First Time CHL: Concealed Carry Gun Choice. Help!

In my first post in this series on obtaining a Texas Concealed Handgun License (CHL), I decided I wanted a 1911 as my carry gun. Then I realized that my brain turns to goo when I have to pick between 1% and 2% milk at the store. Adding a thumb safety to an already stressful situation struck me as an invitation to disaster. Farago also pointed out that I shoot a lot of different guns. If I exclusively carried and practiced with a 1911, it would be a fine carry weapon. But given the amount of different guns I get to cycle through, I could undo a lot of mission critical muscle memory with each draw and trigger squeeze of my non-carry gun. So right now it’s a tie between . . .

The Springfield XD(m) Compact and the Smith & Wesson M&P45c. After putting my meaty paws on a Gen4 Glock the other day, I briefly considered purchasing Gaston’s handiwork. Unfortunately, my fiancée’s not cool with me carrying something that doesn’t have some sort of safety. Say what you will about whips and nether regions; fighting my partner on this is not an option.

I know what you’re thinking: a grip safety’s a safety only if you drop the damn thing. In fact, there’s a school of thought that says a grip safety can prevent you from firing the gun from an “awkward” position. You can buy an M&P with an external safety, but no. I’m not going there. And let’s keep this to ourselves, OK?

XD. M&P. XD. M&P. I’m so confused. RF sings the praises of the XD’s trigger—but says the M&P’s go pedal’s better with an Apex trigger swap. Both guns are reliable and comfortable. Both guns will git ‘er done, especially in my caliber of choice (.45). Which reminds me (now that Springfield has done the right thing): full-size or compact?

Here are videos of me shooting both full-size guns (rentals) at my local range. I fed both pistols 25 rounds of ammo apiece. I did all my shooting at seven yards as fast at the RO would let me shoot. I’ve cut the videos down a bit so you don’t have to watch me reload and look bored.

Let’s start with my 1911. Simulated failures courtesy of snap caps.

The Springfield Smith & Wesson M&P45

Admittedly, I have zero formal training when it comes to pistols or self-defense. But if you were sitting in my shoes and had these videos and targets for reference, which direction would you go?

Does it matter? I assume I’d get better with either gun over thousands of rounds. What else should I be considering in my choice? Customer service? Accessories? Help!

comments

  1. avatar Todd Price says:

    What do you normally wear everyday? Is OWB carry going to work for you? Are you in the “my caliber must start with a “4” club”? Not sure if you want advice between the pieces you shot or if you are open to different ideas.

    1. avatar Tyler Kee says:

      I’m undecided. I like the idea of IWB, but if I can make OWB work, I’d do that too.

      1. avatar Todd Price says:

        Definitely will want to try a variety, as another poster suggested. Personally, I am not comfortable with IWB, so for me it is OWB when feasible and pocket carry when it is not. If you decide to go with pocket (I’m guessing not) definitely go with a Sig P238/938 or a S&W snubbie

  2. avatar Brett says:

    I’ll be that guy…
    S&W Airweight .38/.357. Small, no thinking, just point and squeeze and (almost) never a failure.

  3. avatar irock350 says:

    I personally prefer the Springer XD, and after having to use thier customer service they have been able to keep me as repeat customer. I bought a Springfield 1911 HiCap and it had to be returned. The process was easy, the reps were respectful and the turn around time on the firearm was speedy and the whole process was free. Wehn I got my 1911 back from Springfield it was a brand new firearm becuase they had replaced all the springs and polished the insides and now runs flawlessly. With my XD I haven’t had any problems and it has been dead on accurate since the day I pulled it out of the box.

  4. avatar JustTheFacts says:

    Have thousands of rounds with most of the XD/XDm family. About 100 rounds with the M&P. Any choice you make here will be good enough. My vote goes for the XD line:
    Longer reliability and improvement history.
    Better safety system.
    More accesories.
    Excellent service.
    Better value propositions with holster, more mags, loader, and a nice case included.

    Carry any caliber that you are comfortable with. I carry a .32, .380, 9 mm, or a 5.7-28 depending on what I am wearing, and potential threat level of my environment. I never carry any of my four .45 pistols. Too heavy.

