Guns for Beginners: Why It’s OK to Buy a Sub-Compact Gun for Concealed Carry

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When you’re looking to buy your first concealed carry firearm, don’t get sidetracked by discussions about caliber. Don’t worry about the size of the bullets you’re carrying around. In most defensive gun uses, the bad guy sees the gun aimed in his or her direction and scarpers. In cases where the good guy actually shoots at the bad guy, most perps discontinue their attack once they notice flying lead – regardless of the bullet size headed their way. I recommend that newbies schlep the largest caliber firearm they can comfortably carry, but the most important part of that advice is the word “comfortably.” Because the most important pre-requisite for successful armed self-defense is to have a gun. . .

At the risk of repeating myself, the easier it is to carry a gun, the more likely you are to carry it. Which is the whole point of this exercise, yes? But here’s the thing: carrying a good-sized concealed carry firearm – and by that I mean anything other than a compact or sub-compact gun – can be a real PITA.

If you want to carry a good-sized gun in a discreet inside-the-waistband (IWB) holster, chances are you’ll need to buy pants a size larger than normal, and then ditch ALL of your current trousers. Before that, you’ll need to find a gun and IWB holster combo that doesn’t chafe or thrust your gat into an internal organ. That’s an expensive, time-consuming and not particularly enjoyable process.

If you carry a good-sized (i.e. non-compact gun) in an 0utside-the-waistband holster (OWB), you have to cover your gat with an untucked shirt. Everyday carry makes every day casual dress Friday. For millions of working stiffs, that ain’t happening. Even if you can roll that way, you’ll probably need to buy shirts that are a size larger than normal to avoid printing (the gun showing through the shirt).

Off-body carry in a purse or briefcase? Don’t do it. You must keep control of your firearm – and have immediate unfettered emergency access to it – at all times. You do NOT want an unauthorized person to get ahold of your gun. You DO want to draw as quickly and efficiently as you possibly can, if and when you have to. Good luck with that.

The solution? Carry a compact or sub-compact gun.

Shock! Horror! Gun guys will tell you – in no uncertain terms – that bigger is better when it comes to armed self-defense. Larger handguns have less recoil. That makes them easier to control. Which increases accuracy, enabling effective longer range shots. Larger handguns also carry more and bigger bullets than those “girly” guns. And there are plenty of carry systems that will comfortably accommodate a “proper gun.”

They’re absolutely right. But again, larger guns are not easy to conceal or carry comfortably. And if it ain’t comfortable . . . You can put a small, slim gun like the Ruger LC9 into an IWB holster, wear your normal pants and forget it’s there. You can carry a small, slim gun like the Kahr PM-9 or the new GLOCK 43 in a OWB holster, cover it with any old T-shirt and no one will know. Best of all, you can pocket carry a small gun.

You can buy a cheap pocket holster (e.g., Uncle Mike’s), put a diminutive firearm like the SIG P238 into the front pocket of your jeans, suit pants or casual trousers and carry on as per normal. In fact, small gun pocket carry is the ideal carry system for concealed carry newbies. It’s totally discreet, perfectly comfortable and doesn’t demand a change of wardrobe. As long as you use a holster, don’t carry anything else in your “gun pocket” and practice drawing, extraction isn’t dangerous or difficult.

I’m a strong proponent of home carry. You’re most likely to encounter a lethal threat in your own home, and you have the most to lose if you lose. So ask yourself this: is my gun and holster so comfortable that I don’t even think about removing my firearm when I get home? As they say, the first rule of a gunfight is to have a gun. ANY gun.

Quick aside. Women . . .

Despite the appearance of tactical kilts, women have a lot more wardrobe options than men. Specifically, skirts, dresses, shorts, jeans and pants; and all manner of tops, from long-sleeved dress shirts to crop-top T-shirts. Fortunately, there are a wide-variety of holsters designed for all of these options. But nothing that suits all of them. So any women contemplating concealed carry – please do! – will need a selection of holsters. As Bruce Hornsby will tell you, that’s just the way it is.

There are plenty of downsides to carrying a compact or sub-compact gun, some of which I’ve mentioned above. But this is one of those cases where new gun owners shouldn’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Truth be told, there is no perfect self-defense gun or carry system. Your mileage will definitely vary according to your sex, body shape, clothing, lifestyle, job, skill level, training, budget, choice of firearm and more.

