The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > Hogan's Alley > Handguns: General Handgun Forum

Thread Tools
Old December 12, 2013, 02:08 PM   #1
Senior Member
Join Date: March 8, 2013
Location: Ohio
Posts: 1,307
What CC handgun/pistol qualities are most important to you?

I thought it would be fun and interesting to have a thread about what we like most about CC handguns as well as how we choose what handgun we feel best suits our needs.

List the preference as to what is more important to you in order when choosing a firearm for CC and what that preference means to you. Keep in mind these are personal preferences based on how we see it and try to respect other people when making any comments to keep the thread open... please. Also keep in mind it is for CC (even if you cant in your state, chime in) not HD so long guns don't count, handguns/pistols only! Also base your answers on what you would like in a CC and not necessarily on what you carry as they can be different.

During this I may have left something out! So feel free to insert something that fits within reason such as cost or versatility if you feel it made a difference in your choice of a SD and list it in the order of it's importance.

Mine are:

1) Reliability =
A)A firearm that has been proven at the range to function with all types of ammunition (including reloads) without sustaining damages due to inferior materials being used in manufacturing.
B)Has been fired fast and with at least a few hundred rounds with no Failures to feed, fire, eject or reload.
2) Capacity =
A) 8 rounds or more per reload
3) Accuracy =
A) A firearm that can be fired rapidly on target (timed) easily by it's easiness to handle recoil and be minimally affected by fast trigger pulls. Trigger is key. IMO they are better when you can make a mistake such as jerking with less effect on accuracy and therefore a lighter pull is more preferred by me.
B) Capable of obtaining 1" groups @ 50' bench rest, un-timed.
4) SD Caliber =
A) Above .380 in either diameter or velocity
B) Must match gun as far as recoil manageability. Example: A real light sub compact .40 is very snappy and the caliber not best for frame style/type as a first choice.
5) Size =
A) Concealable within reason.
B) Barrel must be under 5.5 "
C) Cannot be to wide. Example: 6 round .44 caliber revolver.
6) Weight =
A) Not over 2.5 lb. unloaded, 3.1 lb. loaded
B) Not under 1 lb. Unloaded

Part 2:

Your reasoning behind each choice as it pertains to what and why you numbered them.

1) Reliability:
A gun that your life may depend on should not fail when you need it most and if it does 2-6 doesn't matter
2) Capacity:
I struggled with this one. To me 1 good shot is all it takes to save your life but not enough ammunition to get that shot placed can be as deadly and running out of ammunition is just as likely as not getting one (or more shots, which is often the case) good shot/set of shots in when and where it counts.
3) Accuracy:
Though I covered the reasoning behind my struggle with the importance of accuracy, the ability of the person under stress can and usually relates to at least some bad shots being placed. Therefore it barely slides in under having enough rounds for me even though an accurate gun that is easy to manage is ultra important should you ever need to use it.
4) Caliber:
Any bullet can kill, but power and size matters. Penetration and caliber expansion are better suited for SD.
5) Size:
Compact guns are nice and easily concealed making then a surprise to anyone who doesn't know they are on your person. However Accuracy is not as easy as it is in a larger platform and to me accuracy trumps the ability to hide it better. Both can be concealed and be just as surprising if you are willing to sacrifice clothing choices.
6) Weight:

It has it's advantages and disadvantages. More weight can make recoil more manageable and increase your changes of faster and more accurate follow up shots. Also more weight in the right hands has a natural stabilizing effect when your aiming. Disadvantage to heavier firearms is the weight itself. Some people prefer less weight for the comfort factor and some may feel it is easier to manage minus the recoil factor.
For me more weight is better than not enough. I have had both light to heavy and have carried both for long periods of time as well as practiced with both through tens of thousands of rounds. After going light for several years and practicing and practicing in a manner required to get the same thing from a lighter trigger and heavier gun, I switched back to a heavier gun to better serve the needs I felt it mattered the most to me as a SD weapon.
If you ever have to use a firearm, you don't get to pick the scenario!
Wreck-n-Crew is offline  
Old December 12, 2013, 02:42 PM   #2
Senior Member
Join Date: February 23, 2005
Posts: 11,061
well to me it is:

1. Platform I shoot the best its a combination of grip angle, the trigger system, size --- ( for me its a full sized 1911....but for others it might be a Sig 226, Glock 17 or whatever ....)...