    Buy something. It will be the first of many pistols, so do not sweat the choice.

  5. avatar Tim McNabb says:

    I had to send a copy of the XD back to the factory to have a light trigger strike issue resolved. It turned out to be excessive oil in the striker channel.

    My every day carry is a Diamondback DB9, but when I pack large, it’s a Compact Smith M&P (.40) with no safety.

    If you get a firearm with a safety, practice – practice – practice taking the *&^% safety off when you present the weapon for firing.

  6. avatar justin says:

    A cop friend of mine recommended a stub nose 38/357 for an inside the waist band carry due to the shape of the weapon ie the width of the cylinder means that the grip is not flush with the side of you body but offset some. This allows for a firmer grip when drawing. Last thing you want in a life and death situation is to miss your grip and toss you gun as you draw.

    I’ve personally be kind of looking at cheaper guns for concealed carry. something that you don’t really mind if it gets beat up.
    And that definitely doesn’t describe my H&K or my Browning.
    Kinda think that a Taurus Millenium Pro fits that build.

  7. avatar Bruce W. Krafft says:

    +1 to Tim vis-a-vis the safety. OTOH if just carrying off-safe is an option I would suggest doing it that way. One less thing to go wrong and I remember a friend talking about his DGU (his wife woke him up in the middle of the night when one of the burglars reached under the sheets to touch her; serious adrenaline dump). He described having to smash his left fist against the safety several times to get it off because he was completely unable to unclench either hand enough to get it with a finger.

  8. avatar Charles says:

    Here’s the thing: you’re not going to know what works best for you as a carry piece until you carry for a while. I started out with a double-stack pistol and found it too bulky for carry, so I switched to a snubby. Right now I’m saving up to buy a pocket nine. You will almost certainly try several guns until you find one or two that work for your build, clothes, work and play.

    Don’t forget that the gun will be only part of the carry picture. You will need to make some changes in how you dress as well as changes in other habits. Massad Ayoob’s “The Gun Digest Book Of Concealed Carry” book has been very useful to me.
    Both the Springfield and the Smith are good guns. If it were me, I would buy the Smith (sans safety) and take it from there.

  9. avatar Nick Leghorn says:

    Having fired both, I personally prefer the S&W M&P series over the Springfield XD series. It has a slimmer profile for better control under recoil, the trigger feels light years better, and they’re the preferred handgun for competition shooters these days as well.

    1. avatar Ryan Finn says:

      I’m with Nick. I trust my life with a M&P 45c on duty and off. It feels better in my hand and as RF pointed out swapping out some factory parts with Apex Tactical hardware gives it an excellent trigger. Also, as I pointed out in my review of their hard sear, it’s easy to do yourself. The compact version is the same size as a G19 and with the extended baseplates on the mags I can fit my whole hand on the grip without having to worry about affecting concealability.

      1. avatar CarlosT says:

        If you upgrade the trigger on an XDm it’ll be better, too.

  10. avatar dan says:

    the complaints about 1911’s and safeties re from people who have never been shown the simple method for how you hold it if you plan on using it for conceal carry. The thumb safty is where your thumb always rests it applies downward force always on the safty as a way to keep your hand as high up on the pistol as possible here is a link to the top down photo of how it should look. http://www.shootingillustrated.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/028.jpg

  11. avatar TXGunGeek says:

    Tyler, You’ll get the speech when you come out to BP2 at KRTraining but here is the best advice, “How does it make you feel?” What that translates to is what do you shoot best and what works best for you? You cannot go wrong with either the M&P or the XDm or the Gen4 Grock. Bottom line is what feels good and shoots good for you. When the deification contacts the rotary oscillator, the first shot and every shot after that are going to be the most important shot you ever make. Have the confidence in your self and your gun as being the best combination you can get.

    1. avatar Tim McNabb says:

      “When the deification contacts the rotary oscillator”

      We are throwing a God into a fan?

      “the first shot and every shot after that are going to be the most important shot you ever make. Have the confidence in your self and your gun as being the best combination you can get.”

