Remember the old “In Search of…” TV show with the late Leonard Nimoy? It didn’t matter what it was they were in search of, you were certain to end up with an ambiguous ending after getting sucked into watching the show (and the countless commercial messages in-between segments).
Finding the perfect every-day carry can be a lot like that, I think. You typically start with a pistol that you believe to be your “dream gun,” figure out it’s too heavy or too something else to carry every day. You start going through guns like most of us go through holsters, looking for Mr. Goodpistol.
This is the story of how I found my perfect EDC gun. I tell it not to try to persuade you to buy the gun I did, but to explain my process in the hopes that it helps you find your perfect everyday carry weapon.
My first pistol was a 1911 from Springfield. The only nod to modern conveniences was a beavertail grip. It was a beautiful gun. It was accurate and could double as a boat anchor in a pinch.
I tried an IWB holster and found that while I could carry it, the pistol was just too damn big and heavy for me to carry comfortably. I sold it and then bought my “dream gun,” a Kimber Crimson Trace 1911. Aluminum frame. Laser grips. Commander-length barrel.
This one was easier to conceal and a little lighter, but not by a whole bunch. Again, I tried carrying it, but found it was just too cumbersome to want to do that all the time.
When I got involved in the private security guard/bodyguard biz, I was told by our Lt. Commander that I needed a weapon with at least 15 rounds in the magazine. I opted for a GLOCK 17, which happened to be the gun most of the other officers carried, too.
It was a nice gun. Accurate as hell. I’d planned on getting a Springfield XD-M like my wife’s, but after shooting hers next to a G17 that I rented at our range, the GLOCK blew everything else away in terms of accuracy.
I asked the Lt. Commander what he recommended for an EDC, because we tricked out the G17 with a Trijicon SRO red dot sight, and a Streamlight TRL-1 weapon light. Subtle it’s not. Neither is it lightweight.
He suggested I do what he did…carry the G17 as my EDC because, as he put it, “it’s paid-for.” Um, yeah. So I tried it. Understand, I’m 6’4″ and about 280 on a good day. I don’t have a beer gut, but my affinity for Coca-Cola long ago saddled me with a muffin top that makes IWB both painful and difficult.
So I returned to my friendly neighborhood shootin’ gallery and started renting guns again. Now every EDC pistol –- hell, every gun is a compromise in features. Reduce the weight and you’re going to reduce the size, which will, in turn affect the amount of felt recoil.
Everything is interconnected. I get it. So I wanted something as light and small as possible, chambered in 9mm. I wanted it to be easy to field strip (which left out the 1911s redesigned for 9mm) and something that wouldn’t cost me an arm and a leg. Most importantly, it needed it to feel good in my hand and be near-as-damnit accurate as I am with my G17.
I rented a number of pistols, and narrowed it down to a Springfield Hellcat and a GLOCK 43x. Both are very good firearms. But the deciding factor for me was I simply shot the rental GLOCK better than the rental Hellcat. And the GLOCK felt surprisingly good in my big meathook hands. My only reservation was that the G43x is limited to 10+1 with the factory magazines while the Hellcat gives you a couple more.
It took seemingly forever for the GLOCK to arrive, largely because I opted for the G43x MOS version with the slide pre-cut for a red dot sight and a frame with a built-in (proprietary design) rail.
After an online review of the available red dots for subcompacts, I settled on the SIG SAUER Romeo Zero. Both the gun and the sight arrived at the same time, so I wasted no time in adding the sight to the rail.
First glitch: the screws supplied with the Romeo Zero are just a tad too long, causing the ejector to get its nose outta joint and fail to cycle. A quick trip to my gunsmith and the shortened screws fixed the problem.
I’m pleased to report that the gun is every bit as accurate as my G17. I takes a little more control to shoot, but that’s expected. We’re still slightly off the “perfection” mark, by just a bit, due to the 10-round magazine. Then I heard about Shield Arms S15 magazines. The S15s are a marvel of Yankee ingenuity, somehow squeezing 15 rounds into the same space GLOCK swears will only hold 10.
Of course, there’s a catch. In this case, a magazine catch. Because the GLOCK factory mags are polymer-over-steel, the G43x comes with a polymer mag release. The metal S15 mags will prematurely wear the GLOCK polymer mag release. But for a nominal fee, Shield Arms will sell you a metal mag release that you can swap out for the factory part.
Et voilá! Problem solved. So I now have an EDC that runs 15+1 in a form factor and weight that feels quite a bit more svelte than a G19 or similar weapon.
Next I turned my attention to the, ahem, less than wonderful sights on a stock GLOCK. Are you aware that the stock sights are just little pieces of plastic? I wasn’t. I looked at all the major brands. Trijicon is currently about nine weeks backordered. TruGlo is similarly swamped, as is AmeriGlo.
But Night Fision offers a set of tritium sights designed for the GLOCK 43 that looked just about perfect in every way, and are available now for purchase. Another quick trip to the gunsmith and I was rockin’ night sights and a red dot, co-witnessing to my satisfaction along with the wholesome comfort of 15 rounds, plus one in the pipe.
I have to admit I’ve not yet solved the weapon light conundrum. Streamlight has announced (but not yet shipped) a new model — the TRL-7-sub — designed expressly for subcompacts, including the 43x MOS. Because the MOS model has its own rail, nothing made for the original 43 or 43x will work.
I don’t know why GLOCK chose to put the notch where they did, but this is a bigger question for bigger minds than mine. And it wouldn’t matter now, anyway. With the popularity of the G43x MOS (like so many guns, GLOCK is selling them faster than they can make them), I’m certain there will be a variety of choices available soon.
One last concern; a holster. As a card-carrying OFWG, IWB is problematic. And until I get the light thing sorted, I see no reason to spend $80 or more on a Kydex holster that won’t fit a light. My solution for now is a compression holster shirt. This works well for me, and likely will, right up until the summers here in Texas force me to find a holster that fits.
So that’s my tale. If you’re in the market for an EDC gun, I’d encourage you to look around, try a variety of brands and models, then go for the one that fits your hand, your carry style and your lifestyle. And if they ever want to bring back that show, I’ve got an “In search of…” that’s ready to shoot, either on film or at the range.