2. Reliability ....and that's unique to each gun / so it needs to be well built, solid parts ( Wilson Combat - is my personal carry gun / 100% reliable )...but some guns need better mags, flared ejection ports, ramps cleaned up, etc...

3. Accuracy ....tactical and bulls eye accuracy are very different things.../ as long as its tactically accurate ( sometimes its the gun / usually its the shooter ) chest, A zone ...capable.../ vs 1" group at 50 Feet or 25 yds.../ but if it has the capability of a 1" group at 25 yds that is an indication of quality and a gun that is built right.
Wilson Combat CQB model, 5", all steel, in .45 acp fits all the criteria for me...and its been my primary carry gun for last 10 yrs...and for the forseeable future.... 8 + 1 is plenty for me / and I'll rarely carry an extra mag / but I train with extra mags, so its easy to do on my belt.
BigJimP is offline  
Old December 12, 2013, 09:00 PM   #3
Join Date: January 19, 2013
Posts: 46
Mine would have to be the Sig P250 Chambered in .40 cal. With Rail and an Inforce APL tac light(200 lumen)

Its a compact but still feels a bit meaty in your hand. Not to big but not small

It doesn't have an external hammer, (nothing to get hung up on when you need to draw)

13+1 before reload

extremely accurate

Fast shooting

Its a Sig so you know its reliable (have never had a malfunction after several thousand rounds with any of my Sigs)

It comes stock with night sights

The tac light is an add on and i did have to spend a little more money on a custom CC holster to fit it but worth it, plus if you can resolve a situation by blinding your target instead of shooting on sight, that seems like a better alternative.

And Oddly enough the best characteristic that i like is that it has no safety.
I know most would protest to this but after 3 tours i can testify to the fact that a the time it takes to delatch a safety is the difference between life or death.
A Soldier is he who's Blood makes the Glory of the General...
VegaSSG32 is offline  
Old December 12, 2013, 09:25 PM   #4
Senior Member
Join Date: November 30, 2010
Posts: 2,315
Reliability (If a gun has proven to be unreliable it wont even be considered)

Hand fit (If it doesn't feel good in my hand, I don't want it)

Size (I have carry guns in three categories to fit different needs, pocket, compact, and subcompact. If a gun is too big for a particular role, it wont be carried.)

Thing's that don't make or break a deal for me.

Capacity (Just not a huge issue for me, Ideally I like at least 6+1, but I carried J frames for close to 3 years comfortably)

Trigger (While this is always a plus, and I prefer a good trigger, I learned to shoot on DA revolvers, I can get used to and master most any trigger)

Accuracy (I haven't come across an inaccurate gun yet. For the most part accuracy comes from shooter skill, most pistols are more accurate than the shooter is capable of. In SD situations COM shots are ideal, you likely wont be trying to pull off head shots at 20yds.

Caliber (I am the farthest you can get from a caliber snob. All my carry guns, and even my go to full size pistol, are in either .380 or 9mm. Caliber is not going to save your butt, training and skill are. Heck I would feel comfortable with .32acp. Seeing as pretty much every pistol these days, besides micro pocket pistols, are chambered in 9mm which is my preference, caliber is usually not an issue for me)

Platform (While I prefer DA/SA, I shoot most platforms just as good as the next, and shoot and handle them often enough where they are not a problem. I know alot of people emphasize that you should stick to one platform only, and I understand the merit behind that, but to me that's a non issue.

Last edited by Dragline45; December 12, 2013 at 09:34 PM.
Dragline45 is offline  
Old December 12, 2013, 11:02 PM   #5
Senior Member
Join Date: December 13, 2011
Location: Cleveland, OH
Posts: 442
For me, it went like this:

1. Reliability - before carrying it, i ran about 500 rounds of mixed weight, mixed bullet type, mixed case material to test for reliability. Murphy's law ruled here for me. While manufacturer can be a good starting point, each gun I ever decide to carry will have to pass this test.

