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[ED: In response to reader requests, this if the second in a series of posts by TTAG writers revealing their choice of carry guns.]

I carry a Springfield XD Sub-Compact in .40 S&W. I wanted something larger than a 9mm, and the .45 Sub-Compact wasn’t readily available here in the Nazi state of California. The single stack is easy to conceal in most outfits and its comfortable to have close to my body . . .

The gun is small enough, yet packs enough punch that, for me, it’s the perfect balance of concealability and effectiveness, especially because I fill it with ten hollow points. It’s listed on my California concealed carry permit. That means it’s the only gun I’m “allowed” to carry legally…one more reason why it’s my EDC.

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  1. Thanks for being man-er women enough to carry something larger than 9mm. I get tired of all the “snappy,can’t handle recoil,It’ll wear yer gun out faster” sissy guy comments all over. You’re a real woman in my book…(I don’t care for XD’s but don’t knock ’em). The grip safety seems odd to ME…

    • Caliber wars, really?

      Shot placement is what counts. I took my training from a former SEAL who appreciated .45 but his EDC was 9mm. He could place two shots center mass and a third between the eyes faster than most people could recover their sight picture after the first shot from a .40.

      Shoot what works for you, but shoot it well.

      • Bless you for your honest words sir. I carry my glock 29 10mm, but when I am wearing something it would print in, I go to my glock 26 or 43 with no fear that I will be under gunned. My 43 has strike industries +2 extensions and I always carry an extra mag no matter what I am carrying.

    • What about those of us who understand terminal ballistics and wound effect, and are happy with the capabilities of modern defensive ammo in a 9mm, and appreciate the added capacity?

      Also, I find it amusing that you basically complimented Sara on her manliness.

      • Nolan-Do YOU understand terminal ballistics? Been shot much? Pray tell where are the real life non-ballistic gel comparisons between calibers? Google “Terminal ballistics as viewed from the morgue.” About as real as it gets. BTW my sarcasm went right over your head. I don’t care what Sara carries but I do appreciate a strong capable woman(like my own).

      • Great carry choice. If M&P’s faded out of existence tomorrow an XD would be at the top of my list. I dig the grip angle, and the trigger. Best of luck on leaving California.

      • The 22 magnum HP is a very deadly bullet in a human body . Because of it’s velocity it has significant penetration and expansion and because of it’s lower mass it has a greater tendency to bounce around off of bone and move in very erratic ways making lots of bleeders and inherently a very difficult chore for a surgeons skill to stop em . If you don’t kill a vital or sever the SNS your next best chance at ending a criminals game is blood letting . If you just want to maim a perp and take a chance on them coming back and harming someone else , put a big 45 caliber hole in them , quite fixable if you miss a vital . Those little 22s will go in a leg bounce off a femur , run up the bone into the groin , through the gut and end up in the heart .
        I carry a PMR 30

  2. Those Croatians make some pretty sweet pistols.
    My wife’s XD(m) has been every bit as reliable as my Glocks, which is to say it’s never had a hiccup after thousands of rounds. Most people think the Springfields have a nicer trigger than Glocks, too.

      • It’s still not a single stack. It’s a double stack with a 9+1 capacity, just like the glock 26 is a double stack 9mm with a 10+1 capacity. Double stack simply means the mag holds the bullets in 2 staggered columns.

        • Yes. The short magazine in .40 is a 9 rounder. So, if one is limited in magazine capacity, this maximizes what you have.

  3. Ballistically speaking I don’t see that much difference between 9mm and .40 caliber. Some say that the .40 actually has poorer ballistics and stopping power than the 9mm. Think it is probably more a personal preference thing than any real advantage of one over the other.

    • I would love to carry .357sig, but ammo is out of reach to be effective with training. The 5.7 is looking better and better all the time. (I’m a capacity whore)

      • You can find .357 Sig fmj and hp reasonably priced on wikiarms if you are willing to check it everyday. When the reasonably priced stuff shows up it doesn’t last long.

  4. Sara, You would be able to draw much better if your gun sat above your belt and not on it. As is, you can not properly get your hand around the grip while the gun is in the holster.

