Question of the Day: What’s Your Summer Carry Gun?

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A fairly well-worn gun guy trope is that a carrier goes a size up in their concealed carry gun for the fall and winter, and then goes down a size in the spring and summer. The idea, of course, is that you can get away with concealing a bigger firearm when you’re wearing more layers but can’t necessarily do so when wearing fewer or just a shirt during the warmer months.

This is how some gun owners get the most out of carrying. They get to enjoy variety, and during part of the year carry that beloved full-size piece that they enjoy shooting more than they do that subcompact.

A lot of carriers will use the onset of cold weather as the impetus to carry that favorite 1911, Beretta 92, SIG P226, S&W Model 586 or Ruger GP100. Those additional layers mean they can conceal those full-size handguns more easily, so long as you’ve gotten yourself a good gun belt that can take it.

Now, though, the weather is finally beginning to heat up across the country as spring has fully sprung and summer is on the way. As a result, carrying that government frame, GLOCK 17 or 686 might not be as tenable soon…if it isn’t that way already.

Strictly speaking, having different carry guns for each season isn’t that necessary any more. The typical subcompact striker-fired gun that most people prefer these days is all most of us need. In times gone by, hollow points of good quality were relatively few and far between, and additional clothing tended to take the steam out of ballistic performance. Thus, in those days, it was actually a good idea to go up to a gun that packed .45 ACP during the winter and back down to 9mm or smaller when the weather got warmer.

Today, of course, 9mm ammunition is far better that it used to be, which has led to a number of law enforcement agencies to switch to the smaller round. And plenty of gun guys saying that the end is nigh for .40 S&W.

Then again, if you like .40, it means you can get guns cheaper since fewer people want them.

These days, you don’t really need to up-size in caliber if you’ve selected your carry load wisely. If you can hit accurately with that smaller carry gun, that plus a good carry round (and an extra magazine in your pocket) should do you.

With that said, what you need in a gun is often not the biggest consideration. A gun is merely a tool, after all, just a piece of hardware. It doesn’t take much to do the job it’s intended for. Since the trend among many gun owners is to compile a collection, people tend to buy more of what they want as opposed to what they really need.

What about you? Do you have a cold weather/hot weather rotation? If so, what will you be carrying this summer?

 

 

comments

  1. avatar Leighton Cavendish says:

    Probably will be Bond Arms Bullpup9.

    1. avatar Bloving says:

      Oooooh! (Envious dirty looks…)
      If I had one of those, I’d happily call it the all year EDC…
      Alas, I generally rotate with two or three other options but maybe one day that proud Texas piece will grace my hip.
      🤠

    2. avatar jug says:

      Have the long barrel Boberg, but the trigger tears up my 82 year old arthritic hands. Love it, but the hands, ( trigger finger), just cant take it anymore. It’s for sale.

      So, I am toying with Rock Island 9mm/22 TCM, or the Glock 40,ten mm.

      1. avatar MilleniumFulcrum says:

        Which of the two calibers are you thinking to be your carry choice? I own the Rock Ultra MS combo and I’ll tell you it shoots beautifully (and softer) in 9mm than in .22 TCM… AND the TCM is way too loud (imo) for defensive use minus hearing protection. I’m serious. I thought the TCM would make a great carry caliber, but I’ve found 9mm to be ‘mo betta’. Don’t get me wrong, I love .22 TCM and would love to have a matching carbine (which no one has made in the 2-3 years the cartridge has been out).

  2. avatar MLee says:

    The same thing as my winter carry.

    1. avatar Evey259 says:

      Ditto. XD9 Subcompact.

      1. avatar Art out West says:

        Same here, S&W 642 in the pocket, year around

    2. avatar Mark N. says:

      Ditto. Kahr CW9

    3. avatar ucfgrad93 says:

      Same with me. Glock 43 year round.

    4. avatar Jericho 941 says:

      Yep, Walther PPS 40 year round. IWB in warmer weather; OWB in the colder months. Cargo shorts or pants can carry pocket holster.

  3. avatar Danny L Griffin says:

    Same as my winter carry gun, FN Five-seveN.

    1. avatar Edward Rogers says:

      Nice! What do you carry it with? Which holster? Vest?

      1. avatar Danny L Griffin says:

        Safariland SLS holster for the Five-seveN.

