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Old January 11, 2010, 11:20 PM   #1
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Good concealed carry gun?

I'm going to be getting another new handgun soon, this time for practical usage and not just to shoot around. Money isn't a huge issue with this purchase either so I would place my budget around 1200 dollars for a nice concealed carry pistol. This will also be the gun I use on my test. In KY its an 11 of 20 shots must hit the target area. I was wondering if the Para Ordnance 18.9 was a good CC gun. It's small, high capacity magazine (18+1), lightweight, and not overly expensive. I know a 9mm lacks the "stopping power" of a .45 but with well placed shots you shouldn't need as much stopping power. Any opinions? Suggestions?
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Old January 11, 2010, 11:54 PM   #2
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For $1200 you should be able to buy two quality CCW's! If you feel the need to spend that much I would suggest looking at a few different H&K's.

Also keep in mind that you should set aside a couple hundred $$$ for a nice holster, extra mags, ammo, etc.
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Old January 12, 2010, 12:02 AM   #3
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Any good 9mm with quality SD ammo will work fine for your carry gun. I carry a German Sig P228 with 15 rounds in the mag and one in the tube. I also carry from time to time a Sig P239 in 40SW with 7 rounds in the magazine and 1 in the tube.
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Old January 12, 2010, 12:19 AM   #4
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I like my EMP in 9mm. It fits your budget. Easy to carry.

9mm with modern personal defense hollow points has all the "stopping power" you need: 12" of penetration and expansion greater than .6 inch .

Placement is everything, and 9mm practice ammo is cheaper than anything else out there. (If you shoot more than a box a month at the end of something like 10 years, you would be money ahead buying a $1,000 9mm than if you bought a $500 .380 ....... it would take a lot less time to do that if you put it up gainst a $500 .45 ACP.)
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Old January 12, 2010, 12:35 AM   #5
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Since you apparently want a full-sized handgun and can pay a full-sized price, may I suggest the Sig P226 (Elite). The Sig P226 probably ranks among the best 9x19mm full-sized handguns you can find. It's extremely reliable, very accurate, and highly controllable. I like the ergonomics on it myself. It's DA/SA with decocker, no safety, so it's always ready to go. The Elite version, although being more expensive (but within your budget), is even better with its SRT - Short Trigger Reset, which gives a shorter reset on both the DA and SA pulls.

I like the placement of both the slide stop/release and the mag release and can be very easily accessed. Unlike many other guns, note that the Sig 's slide stop/release is located towards the back, so you can't thumb if with your support hand if you were reloading it from slide-lock. You've have to use your right hand to thumb it and I actually like that setup. Just try to get a chance to feel out the controls.

If you prefer a little more compact size, look up the Sig P229 GenII SAS. It's basically a more compact Sig P226 Elite, but also features dehorned sights to prevent it from snagging on your clothes. Standard capacity is 13+1, but you can get either Sig or MecGar magazines for a nice 15+1 capacity.

Although the capacity is factory 15+1, you can get flush-fit 18rd magazines from either Sig or Mec-Gar. The official Sig mags are more expensive ($60), so I would recommend you get the Mec-Gar magazines. There is no drop in quality - Mec-Gar actually makes all of Sig's mags, you just won't have the Sig-Sauer logo on the magazine itself. But they will fit flush with the frame. Although it's over 2 lbs in weight, a good holster + belt goes a long way to accommodating that.

Another option I would recommend searching around for if you want a quality 1911 for CCW would be a good used or bargain new-in-box STI VIP. The VIP is another one of STI's great modular-designed double-stack 1911s. Although the .45 ACP version is more common, I prefer the 9mm VIP. The VIP has a nice compact size with a very nice magazine capacity. It has 3.9in barrel, so its length basically is between an Officer's Model and a Commander. You've got the 1911 controls: SA trigger - comes factory at 3 lbs I believe - extended safety, and is very durable and has excellent reliability and accuracy. Not your traditional 1911, the frame is aluminum and the grip and trigger guard as well as the trigger itself is polymer, and this makes the gun a good deal lighter at around 1.5 lbs. It's a compact, thin, and extremely comfortable - as should be expected of a 1911, but rarely seen in most 1911 double-stacks. The VIP retains the 1911's legendary ergonomics IMO. It features a very nice magazine capacity of 10+1 in .45 and 15+1 in 9mm.

