My Path to a CCW weapon

My Path to a CCW weapon

This is a discussion on My Path to a CCW weapon within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I wrote most of the following several years ago for another board. I love 1911s but carrying one all day takes effort on your part ...

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Thread: My Path to a CCW weapon

  1. #1
    Member Array richardoldfield's Avatar
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    Nov 2006
    Southeastern Michigan

    My Path to a CCW weapon

    I wrote most of the following several years ago for another board. I love 1911s but carrying one all day takes effort on your part and there are easier handguns to tote that work as well.

    "My search or a concealed carry weapon (CCW) weapon that works for me has been going on for at least one year prior to my obtaining a CCW permit. Michigan, at that time, was headed toward a shall issue status with many carry restrictions placed on the person with a CCW. I knew from the onset that whatever combination of handgun and carry device I chose had to be innocuous when viewed by the public. I received my CCW permit in January of 2002.

    I had seen a lot of statements by Clint Smith and I believed what he said. Mr. Smith said something like "A carry weapon doesn't have to be comfortable, it has to be comforting. I took this statement to heart.

    My CCW weapon was going to be one of my two favorite pistols. I knew I was going to carry a full-sized 1911 or a Browning High-Power (BHP). I am set to look for the proper way to carry these two weapons. Michigan's CCW is a very restrictive law. There are many places you just plain can't carry. Therefore you need a holster that is easy to remove or that doesn't look like a holster. My first choice was a FIST Driving Holster that I would use with my Colt Officer Model. I also ordered one for my Khar K40, which was to be an alternative carry to the 1911s, and BHPs.

    This driving holster was the first of many things that didn't work for me. It wasn't easy for me to use while driving and it didn't satisfy me as a carry holster. I sought advice and Rosco Benson, whom I have a great deal of respect for, recommended a Milt Sparks Mirage. The Mirage is a well-designed belt slide and I intended to use it with my full-sized 1911s and BHPs. It didn't take long for me to realize the barrels of these pistols were exposed below my polo shirts and short jackets.

    norinco #2:


    At this point I became enamored with my Smith and Wesson Model 37 and looked for the perfect pocket holster. I bough a Mitch Rosen pocket holster and gave it a test drive. I wasn't a happy camper and asked for help from various boards on the Internet. I was told to try an Uncle Mike's Pocket Holster and guess what? This holster cost a fraction of name brand pocket holsters and it worked for me until I became dissatisfied with the five shots of a Model 37.

    S&W M37:

    I bought a like new Rosen Workman Holster off the Internet. This led to a long battle to get the holster to fit the pistol. I took the holster to a distributor who convinced Mitch Rosen to refit the holster. At that time I bought a Workman Express as an interim solution and used this holster for a while but it just wasn't me. The two Workman are now part of a growing collection of holsters.

    I still needed a holster that I could use daily without screaming GUN! I asked advice on the Internet was advised to try a Milt Sparks Summer Special (MSSS). I tried this holster with my 1911s and BHPs but it wasn't comfortable to wear while driving but I soon found that the (MSSS) is a very comfortable driving holster in the strong side position. I am not allowed to carry at work and if my shirt came up the empty holster would be visible.

    I then discovered that my Milt Sparks Mirage worked perfectly with my Colt Officer, Kimber Custom Compact, and Para-Ordnance P12 LDA. These worked for a while but I decided I liked my Colt Officer and Kimber Custom Compact too much to use for car guns. The Para-Ordnance P12 LDA's weight led me to part company with Mr. Clint Smith's philosophy of comfort/comforting. The P12 with 13 rounds weighed too much for me.

    I used to tease my friend, Stephen A. Camp, about his Kahr K9. I had done testing and evaluation for a friend's E9 and I was less than impressed. Every magazine produced a jam and the little pistol felt heavy to me. The E-9's owner wanted to dispose of it and offered it to me at a price I couldn't refuse. I kept shooting the E-9 and the jams went away just like the manual said. I liked this little gun for warm weather carry but what would I carry it in? I had my Kahr E9 worked on by Marianne Carniak of the Accurizer Gunshop in Troy, Mi, she created a work of art. My Kahr E9 was too pretty for the abuse a car/truck/carry gun absorbs. I soon moved on.

    Kahr E9:

    All this time I kept thinking I needed one handgun to carry all year long. I like Kahr pistols and I had a K40 that might work. I tried this pistol and believe it is a very good carry weapon when teamed up with an equally good carry rig. I had the Accurizer Gun shop of Troy, Michigan owned by Marianne Carniak do some alterations. A hard chromed and night sighted jewel sans sharp edges has replaced the blue pistol with a worn finish. The K40 also has 30 lpi checkering on the front of the grip and Hogue grips. It is now candy for the eyes.

    Kahr K40:

    I happened upon a group of K40 holsters for sale on Ebay. I won four, like new, items. My bid was $91.00 I received an Alessi CCQ and magazine carrier, Milt Sparks Heritage, and a Milt Sparks Summer Special. I figure the value of these items is close to $300.00. After trying these items with my K40 I am sure I have a great carry package. I have settled on the Milt Sparks Mirage and Summer Special for everyday use."

