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First Concealed Carry Gun!

This is a discussion on First Concealed Carry Gun! within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Are there any local clubs in your area. If so try to attend a monthly event. Most folks will let you try out their own ...

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Thread: First Concealed Carry Gun!

  1. #16
    Senior Member Array Grizzly2's Avatar
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    Feb 2018
    Central Illinois
    Are there any local clubs in your area. If so try to attend a monthly event. Most folks will let you try out their own handguns. You could offer to pay for the ammo. It's probably a good way for you to see which ones point well, don't shift around in your hand between shots and just work well for "you". A sturdy belt is a must, as is a decent holster. You also want comfort. Some Kydex holsters may rub you wrong and some without a tab for hammers or the top of a slide may jab you wrong. Some have a backing which also adds to the comfort factor. Just like the recommendations for the handgun that works reliably for most folks, look for that holster with a solid reputation for comfort and security. Once you get older or if you have a hip that acts up or a disc that acts up from time to time, the overall weight of your rig becomes a factor. At those times you will want something "light" that does not aggravate whatever may be causing you pain.

    Something not mentioned yet is how safe are you around light triggers? Do you posses the skill and self control to keep your finger off the trigger? If not, a nice, light striker fired trigger may not be for you. There is a reason many law enforcement agencies don't allow them. I personally love a nice light trigger but decided that in my 70's I'd be better served and safer with a double action or double action only trigger. That would cause you to make a whole new list of choices or to at least give you something else to consider in your choice. Not all striker fired guns have the same feel to their triggers.

    When I bought my first concealed handgun, I went for something small and light like a Ruger LCP custom and a small revolver. I already had full size handguns and knew that there would be times when small would be necessary, especially during the summer months and around home when wearing sweats or light shorts and for quick trips to the store. But as has already been said, they are not for the beginner just yet. Finding a professional to help you makes good sense and may help you to avoid buying things twice or three times. Beware the experts behind many counters. This is one of those areas where everyone likes to think they have the answer for you.
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  2. #17
    Senior Member Array Bubblehead751's Avatar
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    Dec 2015
    LC9s Pro or whatever the new offering is. Also, look at holster availability for whatever model you land on before you buy. I have an XD45 MOD2 SUB that was really hard to find an OWB holster I liked for.
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  3. #18
    Senior Member Array donp326's Avatar
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    Jan 2012
    When I started carrying many years ago I started with a pistol I had already had, a West German made Sig P220. The CT grips were added later.
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  5. #19
    Member Array Nifty's Avatar
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    Jul 2018
    Definitely try out as many as you can first. It took over a year before I settled on one carry gun.

  6. #20
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    Jul 2018
    @Willthewise1 -- All the guns you listed are solid choices. Good luck on your journey and it sounds like you are doing your research, which is a solid start. All the suggestions about handling and trying out each contender (if possible) are good advice.
    The only thing I'll add is about holsters/carrying position -- I would try IWB first before attempting AIWB. It's much easier and takes less experimenting with trying (buying) less holsters, imo.
    ETXhiker likes this.
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  7. #21
    VIP Member Array hardluk1's Avatar
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    Dec 2009
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    Go to a gun shop , handle a shield , m&p9c and the 2.0 version and a Taurus g2c . Today I would have no issues for a new CC'er and you can learn what might work better for you with time . . I have a daughter this 5-9 145 lb and she carrys ether a cw9 kahr or glock 19 depending on cloths he husband is 5-11 165 and carrys ether a tp40 kahr or sig p250sc . Both and my self and wife carry at 3:00 in some version of a iwb hybrid . My wifes a little 5-2 and her EDC is a Kimber ultra 9mm but carried a m&p9c for some years . I'm heavier at 5-10 215 so what I carry does not really matter .

    I does matter how you dress as to what you can conceal well . If your a shirt tucked in sort of guy smaller is better , maybe p365 or that new xd or shield or thinner kahr cw or cm model or even a smaller micro 380 will have a place at times . No brand or model is all that for everyone and there are very few bad handguns to day to pick from . Heck it might be a snub nose revolver will serve you well but that's for you to try and choice . MIght be this will work well , handgun with laser , a tac light and folding knife for a good price in a lite weight package . Carry federal HST 38sp ammo

  8. #22
    Distinguished Member Array KILTED COWBOY's Avatar
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    Jul 2019
    Just remember as you start this journey, if you are like the rest of us you will purchase may pistols in the future.
    So as you evolve your first gun may not be the one you end up carrying the most.
    Don't sweat the first gun too much. Choose the one you think you will like, then time will tell.
    Advice, do not cheap out on gun belt and holster. They are just as important as the gun.
    A bad belt and holster will not make the best gun great to carry

  9. #23
    Distinguished Member Array RedSafety's Avatar
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    Sep 2017
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    Oh, yes, magazines. Have fun finding one for the 9mm Shield. Its neither a single stack nor a double stack. I found a single stack .45 mag holster is usable.
    When seconds count, help is only 18+ minutes away!