But this much is true: small guns offer more carry options. Call it the “big dog big problems small dog small problems” analysis. Besides, there’s no reason a first-time concealed carrier can’t graduate to carrying a bigger gun later. Also recommended.

comments

  1. avatar Pantera Vazquez says:

    A gun………is always better to have…………………..
    Than nothing at all.

    1. avatar Pieslapper says:

      Wait, I thought we were using pens now?

      1. avatar NateGA says:

        Haha..I’ll use my GLOCK pen(got one from there booth at the NRA meeting)…twice as deadly

      2. avatar B says:

        Nobody needs more than a pint of urine to defend themselves! Only the police and R Kelly have the training to pee safely.

        In other news, this was hard to read. I wanted to read it, and like reading, but the layout hurt my eyes. Please use more pretty pictures please to break up the flow.

        1. avatar Jody says:

          Hmm . . . the audience might enjoy seeing the myriad of concealed carry options for women.

    2. avatar notalima says:

      Yes, rule number one in a gunfight: Have a gun.

      If your Mark V Ultra Reaper Hand Cannon is too big and heavy to carry comfortably it does you no good sitting in the safe.

      Via the Colonel (paraphrasing)

      1. Gun
      2. Shot Placement
      3. Caliber

      Again, if you cannot shoot your Mark V Ultra Reaper Hand Cannon because the recoil is worse than godzilla’s breath and it crushes the bones of your dainty hand, and you flinch so bad you send your rounds launching towards outer space with each trigger pull so you never train with it it is not doing you much good (buy you might look cool and really scare the bad guy with that muzzle blast…)

      Carry the largest caliber with the most capacity that you will consistently carry and can accurately shoot. If that is a .22 because you are a star in ‘Little People’, so be it. At least you are carrying and can defend yourself against a man with armed a banana now.

  2. avatar GenghisQuan says:

    I dress business casual all the time for work. Thus, Ruger LCP, fits in the pocket, and I just carry it everywhere I’m allowed to (no, I don’t think the possibility of not having it in case of active shooter at work is worth the somewhat higher possibility of getting fired due to violation of workplace weapons policy). I think the Crimson Trace attachment probably isn’t all that worth it, though.

    1. avatar Tomyironmane says:

      Hm. Good point. I’ve wondered often what the repercussions would be were someone to compile a list of businesses that had additional restrictions (summary termination for otherwise lawful concealed carry by employees, “gun free zone” businesses) above and beyond their local laws regarding possession of firearms. It is, of course, their right to dictate what kind of things happen on their property. But as consumers, it is likewise our right to decide where and with whom our money is spent.

      1. avatar arsh says:

        The one thing I miss about WI is that if a company refuses to let you carry they are liable for damages aka if you get shot you can sue the crap out of them for not letting you defend yourself.

      2. avatar LarryinTX says:

        Tom, I won’t try to explain all the reasons I think your rationalization is wrong, your choice is your own. But I would ask, simplistic as it sounds, that you explain your choices in writing, and carry a copy in your wallet, and leave a copy, easy to find, in your home. Something like “if it were not for the prohibition by my employer, I would at least have had a chance, to defend myself and my coworkers. I encourage my survivors, and the survivors of my coworkers, to sue our employer completely out of existence. They forced me to die defenseless.” If writing that leads you to reevaluate your position, well, good.

  3. avatar Art out West says:

    I think it is best for new people to buy a relatively small gun, that they will actually carry. My first “carry gun” was a CZ82. I like it but rarely carried it. Then I picked up P3AT, and carried it all the time, even at home. I now mainly carry a 642, and carry it all the time where legal to do so. Kel-Tec’s and J-Frames aren’t the best fighting guns, but at least I carry all the time. The LC9/Shield/Glock43 are even better – small and easily carried but more capable guns.

    That is better than a lot of 1911 guys who don’t really carry. On the other hand, if you actually carry your Beretta 92/Glock 21/1911/CZ75 – whatever – that is awesome and you are the man!

    1. avatar JR_in_NC says:

      “That is better than a lot of 1911 guys who don’t really carry. On the other hand, if you actually carry your Beretta 92/Glock 21/1911/CZ75 – whatever – that is awesome and you are the man!”

