View Full Version : concealed carry pistol

September 10, 2011, 10:38 PM
Which dimensions are the most important and what is the ideal range for...





I'm a normal sized guy. Normal! Not average!

From what I have gained, it seems that as long as the weight is reasonable then the length of the grip seems to be other main determining factor on how easy it is to conceal in reasonably normal clothes.

chris in va
September 10, 2011, 10:55 PM
There's no 'ideal' range for a CC pistol. Just boils down to whatever floats your boat, yet still lets you shoot it proficiently.

I carry a Kahr K9 in the summer/t-shirt months. Good caliber, nice trigger, grip is sized for my hands yet small enough to conceal effectively.

American Eagle
September 10, 2011, 11:13 PM
Before people start to flood this thread with a billion recommendations, let me just say that no matter what we recommend, you must go with the gun that works best for you. Go to your local ranges and rent out pistols of different sizes and different calibers. Fire as many different pistols as you can over the next 1 or 2 months. Once you have a list of what you like, start to see which of those pistols would better fit your wardrobe. Only then can you make an informed decision as to what you will carry.

Don't rely too heavily on the advise on this website. We can help guide you, but what works for us may not work as well for you.:D

PS: Look at revolvers too.

September 10, 2011, 11:20 PM
swag, 9/11/11

For me the grip length/total height is the most important factor to avoid printing. Once the height gets over 5 inches it gets harder to conceal. Next is weight- polymer or Aluminum works best for me over a heavier all-steel frame. Next is width- Over 1.3 inches and it starts to get a bit thick. I just measured my carry guns- HK-45USPc, Sig 245, SW 6906 and all are in the 1.2-1.3 inch width at the grips. Finally there is barrel length which is less important than the other measures to me ( I prefer something in the 4 inch range). At my height and weight, 6-0 and 170 pounds the above work for me. Good luck.

best wishes- oldandslow

September 11, 2011, 08:45 AM
I agree that grip length/total height seems to be a sticking point with many handguns intended for CC. I carry IWB most of the time so barrel length is really not an issue for me.

One thing that I have found causes me the most problem is sticky grips. I LOVE hogue type grips. I have them on many of my range pistols, but the stickiness of that type of grip is a no go for me an a CCW. I have found sticky grips grab my shirts and print horribly! I had a KT PF-9 that was a very slim pistol that really disappeared IWB. I put a grip sleeve on it and the gun printed:mad:

September 11, 2011, 08:57 AM
For me:

- Length of barrel must be at least 3.5", preferably 4". Anything shorter than that gives up to too much velocity, anything much longer starts to impact comfort (IWB).

- Grip length, as others have stated, needs to be short enough not to print or cause problems when sitting. Must be less than 4.5" long.

- Grip width has to be sufficient. I was surprised the other day after handling the Ruger LC9. The fact that it's thin makes it easier and more comfortable to carry. But the grip is so thin that it doesn't fill my hands (and they're not large). I have no problem with 1911's, but I guess 9mm single stacks are not for me.

- Weight - 30 ounces loaded, max.

- Capacity - At least 7+1.


Uncle Malice
September 11, 2011, 09:14 AM
In accordance with what has already been mentioned, there really isn't a range for what is most important for CCW. The biggest determining factor is your habits, lifestyle, and environment.

Are you in a gun friendly area? Are both open and concealed carry legal where you are? Is it against the law to print or show your gun while you CCW? What type of clothing do you normally wear? Shorts and T shirt? Business suit? Jeans and button up?

There are a lot of factors that you have to take into consideration. The decision to CCW and what gun you are going to carry is always a game of compromise and you have to decide what factors are most important to you.

I am fortunate enough to live in one of the most gun friendly states so I can carry pretty much whatever I want, whenever I want, wherever I want. My normal carry guns vary between Glock 23, Glock 29, and M&P. Sometimes I'll go with my Glock 27, and if I'm really concerned about concealability, the Walther PPS is hard to beat for concealable power.