      +10

      1. avatar CarlosT says:

        Well, it’s throwing the process of becoming a god into a fan.

  12. avatar Buddy says:

    I’ll start by saying that I carry a 1911, either a full sized or an Officer’s sized. Sometimes OWB, sometimes IWB, depend on what I’m wearing. Having said that, I have fired the XD(m) in 9mm, 40 S&W, and .45ACP. All are excellent firearms IMHO. I haven’t yet had the opportunity to fire a M&P in any caliber. Between the two pistols, which one DO YOU LIKE BEST? Which one feels “right” in your hand? The answer to those questions will determine which one you should choose.

  13. avatar Marty says:

    “… doesn’t have some sort of safety.” ??? what is rule number 1? All guns are ALWAYS loaded. if you guys really want to be serious and REALLY be The Truth About Guns, you NEED to believe the rules. The only true safety on a gun is your head & knowing NOT to put your finger on the trigger, until ready to pull it. Are those two guns good for ccw? sure, why not? but if you don’t believe, practice AND teach others, like your fiancée the TRUTH about guns and their safety, you are only supporting those who would deny 2A. loose the train? if YOU think you need an external safety, i.e. unsafe, then how will THEY legislate what they think is unsafe?

    1. avatar Henry Bowman says:

      Agreed. I’ve said before, external safeties are designed to keep the weapon from firing. When it’s time to fight, you want as few things as possible keeping you from firing the weapon.

  14. avatar Tim McNabb says:

    The Smith is made in the US, whereas the XD is built in Romania, if that matters to you.

    1. avatar Jason says:

      Croatia. The European country with the highest rate of alcoholism.

    2. avatar RecoveringAtheist says:

      Does Springfield make anything here?

      1. avatar Jason says:

        Most Springfield 1911s are made here on a foreign frame. However, the Springfield Range Officer has a US-made frame. It’s an excellent basic 1911 at a reasonable price. Can be used as-is, or serve as a solid platform for later customization.

  15. avatar chuck says:

    I suppose every one has different take on it, but saying you might forget to engage a thumb safety is like saying you might forget to pull the trigger. Growing up, every gun I shot outside of a revolver had an external safety of some kind. I can’t imagine a safety being that difficult.

    1. avatar Tim McNabb says:

      “I can’t imagine a safety being that difficult.”

      Me either, but I f’d up with a safety twice, once in the Army during qualification, and once during a FATS session. I am a capable shooter but it just happens.

      Safety-less semis are every bit as safe as wheelguns. Long and substantial trigger pulls versus the 1911 school where the trigger is spoiling for a go.

      1. avatar Charles says:

        Yes. A safety is just one more thing to fumble with under pressure or with slippery hands. Practice safety when you’re calm and you won’t need the switch.

      2. avatar Chuck says:

        My feeling (which applies only to me) is that my chances of successfully putting shots on target are enhanced by a thumb safety and a crisp 1911 trigger as opposed to safety-less semis with substantial trigger pulls. I suppose the argument could also be made between single action and double action revolvers, and I would argue that I am more likely to put six shots on target faster with the six shooters I grew up shooting than a double action with a long trigger pull. Provided I can use two hands. In the end it comes down to personal preference, my advice is just that you shouldn’t discount a gun simply because it has an external safety.

  16. avatar Brandon says:

    I’ve shot both and think they are both great guns. My preference leans slightly towards the M&P, choose the gun that feels/points/shoots the best for you.

  17. avatar Big John says:

    go to a shop. hold as many handguns as possible. if you don’t like the way it feels, you won’t shoot it, and you damn sure won’t shoot it well. xd’s are awesome pistols; glock reliability is legendary. none of that matters if it feels wrong.

    i carry a ruger sr9c. i like the manual safety. it’s what works for me. ymmv. to me, snicking the safety off is just part of a series of events that need to take place to use the firearm effectively. grip, draw, safety off during acquisition and presentation, and then (maybe) fire. just how it is. every time. if it didn’t have a manual safety, i’d practice differently. if we absolutely weren’t capable of those advanced kinds of skills during a shtf moment, firearms would have huge ‘fire!’ buttons on them that we could mash with our fists clenched and our eyes closed as we ran around screaming.