      I carry a full size CZ-75 clone (purchased back when the real thing was not available here), but I don’t consider myself “the man.” A good holster and decent belt, and the realization that this approach is not for everybody, helps.

      When I say carry, that is everywhere I’m legal to do so. Every day. All the time. Even in the 90’s/90’s summers here. So…let’s say well over 98% of the time, as I don’t often go places I can’t legally carry.

      So, carrying a full sized semiauto can be done.

      There are times I carry an SR-22, though rare enough.

      1. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

        I don’t get the whole “too hot to carry” thing…

        I carry full size guns during the heat of Texas summers without any issue. Except maybe some extra sweating around the carry area, which is really a non-issue, if you ask me. Its summer, you’re going to sweat, just accept it.

      2. avatar Art out West says:

        I hate to admit it, but I sometimes carry my SR22 as well. It is thin, light, and I can shoot it well.

        One of my buddies carries a full size Beretta 96 nearly all the time, and has done so for decades. He is thin, smaller, and in his 60’s. I can never tell if he has the 96 or not, but I know he always has it. He told me recently that he is starting to carry his LC9 more now. When he goes OC it is in style with a .44 mag Super Redhawk.

        It isn’t that hard to carry a full size gun. It’s more that I am lazy about carry.

        Good for those of you who are willing to put in the effort to carry a full size. Hopefully you can cover my back when my snubby runs dry.

        1. avatar Mk10108 says:

          I’ve carried the SR22 as well. Caution that after thousands of rounds, a total of two casings jammed in the chamber. Didn’t want to be in a G fight when that happens so switched from rim to center fire. Saying that I do have a WMR 22 mag, even though a heavier trigger, a few times the hammer strike failed to fire as well but no jams with a wheel gun.

    2. avatar Chrispy says:

      I usually carry an SR9c, which isn’t too bad to IWB. Sometimes though, I carry a 5″ Para Expert. Obviously it’s a much bigger gun, but I find it’s a lot more comfortable to wear, and actually easier to conceal (depending on clothing) than the Ruger due to the overall width.

      I carry both in a Crossbreed Supertuck, and both at 3:00 on the waist.

  4. avatar Karl says:

    Question.
    I am planning on buying an LCP for my wife and thought of buying one of those holsters that looks like a cell phone holder for myself to use. Can I wear this holster openly or must I still cover it?

    1. avatar Pantera Vazquez says:

      Holster is in trouser during use. Fitearm concealed, only “phone” is visible. No extra cover required.

    2. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

      Concealed is concealed.

      That said, those things are awful, I wouldn’t recommend one.

    3. Not sure what you’re asking, but whether or not you must conceal your pistol will depend on the laws of your state.

      Check out http://www.handgunlaw.us.

      1. avatar Karl says:

        I thought since you can’t tell that this a holster, it is disguised to look like a cell phone holder, you could carry it outside on your belt and consider it concealed.

    4. avatar Markarov says:

      I think you are referring to a Sneaky Pete holster. I have one and have used it on occasion; it’s not horrible, but I’ve found I prefer a pocket holster for my Kahr P380. I feel it’s much more secure.
      Most definitely check your local laws and regs! I’ve a few friends who are Attorneys who carry; I’ve found they are invaluable resources, but Not infallible!

      1. avatar Independent George says:

        I know this sounds paranoid, but I’d be worried about theft with one of those. Phones are tempting targets for pickpockets, so I can easily see a situation grabs for what he assumes is a smartphone, and ends up with your gun. Maybe if they made a retention holster? Or would that be too complicated?

        1. avatar LarryinTX says:

          I’m worried about all manner of stuff being stolen from me. Are you incapacitated by that fear? Because I am not. If you order the belt loop as opposed to the clip version, a thief would have to carry you off in order to steal your gun. We need to stop being afraid, instead being prepared.

    5. avatar Mini14 says:

      I had an LCP. Nice enough gun but the 7-8lbs. trigger with double length reset was off putting and both my fiance and mom hated shooting it.I traded it in on a GLOCK 42.

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        Have you shot yourself in the foot, yet? It’s pretty easy, your mom and fiancée might enjoy I!

    6. avatar Garrison Hall says:

      I have an Elite holster. In contrast to the Sneaky Pete it’s black fabric and completely unobtrusive because it looks just like I’m carrying a small tablet or large I-Phone. My LCP fits perfectly and is instantly accessible. If you prefer outside the belt carry, but want to carry concealed, one of these almost-a-tablet-case holsters are perfect.