However, it can be hard to find under 1200, even more so to find a good used or bargain NIB V.I.P. in 9mm. STI makes 1911s leagues above Para-Ordnance IMO and you would be well served with one if you want a good hi-cap 1911 for CCW.

Another nice pistol to check out IMO is the HK USP in 9mm. This is just an incredibly well made and well thought out pistol IMO. While polymer, it is by no means a lightweight handgun. It is also often perceived to have a wide grip, so ergonomics may be an issue. The mounting rails aren't 1913 Picatinny rails unfortunately, so you'd need an adapter. But there are tons of positives of the gun aside.

The USP was conceived of as creating a pistol paradigm, so HK took and borrowed lots of different ideas to create their paradigm. Among them is the pistol's versatility. In Variant 1 (I'll explain this later), the USP comes with a combined safety/decocker [up to fire, middle to safe, swing all the way down to decock] allowing the gun to be fire DA/SA or carried cocked-and-locked like a 1911. The gun was designed to be highly modular so the safety levers can be easily exchanged and replaced to provide several other variants. V2 is just like V1, except the safety/decocker is on the right-side.

The other variants include things like decocker only, no safety - DAO only - as well as HK's LEM system, a very nice DAO system which basically gives two reset points. After you pull through the long DAO pull, you can let the trigger reset to a half-way position for a lighter DAO pull or all the way for the same heavy DAO pull. The final two variants have a safety lever with no decocker.

Again, the standard is DA/SA with safety/decocker and cocked-and-locked capability. The ambidextrous magazine release is unique to HK as far as I know and descends from the newer P7's mag release. The magazine release is on the trigger guard and can be easily activated by using the index finger of one's dominant handgun, facilitating lightning fast release IMO.

The gun is extremely reliable, built like a tank, and has been subjected to numerous tests. The Kampfschwimmer, Germany's elite frogmen commandos, have been using the USP even in saltwater environments with no problem. The gun is also highly accurate and the USP's unique recoil-reduction system greatly reduces felt recoil.

The slide release is extended so it is very easy to thumb down with your support hand. Also, the larger trigger guard lets you easily wear gloves and yet manipulate the trigger with ease. The bottom of the trigger guard has a unique dip to prevent snagging glove material.

The capacity is standard for a full-size 9mm at 15+1. You can get 18+1 translucent magazines, but they don't fit flush with the frame - you need the Jet Funnel kit to install a larger magwell, but I personally do not like it.

The USP comes rated out of the box to fire +P and +P+ ammunition, and even the .45 Super if you get the USP .45. It's a great gun.

However, the size of the USP may prove an issue, although several of my friends conceal a full-size USP without too much difficulty thanks to a good holster and belt and an XL T-shirt. I think it's size compares similarly to the Para P18-9, so if you are willing to carry that, I think you should check out the USP.

Used USPs or bargain NIBs can be found between 600 - 900 about.

Hope that helps. I personally would lead toward the Sig P226 Elite, followed by the STI VIP, and very closely by the HK USP.
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Old January 12, 2010, 12:38 AM   #6
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You'll get as many opinions as there are pistols out there. I carry one of three pistols. A Kahr PM9 in the summer and either a Walther P5, or HK P7PSP when clothing allows for concealment. All three are single stack 9mm pistols, all three are reliable, accurate and none of them cost anywhere near $1200. You can pick up a new high capacity HK P30, or an HK P2000SK for less than your target price.
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Old January 12, 2010, 01:02 AM   #7
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Old January 12, 2010, 03:27 AM   #8
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I'm not to keen on the Sig p226 Elite not having a safety. Just makes me a little uneasy. And I don't necessarily care if it's a 9mm, just a good concealable and reliable gun.