    1. avatar Robert Farago says:

      Have you thought about fitting the SR9c with a larger safety?

      1. avatar Big John says:

        I haven’t found it to be necessary. Is that a common modification?

  18. avatar Brandon says:

    “Unfortunately, my fiancée’s not cool with me carrying something that doesn’t have some sort of safety. Say what you will about whips and nether regions; fighting my partner on this is not an option.” you lost me there..How can someone else have any input on what weapon you can carry? You are the one that must carry it, you are the one that has to trust it with your life and the lives of others…so get exactly what YOU want and are most comfortable with.

    But external safeties still suck.

    1. avatar Tyler Kee says:

      Self-defense is a team decision in my house.

  19. avatar HSR47 says:

    I’ll say this:

    My recommendations depend on what you assume will be the worst possible kind of DGU.

    When I’m working, I carry a full frame XD9, and when I’m at home I generally carry my 1911. This is because my line of work means I’m usually outside in urbanish areas. Usually the neighborhoods aren’t too bad, but they sometimes are. Thus, the worst-case scenario for a DGU would be one of these flashmobs (urban ‘minorities’ out to get ‘whitey’), which means there are likely to be a LOT of targets, and they are unlikely to be armored. At home, as I live in a nice suburban development, the worst I see happening is burglary by 1-3 suspects, in which case 8+1 should suffice.

    Honestly though, I personally recommend that your first carry gun be a 9mm — you want something that is cheap enough to actually shoot, and in my experience, 9mm averages 10 USD per 50, whereas .45 averages around 17 USD per 50.

    I know that .45 is sexier, but shot placement beats caliber dammed near every time, and 9mm allows for more training for the same money in addition to greater capacity when you need to use it.

  20. avatar Jason says:

    I don’t understand why there’s any confusion, given your requirements: you don’t want a thumb safety (like the 1911), and a trigger mounted safety (like a Glock) isn’t enough? Well, the M&P won’t work then, because – depending on the model – it either has only the same trigger safety as a Glock or it has a thumb safety, like a 1911. If only a grip safety will serve, then you’ve made your choice: XD.

    Of course, I think that setting up your requirements this way is ridiculous. What would you be able to carry and shoot if the XD didn’t exist? And it didn’t, not that long ago.

    There is – and has been – a whole class of guns for people who don’t feel they can run a safety under stress, but don’t want the light bang switch of a Glock or Glock-a-likes: they’re called double action pistols. Been around for a long time. Still being sold like hotcakes. Get yourself a SIG P229. Or a SP2022 if the budget is tight.

    1. avatar Tyler Kee says:

      Good comment. I’ll investigate. I haven’t yet considered the Sigs.

      1. avatar Jason says:

        I forgot to mention the CZ 75 BD (“docker”) models. The newer CZ P-07 also has a lever that can be switched to operate either like a 1911-style safety or as a decocker. The H&K P30 also has a decocker. It’s significantly more expensive (on par with SIG’s special editions) but if it’s in your budget, it’s worth considering.

        The thing you want to stay away from is combination decocker-safeties, as found on Berettas or the FN FNX. If it can be used as a safety, it is a safety, and you’ll need to practice using it. (Beretta did make a variation of the 92 with a spring-loaded decocker, and that would also be a good choice, but those are thin on the ground.)

        Anyway, you have a lot of choices. Don’t limit yourself to what’s presently popular among the fanboys who think it’s perfectly natural to buy a new factory gun and have to modify the trigger right away. The SP2022 and P-07 are very reasonably priced and good to go right out of the box. Let’s reward the companies that get it right.

      2. avatar HSR47 says:

        One thing to consider:

        I’ve got a friend with one of the hybrid DA/SA Sig pistols (226 Navy), and I’m not a fan of the trigger on it — it has a GREAT double action trigger pull (if a bit long), but it’s single action trigger pull was one of the worst I’ve ever experienced: Absolutely no tactile sensation when the trigger reset, and it was very difficult to tell where it was going to break.