      1. avatar mike reed says:

        Absolutely love my sneaky pete! Sig224 .40. Bought the nice belt also, No more IWB sore spots.

      2. avatar LarryinTX says:

        Sneaky Pete makes black nylon holster as well as leather and simulated croc. It clips on your belt and *completely* covers (conceals) your firearm, it may be that everyone around you knows what it is, that does not change the fact that it is legally “concealed”. I recently had a guy look at my sneaky pete and identify my gun as an LCP from that. But it is still “concealed” and therefore legal. I cannot possibly praise sneaky pete enough as opposed to IWB contortions or such crap. Yes, you may know it is a holster, but you have no way of knowing whether there is a gun in it. Like a fanny pack, but better.

        1. avatar Garrison Hall says:

          “I recently had a guy look at my sneaky pete and identify my gun as an LCP from that. But it is still “concealed” and therefore legal.”

          Interesting point. My guess is that POTG will identify the holster (as I’m assuming your guy was) but there are enough people carrying around smaller tablets and larger I-phones that the average person won’t notice. The holsters are just disguise enough that most people won’t notice the difference. There’s another element in this too. Even if they do figure out that you’re carrying, since you’re not doing anything else out of the ordinary, most people might remark on it to themselves and go on with their business. The disguised holster clearly send the message that you are trying to be unobtrusive. Most people will accept that.

  5. avatar MiketheHopsFarmer says:

    Being in Virginia I OC on my days off and short runs to the dumpsters and what not. And I do that with either my Glock 23 usually or my .45 if it’s closer. But work days with slacks? My lc9 in its holster gets slipped into my front pocket and probably weighs less than the smartphone in the other side that it’s balancing. Never noticed, no new pants and even works well with shorts now that the weather is heating up.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      The “new pants” concept is important to me. Buying a half-dozen pairs of whatever pants you wear to work is clearly going to be expensive, but to accommodate an IWB holster it will be necessary. Try the cheapest version sneaky pete first. Just sayin’.

      1. avatar TX Gungal says:

        I’ve had a Sneaky Pete holster for Ruger LCR .38 in driver side door bin, with flap over the lip of the bin in Honda Element for years. Easier access, no interference with seat belt, unlike pocket or holster carry. Even pulled over by police for speeding, cop did not ask – I did not tell it was there, although he knew it was there due Texas DPS ties DL to CHL. BTW, got ticket dismissed later on. Only folks who know what a Sneaky Pete Holster is for, are other gun owners who conceal carry.

        1. avatar john says:

          .
          Just a heads up, you might wanna study some TX CHL laws. Just saying. You’re required to display your chl to LE upon them asking for ID

  6. avatar Patrick says:

    Glock 26 and SigP938 are what I generally carry, depending on mood and what I need to do that day. The glock really is about as large as I “need” to go. Im not professional, and have no real “training”, but I can get the gun out decently fast and at semi fast shooting speeds put all 10 rounds of critical duty in a 3-4″ hole at ~10 yards. Honestly, anything more than that is just icing on the cake. Sure, couldn’t hurt to have more, bigger, bullets put into a tighter group at longer range (and I practice weekly to try and acheave that) but in reality, its unlikely. I spend most of my work day in the car, so my “biggest” threat would be carjacking, and my jeep isn’t 10 yards long from driver seat to driver window. Hah

    At home? 10 yards is actually just a touch under what I would ever need to shoot based off of my house layout and room sizes. But I have a p226 in .357sig for that job.

    1. avatar DV says:

      Why not the 226 in 9mm as well. Ammo commonality saves you time and money at the range.

  7. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    In my mind the only threat scenario where a sub-compact handgun is woefully inadequate is when facing multiple determined attackers at locations with lots of open space like shopping malls or schools.

    Otherwise, a sub-compact handgun will promptly stop all but the most enraged or drugged-up attackers. And that sub-compact handgun will even stop enraged or drugged-up attackers … it will simply require firing all of the rounds in your handgun and a little more time to take effect.

