KP writes: “Of the guns in this table, which I admit reflect certain personal prejudices, which would be the best compromise between a range gun and a carry gun. The table is composed of 9mm and .380 with the 22LR as a novelty. They are sorted by width for no particular reason. PS – I assembled this table myself so no guarantees of accuracy. Also the Shield and the P224 are not in my market at the moment and some of the CZ’s are hard to come by also.”

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49 Responses to Ask the Armed Intelligentsia: Which One for EDC and The Range?

  1. I have shot most, but not all, of the above mentioned pistols.

    Right now, and for me personally, I would vote for the Walther PPS. It is a pistol that I wouldn’t have looked at twice before someone else handed me one to fire at a range and has since become my relied-upon everyday carry and a frequent visitor the range.

    This review (not mine) does a good job of summing up my feelings about this pistol
    http://simplyaboutguns.com/walther-pps/

  2. I know you said “of the guns on this list” but it makes me sad that there’s not a single Springfield on that list. Also, since you have the Bodyguard .380 on your list and several SIGs, but not a P238, I’d encourage you to check it out. When I was looking at .380’s, the Bodyguard was the one I was going to get, the one I measured the rest against, until I shot it, and hated it. I ended up with a P238, and I think it’s head and shoulders above anything else I shot.

  3. I have no idea what is meant by “a range gun.” Seriously, I don’t.

    Handguns come with all manner of “primary purposes” – plinking at cans and squirrels/pests, self defense (carry), self defense (home or car – ie, not on your person), target/match, big game hunting, etc.

    I shoot all of them at the range.

    An EDC has a primary requirement: Being small and light enough to carry every day. After that, you can shoot it at a range any time you might want, and it’s a pretty good idea to practice with it as much as possible, which is likely going to happen at a range.

    So forgive me for being completely unclear on what a “range gun” is.

    • I think KP is referring to the fact that an EDC gun is likely going to have certain compromises that make it better suited for its task. Things like low profile sights, slim form factor, low(er) capacity, and low weight are all common traits for a carry piece, but not necessarily desirable for extended sessions at the range. I read the question as asking for a handgun that is both suitable for EDC as well as being comfortable during long shooting sessions. Ammo selection is another factor where the two duties differ in preference. “Stopping power” may be desirable for a carry piece, while low cost is desirable at the range.

      As for the OP’s questione, I’m inclined to say try them and buy what you like. My only recommendation would be to stick with 9mm which is both more powerful than .380 while also being less expensive. A heavier metal framed compact would likely handle the recoil better during long sessions at the range, but again, try before you buy.

  4. My top pick would be the SIG P239 in 9x19mm. It’s big enough for range games and good for carry. The Ruger SR9c is also a good choice, though I’d choose the S&W M&P 9 Compact or Glock 26 over it. The Berettas are likely fine too.

    I am not a CZ, Kahr, or Bersa fan due to poor functioning, poor customer service results, or both.

    The inclusion of subcompacts is interesting. I’m sure the S&W Shield or Beretta Nano would hold up to regular use. They do not have a track record yet.

    The SIG P232 is an interesting choice. There are three issues: 1) it’s chambered in 380 Auto, 2) decocker is in the wrong place for left handed shooters, and 3) sights are tiny. It is an extremely accurate gun. I had no reliability issues, even with my cruddy reloads.

    HOWEVER, I tend to avoid ANY gun design that has been on the market for less than two years. Remember the Ruger SR debacles? Reliability over round count is very important. I love the Beretta Bobcat, but it is not a durable gun (it is EXTREMELY FUN TO SHOOT). Avoid the non-standard SIG designs such as the P250, P224, P290, etc. They are too new (see below) and likely have flaws.

    Given the above, my list to RESEARCH would be:

    Stoeger Cougar Compact
    Beretta PX4 Storm (either)
    Ruger SR9C
    CZ RAMI (even though I’m not a fan)
    SIG P239
    Walther PPS

    My very short list would be the SIG P239, Walther PPS or the Ruger SR9C.

    • Same. CZ75 or 85 of any configuration, or the PPS in 9mm.

      Alternately, I’d suggest the Walther PPQ in 9mm as well, although I’ve been carrying the FN57 for 7-8 years.

    • Yeah, I was wondering that as well. Perhaps it’s because there really isn’t any need for discussion if it’s on the list?

      I shoot my G26 just as well as my G19 at “social distances”, and it conceals fairly easily. For both range and EDC carry, I can think of nothing better.

