Top Concealed-Carry Handguns, by Deputy Dave

Choosing a handgun is a very personal decision, and I hope that this article will provide information that will help make that decision easier. I want to start by saying that I have been an NRA Certified Firearms Instructor for the last 20 years as well as a part-time law enforcement officer. I have been carrying concealed for close to 30 years, almost all of it with a Glock 19. I have taught more than 2,500 students the course needed in Michigan to obtain a Concealed Pistol License.

Since June 2020, the demand for my concealed carry class has been about 500% of a normal year. The election, pandemic, riots, and a general unease about the future is causing many people to want to purchase and carry a firearm. The majority of these people are females and first-time gun buyers. I urge all my students to put off buying their first gun until after they take the class, because I give them the option of shooting several of my favorite concealed-carry handguns after they complete the formal course of fire. The ones that do buy a gun before the class usually leave saying they wished they would have waited.

I have no association with any product companies that I talk about and purchased all of the guns at retail from a local FFL dealer.

My Minimum Specifications

Here are my minimum specifications for a personal protection handgun:

1.) It must have at least a 10-round capacity. This eliminates all revolvers and nearly all of the smaller caliber handguns. The single biggest problem that I see in all my classes is students trying to shoot too small of a gun. I do realize that this is a subjective minimum and that the average defensive shooting is only about three rounds. But I don’t want to plan on average, and 10 rounds or more just makes sense to me.

2.) It must be at least 9mm Parabellum caliber. I personally like the 9mm, as I believe it has the best overall blend of power, capacity, and efficiency. Also, when I attend advanced-level instructor training classes, the vast majority of those instructors carry a 9mm. In police work we would call that “a clue”. The second biggest problem that I see in classes is students shooting a gun with more recoil than they can safely control. This is why many law enforcement agencies have gotten away from the .40 S&W to go back to the 9mm.

3.) It must not have an external safety. I can’t even begin to tell you how many people I see at the range trying to shoot a gun that has the safety on – and that’s in a relatively stress-free environment of a shooting range. Also, external safeties have little pins and springs that can break and malfunction.

4.) It must be able to pass my minimum shooting drill – 5 shots from concealment on an 8” paper plate at 5 yards in less than 3 seconds. Here again, this may be somewhat subjective, but after watching literally thousands of real shootings on video, what I learned was that the “winner” was usually the first person to score an anatomically significant shot on the opponent. By the way, the vast majority of concealed-carry citizens today cannot pass this drill.

5.) I must be able to get my whole hand on the grip – no dangling pinky fingers.

6.) It must exhibit near 100% reliability with common range and self-defense ammunition. My minimum requirement is 200 rounds of range ammo and 50 rounds of my chosen carry ammo without any failures.

7.) It must be easy to conceal by the average shooter.

My Top Choices

The top three handguns that meet these requirements are the Glock slimline series (43X and the 48), SIG P365XL, and the Springfield Hellcat. I realize that I may be leaving out your favorite handgun, but this is a list of what I have found that works personally for me as well as the input from many hundreds of students. For those of you who have difficulty racking the slide on some of these smaller guns, you may want to try the Smith & Wesson Shield EZ. I hope all the other gun manufacturers are scrambling to design handguns that are much easier to operate for those with limited hand strength, arthritis, or other disabilities.

My number one choice is the Glock 43X/Glock 48 series. When they first came out, I was not really a fan because they had by far the largest grip and the lowest capacity. The game-changer happened when Shield Arms came out with a 15-round all-steel flush-fit magazine. In my drill the G48 consistently had the lowest times at 2.5 seconds. After watching videos of myself shooting the drill, I attribute the low times to getting a good, fast grip on the gun to get it out of the holster, and the reduced split times due to the higher weight and longer barrel. The 43X is identical to the 48 except for a 1/2” shorter barrel. It was just a tad slower than the 48 due to slightly longer split times. Both of these models are excellent carry guns for most shooters, and it has been the perennial favorite in my classes.

My number two choice for a concealed carry handgun is the SIG P365XL. The standard 365 didn’t make the list (as well as the Glock 43) because it’s just too small for the average shooter to do well with. The XL model I own has the Romeo red dot sight on it, so it did have somewhat of an advantage in the shooting drill. The gun is very well balanced and does just as well at mitigating felt recoil as the G48. Also, the velocity is only about 10 feet per second slower than the 48.

