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Old September 22, 2010, 09:24 PM   #1
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Best .45 or 9mm for concealed carry...

I am looking for a quality .45 or (second best) 9mm for carry in subcompact/micro.

More and more, I get the impression that small guns often present a
problem because of their tight tolerances.

I was attracted to the Kimber Ultra Carry 2 at first, but have read too many negative things. I'm not looking for a gun that is going to require a few trips back to the manufacturer to get things right.

That being said and not wanting to spend $1500 on a gun, what would you recommend? Would I be better with a .45 or 9mm?
A 1911 or more modern firearm?

For me, the only thing that matters is total reliability and ease of concealment.

Your thoughts?
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Old September 22, 2010, 09:30 PM   #2
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I like my Springfield EMP, 9MM. Nice small size, and not too heavy. Or I have a like new 9MM Back-up, in like new condition, you could talk me out of


Last edited by EarlFH; September 22, 2010 at 09:42 PM.
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Old September 22, 2010, 09:34 PM   #3
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Two you might consider....

Ed Brown Alpha Carry| Sig P238, P938, P232, 1911 C3 | Colt Defender, Mustang Pocketlite, 1911 | Rohrbaugh R9 | Browning, Buckmark 22LR(suppressed) | Kahr PM9 Black Rose | S&W|M&P C.O.R.E RMR Trijicon | Dan Wesson ECO
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Old September 22, 2010, 09:41 PM   #4
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Your post misses a good and viable compromise between the two. My carry piece. Springfield Armory XD 40 Subcompact. Plenty more power than a 9mm, A little less bulk than a 45. Don't let the " short and weak" guys tell you any different. My carry round is the Winchester Supreme PDX-1 180gr @ 1025 fps. No way is that weak!!!
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Old September 22, 2010, 09:44 PM   #5
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Check out a Kel Tec PF9 or P11. Excellent little guns with the right amount of firepower.
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Old September 22, 2010, 09:58 PM   #6
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Look at a Walther PPS in 9mm. Superb build quality, reliability, and accuracy -- and it's ultra-slim. Carry Corbon 115-grain or 125-grain +P JHP.
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Old September 22, 2010, 10:24 PM   #7
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Very small Compacts in 1911s in .45 seem to be very problematic as a rule.
Search this forum and others and you will get the point. Plus you have to consider a small size pistol in a .45 cartridge. Even a .40. It may be a painful experience, more expensive, etc. yada, yada...

You seem to want very small...You can get "small" and pretty lethal with a 9mm. There are some great loads to make the round more than sufficient.

I have a compact Beretta PX4 in 9mm. It is VERY good. 13+1 rounds. The .40 version of the PX4 Subcompact is also available. 14 rounds...

These Berettas have great ergonomics. A very comfortable pistol to shoot.

You can get smaller in the 9mm with the Kahr, the .40 and .45 also - the PM9, PM40 or PM45. I am considering getting a PM9.

You may again search thoughts on the PM45 on this forum...

I know many like the Glock 26 [9mm], 27 [.40] and Glock 36 [.45].

XDMs seem to be a hit but the .45 subcompact isn't out yet. The 9 and .40 is...I hear the trigger isn't so hot.
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Old September 22, 2010, 10:54 PM   #8
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For .45 I like the STI Shadow or Colt Defender. For 9mm, I like the Kahr PM9. Try out a small 1911 and something like the Kahr if you can, and see what you shoot better. Also consider whether or not you're comfortable carrying "cocked and locked" with a 1911. Personally, I carry the STI Shadow in .45 (you can also get it or the Defender in 9mm if you want).
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Old September 22, 2010, 10:55 PM   #9
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The Smith and Wesson M&P 9c is an excellent CCW firearm. I like the models with the decocker safety. I did not like the models without the safety. Personal opinion. I have my old model 39's that are also outstanding as CCW firearms. They are flat, light, and hold 10 rounds; many more than one would need.
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Old September 23, 2010, 03:09 AM   #10
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Look at a Walther PPS in 9mm. Superb build quality, reliability, and accuracy -- and it's ultra-slim. Carry Corbon 115-grain or 125-grain +P JHP.
Yep, except I like Gold Dot 124g +Ps. And they come in pink.
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Old September 23, 2010, 03:52 AM   #11
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There's no such thing as the best.

