What shall my choice be?

This is a discussion on What shall my choice be? within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I work as a Case Manager for Mentally Ill adults and often have to travel into the projects and other various bad neighborhoods. I have ...

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Thread: What shall my choice be?

  1. #1
    Member Array mrshonts's Avatar
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    What shall my choice be?

    I work as a Case Manager for Mentally Ill adults and often have to travel into the projects and other various bad neighborhoods. I have yet to get my carry permit but will soon do so and was hoping for some advice on what is preferred by others. Also, the organization I work for will not allow me to carry a weapon of any kind on me and this even includes small pocket knives (even though I do carry). So, here is my question to others; What gun is best concealed but packs a good punch to it in case I would ever need to use it? One other quick note is that I have been looking at the K-40 and have had a chance to fire it; what do you all think about this as something to carry? Just keep in mind that it has to be something that I can conceal quite easily so no one ever questions me on carrying a weapon.

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  3. #2
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    I am doing the best I can for you knowing very little about your requirement. So my answer is for you alone and the group may listen in.LOL. I would suggest starting off with a 357 Smith revolver stainless steel. If someone wants to sell you a second hand gun good, try it out. You would shoot something like 38 special's which won't cost an arm and a leg. My purpose is to get you started with a safe and reliable gun, gain experience and shoot others at the range. Eight to ten months down the road based upon what you have tried from friends etc then invest in say a 9mm auto or better yet a .45 1911.
    Well I screwed up on the concealment issue I see. Others will chime in on that aspect, I was trying to get you settled into growing with a safe selection. You can carry the .357 but with care for no one to see.
    Hope this helps.
    Last edited by FortyFive; February 14th, 2005 at 04:47 PM.
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  4. #3
    VIP Member Array Bud White's Avatar
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    Well a small glock 26 or a xd 9mm subcompact both are pretty small and carry at least 10 rounds of 9mm.. If ya like something bigger ya could go with a wheelie in 38/357 ruger sp101 or a smith or a older colt

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    Member Array 1Zach1's Avatar
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    I say find a range near you that rents handguns and try out a few and see which you like best.
    "Its better to have it and not need it, then need it and not have it"
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  6. #5
    VIP Member Array Euclidean's Avatar
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    mrshonts I think I can relate to your situation rather well. My job and my love of guns don't go together either, and I find it hard to reconcile the two sometimes.

    I feel like a traitor to my students for not carrying while working because it's against the law, and I feel like a traitor to education because one of my professional ethics is being lawful even if I don't agree with it. I've turned it over many many times in my head.

    I have however come to one definite conclusion. I should be the one to make that choice, not some politician or administrator. I'm the one with knowledge of my profession, knowledge of firearms, and knowledge of my situation. No one is better qualified than me to decide who in my workplace should be armed or not. The fact I have analyzed it so many times shows that any decision I made would be a carefully thought out and responsible one.

    For the record I don't carry, never have carried, and don't plan to attempt to carry at work unless the law changes and it never will.

    But I do recognize the need to be discrete, and that if the law wants us to be safe, we should be assigned armed guards at all times that we cannot be armed ourselves. That of course is not reality. As far as I am concerned someone who carries without a permit is in reality only excercising a primal right as a human being to be safe.

    The shame is that we must weigh the threat of the law against the threat of predators. In my case I believe the threat of the law is greater. For someone else it may be different.

    That said, here is something else I have learned.

    The guns I like to shoot for the joy of shooting, namely K frame sized double action revolvers, are not the type of guns most conducive to concealed carry. This is why I wished we lived in a society where people don't have an irrational fear of tools, but I digress.

    Now for some people, they find the kind of gun they like most is concealable. These people are very fortunate. They have overcome a hurdle.

    That being said, the point I am trying to make is that I have decided that learning how to shoot and learning how to carry concealed are two related but different skills.

    I'll say that again. Concealment is a skill. It has to be learned just like you learn how to ride a bicycle.

    The people who are very good at concealment don't realize this. I know because guess what, I'm not good at concealing things.

