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I carry and don’t give a crap about the specs of what I or anyone else is carrying.* The only questions that matter are:

1. Is your carry gun reliable?
I shoot my carry gun, using my carry holster, in competition (IDPA). I don’t shoot for score, I shoot to maintain proficiency. I don’t clean my carry gun before a competition, because it needs to work, even after a month or two of carrying concealed. This leads to question 2 . . .

2. Are you proficient with your carry gun?
It’s all well and good to talk about the weight of your firearm and the ballistics of the round being shot, but in the end, the ability to put rounds on target is what matters. If you can put six in the 10-ring with a .22 and miss six out of six shooting a 9mm, which is the better carry option?

3. Do you carry all the time?
One can’t choose when one will run into trouble. Either you take the responsibility seriously and carry at all times – except as proscribed by law – or you don’t. There is no “swagger” factor for conceal carry. Carrying is deadly serious business and the assumed responsibility and consequences should be given serious thought.

*If anyone is interested, I carry a full-size Kimber 1911, with a single white dot front site, loaded with 230 grain +P hollow points. I shoot the 230 grain +P in competition once in a while, just so I know how they shoot and to make sure they feed reliably. See question 1.

(See the rest of the posts in this series here. Send your What I Carry and Why submissions with a photo to [email protected] with WICAW in the subject line.)

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  1. “If you can put six in the 10-ring with a .22 and miss six out of six shooting a 9mm, which is the better carry option?”

    10-ring of what size target? At what distance?

    The vast majority of self-defense shootings occur at extremely close range. If the dude is full of methamphetamine pain-killing courage and determination, the .22 is not going to do the job. Oh, he’ll eventually bleed out. After he slices me up.

    Accuracy does not always trump stopping power. Conversely, stopping power does not always trump accuracy. The key is finding the right balance, along with other compromises like ammo capacity and weight.

    Shooting for accuracy is fun. Timed drills involving drawing and engaging a close, human-sized target will better prepare us for a DGU.

    • “The vast majority of self-defense shootings occur at extremely close range. If the dude is full of methamphetamine pain-killing courage and determination, the .22 is not going to do the job. Oh, he’ll eventually bleed out. After he slices me up.”

      Anything less than a 1 oz slug isn’t going to “do the job” with someone who is drugged out of mind. And even then, it is not a certainty.

      Don’t stop until they do.

    • ” If the dude is full of methamphetamine pain-killing courage and determination, the .22 is not going to do the job.”

      What makes you think a .22 can’t cut nerves and cause instant incapacitation?

      Cut the nerves, and it does not matter what drugs the person is on.

      This is why I can’t stand absolute statements like “is not going to do the job.”

      It has happened; your statement, as an absolute, is nullified.

  2. Either you take the responsibility seriously and carry at all times – except as proscribed by law – or you don’t.

    So quit my job, or don’t carry?

    • Good point. I get it – bad things can happen to good people at any time. I generally carry when out in public, and I generally even home carry. Sometimes – like at a jobsite – I don’t or can’t.

      I also believe in having first aid kits and fire extinguishers handy, but sometimes they aren’t, either. The “swagger” factor expressed seems to me to more reasonably fit the folks that dogmatically maintain that you aren’t “serious” (whatever that means) about carry unless you carry all the time. I don’t carry – conceal or openly – to impress anyone, including myself.

      • Yeah Defens, that’s the impression I got as well. Some good points, but you have to wade through the dogmatic, arrogant, closed minded bigotry.

        It will be my way, the only way, and if you disagree, you’re not “serious!”.

    • Red, do they have metal detectors where you work?
      Can you be convicted of a crime for carrying where you work?

      If the answers are NO and NO, concealed means concealed, until that moment you decide your life is worth more than your job.

      • I personally prefer to respect others property rights. I found myself in the same situation, so I found a new job.

      • Interesting morality there….do our natural rights trump stupidity? Sadly, losing a job to prove a point is a tough place to be in….

        • It was, but I believe in respecting the property rights of others. I liked my old job, but I like my new one, and I can carry here, by the policy manual all I have to do is follow state and local laws.

  3. I too shoot IDPA. I’m not totally concerned about 6 in 10 ring. I try to push my speed to simulate adrenaline rush. My main concern is avoiding FTNs. Hits on No Shoots are secondary (Sucks to be a hostage).

  4. ” I don’t clean my carry gun before a competition, because it needs to work, even after a month or two of carrying concealed.”

    If it needs to work when you need it to work, when do you maintain it?
    To me, right before a weekend competition or extended range session is the time to do that maintenance, because if something got a little bit messed up when you put it back together, it should show up in the next 200 rounds. If it gets through the competition without a hiccup, you’re good to carry on on your way home.

