My Criteria for Choice of Good CCW Gun

This is a discussion on My Criteria for Choice of Good CCW Gun within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I hear a lot of talk about caliber in choosing a CCW gun - or comfort in Carrying. But I think before those considerations there ...

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Thread: My Criteria for Choice of Good CCW Gun

  1. #1
    Ex Member Array walleye's Avatar
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    My Criteria for Choice of Good CCW Gun

    I hear a lot of talk about caliber in choosing a CCW gun - or comfort in Carrying. But I think before those considerations there are others more important, in fact, crucial. Here are mine:

    In general: Pick the gun you could still shoot effectively on the worst shooting day of your life. In a life and death emergency it may well be.

    That means:

    Start with highly reliable guns. Then:

    First, you have to be able to get to your gun under various clothing you may wear, more than just a T-shirt. You may have on a coat, and under that a suitcoat, for example. So, size of the gun or hilt can be a factor as is your ability to grasp it quickly and firmly with clothing a factor.

    Second you have to be able to draw that gun FAST, present it FAST and shoot it accurately FAST, maybe a couple of seconds. A gun can be too large for you to handle well - or too small -

    Third, you have to be able to shoot multiple times, quickly and accurately. So, recoil and the way you can handle that in a perspective gun comes into play and how easily you can shoot it with accuracy.

    After a good period of practice, out of those guns you can do all the above with with ease, pick the greatest caliber.

    Out of all those, pick the one that feels most comfortable carrying in concealment.

    (If it's impossible to conceal the gun, well, start again with another. Keep in mind though you can sometimes find ways to conceal a great SD gun by dressing for it or by choosing a holster that makes it possible.)


    So, my .357 Colt Python, while it WOULD be great for SD, and may be for SOMEONE ELSE, isn't for ME, because while I can shoot it well at the range, I can't draw it anywhere near as fast as others I have with my small hands and it's big hilt. Plus, even with a good holster, it's bulk and weight get to me carrying it. Too bad, but that is the reality.

    I think the reality of what may happen in an emergency - being thrown off what can work at a range - means you have to examine the needs of an emergency when you may well not shoot your best or fumble the draw - or find that tiny gun that is so comfortable to carry you now can't even locate quickly as someone runs at you with a knife. A gun that costs $3000 and your friends love won't be good for you if you can't use it well when death stares you in the face.

    Anyway, my view for what it's worth.....
    Last edited by walleye; November 8th, 2011 at 08:13 AM.

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    Distinguished Member Array noway2's Avatar
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    What you have said is true. Speed, which you mention frequently, is a function of practice and training. As is often pointed out here, putting holes in paper ever few weeks or months isn't going to prepare your for an SD situation. As you also pointed out, your fine motor control will go in the toilet. This is also another reason for practice because your gross motor skills will take over and you will automatically do what you have practiced. This also comes into play in terms of safeties and whether or not you want one on your weapon.

    This last weekend, when I stopped at the gun store, the salesman was telling me that there is a difference between a carry gun and a range gun. While I didn't agree with him, for the reasons spelled out in this thread, I didn't waste the time to argue with him either . Other factors to consider are getting a GOOD holster that will securely retain your gun and not contribute to NDs during insertion or removal. When it comes to holsters, you also should get one that facilitates your ability to place your weapon because if you do draw in a situation, you don't necessarily want to be standing around holding it for hours afterwards either and may not be able to go to a private facility to undress and get it back in place.

  4. #3
    Distinguished Member Array Fitch's Avatar
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    FWIW, my criteria in order of application:
    1. Reliability. If it doesn't go off when the trigger is pulled, it's just an odd shaped rock.
    2. Concealability with both clothes to be worn and activities planned. If it won't conceal, it can't go. If I don't have it with me, I can't use it.
    3. Accuracy. Hits are what counts. Ability to make COM hits with it at zero to 7 yards. More accuracy is better subject to 1 - 2 above.
    4. Cartridge. The most cartridge that is consistant with 1 - 3 above.
    5. Ammo capacity. More is better if it doesn't compromise 1 - 4 above.
    Speed isn't there because it is a criteria for choice of concealment method. Holster choice and location have more to do with speed than about anything else. Any gun will be fast enough if it is already in the hand. I have 3 hosters for the LCP, the DeSantis Nemessis is the fastest pocket holster I have, so that's what I use when it's in a pocket. If I can carry it in the CrossBreed MiniTuck I do, but that isn't nearly as common as pocket carry for that gun. Holster choice is a different topic.