2. Capacity - As most people will agree, shot placement is more important than caliber in most SD situations. Most people will also agree that the body reacts differently in stress situations than it does at the range. So I wanted the most rounds I could fit in a compact-sized gun to carry (with a compromise to #4, where I weigh #2 as 55/45 over #4) in order to have the most chances to hit where I need to.

3. Platform - It had to be DAO with no safeties (outside of the drop safety most guns have). I did not want any safeties to disengage or a mag disconnect safety. Simpler is better in SD situations in my book.

4. Caliber - Without fanning the flames of the caliber war, I wanted something AT LEAST in 9mm or bigger. As I said in #2, this is a compromise between the two.

5. Feel in hand - While not as high as some people may rank it, it needs to feel good in the hand and point naturally.

That is it when it comes to my decision, nothing else was really considered.

For me, the decision led me to a Sig P250 Compact chambered in 40 S&W. 13+1.
I like guns.

Once Fired Brass, Top quality, Fast shipping, Best prices. -10% Coupon use code " Jay24bal "
Jay24bal is offline  
Old December 13, 2013, 08:55 AM   #6
Senior Member
Join Date: June 16, 2008
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 9,215
Reliability with any ammo. Most people know nothing about ammo. The buy super duper self defense ammo cause the GS clerk said it was. The don't shoot enough to see if its reliable. So you want a hand gun that you can stuff any thing its chambered, knowing it will go off.

The least moving parts. Whether you believe it or not few people practice with their gun enough to find the safety in a stressful, surprised situation.

A round you can handle. You need at least 40 cal, our 357, or +P's yada yada yada. No you need one you can handle, that doesn't hurt you when you shoot it. The best round is the biggest one you can shoot without discomfort.

The gun must fit. You need to be able to reach everything on the gun with one hand. If you can't reach the safety without changing your grip, it don't fit. If you can't reach the slide release without changing your grip, the gun don't fit. If you can't reach the cylinder latch without changing your grip the gun doesn't fit. If you cant reach the mag release the gun doesn't fit.

Plus if you can't do the above with both hands, the gun don't fit.

ConcealableIf you ever leave the gun home, or in the truck because its too big to conceal REGARDLESS OF WHAT YOUR WEARING, its the wrong gun.

Fast:It has to be fast, concealed in such a way that you can draw and fire and hit at under 3 yards in less then one second, you have the wrong gun, wrong method of carry, or both. You need to be able to do this with either hand. Any time of day, any weather condition.

I run weekly firearm SD classes and the above has been ingrained in my brain and is re-enforced every class session.

People do not, and will not take the time to learn their handgun so the more simple you make it, the better you are. I have ladies from 14 to 80 in my class. You can get them to shoot fairly reasonable, but you can't get the presentation they need. You can get them on line and do the 3-3-3 drill and they do quite well, because they know what is going to happen.

But have them on line face the target, and walk behind them while lecturing. Let them know that during the lecture you may or may not tap them. If they are tapped, they are to draw and fire.

Tap either left or right shoulder depending on what hand you want them to use.

You are going to see all kinds of gyrations. They are going to try to shoot, then pause while they are looking for their safety, or cocking the hammer.

Some will get the round off properly, they are the ones with small revolvers with nothing to play with but the trigger.

Multi capacity???? What good is that if you cant get the first round off in a reasonable length of time.

Macho?? Stay away from that BS, There really is no such thing as too small of gun if you cant handle anything bigger.

I want to see a small J frame size revolver w/out exposed hammer chambered in .32 H&R. with the ability to use 32 special because there are people who can't handle standard 38s, let alone 38 +P or 357s. If you can handle 38s better yet but many can't.

Never let some one tell you what handgun to use
Try as many as you can and find one that fits you, not what fits who is advising yourself. Women, never let your husband pick you gun, You pick it, you want what fits you, not fits your husband.

I know its possible to take your 1911 or M92 and learn to shoot it, getting to every moving part (assuming your hands are big enough) if you spend several hours a week, every week using the gun.