        In all honesty, can’t recommend any combination DA/SA pistol I’ve ever shot, due to their inconstant trigger pulls. If you can’t tell what it’s going to do, you can’t train effectively, and if you can’t train effectively, you can’t FIGHT effectively.

        Thus, I recommend going with a SAO or DAO pistol, rather than mucking about with a SA/DA pistol.

    2. avatar Taurus609 says:

      I carry the Sig 2022, it’s the most under rated Sig in their arsenal. Decocker, very good trigger, night sights and 15 + 1, and with the Crossbreed STD IWB I forget I have it on for almost 16 hours a day!

  21. avatar Seth says:

    Ruger SR9c. Two sizes of magazines , ala XD, so you can change it up for the situation. Fully adjustable sights. Thinner than Glock, XD, or M&P which is great for IWB carry. Also cheaper than all previously mentioned guns ($400 new, >$350 use. Use the savings for ammo and training). Also… it has a manual safety to make the spouse happy! I honestly never put the safety on (it has a trigger safety as well), but it is small enough that it has no impact to your grip. Added a Ghost Rocket tigger bar ($20) for improved trigger feel.

    1. avatar Jason says:

      If a gun has a safety, Murphy’s Law dictates that it will be on when you need to use it. So if you have a gun with a safety, you should learn to use it, and use it well. And it should be large enough to use easily. If you can’t learn to use a safety, don’t buy a gun with a safety, much less a tiny little half-assed safety tossed on there so the manufacturer can check off a list of “features”. Which – if there were any teeth in truth-in-advertising laws – would have to be called “Gonna’ get you killed devices”.

  22. avatar Matt in FL says:

    Don’t forget that Springfield will start shipping their new single stack .45 “in March or so” according to your fellow contributor Dan.

    http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2012/01/daniel-zimmerman/new-from-springfield-armory-xds-compact-45/

  23. avatar mikeinid says:

    I own the XDm — bought it with many of the same criteria you have. I tested an M&P AFTER. I like to torture myself. In my opinion, both are great. I rate the XDm trigger as better than the Smith. The “m” makes the difference. Regular XD triggers are about on par with the M&P. I like the grip safety on the XDm as well. Less chance of a Plexico injury.

    Bottom line for you, though, is you will be happy with either — they are both great. I would consider what other sizes/calibers you want down the road, for yourself and others. It would be nice to stay in one weapon system for cc, full size, etc. Maybe product line will help you choose. Price is also an important issue.

    I would just go ahead and get it done, though. Nothing substitutes for training and familiarization. You can get where you are going with either of these guns, so might as well start.

  24. avatar Graybeard says:

    I have zero experience with either choice, but do have good feelings towards Sig’s P220 with it’s DA/SA feature. A safe, reliable pistol. FWIW

  25. avatar IdahoPete says:

    And finally, Grasshopper, I will give you the ultimate firearms choosing advice, based on 60+ years of gun ownership (excuse the shouting):

    If you cannot decide between two guns, BUY BOTH!

    Trust me on this. If you do not follow the advice of your gunbuyingmaster on this, in five years you will be saying “Dang. I could have bought that gun five years ago for half the price!”

    1. avatar NR says:

      This is pretty good advice. The dollar’s going down.

      You must realize that we can’t really tell you which to buy. All we’re doing is living vicariously through you and telling you what *we* would choose if *we* were going to buy a handgun tomorrow.

      1. avatar Matt in FL says:

        Absolutely true, and at present my bar napkin math puts it about about 45/45 between the two you picked, with the remaining 10% suggesting completely different brands.

        Good luck. I love my XD(M) because it was my first, but I’m currently lusting after a P226.

  26. avatar Eric says:

    My Gunsite contacts tell me the most reliable guns by far on their ranges are the M&P and Glock.

    XD is a good gun and a decent price, but grip safeties are for cavalry and lanyards.

  27. avatar Silver says:

    Why does no one ever bring up Walther? The PPQ has an outstanding trigger, is light and solid, and very concealable. Additionally, in 1200 rounds, I’ve never had a single jam or stovepipe, with many different brands and hollowpoints.

    1. avatar Jason says:

      I do. Often. It’s easily the best new gun of 2011. However, it has no manual safety and a relatively light trigger (like the Glock & M&P) so it doesn’t really meet the requirements stated here.

