I carry either a full size 1911 or a StarFire .40 (compact) with equal ease and I am not a generously proportioned male. That said the very best is that which you do carry. Better to have and not need, than to need and not have.
Depends on what you like and what you shoot the best. Depends on which caliber as well. I prefer at least a 9mm +P or larger for my self defense caliber. Some choose .380 as a minimum. I also prefer Glocks and find the G19/G23/G32 (9mm/.40s&w/.357sig) compacts or the G29/G30 (10mm/.45acp) sub-compacts to be ideal.
i started out carrying makarov (9 x 18) but i prefered the 1911.
MY 1911 would move around on me a lot.
I found the solution to the problem is to buy a good holster and a good gunbelt.
I bought a comp-tac brand c-tac IWB holster for CCW and it works great.
their site is www.comp-tac.com
The belt I bought is an IWB. It is leather and is about 1/4 inch thick x 1-1/2 wide. This ANCHORS the gun and holster in place. I bought the belt at the location where I went to for my CCW classes.
I now carry my 1911 full sized pistol where ever I go 24/7.
I hasn't been made yet if you want to know my thoughts. If I could get find someone to make it, I'd like a Kel Tec P-11 or SKYY CPX in .45 GAP. Both are small, easily concealed pistols currently in 9mm. The .45 GAP was designed from the get-go as a round that delivers .45 ACP stopping power in a 9mm sized frame. Put the two together and I think one of those companies would have a real winner on their hands!
Actually, there has been a lot of talk about why the GAP round was even designed in the first place. Well, if someome at K-T or SKYY would take this ball and run with it, they just may come up with the perfect concealed carry pistol AND put to rest the question of why have the .45 GAP round.
I's say carry the biggest one you are able to shoot straight and are able to carry comfortably. Smaller is not always better. If confronted by someone high on drugs you need all the knockdown power you can get. I prefer & carry a Ruger P345 .45 auto. Not a fast or high tech caliber, but definitely will get the job done BETTER than most.
As a police combat firearms instructor, people ask me all the time what the best defensive carry gun to have is, well when I was carrying a badge, where and how I carried off duty didn't really matter, so I used to tell people to get the biggest, most powerfull handgun that they could comfortably carry and shoot, suggestions like the 1911, high power, or the Smith mod. 19 or 66- 2" would come to mind.
Now that I'm retired from active duty, I got to look at the subjectin a different light, as a civilian, my reasons for carrying are different, I no longer need an auto-loader with 16 rounds, or a big rev. and three speed loaders, I'm not responding to calls, the only people that I'm protecting for the most part are me and my family.
It took me awile to adjust, but it was worth it, I've found what I think is the perfect, everyday carry gun.
It's stainless and aircraft aluminum parts are weather and sweat proof, it's double action only, no slide stops, decockers, or safeties to worry about, no magazines to accidently drop out, just load it, point and shoot, it don't get any simpler than that.
It holds five rounds of .38 calliber power, with light wgt. silver tips or hydro-shocks it's managable to shoot accuratly for just about anyone, carry a speed strip or speed loader if you feel like tou need to, but if you can't stop an attacker with a double tap to the chest, or two attackers, with a round left for a third, you should not have gone there to begin with.
The gun that I carry every day is the S&W model 642-2 Centenial, it's unmodified, out of the box great, no sharp edges, no adj. sights, no hamer to catch on clothing, it's just right size lets you hide it in an in the pants holster or do as I do and just slip it in your favorite pocket , It's the right weight, the right size, and the right calliber that will keep you from putting it in a drawer at home because it's too uncomfortable to carry, it will be there when you need it, that my new advice.
until coming to NY.,my carry was colt 45 auto,or my S&W 40 sigma.I love the 45,but the sigma pisol is definately a lot lighter to carry,and with hydroshock melon-busters,its almost as powerful as the 45.now I just have to get my permit here....hard to believe,have to have a permit to even have a pistol in your own home,much less to be able to carry,. A CCW is even harder to get.
I suggest a glock 19, its easy to conceal, not heavy, and carries up to the generous 12 mag. I carry mine with 9mm hollow points, and its saves my life once already and i never have had a problem with it. If your looking for something alot smaller, go for the 6.35mm cz. I love mine to bits and can conceal it pretty much anywere, yes... way to small a caliber, i know... but fill the cute 6 mag with hollow points and its actually not that bad!!!
For carry I utilize a Glock 27 Sub compact .40 cal, A Glock 23 compact .40 cal or a Kel-Tec PF9 9mm. Summer time I mainly carry the Kel-Tec PF9 - it is light - holds 7+1 - and drops in a pocket holster just fine. I just met a guy yesterday that swears by his Kimber Ultra Carry II. The good thing is that there are many choices for a concealable firearm today. Go to a range that rents guns and try out a few. What I like - you may hate. 1st post on this board - just found you guys/gals!