Before I go any farther, let me just say, I've been reading this forum for a little while and I'm impressed; you guys keep it quite clean and you seem to have a nice online community here. I moderate on two other forums so I have respect for well-moderated forums, and I'll do my part to keep it clean.
I'm a network administrator in my twenties. I grew up around guns (thanks, Dad) and have shot some competitive skeet and silhouette before. I've never really carried a weapon on my person regularly (though occasionally in my car). Due to some changes in my living arrangements and work location, I'll be filing for my CCW soon.
Although I own several guns, none of them are well-suited for concealed carry; the smallest is a Beretta 21A (.22 mouse gun), and the next smallest is a 6" barrel revolver. I'm a reasonably small guy at 6'0 / 160lbs, so hiding a 6" revolver on my person without a winter coat is a virtual impossibility. Thus, I'm looking for a carry gun. Although I am on a bit of a budget, I understand that a good piece will last me a lifetime and am willing to shell out some bucks for a real keeper.
I'm comfortable with both semiauto's and revolvers, but I lean towards revolvers. I figure that especially in a high-stress adrenaline-override panic mode, I should go with what I know best.
I went to the local range and tried out a few weapons, including a Springfield XD in .45, a Glock 9mm, a Walther 9mm, two variants of 1911, and a few revolvers. Of the semi's, I think I liked the XD the best.
But the gun that really caught my eye was a Ruger SP101 .357 Mag with a 3" barrel. It felt solid in my hand, was very "pointable", and .357 Mag has the knockdown power I'd like with recoil I can manage.
My only real concern about is it the 5 shot capacity. After reading a few books (In the Gravest Extreme, Armed Reponse, etc...) I've learned that most civilian combat happens in a 3-7 yard range, and usually concludes with less than five rounds, but there's always that "what if" question.
I guess my question to you all is, in my position, what would you recommend for a CCW weapon? I'm partial to that Ruger but am open to suggestions.
I understand that carrying a firearm is probably the biggest responsibility any of us will ever undertake next to fathering children, and I've seriously considered all of the moral, legal, and ethical aspects of it.
I appreciate any input, and hope I haven't rambled too much.