TTAG Reader: What I Carry and Why – Joel’s 637 and TCP

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Like many others on this site, I have more than one tool in my tool box that can fill the role of daily carry piece. Currently, I have two options available (my wife’s LC9s not included). A Smith & Wesson Performance Center 637, and a Taurus TCP . . .

I have carried daily since December 2012, starting with an older model Taurus 85 steel frame revolver. It was a little on the heavy side for pocket carry (my preferred method of concealment), but I managed. It only took about six months before I had to have something better. So, I sold my perfectly good carry gun to buy a Kel-Tec PF9. The lesson I learned from this transaction is…never sell a reliable carry gun. EVER.

I did manage to make the PF9 reliable after the fluff and buff treatment most Kel-Tec owners recommend, but my confidence in the little 9mm was, well, shot. I started saving for a Smith Airweight, but a close friend needed some quick cash and offered to sell me his almost-brand-new and perfectly reliable Taurus TCP, so I decided to help him out.

It turned out to be an amazing cary piece! Many consider the .380 too small, but inside of 15 yards I can empty the little pistol into an 8″ plate as fast as I can pull the trigger. And thanks to STB, I now have a carry load I can expect to preform reliably and consistently. (I have over 800 rounds through my TCP with zero failures.) the TCP has been a constant companion for almost two years now.

Of course, my desire for a J-frame never really went away, and about six weeks ago I was able to pickup a nearly new Performance Center tuned 637 at my local pawn shop. I changed the factory wood stocks for Hogue Bantams, made a new pocket holster, and it has pretty much replaced the TCP for now.

Having the right tool for the job is very important. Although I hope to never need to use them, I have confidence these tools will perform if the need arises.

comments

  1. avatar Another Robert says:

    I like the holsters–look a bit like something my sons made for me (that is a definite compliment; my sons are very handy, with wood, leather, and even drawing materials and musical instruments). And I like your carry-pistol-selling advice. I miss my Zastava Model 70 even now–and it really wasn’t that great a carry piece, altho a little work on the safety lever would have made it good one. And I expect you got a steal on the Smith–so good on ya’!

    1. avatar Omer Baker says:

      The holsters definitely caught my eye, too. At first I thought they were kydex, but after a closer look they appear to be leather. More info on those would be interesting. Thanks for your submission!

      1. avatar Joel says:

        I make the holsters out of ‘tooling leather’ from JoAnn’s Fabrics. The little rivets are purchased there as well.

        It took time to learn how to make my own holsters, but it was worth the time/dollar investment. The little pocket holsters are much easier than others I have made. And they are perfect. At least for me. 😉

        1. avatar Joel says:

          If Robert and co are interested, I could probably do an article on making holsters. I have made kydex, leather, and hybrid holsters, and have learned a few tips and tricks over the years.

          Biggest tip, be patient.

        2. avatar Another Robert says:

          I’m not handy myself, but I’m pretty sure such an article would be interesting to more folks than just me.

        3. avatar Ing says:

          Dunno about anyone else, but I’d definitely be interested.

        4. avatar ChiDog says:

          PLEASE post that for the POTG.
          Somewhere…
          I, for one, would very much welcome that info.

        5. avatar Paul says:

          Agree. I bought a piece of leather from Michaels to make into a pocket/wallet holster for a TCP but never got to do it. Bought a Hunter leather wallet holster for an S&W Bodyguard instead because it fit the TCP better than did one for an LCP. Works OK but a home made one would be thinner and still completely cover the gun and prevent any printing. Last time I made anything of leather was in elementary school!

        6. avatar Joel says:

          Ok. Next time I make one I will do a write up with pics. I’ll submit it to TTAG and they can take it from there.

  2. avatar Tom says:

    That’s a lot of wrenches to carry around. Might I suggest trading them in for one adjustable wrench and a flashlight?

    1. avatar Joel says:

      That’s pretty funny!

      I’m actually a bit of a minimalist when it comes to on body carry. For a guy that carries a gun anyway.

      Phone, flashlight, wallet, knife, keys, gun.

      I also have a backpack within 100 yards of my position pretty much all the time. Lots of goodies in there….

  3. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

    How many rounds did you put through the j-frame before adding it to your rotation? I run my semi-autos with two hundred range ammo rounds, then add two boxes of sd rounds before carrying.

    1. avatar Joel says:

      you just touched on one of the main reasons I like the revolver. I am perfectly comfortable with shooting a box of ammo through it, cleaning it up, and dropping it in my pocket. (Loaded with fresh ammo of course)

  4. avatar Art out West says:

    Looks very similar to what I usually carry (S&W 642 or occasionally P3AT). I’ve found that the little tiny .380’s actually shoot better than I thought they would. Like you, I’ve also pocket carried a steel framed snub nose (Rossi 461 .357, 6 shot). It is fatter and heavier than the AirWeight, and not nearly as fun to carry. There is something almost magical about the AirWeights and LCRs.

    1. avatar tdiinva (now in Wisconsin) says:

      Never thought a 380 would enter my home until my wife lost a wrestling match with a mattress on the stairs. After dislocating her shoulder and fracturing her humorous it is very painful for her to rack the slide on her M-9. We bought a Browning 1911-380. It’s 17.5 oz Commander sized pistol with a 4.25” barrel. Probably has as much punch is your basic 9mm pocket pistol.

    2. avatar Joel says:

      How do you like the Rossi? A 3″ barrel 6 shot Rossi is on my wish list. Actually, I want a 3″ barrel 686, but I could buy three Rossi’s for the price of one Smith.

  5. avatar Leighton cash says:

    My tcp is much the same. 100% reliable and dead nuts accurate. Last time I was shooting steel, I was 6 hits for six shots at 25 yards on 10″ plates. It’s hard to imagine a better pocket gun.

  6. avatar AL L says:

    Taurus 738 was my constant companion (with Buffalo Bore h/p, fmj +P’s, alternating) for 5+ years. Fabulous little concealed gun! Only thing that would ever detect in was a metal detector. ACCURATE far beyond my ability and beyond what it should have been. The B-Bore ammo gave it a considerable boost in the power department. Their HP’s expanded for me & their FMJ’s are flat points. Still love my 738. But then – I was introduced to Springfeild’s XDs 3.3 in 45ACP. New constant companion. “Don’t leave home without it.” Hell! Don’t go anywhere without it! Beats the Hell out of American Express!!!

    1. avatar Gunr says:

      Are you saying muggers in your area don’t take American Express?

  7. avatar Gunr says:

    My weapons of choice are the TCP, and the LCR. The 15 oz. LCR is hardly noticeable, AND I consider it more dependable. than a self loader.
    The TCP (380) is small, thin, and lightweight, and has a superior trigger.

  8. avatar Former Water Walker says:

    Great choices! Had an 85 and a TCP-no problems with either. I carried the TCP a bit but the 85 seemed too large to me. And I nearly bought a 637. I love the homemade leather too…

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