This is a discussion on Steel vs Alloy frame for CCW? within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Originally Posted by Rugergirl I work from home as well, and I'm usually in jeans and a sweatshirt. For me weight isn't an issue at ...
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The thing about "defense" is that it has practically nothing to do with guns. (As passed on by CCW9MM)
I do not have to ware a suit or shirt and tie very often, so I go with a full size 1911 or officers model. But one important rule in general is an alum frame or small poly, carry a lot and shoot a little.
I find carrying alloy and polymer framed guns much easier to carry. Health issues play a role in that decision but after carrying for years as an LEO, I've come to appreciate the lighter weight guns...
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I new I would get some useful reply's here.
Keep them coming if there are more. I still cannot make up my mind.
I find it's not so much the weight of the gun but the thickness that impacts comfort. lightweight kimber is as comfortable as my 642. YMMV
Clint Smith states that carrying a defensive weapon should be comforting, not necessarily comfortable.
As with others who have posted, I have a variety of sidearms to fit a number of missions and modes of dress. Around the house I'm usually carrying a compact Kahr CW9 or Taurus PT111 because they are lightweight and convenient, and there is always another handgun available nearby. When I leave the house there will usually either be a J-frame snub in my pocket or an alloy Kimber 1911 (28 oz) on my hip. Hiking out away from developed areas, the G23 or one of the big .45s will be on my hip in a substantial holster on a gun belt. And always, always (did I say always?) have spare ammo on board.
Your defensive sidearm just needs to work for you. I started out carrying a full-size 1911, and the smaller, lighter guns just naturally came along over time.
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Belt Holster carry: S&W 640- Stainless Steel .38Spcl+P
Pocket carry: S&W 642 Alloy (Standard Pressure)
I carry both ways (depends on weather and occasion) so I ended up with two guns. I prefer the 640 but there are times it just isn't practical.
My neighbor has one of 2 lbs+ long slide steel 1911 clones that he claims is the minimum for self defense. He has it, but he doesn't carry it! He's always telling me I need a real man's gun, but while he's talking he is usually unarmed while I am carrying the snubby. Get the biggest most stable handgun you can comfortably carry. If your wardrobe can hide a big gun, you should carry it. But if you dress a little lighter get a gun you will carry.
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Hard to say what you'd do based on how you'd feel. I can only describe my experience and attempt to explain how I'd view it.Steel vs Alloy frame for CCW?
STI has two frame options for their VIP 1911 pistol, one in steel and the other in forged aluminum. STI quotes the aluminum frame as saving a bit over 4oz. I've seen a couple examples of other (non STI) pistols where 7-8oz was saved by going to lighter materials. Will that reduction make all the difference for a given person? It depends on that person's gear and tolerance for weight.
My carry gear has never been above 31oz for the gun, plus loaded magazines, riding on a quality "gun" belt and holster. For years, I carried a Browning BDM, 31oz, 15+1 rds, and 8" OAL. For the past 3yrs, I have carried a CZ P-01, 28oz, 14+1 rds, and 7.2" OAL.
On the target range and in open field shooting (on public lands), I have also carried a Kahr CW9 (16oz, 7+1 rds, 6" OAL). Probably the lightest gun I have carried IWB or OWB is a S&W 442 Airweight, at 16oz, 5 rds, 6.5" OAL.
Verdict: While the additional 11-14oz is noticeable to a degree, I don't feel that it gets in the way of my carrying the heavier pistols. Though I do limit the weight to 31oz at the heaviest (with the Browning BDM). Yes, I like pistols on the 20-25oz range. But I'm also comfortable with another 5-10oz beyond that. Remember, with any pistol is going to be another three loaded magazines, as well.
As you have noticed there's are a lot of good recommendations here to follow. I believe that lighter is better because you'll carry it more. If you like the 1911 action and the weight of the SS 5" doesn't bother you go ahead and carry it. It all boils down to personal wants and desires. For myself usually in the summer its the S&W 642 with +P rounds with a speed loader in the cargo pocket. The way you dress will define what you're planning on carrying. I stopped using the IWB holsters years ago due to comfort and went with a belt holster for a Glock 23. I'm 5'08" and weight 182 lbs and it's not an issue. Same thing when I use to carry a Colt Officer year round. But back to the all SS 1911 Government that thing will get old very quickly if you had to carry it all day.
For carry I will almost always go for lighter is better.
I am 6'3" tall and weigh 260 lbs. I am also 73 years old and I must admit that I do gravitate towards the lighter, alloy/polymer guns for concealed carry. I really do like my all steel 1911's for carry but, practically speaking, I end up carrying a lighter gun for CCW. Getting old is a fact of life.
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Heavier guns are easier to shoot and control, but harder to hide and carry all day.
Lighter guns are more unpleasant in recoil and more difficult to control for repeat or multiple shots, but easier to hide and carry.
I personally find a heavy small gun (Detonics sort of pistol comes to mind) are hard to shoot because the grip is dinky and difficult to carry and hide because they simulate a lead brick. The worst of both worlds.
The weight problem is more than just being 'tiring'. A heavy gun droops one's britches as has been mentioned. Weight doesn't 'tire' me as much as makes it awkward to maintain. Also, weight is more than just the pistol; one requires a reload. So the weight of an extra magazine full of ammo adds to the payload.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I'm at that awkward age. I'm still young enough to be working, but old enough to be putting on weight with no relationship to my sidearm. My current body style puts my belt at or just below the bulge amidships. So, if my belt slips just a little, my britches are heading south. The pistol, extra magazine, handcuffs and 'other alternate force device' - all required - tend to speed that process. Using a public urinal is a truly instructive experience.
So... I prefer a lighter pistol with a full sized grip. My preference is a Colt (Lightweight) Commander. It's pretty easy to control and shoot, but doesn't tend to drag my trou down as much. Second choice is a S&W M19 (four inch).
I currently carry a H&K P2000. Like the Commander, it is relatively light, but has a decent grip size and shape.
I also wear suspenders these days. I don't get paid by them, but Perrysuspenders.com make an excellent product. Suspenders solve many problems of carrying.
I do not always wear a suit or jacket and tie arrangement. But I nearly always wear full length trousers (including jeans) and some sort of over jacket or shirt. It's part of my normal 'persona' and doesn't generate much in the way of curiosity. For those who wear jogging pants or pull on shorts, good luck. I hope you're not allergic to duct tape.
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Thank you everyone for all the great input. I think I am going to TRY and stick with an alloy frame. When I purchased my P238 in the fall I had whittled my choices down to 2 and bought the first one I could find in stock.
The other choice was a Kimber CDPII.
Then I recently made the mistake? of handling a Dan Wesson CBOB. I do not know why I am in love with it now, especially since it is not a two tone which I am very partial to....
My next purchase will probably be this spring (If I can resist that DW) so I have a little more time to figure this out.
I carry a steel S&W OWB @ 1130 all the time, I work from home and when I get up and get dressed I put it on and when take it off at the end of the day. It is a slight cross draw that works in the car, or sitting, standing. It works with T-shirts, hoodies and any untucked shirt. Hope this helps.. BTW I am also a big guy.. the gut helps hide a larger framed automatic.
I'd rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6