My only real negative on the 365XL is the trigger, and I admit that it is problem for me personally more so than the average shooter because of the extensive time I have with Glock triggers. The flat face and the 90-degree break are different enough for me that it causes me to lose a little speed and accuracy. I am investigating after-market triggers to see if there are any that would be a significant improvement over the “stock” configuration trigger. As an aside, the standard 12-round magazine is very expensive, and the optional 15-round one is almost impossible to find. If you are into mounting lights and lasers, the SIG has a very nice front rail that the Glocks do not have.

My third choice for a concealed-carry handgun would be the Springfield Armory Hellcat. This one made the list but just barely. Its small size made it a little difficult to get a good grip out of the holster, and it was by far the snappiest of the three to shoot. My average drill times were just below the 3-second threshold, and no matter how many times I shot this drill, I could not improve on my times, and I believe it was mostly due to the recoil issues. I should also point out that I need the 13-round extended magazine rather than the standard 11 rounds to meet my no-dangling pinky finger requirement. To me, it’s not a big deal, and I’m amazed that Springfield was able to stuff 13 rounds into such a small package.

The students that liked the Hellcat the best were typically ones with smaller hands. And lastly, the velocity was 70 feet per second less than the Glock 48 for 124FMJ ammo.

Even though I have ranked these three in order, I would feel comfortable carrying any of them. The Glock 19 is still my everyday carry gun – mostly because of my long familiarity with it as well as the fact that I live in the north where we have 9 months of winter and three months of bad sledding, so concealment is really not a problem. I will say that I did carry these three on a regular basis this summer, and the smaller grips, thinner profile, and lighter weights definitely made them easier to conceal in summer attire.

I had mentioned earlier that the biggest problem I see with newly minted concealed-carry holders is shooting a gun that is too small for them. Everyone seems to want to focus on concealability and forgets about the shootability of their chosen handgun. The error that most people make is they want to take their standard attire and add a handgun to it. This is backwards – you first need to decide on the gun and holster you want to use and then dress around it. I have not found a single person yet who has not been able to successfully conceal one of the three handguns I recommended.

When you really do a deep dive into the shootability of smaller handguns than these three, you uncover a whole host of undesirable issues. These include poor grip, improper trigger finger placement, difficulty racking the slide, slow velocity, reduced ammo capacity, short sight radius, higher malfunction rates, and increased recoil. It is important to understand the simple physics of a smaller, lighter gun will have more felt recoil. To me, any one of these would be enough to look at a little bit bigger handgun.

About My Standard Shooting Drill

I also wanted to comment on why I think my standard drill of 5 shots from 5 yards into an 8” paper plate in under 3 seconds is so important. First, more than 90% of all self-defense shootings happen within 5 yards, so this is the distance we need to be very good at.

The 3-second minimum time is somewhat arbitrary. However, the average gunfight is over within 3 seconds. The reason I use 5 shots is twofold: First, handgun rounds are anemic to begin with, so I am probably going to need a bunch of them to stop the threat. Secondly, I have found that you need a really good grip to get off 5 shots as fast as you can pull the trigger. I see lots of malfunctions on this drill because of poor grip. Lastly, an 8” paper plate represents the average size of human vital organs, as an aiming point.

How To Make Your Choice

To recap, here are my recommendations for choosing a personal defense handgun:
1.) Take the time and effort to find the best handgun for you.
2.) Once you have selected your handgun, find the carry method and holster that is right for you.
3.) Pick the clothes that will best allow you to conceal your gun while allowing for fast and consistent draws.
4.) Practice, practice, practice! Dry fire drills will allow you to develop the necessary gun handling skills without even having to go the range and fire a shot.