    Not knowing you, you may be a natural born concealer. Some people stuff full size double stack autos into their pants no problem and they cannot fathom why I balk at the thought of it. Or you may be like me. My concealment skills are developing. I have chosen a carry gun based on its manual of arms and form factor. I literally picked a gun I knew something about and bought it and have been training myself to use it.

    I hope to improve my concealment skills as I improve my shooting skills so that eventually I can carry a better tool.

    Now as for what kind of hardware to pursue, I think you have a wonderful mindset for wanting to get an effective gun right off the bat. A lot of adults think their first gun should be a .22 caliber revolver for training purposes. Now there is absolutely nothing wrong with a .22 caliber revolver, but if you've already figured out you want an automatic and that you want a caliber more effective than .22, then you should get an effective gun right off the bat because it's going to be your only gun for a while.

    But if you're completely new to guns and don't have any bad habits to unlearn, I would encourage you to look into any kind of gun that's just point and shoot. You have no biases to overcome and you can go straight to what's probably the most effective tool. You can learn how to use a gun with a safety and other controls later.

    Now as for in general what's really small but packs a whallop... well for my money I went with a snubnose .38 +P rated revolver. It's really not something I think I can reccommend to someone that doesn't enjoy a challenge though. By no means is it an ineffective tool, it's just one that I personally am having to devote some serious work to in order to use it more effectively. The sight radius is very short, and under stress at my current level of skill I'm not 100% sure I could make a 15 yard shot with it in combat. It's not too hard to pick up though; I am getting pie plate sized groups at 7 yards with it already and I've only had 400 rounds of range time. I'm also not a very good shot compared to some people, so for me that means I'm learning how to use it best quickly.

    The Kahr is a good choice. I myself want to get a Kahr one day. I think they're wonderful little guns.

    There are all manner of very small automatics. The Springfield XD series makes a very small subcompact model you might want to consider.

    I'll probably be flayed alive for this, but the Taurus PT-145 is actually a fairly small gun and it fires .45 ACP. It sounds like you can do better though.

    Perhaps one of the Glock lovers could tell you about a compact Glock .45 or .40.

    This is kind of difficult to address really. What is or is not an effective handgun is the subject of much debate, and your personal preferences play into it heavily.

    This is going to sound utterly silly, but do you own a BB gun or an airsoft gun? Try carrying it concealed around your house. When you come home from work just put it on. This may help give you some kind of idea what size gun you can tolerate at present.

    Start going to sporting goods stores and gun stores and pawn shops and just start asking to handle things. If you don't know all the controls for a particular gun that's okay. Just hold it; aim it somewhere safe and see how it feels.

    Also consider your future purchases. One of the reasons I picked the carry gun I did was that I knew it was going to be a great "always" gun. I knew I wanted to carry 2 guns eventually, and I figured I already know what my "backup"/"always" gun was going to be, so why not buy it first?

    Ask lots of questions and ignore the people that make fun of you and don't say anything meaningful. Firearms are very personal. In the end you have to decide how you feel about certain things yourself, and don't be surprised if you turn a complete 180 on some issues. I know I have already; as I learn more I am doing things and accomplishing more than I ever thought possible.

    Ask about specific guns.

    Ask about specific features.

    We love to talk about this stuff.

    And don't be afraid to answer questions either. I have learned I know far more about firearms than I ever thought I did. I actually have learned a lot even if I don't always express it very well. I've also had to come to the realization firearms can be a part of my life without actually being my life. You sound like you have learned that already.

    The problem I think you're going to have here at first is that everyone is going to try to push their own answer on you, and the thing is, no one can objectively say one is better than the other. I do like to ask others what they are doing and what they use because it makes me reconsider if what I am doing is really so great. But some things you're just going to have to decide for yourself.

    As far as I'm concerned the S&W 642 was the best possible choice for a first carry gun but that's for me in my current life situation. If any variable were to change, I could just as easily prefer something completely different.