    Order of application is important for selecting guns to buy to cover the expected variation in clothes. Over time, using these criteria, between my wife and I we have chosen 4 carry guns which we can pick from to best satisfy the criteria on any given occasion: G19, G26, P238, LCP. (The P238 is hers - I don't reach for it with anything I'm not willing to lose.) I'm still looking for a micro-9mmP to go between the G26 and the LCP. If I don't find a micro-9mmP I'll probably get a second P238 for myself.

    Once one has a selection of guns, the order is important but the choice of the particular gun depends almost exclusively on what clothes are required and the activities planned when it's carried. I pick the most gun that can be concealed from the selection available. In other words, I may be going to the doctors office wearing a sweatshirt, but I'll pack the LCP instead of the G19 because I may have to take the sweatshirt off.

    There are lots of other guns just as reliable, or desirable, or acceptable, those are ours, so far. So, in order of desirability, I carry a G19, G26, or an LCP depending on the clothes I will be wearing. My wife carries the P238, or nothing.

    All are have been demonstrated to be reliable (200 rounds of breakin including 100 rounds failure free with carry ammo - the reliability test is conducted using all the magazines to be carried in a rotation). Depending on the clothes that suit the occasion I can always conceal at least one of them. All are one of two 9mm cartridges (9x19 or 9x17) because we shoot them better than .40 or .45.

    YMMV.

    Fitch
    "A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity"Sigmund Freud

  5. #4
    Ex Member Array walleye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fitch View Post
    FWIW, my criteria in order of application:
    1. Reliability. If it doesn't go off when the trigger is pulled, it's just an odd shaped rock.
    2. Concealability with both clothes to be worn and activities planned. If it won't conceal, it can't go. If I don't have it with me, I can't use it.
    3. Accuracy. Hits are what counts. Ability to make COM hits with it at zero to 7 yards. More accuracy is better subject to 1 - 2 above.
    4. Cartridge. The most cartridge that is consistant with 1 - 3 above.
    5. Ammo capacity. More is better if it doesn't compromise 1 - 4 above.
    Speed isn't there because it is a criteria for choice of concealment method. Holster choice and location have more to do with speed than about anything else. Any gun will be fast enough if it is already in the hand. I have 3 hosters for the LCP, the DeSantis Nemessis is the fastest pocket holster I have, so that's what I use when it's in a pocket. If I can carry it in the CrossBreed MiniTuck I do, but that isn't nearly as common as pocket carry for that gun. Holster choice is a different topic.

    Order of application is important for selecting guns to buy to cover the expected variation in clothes. Over time, using these criteria, between my wife and I we have chosen 4 carry guns which we can pick from to best satisfy the criteria on any given occasion: G19, G26, P238, LCP. (The P238 is hers - I don't reach for it with anything I'm not willing to lose.) I'm still looking for a micro-9mmP to go between the G26 and the LCP. If I don't find a micro-9mmP I'll probably get a second P238 for myself.

    Once one has a selection of guns, the order is important but the choice of the particular gun depends almost exclusively on what clothes are required and the activities planned when it's carried. I pick the most gun that can be concealed from the selection available. In other words, I may be going to the doctors office wearing a sweatshirt, but I'll pack the LCP instead of the G19 because I may have to take the sweatshirt off.

    There are lots of other guns just as reliable, or desirable, or acceptable, those are ours, so far. So, in order of desirability, I carry a G19, G26, or an LCP depending on the clothes I will be wearing. My wife carries the P238, or nothing.