    • Yes….I have never understood cleaning a gun,putting it back together then not checking for function…

  5. Truth.

    Carry the gun with which you are most proficient. If it’s a Glock carry a Glock. For me it is generally something designed by John Moses Browning because of the superior ergonomics and the sightlines from the rounded edges. There are other pistols with rounded edges like the Beretta Px4 and the M-9 but I don’t do DA/SA. The rounded edges also give gun a better profile for CC. Now that I am out of the big urban area I carry either a 1911 or BHP 95% of the time.

    People complain about the weight and a 1911 is the heaviest thing you can carry but even the 22 oz difference between a 1911 and a G-43 isn’t that much. If you cannot deal with the weight after you gear up for work with your wallet, keys and briefcase/lightweight backpack you need to get on the calendar for your quadruple bypass surgery.

    The group consensus is that you can’t carry any full or compact pistol in the heat and humidity of the summer. I have two words for you: Tori Richard. Yes, that tee shirt shows off all the time you have spent on the bowflex but in reality loose fitting clothes will keep you cooler.

    There is one more advantage to carrying a 1911 or any steel framed pistol. As I found in a close quarters class there is good chance you could end up in a grapple. Your little LCP is worthless whereas you can easily deliver a disabling blow with a 1911.

    • “People complain about the weight and a 1911 is the heaviest thing you can carry but even the 22 oz difference between a 1911 and a G-43 isn’t that much.”

      That statement minimizes the weight difference quite well. Bravo.

      Another way of putting it: The 1911 you discussed weighs about the same as TWO FULLY LOADED Glock 43 pistols.

      My most frequently used comparison for the .45 fans: A Colt series 70 1911A1 .45 ACP weighs the same amount when empty, as a 13-shot Glock 21 .45 ACP weighs when FULLY LOADED.

      • I must be the world’s strongest 65 year old because gearing up for my 1911 doesn’t seem to bother me. /sarc

        Look, if the only reason that a person decides that can’t carry a 1911 is because he thinks it’s to heavy to carry then he shouldn’t be deterred by an old wives tale. And if someone is deterred from carrying a G-17 because “you can’t do it the summer’ then he should go out a buy a couple of Tori Richards shirts. Not only will he be more fashionable, he will be cooler than wearing a tight fighting t-shirt

        A couple years ago I was out at Clark Brothers in Warranton, VA on a hot summer day. A salesman was telling a customer that “he couldn’t CC a 1911 especially on a day like today.” After the customer left I walked by the salesman and lifted up my shirt revealing my Springfield MILSPEC. The guy behind the counter was undoubtedly grateful that I didn’t do that in the presence of the customer.

        • I am from Virginia, I must say Clark Brothers is a horrible experience for me whenever I go in there. Rude, pushy and overflowing with bad information.

  6. You know the old saying; “Opinions are like ***holes, everyone has one, etc…Dan Z has his very strong opinions, as do most of the contributors/readers/commentators on TTAG. I agree that carrying a weapon is indeed a very serious endeavor. However, I do not necessarily agree with his choice of EDC. Not because the weapon is not good, but because for me a loaded full size .45 is a little much to lug around. I clean my weapon after using it, not before. I know some who never clean theirs. I cannot carry at work. I work for the Federal Government (yes, I am here to help) and weapons are not allowed/against the law/there are security cameras/and would get me arrested and definitely fired. I think that covers it all. Anyway, we can go on all day having differences of opinion. And that is one of the greatest things about the USA. We can have those differences. SO enjoy YOUR right to carry the kind of weapon YOU see fit, carry it where and when YOU want (within the law), clean YOUR weapon when YOU think it is best, shoot it for whatever reason YOU want to, and do all these things while WE still have OUR rights. Remember – the right of the individual to pursue happiness and prosperity. No, not the 2A; but the beginning of the Constitution.

  7. Sometimes just the presence of the firearm is enough, imagine the statistic number of crimes stopped with no shots fired?

  8. “even the 22 oz difference between a 1911 and a G-43 isn’t that much.”

    Well, it’s actually 22 oz. Which is darn near the weight of a second G43. Or a couple extra magazines. My point is this: Weight matters. Everyone has their limit. If you can handle the weight of a 1911, then you can handle the weight of a lighter gun plus a few extra magazines. Or a flashlight, or a knife, or whatever might round out your took kit.

    Determining how much you’re willing to carry is one thing. Determining the best tools to fill that quota is a separate question.

    • Weight matters when you are gearing up for battle not when you are gearing up for a typical job. As I said if you cannot deal with the the weight you have bigger health problems then self defense problems. There are many reasons to prefer one kind of carry piece to another, weight should be way down on the list. When I play golf I prefer a smaller handgun because I walk and carry 25+lbs of golf gear. Then the 22oz makes a difference.

