Our What I Carry And Why series proved to be very popular. Kinda like pics of pocket dumps, lots of readers like to get a glimpse at what others carry and their reasoning behind the choices. So now that you’ve seen what TTAG’s writers tote, we’d like to open the floor to you, our gentle readers. If you’d like to let the world know what you strap on every day, email your post (with at least one well-lit, properly focused photo) to email@example.com with WICAW (all caps) in the subject line. We’ll pick some of the best and run them here for your enjoyment. Here’s Cliff H.’s unsolicited contribution to kick things off . . .
I live in Las Vegas. It’s HOT. I don’t complain about it (much), because I chose to move here and I knew it was hot before I made the decision. At least it’s a dry heat, not like Austin or San Antonio, where I have also spent a bit of time. That said, heat affects wardrobe and wardrobe affects what, when and how I carry.
Let’s start with what. I have a Smith & Wesson 686 with a 6” barrel, but I don’t carry that. It can’t be concealed under a T-shirt and it’s impossible to get more than a few hundred yards with it open carried without someone wanting to talk to you about it – pro or con. Love the gun – I’ve had it for almost 30 years now and it is the best-shooting pistol I’ve ever handled. But until open carry becomes a little more routine, I think I’ll stay in the safe.
Among the pistols I do carry: a S&W 642 Airweight, a Ruger SR9c, and a Ruger LC9s.
The 642 used to be my everyday carry when I was still in Tacoma. It’s very good at deep concealment and so comfortable that it’s not difficult to go about your business and forget that it’s even there at your side. I carried it IWB in a Remora at 3:00. But as mentioned in a recent post, the factory trigger on the 642 is a beast. When I let my mother shoot it she had to be coaxed to keep pulling – she thought the pistol must have been broken or something before she finally got it to go bang.
Another negative, which could probably be cured with a little practice, is that no matter how careful I was the thing always hit 6” low and right. Good enough for bad breath distances, but with only five rounds at hand it seemed like accuracy might be an important safety factor.
I had previously owned a Ruger P-85 which I sold to get the 642. There was no way I could comfortably conceal that big pistol. Even though I really liked the P-85 and was comfortable and accurate shooting it, it just wasn’t a practical EDC for me and in Washington, especially in the Seattle-Tacoma area, I was advised that although it was entirely legal, unless I really enjoyed frequent conversations with law enforcement officers, open carry was a very bad option.
So I went to the WAC (Washington Arms Collectors) gun show in Puyallup one weekend looking for a semi-auto compact 9mm and discovered the marvelous SR9c. How so marvelous? It fit my hand and pointed like it was custom built for me. It held 17+1 of 9mm +P. It has proven to be absolutely reliable with whatever ammo I loaded into it and has never malfunctioned or failed to fire. In an IWB BladeTech or Alien Gear the thing just disappears when you carry with the optional 10 round mag.
Now that I’m in Vegas and can in many cases open carry (it’s legal, but frowned upon on the Strip and/or in casinos, and North Las Vegas has a reputation for using intimidation to discourage the practice) I frequently, especially when it’s hot, haul my trusty SR9c in an OWB Blackhawk CQC with Level 2 retention. Not as much of a conversation starter as Mr. 686. But even with the 10 round mag has almost twice the rounds available without a reload.
Finally, I recently acquired a Ruger LC9s to replace the 642 when I wanted to deep conceal in hot weather. It’s not as nice on the trigger as the SR9c, nor as accurate, but it is lighter and as a single-stack (7+1) it is substantially slimmer. I carry it IWB in the Remora that used to hold the 642 and even with a tucked shirt only just enough of the grip shows to hook a few fingers around for the draw. With a t-shirt or polo untucked, it absolutely cannot be detected unless you bump up against me on the right side. And it slips nicely into the console of my car or the portable safe in the trunk in case I am forced to enter an Unarmed Victim Zone.
I’m a Ruger guy. When people ask me why, I just tell them, “They work for me and give me confidence. I shoot them well and I suspect they are good enough to compensate for many of my personal shortcomings as a shooter.” When they ask me if they should buy a Ruger I always give them this advice: “They are great pistols, but go to your local range and rent a few different brands before you make any decision on what pistol to buy.” Testimonials and advice are all well and good, but don’t buy hype – try before you buy and buy what works for you.