I also know we wont do that. I love the 1911, I love the Beretta 92, but I wouldn't carry them 24/7. I shoot them both a lot, I use them in competition. Which one depends on what match. I still mix up the safetys. After shooting the 1911 I try to push the safety down on the Beretta, after shooting the Beretta I try to push the safety up on the 1911. It cost me a bit of time, but that's all.

On my carry gun, I only have the trigger to worry about. I can find it under stress.

The SD gun has to be simple, require no thought to put it in play, and you must be able to do it without think. And it can't hurt your hands when you shoot.
Kraig Stuart
USAMU Sniper School Oct '78
Distinguished Rifle Badge 1071
kraigwy is offline  
Old December 13, 2013, 11:40 AM   #7
Senior Member
Join Date: March 1, 2000
Posts: 5,430
Reliability, familiarity, power.
RickB is offline  
Old December 13, 2013, 12:12 PM   #8
Senior Member
Join Date: May 15, 2012
Location: Texas
Posts: 724
Size and weight, it has to easy to carry.
I currently use a 642 revolver and an LC9.
If we could open carry it would be a 1911.
pete2 is offline  
Old December 13, 2013, 04:29 PM   #9
Senior Member
Join Date: February 20, 1999
Location: home on the range; Vermont (Caspian country)
Posts: 13,930
most important

1) That I actually have it with me, loaded and ready to fire.

2) That I actually have another with me, just in case......

I'm a pretty simple guy
"all my ammo is mostly retired factory ammo"
WESHOOT2 is offline  
Old December 13, 2013, 04:38 PM   #10
Willie Lowman
Senior Member
Join Date: March 5, 2009
Location: Uh-Hi-O
Posts: 2,325
1 Carryability. Clint Smith said something to the effect of "handguns are supposed to be comforting not comfortable" I agree to a point. I can't carry a Glock 22 or a full size 1911 all day in a concealment holster. Those service pistols will always find a nerve to push on and give me back or leg pain. Gotta be a compact or sub-compact for me to consider CCing a gun.

2 Reliability. You know what that means

3 Accuracy. I like hitting what I am aiming at. What a concept.

4 power. Nothing less than .38 special or 9mm.
Willie Lowman is online now  
Old December 13, 2013, 04:56 PM   #11
Senior Member
Join Date: October 27, 2013
Posts: 627
SAFETY (not a mechanical one)

I'm shocked no one talks about this. Carry guns almost never get fired in anger, but get carried, loaded, constantly.

In terms of carry per hour, the most likely reason that a civilian's gun is going to go off while carrying is an accident. And if every AD/ND that ever happened was recorded somewhere, that's what the statistics would show. But there is no mechanism for that.

So I carry guns that are incredibly unlikely to "go off" when carried or dropped from whatever method I favor.

I think the fact that Keltec sells the P32 with a 6 pound trigger and pocket clip is insane. Why would you put a gun with such a light trigger in a pocket!!!!!!

I would rather carry a gun that might be a little slow to get into action, like having to cock the hammer, than a Cond. 1 gun with a safety that is easy to bump off, or a tiny gun that becomes a bigger gun once you stuff it in a trigger covering holster.

The chances that the gun will be too slow compared to the likelihood of an accident just from daily handling just don't compare for me.

I favor traditional DA triggers for carry guns - you don't need a 5 pound trigger to hit a target 3 meters away. For pocket carry I like hammer down with SAO triggers because there's nothing that you can put in a pocket that will make it go off.

If I was a cop, secret agent or soldier this would be different.
RX-79G is online now  
Old December 13, 2013, 05:15 PM   #12
Senior Member
Join Date: February 20, 2011
Posts: 646

Everything else is secondary.

If I can't hit the threat (and stop it) I need a more accurate gun.
For 20 years the sea was my home, always recall the sun going down, and my trusty friend, a 1911 pistol, strapped to my side.
Seaman is offline  
Old December 13, 2013, 05:24 PM   #13
Senior Member
Join Date: December 2, 2007
Location: Missouri
Posts: 4,130
Waaaaay over thought!

