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Old February 5, 2019, 06:38 AM   #26
Spats McGee
Join Date: July 28, 2010
Location: Arkansas
Posts: 7,755
#1: Reliability -- I have to know it will go bang when I need it.

#2: Shootability -- This is some combination of hand fit, trigger, and tolerable recoil. I have to be able to practice with my carry gun.

#3: Concealability -- Fortunately, my daily wardrobe would allow me to hide a Serbu Shorty if I really wanted to. Equally fortunately, I do not want to. So this is an easy one.

#4: Capacity and Caliber -- I put these together because I kind of balance them when evaluating a pistol. All other things being equal: (a) I'm willing to accept the loss of a round or two if I'm going up in caliber; and (b) I want to gain a round or two if I'm going down in caliber. I'm also aware that all other things are rarely equal.

#5: Accuracy -- I would probably not carry a pistol that was horribly, pitifully inaccurate. I have enough trouble hitting the bull as it is, and that would make practice pretty discouraging. Thus, I'd be less likely to practice with it. At the same time, I realize that for SD purposes, I really only need minute of man at about 10 yards to do the deed. crosses fingers, knocks on wood, throws salt over left shoulder Everything I carry does that and then some.

Most of the time these days, I carry a 9mm Shield (8+1) in a DeSantis Speed Scabbard, with two 8 round backup mags on the weak side. I have two alternatives: A Glock 19 and backup magazine for when I want more rounds, and a Ruger LCR for pocket carry when neither of the others will work. The Shield definitely gets more holster time than anything else, though.
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Old February 5, 2019, 11:16 AM   #27
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it goes bang every single time i pull the trigger. nothing else matters.

You can carry 98% of all handguns concealed, as long as you purchase a quality holster.
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Old February 5, 2019, 05:28 PM   #28
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I tend to place safety, reliability, comfort, weight and ease of access over power, capacity and shootability. I carry a five shot S&W 342 in my right front pocket holster.

I think these tests (link) are a useful tool in establishing a baseline for competence and the first four are doable for me with a five shot revolver. The last test is much more difficult with a five shot J frame and does serve as a notice that there could be situations a more capable handgun would be desirable.
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Old February 5, 2019, 07:26 PM   #29
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Reliability; Reliability; Reliability
As for conceal-ability, moderate to minimum concern. People have no clue what that bit of a bulge is in your pocket, or what is causing that little bump in your shirt above your belt. Besides, conceal-ability is as much a factor of style of carry, and holster as it is the gun itself
Accuracy, I seriously doubt that any concealable handgun made today would not exhibit accuracy sufficient for self defense. If you need it the target is not going to be a dot, and some surrounding rings on a piece of paper. It also is not going to be standing there stationary on a target hanger. It will be moving, bobbing, punching, grabbing, stabbing, etc.
Sights, at civilian SD distances you won't need much if any. If you take time to acquire a "sight picture", your family will have a nice picture of you on your coffin.
Quality, yes but that doesn't mean you have to spend the equivalent of a house payment to get it. Plenty of guns fulfill the requirements in the $200-$500 range.
Shoot-ability, that is totally subjective to the shooter.
OUTSTANDING POST, Cheapshooter & yours as well, Spats. My thoughts exactly. Rod
Cherish our flag, honor it, defend what it stands for or get the hell out. Our Freedoms are not free, they've been paid for many times over by heros in uniform. Far better men than I, died that we could be FREE.

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Old February 5, 2019, 10:23 PM   #30
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Reliability and concealable. I pocket carry, so far the best for me is the 642 revolver.
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Old February 7, 2019, 06:40 PM   #31
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#1 Safety in carry. If the gun and carry method result in something unsafe, it can be a bigger risk to me than anything it mitigates.

#2 Shootability. This mostly has to do with the grip, the felt recoil, the trigger, the weight, and the sight radius. It could be five criteria, but they all work together to make a gun easier or harder to shoot well.

#3 Manual of arms. I'm going to choose a manual of arms before I choose other features. DA revolver vs. DAO auto vs. DA/SA with decocker vs DA/SA with safety, vs SAO with safety vs. Striker with safety vs. Striker w/o safety etc. This is going to have a lot of bearing on #1 too.

#4 Cartridge. There's a lot of data that could suggest it makes no difference, but in my mind there is a big difference between .45 ACP, .380 and .357 Magnum. I should probably put less emphasis on this criterion, but then I would likely end up with a 9mm like everyone else. The cartridge can have some bearing on #2.

