I’m relatively new to the concealed carry routine. A few random violent encounters in the District of Columbia turned me on to guns and concealed carry. While I don’t exercise my rights in the aforementioned gun-free zone, I tote at least one gun in the freer states of the union. The Smith & Wesson 642 has been receiving a lot of love on this blog and it’s about to receive just a little more . . .
It’s simple to use and just plain easy to carry. For a short trip to the convenience store or jaunt around the block with the dog, there’s nothing better in my opinion. The gun’s diminutive proportions also make it easy to stow in a lockbox under my driver’s seat should I need to venture into smaller, more isolated, non-governmental gun-free zones…unlike the aforementioned one. Speer Gold Dot 38 +P short barrel are my go-to rounds and I carry a few extras on speed strips in a Tuff pouch (a neat little product, I high recommend it for J-frame users).
With the weather turning in my northern Virginia habitat I decided to run a little experiment…carry a second, larger gun. The Smith & Wesson 686+ three-inch was my first hand gun purchase. I bought it because I’m a contrarian and I wanted to try something different. I’ve since become a fervent member of the .357 club.
I own both revolvers and semi-autos, but I find that I shoot the former better and have a lot more confidence in its presentation and manual of arms. The Hogue grips have been a revelation. They manage the recoil of moderate .357 loads, provide a phenomenal grip and their clipped end aid in concealment. Perhaps just as importantly, my girlfriend is a pretty good pistolero with the 686.
So, why not carry two guns just in case the zombie apocalypse happens when we’re at the grocery store? Two guns are better than one in an emergency. Given my rather large frame it’s surprisingly concealable. A dark t-shirt and jeans is more than enough. That being said, I’m tall and t-shirts and sweatshirts are often just a tad too short. So I have to bend at the knees instead of the waist lest I flash the two pounds of steel I’m trying to hide.
A holster from Tucker Gunleather carried at 4 o’clock paired with a Blackhawk rigger’s belt help to schlep this beast around. Also, strangely enough, the 686’s smaller sibling helps distribute the weight. Despite the help, the 686 has still taken some getting used to. The biggest hurdle to get over is the mental block, telling myself that no one is looking at me. But I suppose that’s a larger CCW issue.
Until it’s once again shorts weather, I think I’ll stick with this effective, if heavy pairing.
(See the rest of the posts in this series here. Send your What I Carry and Why submissions with a photo to email@example.com with WICAW in the subject line.)