1. Reliability
2. Reliability
3. Reliability

Concealability goes hand in hand with being a concealed carry firearm.
Calling it a "quality" of any particular choice is like calling being able to drive off the dealer's lot with a new car.
As far as accuracy any of the conceal carry firearms today that meet the qualities #1-3 will be acceptably accurate at self defense range. I'm concerned with center mass hits on someone attacking me, and that is almost always at very close range. I'm not concerned with hitting a silver dollar at 50 feet.
Caliber isn't much about being a "quality" of a CC firearm, but is a personal choice of what an individual feels comfortable with. Both in their ability to use it, and the particular rounds ability to do it's intended job.
Cheapshooter's rules of gun ownership #1: NEVER SELL OR TRADE ANYTHING!
Cheapshooter is offline  
Old December 13, 2013, 05:33 PM   #14
Senior Member
Join Date: March 10, 2012
Posts: 1,050
What CC handgun/pistol qualities are most important to you?

"If I have to shoot to live, what do I want to be holding?"

"How close to that can I get in something I can carry every day?"

My preference is proven service designs without manual safeties. I carry a Glock 19 Gen 4 every day. There are other, similarly sized and similarly service worthy handguns that I would consider, if the 19 were not an option. I don't think my choice is a better or worse firearm than other options. It is simply the best fit for my needs and preferences.
RBid is offline  
Old December 13, 2013, 10:09 PM   #15
Senior Member
Join Date: March 6, 2013
Posts: 280
reliability!!! I carry everything from a revolver to a full size semi-auto.
No second place finishes in a gun fight.
boondocker385 is offline  
Old December 13, 2013, 11:45 PM   #16
Join Date: February 12, 2001
Location: DFW Area
Posts: 17,958
  • Reliability.
  • Thickness and grip length. I want it to be thin and I need the grip to be long enough so I can get a solid stable grip on the gun but not so long I can't conceal it fairly easily.
  • Within the dimensional limitations above, more capacity is better.
  • Accuracy/sights. I'd like to feel confident with the gun out to 25 yards or maybe even beyond, under ideal conditions. As long as reliability isn't compromised, better accuracy is always better.
  • Feel/pointing/ergonomics. I don't want to have to wrestle with the gun to get it on target. I want to be able to take a grip on the gun and have it come up on target easily/naturally. I also want to be able to reach all the controls without contortions.
  • I would start looking at 9mm pistols and only go down in caliber if I couldn't find what I needed in 9mm.
  • Something that can safely be carried with the chamber loaded.
Did you know that there is a TEXAS State Rifle Association?
JohnKSa is offline  
Old December 14, 2013, 12:39 AM   #17
Senior Member
Join Date: October 4, 2007
Location: All the way to NEBRASKA
Posts: 6,475

The hand has to know the gun.

kraigwy's comments about most people not practicing enough to find the safety in a stressfull situation or not shooting enough to know if your ammo works in your gun only applies to you if you let it apply to you. It's a conscious decision to prepare or not to prepare.

Likewise the fit of the gun. You pick it. Make the right choice, and invest as much trigger time with it as you can, until the gun is an extension on you hand, and your eye could find the front sight even if your hair was on fire.
TheGolden Rule of Tool Use: "If you don't know what you are doing, DON'T."
jimbob86 is online now  
Old December 14, 2013, 01:31 AM   #18
Senior Member
Join Date: February 26, 2013
Posts: 125
FIRST consideration is always QUALITY. And to me that means materials, construction, safety, reliability, accuracy, durability, and personal ergonomics. Needless to say, every weapon I own is a quality weapon.

After that, the purpose for owning that particular weapon comes into play. For concealed carry, the next consideration after quality is its ability to be concealed, regardless of what I'm wearing or not wearing, regardless of season. Living in the great Southern Arizona Desert, where we have 2 seasons - summer and Christmas Day - I often venture forth in shorts, a T and sandals. No belt, maybe socks. Only one kind of gun goes with that - "mouse."

I couldn't care less about caliber or capacity. My particular mouse gun is a NAA Mini Revolver in .22 WMR. Hornady, Winchester, Federal, etc., all make modern "critical defense" type loads for this gun. A hollow point bullet leaves a 1-2 inch barrel at about 1000 FPS providing excellent penetration and reliable expansion. The 5/5/5/5 drill is no problem. (5 rounds in a 5 inch circle in 5 seconds at 5 yards). My Mini will usually put those 5 rounds in a 3 inch circle.