#5 Weight. My limit is about 48 ounces. That includes most things smaller than a BFR, so it's low on my list. I find mostly disadvantages with light guns, but there is still a wide range of weights that can meet criteria #2.

#6 Size and Concealability. I have a hard time carrying and concealing guns with longer than 6" barrels. "Full" size revolvers and autos are not a problem, unless there are bulky attachments like weapon lights and red-dot sights.
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Old February 7, 2019, 09:58 PM   #32
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There are factors common to any firearm I'm going to carry or shoot so I will try to stick to those that are relevant to concealed carry.

First of course is whether or not I can easily, reliably and consistently present the firearm from wherever it is concealed.

Second is conceal-ability itself. Just how easy is it to conceal the firearm in whatever I happen to be wearing that day.

Those two factors are relevant relating to concealed carry for me above those things like reliability and shoot-ability and availability that are common to all my firearms.
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Old February 10, 2019, 05:27 PM   #33
Dave T
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The single most important attribute of a concealed carry gun is, will you carry it! If you don't have it with you all the other glowing things you can say about it are worthless.

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Old February 10, 2019, 06:16 PM   #34
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Reliability, and ease of carry.
Kel-tec P32 in a Sticky holster, almost every day. Otherwise is my Charter Arms DAO Undercover. 38
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Old February 10, 2019, 07:08 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Dave T View Post
The single most important attribute of a concealed carry gun is, will you carry it! If you don't have it with you all the other glowing things you can say about it are worthless.

Well said, after a 1 year anniversary of CCW, my carry firearm is as essential as me as underwear or shoes..lots go into that choice but as my son is fond of telling me,
“Better to have it and not need it rather than needing it and not having it”...back to the .380 discussion, ‘it’ means’ little, carrying always means a lot.

"Tools not Trophies”
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Old February 10, 2019, 08:11 PM   #36
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Blast radius.

Errr seriously though, reliability.
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Old February 11, 2019, 09:40 PM   #37
Join Date: February 11, 2019
Location: Where the sun always shines
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Tru Glo night sights
Mag +2 extension
Vedder Slim Tuk

Great combo for hot weather states....try it!!
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Old February 11, 2019, 10:32 PM   #38
Dragon breath
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Reliability and concealably.

If I got caught carrying at work, I would be instantly fired.
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Old February 12, 2019, 12:22 AM   #39
ice monkey
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Reliable. That’s why I have Glocks after all. I mean it’s not for thier good looks or stellar accuracy!

The next two compete for dominance in terms of priority: weight & thickness. If it’s too heavy it gets uncomfortable - if it’s too thick, same thing. I generally IWB with a tucked in shirt. If it’s too fat or heavy, it stays at home. And that’s why my Glocks are all a part of the thin line series. 42, 43, 48.

Like I said, if I had to have tack driving accurate, I wouldn’t pack a Glock, bit the gun does have to hit what I’m shooting at however. So the next criteria is accuracy. The Glocks are accurate enough.

Finally, ft/lbs... I’d love to pack something more than a 9. Or in the case of my 42 a .380, but I value fast follow up shots more than actual “stopping power.” I’d rather hit em 3 times with a .380, than once with a .45. And considering the lack of recoil the 42 has, I’m positive I could do just that. I could only wish I could shoot a 357 out of a 17oz gun even remotely as fast, and on target, as my 380’s and 9s.
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Old February 12, 2019, 08:56 AM   #40
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And that’s why my Glocks are all a part of the thin line series. 42, 43, 48
I KNOW it's subjective but can you compare the relative recoil of the 43 vs the 48? My range doesn't have one for rent yet..


"Tools not Trophies”
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Old February 12, 2019, 09:10 AM   #41
Join Date: February 11, 2019
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Given the weight and specs of the Glock 43 you should expect some snappy recoil. If your fundamentals are good, the recoil is totally manageable. I think it’s pretty much the same with all Glocks. The laws of physics or unchangeable. A light frame made out of polymer in 9mm will always have some recoil And concealable guns are always a compromise. For my money though, and as compromises go, The G 43 is a winner.
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Old February 12, 2019, 06:16 PM   #42
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Location: Madison, Wisconsin
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The real questions may be “what do we feel makes us safer or makes us better able to protect others or what helps us feel we have more status or what complies with our self image.

1. Cost. If money was not really number one... why hasn’t your pistol been worked over by a top tier pistolsmith? If you spent less than $1200 or so, my opinion is almost every element of a pistol can be improved.