  8. avatar JohnF says:

    When I was a Navy aviator, I got to do an official visit with the Israeli Air Force. I met guys who had been in aerial combat. Some had been shot down. It was not theory for this bunch, it was real. They could carry any gun in their survival vests. Their most common choice was a Walther PPK in .22 LR. The reasoning? This was before polymer and aluminum pistols, so it was relatively small and light for the time. You could carry a lot of ammo for the weight. It was accurate and low recoil.

    The tactical idea with aviation survival guns is not to take on regular troops. If you get caught by regulars, you surrender. You carry to defend against mobs of untrained, angry enemy citizens. The idea is to wound as many as possible, as quickly as possible, to dissuade them.

    I’m not saying this is the right idea for EDC. But it is an interesting data point from a real-world combat situation. Also, looks at the defensive shooting stats for .22s. Not too shabby.

    1. avatar Bungameng says:

      Exactly.

      That is the entirely same reasoning the Czechs designed the Scorpion – primarily for helicopter and air-plane pilots (and tank drivers, etc.). It always hurts my ears to hear in the reviews that the gun was made for underpowered ammo when its use was never taking on enemy, just aiding in avoiding them.

  9. avatar JR_in_NC says:

    Here is some more good info on carrying small.

    Pocket Guns Podcast on Ballistic Radio:

    http://ballisticradio.com/2013/06/30/ballistic-radio-episode-17-june-30-2013/

    Transcript of that episode:

    http://dsbscience.com/ballisticradio/BR20130630_ClaudeWernerPocketGuns.php

  10. avatar tdiinva says:

    My biggest issue with sub-compacts is found in shootingthebull’s videos. You have very restricted choices for effective ammunition. I carry my Nano when the situation calls for it but I find the XD/m compact 9 to be the optimum choice. About the same size as a G26 with more capacity and a 3.8″ barrel. Ammunition that is designed for a 4″ barrel is probably going to work properly.

    1. avatar W.P. Zeller says:

      Then don’t watch those videos.
      Unless you expect to be assaulted by an 18″ piece of ballistic gelatin.

      1. avatar tdiinva says:

        I am of the one round, one target mentality. A JHP that doesn’t expand properly may turn me into a one round two targets kind of guy. 🙂

      2. avatar JR_in_NC says:

        +10,000.

        The differences in the ammo STB tests are less than the statistical noise, generally speaking. It’s nice to make videos and talk about this ammo vs that, but it’s another thing to base life and death decisions on incomplete analysis of that data.

        (Yes, I’ve done the significance testing on some of his 9mm tests to back up my claim).

        1. avatar tdiinva says:

          Not quite. Rounds that consistently don’t expand are more different than statistical noise.

        2. avatar JR_in_NC says:

          The vast majority of the ammo tested does not differ by a statistically significant amount to draw the conclusion you are drawing.

          Feel free to look at raw numbers and misinterpret them.

    2. He recommends plenty of good personal defense ammo options in .380 and 9mm. Given how little of that you’ll actually use, it seems worth it to buy a few boxes, make sure they agree with your carry gun and stick to the brands and loads that perform best in objective tests. No?

      1. avatar tdiinva says:

        I am not looking for perfection if that’s what you think. With the XD/m I can pretty much use anything.

        1. avatar LarryinTX says:

          AH! I see!! A magic gun is the answer, performing ever so differently than some other gun with a barrel the same length, due to mystical shit! Hey! Wake up! Terminal performance has nothing to do with the brand name on the side of your gun, there is no magic. If a load does not work fired from this 3″ barrel over here, then it will not work fired from that 3″ barrel over there. Regardless of a different brand name.

        2. avatar S.CROCK says:

          He is not saying how the “magic gun” makes it so he can use almost any 9mm load, he previously attributed it to the 3.8 inch barrel. That is true a 3.8 in barrel will likely make most modern loads perform well vs a 3 in or 2.5 in barrel.

      2. avatar John Smith says:

        Yeah, I don’t get the problem. There are MULTIPLE highly effective bullet designs available today that will work well in 3″ 9mms. And 3″ .380s. Versus zero 20 years ago. You’re living in the good old days. Enjoy.

        1. avatar LarryinTX says:

          I guess I am just ignorant, maybe you can help. If I have not seen a test illustrating how a given cartridge performs against gelatin, exactly how is it that I am supposed to determine what will perform adequately? I gather that a firearms god like yourself can somehow divine what would be better than the obvious FMJ, but you have not explained how!?