      1. avatar frankgon4 says:

        He also stated he wanted a .45 and the PPQ does not come in .45

    2. avatar Muosa says:

      I relnetcy purchased the sr40 in sacramento CA, for $419(taxes and fee cam out to $483). I am still within my waiting period of picking it up.

  28. avatar Ralph says:

    I’m a Smith & Wesson weenie and carry an M&P 40c. When the gun was equipped with its special 10 lb Massachusetts-legal boat anchor trigger, it was a bitch to shoot. With the Apex duty/carry kit installed, the pistol is sublime to shoot and safe as hell for EDC use. A safety on an M&P is as useful as euneuch in a whorehouse.

    I checked the Apex website and confirmed that Apex does make a special sear for the M&P .45, but does not make a full D/C AEK for the .45. If you have your heart set on the full Apex monte, you’re SOL. But if you just want the sear, it’s a $30 upgrade that you’ll love.

    The XDm is likewise a very nice pistol. I don’t see how you can go wrong with either. Choose the one that feels best in your hand and in your holster, and don’t look back.

  29. avatar Daniel says:

    I went through this exact same debate between the XDm .40 and the S&W M&P .45c with thumb safety for my concealed carry pistol. I now happily own and carry the M&P .45c. It fits to my hand much better than the XDm, both are reliable as the sun, the .45c is easy to conceal with the right holster (I use the Crossbreed Supertuck Deluxe II with combat cut), both are more accurate than me. Personal preference also has the M&P looking much more handsome than the XDm (you gotta be happy with your gun!). I’ve never had a FTF or FTE using either full metal jacket or jacketed hollow point with my M&P. You can go for long periods without cleaning it and it will function as it should. The trigger is just fine to me: After enough nights with my snap caps I completely forgot it was DA only. It comes standard with night sights, which are meant very specifically for aiming at silhouettes. In self-defense, that’s the important part.
    That being said, Crimson Trace doesn’t make laser grips for the .45c, but they do for the XDm .40 compact. Next best option for the .45c (IMHO) is the touch-activated Armalaser RSS, which I use, and which never fails to turn on when I draw with proper form (the actuator hugs the forward part of the trigger guard, and turns on the laser by touch, using the electrical impedance properties of your skin).

    As for the XDm’s grip safety: I’ve never understood it. If you’re cleaning your gun while it’s loaded it can be useful I guess, but why would you ever do that? If you’re gripping the firearm as it’s meant to be held, then the safety is disengaged; therefore it may as well not even be there.
    As for the M&P: So long as you have a good holster that won’t allow it to slip out while carrying, just keep the thumb safety switched off while you carry.

    You will always find me preferring the compact of either of these pistols over their full-size bretheren. In either case, you can use the full-size magazines in the compact version of each pistol. When I carry my M&P, it’s loaded with the standard 8-round magazine. My two backup mags are full-size 10 round mags.

    I trust my life to my M&P with no reservations, and I am an enormous snob when it comes to demanding perfection from a carry gun.

    But again: Personal preference. For me, that was pretty much what it came down to.

    1. avatar K.C. says:

      I’ve got an XDm. The grip safety was more to satisfy my wife than for my own reasons, but I’ve come to like it because it gives me some peace of mind while reholstering. I keep my fingers in the same place on the grip, but move my thumb to the back of the slide and off the grip safety. So if ever something should snag in the trigger guard, or I screw up and curl my finger in there on accident, the grip safety is engaged and I’m covered.

      1. avatar CarlosT says:

        That’s my practice as well. The trigger safety is of no help in that scenario and if you forget to engage a thumb safety, it’s equally unhelpful. Grip safeties are disengaged automatically if you have a remotely correct grip and using the technique you use will help prevent negligent discharges when reholstering. What more could one ask from a safety?

      2. avatar HSR47 says:

        I do a similar thing, gripping the top of the rear sight with my thumb when I draw and reholster.