  10. #24
    Member Array mmb617's Avatar
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    Sep 2019
    Altoona, PA
    Quote Originally Posted by KILTED COWBOY View Post
    Don't sweat the first gun too much. Choose the one you think you will like, then time will tell.
    Agreed. It's the first, but I'd bet it won't be the last.

    Let me add my thoughts as a sort on new carry guy. I did carry a revolver many years ago but then went 40+ years without carrying. Recently I decided to start carrying again and it's like I'm new as I'd never even shot a semi-auto handgun. I didn't know much about modern handguns so I started by doing some basic research. Gotta love that internet! I also talked to some people who I know that are more knowledgeable on the subject than I am.

    When trying to decide what gun to buy a few considerations for me were that it be something I felt was reliable and not overly expensive, as well as something a small guy like me could conceal. I'd heard a lot of good things about Glocks and they certainly have a following but I thought they were a little expensive compared to the Smith and Wessons that also have a good reputation and a strong following. I didn't want a cheap non-name brand gun, but I also didn't want to pay a premium price for a name. Early on I decided I'd buy something from the S&W M&P line.

    I originally was looking at the M&P 9mm compact, because I thought the word compact meant small which fit my ease of concealment requirement. It was surprising to me to find out that the Shield was actually smaller and lighter than the compact. Another plus to me was that I felt the single stack Shield would fit my hands better than the double stack compact and the 9 rounds vs 13 didn't seem like a big deal. I don't have any place close by where I could shoot both for a better comparison but when I saw I could buy the Shield for right around $250 I figured why not? It's priced even better now as the $50 rebate came out shortly after I bought mine. I didn't really expect it to be the last gun I buy, but instead it was a starting point.

    I bought a Mr Softy AIWB holster on the advice of someone on one of the gun forums, don't remember if it was here or not, but it was inexpensive and so far I really like it. Again I know it won't be the last holster I buy, but a good starter for me.

    The main reason I went with 9mm instead of a larger caliber was that the ammo is relatively cheap and I want to shoot a lot. I was lucky to find a local sportsman's club to join that has multiple outdoor ranges available to me anytime I want, and so far they have never been crowded when I go there. Many times I'm actually there by myself as members are given the gate code.

    Something else I did, and I'm not saying it's the best way, but just how I thought about it, was to also buy an M&P .22 compact. My thoughts there were that with .22 ammo at about 3 cents a round I can shoot tons of it, giving me lots of practice with a gun that has a lot of similarities to my carry gun. Each time I go to the range I shoot a couple hundred rounds of .22, then finish with a box of so of 9mm. I'm having fun, learning more about the guns each time and not spending a fortune.

    Just throwing my experience so far out there.

    Quote Originally Posted by RedSafety View Post
    Oh, yes, magazines. Have fun finding one for the 9mm Shield. Its neither a single stack nor a double stack. I found a single stack .45 mag holster is usable.
    I'm a little bit confused at what you mean here. Are you saying it's hard to find magazines for the 9mm Shield? I bought extras at the gun mag warehouse for $20 each.

    Or did you mean that it's hard to find a holster for the 9mm Shield? I'm using a Mr Softy and like it's fit, but it's leather which is probably more forgiving than a plastic holster.
    Wavygravy and ShooterGranny like this.

  11. #25
    Distinguished Member Array RedSafety's Avatar
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    Yup, I messed up. Talking about the holster. Royal PITA finding a good mag holster. I have one leather dual mag holster I found at a gun show. I have a kydex one I made myself. I have a Bianchi I found in a gun shop. Neither one I bought was for a Shield, but some generic single-stack .45.
    When seconds count, help is only 18+ minutes away!

  12. #26
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    Just my $0.02, I think you’re putting too much emphasis on magazine capacity. You should carry a spare loaded magazine, and as others point out the two most important characteristics are how comfortable the handgun is to carry and how well you shoot it. Think less how many rounds you send downrange. What matters is how many hits you make.

    I comfortably carry a Glock27 AIWB and a mag on weak side. Sometimes I carry a Glock 19 on strong side out of waistband (OWB). I like equally shooting either of them. But the 9mm is somewhat less expensive to shoot than the .40. Currently 9mm is $8/50 rounds and .40 is $14/50 rounds at my local store (brass casing, full metal jacket target ammo).

