I’ve carried the spectrum of handguns from a G20 to a NAA mini-revolver. TTAG has been there to help guide the last few purchases, so here’s a condensed version of the journey:
Kimber CDP, .45ACP: An absolute joy to shoot, the CDP is still my favorite range piece. It was my only pistol when I received my first CCW permit, so I carried it in a CrossBreed SuperTuck. It didn’t take long to admit that a 5” barrel and checkered wood grips weren’t comfortable or concealable under a t-shirt . . .
Kahr P40, .40S&W: As a student of 1980’s FBI ballistic tests (who wasn’t?), I was once a firm believer in the absolute compromise of power and capacity, the .40S&W. The Kahr was a slick piece, with a fine trigger and usable sights. The recoil was stout, and the pistol itself tended to break a spring or fail to extract every 50-100rds, so I moved on.
GLOCK 23, .40S&W: I still appreciated .40S&W, but wanted to increase reliability and ‘shootability’ (decrease recoil). The G23 was all of that, and more. I carried the G23 for a couple years, sometimes with a .357Sig conversion barrel, and was always impressed with it’s accuracy and reliability. But it was still a relative brick on the belt, and since I’m not winning any lifting competitions anytime soon, I needed something smaller.
Kahr P45, .45ACP: I hadn’t given up on Kahr. The interwebs seemed to adore the little pistols, and I figured a .45ACP version would kick a little softer. Recoil was softer, but had the same reliability issues the P40 faced. Fool me twice…
Compact 4” 1911, .45ACP: The full-size CDP was everything I wanted in a pistol, except size, so the obvious solution was to carry a smaller version. This worked for a while, but I quickly wished I’d bought a 3” model…so…
Subcompact 3” 1911, .45ACP: The 3” Kimber was still pleasant to shoot, much easier to conceal than the 4” model, but the sharp edges still dug into my waist from that CrossBreed. I was ticked—this was the chosen pistol, and it was still relatively heavy and hurt to carry.
Ruger LC9, 9mm: Until this time, I was still a hardcore .45/.40/.357 guy. No pansy would be caught dead with a 9mm. Then I admitted carrying a .45, specifically a 1911, wasn’t for me. So I went back to the basics and STB410 showed me the way. Modern HP ammunition had jumped leaps and bounds since the 1980-90’s era ammo that gave 9mm a bad rap in gunshop talk. I settled on an LC9: It was slim, it felt great in the hand, and it disappeared into a holster. But oh boy, that trigger was awful, the myriad of California-approved safeties were worse, and I knew that I’d make a mistake with all those levers and safeties when my life depended on it.
Ruger LCP, .380ACP: The LCP wasn’t exactly a linear decision after the LC9. It was a gap-filler, carried when bumming around the house or when the dress code didn’t allow a bigger pistol. Other readers have commented on the utility of a pea-shooter, and I echo that sentiment. I’ve owned 3 LCPs, as Ruger improved the triggers and sights, and they’ve always been 100% reliable. I’ll always have an LCP around the house.
GLOCK G30SF, .45ACP: I gave .45ACP one final chance, with the smooth grips of a Glock to avoid the jab-in-the-waist issue. Yep, a full-size/compact Glock was still a brick on the belt. I considered the G36, but the grip length vs. width was awkward for my hands; just handling it in the gunshop showed me that wasn’t an option.
Ruger LCR, .357Mag: I was still timid about .380/9mm as a primary ammo choice (STB410 was doing the Lord’s work, but I wasn’t yet a stout convert), so the legendary power of the .357Mag was worth a shot. The smooth trigger was encouraging. The wide cylinder didn’t make pocket or IWB carry very comfortable, and full-power .357 loads were painful. If I was going to shoot .38 Special +P, why not just get a 9mm and have 2-4 more rounds?
Ruger LC9s Pro, 9mm: I appreciated the original LC9’s curves and profile, but the trigger and communist safeties were atrocious. The LC9s Pro fixed everything: An excellent trigger, no manual safety, no magazine-disconnect safety, and extended (9-round) mags for better capacity. Overall, the LC9s Pro is my ideal concealed pistol. I stoke it with Federal HST 124gr.
So if this guy settled on the LC9s Pro, why is he still jabbering? Because guns are fun, shooting is fun, and there are always new toys to try out. I still carry the LC9s Pro in a Crossbreed SuperTuck while around town, but the search for the ‘best’ is half the fun. My new favorite is the GLOCK 42. The G43 was sitting right next to it on the gun counter, but the G42 melted into my hand, especially with a one-handed grip. The extended mags allowed for a solid purchase and a total of 9 rounds. It’s slimmer and lighter than the LC9, carries a little easier, and draws smoothly from “The Betty” holster. I’ve never seen such accuracy or soft recoil out of a pistol this small; it’s almost as enjoyable as the CDP. Once the basic reliability criteria is met (let’s restart that debate!), my ability to draw, fire, and place rounds where they need to go is paramount, and I’m confident in my ability to do that with the G42. As I write this, it’s on my hip with 7 rounds of Inceptor ARX.
(See the rest of the posts in this series here. Send your What I Carry and Why submissions with a photo to firstname.lastname@example.org with WICAW in the subject line.)