        Apart from any possible additional safety, it gives me much better control of the pistol. When I carried an XD9 subcompact, I found that when I tried to get a full firing grip before drawing, the torque applied by drawing the pistol would cause it to try to spin out of my hand; Gripping the front of the rear sight balances the load and causes it to draw straight out of the holster instead of trying to spin. Thus, instead of having to fumble with my grip, I always get a consistently good grip. Additionally, when holstering a pistol, it’s always good practice to keep your thumb on the back of the slide (especially if the holster fits the gun tightly) to ensure that the slide stays fully in battery….

      3. avatar HD76 says:

        It was good to read that others are doing are doing this as well. I feel I am in good company. After reading about the glock going off in a guys leather holster as he sat down, I really came to realize how easy it was for something to get caught in a trigger. After hours of cleaning, and “playing” with the safety features while the gun was taken down for cleaning, I really came to appreciate how the safetys came together to prevent the gun from going off without someone gripping the gun properly, and something pulling the trigger back.

        This does not make me lax while holstering, but it gives me a little comfort (eases stress?) doing one of the most dangerous I do daily with a loaded gun.

  30. avatar Kahless1984 says:

    I know the main handguns you wanted an opinion on were the XD and the M&P. But have you considered the Beretta Px4 series?
    They have berettas amazing trigger and feel great in my hand.
    The sub-compact 9mm is very concealable and almost “pocketable”

    I tried out the gen4 Glocks, XDm, and M&P, and for be the Px4 fit me the best and shot the best.
    YMMV of course, just curious if you explored all your options…

    1. avatar DrewR55 says:

      I would like to second this entry. I carry a 92FS Compact L and my wife carries the Px4 Subcompact. I would recommend either of these for your purposes.

      1. avatar Jason says:

        I’ll third it, but be aware that the standard ‘Type F’ trigger has a safety. A decocking safety, but still a safety. However, the ‘G’ variant is decocker-only, and types ‘C’ and ‘D’ are slick-sided with no safety or decocker. The ‘C’ is particularly nice: long but smooth and consistent for each shot. (Similar to SIG’s DAK or H&K’s LEM trigger.) That’s the one I have, and can recommend.

  31. avatar CarlosT says:

    I’ve never understood the point of trigger safeties. They might as well not be there for all the good they’re doing you.

    As for the grip safety on the XDm, you have to have a completely bizarre grip on the gun to not engage it, one in which you’d probably hurt yourself if you actually fired. I can’t imagine a scenario where you’d want to fire the gun and somehow not succeed in doing so because of the grip safety.

    1. avatar mondle says:

      yeah i was trying to figure out what situation would make for a good shot with out a good grip

      1. avatar Gossven says:

        What if your hands have been injured? What if your grip isn’t perfect when you draw and you haven’t disengaged the grip safety? What if you’re brawling with your assailant on the ground over the gun, what are the odds that you have a good grip on the gun?

        1. avatar CarlosT says:

          All specific to the XDm:

          * If your hands are so injured you can’t sustain the pressure to deactivate the grip safety, you wouldn’t be able to fire the gun anyway.

          * Seriously, your grip has to be highly imperfect to not disengage the grip safety. On the XDm Compact, you basically have to miss the whole top half of the grip in order to not disengage the grip safety. Basically, if your palm is on the backstrap, the grip safety is disengaged.

        2. avatar Gossven says:

          Not necessarily, my sister broke both of her wrists last year snowboarding, she could use her fingers and if she had to could probably have sandwiched the pistol between both hands and operated the trigger. Which would probably not disengage the grip safety.

        3. avatar CarlosT says:

          Okay, so that’s your highly imperfect grip, which would cause the gun to spin out of your hands and hit you if the face if you actually succeeded in firing the shot. You’d better make that shot count, because you’re going to be disarmed and bleeding, at the very least.

  32. avatar Darren says:

    I have a Gen3 Glock 26. I use a Saf-T-Block and carry it in a DeSantis Nemesis pocket holster.

    The Saf-T-Block is a plastic insert that fits behind the trigger, the trigger CANNOT be pulled with it in place but it can be knocked out in a fraction of a second during a draw. The Saf-T-Block also has a little plastic set-screw that can be adjusted for tension to fit it to your pistol and your preference. I have carried this way for at least three years and have yet to find the thing loose in my pocket. Pocket carry may be a slower draw than IWB concealed, but it is easy to casually slip your hand into your pocket and unobtrusively grip the pistol, and the draw from that start is very fast.

