Practical Pistols for Carry.

Discussion in 'Concealed Carrying & Personal Protection' started by Dallas53, Apr 22, 2018.

  1. Dallas53

    Dallas53 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    lets look at this in practical, and realistic manner. what type of pistol to carry? well, that is a very subjective question, and will be based upon the individual, and their own unique factors as to what is the best choice in pistols for carry purposes.

    so, i'm not even going to focus on specific pistols or brands, but more in generalities that would apply to the majority of most people who carry.

    now sometimes, what i see on various forums, this one as well, and many others over the years, is that sometimes, people tend to overthink, or try to make thinks more complex than they really need to be. this also concerns accessories that are associated with the pistol carry, like the holster, the ammo, and spare mags, or speedloaders, if it's a revolver.

    so lets look at what is needed. first of all, a pistol of your choice! DUH! :D then a holster or case of some sort to carry the pistol, and then of course, ammo. what i tend to see is that people tend to focus too much on matters that IMO really don't matter a hill of beans for a carry pistol, that is carried for SD. how much accuracy do you really need? IMO, not that much, since most encounters of an attack where a LAC used their carry firearm in self defense, the average distance according to most statistics, is usually under twenty feet. so, being realistic, really how much accuracy is really needed? and from my own personal experiences and observances of owning a shooting many different pistols for more than forty years, most out of the box pistols are way more accurate than the people who own and shoot them. people many times tend to focus on sights too much as well. in a violent encounter, is the attacker going to allow you to take careful aim with the sights? some how, i think not. so don't make sights a big issue and learn to just shoot the pistol more by instinct, because in such an encounter, that is what you will need to rely upon. K.I.S.S. is my mantra! i like to think to keep things as simple as possible when it comes to a carry pistol. my main criteria, are how well it fits my hand and how reliable the pistol is. those two factors being met, i can work around most anything else. size will be a determining factor for most of us. so bear that in mind as well.

    ammo. is another big thing that some get hung up on. don't. try out various ammo of a JHP type, and find what feeds reliably in your pistol. i concentrate on reliability more than any other factor. how well a particular ammo expands, or how far it penetrates, or how accurate are irrelevant to me. why? because if the pistol won't feed the ammo, those factors mean nothing. nada. zip. zero! even FMJ "ball" ammo that feeds reliably is superior to the best, or most expensive SD ammo on the market that won't in your pistol. reliability are what i stress people focus on with their ammo choices. most modern SD ammo from the major manufacturers, are going to perform pretty close to one another for the most part. focus on reliability. another question that pops up quite a bit when it comes to ammo. what ammo is the best for my pistol? gee, the ammo that feeds and works every time in your pistol.:rolleyes: what works in my pistols, and is my best choice, could be a very poor choice for your pistol. buy some ammo and try it out is the best answer i can give that question. go to the range and spend some time shooting your pistol and learn it. get comfortable with it. another one concerning accuracy again. i generally use about an 8" diameter at about 10 yards as my testing procedures for a carry pistol. if i can keep the entire magazine of ammo within that 8" circle at 10 yards, i call it acceptable as far as accuracy of what i feel is needed. again, i will stress, that most pistols out of the box, are going to for the most part, more accurate than the person who buys it, and shoots it.

    holsters. whooooo....where to start! buy and try is my best advice. i generally go through at least two holsters per pistol, finding what works best for my purposes. so all others can do is really make suggestions as to what brands to look at that might work well for the person.
     
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  2. Balota

    Balota ... but I used to play keyboards. Staff Member Admin Moderator Lifetime Supporter

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    Dang, Dallas, that's one giant can of worms to open up in a single thread!

    Here's my thoughts about features of a good carry gun.

    1. It should be a gun you are willing to actually carry.
    2. It should be a gun you are actually familiar with from meaningful practice.
    3. It should be a gun you are 100% confident will fire reliably on demand.

    Ammo should be run through the gun enough to be sure the gun will operate properly with. Practice with whatever you can afford. But run at least a few boxes of the defense ammo you carry before committing to it.

    Holster needs to retain the gun even in some extreme conditions like being knocked down or falling, running, crouching or kneeling. Part of the success or failure of this aspect is the quality of the belt.

    Other clothing considerations include what is needed to comply with local laws regarding concealment, printing, etc.

    Some dry fire practice with the overall system of carry is, in my opinion, almost mandatory. You need to know that if/when you decide to go for the gun, you will be able to get it in your hand quickly and reliably. Tangling up in your cover garment, being unable to untuck your shirt, forgetting to hit the release on the retention holster, etc. These could be fatal errors that are preventable with practice. All of those things have happened to me, thankfully only in benign situations like dry fire practice or IDPA matches.
     

