Handgun selection musings

This is a discussion on Handgun selection musings within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Mass-Diver just posted on another thread a statement that made me pause it was .... I carry the G30 with the expectation that (for me ...

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Thread: Handgun selection musings

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array Redneck Repairs's Avatar
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    Handgun selection musings

    Mass-Diver just posted on another thread a statement that made me pause it was ....
    I carry the G30 with the expectation that (for me and the conditions under which I carry) using the weapon in self defense in all likely hood will be taking place at very close, almost touch distances, where the differences in how well I can shoot the 9 mm vs the .45 are very minor.
    Thanks mass for the ( to me ) thought provoking post .

    Just what are our " expectations " that we use to select a ccw weapon ?

    I will start the ball rolling stating that the old saw is Carry the largest gun/cal you can . Myself I go about selecting almost opposite of that , I carry the smallest , lightest " duty caliber " handgun I can shoot well .
    To me " duty cal. " starts with .38 or 9 mm and goes up through the common steps to .45. Caliber within the " duty " range is basically an after thought for me in a defensive gun , thou I confess to considering ammo costs.

    I require my ccw to be a small formfactor for the cal. Lightweight and easy to tuck away.

    It has to be reliable , and to me in an auto that means 200 malfunction free rounds , if you get a bobble for any reason the round count starts over . In a revolver due to my experiences with them it totally rules out .357 in a light weight handgun both for reliability reasons ( I have had bullets walk out binding cylinders specifically with old silvertips )and for practical practice/recovery time issues.

    It has to be ergonomic for my hands , I want the handgun to feel good in hand , and to basically point naturally for me .

    It has to have good sights , night sights such as mepro's or trijicon a plus but not a deal breaker if not so equipped . It has to have good practical accuracy ( almost any handgun has better intrinsic accuracy than I can shoot ) in the sense that if I cant " qualify " with it on a standard police course that includes a 25 yard station I won't carry it .


    It has to have a familiar ( to me ) manual of arms , the controls need to be located where I expect them , and function in the expected direction .

    That is the " first blush " basics of what I consider before I get to issues like finish , caliber , accessory's , ect.. Many fine handguns don't fit my requirements for ccw , and I own several that I would not use for ccw due to not fitting what I feel I need . Chime inn with your selection process or thoughts .
    Make sure you get full value out of today , Do something worthwhile, because what you do today will cost you one day off the rest of your life .
    We only begin to understand folks after we stop and think .

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    Member Array denverd0n's Avatar
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    Well my criteria are:

    1. Reliable. This is first and foremost. Everything else is a distant second. A pop-gun that goes bang is better than a howitzer that only fizzles.

    2. Adequate caliber to get the job done. Personally, I consider .380 to be a minimum. Generally speaking, bigger is better, within the constraints of criteria #3.

    3. Small, lightweight, easy to carry. A weapon left at home isn't doing me any good, so it needs to be something I can and will carry all the time, every day.

    I'm not too worried about sights or (to a certain extent) ergonomics, because I am sure that any defensive situation is going to be very close range and probably very few shots. Hence, most anything that will reliably shoot is going to work. In that vein, I practice draw and fire at ranges of less than 10 yards.

    Given the above, there are a number of very small, reliable, 9mm handguns available today that are barely bigger than the smallest .380s around. Step up to .40 or .45 and I find that I need a bigger, heavier gun in order to manage the recoil. Hence, for me, a small 9mm is the correct choice.

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    Distinguished Member Array 4my sons's Avatar
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    I grew up shooting .45, and just can't break away from the "fat and slow", as for the gun of choice, that's easy, the only one I have thats bigger than a 22.

    My G21, I could hide a smaller gun easier, but a very few adjustments, and it just melts away. It's operational record has been execellant, close to 2K rounds, with one FTE from limp wristing, a couple FTF from cheap mags, took care of that real quick.

    Just my $.02
    "fundamental principle of American law that a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any individual citizen." [Warren v. District of Columbia,(D.C. Ct. of Ap., 1981)]
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    VIP Member Array Tubby45's Avatar
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    10mm or 45acp

    Reliable- 1000 rounds no cleaning, no malfs
    Accurate- 25y, a magazine should be smaller than my fist
    Aftermarket accessory availability- NS, parts, mags
    Holster availability-self explanatory
    Ergonomic-fit well and handle nicely

    Basically I have only found two platforms that meet the requirements: Glock and 1911. Anything else doesn't meet the requirements. Can't stand SIG, Ruger, H&K. Revolvers aren't my thing for SD.
    07/02 FFL/SOT since 2006

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    My settling on the 226 ST this last 2 years has been driven by the fact that I can readily manage large and heavy - the concealement is not a problem and the weight I have acclimated to.

    Thus I have a gun that fits well and fills the hand - and having opted to stay with 9mm (+P) - gives me 15+1 options and, that cal with the size/weight of gun makes for about the best ease of contollability I am likely to manage. The manual of arms suits me too - tho I know not for everyone.

    I'll have R9 as BUG or even rarely primary if needed but that's way less controllable, tho with practice very manageable, or I wouldn't even consider it.
    Chris - P95
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    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."


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    Member Array Mass-Diver's Avatar
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    Another criteria for me is that pistol will feed HPs with near 100% reliability. I know this is less of an issue with many newer handguns, but I still don't think it's a given that every pistol on the market with shoot HPs just as well as FMJs.