  1. I’ve studied under Jeff Cooper, Chuck Taylor, and John Farnam for over 4 decades. Progressed from the 1911-Is-King mindset to trying other platforms. I get to work with students in classes, working on trigger control, grip, stance, stoppage reduction, and of course, safety issues. Like the author, I’ve found that interest in training lately is very intense.
    I agree that tiny guns represent a great impediment to successful training…..they’re really expert’s guns because they are very difficult to use, offer less power, less ammunition reserve, less reliability, and are abusive to the user.
    When women show up to train, they often have a tiny gun bought for them by their significant other. I let them struggle with these crummy little guns that make their hands bleed, are impossible to acquire a good grip on, and are difficult to manipulate for basic administrative handling, for an hour or so. i also note that students grow weary of constantly reloading six or seven shot pistols.
    When it’s time, I offer them a Glock 17, 19, 22, 23. It doesn’t seem to matter whether they are 9mm or .40 S&W for a while…they LOVE these guns because they can grip them properly, they have practical magazine capacity, and they are reliable.
    Some shooters are very light weight…say, 95 to 110 lbs, with light hands and arms. That’s when the reliability monster settles in and stoppages become annoying. For the lightest shooters struggling with choking 9mm pistols, i hand them a .40 S&W Glock (no G27s, please, not enough frame to grip properly) and all reliability issues end. The extra slide velocity with the .40 S&W cartridge compensates for the lack of mass and grip strength of lean students. If the student is learning correct basic shooting principles, the 20% increase in recoil is a non-issue.
    I have four daughters, all slender and on the light side. They started serious pistols courses at age 14, when they weighed 100 lbs or so. All got to shoot 9mm Glocks with wimpy Remington bulk ammo for a while to learn stoppage reduction, then switched to .40 S&W. No one told them about how traumatized they were supposed to be shooting the Forty, and they never, ever complained about it shooting 400 rounds a day.
    Are my 14 year old girls tougher than grown men wearing badges?
    To me, reliability is paramount. I’d rather have a little more jump in my pistol than have a thoracic surgeon working to repair 29 stab wounds in my body. And yes, my girls and I can put five rounds inside a 5 inch circle at five yards in five seconds using a G23 or G22. Standard FBI proficiency test. This is the test that killed the 10mm round at the FBI. No one could do it. Shave off 350 ft lbs of muzzle energy and it’s a pussy cat….the .40 S&W was born.
    At a Farnam pistol course last weekend, a female student weighing about 110 lbs began having stoppages with her G48 after fatigue and cold set in at dusk. Another student (6’5″ tall, 225 lbs) offered his “100% reliable” G48 for her to use during the final test. On the next two runs, the exact same stoppage….failure to extract- occurred. The girl’s grip and weight just isn’t going to assure reliable function with that pistol. She got lucky and managed to pass the test before the close of the course.
    Most women, after shooting full size or compact double column Glocks, buy them at their earliest convenience and ditch the tiny guns they arrived with. Under stress, taking time out to reload in the middle of a problem, they find slamming 15, 16, or 17 rounds into their pistol beats 6, 7, or even ten.
    I’ve dumped the FBI “average gunfight lasting 3.2 rounds in less than 5 seconds” theory because we never know what our fight will look like. Your first shot may be 75 yards, as it was for Ogden PD officer Hammond who was the first person to engage the Trolley Square gunman. Or you might be in the Aurora, CO theater featuring a heavily armed goon with an AR. I’ll take a 16 shooter with a long sight radius that is going to deliver no matter what. Full size duty pistols, please.
    My 80 year old female business partner finds a G22 (.40) has milder recoil than her G19 with full pressure 9mm ammo. And she shoots both of them quite well. She weighs not an ounce over 105 lbs. She has found a way to conceal either one on her person all day.
    While there are so many new guns out there to chose from now days, I’m sticking with a pistol that is in wide use by police and military, is simple to use (without manual safeties) and has a huge selection of holsters and gazillions of magazines available. The Glock is a workhorse, not a collector’s piece.
    Wife is an Idaho girl with a strong grip….and she has few problems with her G19s with good ammo. But has switched back to the G23. No complaints about noise or recoil.
    Always good to hear from other trainers out there.

    1. Paul I would like to encourage you to take a little time out of your schedule and write a full length article for submission. Your reply to Deputy Dave was well written, informative, and from experience.