  5. My criteria for a EDC gun differ from most since I carry an FN FNP-45 USG concealed. I’m a big guy and can usually manage to conceal it, even in shorts and a t-shirt. I also own a Bersa Thunder .380 that I bought for my wife and I’m partial to the overall value of that particualr gun based on what you are getting for the price. However, a target pistol it is not unless you have the hands of a petite woman.
    In reality, one of the newer 9mm or .40 S&W compacts that have the option of using a magazine from the full-sized model with a grip extesion would be the ideal all-purpose gun. They have the compact size for EDC, but can have the grip of a full-sized gun for target shooting. There are a few manufacturers making them, so there is a good variety from which to choose.

  6. Some guns are great for CC, but too snappy to shoot all the time.

    Some guns are great for target, but too heavy and bulky to CC.

    I think he means one that’s easy to carry, but nice to shoot too.

    • Then why isn’t Glock on the list? I carry a G27 quite comfortably, and it’s the one with which I shoot best at the outdoor matches or at the range. The G26 has the same ‘carryability’ with even less recoil.

  7. I LOVE MY CM9!!! My vote for the kahr cm9 all the way! Super compact excellent carry gun! (in the right holster it completly dissapears) Super fun gun at the range! Trigger is excellent. The only true “carry” gun that I can easily put hundreds of rounds through in one range session without my hand hating me later.

  8. No CW9???

    Personally I think you’re carry gun should be your range gun. Or at least the one you practice with the most. Since that’s likely to be the gun on your person when it hits the fan.

  9. The blowback .380 pieces are accurate and fun to shoot, but 9mm is a lot cheaper for a range toy. My next purchase will likely be the SR9C. It is a good, fun shooter and with the 10+1 or 17+1 option it is a real “multi-tool” in my mind. Nightstand, range, IWB holster, it does it all. Also, the 9×18 Makarov firing CZ 82s hold 12, have a bit more punch than the .380 CZ 83, and cost about $200. Love mine!

  10. My EDC is a Sig P232. I really like it but I admit that it is not the best choice. Too big for a small round. But it shoots very nicely.

  11. Seriously, anyone that doesn’t consider a G26 or G19 is a fool. I have shot Sig, S&W, Springfield, Ruger and Beretta 9mm. I love 357mag and 38spc revolvers for “range guns”. Revolver = fun. I own or have owned many of the proceeding. I always come back to my old G26 for EDC. If I need a little change I will carry the G19.

  12. I would encourage you to research the Walther PPQ… I made a similar list myself earlier this summer when I returned to the sport of handgunning. I had wanted something that was a) a potential carry piece, b) a high-capacity plastic fantastic 9mm (as i never had one), c) something for hours of fun at the range (hence the hi-cap and 9mm) and d) something quality… Finally, i wanted to stay south of $1K.

    I was not disappointed. 🙂

    • The PPQ is a great gun, as is the G19, but not on the list, so..

      For a double-stack: CZ-75 compact or Ruger SR9c, in that order.
      For a single-stack: SIG P239 or Kahr Mk9. I haven’t shot the PPS but they seem like good guns and I’m intrigued by them.

      • I like my PPQ enough that it has been replacing my FN57 (LIGHT!!!) every once in a while. I may eventually just start carrying the PPQ.

        That said, the PPS is a great little gun.

  13. Another +1 for the omitted S&W M&P9c. I see it filling the same spot as the Ruger SR9c.

    I’m with another poster on the question of ‘EDC AND range gun’. Frankly, EDC may be a seasonally adjusted billet. What is EDC in 95+ degree heat might be different than EDC when it’s 30 degrees or lower. And that may , or may not be just about the comfort of carry. Some shooters may opt to choose a completely different platform based on the method of carry and the idea of defeating a sweat soaked t-shirt vs. multiple layers of heavy clothing. Although, I admittedly stick with 9mm for all occassions.

    Regardless of the EDC choice, if it’s getting carried, it should be getting a regular workout at the range. And that workout should include from the manner of carry not just sitting on or shooting across a bench. I guess what I’m trying to say is EDC always should equal a range gun but a range gun does not equal an EDC.

    • +1 on +1ing the M&P9c which was omitted from the list. SR9c would be the closest I suppose, but it has all those unnecessary safety gizmos that just makes it overly difficult to operate quickly and repeatedly in my mind.