  5. All handgun calibers are crap. Its a pistol, its crap. Can’t carry a rifle so I carry a pistol. 80% of people shot with a handgun survive. Charlie Beckwith was shot with a and he survived. Shoot them and shoot them again, and keep on shooting.

    • Trauma care is responsible for all habdgun calibers becoming crap. Get shot even 30 minutes away from treatment and you will find out how uncrappy handgun rounds become.

    • Survival rates of civilian shootings have far more to do with the quality and immediacy of trauma care, than with the inadequacy of pistol calibers. Most such injuries take place in cities with an established emergency medical infrastructure, after all. So most victims are going to survive, anyway. It’s helped made possible due in large part to procedural and technological advances, discovered and/or perfected in wars, then transferred to civilian practice.

      Even in Iraq and Afghanistan, the overall survival rate from time of wounding was in excess of 90%. If you reached a hospital, your odds went up to over 95%. (Vietnam and WWII were in the 80% and 60% ballpark, respectively.) And those Iraq/Afghanistan injuries included not just pistols, but genuine assault rifles, RPGs, IEDs, etc., by experienced killers, not just frightened teenage armed robbers.

      The Civil War saw the advent of a systematic medical corps, in-theater hospitals, and ambulances. WWI saw forward aid stations and blood transfusions. WWII accelerated development of mass-produced penicillin (many soldiers historically have died from would infections, rather than the wound directly). Then came Korea and Vietnam with MASH units, helicopter evacuation, and in-transit emergency treatment. All of this gets funneled into civilian practice, to the benefit of shooting victims. So what did Iraq and Afghanistan bring us?

      Modern first aid kits and expanded training beyond just specially, medically trained individuals. Two standouts are clotting agent-impregnated bandages to stop bleeding and re-inflation needles to treat lungs collapsed by sucking chest wounds. We’ve also learned how better to diagnose and treat brain injuries ranging from concussions to massive head wounds. Not specifically firearm injuries, but those advances have already been introduced to professional sports medicine and do reflect the overall pattern of advances in trauma care.

      • Excellent elaboration on my point.

        Lethality is the probability the a would in location X will be fatal in time t, where t is the time to first treatment. Time is not your friend. Shot placement matters and caliber matters.

    • Whether or not the offender survives is not my concern during a DGU. The goal is to stop the threat. If he dies, so be it.

      As for caliber arguments in general, they’re stupid. I wouldn’t recommend a .22LR for self-defense, but one of those bullets was enough to start WW I.

      Carry what you’re comfortable with and train often.

  6. What happened to moving away from “nazifornia”. I seem to remember a story on here about that not too long ago. It was something about finding a new state to move to for guns, bikes, and jeeps.

    • She’s in the process of of showing and selling her Cali digs.

      Those things take time.

      (Personally, with a back deck and view like that, I’m surprised it hasn’t sold yet…)

      • I guess I didn’t take into account problems selling the cali digs. That could be a problem if too many others also see where commifornia is headed and are getting out of dodge as well.

  7. Not a fan of .40 S&W, but I am a fan of those Springfield pistols.

    When she does carry (which should be more often), my wife carries an XD subcompact, too (but in 9mm). I guess great women think alike. 🙂

  8. Can Californians have multiple guns listed on their permit? If not, then what if the “listed” gun is in for repair, etc? The concept of having to list specific guns on a permit seems insane to me. But hey, California.

    • Good question. Once upon a time in Nevada, a permit had to be endorsed for revolvers (qualify with one and carry any) or specific pistols (qualify with one make and model, carry only that one make and model). IIRC, the number of pistols wasn’t limited except that the carrier needed to qualify with each one, which was kind of self-limiting.

      The rules have now been changed, so a pistol is a pistol. Qualify with one, carry any.

    • Yes, you can put as many guns on your license. The form only has room for 3 but calguns has gotten issuing authorities to back down as they don’t have any discretion on listing guns, if they decide to issue, they decide to issue, and all that is done before training and qualification.