    2. I’m with you Paul. All I ever hear from others when I tell them I shoot .40 is, “it’s just so snappy, I don’t like the recoil”. I ask if they have ever shot one, and, often, they have not, they just hear that from enough people that they just accept it as gospel. I have been shooting .40 since I was a scrawny 15 year old winning my class for IPSC and/or USPSA competitions. I learned to reload from my father who started doing it because we were too poor to keep buying manufactured ammo AND shoot competition. Our family collected Glock .40 pistols as the budget would allow. My father carried the G22 and eventually the G23. I have the G35 and use it for daily carry. “How can you carry a full-size extended slide pistol daily?!?” you might ask. In business attire, no less? You carry what you have, dress to what you are carrying. Believe it or not, it is possible to carry a G35 with a full 15-round mag, along with a 19-round backup mag decently concealed. If future budget allows, I will consider something less bulky, but I have found my pistol to be reliable and accurate which are of utmost importance.

      1. Hi Fester,
        You are quite right, concealing a full size duty gun is EASY.
        You build the wardrobe around the guns, not fitting the gun to your clothes. Priorities, right?
        I wear 2 Glock Model 22s, with a single magazine behind each pistol so I can access at least one reload from either side should I be partially disabled.
        The .40 is easy to reload because of its straight wall case. The 9x19mm is tricky…a tapered case with varying wall thicknesses creates headaches. I do not try to load up to 100% pressure with the .40SW. 85% is fine for me. I’ve loaded it way down to 60% and the pistols still worked fine.
        I carry Federal 180 gr HST for serious purposes.
        Police buy-back G22s are widely available and are like new in most copies and sell for about half price. Buy several, and 40 or 50 magazines from CDNN Sports.
        I have never met a person over 13 years old I couldn’t train to shoot the G22 well. It’s a workhorse and it’s no surprise it served thousands of LE agencies well.

  2. Enough of 9mm Glock and Sig. I EDC a Bersa Thunder Plus 380. It holds 15+1. Fills my hand and shoots very tight at the range you are training for. Pretty sure the perp would be a mort.

    1. You might want to get an extra slide stop for that Bersa (if you can get Bersa to respond to you). It has a weak spot…have a friend with one for which I have been trying for months to get a slide stop ( it is currently a single shot as the slide locks back after each shot whether there are more rounds in the magazine or not). The idea is great…lots of ammo (380) in a medium sized handgun, however dependability must be paramount and one thing that glocks and sigs have going for them is parts availabilty. I drove Dodge pickups in the 60’s and 70’s (so that might be an indicator of just how bright I am) and found out that parts were much easier to get for Fords and Chevy’s. Since then I only buy what is popular enough that parts are rarely an issue. Just my 2 cents worth.

      1. Slide stop check your magazines. Parts got plenty. Dependability outstanding. 8000 rounds and counting plus why would they be the main supplier of firearms to Argentiena military and leo . Just my 1 cent worth

  3. My wife has arthritis and has lost some of her grip. I attached a slide pull on her Glock 19 (search: “Field Sport Tactical Ring Latch Handle for Glock” $20.95 on Amazon). Brass Stacker also sells a slide pull for Glock, but $49. I own both. IMO the Brass Stacker is better-made, but both work well.

    1. Have you considered a slight grip reduction and stipp!ing? I til have hand oroblems, and find a hand stopped pistol much easier to hold onto.

  4. Great article!
    Carry a S&W Chief .357. Been carrying it for 20+ years and its like wearing my wedding band.
    I prefer a 357 because it is a stopper. I like a revolver because in a malfunction you pull the trigger again, no slap/rack etc mess. Most times its the ammo that fails.
    Been in several desperate gunfights and firstest with the mostest always counted….
    But like Capt Woodrow Coll said better to have a gun and not need it than to need one and not have it….so carry something!!
    Again great article.

    1. I’m with you the same here! I carry a Ruger stainless in .357. Its decent sized and lumpy in my small of the back holster but have put enough lead down range to feel real comfortable with what holes it makes.

  5. Dave a nice article but given the cost and availability of 9 x 19 mm ammo locally and the skyrocketing prices of “Defensive Handguns” that use it I hope your students have deep pockets right now.

    Currently cheap paper punching ammo in the 200 round lots and decent decent defensive ammo is around dollar a pop+.