    3. avatar mark says:

      I agree that the XDM compact is a fine choice. I’ve found that when I wear a lose fitting shirt–which is almost always, and I never tuck–even the full 19 rd magazine config is eminently concealable. One of those surprising but true facts. IWB, of course. OWB, forget it except under a jacket.

    4. avatar Aaron says:

      don’t over think it. reliability is the first imperative in ammo selection.

      the difference in terminal performance of any pistol ammo is far less significant than what gets hit (e.g., a brain stem shot with ball is better than a lung shot with the “best ammo ever”)

  11. avatar Ken says:

    The bit about having nothing else in the pocket you carry in touched on a subject I’ve been battling with. What to do with my pocket knife (both tend to end up in right front)?

    1. avatar defensor fortismo says:

      Move it to your support side, that way you can keep it ready for retention scenarios.

    2. avatar C.S. says:

      I keep both on my right side. I clip carry my knife and pocket carry my gun… I’m only gonna draw one…

    3. avatar Mark says:

      I went through the same thing Ken. I always carried my keys in my right front pocket. I just basically taught (forced) myself to change and carry my keys and wallet in my left front pocket. When I IWB carry (4 o’clock), I carry my cell phone in my right front pocket. When I pocket carry in my right right front pocket I use a belt clip to carry my cell phone in about the 3 o’clock area. My thoughts are that I always have the same feeling of something being in my front pocket and on my right side belt. I’ve got so use to it, I always do a quick check of both areas when I get out of the car or get out of a chair to make sure everything is where it should be and that my shirt/sweater is covering my IWB. It’s so natural now that I feel weird if I go out of the house not carrying.

    4. avatar Aaron says:

      clip it to your waistband.

  12. avatar Gunr says:

    It is true, any gun is better than no gun! I think it is also true that if your EDC piece is large, you will carry it less.
    A 380 can be a formidable weapon at close, in your face range, with the right ammo. Of course it doesn’t have the same effect of a 45 caliber slug, but what the hell? If you think your going to run into Goliath, then carry the heavy caliber weapons!

  13. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

    My first carry gun was a snubby, since I’ve moved up to a G19 or 17.

    It’s not a bad idea to start small. I remember thinking that 1lbs snubby felt like a 20lbs brick.

    It’s ok to warm up to things slowly. Don’t let other people, who really don’t matter, discourage you.

  14. avatar Bob108 says:

    Or, you can move to someplace like Arizona. When I lived in Oregon, I carried an XDS, LC9, or Sig 938. In Arizona, I carry a Sig Sauer 320 sub-compact in an OWB holster. Today, I am on a business trip to Chicago, and I carry…um, this sucks, and I cannot wait to get back home.

    1. avatar Markarov says:

      Lol! I can relate! Had to fly to Stalingo earlier this year and drive a car back; went round and round with a friend more knowledgable and experienced about if I could overnight a ‘package’ to myself via the dealership. Ended up stoping at a hardware store on arrival and getting an inexpensive folder. SO glad to get back home!

    2. avatar mark says:

      That Sig 320 Subcompact seems like a really nice gun, but even with my smallish hands I can’t get a solid pinky on the grip–and Sig doesn’t seem to offer any solution or make it easy for anyone else to. Bummer. In any potential struggle over a gun, having the pinky involved is a big help.

  15. avatar Former Water Walker says:

    Wish I still had my Taurus TCP. Oh yeah I saw where fanny Packs are coming back(as a fashion thing). Carry your tiny gun concealed without discomfort. OFWG stuff for the win! Anyway would any of us want to be shot with a 380???

  16. avatar James Annes says:

    How about IWB without a holster?

    I have a Taurus PT111 G2 that shoots Hornady 9mm Critical Defense just fine.

    I have a conceal carry license and an IWB holster that is comfortable. However, I ordered Crimson Trace Rail Master Green Laser today to attach to the rail under the barrel. Before I ordered the Laser I tried carrying the Taurus IWB without the holster and found it to be very comfortable, even on 1 or 2 mile hikes. As I cannot seem to find a holster to support the Laser, I may carry it this way,

    Question: the gun has an easy to use manual safety – should I carry it chambered with the safety on, or carry without a round chambered (the gun has a round chambered indicator)?