  14. I too am somewhat confused by your needing to differentiate between Range Gun and Carry Gun. I have taken a number of training classes over the years, at the Sig Academy and the S&W Training Center, learning various techniques for carrying, shooting, and competing, but in darned near every class, significant emphasis was made on the point that any Carried gun should always spend significant time on the range, before ever being strapped on, and should go to the range on every trip after you make the decision to carry it.

    That being said, considering your list, most of which I have shot, I normally carry a Sig P239 SAS, .357Sig, in a High Noon Slide Guard or a Crossbreed Supertuck, during summer, or in a SigTac Jacket, during the colder months. Referencing the above comments, I shoot IDPA with the same pistol, or occasionally my P239 9mm, to keep ammo costs down, or when shooting indoors, where the .357 is oppressively loud. I do the same carry and compete, with my Sig P226 .357Sig, and occasionally with my H&K USPc .40. While I cannot compete with them, I also often carry a Sig P232, or my S&W 438, both with Crimson Trace laser grips; they both always go to the range, and have nailed countless bowling pins and steel plates.

  15. My mom carries a bobcat because she has a bad elbow, and I really don’t worry too much about it. It has functioned flawlessly through a thousand or so rounds, and I know she can draw and fire it quickly and, most importantly, accurately. .22’s are an underestimated round, and there is a fascinating article on this website about their lethality as a self defense round.

  16. I’d take the Bersa Thunder 9. Reliable, very compact, relatively inexpensive – and for a carry gun – one I wouldn’t mind having lost, stolen or gone missing in a lake.

  17. I would only go 9mm, it’s 2012 we have the technology. I would shorten the list to the Kahr models, S&W Shield, Ruger LC9 Baretta Nano, Sig P290, and the Walther PPS I would choose which ever you feel the most comfortable with.

  18. I notice that two particular platforms are conspicuously absent from this table: the one I love and the one I hate.

  19. Interesting list, I currently prefer my Glock 19. Years of proven reliability, concealable, accurate, good capacity… and well south of the price range indicated. I find the 19 the be one of the best all-around guns; that’s simply my position after carrying Walther, Smith’s and Sig’s. I’m currently in a toss up between the Xds (I know its .45), Sig P239 and Glock 33 (I know… 357 sig). But that’s me.

    From the list you have, I would choose the Sig P239. It is heavier than the poly models and costs a bit more, but if you have the extra capital then lay it down. 8+1 with a reputable round and I think you have a problem solver, and someting you can take to the range and run a couple hundred rounds of Wally World White Box without swallowing back some Aleve afterward. The Aluminum frame and stainless slide soaks up the recoil, and the sucker is dead nuts accurate. I wish it didnt come in at almost 30 oz’s, but that’s the trade off. Its sits high on my list and may ride on my side before too long. I have always found Sig’s to be of great quality and accuracy. It is a non-regretable purchase… unlike my Walther.

  20. Giving advice on what gun someone else should carry and shoot is akin to a man telling a woman what dress to buy. The pitfalls are many, and the rewards few. My advice is always to try on as many as you can–hold the gun, dry fire it (not the .22s). Ideally, shoot it. What feels good? What do you shoot the best with? That’s the one for you.

    Gun nuts like me, though, end up owning all kinds of firearms. This one isn’t easy to hold, but I love the sights. That one has a great feel, but it shoots an odd cartridge. And so forth. But even so, there are always one or two that are just right, and those are the ones that we carry.

  21. I’ll agree with the comments that say that EDC is a personal choice — it really depends on what you’re comfortable with, what you’re wearing every day, weather, etc. etc. But having said that, since others may be reading this thread for opinions, I’ll offer mine.

    Without question the best balance between EDC and range (i.e., fun with shooting at paper) I’ve ever found was the Glock 19. I carried one for a year as my EDC in an IWB holster (NateSquared) and love that gun at the range as well. It really is the perfect balance between carry comfort and shootability. And 15-rds of 9mm (30 with extra magazine I also carry) is plenty for any sort of situation I could think of that I would personally be involved in with a EDC weapon (i.e., no elite hit squads coming after me and mine). So from that standpoint, since you don’t have the G19 on your list, I’d have to go with Ruger SR9c.

    BUT… from the list, there is absolutely no question in my mind that the next best gun is the S&W M&P Shield in 9mm. I finally bought one (yes, they’re a little tricky to find, and I know it’s not widely available in your area, but that’s what the Interwebz is for) and it’s a beauty. The Shield is now my EDC weapon, especially in warmer weather here in Texas, although I do take the G19 out periodically depending on what I’m wearing.