    However I can find folks right now willing to part with a 38 special revolver and maybe a few boxes of ammo for less than 200 dollars. Guess they need the 10+ magazines.

    I agree you need to train to get two solid hits NOW and I use cowboy action shooting to train friends using shoot NO Shoot targets with popup and moving targets. Also I train them to EXPECT Body Armor and thus Pistol shots in the Torso are almost useless. We train for belly shots as even Interceptor Armor seldom has coverage there.

    As the Irish might say we are living in the Times ‘O Troubles. Friends need to help each other.

    Today we have a “Run what you Brung” environment.

      1. OldParatrooper Maybe….. Street Drugs again common in Antifa and Burn Loot Murder makes that 45 ACP baseball bat thump against Body Armor useless.

        Two in the belly has a huge chance to clip Major Blood Vessels and injure the spinal column.

        Some of my neighbors I’ve trained in my cowboy action shoot set up only have 22 Long Rifle at hand so I plan for their situation also.

        If your that good a shot in at close pistol shootings then GO FOR THE HEAD FIRST.

        BUT I’d advise you try a 50 yard wind sprint before taking that practice shot to get your adrenaline and stress-breathing at what’s REALLY going to be at that moment.

        Than maybe the much larger belly shot might make sense.

  6. Dave, excellent article. My way of thinking on carrying concealed is to carry the type of handgun that YOU feel comfortable carrying. With me it’s my Sig P938. Yes it a subcompact but I feel that this type of firearm serves me and I am very comfortable carrying the Sig. I like you do not like my pinkie finger dangling so I use the extended 7 round mags in mine and carry two spare 7 round mags. Also I prefer having an external safety when carrying a firearm, this is a personal choice for me.

  7. Good article Dave, but never having shot a Glock, ( but carry a S.A. armory range officer compact 9 ), is there anything wrong with the 1911 platform ? ( uncle Sam , wwaayyy ( mid to late 60’s ) back in the day, tried to teach me how to shoot a .45 and the only way I was able to hit the brads side of the barn was if I was inside the barn ). Hmm, I too, like Wizzo, have a bersa thunder 380 plus and it fills my hand real nice, but have yet to get real familiar with it to any extent. One quick question, where are your shooting classes held at, as I would like more training than what I have been able to get?

    1. Nothing wrong with 1911’s, but they tend to be big and heavy for the average concealed carrier. I also see a higher than average failure rate on the range. But as I said in the article, choosing your concealed carry handgun is a very personal decision. If a Bersa Thunder .380 works for you then by all means that should be YOUR carry gun.

  8. Good article.

    Is there any data on the long term reliability of the 15 round Shield Arms magazine for the Glock 48? E.g, something like 100 people carrying the magazines fully loaded for six months and then everyone firing the 100 magazines empty without any jams/failures to feed.

    One advantage of staying “stock” [configuration] in firearms is that large numbers of users use the gun that way and any significant problems tend to get noticed/reported. (e.g, the new Army SIG discharging when dropped or the occasional policeman shooting himself in the buttocks when reholstering a Glock.)

    1. Don Williams – I do not know of any long term tests with the Shield Arms S-15 magazines. I can tell you that I have been using them for about 6 months now and I have one that I have been using every time I go out and shoot. It has been loaded with 15 rounds that whole time, and so far no failures. I should note that Shield recommends installing the all metal magazine release because the stock plastic one will erode with the metal magazine. This means that you have to use either the stock 10 round plastic magazines, or the metal S-15’s exclusively in your gun.

  9. PS I would be interested in Deputy Dave’s opinion on 9mm rounds (145 gr or 124gr +P? Hollow point or TMJ? Specific manufacturer or model or are most okay?)

    Also, suggestions on holsters and ways of carrying concealed. E.g, what about 5.11’s shirt with the fake buttons and snaps so you can rip it open like a Chippengdale’s male stripper on the fast draw?

    “You don’t have to take your hat off”

  10. Good article, thank you. I sold my Springfield XDs 3/3″ .45 – too few rounds, too snappy. Moved to an XDm 3.8″ double stack 9mm – Great carry gun!! Carry with the 13 round mag and a spare 19 round one. Then, got myself a Springfield EMP 4″, 9mm. 10 round mag…However, I always carry it with the external safety off – I see NO reason to use the safety. It still has the backstrap safety and maybe if I were an idiot, I’d shoot one off at some point, but I’m not…No idea what would happen under a real stress situation – but, IDPA under a timer is the best I’ve done so far; and I’d like to keep it that way.

