I’m fortunate enough to have a wide choice of handguns to carry on January 1 when Texas “allows” licensed open carry. I’ve narrowed my choice to four models [left to right, top to bottom, as above]: a Wilson Combat X-TAC Commander 1911, a Smith & Wesson 686, a GLOCK 19 and SIG SAUER P229 Legion Series. Here’s my thinking . . .
I like the added security of open carrying in a Level II retention holster. While I don’t anticipate a gun grab, nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition! I’ve got retention holsters for the Wilson (Safariland), SIG (511 Bladetech) and GLOCK (Blackhawk). I’ve practiced drawing my guns from the various systems; I’m not worried about quick presentation.
I’m really accurate with the Wilson Combat X-TAC Commander-sized 1911. If I want to hit a bad guy amongst a group of friendlies, the 1911 is my go-to gat. (Yes, I know: it’s easier said than done even in “ideal” circumstances.) The X-TAC is a .45 caliber pistol – the best choice to destroy a man’s body and soul with a single bullet. Which is just as well, given that it only carries eight rounds. Plus seven more in my pocket, necessitating a reload (obvs).
While I’m not quite as accurate with the SIG SAUER P229 as I am with Bill Wilson’s meisterwerk, the Legion Series version is the double- or triple-tap king. With that short reset trigger it’s BANG BANG BANG! Three rounds in more of less the same hole at seven yards (understanding that it’s not so easy when bad guys are shooting at you and you’re moving). There’s plenty of on-board ammo for the job: 16 rounds plus another 15 in my pocket. If I want to throw a lot of lead downrange, or take on multiple bad guys, the SIG is it.
The GLOCK 19 is a GLOCK: steadfast and true. With the Ghost trigger mod it’s even better. I’ve shot more rounds with this gun than any other. I’m confident carrying it – knowing that I’m not as accurate with Gaston’s gat as I am shooting the Wilson, or as quick as I am with the SIG. On the positive side, the GLOCK is the only one of my guns equipped with night sites.
And now the Smith & Wesson 686 . . .
That, my friends, is a gun. I’m not talking about capacity or accuracy. I feed the big ol’ six-shooter .357 hollow-points. While the round has terrific terminal ballistics it makes accurate rapid fire nigh on impossible. Accurate slow fire, yes, even when shot double action. But double-taps and fast reloads under stress are beyond the realm of possibility – unless you’re Jerry Miculek and the rules of physics don’t apply. Anyway, I’m talking about appearances.
The Wilson Combat X-TAC, SAUER P229 and GLOCK 19 are easy to ignore. If I carried any one of those black guns outside-the-waistband in a normal holster – instead of a retention holster that sticks out like a raven-haired vixen in a Swedish cafe – the pistols would be invisible to gun muggles. The Smith, not so much. Not at all. And that’s a good thing!
I’m open carrying for two reasons. First, gun normalization. I want non-gun people to see that “normal people” carry guns for self-protection – and nothing happens! Second, deterrence. Even half-covered by its pedestrian Fobus holster, the shiny Smith makes its presence known. Equally, people understand revolvers. They know what they are and what they do. Good people (normalization) and bad people (deterrence) see the 686 and think “gun.”
So I’m leaning towards open carrying the Smith & Wesson 686, at least to start. The only retention holsters I can find for the beast involve a leather strap; the one system with which I’m not comfortable. And anyway, my anti-gun grab situational awareness is going to be pretty damn high for the first few weeks (which I’ll chronicle here). Your thoughts?
NOTE: Jon Wayne Taylor’s taking possession of the SIG SAUER P229 Legion Series (I owe him a gun). But another one’s coming. FWIW.