    Because I believe that my carry weapons should get the most attention, I shoot both of them at every range session. The Shield is really a joy. That trigger is crisp, with an authoritative reset, and easy on the pull. I’ve not shot every weapon on the list, but I have shot most of the similar mini-9’s and to me, the Shield has the best trigger of the lot. Kahr’s are smooth, but that long DA action isn’t for me. The Nano balanced weirdly for me. The G26 is too fat for what I wanted. Etc. If you haven’t shot the Shield, try to find a range that rents one, or a friend who has one, and give it a try. It really is a sweet pistol.

    Plus, it’s extremely comfortable at the range. Being newer to my collection, I’ve only put perhaps 500 rounds through it, and all of it crap practice ammo (except when I was testing the carry ammo to make sure it cycles properly) like Tulammo and Brown Bear. No failure to feed, no problems. The thinner grip makes it slightly less comfortable for extended range sessions compared to a full/compact size (like the G19) but the Shield beats the pants off of any other mini-9 I’ve tried in terms of comfort.

    It is accurate — more accurate than I am. I’m managing 3″ patterns at 10yds, which is plenty good for what I want to use the gun for.

    It absolutely disappears for EDC purposes into just about any holster I can think of. I often carry it AIWB in a Remora and I hardly notice it’s there. The two magazines it comes with means a total of 15 rounds of 9mm between them, plus one in the chamber. I can’t think of any situation where my EDC would come into play and 16 rounds of 9mm wouldn’t be enough.

    Finally, since both are 9mm, the practice/range/plinking ammo is cheap. I find that the modern self-defense rounds (I like 124gr Speer GoldDot) are more than adequate, again for anything I’m likely to come across. Would .40 have more power? Probably, but it’s too snappy for my tastes, and more expensive as well. So there’s the balance.

    So… in the final analysis… Glock 19 as the perfect balance between EDC and range, and the M&P Shield as the next best.

  22. The Glock 19 is not represented on the list, thereby invalidating the list. It is the only choice for both carry and fun.

  23. To all you folks recommending the G19, while I agree the platform is fantastic, and I did have one, for a while, it does have a couple drawbacks……first off, button rifling is awesome, unless you only have lead bullets, in which case you have a problem. I solved that issue by purchasing a G23. I augmented the .40 barrel with a factory .357Sig barrel, and then added a Lone Wolf 9mm conversion barrel, which has traditional land and groove, lead friendly, rifling, which, in addition to being a semi-bull barrel, is super accurate…..I actually shot consistently tighter groups with the LW conversion barrel G23, than I ever did with the G19. While you cannot make a G19, or really any 9mm, into a multi-cartridge weapon, most Glock, Sig, S&W, and H&K .40’s can be converted to .357Sig, and many can be converted to 9mm, which gives you serious flexibility, in a single weapon, with the same sights, holsters, and accessories, which totally works for me.

  24. Sheeesh. Come on, people, reject the false premise!

    “A gun that is good for both EDC and the range?” Wrong! Buy two guns! Buy several guns for each purpose!!!

    “One gun.” Hey, don’t limit yourself that way.

  25. Thanks for everyones comments. I is the guy who put together and submitted the table to TTAG.

    I have a S&W 442 for carry and a Steyr M-A1 for the range, along with the Bobcat and a Ruger 22/45 with a sweet TRS-25.

    This was really an exercise in the possible. Chuck the snub nose and Steyr and focus on getting really good with one gun.

    I don’t like Glocks or Springfields or 1911’s so the table reflects those prejudices, don’t like Taurus or Kel Tec either but I would confuse the former with the latter. I also don’t like plastic guns but I realize that horse has left the barn a long time ago.

    That said I do pine for a S&W Chief Special 9 or S&W 3913. Although any gun machismo would be forfeited if I carried a Ladysmith in a fanny pack. The Sig P239 is the current variant but it’s hard to come by and pushing nearly a grand there are more realistic options.

    If I could buy a Shield I probably would not have assembled the list, they really hit a sweet spot with size and a good trigger. And I’m looking a for 9mm so the weird mag drop on the 40mm wouldn’t be an issue.

    I have to agree with several comments on the Ruger SR9c and the Walther PPS. Nice size and good triggers on both of them. I’m going with the Walther because my middle name is Fritz and I have to go with my people, gun people are strange.

    P.S. sorry for screwing up the Bersa names on the table.

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