Deciding on the right gun for the right situation isn’t the easiest decision to make. For concealed carry, you need a handgun you can wear comfortably in a variety of clothing configurations and then deploy and defend with reliability when the moment requires. John Lovell walks us through what to consider as you think about purchasing your first or next concealed carry firearm. Here’s something to think about next time you’re out gun shopping for a concealed carry pistol—James Bond. He’s the world’s most famous spy, right? But doesn’t that also make him the world’s worst spy? And that six-round Walther PPK? Let's just say you might want to embrace something a little more substantial for your concealed carry collection.
And there's a lot to choose from. In fact, there are so many choices of firearm that it can be a bit overwhelming, so that's why I want to cut through the noise and help you think clearly about the concealed carry that's right for you.
The Two Most Important Considerations in Choosing Your Weapon
There are two top-level variables to think through when you're researching and shopping for your concealed carry pistol–concealability and survivability.
Is it easy to conceal? You want a gun that you're comfortable keeping on your waistline the majority of your day. If it's not on you, it's not going to help you; and if it's not comfortable, you might be tempted to leave it at home or in the glove compartment.
Is it battle worthy? You want a gun that you can deploy into action. If something went down and you had to fight for your life, what gun would give you the best chance of survivability?
Perhaps you noticed that even James Bond in recent years upgraded to higher capacity options. But I digress.
You want a pistol you can carry comfortably, draw and deploy quickly, and that won't give you that hollow click in the middle of a fight.
So I'll just go ahead and put this out there: You probably don't want a micro pistol as your Plan A. It's fine if you want to carry a backup, if you want to strap a PPK to your ankle, but you're likely going to need a bigger gun for the real work. Striking that balance is tough, though. Small enough to conceal but big enough for the fight.
You'll understand later why it took me so long to finally carry a subcompact. It wasn't without great deliberation.
The Benefit of Bigger Guns
Higher round capacity. Obviously, with a bigger gun you're probably going to have more magazine capacity. Though that's also becoming less and less true the more pistol technology improves. Glock and other manufacturers are creating 16-round side arms that are comparable in size to some 7 rounders out there.
Greater comfort and recoil management. Size does matter. It's hard to deny the physics of this reality. A larger gun is typically going to give you greater balance, control, and less kick, especially as the length of barrel increases. In a real defensive situation, the ability to recover your aim after each shot increases your survivability.
Increased accuracy. Improved recoil management and longer barrels both provide increased accuracy and at longer distances.
The Ammo Debate
Years ago, there was a lot of confusion on choosing the best caliber. There were .45 ACP guys who loved the stopping power of that larger round, but with advances in defensive 9mm ammo the differences in stopping power are negligible. Plus, 9mm is more readily available, less expensive, and you can carry a lot more of it for sending down range.
I would say 9mm has won the debate.
However, with a 9mm, you can carry a lot more ammo. Really, 9mm has won. It's won the debate. Stockpile one type of ammo, not a whole bunch of others. That's just my opinion. You disagree, I don't really care what you do. Do you. But this is me just trying to, "Hey, that a boy," save you some cash, and point you to the best bang for your buck. Bang for the buck. Dad jokes for days. It's a classic, so I went with it.
The Best Gun for You
Hopefully you now understand my bias against subcompacts and in favor of compacts and full-size pistols. But there's still a lot to choose from within those two classifications.
What I Used to Carry: Glock 43/43X. This was the gold standard for me many years ago. I used to carry it on an ankle or tuck it in the appendix in my waistband. My wife carried this gun for a very long time. It is much thinner than a Glock 26 or a Glock 19, so it's far more comfortable to to carry. But what eventually drove me away from this gun was the magazine capacity. A seven-round + 1 capacity just didn't seem like enough.
What I Carry Now: War Poet Shadow Systems CR920. This is the gun I carry 90 percent of the time, and there are good reasons why. Yes the CR920 is a subcompact pistol. It's virtually the same size as the Glock 43, so it provides the ease and comfort of carry but it's also big enough to fight with. It also has capacity for 14 rounds with an extended magazine. And it comes all jazzed up right out of the box with a red dot sight, which I care about a lot. I also used to carry The War Poet Shadow Systems MR920 on my War Poet belt.
The Classic: Glock 19. I can confidently say that a Glock 19 checks a lot of boxes in terms of concealability, reliability, capacity, comfort, etc. It's a fantastic gun right out of the box. I'm not getting paid to say this. I've just had a lot of experience with the Glock 19 and I can recommend that as one solid option.
Honorable Mentions: The Taurus G2C is somewhere between a compact and subcompact pistol. I actually just bought two of them because of the price. For a few hundred bucks, this is an all right gun. I'd potentially carry the SIG 365 if I needed to. I don't normally feel comfortable with SIGs, but this one has the kinks worked out and a higher capacity.
The Hipster: The CZ P10-C is your kind of gun if you're in your 20s, you have a thin mustache, and you really like craft beer. The unofficial hipster gun.
When it comes to conceal carry, holsters are a critical component. If you can wear your gun comfortable and deploy it when it matters, all of this is a moot point. I've found Tier 1 holsters and T. REX holsters to be some of the quickest, best made, safest/reliable holsters on the market. I carry some of each depending what do and gun it is.
The gun isn't coming out and the trigger guard is protected. What you want in a gun is for it to be safe and ready for the moment. What you don't want to do when you're fighting for your life and milliseconds count, to be able to pull this gun and have to worry about actuating an external safety. I want to be able to draw it and immediately put it into action.
Get the Right Training
I highly, highly encourage you to check out our app and streaming service: watchwpsn.com.
When you join the Warrior Poet Society Network, and you literally get to be a fly on the wall watching a full pistol 1 training class, and then pistol 2, and then pistol 3, and rifle 1, and rifle 2, and all the classes, knife fighting classes and long-range precision classes.
We have that and fun shows plugging our network because woke entertainment sucks. We have entertainment and classes, and we need your support. We have a shiny app that goes on your Android or your iPhone or your Apple TV or all the things.
Support us, not woke people. Yay Second Amendment, yay freedom, yay capitalism, yay God and Country.
Train Hard, Train Smart, Carry the Right Tools, Stay Free.