Finally, I don't know what you mean by 'normal' size. That's a very vague word and depending upon your definition of normal - could mean vastly different things between the two of us. You said "normal, not average" but one might conclude that the average would dictate what is to be considered normal. Normal is one thing that I've never been accused of being. ;)

September 11, 2011, 09:15 AM
From what I have gained, it seems that as long as the weight is reasonable then the length of the grip seems to be other main determining factor on how easy it is to conceal in reasonably normal clothes.

You have hit the nail on the head.

While it's possible to "dress" around anything it is not possible to avoid the problems associated with a heavy gun. A shoulder holster will help with a heavy gun but you're still carrying a lot of weight all day.

September 11, 2011, 07:23 PM
I carry a cannon, . . . RIA, . . . all steel, . . . full size 1911, . . . with 8 in the mag and 1 in the tube. At times (depends on location) there may be 3 more mags on my person as well.

Heavy, . . . somewhat awkward at times, . . . could print easy, . . . will never be mistaken for a cell phone if my cover garment flies back or gets pulled up.

But back in the summer of 1966, . . . I bought my first one, . . . I have carried other styles, other calibers, other designs, . . . but it is the only one that I personally feel TOTALLY comfortable with, . . . carrying or shooting.

THAT, . . . in my opinion is the most important measurment, . . . you are comfortable carrying, shooting, and caring for "X" pistol. That counts !!

May God bless,

September 11, 2011, 07:30 PM
I tend to gravitate toward the subcompacts for CC. Smith M&P compact and the Glock 26 are around the same size arena. I used to carry a 4" XD. Notice the "used to."

Deja vu
September 11, 2011, 08:31 PM
I tend to carry the smaller guns because I hate IWB and pocket carry. I am thinking of getting a shoulder holster just to try it out for a bigger hand gun.

September 11, 2011, 10:09 PM
Ease of concealment with a proven caliber is what led me to the Glock 26.
I'll be buying a Kahr CM9 next for a backup weapon in order to have a similar M.O.A.! I also intend to pocket carry the Kahr as my primary weapon, and still carry an LCR 38 on my ankle.

September 11, 2011, 10:35 PM
I would like something to be around 13.5 to 14.5 oz empty, an OAL between 5.2 and 5.5" Something with a height of between 3.5 and 4.0" I think width is often over looked as an important factor, to me the Glocks and XD are too thick. I like the pistols that keep the width under 1" across.

Shadi Khalil
September 11, 2011, 10:41 PM
Grip length is huge.

September 12, 2011, 01:05 AM
I dunno... dimensions?
For me, it boils down to just a few things...
1) Does the weapon fit my hand, is it comfortable to shoot?
2) I know the weapon will be heavy, so how tight am I willing to cinch up my belt to prevent strong-side trouser sagging?
3) Can I carry it all day without 'bitchin' 'bout it?
4) Can I carry enough ammo? 2 extra mags enough?
5) If I need to use it, is it a man stopper?

I decided long ago that my EDC needed to satisfy those criteria.
I've tried several different weapons and holsters, and I've been the most comfortable carrying one of my 1911 Commander length pistols in the Milt Sparks VM2 with a double mag pouch from Tucker. Comfortable all day carry, plenty of stopping power (45acp), and I love ALL my 1911s! :D

September 12, 2011, 08:09 AM
i put them in this order:

height from bottom of grip to top of slide (also factor in how much the top of the slide protrudes past the grip on the back of a gun)

length from front to back of slide (if the gun barrel is too long. it will be very difficult to sit or bend at the waist)

width (duh)

weight (the right holster can make this inconsequential)

September 12, 2011, 12:32 PM
1) The gun that fits your hand the best is what I recommended.

2) The size caliber depends on what recoil (jolt) you can handle.

3) And finnaly what kind of budget $$$$ are you on.?