      • Ok, thanks. I figured as much but wasn’t sure. It still seems alien to me though. Here in TN you get a permit and can carry any handgun you want. I’m a big fan of training and practicing ( and overall familiarity) with a chosen gun, but wouldn’t want to be limited to just one. Thanks for clarifying.

      • The other requirement is that the pistol be registered to you. it must be pre-roster, or on the roster at the time of purchase if it never left the state. A lot of people got stuck with non-rostered guns that we brought in under single shot exemption (Gen4 Glocks / XD-M’s / Non-California M&P Sheilds) that they could not add to their permits.

  9. I’ve been shooting a 1911 since 1958. I now carry a Ruger SR1911 CMDR Lightweight. Absolutely reliable, and I carry a couple of extra 8-round magazines in my pocket.

    • In Springfield’s nomeclature, “Compact” is short grip, regular length slide. They have them in .45. “Subcompact” is short grip, short slide. They have those in 9 and .40.

      Only just recently has Springfield brought out their Mod 2 in .45, which is essentially a subcompact. My understanding is they had trouble designing the recoil assembly for the .45 in a 3 inch package.

      • The Mod 2 has 3.3″ barrel like an XD/s but is double stacked for higher capacity. Until Shootingthe bull410 tests ammo from a short barreled 45 I won’t go with anything shorter than a 4″ barrel in 45.

  10. Glad to see that I’m not the only one who sometimes carries OWB with an IWB holster. Seems to work fine for me. Having the belt on the outside seems to keep the butt pulled in so it doesn’t print.


    • Um, well, welcome to the internet. Sorry but there is no manual on how to operate it or its associated equipment. But, we tend to avoid typing in all caps – Its hard to read, and annoying. And, it doesn’t add the weight to your post that you think it does.

      Have fun, and stay out of trouble.

  12. Expensive pistol, but good choice of pistol. I wish I could afford similar items.
    Im hoping to get a decent 9mm, then a RIA 1911 45cal.
    Wish they made a sub compact (smaller version) of the Beretta M9 I used before

    • “Im hoping to get a decent 9mm”

      Might I recommend something in the CZ-75 line?

      I only bring it up because for some reason these often get overlooked. Excellent pistols across the board. Even if you end up choosing something else, they are worth looking at.

      Also, I held (but did not shoot) a Bersa compact 9mm not too long ago that just felt good in my hand. Never shot one, but it’s on my list now.

  13. I carry the XD sub 9mm in a Cooks AIWB kydex. I’m man enough to admit I don’t like shooting a .40, simple reason being it makes my wrist ache after training. 3 rounds, 5, 10, 20…sure. After 100 rounds my wrist is numb and I can’t make a fist. For whatever reason, the pounding is too much for me. Laugh and point all you like, I’m happy with a 9mm. The Cooks holster is amazing, I wear it 16 hours plus, been known to fall asleep with it on.

  14. Imagine the outrage if voting rights were similarly encumbered. “You have the right to vote but you are only allowed to vote for our approved candidates.”

  15. Nice compact. I assume the IWB in semi OWB for the photo.
    My daughter wants my FNX45 😀 Not exactly a CC sized pistol. So I’ll have to find her something she shoots as well but better for EDC. She is still a couple years away from CCH age. But she killed the pistol qual with the FNX45 the first day she shot it.
    I’m am helping to make sure she doesn’t inadvertently choose an anti-state for graduate school so she can take her pistol with her. :).

  16. Sara,
    “What I Carry and Why: Sara Tipton’s XD Sub-Compact”

    As a compound statement, it can be broken into it’s two segments:
    1. What I carry
    2. Why I carry

    Your article describes item 1 and why you carry item 1. But does not address item 2. So I would hope that you finish your article and do tell us, Why You Carry.

  17. Good for you Sara! Keep the updates coming…

    When I carry I do so with an H&K PSP in 9mm. I recently purchased a second one in near-new condition to share the carry duties. Safest and most accurate pistol I’ve ever used.

  18. I started my trek of handgun ownership with an XD 9 Service model. Was a decent gun, just kind of blocky. Don’t know that I’d stop there in my appreciation of carry fire arms .


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