    1. avatar JR_in_NC says:

      “Question: the gun has an easy to use manual safety – should I carry it chambered with the safety on, or carry without a round chambered (the gun has a round chambered indicator)?”

      That’s a very personal choice, but I think most folks are going to say an unchambered gun, which is essentially unloaded, is not a full readiness should you need it.

      Some claim the Israeli Draw is an adequate offset, but there are a host of problems…and “time” is not the major concern imo. You may only have ONE HAND available and do you train cycling the action with one hand…a LOT?

      My vote would be for round chambered with safety on…for a host of reasons.

      1. avatar Aaron says:

        i agree. Israeli draw is gay. If you won’t or can’t carry loaded with a round in the chamber, then don’t carry at all. Because if you have extra time, you should use it to LEAVE the area, not load your gun.

    2. avatar Aaron says:

      I know a guy who is a famous “prepper”, and “Mexican carries” Glock 40s, butt forward. He swears by it, and has never had a problem. So yes, you CAN IWB without a holster.

  17. avatar Garrison Hall says:

    Take a look at the recent Hickok45 video with the Baretta Pico. It’s a very slim .380 that even a big guy like Hickok45 can shoot well.

  18. avatar mark says:

    As I mentioned up thread, I’ve found that an XDM in an IWB under a loose fitting shirt–even with the 19 rd mag–is easily concealable, and quite comfortable. An XDS with a Pearce extension in an IWB absolutely disappears even under a T-shirt. My wife is firearm-phobic (there must be a Greek version of the word, right?) but she had to admit that, twisting, turning, stretching, bending–the XDS was invisible. No, it’s not pocket carry, but it does give you a pretty capable carry piece. Having tried the extended mag on the XDM as a carry option, I’m guessing that the XDS with the 10 rd mag will be equally or more concealable.

    As for mags, my experience is that its really not expensive at all–allowing for the relativity of the concept. I like Kydex and PJ Holsters, Concealment Express and Cook’s Holsters are just a few of the outfits that make excellent custom IWB holsters for, like, $50-$75.

  19. avatar Ralph says:

    I appendix carry an AR-15 at all times. I get a lot of favorable comments about it, except when I wear shorts.

    1. avatar Gunr says:

      Just get longer legged shorts the next time, or cut your barrel off.

      1. avatar Dennis says:

        Ouch!

  20. avatar Paul says:

    I know folks talk about dressing around your gun but I can’t justify rebuying all my dang wardrobe to do so. Not to mention I can’t afford it, not all in one fell swoop. So I usually pocket carry an LC9. 8 rounds of 9mm dang well better be enough since that’s all I’ve got….but really, unless I’m attacked by a damn mob it should be. It takes 147 grain JHPs (Federals) very reliably so that’s what I use.

    1. avatar Gunr says:

      Had to laugh at myself when I read your post. I read too fast, and I thought you said” “I can’t justify rebuying all my drag wardroad to do so.” Silly me!

    2. avatar Virginia Gunner says:

      One thing the original LC9 has going for it over the newer striker versions is I felt comfortable sticking it in a variety of places without a holster, because of that long DAO trigger.

      Just an FYI, it you put the flush magazine in it (no pinky extension), it fits snugly and securely inside the main compartment of the Husky 4 inch belt pouch which goes for under $7 at Home Depot. If you work any job where a small tool pouch on your belt will blend in, it’s more comfortable than in the pocket and won’t get sweaty. The Husky label on the outside is good camo and it is much less obvious than a Sneaky Pete or other gun pouch.

      http://www.homedepot.com/p/Husky-4-in-Belt-Pouch-GP-45830N13/204853191#product_description

      1. avatar Virginia Gunner says:

        YouTube video of LC9 in this pouch:

      2. avatar SteveInCO says:

        I don’t have an LC9 but I wonder if someone like this makes something that would coincidentally accomodate a RAMI. (Alas, Sneaky Pete does not, leastwise last I looked they didn’t.)

        1. avatar Virginia Gunner says:

          I would try a Google search for ‘camera pouch’ and check stats for one that has the same or slightly larger dimensions than your RAMI.

