12-2009 01:21 PM

Springfield Xd sub-compact in .40. Small auto and good for carry with the 9round magazine with plenty of power.

Good compromise for me. I'm not comfortable with anything smaller in caliber.

stalkingbear 03-12-2009 10:02 PM

Rule #1 for winning a gunfight/defense situation-HAVE A GUN! The smaller and lighter the gun is, the more likely you are to have it with you when it's needed. Having said that, I personally feel that a PRIMARY defense handgun should be no smaller than 9mm or .40S&W. I carry an Ruger LCP as an backup gun to my "pocket" .45acp. The smallest 9mm I'm aware of, and no larger/heavier than my LCP is Rohrbaugh 9mm DAO. Rohrbaugh Firearms

Gojubrian 03-12-2009 11:22 PM

Good grief those are expensive!!

chopkick 03-13-2009 03:27 AM

The old school of thought was and probably still is that anything below .380 is not practical for self-defense. However, as others have mentioned, any gun is better than nothing. Hell if all I had was a .22, I would carry it.

Ammo quality has came a long way since the 80's and 90's. Regarding the popular and for the most part true theory that the 9mm round would pass completely through the target and possibly cause collateral damage. The advancements of bullet designs have lessened those risks greatly.

I would personally not carry anything under a .380 if I could help it. You want a caliber that will defeat winter/heavy clothing and still cause effective tissue damage.

Franciscomv 03-13-2009 03:20 PM

As some people have already mentioned, it's all about compromise. For MY personal needs, steel framed S&W J frames are perfect when a bigger gun is out of the question.

It's important to get something you really like. You'll train more with a gun you enjoy shooting than with a "superior" weapon that you don't really care for. I love snubbies, and I put a lot of rounds a week through mine. In a fight, I'll be better off with my 5 or 6 shot revolver than with a higher capacity compact semiauto just because I'm a better shot with my wheelguns.

If you are accurate with a small .380, and you use good ammo (I like Cor-Bon's Pow'rball), I say go for it. A full sized handgun, in a caliber like .357 or .45 will probably be better at stopping someone, but if it's too big for you to carry or you can't get good shot placement with that caliber, then it's worthless.

With that been said, try out some of the smaller 9mm and .38 handguns. You might find something that's as comfortable as a .380 to carry, and has a bit more power without being hard at all to control.

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