  3. Dallas53

    Dallas53 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    i ain't skeered! :D i like worms. they are usually the best fishing bait! :)

    good points Mr. Balota.
     
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  4. Danoobie

    Danoobie Well-Known Member

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    One last thing to consider: The large amounts of discipline-less brats and SJWs wandering
    around shopping areas, these days. The brats are troublesome, because they are looking at your wardrobe from a different angle, and have zero discipline from their parents.

    But the SJWs just want to "teach you a lesson" for CCW, by stealing your gun and doing
    Lord knows what with it.

    Lately, I'm finding pocket carry of a snubby or small CZ is preferable to hanging it out there
    in a holster, in a crowd.
     
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  5. Fred_G

    Fred_G Well-Known Member

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    A good belt is important as well. Good points.
     
  6. RJF22553

    RJF22553 Well-Known Member

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    All great posts! I settled on a Bersa Thunder 380 ("Combat" model) because it just felt right in my hands. Didn't really want to add a caliber to the ammo inventory, but due to weight/muscle loss, a 92FS or a 1911 frame were just too heavy and bulky, and a 9mm in a small-framed gun (e.g. LC9) is just too much recoil for me to shoot comfortably. Hate Striker-fired pistols, so the BT was just right for me: most of the safety/mag release functions are basically in the same places as my 92FS and 1911. It is also DA/SA, which was important to me. After many years of being hesitant to carry a round in the chamber, I do with this one, with the safety off, all the time. Takes a pretty stout trigger pull to get things going; then it is just like my 1911 or 92FS (only more comfortable and with an easier re-acquiring of a "target".

    It is comfortable to shoot all day long, which to me is important in order to maintain proficiency (if it hurts to shoot, one will tend to avoid that). That is mostly plinking at 4" spinners at about 20'. I use standard FMJ because I buy in bulk and tend to shoot a lot when the opportunity presents itself. In fact, the only non-FMJ non-.22 ammo I have is with my M1 Carbine (and even then, it is about a 50/50 mix of that and FMJ).

    I carry it everywhere it is legal to do so. It is in a pocket holster in my jeans' back pocket, and I often practice "the draw": time from pull to "on target" is about a second usually; first shot might not be as accurate (still needs practice) due to DA on first shot, but accurate enough for SD at 20'. Always carry at least one spare mag, usually two...Yes, a flimsy pocket holster does sometimes cause it to fall out when I am laying on my back in a supine position, and could be a problem were I to be violently knocked down. I'm okay with that, since under normal circumstances I won't need to worry about clearing a retaining strap when drawing. Perhaps with some training, I could get that part down.

    I have had it for over three years, with hundreds of rounds through it, with nary a failure of any type. I just need to practice speed mag changes...

    A bit long, but wanted to share my thought-processes. They pretty much echo the logic in the previous posts. Have tried some compact 9mm pistols, unsuccessfully in terms of my personal accuracy (was disappointed in the Bersa 9mm not because of its inherent accuracy - was a friend's who could shoot the eyelashes off of a gnat at 20'). For me, there were a few rounds that didn't even hit 8"X11" paper at 20' (one actually shattered the stand).

    I love my Bersa, and even got one in .22LR to make practice less expensive (and fun). It is my go-to plinker and, after switching to CCI MiniMags exclusively (and a few hundred rounds), is just as reliable as my 380. Should my .380 ever be "under the weather", I would be comfortable with the .22: same form, fit, function, and accuracy. Safety and mag releases are identical and in the dark, the only differences are the .22 is a bit lighter and the recoil considerably less. Nifty light-show from both in the dark, though...
     
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  7. Rifling82

    Rifling82 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I always ask myself if the gun is something I want to carry every day, I'm 5'11" 180 pounds... I have a hard time concealing a full size gun so tend to go with subcompacts
     
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  8. Chainfire

    Chainfire Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You aren't trying very hard. I am 5'8" and 175 and I carry a full size 1911 comfortably and well hidden and, I do it in the blazing hot South in the Summer time. On top of that I am also a grey-haired old man.....Good gun, good holster, good belt, and good cover clothing.

    If you shoot a sub-compact well and you are happy with it's ability to stop any threat you are likely to meet, then you are home free.
     
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  9. Fred_G

    Fred_G Well-Known Member

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    Odd, I don't have trouble with a full size gun. But, I am not really concerned about printing some. Interesting thread. I loved a little Kahr P380, but it had "issues" so got rid of it.
     