Only differing opinions. The CDP2 4" aluminum frame I often carry fits the bill for me. .45's aren't the smallest of guns and the smallrdy have less ammo capacity. The bigger ones are heavy (but comforting, according to Clint Smith).

I also carry the P220 Carry (7 or 8 rds) or the Compact (6rds). Of course, the 8 rd. ST mag.s work in either gun. So does the 10 rd. single stack if I want to carry that for backup.

All my 1911's have bbl.s at least 4" for reliability reasons. Even Bill Wilson quick making the ultra short pistols because he couldn't guarantee the kind of reliability he made his reputation on.

Yes, I know, there are some out there who just swear by their ultra short 1911's and I'm glad theirs work---and some have an experientially derrived opposite view from shipping theirs back to the maunufacturer to get it to work.

Lastly: They don't make a nice, light, easy to carry .45ACP with higher mag. capacity. What's that saying? Something like "make your choice and sit down".

Last edited by Nnobby45; September 23, 2010 at 04:03 AM.
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Old September 23, 2010, 05:18 AM   #12
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'BEST', in the gun world, is only a matter of opinion.

I like my single stack, Para Carry Companion. It fits me and conceals well.
No beaver tail or large exposed hammer to snag. Dead accurate and just as reliable. Draws well and has a smooth LDA trigger. There's just enough weight to the pistol that double/triple taps are comfortable. A pleasure to shoot and that makes practice that much more enjoyable.

The most important thing is, I'm confident with it. IMO, a must for a ccw.

The 45 ACP, Para- Carry Companion is 'Best' for me.

Last edited by shortwave; September 23, 2010 at 05:30 AM.
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Old September 23, 2010, 05:47 AM   #13
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Glock 39, .45GAP. The smallest .45 that Glock makes.
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Old September 23, 2010, 06:12 AM   #14
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In 9mm...

... my PM9 is easily the most portable, and it's surprisingly accurate. However, it does every so often give me an FTRB. In every case, a sharp slap with my left palm-heel has fixed the issue, but I can't say I'm perfectly happy with it.

Assuming slightly more clothing (as opposed to a Georgia summer), I preferred my SIG P239 9mm. Perfect reliability through over 1000 rds of varying types. However, it's on loan to my mother, who recently got her CCW. Downsides - it's bigger than a PPS, and only holds 8 in the magazine, but upside - it shoots like a full-sized gun.

(I've just ordered a new P239 SAS in .357SIG; I really like those pistols.)

I personally wouldn't go with a .45 in smaller than Commander size.
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Old September 23, 2010, 07:51 AM   #15
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"Best" being subjective......

I like the S&W 3913 best. Easily concealed, light weight 9mm, single stack, accurate and reliable.

In .45 I prefer a S&W 4513. For all the same reasons. Regards 18DAI.
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Old September 23, 2010, 08:38 AM   #16
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The Taurus PT145 (Millenium Pro version) is a dependable .45acp subcompact. 10 + 1 rounds in a tight package for a hard-to-beat price. Mine has eaten everything I've fed it. I understand the earliest versions had some hic-ups, so look to buy new on this one...
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Old September 23, 2010, 08:59 AM   #17
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Springfield EMP is a nice choice for a 1911 pattern gun.

The XD sc in 9mm is also a good gun. The equivalent glock is also good. Which you like best is determined by which feels the best in your hand
when shooting. Can't go wrong with either.

The XD (and plastic striker fired guns in general) won't have as nice a trigger
as a 1911. If you polish the striker, striker channel, sear and the
trigger bar it will settle down and feel much more smooth. PRP and Springer precision have 2 of the best trigger kits on the market if you want to spend
money. The new PRP kit has a trigger that fixes overtravel, a polished sear and you can get a polished striker. Easy plug and play with 1/10th the fitting of the older kit.
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Old September 23, 2010, 09:24 AM   #18
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I agree with 18DAI. While a lot of us S&W fans would like to keep it a secret, these two pistols are some of the best ever made. And prices have been relatively stable, until about a year ago. Now, they are going up with increasing demand.

You have the best chance of finding a 3913. There are some NIBs still out there, as well. But, if you find one it is going to be in the mid sixes. I saw a NIB 4513 go for $800 just this summer. Otherwise condition sets price.