A lot of folk (men and women) like and carry the Bersa Thunder Pistol in .380 caliber. Very compact, lightweight and perfect size for conceal carry.
It's very ergonamically and well designed.
The .380 caliber is not difficult to handle.
And the price of a New or Used Bersa is very very affordable.
And Bersa has one of the finnest Customer Service support in the world.

Worth checking out.

September 12, 2011, 03:32 PM
+1 to bersa 380 thunder for affordable, easy to carry, quality ccw. a little picky with ammo, but get the right stuff, and it's perfect.

September 12, 2011, 03:48 PM
It's all apples & oranges .revolvers or autos .What ever fits and is most comfortable to carry & shoot .I bounce back eather my MP 40 C or RUGER SP101 357MAG. My hand strength when I wake up determines what I carry . Getting older in life makes a lot of changes in what you carry .I carry the RUGER more .

September 12, 2011, 03:57 PM
+1 to bersa 380 thunder for affordable, easy to carry, quality ccw. a little picky with ammo, but get the right stuff, and it's perfect.

If you are going to actually shoot your Carry gun (as in practice with it, 'cause it ain't a Talisman) ...... you may want to do the math on the economics of shooting .380 as opposed to 9mm: go to where you plan on buying ammo, note the price per box difference betweeen 9mm and .380 ...... you might be surprised....... 4 or 5 bucks cheaper/box for 9mm practice ammo as opposed to .380 ...... figure a conservative 2 boxes/month 5x24=near 100 bucks a year difference ....... over the course of a decade, you could buy a very nice gun for the difference in price....... or 2 or 3 more cheap handguns.....;)

September 12, 2011, 04:06 PM
Of the factors you listed, width (thickness) is the most important to me, for comfortable carry IWB. Of the other factors, I'm not sure I could rank them, because I'd be willing to give up a little on any of the factors if any of the others was unusually compact.

Mainly because of the width, but also because of its exceptional accuracy in my hands, I went with a Walther PPS for my primary CCW.

September 12, 2011, 05:46 PM
1) Does the weapon fit my hand, is it comfortable to shoot?

I think this is the most important thing to never forget. You will never feel comfortable carrying something that you are not confident in shooting. For me, I prefer a single stack design that fills my hand (or at least 3/4s of it). After that, just practice, practice, practice. In terms of concealment, I think width and height are about even. Length is more relative to the person, but I don't think you'll find many Officer frames with a 6 in long slide.

September 12, 2011, 06:33 PM
Thickness and weight are most important as I see things.
Here is my copy/paste from another thread...

Well... frankly, if your already tubby and uncomfortable in your own skin and jeans forget IWB for awhile.
If your thin or atleast somewhat comfortable go ahead with IWB so long as your pants arent painted on already, otherwise prepare to buy the next waist size up.

Either way, no matter what anyone else tells you, I'd suggest starting with a little Ruger LCP for your first IWB in a Bearcreek holster with a nice forward cant.
Its thin and easy to stuff into your existing waistband, its light weight, its smooth, its rounded off with a angled rear slide area (doesnt have a pointy corner) and its just downright easy to carry right from the start even if your britches are a bit snug.
In a week or two, no matter how pissy it makes you feel the first day or three, you will quickly get used to it and after 2 months you'll be totally sold on IWB and forget all about pocket carry, shoulder carry, armpit carry, buttcra... you get the point.

Lasty, you can completely forget attempting to stuff some 1911, Block, 92FS, or ANY other full-size or double stack "compact" into your waist until youve spent some time with a smaller gun in there already.

Fact is... this CC business is u-n-c-o-m-f-o-r-t-a-b-l-e.
Starting with a big gun will end your ccw life before you get out the door.

September 12, 2011, 11:18 PM
Really starting to see the limitations/advantages of diff pistols for concealed carry.

Now I need to better understand the limitations/advantages of in the pocket IWB and OWB holsters.