How I chose my past carry guns… and why I switched

20120508_1911Today 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.

  1. I tend to analyze every piece of gear to find the one that best fits my needs
  2. I hate 1911′s
  3. 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.

Glock 19

rmr_glockI 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.

Kahr PM9

20120121_pm9_3Eventually 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

20120726_shieldThe 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?

Comments

  1. says

    1988 – Ruger GP100 or S&W Model 60 (standard carry for my LEO days)
    1991 – S&W 4516 (boat anchor)… .45 semi auto (new department issue) or S&W Model 60
    1998 – Disarmed in public as Ohio had no concealed carry and I left law enforcement
    2004 – Ruger SP101 or Colt 1911 or Ruger P95
    2007 – Ruger SR9
    2009 – Ruger LCP as a B.U.G. or minimal carry days
    2010 – Ruger SR9 or SR9c with LCR or LCP as a B.U.G.

    The gals and I have a variety of other firearms and I’ve carried them occasionally (Glock 19, 26; S&W M&P9, M&P9c, M&P Shield 9mm; Ruger LC9), I have a Kel-Tec 3AT, but after two trips back to Kel-Tec… it’s never been reliable enough for me to chance carrying it for self-defense…

    My progression with guns is not as significant as my progression with holsters and I’ve been wearing a Comp-Tac MTAC almost daily for several years… wish I had one of those back in the 1980s…

    Dann in Ohio

  2. says

    1988 – Ruger GP100 or S&W Model 60 (standard carry for my LEO days)
    1991 – S&W 4516 (boat anchor)… .45 semi auto (new department issue) or S&W Model 60
    1998 – Disarmed in public as Ohio had no concealed carry and I left law enforcement
    2004 – Ruger SP101 or Colt 1911 or Ruger P95
    2007 – Ruger SR9
    2009 – Ruger LCP as a B.U.G. or minimal carry days
    2010 – Ruger SR9 or SR9c with LCR or LCP as a B.U.G.

    The gals and I have a variety of other firearms and I’ve carried them occasionally (Glock 19, 26; S&W M&P9, M&P9c, M&P Shield 9mm; Ruger LC9), I have a Kel-Tec 3AT, but after two trips back to Kel-Tec… it’s never been reliable enough for me to chance carrying it for self-defense…

    My progression with guns is not as significant as my progression with holsters and I’ve been wearing a Comp-Tac MTAC almost daily for several years… wish I had one of those back in the 1980s…

    Dann in Ohio

    • Handgun Dad says

      Probably a non-religious thing. Honestly, though, you can’t go ten words deep on the Crossbreed website without figuring out the company is very religious, so even asking them to delete the cross from their holsters is pretty cheeky trolling.

      I get it, but that’s the sort of question the internal filter should catch before release into the world.

  3. ordnancecorner says

    I started out with a S&W 686 6″ in a shoulder rig (It’s what I had I made do)

    Then I picked up a S&W 65 3″

    Sold the 65 for a Stainless Delta Elite

    Next was a M1991

    Followed by a M1991 Compact I could never get to work right

    Replaced with an Original Colt CCO

    Decided the Colt CCO would be better as a safe queen and got a Glock 19

    About the time I got the full-size M1991 I picked up a 642 for backup/deep concealment. After getting the Glock 19 I picked up a Kahr CM9 for the same reason. I also acquired another 3″ Model 65 and will carry a 3″ 629 if I’m in the wilderness.

    For holsters I use http://www.nelsonholsters.com/ especially for IWB. His holsters are unique in that he places a layer of neoprene between the holster and the body. VERY comfortable to wear all day long.

  4. Tom RKBA says

    I have meandered away from various guns. I used to sell them off, but after buying a bunch of the three or four times, I learned that it is best to keep them in the safe. Over the years, I have learned that I can either buy guns, gear and parts to improve or I can just dry fire more and attend a training class and get more improvement (or at least a tune-up). At some point, I stopped pursuing that extra hundredth of a second. Those matter in competition, but I think tactics are more important than ripping through a huge number of rounds (and many hours of dry fire). It is possible that a few hundredths of a second may save my life, but there is such a thing as “good enough”.

    The main platforms I continually return to are SIG and Glock. I dabble in revolvers, but generally only shoot them for fun. The transition back to SIG from Glock can be a problem for speed shooting. I generally need to burn a few hundred rounds to get back in the groove. My primary problem at speed with the SIG is slapping the trigger on the second shot. Going to Glock from SIG is not an issue. I avoid 1911 pistols due to reliability issues with all but two of the 1911′s I have owned.

    I tried to like the PM9; I much prefer the K9. However, I find the Glock 26 to be superior to both Kahrs. I see no reason to switch. I tried the Springfield EMP 9mm, but it is the same size as a Glock 19, so there is no point unless a dedicated 1911 guy wants to carry something in 9mm for awhile.

  5. Jeff O says

    A Ruger P89DC in the 90′s, I loved the 9mm for the same reason the author did: easy to shoot, relatively light, and lots of capacity. Went to a Sig P239 for the thinner profile and great reliability 15 years ago and I’ve never looked back. The DA/SA trigger is no issue with enough range time!

  6. Jim F. says

    I have been shooting for 2 years and before I bought my guns I did a lot of research. I checked on line, talked to friends who shoot, and talked to law enforcement friends of mine from P.D. to U.S. Marshals. I wanted something to carry and shoot for competitions. PRACTICE!! PRACTICE!!! PRACTICE!! Right?

    I decided on Glock 19 and an M&P 9c because they are reliable. I chose 9mm because of the availability and the cost. My carry holsters for both guns is a Galco King Tuck; which I have been very happy with. I use Fobus OWB holsters for my competition matches.

    I shoot both IDPA and USPSA which have a match each month in my area. I trade between my pistols each month and I carry the one I shoot that month. I want to be competent with both; so I shoot both.

    i have been very happy with my selections of pistols.

  7. ArrDave says

    Springfield XD 9 Service – too big in the grip, so in true American fashion, swung the pendulum the other way really hard and fast to arrive at…

    Ruger LCPCT – I hate shooting this gun, and I really need practice with it’s long heavy double action trigger, which leads to a problem…. Still carry from time to time. I wanted a gun that was more substantial in both caliber and frame, plus everyone else was getting them so enter the….

    S&W M&P Shield 9 – fairly easy to shoot, not terribly unpleasant decent-ish trigger. Too big to pocket carry, so still have to wear an IWB, well if that’s the case, might as well get something a little bigger so along came a…

    Glock 19g4. I carry this probably 85% of the time. Clothes too form fitting to go strong side? Rock a minimalist appendix rig.

    At this point the 19 leaves the safe the most. The second G19g4 sits in the safe, just in case…

  8. says

    M&P 9c most of the time, carried in a Blade-Tech Nano. Or an LCP, because it’s better than a sharp stick. I’ve only been carrying for a couple of years, so I’m still figuring it all out. For trips down the lane to the mailbox or hiking I open carry a Sig P226, which I’d love to carry ALL THE PLACES, except it weighs a hundred pounds and is about as concealable as a Volvo. Love shooting it though.

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