    I also found that my Milt Sparks Mirage worked well with my Kahr E-9. The E-9 became my carry gun used with the Mirage until cold weather was in the offing. What to do the seven months of winter in Michigan? My eyes fell on my Smith and Wesson Model 457. Here was a 45acp pistol that I didn't have much money in, was reliable, accurate, and compact. I opted for another Milt Sparks Mirage.

    My next handgun that was going to be the perfect car/truck/carry gun was the S&W M457. It was in a caliber I like as well as any pistol caliber. I used the M457 for a long time until it had a lot of exterior wear. I then went down the same path as I took with my Kahr; yes, it went to see Marianne Carniak and received the same beautification. In the end it "was too pretty for the abuse a car/truck/carry gun absorbs."

    S&W M457:

    I later moved on to my inexpensive Bersa Thunder 45 for car/truck/ carry. Why the Bersa Thunder 45? Low cost, reliable, accurate, compact, and lightweight. I own more expensive handguns but the Bersa works for me. Why the 45acp? I shoot 45s well, recoil isn't sharp, and I am confident that I can hit what I aim at.

    Bersa Thunder 45:



  2. #2
    Member Array fowler's Avatar
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    Nov 2006
    Full size service pistols are not the answer for ccw by John Doe. Size and weight do matter. The rest is your choice .

  3. #3
    Senior Moderator
    Array RETSUPT99's Avatar
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    Interesting CCW Trek...

    I assume that you have kept 'each' souvenir from this journey?

    Stay safe!

    Proverbs 27:12 says: “The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.”

    Certified Glock Armorer
    NRA Life Member

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  5. #4
    VIP Member Array pogo2's Avatar
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    May 2006

    Quite a story

    Your long path in search of the perfect carry gun is quite a story, and it will sound familiar to many people here. I can personally relate to it, as well.

    The basic themes I see in your story are:

    1. Full size guns with 5 inch barrels (1911, Browning HP) are just too big and heavy to conceal and carry all day.

    2. Snubby .38s with 5 shots are easily concealed, but eventually you worry about .38 stopping power and low ammo capacity.

    3. Really nice, customized guns can work well for CCW but are too valuable and attractive to risk getting banged up, stolen or taken by the police after a shooting.

    4. Maybe the best choice is a reasonably priced, compact gun in a major caliber (.40 or .45) that is reliable and that you can shoot well. Hence you come down to your Bersa compact .45, carried in a simple but effective holster (the Sparks Mirage belt slide).

    I have attached a picture of the Sparks Mirage below so people can see what you are talking about. I use a very similar Galco JAK slide sometimes, and like this "under the belt but outside the waistband" type of holster.

  6. #5
    VIP Member (Retired Staff) Array P95Carry's Avatar
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    Interesting sequence!

    I have no link to hand but some months ago had a thread running on ''Carry gun evolution'' - a search might bring that up - and there we all discussed our own sequences of decision making and choice.

    Quote Originally Posted by fowler View Post
    Full size service pistols are not the answer for ccw by John Doe.
    Maybe not as a matter of course but I choose large and heavy (226 ST) because I have suitable carry options and lifestyle - and prefer for control reasons partly, to have the most gun I am comfortable carrying.
    Chris - P95
    NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.

    "To own a gun and assume that you are armed
    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!." - a portal for 2A links, articles and some videos.

  7. #6
    Member Array richardoldfield's Avatar
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    These are my Milt Sparks Mirage holsters. Take note of my S&W Model 457 before upgrades. Regards, Richard

  8. #7
    Senior Member Array BlueLion's Avatar
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    Jul 2005
    It Changes...
    Nice sequence on pistols. I never care if my pistols look pretty I just want them to function. I am currently in the same situation you were in and are looking for a dedicated CCW pistol. I do believe that it's going to be the Taurus PT145. This weapon is compact and shoot's 45's and holds 10. Nice posts. I think at some point we all will or have gone through this phase, and the wife know's that a new pistol is on the horizon. I will be giving her the Model 37 of which I will outfit with Crimson sights. My flowe so far: 1911 Milspec, SW 37 and....drum roll please, soon to come....Taurus PT145 end hunting...hopefully.
    Listen, Think and React.....Nuff Said.....

  9. #8
    Member Array nicneufeld's Avatar
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    I'm interested in the Bersa Thunder 45 as well, glad to know you like yours...I've really taken to my Bersa 380 that I got for my wife, so I think the Thunder 45 might be a great medium-sized carry gun to complement the smaller, more concealable Kel-Tec I have on order. Right now I'm still mainly carrying my Smith and Wesson 2" Model 12. I know this sounds like an excuse for gunlust, but it is nice to have choices on what to carry, as certain guns fit scenarios better than others. It'll be nice to have a "deep concealment" gun like a P3AT one of these days (may need to snag one for next summer!).

  10. #9
    Member Array jamz's Avatar
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    Mar 2006
    Southern Maine
    Colt Pony Pocketlite
    S&W Model 60
    Sig P239
    Colt Defender/Glock 19
    S&W Model 38
    S&W 340pd <-current

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