Foghorn’s choices for the the three best concealed carry firearms — the Ruger LCR, Wilson Combat Bill Wilson Carry and GLOCK 43 — are beyond reproach, IMHO. But that doesn’t make them my choices. Here are my three selections . . .
As much as I love the Ruger LCR and Smith & Wesson 642, as much as Jerry Miculek can use either (any?) gun to shoot the eye of a newt at 100 yards, I consider lightweight snubbies bad breath distance, limited capacity firearms. That’s OK if you understand their limitations. But why not a better option?
The Kahr MK9 is a 5.3″ X 4″ stainless steel semi that weighs-in at a not-inconsiderable 22 ounces. While it’s too heavy for suit pants pocket carry, it’s perfect for blue jean carry. Or a small holster. And the benefits of that “extra” weight are undeniable.
First and foremost, that heft tames recoil. You can shoot the Kahr MK9 more accurately over longer distances than a snubbie or polymer “mouse gun.” Second, there is no second. What more do you want from a carry gun?
Other than the fact that the Kahr’s weight makes practicing pleasant. And practice is a big deal when it comes to effective armed self-defense.
The MK9’s flush-fit mag holds six rounds. The extended grip spare mag (please carry a spare mag) holds seven, putting 14 rounds at your ballistic beck and call. Bonus! You can rack the rear sight on a shoe. And as long as it is, the trigger pull is smooth and predictable. Great gun.
More weight with less bullets? Yup. Smith’s venerable six-shooter tips the scales at an astounding 42 ounces. Carrying a 686 4″ requires an industrial grade gun belt and a big-ass holster. Trust me: you can conceal this L-framed beast. But it begs for open carry, and reloading it in a gun fight would be . . . problematic. So why the love?
There’s no scientific data on the subject, but it’s commonly believed that the vast majority of defensive gun uses end without a shot fired. The bad guy(s) see the good guy’s gun and thinks better of their attack. While there may be more intimidating handguns than a 686 4″, it’s no shrinking violet. It isn’t something black and gun-like. IT’S A GUN!
I know this is a crazy choice, given the popularity of just about everything else in the concealable category. In my defense I’ll point out that the 686 is majorly accurate over great distances and fires the .357 cartridge with entirely manageable recoil (see: weight advantages, above). That’s a hell of a defensive round, Harry.
The Smith & Wesson 686 trigger is perfectly suited to the task of armed self-defense: gliding like a bobsled in double-action, as light and crisp as fresh lettuce in single action. Hey, if you want a smaller semi — as tens of millions of gun owners do — buy the Kahr. If you want a “real” gun buy a . . .
Like buyers of spaghetti sauce, gun owners are spoilt for choice when it comes to selecting a compact (i.e. concealable) polymer-framed striker-fired pistol. They’re all reliable, accurate, comfortable and robust. The one thing that separates them? The trigger.
A great handgun trigger increases control, which increases accuracy, and makes a gun a joy to shoot. When it comes to out-of-the-box striker-fired pistols triggers, two guns stand apart: the Walther PPQ M2 and the FNS-9C.
I give the FNS the nod because I find the ergonomically superior Walther’s trigger a bit too light; I end-up shooting double taps when I don’t mean to. Sure, I could train myself out of it. But under stress . . .
The FNS’ trigger is a delight. It offers unblemished, unimpeded take-up to a brick wall. And then bam! As far as I know, it’s as close as you can get to a 1911-like trigger break in the polymer genre. And the reset is short, sharp and serious. As in seriously good.
The bigger, thicker FNS-9C weighs [just] a bit more than the Kahr, but it holds 12+1 rounds of 9mm ammo. Or 16+1 with the extended mag, for a total or 30 rounds. With its long-enough-for-rock-and-roll sight radius and brutally good looks, that’ll do, pig. That’ll do.