    All are have been demonstrated to be reliable (200 rounds of breakin including 100 rounds failure free with carry ammo - the reliability test is conducted using all the magazines to be carried in a rotation). Depending on the clothes that suit the occasion I can always conceal at least one of them. All are one of two 9mm cartridges (9x19 or 9x17) because we shoot them better than .40 or .45.

    YMMV.

    Fitch
    You're right about reliability right at the top - that was an assumption I made since all of mine are reliable but I'm going to edit my original post and insert that. Thanks.

    For me speed and type of concealment are not the same. I can't shoot every gun equally fast from draw, some point much more easily, some have the perfect size hilt for me, weight etc. , some don't. People have different size hands, are different ages, have varying eyesight - and while practice can help a great deal, I'd rather start with a gun that has ease for me in the beginning. I also will like shooting that gun a lot. After all, we aren't assigned one gun like LEOs - we have lots of choices.

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    Senior Member Array SCfromNY's Avatar
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    Again, reliability #1 otherwise why carry. In the usually reliable guns, (Glock, H&K) I am satisfied with 300 rounds practice and 50 rounds self defense. While 2 of my 1911s are NOW totally reliable I will not carry a gun with a safety. I compete with them and know how easy it is to forget safety.

    Work on smooth and fast will come. Fast will not help if your shots can not be placed COM.

    I always use IWB except occasional pocket (PM9) carry. 90% of the time H&K P2000 or P2000sk.
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    Member Array TommyGun4169's Avatar
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    I rather carry a full size or Compact gun than a pocket pistol. I will dress around my carry gun somewhat and use holsters that carry high and close to the body.
    Pocket guns are okay for non-gun encounters but I wouldn't want to get into a gunfight with one, thats for full and compact guns. My summer clothes are boxy, long, button, casual dress shirts like Levis or Wrangler and short or full denims. A full sized gun to me is a faster draw than a pocket or sub-compact. I do own a Glock 26 but I use it with the 12 round magazines with the pinky extension. It don't bother me to be "strapped" all day in fact, I like it ! Everyone has a different comfort level though.
    I just feel to be at a total tactical advantage you have to give up a little comfort.

    Outlaw Guns and Only Outlaws Will Have Guns !!

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    VIP Member Array BugDude's Avatar
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    Good rationale. I own a large variety of handguns (brands, types, sizes, etc.) to meet different needs and situations, but I have naturally drifted to one or two that have become my most carried ones. Consciously or unconsciously, likely for many of the reasons that have been listed here already. The one I personally find myself carrying the most is my XD40sc. My second most is my S&W 442 (and I often carry them both at the same time). In analyzing my reasons in light of the posts above, I would say because on my worst days at the range I still shoot both of them great. They are both easy to carry, and they fit my hand well. I also have over 1,000 rounds through each of them and they are very intuitive to me, no safeties, etc. Both have also proven to be very reliable.

    I have recently acquired a Glock 36, but I don't have enough time behind it to feel comfortable with my abilities with it yet. I really like it, so I intend to invest enough time into training with it to make it one of my regular carry guns.
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    Ex Member Array walleye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BugDude View Post
    Good rationale. I own a large variety of handguns (brands, types, sizes, etc.) to meet different needs and situations, but I have naturally drifted to one or two that have become my most carried ones. Consciously or unconsciously, likely for many of the reasons that have been listed here already. The one I personally find myself carrying the most is my XD40sc. My second most is my S&W 442 (and I often carry them both at the same time). In analyzing my reasons in light of the posts above, I would say because on my worst days at the range I still shoot both of them great. They are both easy to carry, and they fit my hand well. I also have over 1,000 rounds through each of them and they are very intuitive to me, no safeties, etc. Both have also proven to be very reliable.

    I have recently acquired a Glock 36, but I don't have enough time behind it to feel comfortable with my abilities with it yet. I really like it, so I intend to invest enough time into training with it to make it one of my regular carry guns.
    Sounds like you are a wise shooter!

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    Senior Member Array rljohns's Avatar
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    The one I shoot best and carry the best is my Kimber 3" CDP utra 1911 .45ACP. Even thought it is only a 3 inche 1911 I am very accurate with it. I carry a 7rd mag and 2 spare 10 rd mags.

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