And as far as cost of holster/extra mag and such goes, 1200 is my gun budget pre-tax. I have much more then that available to be used for holsters and the like.
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Old January 12, 2010, 06:28 AM   #9
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I have been looking at the Kimber Ultra CDP II as a CCW and it is in your price range. I am looking at the .45 but it can be bought as a 9mm as well. It is lighter than the EMP but both feel great in hand. I know a few that love their Colt Defenders but they are .45's but they do handle well.
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Old January 12, 2010, 11:03 AM   #10
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The Sig's DA pull is rated at about 10 lbs, so getting an accidental discharge with the Sig is not too likely. The four safety rules still apply of course, but plenty of people use DA/SA with decocker and have no difficulty. A Sig with hammer down is like a double-action revolver. I can't see it going off without the shooter bringing it up and consciously bringing the trigger to its break point through the heavy 10 lb pull. The Sig is very safe, although with ANY firearm, the four safety rules apply.

However, if you are insistent on having a safety, might I suggest you look for a good used STI VIP or bargain NIB as such or perhaps a bargain NIB or used USP? Both come with manual safeties.

As for concealment, if you are concealing IWB, I am of the opinion that the width and the height of a handgun is a lot more important than length. The Sig P226 Elite is about 1.5 in wide and 5.5 in wide. The STI VIP is about 1.4 in wide at its widest part and 5 in high. Finally the USP is about 1.3 in wide and 5.4 in wide. I think these full-sized pistols compare favorably to each other, and I think you'd be well suited with any of these. I just lean towards the Sig myself.
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Old January 12, 2010, 11:21 AM   #11
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The sig de-cocker system is very reliable / if not better than a safety. But you need to shoot a Sig to understand it / or talk to a knowledgeable Sig owner or Sig Armor to understand their system.

I like the Sig 226 as a full size gun ... in 9mm or .40S&W.

But the guns with the best triggers hands down are a well tuned 1911. Springfield makes some guns that will fit your budget. You can get 1911's in 9mm or .45 acp as standard production guns vs custom order. A 1911 in 9mm is a very good option.

You should carry the gun you shoot the best - not necessarily the easiest to conceal or the smallest you can find. I have big hands / small to me, often means I can't shoot it well. One smaller option - is the single stack Sig 239 in 9mm or .40 / but a 4" 1911 in 9mm might be even better. For a holster I'd recommend Kramer leather / horsehide / Inside waist band is most concealble - but a scabbard might be ok for you as well.
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Old January 12, 2010, 11:31 AM   #12
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IMO, the Para P18.9 is too big for routine CCW.

That's purely my opinion and experience, however. I've been concealing a Commander-sized 1911 for about 1 year, interspersed sometimes with a full-sized 1911.

I wouldn't want the grip weight of a steel framed doublestack gun with the weight of 18 rounds of 9mm to carry around all day. I remember I tried carrying my Glock 21 I used to have with 13 rounds of .45, and the weight of the ammo would cause the pistol to twist while I walked.

I think, of Para's single action lineup in 9mm, the best doublestack they have is the Hawg 9.

If you want a carry-able 9mm Commander sized 1911 with doublestack mags, look into the VIP, made by STI.
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Old January 12, 2010, 12:06 PM   #13
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Anything you feel comfortable with carrying for an extended period of time.

I carry a 686 4 inch,sometimes a Glock 22 .40 cal,or my sig 229(357 sig).Yep all are heavy but very accurate and reliable,and all are under the 600.00 dollar price range.

Good luck and let us know what you got.Oh and if you need a good leather holster check here first.
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Old January 12, 2010, 12:09 PM   #14
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Shoot one without a safety for a while and you'll feel a lot safer. Most folks who didn't buy a Glock, Sigma, etc. due to lack of safety device eventually don't care anymore. Time carrying a gun will convince you that they don't go off on their own.
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Old January 12, 2010, 03:55 PM   #15
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I've owned and shot 1911's for many years, going all the way back to the 80's when I was in the Army, and I shoot them the best of all the centerfire pistols I have ever owned. But when it was time to pick what to carry when I got my CCW it was a G26 that I chose. I also pocket carry an LCP when belt carry is not an option.

My reason for going with the Glock instead of my 1911 was simple: I did not feel that I would be willing/able to put in the training time to remember 100% of the time to hit that thumb safety on the draw when fighting for my life. So I went with my second choice.
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Old January 12, 2010, 08:02 PM   #16
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Good CCW Gun

With the correct holster even caring a full size auto, isn't a problem. So from my point, size of our choice should be less of a concern, then you feeling confident with your choice.