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  13. #27
    Member Array ParsonBrown's Avatar
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    Jun 2017
    Quote Originally Posted by M1911A1 View Post
    Very small pistols are experts' tools. They are not for beginners.
    I agree with this and I must admit that I'm understanding it a little more every day. Could you and others maybe expound on this a little bit more?

    I will add that most people can conceal more gun than they realize. Add an extended magazine to many of these new small wonder 9's and you are at the length of a compact gun (G19 etc).

    The weight difference between a fully loaded 8+1 shield and a fully loaded M&P compact with 15+1 is about the weight of your iPhone X with a case. It's not that much difference, and the concealable length is virtually identical.

    Don't forget that you will need to accessorize your new gun - gun belt, holster, extra mags, small addition to your house for holster name a few.

  14. #28
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    Echoing the other posts about shooting what you consider carrying. In the long run, it won't make much difference as many of us have found what we started with isn't what we currently carry. Just in the last few years I've gone from a Dan Wesson ECO .45, to a Kahr CM9, to a Sig P938, and now a Sig P365. Once the SA Hellcat proves itself as reliable and prices come down to realistic street prices, I wouldn't be surprised if I jumped ship once again and mount an RDS to it. The only thing that would hold me back is the additional investment in a quality holster.

    In my view, concealed carry is a journey, not a destination.
    Wavygravy likes this.
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  15. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Willthewise1 View Post
    Yeah, I'm fully aware of that it's just hard because I've seen some of the small weapons wit the bigger clips and some people saying they malfunction so I'd rather carry something heavier that is more reliable.
    First lesson - it's a magazine, not a clip.
    Almost everyone in law enforcement that I've asked has said the Glock 19. Some of them said Glock 26 because you can't make a bigger gun smaller and since they take the same mags it didn't really matter to me other then people saying Glock 19. Which I think a 19 would be easier to shoot and since I can add an attachment on it too easier.
    I wouldn't put lots of weight into choosing a carry gun based on LEO choices simply because many of them carry Glocks on duty and prefer to carry a similar manual of arms when off duty. This isn't to say they aren't knowledgeable and to disregard their opinions. I'm simply saying don't assume that their opinion on the matter is the end all be all. You did the right thing by asking this group. Lots of knowledge and varying experience here.

    I really want to like the P365 XL but there's a good amount of reviews that says the gun needs a little bit of work. I understand that carrying a single stack makes the gun slimmer and probably an overall smaller gun which means less weight but I'd rather carry more ammo and have a bigger gun but that may just be me. Looking at the P365 NITRON MICRO-COMPACT is pretty enticing though.

    The more and more I think about it my mind is going to the P365. Any thoughts on it?
    The 365XL is not a single stack, but one would think it is based on how small it is. It holds 12 rounds with flush fit mags while the regular 365 holds 10 with flush fit or pinky extension mags, and accepts 12 round mags that give it the same grip length as the XL. The size differences between the 365 and 365 XL include the grip length, and barrel/slide length. I have a 365 as a backup/pocket gun, and I have been very pleased with it. It's a soft shooting gun given its size. I imagine the XL would be even softer.

    As others have said, keep an open mind, shoot as many as you can, and fondle even more. Your carry weapon choices will most likely evolve like everyone else's. Enjoy your journey, and keep us posted on the progress.
    May you be in Heaven before the Devil knows you're dead

  16. #30
    Senior Member Array M1911A1's Avatar
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    Explanation for ParsonBrown:

    First of all, take as a "given" that quick and accurate, save-your-life pistol shooting is very hard to learn, and, even when practiced assiduously, remains difficult to accomplish. And that's when using a full-size, full-weight, full-hand-length-grip pistol.

    Now, shrink that pistol down until it fits comfortably into an equally small holster that fits, for instance, into your pocket.
    That leaves you with a pistol that's lightweight and short, so that it recoils sharply, and maybe even twists in your hand as its bullet twists in its rifling.
    That light, short pistol has a grip which can be grasped with only two fingers.
    It also has a pocket-safe trigger action which requires a five- to seven-pound press.
    Further, its sights are too close together for easy accuracy.

    The "shortie," and the pocket-size pistol, is impossible to control, unless one already is a really good, experienced pistol shooter.
    But self-defense shooting depends upon quick and decisive accuracy.
    Only a really good, experienced pistol shooter can wring quick and decisive accuracy out of a small-size pistol.

    Does that help?
    If not, ask some more questions.
    Retired Leathersmith and Practical Shooter

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