2. Helps me feel in control. For me, that would mean reliability. In my mind, if the gun don’t go “bang” when you pull the trigger, nothing else matters. You could be carrying a squad of Navy Seals, but if they won’t work for you, you are out of luck!

3. Practicality. No matter what you have, some kind of shotgun, rifle or controlled firearm (maybe an mp5?) would be better for a gun battle. But that’s not practical.

4. Complies with my self image. I feel I am “a revolver guy.” I’ve had a whole list of semi autos, including a couple nice custom built one. I mean, I talked to the pistolsmith, and he customized just for me. In the end, they all went away except for the little custom .22 semi auto and the Bowen Blackhawk and it’s little ruger single action littermates.

Let’s face it... they make pink guns. They make em because they sell. While I value fancy walnut or cocobolo, that’s just as cosmetic a choice as pink.

Would you carry a Taurus or High Point or Harrington and Richardson if only you knew that what you had was excellent? Meh. There is real status to say “I am a Glock guy” even if you pay hundreds more when there may be something out there as functional from a company with less market penetration.

That said, it’s practical to find parts and holsters and ammunition for popular choices. Popular choices will have a better resale value.

I’ve never been in a gun battle. Never even came close. I have taken 14 deer with various handguns and that experience tells me this: shot placement is more significant than anything else. I have been in situations where I am sure I could have taken a deer with my .22 but there was no need for it.

In my opinion, most defensive gunfights will be less than six shots.

So: I don’t carry. I don’t feel the need unless walking afield in the autumn.

I am looking at a ruger LCRX to toss in my pocket with some .38 special cartridges when walking with the dog in the field... for shooting tin cans or protecting the dog from feral dogs or rabid raccoons or ... just to show my pals how cute the little thing is. This job is presently held by my bearcat or Ithaca model 37, depending on dates of bird seasons.
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Old February 12, 2019, 08:27 PM   #43
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In order of importance to me:

1. Reliability. If I can't trust it to function, it doesn't get carried.
2. Ability to be carried at all times. As much as I like and how well I shoot a 1911, there are times it stayed in the truck instead of on my person. Doesn't do me much good when I'm out of the truck.
3. Adequate caliber. I won't carry anything below .38/9mm. A .380 may work but with 9mm handguns being as small as they are I don't see a need to drop below 9mm/.38.
4. Reasonable accuracy. Only good hit's count but IMO every gun on the market meets the standard for adequate accuracy in typical defensive distances. If the gun fits the shooter there is no reason it can't place the rounds where they need to go from contact distance to 10 yards or more.
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Old February 13, 2019, 07:25 PM   #44
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A nice warm gun that just saved my keister from a world of hurt.
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Old February 13, 2019, 08:32 PM   #45
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Reliability, comfortably concealable (size and weight), and most oomph that fits in that package.

I can pretty easily conceal the Glock 42 (.380) in a IWB any time since it is very light and slim. But just practicing with it makes me surprised (every time!) how fast that 6-shot mag runs dry. So I only carry the g42 as a last resort option. I used to use a Keltec P3AT in the pocket for these circumstances but the G42 in a IWB is just as comfortable and concealable.

My most common carry is the M&P Shield 9 since it came out long before the Glock 43/43X/48. It is still easy to conceal and not heavy, and has 8+1 rds of 9mm, plus an extra mag. A single stack or slimline 9mm of this size is about optimum for always have it with me. The Shield has proven plenty accurate and reliable for me. Tempted to try a 10-shot G48 though. Should be about same size.

If wearing work clothes and a jacket, or hiking in the woods then I carry a Glock 23. It is definitely a bit heavier and thicker than the Shield and not as comfortable to wear all day. Some guys can carry a full size auto or even 1911, but that is not comfortable for me nor as easy to conceal.
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Old February 15, 2019, 10:23 AM   #46
Join Date: June 2, 2016
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 57
1. Reliability- especially with carry ammo, including Hornady Critical Defense and Winchester (White Box) JHPs. If you don't do so already, buy a few dummy rounds and mix them in with live ammo. You'll find out very quickly why it's important your carry gun goes BANG! when it's supposed to, as many times as you need it to!

2. "Shootability"- out to ten meters/yards. Meaning the ability to consistently land a shot within 5" of my target...on a 3 second or less draw from concealment...and have similar follow-up shots. I guess what factors into this could be the size/weight of your sidearm, ammo choice, firing stance and grip, arm/wrist size, etc.