  4. avatar John says:

    If it’s really hot then my Sig P938 in a DeSantis pocket holster, but often I go with my Glock 19 in a Blackhawk Serpa OWB holster and wear a lightweight long sleeved shirt over my T-Shirt. I’ve got a Sig P365 on preorder and if that functions well I’ll add it to the mix. Fortunately, living is SW Oregon we don’t have prolonged extreme heat.

    1. avatar Matt in FL says:

      That’s a lot of manual-of-arms switching for a personal defense carry weapon, in my opinion.

      As always, you do you.

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        I’ve done some seasonal switching, on occasion.

        Some days Glock 23, other days, Shorts and flip-flops, an NAA Mini-revolver…

        1. avatar Art out West says:

          Personally, I can’t take those NAA mini revolvers seriously. The LCP/P3AT are as small as I can go (and I don’t like going that small).

        2. avatar Geoff PR says:

          *Shrug*

          Whatever works for you, rock on… 🙂

  5. avatar Gregolas says:

    G19, year round.

    1. avatar Stuff and Things says:

      ^This. Appendix holster + not-skin-tight shirt and bam, concealed.

      1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

        Yup. Same here.

  6. avatar Ryan says:

    My Ruger LCR in .357 is my everyday carry, I think it can handle most any situation hot or cold.

    1. avatar DaveDetroit says:

      Great choice!

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        …and a safer choice, appendix carried.

        Personally, I feel safer DAO carried that way…

  7. avatar ADM says:

    Ruger SR9e, year round. It’s the only EDC I’ve ever carried, and I’ve never felt it was overly difficult to conceal beneath a single loose-fitting t-shirt.

  8. avatar Matt in FL says:

    I know what I like. SIG P238, day in, day out. One month of “winter” and eleven months of summer. Runs like a Swiss (German?) watch, more accurate than I am. Don’t mess with success.

    1. avatar Nigel the expat says:

      Same. P238. Goes everywhere, no printing in Desantis pocket holster.

  9. avatar Don Nelson says:

    Same Dan Wesson V-Bob as in winter. 1911s are skinny.

  10. avatar Alan Esworthy says:

    Ruger LC9s Pro in a Nemesis pocket holster, plus a 2nd magazine for a total of 17 rounds. Carried in Duluth Trading Co. cargo shorts or pants.

  11. avatar Jay in Florida says:

    Same all year round.
    Occasionally change guns but never dress.
    From a P938 to a Commander 1911. Depends on my mood. Currently FNS-C
    Aint it Great in the Sunshine State???
    IWB and tucked in t-shirt most of the time. Un tucked when Im working.

  12. avatar DaveDetroit says:

    Reliable and easily concealed S&W Model 642 with laser sight (great for poorly lit parking garages). +P hollow-points. Despite it being a snubby, it out-shoots most pistols at the range- even without the laser. My most likely BG scenario is attempted carjacking or parking lot assault, so a near-contact range, 100% reliable weapon that’s readily deployed with one hand was a must. The laser helps in poor lighting or from behind cover. Approaching my car in a downtown parking lot, I can have the weapon in my hand, concealed in the pocket of a jacket or sport-coat and no one is the wiser. Definitely not what I’d go to war with (for capacity bigots) but plenty sufficient for its purpose of “escape and evade”. Against a mob, I’d want a shotgun. If its war, I’d want a rifle- or missile battery, lol.

  13. avatar former water walker says:

    Same as a cold weather gun(it’s been winter for 6 freakin’ months!). Taurus 709…may pick up something smaller but the 709 is EZ to tote.

  14. avatar ironicatbest says:

    one EDC, and it’s never changing holster are my (grab it memory) outfit. When micro seconds count, I do not want to be thinking what sidearm I’ve got

  15. avatar John Galt says:

    When in kalifornia for work, Glock 19 or 43.

    When in states that honor the constitution, DL Sports professional slimline commander.

    Have to take off the Rolex and put on a timex to enter commiefornia

    ***often ALSO additionally carry a N. American Arms 22 mag revolver in front pocket

  16. avatar tdiinva says:

    I carry the same stuff I carry in the winter. The few occasions where I wear shorts I wear cargo shorts which are cargo pants with less fabric. I wear loose fitting shirts which are cooler than tight fitting teeshirts and can easily conceal a full size pistol.. The one change is that I carry my XD subcompact 9 IWB when I play golf.

  17. avatar Grumpster says:

    Same for all year, either my Walther PPS or Glock 19.

  18. avatar Michael in AK says:

    Here in the coastal part of the Last Frontier, it’s the same as winter except if I am going out in nature, it includes a slung Mossberg 500….bears….