    Practice is key!! When shooting at my range, I shoot the way I carry – from my IWB holster…

    Michael J.

  11. Excellent article Dave! I carry both the G19 and the G43X. At 5 yards I can easily pass your test with the G43X but that little gun IS snappy and hard to shoot, at least for me. I can consistently score 90 or better on a B8 at 25 yards with my G19 but not even close with my 43X. Probably means more work is needed. I’ve seen Kyle DeFoor score 90 or better consistently with the 43X. But then, he’s Kyle DeFoor.

  12. Thanks for a great article! I still prefer my hammer fire and not striker fire. My Beretta 92XFS is not on your list, but I like it even better than my Browning High Power. Keep up the good work!

    1. Wow, Dan, how interesting: you have the same weapons as I do!
      I too like my Beretta 92F but do better with my Browning. (But the guys at the range told me the Browning’s more of a collector type gun so keep that one stashed and use the B as my everyday gun. I’ve been doing that.) As a 66 yr old female, fairly strong, the B feels comfortable to me and I buy mags with lots of capacity 🙂
      I am pretty new to all this, and not very good at the range. I also am not sure ‘how’ to carry the weapon, if I go out. I’ve looked at holsters but none of them look as though they’d be wearable/hidden/not bulky. I suppose I just need to go to the range store and get some input.

      1. Hi,
        My Browning was used for years shooting competition and I still use it alot. Have you tried a shoulder rig? I make alot of custom holsters and the shoulder rig has become very popular in the past 8 months. You might also try a holster that rides up high on your belt. I know at my age the IWB just doesn’t work.

      2. Les, I’ve enjoyed the YouTube channel “She Equips Herself.” She’s got a couple of videos about different holsters, and how to wear them while keeping them hidden. She’s a lot younger than you and I are, so some of her choices might not be yours, but it might be worthwhile checking her out.

  13. This is a great article. Thanks for submitting it. It certainly gives me food for thought. Big fan of the Glock 19 but I really enjoy the 1911 more. Unfortunately as I get into middle age there’s this weird phenomenon going on where my tummy keeps getting bigger and my butt is shrinking, so carrying that hunk of metal on my belt just pulls my pants down to my knees and it’s like one of those bad dreams where you show up to first grade in your underwear. I’ve had a lot of handguns over the years and figured I’d try out a slightly smaller/lighter 1911 like a Range Officer or commander, but then I held the Glock 48. It was like it was made to fit my hand. As in, Mr. Glock himself snuck into the house while I slept and took a mold of my hand and then designed the pistol. I’ve been trying to find one used or for sale in a private transaction but it’s been tough. It’s really a great combination between a slim, compact grip, slim slide profile and longer barrel for better accuracy at distance.

  14. Interesting points in the article and, as always, in the comments. For several years I carried a Glock 22. Comfortable platform and great reliability. It does have an external safety but I like it’s location on this firearm

    While it is much less popular, I now carry an FN Five Seven. Full size, 20 round magazines, very low recoil with very high speed rounds. Some people complain about the price of ammo but all common carry handgun ammo is scarce right now and fewer people are trying to buy 5.7 X 28. The fact that Ruger is getting in the 5.7 x 28 game will also help on that score. The high capacity makes it less necessary to carry an extra mag but one certainly can if conceal-ability allows it.

    For times when I will not be able to conceal and choose not to open carry (although I can in my state) I carry the FN FNS 9c. It’s compact but it comes with an extended magazine so pinky can wrap. Very accurate an easy to shoot. There are versions both with and without external safety.