I have both Kimber's, Para's, and HK's, all in 45acp. Choosing the caliber for me was easy, shooting into some old milk cartons, fruits, and even some boards. I prefer the results that the 45acp offers over the other calibers.

When I turned 18, I purchased my first auto loader, a Colt Government Series 70 in 45acp. Having friends in Law Enforcement, I was able to try guns from several different manufactures, I liked the 1911 type. The SA triggers are so much easier to learn then DA, some autos have. All my HK's are version 1, they share the same grip angle, even the controls are very similar.

No matter what your choice, shoot it often. Practice using a mirror and keep at it all until it is second mature.

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Old January 12, 2010, 11:01 PM   #17
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My first choice would be a Commander size 1911 slide on an Officers frame. I have 2 and they are great. The only problem is without a GOOD belt and holster, the get heavy and your pants droop. You don't want to be adjusting your pants every time you stand up. They are great shooters and fairly easy to conceal.

That being said, my daily carry pistol is a Kahr CW9. Very light, easy to conceal, no external safeties and very safe to carry. The P/CW series pistols aren't real small but so light sometimes I forget I am carring it.
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Old January 12, 2010, 11:04 PM   #18
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Just out of curiosity, if 11 out of 20 shots have to hit the target area, how big is the target and at what range???
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Old January 12, 2010, 11:14 PM   #19
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here are a few suggestions

Kahr...pretty much any of them
1911...3 1/2 in barrel or smaller
Glock 26
XD Subcompact
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Old January 13, 2010, 02:33 AM   #20
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$1,200 is a pretty hefty budget...must be nice.

Rohrbaugh R9 if you want to spend all $1,200. But I think thats too expensive for a CCW gun. I'd go with Kahr MK series; caliber up to you.
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Old January 13, 2010, 09:13 AM   #21
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I just switched to the Beretta Px4 Storm subcompact in 9mm. It is 14 rounds of 9 and is pocketable, and from my testing, I should as well with it as any full frame pistol I have. It is billed to be the most accurate subcompact on the market and I have found no evidence to the contrary.

I can't recommend .45s right now because the supply of ammo is low and what there is is still very expensive. You need to shoot your concealed carry gun regularly and it is difficult for many people to do that at $50 a box.
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Old January 13, 2010, 10:12 AM   #22
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Best CCW

Since I am an XD9 Springfield man, and you say you prefer the 9mm, I will say that the Sub-compact XD9 is a good choice for those who want firepower as well as concealment. You can go with the 13 rd mag or if you want the full sized feel (no matter how big you’re your hand is) there's the 16 rd mag. It can easily be carried inside the waistband or outside. Reliability has been perfect after 600+ rounds. It’s a great shooting gun and will hold a tight pattern. The money you save will buy a lot of ammo or another toy. That being said however, I personally have a Kel-tec PF9 (7+1) for my CCW. Mainly because I can easily stick it in my pocket or IWB since it’s only 7/8” thick and weighs 13oz.
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Old January 13, 2010, 12:38 PM   #23
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The Glock 19 is big enough to be a service pistol but compact enough to conceal with a little effort. It's relatively affordable so you can buy several additional mags and still be within your budget.

Lord, the question is almost impossible to answer because there are so many good choices.

If I had a budget of $1200 I might get myself a Glock AND a good .22 pistol, maybe a Ruger MkIII or a Buckmark. Every American home should contain a .22 pistol or rifle.
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Old January 13, 2010, 01:12 PM   #24
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If I had $1200 for CCW, I would get one of the following: HK USP compact, HK P2000, Sig 228 or Walther P99 + goo holster. With the extra money, I would get a smaller DA fireram (khar, keltec or maybe a S&W snubby) and holster for it. If there is leftover, magazines (I like to have at least three for each firearm).

To stay within budget, I would consider used items for the bigger pistols and the revolver but insist on new to nearly for the smaller semi-autos.
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Old January 13, 2010, 02:19 PM   #25
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get a glock 19 or glock 23. The polymer frame saves a lot of weight, I would not recommend getting an all metal gun for carry, too heavy. 9mm is a fine round with plenty of stopping power.
Get night sights, because 80% of all shootings happen at night, a good quality holster, and you are good to go for carry.
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