  19. avatar Big Al says:

    If you have a Shield in 9 or 40, you can buy pocket CLIPS, for your MAGAZINES. Quite convenient for pocketing your mags. Works very similar to pocket clips on folding knives. “RecoverTactical.com”. Also EDC is spelled XDs, 3.
    3.3, 45ACP.

  20. avatar Vic Nighthorse says:

    Steel framed 5.25″ .357. I wear one of those photo journalist/fly fishing vests that just screams “gun”. Maybe I get partial credit for open carry?
    My hands are a bit shaky so the 40oz revolver is way steadier than my 6″ Five Seven that I carried the last three summers.

  21. avatar FlamencoD says:

    Same two guns all year: Springfield XDs 80% of the time, Kimber Pro Carry II 1911 the other 20%; both in 9mm.

  22. avatar strych9 says:

    USP, same as the rest of the year.

  23. avatar AZgunner says:

    I carry a Glock 26 year round. It never gets very cold here, so I’m in jeans and a t-shirt year round.

  24. avatar DamDoc says:

    G26 in crossbreed IWB, long tea shirt

    1. avatar wheretonext says:

      Have done the same for the past 8 years. I just built a G26 Long Slide (a G19 with the grip chop) out of a polymer 80. I’m running the hell out of it testing reliability first…but no issues or concerns yet. Thinking this will be my new EDC. It has all the advantages of the G26 plus I can stick a light on it and am running an RMR now. We’ll see! I’m hopeful!

  25. avatar OldProf49 says:

    In AZ we have three seasons: summer (blistering), swinter (comfortable), and springter (bearable) so my EDC doesn’t change much. It’s usually a small 380 or 38 special in a pocket or occasionally an IWB holster. Since I’m retired, I can wear cargo shorts 90% of the time.

  26. avatar James A. "Jim" Farmer says:

    What is my summer carry gun? The same handgun I own for “self defense/house
    protection/concealed carry”. It’s a pre-1982 4″ barrel Smith and Wesson Model 66
    .357 “Stainless” Combat Magnum revolver. This is the handgun which I keep loaded
    in top dresser, carry holstered inside glove box of my car, and stash unloaded inside
    back pack in the trunk while crossing the state line into California from Oregon. This
    is all I need, carry, and depend on. A person could do much worse.

  27. avatar Ralph says:

    Summer weather presents a concealment problem. Hiding your roscoe is tough when wearing minimal clothing.

    Winter weather (at least in the Northeast and other cold places) presents a deployment problem. Accessing your heater is tough when it’s covered by layers of clothing.

    I carry the same guns in all weather — a compact .40 or a J-frame. They’re small enough to conceal under hot weather clothes and still easy to tuck away where they can be rapidly deployed when I’m wrapped up like I was mushing in the Iditarod.

  28. avatar Steve says:

    Beretta Pico with Underwood ammo in a modified Pocket Locker! Smallest power to weight/size ratio you can get with 100% reliability.

  29. avatar Matt from Flordy says:

    G43 or an airweight snubby.

  30. avatar Southern Shooter says:

    Since I gave son my Ruger SR9c 🙁 I carry a lc9s Pro except when deep concealment is needed–then switch to the Ruger lcp Custom. Exta magazine with both.

  31. avatar Mike W. says:

    Kahr P45 [Robar NP3+ coated, Novak rear sight] daily carry in Phoenix area. Wish I bought a P9 nowadays as I’ve aged but it’s a great pistol with a trigger like my work gun. [Ruger DAO 9mm]

  32. avatar Chadwick says:

    Lcp in the pocket. Because yard work and all. Gardening, building things, working on cars, or whatever.

  33. avatar Erik Weisz says:

    Same year-round. CZ SP-01 Shadow in a Stealthgear IWB holster.

  34. avatar Blake says:

    Essentially the same thing, XDS-9. I’ll carry my M&P 2.0 Compact 9mm sometimes in winter, it’s actually the reason I got it.

    Otherwise, carry an LCP on work days. Hospitals frown on on-the-job carry and it’s easy to pop in a scrub pocket when I’m not on the grounds.

  35. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    My Summer carry gun is the same as my Winter carry gun: a full-size Smith and Wesson M&P40.

