A lot of folks out there subscribe to the theory that one should just have one carry gun that he or she becomes extremely proficient with, in order to create muscle memory and try to maximize your chances of success in a gunfight. While I agree that it is a sound practice, it is not a philosophy that I personally follow. I carry a rotation of three different firearms, both while I am on duty as a police officer and in my free time . . .
Gen 4 GLOCK 22 .40 S&W
As my department issues the GLOCK 22 as our service pistol, I carry this at work every day and have no choice in the matter. I personally prefer the 17 over the 22, but that’s a subject for another time. It’s carried on duty in a Safariland level III retention holster.
When it comes to concealed carry, the G22 isn’t the first gun that people typically run to, as it’s a big honkin’ piece of metal. Since June, however, I have lost 35 pounds and now have a surplus of baggy fat jeans and shirts, which enables me to slip the 22 into a Comp-Tac kydex holster and carry the 22 in relative comfort. My reasons for carrying the 22 on a regular basis are threefold.
First, I’m lucky to work for a department that actually places a high importance on firearms training, and as such I have had extensive trigger time on the 22 and am a good shot with it, despite what some would claim is a handicap of being a police officer. Second, 15+1 rounds of .40 caliber Remington Golden Sabers is nothing to sneeze at. Lastly, if I have to use the gun to fire at someone off duty, the gun will be held as evidence and I will receive a new one from my department after the investigation is over. Perk of the job, I suppose.
Ruger LCR .357 Magnum
My backup gun that I carry on my ankle in a Galco ankle holster is a Ruger LCR chambered in .357 magnum. I carry Speer Gold Dot 135 grain .357 Magnum short barrel loads. The gun is light and doesn’t hinder my movement or speed in any way, and nearly disappears on my ankle.
I know that many reading this will question my decision to carry a snub nosed revolver instead of a GLOCK 27. “Magazine compatibility!” is the rallying cry of the dozens of co-workers I have who carry it. My rebuttal is that the 27 is a tad too heavy and clunky to comfortably carry on an ankle for 12 hours a day. Also, for many it creates a mindset of transitioning to the secondary in the event of a malfunction. I asked many of my colleagues who carry the 27 what they would do in the event of a stage 1 or 2 malfunction with the 22, and most replied transition to the 27. The issue with that is it’s generally quicker to fix a malfunction than to re-holster and go for another gun.
From several training classes I have taken, including an FBI course on law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty, I have learned that many police back up guns are used during physical struggles when the primary weapon has either been taken from the officer or the officer is being strangled and primary the weapon is inaccessible. For this role, five rounds of .357 should do the trick nicely, and there’s no danger of the gun going out of battery in the event of a contact shot. I rarely carry it off duty, but sometimes when I’m lazy I slip it into a jeans pocket and am on my way.
Smith and Wesson Shield 9mm
The third gun in my rotation is a Smith & Wesson Shield 9mm, with no thumb safety and tritium night sights. Despite the appeal of being able to have my G22 replaced for free in the event of a shooting, the Shield is still my primary EDC. It’s a sub-compact that’s easy and even enjoyable to shoot, easy to carry, has a decent magazine capacity, and has a manual of arms similar enough to GLOCK that my training transitions over. In short, I have found it to be my perfect concealed carry pistol, though there are many other fine firearms that might work better for you.
I don’t carry it on my person at work, but I do leave it accessible in my seat bag in the passenger seat. On the off chance that I’m ambushed and can’t exit my vehicle (a la GET OFF THE X), it’s quicker to pull the Shield out than to draw the 22 from a seated position.
This is just my personal set up. As with anything, YMMV. Find what works for you and stick with it. It took me five years to get my carry set up situated just the way I like. Stay safe out there.
(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.)