  7. #6
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    When I took mrshonts out to the range, I had my Colt Cobra, CZ75c, Kahr K40, and my brother brought out a S&W Model 15 and a Walther PPK. Mrshonts leaned towards the semiautos for the slim profile, and liked the K40 the best in overall feel and concealability. My K40 is up for sale, but I suggested he try a G26 and G27 first, which we should be able to do next time we're out at the range.

    Oh, he really did like my brother's 6.5" .44 Magnum and grouped really well, but he'd have issues concealing that.
    "Americans have the will to resist because you have weapons. If you don't have a gun, freedom of speech has no power." - Yoshimi Ishikawa

  8. #7
    Member Array Gringo's Avatar
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    Perhaps you should consider the Glock G36 (.45)...it packs a mean punch , yet it's very easily concealed.
    "Anything worth shooting is worth shooting twice; ammo is cheap, life is expensive."

  9. #8
    VIP Member Array Euclidean's Avatar
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    Sheesh Betty.

    This guy's at a huge advantage already. I wish I knew someone with a huge gun collection so that I could actually fire every platform and caliber imaginable and see what they were all like in actual operation at my leisure.

    I think my grouping would have been best with that .44 too... that's exactly my problem!
    Last edited by Euclidean; February 14th, 2005 at 07:01 PM.

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    My Suggestion.

    You work as case worker for the Mentally Ill & ALL weapons are strictly prohibited. Tough One!
    Your firearm must be absolutely invisible to your employers and absolutely 100% inaccessible to your patients because their actions will always be unpredictable. Those are some serious limitations right there.
    You obviously already know that you are going to need to make some very real sacrifices in order to keep a firearm on your person.
    Weight, size, material, caliber, and speed of draw will all be critical factors.
    I'm fairly sure that you are going to have to relegate whatever firearm you decide on to "Deep Cover" which will (at least) give you total hidden control over your firearm at all times.
    You are going to need to carry your firearm VERY close to your body & have it stay there ALL DAY without ever taking it on & off.
    You can't be taking it off & putting it the trunk when you drive, etc., etc., because eventually you are going to get caught & lose your job...not to mention the constant hassle.
    You are also in a situation where having your shirt ride up on you will be the end of your job & will probably land you in court when you are sued by your bosses. I would say that any carry "At or On" the waist is ruled out for you. And "jocking" any firearm is a real pain if you are constantly driving/sitting.
    Your (whatever) firearm (if you pick a semi`auto) should be combination polymer & Stainless Steel or Alloy Frame & Stainless Steel to cut down on the weight and the rust.
    And you probably are going to need to sacrifice some "caliber" for maximum concealment.
    Since you REALLY need to "Deep Six" your firearm then I would go with a carry mode like the Kramer Confident undershirt.
    I hate to suggest the Kramer Confident shirt to anybody because it's sort of slow to draw from & the firearm NEEDS to be quite lightweight.
    You are also going to need to wash it very often or (buy 3 of them) or you'll chase Betty away for sure in the summertime.
    It is also tricky to buy the right Kramer size ~ because you need to buy the size that fits your body EXACTLY.
    Thinking seriously about your problem and to deliver the maximum punch in the lightest and most rust/sweat resistant package possible ~ I would not probably not go with a semi~auto at all.
    If it were me walking in your shoes I would buy a J~frame Smith & Wesson Air Weight or Scandium Frame & stuff the hottest cartridge possible in there & carry it in a Confident Type shirt.
    I know my suggestion is probably not going to be very popular but it's "well thought out." Keep it in mind in case you make a different choice & it's not working out.
    Last edited by QKShooter; February 14th, 2005 at 07:44 PM.
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  11. #10
    VIP Member Array Bud White's Avatar
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    Forgto to saya G-36 would be all right to though not as samll as a G-26 but you have a 45 with the 36

  12. #11
    VIP Member Array CLASS3NH's Avatar
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    If you're in deep with a "no gun" type employer, and you're up against the wall on a hideout gun, you may want to resort to an older S&W 60 and bob the hammer so you don't snag it on your shorts. I've carried a 60 in my pocket as a last resort, and also in my coat pocket, like the NYPD Dicks did quite some years ago. The're some really good hyper performance loads out there with the ability to open the bad guy up like a dressed deer. Either that, a small G26/36/27 with melt down trimming on the sharp edges, or maybe a Seecamp 380 type would be good. Personally, I kinda shy away from the smaller calibers, as they may not do the job, but anything is better than nothing at that point in time. At least your Employer won't see the J Frame or the smaller 380 frame guns in your pocket or sweat sock..

