Today I took a trip into “the city” as my kids call it to pick up my renewed Concealed Handgun Permit and I thought it was a good time to reflect on how concealed carry has changed for me in the past 5 years.
If you have read this blog for any length of time, or know my reputation there are three things that are believed to be universally true.
- I tend to analyze every piece of gear to find the one that best fits my needs
- I hate 1911′s
- I am a Glock Fan Boy
With number 1 I plead guilty as charged… but sometimes I get it wrong because there are some things you can know without experience.
The 9mm Stainless Kimber Pro-Carry II w/ 10rd Wilson Combat Magazines
My 1st carry gun was a 4″ Kimber 1911 chambered in 9mm and it is still one of the best shooting guns I own. I actually get bored shooting it because pulling the trigger is such a non-event. No recoil. No Drama. Just a hole where you want it.
One of my favorite stories with this gun was at the former Blackwater facility that is now Academi in Moyock, NC. I was there the week Eric Prince announced that he was selling the company.
I had taken the whole course with my Glock 19 and decided to switch to the 1911 for the afternoon on day 4 of the 5 day course. The instructor was talking to us about the 2 techniques for shooting a moving target and I put 10 out of 10 rounds on the mover, in a nice group, on a single pass from about 10 yards with enough time for 2 more hits if I had, had the ammo. For a relatively new shooter it was a great moment.
I chose this gun for what I believed to be completely logical reasons…
First as a new shooter I was bit hesitant of my ability to control the manly .45. The round that I later heard described as being a round you could “hit your attacker with in the thumb and he would spin around 3 times and fall to the ground.” Unfortunately that quote was made by an NRA Museum representative and shown on the television show Gun Stories.
I know better now and believed I lucked into the 9mm cartridge as my preferred caliber, but it was part of the original decision. Secondly the 9mm cartridge permitted me to carry 10+1, which was more than 7+1, and what I wanted to shoot the game of IDPA and Production in USPSA.
Prior to my son being born I used to Autocross a Mazda Miata. The concept of showing up for 5 hours on the weekend, walking around, figuring out the fastest way to complete a course, spend 3 minutes competing and working so others can do the same wasn’t foreign to me and these sports looked a lot like auto cross for guns.
Thirdly the 4″ barrel seemed as though it would be easier to conceal and combined with the lighter weight frame should increase the recoil enough that it would be an easier transition up to the “full size 45″ when I was ready.
So that was all bunk too… but it seemed to make sense at the time.
Lastly and as importantly as anything else, the commander size 1911 in stainless steel with black grips is the gun I thought of when thought of a beautiful gun and is still the single most beautiful gun to me. Maybe not a 9mm Kimber… but it is what it is.
I really wanted to hate Glocks. A gun to me was made of metal and the good ones came from the mind of an American named John Moses Browning. The only reason I bought one was my father, who worked in a gun store, said that it should be everyone’s 1st pistol.
I bought my 1911 the finest IWB leather holster money could buy in the Milt Sparks VM2. I bought my Glock some hybrid holster that got good reviews and wasn’t a crossbreed (I had what was quite possibly my worst customer experience ever with the owner of the company after asking if they could make a holster without crosses on them.)
As it turned out the holster I bought was a Comp-tac MTAC (Click here to read my 1st review of this holster) and was thinner with my Block 19 than my VM2 was with the decidedly perfect 1911. It was also more comfortable, easier to reload and held 45% more ammunition to start with.
Once I figured that out switching wasn’t much of a decision.
The Glock is still my go to pistol but it has changed a bit.
- I went from Ameriglo TFO’s to Warren/Sevigny sights to increase the sight radius and a change of heart regarding night sights.
- I changed the trigger to the flat model from the Glock 17, because I found the hot spot uncomfortable on high round count days and found I steer the gun less with it; plus the fat face of the trigger makes the trigger feel lighter.
- I increased the weight of the trigger with a heavier trigger spring and a 3.5# connector, which did a lot to teach me trigger control and I thought would look good in court.
- I reduced the trigger weight with a different trigger spring and made it unreliable.
- Currently it has an over travel stop, 3.5# connector and stock spring. I find this makes it easy to shoot fast and accurately, which I believe for me is less of a threat to others than a poor trigger.
- I added a Sevigny speedway to make it easier to reload.
- Most recently I had the slide milled by ATEi for a Trijicon RMR.
Eventually I began to think that I’d like to have a smaller option and I bought a PM9.
It was the closest thing to the Glock available at the time. It had no safety, it was striker fired and it had a single, consistent trigger pull. Albeit a long double action pull.
It proved to be too big to pocket carry, so it had to be carried on the belt. It wasn’t as easy to shoot because it was too thin and too short. It’s short barrel and grip made it flip like I thought the 1911 would. I quickly discovered it was no easier to carry than my Glock 19… so why carry it?
And if you aren’t carrying it, why shoot the unpleasant little gun?
So I sold it.
Smith & Wesson M&P Shield in 9mm
The Shield is another gun I didn’t intend to buy (at least not alone).
I like the idea of shooting a single platform and I requested an M&P9 and an M&P Shield to test from Smith & Wesson. I was hoping to have a single platform for my concealed carry and discrete carry guns (definitions).
The grip on the M&P9 didn’t work for me, the trigger had no reset and it was the wrong size to be useful… BUT the Shield had a real reset and with the 8 round magazine was a polymer 3913! I quickly drank the Kool-Aid.
If Smith & Wesson made a Glock 19 sized M&P I would change out the trigger and retire the G19′s.
The Smith is an American gun which would scratch the itch and it’s magazines drop my reload time buy half a second.
Over the past 5 years I have carried a number of guns, in a number of holsters and still don’t have the perfect combination. (Which I think is Mid-sized M&P, a safetyless 8 round only M&P Shield, and maybe a SP101 in 9mm with a ported barrel and beautiful wood grips?)
And I don’t hate 1911′s… I just think there are better choices.
And I’m not a Glock fan boy… I just don’t think there is a better choice.
What guns have you carried, why did you pick them and why did you switch?