Although I grew up with guns and have had concealed carry permits in the states where I’ve lived for over 10 years, about two years ago I got serious about EDC. I agonized over my choices. There is so much conflicting advice out there. I decided my “must haves” were . . .
- A gun I would actually have with me when I needed it, meaning one that is easily concealable and not too heavy. A snubby in my pocket beats my 1911 at home.
- A gun I can hit the target with at likely self defense ranges. Only hits count. See my experiences below.
- A gun that was “forgivingly reliable,” meaning one that is not only technically reliable, but is even reliable when I don’t do everything right. It must fire when I want it to, no matter what.
- A gun that is “forgivingly safe,” similar to #3. It must not fire when I don’t want it to, no matter what.
- A gun that fires a cartridge that has no trouble meeting the new FBI standards of penetration and expansion.
- A gun I just feel comfortable with, purely subjective.
I learned to shoot a .38 revolver (a Colt Official Police) when I was about 12 years old. My Dad set up a “wax bullet range” in our basement and I put thousands of rounds through that thing. At 21, I got a job as security guard. Without having touched a revolver in months, I shot the highest score ever recorded on the licensing test. When I got in the Navy, I shot Expert with a revolver first time out, again after not having touched one in months. I can just hit with them. I feel confident with them.
I’m no stranger to autos, though. I competed on a Navy team with a match-modifed 1911 and I have owned a Colt Mk IV Series 70 for over 35 years. But I find it too heavy to carry comfortably and I worry about NDs and not getting the safety off under stress. I have also had my 1911 lock up in a combat pistol class so badly that even tap/rack/bang didn’t work. The instructor and I had to pry the mechanism open with a screwdriver, but we could find nothing wrong with the pistol or the mag. Both performed perfectly from then on. I have never had that happen with a wheelgun.
In making my choice, I was very influenced by Grant Cunningham’s book, “Defensive Revolver Fundamentals: Protecting Your Life with the All-American Firearm.” I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to put the wheelgun in perspective.
My choice of the Ruger LCR was driven by it meeting all six of my must-haves, the reputation of the brand and it having the best out-of-the-box trigger of any revolver I’ve ever fired. I went with the Crimson Trace Lasergrips for accuracy at night and indoors, the most likely shooting scenarios. I also fitted it with green fiber optic front sight that is great in outdoor daylight. I carry it in a Sticky pocket holster and keep it loaded with Speer Gold Dot .38 +P 135gr JHP “Short Barrel” loads. I also carry a Bianchi Speed Strip for reloading.