  13. #12
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    I also have access to an NAA Guardian in .32 and an NAA Mini Magnum with 1 1/8" barrel and a Black Widow, and you haven't shot my S&W 640 yet. If you can conceal something of more substantial caliber than the Guardian or the Minis ("up the nose or in the ear" guns, as I like to call them), that would be great. I try not to go below a .380, but .38 Spl. has been my minium for a main carry gun.

    So you might not end up being the greatest shot with the 640 (double-action only in a revolver can be tough if you're not used to it), but it's a great concealment gun for "up close and personal" work, and most encounters will be very close.

    I also have a S&W 66, but that might be too big for you to deep conceal.

    If all else fails, any gun is better than no gun. I don't do much other than a bellyband and an ankle holster, but my brother can show you pocket carry, IWB (inside the waistband) and concealment vest carry. There are off-body carry options like dayplanners and briefcases with holsters hidden in them, but I would advise avoiding off-body carry if possible; the gun may not be handy when you need it, and some items are prone to thievery.

    Others you might check out are the Kel-Tec P-3AT .380 and the Kel-Tec P-32 .32. I used to own a P-32 and it was pretty decent, though the trigger was rather long and crusty. They're small, very concealable, and most people I know who have them are very pleased with them. They also have excellent warranty service, even if you're not the original owner. Unfortunately, I no longer own one, so I don't have one for you to shoot.

    My other suggestion is to go to the next gun show with me and get your paws on as many guns as you can and see what gets your attention. From there I can see if I can scrape up somebody who owns one, so you're not buying something you won't be happy with.

    Folks, he is working on a limited budget, too, so we're trying to get the best possible match for him the first time around. :)
    Last edited by Betty; February 14th, 2005 at 11:27 PM.
    "Americans have the will to resist because you have weapons. If you don't have a gun, freedom of speech has no power." - Yoshimi Ishikawa

  14. #13
    VIP Member Array Euclidean's Avatar
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    Just a thought-

    If we're talking about very small guns, the J frame S&W comes into its own light.

    Any little bitty gun is going to take some trigger time to learn. As I indicated, it's by no means impossible it's just something you've got to want to do.

    But a J frame S&W has a world of inexpensive but good holster options.

    They make IWB holsters for them, OWB holsters, ankle holsters, belly bands, thigh holsters, Smart carry, any concealed carry method you've ever imagined, the J frame can accomadate well.

    Grips and the like are plentiful and inexpensive as well.

    Some other choices might not be so easy to accessorize on the cheap.

  15. #14
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    Well, I see that you guys have pretty well done my job for me. (no objections, at all).

    I also like the K40 for a highly concealable gun with good firepower. The only down side to some of these in my thinking, is one that QKShooter pointed out. You are working with mentally ill people and if one of them were to go on a tangent and get ahold of your firearm someway having a gun with a manual safety can save your life. When a person doesn't know guns they have a hard time making them go bang if they don't know how to take off the safety.
    Revolvers and most modern autos don't have manual safeties so my suggestion would be to keep an auto in condition 3, that is, with a full magazine but unchambered. That way if someone did get ahold of it they would have to figure out how to make it go bang.
    Just a thought.

    All of the guns mentioned for you are reliable and dependable. Pick one that you feel most comfortable with and that you shoot well.
    Heroes are people who do what has to be done, when it has to be done, regardless of the consequences

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  16. #15
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    Got to toss it in........

    You might want to try a SIG P239, it can be had in 9mm, 357 SIG, or 40 S&W. It's a single stack and hides pretty well, also very accurate.
    Rick

    EOD - Initial success or total failure

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