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  10. Rifling82

    Rifling82 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    All about comfort for me
     
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  11. Rifling82

    Rifling82 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I don't want to have to try hard to conceal a gun, with the advacments in light weight guns in small packages don't really have to
     
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  12. Balota

    Balota ... but I used to play keyboards. Staff Member Admin Moderator Lifetime Supporter

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    For the past several years, I've mostly open carried. But recently (last 6 months), I've started carrying IWB and blousing my shirt tail over the gun and spare mag. On weekends with a more relaxed dress code, I use loose Hawaiian shirts as cover garments. I carry Springfield XDm Compact 9mm with Hornady Critical Defense rounds. I often forget it's there if I'm walking around, though it usually reminds me when I sit down. I can live with that much discomfort.
     
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  13. formerCav

    formerCav Well-Known Member

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    Requirements to me are:
    1) you shoot it WELL
    2) you have a GOOD holster and more importantly, a good GUN BELT.
    If you don't have a good gun belt, it will move around on you, chafe you, and you WON'T carry it.
    Ask me how I found this out!!
     
  14. Greg_r

    Greg_r Well-Known Member

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    Opinions differ. Here are mine.

    1. It must be reliable
    2. You must be reasonably accurate with it
    3. You must be well trained with it
    4. It must be simple to operate, like a point and shoot camera.
    5. It should be light weight and comfortable to carry
    6. It would have a fitted holster, not some generic "fits 2 inch barrelled revolvers" but fitted to your individual firearm.
    7. A good belt designed for carry
    8. It must meet minimum penetration standards. The FBI 12" standard is a good place to start. Penetration trumps expansion. ( You might need to go through a jacket sleeve, a shirt sleeve, an arm, a shirt sleeve, a jacket sleeve, a coat, shirt, undershirt, skin, and a few inches of muscle before you get to the vitals. Think about it.)
     
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  15. Dallas53

    Dallas53 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    i see several mention comfort about a carry pistol. very, very good point. a pistol and holster that are comfortable to carry, that it's to the point you don't even notice you are carrying, is the goal you are after. IMO, this having picked the right combination of pistol, holster and belt, if required.

    and it's something i consider to be important. if the pistol isn't comfortable to carry, it may possibly get left at home in the safe, instead of on you where it may be needed. some may turn their noses up, may even scoff at your choice to carry some micro, or pocket pistol, but that smaller pistol you are carrying, beats hands down, the larger one sitting at home in the safe.

    everybody is offering some good advice and suggestions. great posts everyone! :)
     
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  16. Chainfire

    Chainfire Well-Known Member Supporter

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    That is a valid reason. I feel differently about it. That is why they make big guns and small guns.

    I want a big-ole heavy-weight gun that shoots a big-ole heavy bullet, so that if I have to use it, it will do what was intended. I want a gun that I can hit a target with every time, at a reasonable distance; a gun with a century of proven performance and that was specifically designed wit a cartridge meant to stop drugged up fanatics. If such a gun weighs 16 oz. more, or needs and expensive holster rather than my jeans pockets, so be it, I will adjust. I don't build my self defense system based on small and lightweight, or needing to fit in a vest pocket.... if I did, I guess a Raven MP-15, or a Beretta Jetfire, would be a good choice, they are small, lightweight, dependable, and all metal.
     
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  17. Chainfire

    Chainfire Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Fair enough...You want to be comfortable, I want to be comforted.
     
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  18. Chainfire

    Chainfire Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Exactly.
     
  19. RJF22553

    RJF22553 Well-Known Member

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    Dallas, thank you for starting this thread. Multiple opinions, as expected, from multiple folks with differing views and physical attributes. All worthy of digestion.

    At 5'10" and struggling to get up to 130 pounds of late (used to be 165), my needs/desires - leading to opinions - may differ from many. Such is the way of the world. And of this forum.

    In the vernacular, "Your Mileage May Vary"...
     
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  20. Dallas53

    Dallas53 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    you're welcome RJF. :)

    my hope is it will help those new to carrying to not over-think it, and not complicate things any further than they need to be. K.I.S.S., or simplify as needed. might be of some help to even those more veteran carriers as well.

    i'm right at 5'11", about 180 lbs., which is about twenty pounds heavier than i was in high school, just that it's moved to different places than when i was in high school!

    yes, differing viewpoints, but all of them very valid points, that may be of some help to someone. and humor is welcome and expected too! :D
     
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