          I would have no problem carrying a RAMI in any unmodified pouch that would fit it, with that DA first trigger pull. I would not do it with any striker fired gun I know of without sewing an elastic band inside to cover the trigger and hold it snug. There is a video on YouTube of a guy that modded a camera case that way to carry a Glock G26. Skip ahead to 2:15 to see the pouch:

      3. avatar Aaron says:

        I find that pocket carrying a Colt Mustang Pocketlite or Kahr P380 is very comfortable, and they look like you are carrying a “phablet” or large cell phone. They draw zero attention, even in shorts.

        IWB (or more accurately, Mexican carry) a Sig P938 or Kahr CM9 with a Sticky Holster under an un-tucked T-shirt is also very comfortable. These guns will fit in a pocket holster, but they look a little weird.

        if you absolutely have to go super thin and super light, the Kel-Tec P32 is the way to go at about 6 oz unloaded. It’s the thinnest and lightest gun I’ve ever shot, and it will even fit comfotably in gym shorts pocket and needs no belt to keep the pants from slipping down. It has very light recoil, and my P32 has been reliable out of the box (unlike my keltec P3AT, which needed two trips to the factory to,become reliable).

  21. avatar C.S. says:

    I went from G19 to NanoFTE to P290 to BG380… Totally fine with the little 380. I also don’t mind being the only one that enjoys pulling the heavy trigger on it.

    1. avatar SteveInCO says:

      My Nano is also of the FTE variety.

  22. avatar B says:

    When I started carrying I basically bought all my new pants +2 sized so I could IWB a full size pistol. I ended up migrating to a S&W 637 revolver because it IWB’s so freaking well in its leather Winthrop holster, but I like having my wardrobe ready to go duty sized. I’ve got BH Serpas for most of my guns, but those have only been for shooting competitions (and airsoft) due to Texas carry laws.

  23. avatar Canon says:

    As a photographer will always tell you,my he best camera is the one you have with you. Good article.

  24. avatar Canon says:

    As a photographer will always tell you, the best camera is the one you have with you. Good article.

  25. avatar Accur81 says:

    Better a tiny .380 or 9mm than nothing. I might get a .380 or tiny 9 for summer and / or dual carry. I’ve got to save up again after buying a Sig 226 Tac Ops 9mm, which is going to be tough to conceal. Great gun for HD, though.

    1. avatar Aaron says:

      Kahr CM9 is tiny, reliable (so far), has a decent striker-fired trigger, and CHEAP.

  26. avatar Michael says:

    I grew up on lots of snub nose revolvers and have long owned and carried a S&W 66 and love shooting magnums. It’s the smallest gun I like and shoot well and obviously isn’t a small gun.

  27. avatar unmassad ayoob says:

    I sure wish more people mentioned the walther pps. It is a superior subcompact handgun with great sights, easy control, super slim, multiple magazine capacities, supurb reliability, and not that cost prohibitive. Doe people not dig Walther?

  28. avatar ghost says:

    It has to be bigger than my pecker.

    1. avatar Aaron says:

      uh, so, a NAA mini .22 revolver works for you?

  29. The gun you carry when you can’t carry a gun. Ruger LCP Custom!
    Be sure to get the new one wit the good trigger and REAL sights. And don’t forget to practice with it.

    1. avatar Virginia Gunner says:

      I was excited and also annoyed to see Ruger release that version right after I bought a plain jane LCP for pocket carry not long ago. If I had just waited a couple of weeks….dammit.

  30. avatar Norm66 says:

    Please stop saying “gat”.

    1. avatar Aaron says:

      waaazzzup, biatches!

  31. avatar Aaron says:

    THIS.

    I always carry a pocket .380 or 9mm. Usually in an Uncle Mike’s or Talon pocket holster, sometimes in a Sticky Holster’s IWB.

    And no one can tell.

    No gay “shoot me first” vest looking out of place. No wearing jeans, or a stupid long sleeve shirt, or worse, a jacket on a 95 degree, 90% humidity day, to “hide” a full size, double stack pistol.

  32. avatar Jimmerz says:

    Hi all! I just got my NY license (i know, at leat I’m not in NYC). I have settled on xd mod 2 9mm for my first gun. But now that i have decided on that I am torn between the 3.3 subcompact and the 4 service model. I don’t want to regret my first purchase, but I’m leaning more towards the 4.0 service. I am planning on carrying in an urban carry holster and I’m a big guy (6ft, 280). Any comments or thoughts on this would be appreciated.

    1. must not live in Westchester co.

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