    And yes, I have become a gig FN fan. I have a PS90 (suppressed and sbr) and a couple of FN’s tactical AR 15’s. I think their quality and reliability is the equal of Glock and Sig across multiple platforms

  15. Good article and food for thought. Like Paul mentioned I like a medium/full size gun if I can conceal it, Glock Model 19 is my first choice, but like Dave mentioned in the article, you have to conceal it, so on Sunday I always carry the Sig 365 to church as it is easier to conceal. So a little of both. No problem meeting his minimum on the drill, I would push it to 7 or 10 yards and decrease the size of the target area. Getting the grip on these smaller guns is an issue. Agree with Chris from Arkansas, changing the area of carry is a never ending struggle, first its behind the back, than at the side, then abdominal, then back to the side, repeat…

  16. I strongly disagree with the author’s stance on external safeties. I fired expert with the 1911A1 .45 in 1969 and for many years afterwards, but carry a S&W 457 because it allows me to carry a round in the chamber and a safety on. I still love my 1911, and would carry it in battle, but don’t feel confident carrying it in Condition One.

  17. Hey Dave,

    To qualify, I’m a USCCA Certified Firearms Instructor and agreed with and relate many of your points to my students,,, however I make the argument with my students to purchase a firearm with a safety.

    All my firearms have safeties and as I teach my students, with the repetitive training that they do, as part of their Presentation from Holster, as they Drive the firearm out and on target they’re disengaging the safety.

    It doesn’t slow you down in any way gaining target acquisition.

    If you “Forget” to disengage the safety, you haven’t trained enough. I don’t even think about it anymore, it’s just natural to my PFH now.

  18. Article is food for thought and careful consideration for your carry pistol that you an actually shoot well with. In my competition days I used an enhanced/modified Colt series 70 Govt model .45. Still have it of course, but in my older years have subscribed to the more rounds is better carry pistol. I really find carry decisions for me revolve around the weather. In the warm summer days I just wear a t- shirt and cargo pants so commonly carry a S&W 642 stainless .38. Only 5 rounds of course so the article’s author would frown on that but I feel it’s better than nothing. ( first rule of a gunfight is have a gun !) when the weather is cooler I transition to a Sig 320 with red dot sight or a Springfield Armory Tactical Elite .45 auto that holds 13 rounds. Also have a Glock 19 Gen 5so that also gets in on the carry action. I have no issue with thumb/ external safeties because from thousands of rounds of competition and practice with my 1911 Colt it was just learned response to swipe off the safety as the weapon was brought to bear on the target. I do like the fact that if the casual person has access to your pistol ( shouldn’t of course happen ) having the safety on the loaded pistol may forestall an AD ( or as the late Jeff Cooper used to say, no accident, he called them ND for negligent discharge ). Good note on the drill. But if you want another very tough drill see Ken Hackathorn’s Wizard Drill on YouTube. If you can ace that on your first try with your common carry weapon you are good to go as Ken would say.

  19. My first Glock was a model 21. I still have it and carry it often. It is at least 20 years old now. I added a pair of model 22s to the collection a little under a decade ago. Either one pairs well with the Keltec sub 2000 I have for what I’ll call moderate carry.

    But I’ve recently latched on to a few Canik TP9s (one full size, two elites) and have been enjoying running these at the range a lot. In my mitts, these guns are inherently more accurate than the Glocks and feel “smoother”. I’m too big and seasoned to really notice much difference between 40 and 9 in terms of recoil and “snap”. When I want to sleep comfy at night when things go bump, the ole 21 is better than counting sheep. Well, that and the Mossberg in the corner.

  20. In a few weeks, I turn 69.
    My wardrobe comes from the ‘husky’ section in the ‘big-n-tall’ department at the local-owned farm/ranch supply.

    We farm in bear/cougar country… and camps of cranked goofballs continually erupt under every bush outside our fences.

    Three seasons, I easily conceal an AR pistol in .300BO with twenty rounds of 220gr.
    Two 20-rounders help balance on my off-side in a rig developed by a local Kydex© molder puttering on his porch.
    This’s such a part of me, I hardly notice it.

    Rarely more than ten paces away, I keep my 30-rounders and .300BO rifle in the truck.
    At supper with five sheriff deputies, I experimented with wearing a chest-rig carrying six 20-rounders… concealed.

    Based on my experience, 9mm or .45 or Five-Seven is adequate for a couple rabid coons/skunks.
    My threats are observant and organized and fiercer and quicker… and require plenty of noise before they are convinced they need to stop.