    For me, (as indicated in the original poster quote), I'm looking for somthing for up close and personal use. I'm not a cop, if I shoot someone at more than 10'(max) away; I'm in serious trouble here in MA. As a result, I often carry a S&W 340PD with .357JHPs with CT laser grips. Heck, even if I missed, the person would probably be on fire from the barrel flame

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    Member Array Skysoldier's Avatar
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    Sounds like a Sig P220 to me in a Sparks Heritage IWB loaded with Winchester 230SXT

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    VIP Member Array SammyIamToday's Avatar
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    It has to be reliable of course.

    It has to be easy to reload for me as a leftie. At one point I owned/carried a SIG, but it took me like 5 seconds to reload it and if I needed to decock I pretty much had to change hands. So, ambidex or reversible only for carry.

    It also has to feel good in my hand and point naturally. Not really worried about caliber in any way. Although I suppose bigger is better. Other than that I'm pretty open.
    ...He suggested that "every American citizen" should own a rifle and train with it on firing ranges "at every courthouse." -Chesty Puller

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    Senior Member Array Chuck R.'s Avatar
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    For me itís:

    1. Adequate power
    2. Reliable
    3. Platform Iím familiar with/trained on and I can shoot well
    4. Small enough to conceal

    Iíve shot and carried 1911s off and on for duty since I enlisted as an MP in ď78í. I wept when we changed over to M9s.

    Iím averaging about 9K through my 1911s a year with last year being closer to 11K, so Iím used to that platform and the .45ACP caliber (thank God for Dillon!). I trust both. I strayed with SIGs for a little while, but came back to 1911s when I bought my 1st Baer. That gun is fast approaching the 11K mark and has only bobbled a couple times in the first 1K. Since then, it's been stone cold reliable.

    So when it came time to choose a new CCW, the choice was pretty easy; 1911, .45ACP, a smaller easier to conceal Baer 1911. Iíve got a little over 3K through my Stinger and it hasnít hiccuped once. I had some white outline Trijicon vials installed and a mag-well. Like P95Carry, Iíll tolerate a little extra weight as long as I can shoot well with it.

    Chuck
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    Member Array kairo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SammyIamToday View Post
    It has to be reliable of course.

    It has to be easy to reload for me as a leftie. At one point I owned/carried a SIG, but it took me like 5 seconds to reload it and if I needed to decock I pretty much had to change hands. So, ambidex or reversible only for carry.

    It also has to feel good in my hand and point naturally. Not really worried about caliber in any way. Although I suppose bigger is better. Other than that I'm pretty open.

    left-hand friendlieness is important to me as well. If I can't operate the gun left handed as comfortably as someone operating it right handed, then I pass. The only thing that's been hard to cope with is the slide release. Everything else is pretty much ambidextrous on alot of firearms (mag release, safetys)
    Nick
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    VIP Member Array Blackeagle's Avatar
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    #1: Reliable. I want something that's going to go bang every time I pull the trigger, end of story. If a gun isn't reliable, it's not going to be my carry gun, no matter how well it does on the next three points.

    #2: Something I'll Carry Everyday. This is a really personal characteristic. Some people have no problem carrying around a full sized service auto, some feel that anything bigger than a J-frame or P3AT is too big. I'm pretty new to carrying, but for me, a Commander sized autoloader seems to be the best choice. My USP compact is small enough to pretty much disappear in an IWB holster and weighs just enough to reassure me that it's still there.

    #3: Sufficiently Powerful. The subject of many disagreements. I fall towards the "big and heavy" end of the debate (.45 ACP).

    #4: Feels Good in the Hand/Points Well. This is another one that's very subjective. Grip size, grip angle, controls, size, weight, and other factors all sort of come together in the overall feel of the gun. Either a gun feels good in your hands and points naturally, or it doesn't. I think that I'll shoot better, particularly under stress, with a gun that feels right to me .

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    VIP Member Array artz's Avatar
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    I like all the pistols in my sig line... its just gonna take me longer to master the para.
    My mustang disappears so easy in my K&D back pocket holster.
    I went to a job interview today and none the wiser...LOL
    " Refuse to be a victim, make sure there is a round chambered ! "

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    You folks have it all pretty well covered.

    I would add that these days & now that the Galling problem has long been solved many moons ago...I now consider Stainless Steel to be a very nice +P+ for a daily carry gun.
    Especially for hot, damp, humid parts of the country.

    Again...not a deal breaker but, a nice added benefit.

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    VIP Member Array Redneck Repairs's Avatar
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    I agree qk that stainless or not wont tip the scales to dont buy it , but might tip them to go ahead and purchace , especialy if finished stainless ( i honestly like black , or at least non silver guns for carry ). In the white stainless is ok , but i prefer a no reflection finish .
    Make sure you get full value out of today , Do something worthwhile, because what you do today will cost you one day off the rest of your life .
    We only begin to understand folks after we stop and think .

    Criminals are looking for victims, not opponents.

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    Thumbs up

    The blackened Stainless is nice. I also like the Matte Grey Blasted & Pacified look.

    For me since I carry up into the armpit in leather even in HOT Sweaty Summer I need to deholster every night & do the lightly oily rag routine.

    Which for me means dropping the mag & clearing the chamber before I wipe down the pistol exterior.

    Since I don't have any little Rug Rats (kids) living in my house...with a Stainless firearm I can just leave my firearm fully loaded and holstered till next day even if the holster is slightly sweaty.
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