3. Size- I carry a Walther PPS with a six round mag and a round in the barrel. I only have had to make minor changes to clothing choices as the Walther is a compact- by more than a handful of people's definition it's a sub-compact. For warm weather, I have a Black Arch Holster's kydex IWB model. Highly recommended, and a decent price at $50-$60. It's generally very similar to other quality IWB's. Winter months, I tuck it in a "belly band" elastic band, over top of a tee shirt, and under a partially-buttoned flannel or plaid button up. It rides about 5-6 inches below my left armpit. It surprises me how many people don't know about this method- sort of a low-profile shoulder holster. There's a Velcro retention strap, but it doesn't have anything hard over the trigger guard. Just reinforced cotton, which will be fine under 99% of situations.
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Old February 17, 2019, 09:46 AM   #47
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I did a similar "decision matrix" several years ago to prioritize options before putting hands-on. Of course, the first decision is what type of concealment are you looking for and do you have a caliber preference or minimum? You have some of the mouse-guns (LCP, etc.), sub-compacts/compacts, and full-size/service-size handguns. Before addressing what's most important, you probably need to determine which category. My focus is typically sub-compact/compact sized pistols, normally in 9mm caliber.

1. Reliability. This comes first from reviews and reputable manufacturers. While it's hard to "shop" for reliable, it's an attribute that can really only be discovered after shooting several hundred rounds along with which defensive ammo is most reliable and accurate in your particular handgun.

2. Shootability, is also very subjective. It's not an aspect you can put in a decision matrix until after you handle and hopefully shoot the handgun. Much of this depends on highly on the individual, how the gun feels in the hand, ease of presentation alignment, trigger reach, grip size, etc. The importance of this to me is training. The more "shootable" your handgun is, the more likely you'll enjoy shooting it a lot, and in turn, spend more time training with it. This attribute leads to more frequent training, faster presentation, more accuracy, faster follow-up shots, etc. While reliability is the top attribute, shootability is a close second.

3. Concealability, or size/dimensions. This plays a bigger role for comparisons in a decision matrix as it's more quantifiable and easier to see. However, dimensions do not mean they'll fit you better (be more shootable), or guarantee reliability. I use these attributes to narrow down choices. Concealability has more to do with your holster/carry system, clothing/attire, body-type, activity/occupation, etc.

Weight plays a role, and while it's often directly proportional to size, weight has it's own concerns. These concerns can be mitigated by a proper gun belt, but much depends on activity as a heavy gun that is overly noticeable can cause discomfort and fatigue in some situations. Still, a proper holster/carry system and belt will often negate the negative affects of even the heavier/larger guns. If one is pocket carrying, this often becomes a bigger factor. Again, method of concealment plays a big role.

4. Capacity. This is important, but not a deal breaker. Even with smaller, single stack 9mm pistols, I carry a spare magazine, so while capacity may be a factor, it's easier to address with other options. I find the above attributes more important.

5. Price. Price is often near the bottom. Not that it's not important, but it's less of a factor as once you narrow down a selection, prices will often be similar, unless you're focused on aesthetics or a higher-end custom.

There are a lot of factors that can be changed if everything else fits your parameters. You can get better triggers, better sights, extended magazines (for the shorter grip pistols), etc. While they may be a factor in selection, I typically don't overlook a handgun because I don't like their sights (like Glock's plastic sights, they're not night sights, or a three dot system that I don't particularly care for).

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Old February 17, 2019, 01:09 PM   #48
Don Dayacetah
Join Date: May 28, 2018
Posts: 59
In your own words, "ease of presentability". The best gun in the world won't help you if you can't clear leather fast.

That, and a solid DA trigger.
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Old February 17, 2019, 07:12 PM   #49
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^ yeah but that’s a skill that can be practiced, if you can’t handle carrying a 3lb gun all day practice ain’t an answer.

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Old February 17, 2019, 10:18 PM   #50
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Originally Posted by Don Dayacetah
In your own words, "ease of presentability". The best gun in the world won't help you if you can't clear leather fast.
I think that has less to do with the handgun choice and more about the holster/carry system and dress. Clearing the holster, be it IWB, AWIB, OWB, pocket, etc., is more a function of training than pistol-type. Of course, I don't pocket carry a full-size 1911, and I don't deep-IWB a Ruger LCP. The OP's same question could be aimed just at holsters or carry systems...

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