S&W quality, a proven design and a very loyal fan base; these pistols are approaching cult status.
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Old September 23, 2010, 11:49 AM   #19
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There may be those who disagree with me, but if reliability and cost are an issue for you, I would suggest looking at the Bersa UC (ultra compact) models. The Bersa UC is available in .45 and 9mm. They are easily concealed, and generally VERY reliable. I have the Bersa Thunder .380 and have had 0 problems with it. I am looking at upgrading up to the UC model in .45 myself.
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Old September 23, 2010, 02:22 PM   #20
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For 9mm Walther PPS. I have one and love it.

For 45, Colt Defender.

Both guns are about the same size. The colt is heavier, especially when loaded.

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Old September 23, 2010, 02:32 PM   #21
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in 45, 1911 type Colt Defender best Compact 45 I own

In 9mm for the money the Bersa in 9mm is the answer .
It can also be bought in 45acp.

Buds has most of the Bersa line in stock at present
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Old September 23, 2010, 04:30 PM   #22
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My CCW is a Glock 23 (40S&W) and my wife carries a Glock 19 (9mm). Both are compact guns and with my comp-tac and blade-tech IWB holster, they're hardly noticeable. I just don't like the feel of the subcompacts on my hands.
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Old September 23, 2010, 04:43 PM   #23
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Yep, except I like Gold Dot 124g +Ps.
Hadn't shot those in it until just this morning, as a matter of fact, but my PPS loved that round. Super accurate, very low muzzle flash, and surprisingly low recoil for a +P.

And they come in pink.
Yuck. You sure about that? I know the P22 does, but I've never seen or heard of a pink PPS.
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Old September 23, 2010, 06:15 PM   #24
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Decisions, decisions...

Well, I already made my decision for a pocket carry, shorts and t-shirt gun by ordering the Ruger LCP from Bud's. (I only waited 2 or 3 years for research and initial bugs to be worked out!)

I am now working on what I hope will be my last carry gun, this time in 9mm.
I have gotten the message here that .45 compacts with 3" barrels are
problems waiting to happen.

I want my other carry gun to be for when I can dress for the occasion with an untucked shirt and an IWB holster.

This leaves me with non-1911 9mm carry guns.
The Walther PPS seemed liked a cool choice.
Some reviews make it seem like a "fussy eater".

I keep wondering about the Kahr PM-9.
It doesn't look so great as far as fit and finish.
For those who have shot one or own one, is the PM9 better than it appears at 1st sight?
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Old September 23, 2010, 07:32 PM   #25
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"Best"? That is a matter of opinion, and you will get plenty of those. In the real world, everything is a compromise--size, weight, firepower and so on.

The PM9 is an incredible design. It is a quality firearm. The early s/n ones had the infamous "barrel peening" issue (mine did). That said, Kahr fixed it quickly and completely, and it has been 100% ever since. I pocket carried it every day (~9 months of the year) for a bit over three years. About a year and a half ago it's big brother (P45) became my EDC/9 months. I carry it IWB and it has likewise been 100%.

In what we laughingly call "winter" here in Texas, I carry a 3" 1911 IWB. I have literally owned nearly a dozen of them. Aside from the two Springfield EMPs which were problem children (some would say that the EMP is not a "true" 1911) I had extractor issues with a 3" Para, and a variety of issues with a 3" Charles Daly/Armscor.

I've also had four 3" Kimber alloy frames, all of which were/are 100% reliable with any ammo, including my 200gr LSWC handloads.

Based upon my real-world experience, I consider the "unreliable 3" 1911 myth" to be exactly that.

That said, the Kahr P45 weighs 18.5 oz vice the 24 oz of the 3" 1911. To put it another way, a loaded P45 weighs about the same as an empty 3" alloy 1911.

When wearing shorts and a t-shirt, as is befitting the weather most of the year (here), I find the P45 to be the perfect compromise (for me). Just a bit larger and heavier than the PM9, lighter than the 3" 1911. I prefer the 1911 action and trigger and shoot it slightly better, and would carry one year-round if I lived in a climate where shorts and t-shirt were not nearly mandatory.

Once again, all about compromise. Find what you like best, because there is no "best".
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