About $200 at fine gun shops everywhere. Enjoy.
horselips is offline  
Old December 16, 2013, 05:05 PM   #19
Senior Member
Join Date: October 4, 2007
Location: All the way to NEBRASKA
Posts: 6,475
The 5/5/5/5 drill is no problem. (5 rounds in a 5 inch circle in 5 seconds at 5 yards). My Mini will usually put those 5 rounds in a 3 inch circle.
5 seconds with the NAA mini? If that's from concealment, that is fantastic shooting, there!
TheGolden Rule of Tool Use: "If you don't know what you are doing, DON'T."
jimbob86 is online now  
Old December 16, 2013, 06:48 PM   #20
Senior Member
Join Date: February 26, 2013
Posts: 125
Not from concealment -that would make it a 2/5/5/5/5 drill. A couple of seconds to yank it out of my pocket. But seriously, it's not that hard to do. The Mini Revolver is very easy to handle and control, and under firing range conditions (no stress, no danger) it takes only a little practice to git 'er done. In the real world, while under attack or in fear of life, limb and wallet, who knows? Half as fast? twice as fast? I hope I never find out.
horselips is offline  
Old December 16, 2013, 06:57 PM   #21
Senior Member
Join Date: November 25, 2002
Location: Campbell Ca
Posts: 593
familiarity has already been mentioned

I want something that my muscle memory recognizes instantly. Reliability is of utmost importance. Control of recoil would get a high degree of consideration as well.
Colt46 is offline  
Old December 16, 2013, 08:23 PM   #22
Senior Member
Join Date: April 12, 2010
Location: Lake Martin, AL
Posts: 1,571
Great "Question" post.

I agree with all the above.

I vary my conceal carry on my environment. Part of my concealed carry scenario does not necessary involve on my body. I live in a rural lake area. Riding around on the back roads include having a .45 ACP (either a Sig P220 or a P250) in the center console.

Going to town means one of my 9mm's (primary concealed carry is a Sig P250 sub-compact adapted to compact round capacity).

Then there is on the water. I will be carrying my old rugged Haskell .45 ACP (also can serve as an emergency boat anchor). Normally with me will also be an old Polish Flare Gun kit. The kit includes flares, sub-caliber devices in both .22 caliber and .45 Colt/.410. The ammo in the kit includes22 rim-fire, 45 Colt rounds and 3" .410 rounds (both slugs and shot shells).

Last edited by lamarw; December 16, 2013 at 10:15 PM.
lamarw is offline  
Old December 16, 2013, 09:37 PM   #23
Senior Member
Join Date: March 3, 2012
Location: Texas
Posts: 287
I'm with vegaSSG32.

I too have a Sig P250c 40sw but just the gun. It is a simple pistol that's reliable, easy, smooth and long trigger. Also true DAO. No external safeties but have internal firing pin block for drop safety. Never jammed and eat all the USA ammo I can find, my favorites are FTXs and PDX1s both 165g.

The pistol is rugged and smooth operating and big enough to house a 45acp. In fact it's a modular gun meaning it can be a 380, 9mm, 357sig, 40sw and 45acp. Barrels, slides and grips are interchangeable in three sizes.

And you can't beat the price for this beauty.
Oysterboy is offline  
Old December 16, 2013, 09:47 PM   #24
Join Date: January 14, 2012
Location: Bastrop Texas
Posts: 41
The top three requirements for my SD weapon are as follows.

1. Reliability
2. Reliability
3. Reliability

If it doesn't go bang when you need it too, you might as well carry a club.
jmohme is offline  
Old December 16, 2013, 10:13 PM   #25
Join Date: May 27, 2013
Posts: 86
For me:
Reliable, controllable, and concealable.

I find capacity to be a non issue because I always carry two extra mags. Even with my little pm9 that gives me 21 rounds which better be enough to get the job done.
silverstang23 is offline  

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:29 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2013 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent:
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.13734 seconds with 7 queries