    • Agreed its not the weight, its the weight to effectiveness ratio if the 1911 weighed 22 ounces more, but carried 15 rounds it would be worth it, 8 rounds in a boat anchor aint worth it to me.

    • In most situation it’s bulk and not weight that steers someone away from a carry gun. The guys who love LCPs can’t be bothered to buy pants 1 size too large to go IWB. Guys on the other side of the aisle don’t want to compromise on what deploying a pocket pistol is like.

    • Weight does matter, but it’s not always a negative. Those lighting fast, accurate follow-up shots from the a full frame steel 1911 are possible partly because of that weight. Like most things, it’s a trade-off each person has to consider for themselves.

      • I agree with this, even so I can get lighting fast rounds on tagrte with a CZ 75, with double the ammo, and about the same weight.

      • Very true. The reason that many new shooters stay away from 45 ACP is that they are shooting a polymer with poor ergonomics. A G-21 can be quite snappy and harsh because of the Glock’s light weight. Extra weight helps 9mm accuracy as well. What makes the Hi Power so accurate is because it is also a relatively heavy pistol coming in at 32 oz. The weight reduces felt recoil making follow up shots very easy.

  9. I shoot with my carry gun (Colt 1911), belt, grain, and holster at IDPA as well. I get a lot of strange looks for not using a speed holster or for not having finely tuned mag pouches at all sorts of crazy angles. I think those people have lost sight of what IDPA is supposed to be and I refuse to let their disdain bother me. I clean my carry guns after every other IDPA so it’s ready to go should I ever need it outside of competition. This guy has the right idea IMO.

    • IDPA is a game, it’s not intended to be actual self defense training. The guys in the go fast jerseys with gear pushing the limits of legality are playing the game same as you. I promise each one of those gamers will run their carry set up from time to time.

    • I’d love to see a competition where the competitors have to sign an affidavit that this is what they carry, and this is how they carry, and this is how they dress. Get rid of the “shoot me” vests, the race guns, the funky mag carriers that would snag on something and break off in real life (or make sitting in your car impossible), and let’s see how you and your carry piece would perform under at least somewhat stressful conditions!

      • Steve, this is why whenever I shoot IDPA, the only person I’m “competing” with is me.

        I’m simply using the match as a fun venue to put a little ‘stress testing’ into my training.

        Like many other things, it’s all about mindset. If I were to go to an IDPA match, do really well and walk out of there thinking “You are good to go, JR…just any thug TRY to mess with me,” I’ve got the wrong mindset no matter WHAT gear I shot the match with.

        For my part, I try to analyze each match, or each stage, for mistakes, things I could improve on, etc. Then I work on those things in subsequent shooting drills.

        I shoot IDPA with my true EDC set up (IWB and my actual EDC holster), except the spare mags. I often don’t carry mags day-to-day, but if/when I do, they are in a pocket.

        So, that’s how I shoot IDPA. My reloads are SLOW SLOW SLOW. Fishing a mag out of the pocket takes time…when I also have my knife, my lighter and stuff in there.

        So, my goal is -0 accuracy, no penalties and respectable times for the limits I place on myself. It’s amazing how shooting against a clock, or having a bunch of guys watching, or…{insert other stressors here} can force mistakes you would not make in “comfortable” shooting.

        So, I don’t care about the guys with race guns and tweaked out mag carriers. They are in it for what they want to get out of it (bragging rights? maybe), but it does not effect me and what I am there to do one little bit.

        And, did I say it is FUN?

  10. I think you touched on a big one here, it’s expensive but necessary to shoot the ammo that you carry, and shoot it enough to be certain (as certain as you can be in an imperfect world) that it works. For that matter shoot it in the exact condition you expect to use it in. If you have a glock 9 or 40 with extended mags, and aliased/light/bayonet on the rail, shoot your defensive ammo in that configuration.

    My favorite personal experience was finding out that when using the combination of 22rd mags, streamlight tlr2-s, and my preferred SD load of 165gr Gold Dots, my Glock 22 would stovepipe or nosedive every 2nd or 3rd round until the magazine was empty. If it was just the mags and the 165grainers with no light we were all good, if I had the light and the factory 15rd mags same story, or the mags and the light with any ammo other than 165gr gold dots (they are toasty), having all three was the fatal combination of less spring tension in the mag and higher slide speeds from the hot ammo and extra weight on the front of the gun. I found this out at the range thankfully, but by that time the gun had spent probably six months in my bedside table in that configuration. That was a huge wake up call.

    • Hear, hear!

      I don’t care how many thousands of rounds of practice ammo your gun can shoot reliably. If it turns out to be a jam-o-matic in defensive configuration, it’s a turd.

      Check to ensure your gun isn’t a turd.

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