    There is also a device called the SIDERLOCK that replaces the pivot pin in the sub-trigger with a larger pin that acts like a crossbolt safety. It’s a clever idea but I went with the Saf-T-Block because it doesn’t change anything mechanical about the gun, and other than a tiny movement of a finger doesn’t require me to relearn any fine motor skills. YMMV.

    The native G26 is a little short for my hands, so I use Pearce grip extensions. The extra bit lets me get my whole hand on the gun and makes for a very secure firing grip. The extra couple of rounds doesn’t hurt, either.

    I carry a Glock 17 mag in my offhand cargo pocket for reload. At 12+1 in the gun plus 17 in the reload, that’s 30 rounds of 9mm available which should be enough to get to a rifle, my car, or some other place better than wherever I am when I realize that I need a gun to get out of whatever situation I should have seen earlier.

    I am very happy with my choice, good luck with yours.

  33. avatar Tyler Kee says:

    The M&P lacks a grip safety. *Facepalm.

    Maybe I start working on the future wife to ease her concerns. Because I really like the M&P.

    1. avatar CarlosT says:

      It’s worth having the discussion as to what exactly she wants the safety for, because talking out the scenarios will help define whether you value them yourself.

      My thinking is this. The main rationale for safeties is avoiding negligent discharges. These could happen one of two ways. First, some sort of impact or shock could be transmitted to the primer of the chambered round, causing it to detonate and fire. That’s what the internal safeties are mostly about, keeping the firing pin or striker away from primer, and unable to release on it’s own. The second way is for the trigger to be pulled unintentionally, e.g. by getting caught on something. That’s what external safeties are about.

      So how would the various external safeties work to help you? In the case of trigger safeties, I have no idea. I guess there’s the remote chance that something snagging the trigger could snag the outside edge of the trigger and not the face of the trigger, but what’s the probability of that? One in 10,000 if we’re being really, really generous? Plenty of people have shot themselves holstering their pistols because their holsters or jacket drawstrings or shirts or whatever snagged the trigger. For the life of me, I just can’t come up with a realistic scenario where a trigger safety actually prevents a negligent discharge.

      I can definitely see a thumb safety actually working in that scenario. The well known drawback of a thumb safety is it can work too well, in that you can forget to deactivate it. That leaves you with an inert lump instead of an effective means of self defense. That’s something that can be overcome with training, but it would take a lot of repetitions and a commitment to burn that new behavior into your memory. But in terms of the mechanism itself, I can definitely imagine real world scenarios where a thumb safety might prevent a negligent discharge. Also, while it’s not a huge plus, if your gun were ever taken from you, there’s the slight chance that the assailant wouldn’t know to take the safety off. Not a huge consideration, but it’s there.

      The grip safety is actually the one that makes the most sense to me. Just by changing your grip on the gun, you can holster the gun with a greatly reduced chance of a negligent discharge. Even if something snags the trigger on the way in, the grip safety will not allow the gun to fire. At the same time, a well designed grip safety will deactivate automatically if you have a normal grip on the gun. Point and shoot, nothing to remember.

      Anyway, thinking out loud with your fiancée will help you decide what you care about and why.

      1. avatar Daniel says:

        It is worth mentioning that both the M&P and XDm have internal safeties so that transfers of energy to the striker from being dropped can not occur.

        1. avatar CarlosT says:

          This is also true of Glock and most modern pistol designs.

  34. avatar Matt Gregg says:

    Of the two I’d go with the XD. I started with the XD45 compact as a carry gun and it’s a great choice.

  35. avatar Ford says:

    I vote XDm.

  36. avatar Luis says:

    Rent a few at the range. Have fun. if you feel good with a certain one, save up and buy it. At least a 9mm. Buy some snap caps and reload with your eyes closed. Doesn’t matter the caliber or the size of the gun, The point is you should feel comfortable with whatever you choose to defend yourself with.

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