  36. avatar Wood says:

    Well, I like guns. I like variety. Living in N FL, we get everything from teens to triple digits. So yeah, I do the weather rotation thing. HK P30 when it’s colder, need an undershirt with those grips. HK P2000sk in warmer times. Same spare mags. Both HKs are set up as light LEM with the heavier trigger return spring. Also a PM9 and an LCR .357 for extreme heat/summer wear, road trip backup, or casual flip flop trip to the store etc. Everything in the rotation is basically DOA. I would say my favorite and most frequent carry are the Sk or the LCR.

    I prefer OWB carry. Additionally my “Warpig” holsters by Ryan Grizzle have removable IWB belt loops so they can go either way.

    Unfortunately I absolutely cannot carry at work, but I do to and from. The truck’s holster is a Console Vault.

    1. avatar Paul Mcmichael says:

      I too, live in N. FL. Daily carry is a S&W 442 w/Spiegel Boot Grips. This revolver rode in a Galco Ankle Glove as backup to various 1911s for over 20 years. Now it rides in my right front pants pocket. In addition, a Galco butt pack (not black!) rides in the vehicle with me carrying a H&K P7M8, spare mag and other accoutrements. Year round.

  37. avatar Dave Lewis says:

    Kimber Ultra Carry II in an old school El Paso Saddlery OWB holster when I can wear a jacket or windbreaker. In Oklahoma the terms Summer and Winter have no meaning or bearing on reality – the weather does what it wants to. For warm weather I carry a Ruger LCP or Smith Shield 9mm in a cargo pocket. I’ve got a couple pairs of Blackhawk pants that the Shield rides pretty well in. I guess that the Shield prints if you were looking but very few people actually look. I was made once when carrying the LCP at the state fair (in a posted “gun free” zone) by a highway patrol officer who just quietly asked me what agency I worked for. I replied and we swapped a few stories, some of which may have been true, shook hands and wished each other a good day. Never showed my ID – I guess that I recognized enough of the names we talked about.

    1. avatar Paul Mcmichael says:

      Dave we just tend to recognize each other. I was conducting a felony stop on I-10 one day. No backup available. At least not for 15+ minutes. Suspect still in vehicle being held at gun point. I heard a vehicle stop behind me. Glancing over my shoulder I saw a man and woman exiting the car. I thought, “L.E.O.” Husband and wife. They both produced credentials and shouted, “Oklahoma Highway Patrol!” The suspect became very compliant when three handguns were pointed at him. God bless Oklahoma!

  38. avatar Paul Mcmichael says:

    Glad they decided to vacation in Florida.

  39. avatar Paul Mcmichael says:

    Oh! Great choice on the El Paso Saddelery. I have several myself. Everything from the old west stuff for my Colt SAAs to a Tom Threepersons for my Smith 4″ Mountain Gun to a Tortilla for which ever1911 I stick in it that day. Anxiously awaiting another delivery any day now. Gifting a Hardin rig to a friend who just acquired an ivory gripped Colt Sheriff’s Model and another Threepersons for my 6″ 629. Great leather. Every handgunner should have at least one; if for no other reason than the history. They’ve made holsters for John Wesley Hardin, Patton and others.

  40. avatar Barry Rosenschein says:

    Now I carry a Shield 45. I used to carry my Makarov. A bit heavy but very accurate. I like the 9mm Mak round. Good penetration (hollow point), no blinding flash. You can shoot it without going deaf in a defensive situation. I switched to the Shield 45 mainly due to bigger holes. Atlanta has been getting more sporty.

  41. avatar Mike B in WI says:

    H&K P30sk. All year round.

  42. avatar raptor jesus says:

    pocket carry a p238 or J-frame.

  43. avatar Will says:

    SCCY CPX-2, IWB Appendix, 10+1 with a 10 rnd back up. Year round. Colt Mustang Pocketlite just to mix things up once in a while, but I prefer the 9mm and the xtra rounds of the SCCY.

    1. avatar nwa18 says:

      Great gun. Although not my primary carry, I have a CPX-1 as my alternative carry. It’s performed flawlessly for 300+ rounds.

  44. avatar Norm Walker says:

    I tend to carry my Ruger LCP in the summer. I mostly wear swimming trunks or board shorts so larger guns are out.

  45. avatar nwa18 says:

    Kahr CM9/Streamlight TLR-6 in Smartcarry holster with NAA Mini/Laserlyte as a backup, year round.

  46. avatar MilleniumFulcrum says:

    IJ70 Makarov .380. Also happens to fit my 1911/Commander leather perfectly.

  47. avatar phil wieting says:

    springfield EMP .40 cal. all steel, allows it to shoot good. recoil no problem. OWB, hip, 2 mags right side. leather holster canted.

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