    My thoughts on them stopping are irrelevant.
    They need to convince themselves of their predicament.

  21. enjoyed the article…not a fan of the baby glocks either, especially without a full grip…now that the 43X has that full grip and a rail, i’m liking it more and more…currently carry a full size 17 with 2 spare full capacity mags…just never know in todays world with blm, antifa, possible terrorist attack in your friendly wally world…it’s easier to carry in a sling bag/pack, especially when carrying those other 2 mags…plus when you carry it in a pack, you can carry some med stuff in case you are injured…it’s for me not others, only for others if the threat is gone, i’m good and i can help someone else…also carry cuffs, light, knife, extra batteries…lately with all the blm/antifa crap i’ve been carrying my 43X in the same bag…kind of overkill but my wife can cover my 6 if need be

  22. Good article, as well as comments as usual. Large, your edc made me smile. I have my preferences of course but the main ones are have the weapon on me and it goes bang when I want it to and not any other time. Also, proper attitude ahead of time, then restraint plus decisiveness. Yes those two seem to go opposite to each other and on purpose. We are not the bad guy and our concerns include righteousness.
    Holsters as well as firearms have greatly improved since I was a lad. Do you recall John Bianchi’s book “Blue steel and Gunleather” . He had in 1978 I think the advice “one gun, one carry”. To balance that out he had photos of himself in regular business attire of suit and tie concealing 12 firearms in holsters on his person. At the same time. He said in the front of that book “let the light of freedom and the right to keep and bear arms never grow dim”.

  23. Just wondering why the “at least a 10 round magazine” is part of your mantra. FTR my everyday carry is the same gun that I use to qualify annually for my “G” license here in FL. It’s a Smith 3914 that I re-installed the hammer on. Mag options are 7,8,and 9 rounds. Normally I carry an 8 rd mag in the gun and 2 spare 8 rounders on my belt.
    The courses of fire we qualify for the license include multiple targets, down-loaded magazines requiring “tactical” reloads, shooting “double taps” on multiple targets, and shooting from various positions out to 25 yards. Only time I ever had a problem was once when I forgot to load the correct number of rounds for the final course, oops…

    1. Just my opinion, but I agree with Deputy Dave.

      One argument for 10 rds plus is the increasing spread of body armor — with multiple shots to the pelvis needed to slow and multiple shots at the head needed before one connects and the attacker stops.

      Argument two is that even policemen often miss — because combat is not like range shooting. Dim , confusing scattered light with patches of darkness, rapid movement, high stress ,etc.

      Argument three is that 5 hits may be needed to stop quickly — brain is small target, heart is also, arterial bleeding is a slow process (20 seconds is a long time if attacker is shooting at you or stabbing you with a knife), and lungs take a while to collapse /disrupt heart beat , especially if hollow points don’t expand and you get ice pick holes. Precise placement of shots hard with moving target, high stress.

      Imagine a 220lb heavily muscled convict charging you with a knife.

      One of the things about the News Media that angers me is that morons –who don’t even know which end of the gun the bullet comes out of — presume to attack the police over shootings without making any attempt to talk with police trainers and experts to understand the rules of engagement and the limitations of pistols. Or to understand the process/standards by which police management and civil lawyers hold policemen to account in a shooting.

  24. Great articles all around, could we entertain a conversation on .45 ACP. I understating the capacity constraints, the 1911 in the right hands will out gun any wanna be every time. The weight is a little more but if that is an issue, that’s a problem. 200 gr XTP is the bomb in load, game on. Another consideration. I have not heard is the G20 in 10mm exceptional selection. I know people shy away from these calibers , understand them, handle them. They are the criminals worst nightmare che3s

  25. The 1911 feels good in your hand, (grip)! Grip is so important. Yes, yes you only get 7 rds, but you can get the 10 rd mag if that is one of your minimums. My wife shoots my .45 pretty good for little sweet thing, and she enjoys the safety features on it. So I looked around a couple of yrs ago and found the EMP, by Springfield. Nice gun and it is 9mm. It has less the kick. She was the highest scorer in her class. Just saying… I do carry a glock as well. You just have to train and get used to what gun it is…they all go bang! Have some fun out there and as always, Keep walking with YESHUA!

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