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Thread: searching and finding your ideal concealed carry gun

  1. #1

    Default searching and finding your ideal concealed carry gun

    So I have been carrying concealed for a long time. I have tried full size semi autos, compact semi auto , the tiny semi auto and snubbie revolvers. I found for me the gun I would carry all the time was my ruger lcr 38 special . Though I always felt like I am giving up a little in power and range I could hit with it and have it on me. Recently I got the ruger sp101 in 357 with the 4.2 in barrel. What a great multi purpose gun it has barrel length that I can hit farther easier with. Adjustable sights for accuracy, a sufficient power level that I can practice with hot loads , 38 special and some hard cast 180 grain for trail carry. I found a tuckable holster that it conceals under a dress shirt or regular iwb carry with a tee shirt. I realize I don't have high capacity but I don't really feel a need. So I think I have found a great cc gun that compliments my lcr . Funny that my choice with all the options out there is old school.
    Share your story of finding the ideal carry gun for you. It is definitely a journey with a lot of holsters and firearms to find that personal fit.

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    Isn't the LCR a snubby? And, DA Only?

    Those 2 things would rule it out for me. Even though Ruger makes a 3" version.

    The SP 101, 4.2 sounds good, but it weighs twice as much as the LCR.

    My "story" with CC is one of difficulty, trying to balance cartridge, weight, concealment, and shootability.

    I would love to have a S&W MDL 60, 5" 357. Maybe, the IDEAL, Field Or CC gun.

    Smitty of the North
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  3. #3

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    I recently bought a Springfield XD9 Mod 2 for CC. The 3" barrel and high round capacity works pretty well.


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    For revolvers it is a 3" Mod. 66 S&W .357. I always carry it in a Kramer Horse Hide Belt Scabbard. The revolver was a limited run S&W put out in the mid 80's. I can shoot it as good as any 4" K or L Frame S&W I ever shot. For semi autos I seem to have went to a Glock 19 with a IWB from US Grunt Gear and Kramer Horse Hide. The pistol is big enough to shoot in a hurry and has lots of capacity. Before that for about 30 years it was a 1911 or a custom Browning Hi Power. Clothes and activities dictate the gun I will carry on any given day.

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    I have recently bought a Springfield XDS in 45acp and find it fits me very well. The 5rd mags are about a half a pinky finger too short for my hand but with the slightly longer mag bottoms available the grip length is great. It comes with 2 different thickness grip back straps and one fits my hand very well. The gun is thin (single stack) and light without being too light. I have fired about 300 reloads through it without any malfunctions. It is easy to shoot and make rapid hits on pie plates at 20yds. You can get 7rd mags with two matching grip extenders if you need more grip or more capacity. Very happy with the XDS. My wife got a Ruger LCR in 38spl at the same time and she likes it. For me it is too light, too short and small to shoot easily but you can carry it all day and hardly know it's there. I don't find the 5rd capacity to be a problem as speed loaders can give a quick reload. The problem I have with the LCR is it's just too small for my big fat hands and is difficult for me to shoot accurately.
    For me the XDS has it all, plenty of power, small and thin to conceal easily, heavy enough to shoot well without being too heavy and it shoots very well. Concealed carry guns are a very personal thing and have to fit the user in more ways than an open carry hunting/defense gun so I expect a lot of different choices on the ideal carry gun. I have found mine and the wife has found hers with very different guns.

  6. #6

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    I have been full circle with CC as most have. I have settled on a FNH-40. Mine is the one with no safety(very Glock like). I put night sights on mine. My son got me a new holster for Christmas. It's called a Versa Carry. It's got a plastic plug that goes in the barrel. That and that alone secure the gun to the belt clip. Simplest, slickest CC method going.

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    I've carried quite a few guns over the years.
    Started with revolvers and made the switch to bottomfeeders. Finished with a Sig 357 Sig P226. Now I'm back to my beloved revolver.
    Settled on the S&W Model 58 with a 442 as a BUG. The 58 will handle anything I may run into if I do my part.

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    For me there are too many scenarios to have just one. During winter with coats or vests on I can pack a much bigger firearm then say summer and shorts. In general I just slip a Ruger LC9 in my pocket - no holster seems to work well. I prefer more firepower if possible and want a 45 acp and either a Glock 21SF of Kimber. I have a Sneaky Pete belt holster/pouch on order and may like that but if it sounds like Velcro ripping open I am not sure that's a positive...
    When asked what state I live in I say "The State of Confusion", better known as IL....

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    I have both revolvers and semi-autos but the gun I carry most is the Springfield XDM subcompact 9mm in a crossbreed IWB holster. Easy to conceal this time of year but more challenging during the hot summer months. I settled on the 9mm simply because I can shoot it more accurately and easily than the same gun in 45 ACP which pleasantly also happens to fit the same holster.

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    Good question, and some interesting thoughts!

    Well, I think like an engineer, so I'm not like a normal person.

    I determined the best compromises of weight, barrel length, height, width, capacity, action, etc., then compared more than 300 handguns using a spreadsheet. The next step was visiting several gun shops and handling the guns that fit my criteria.

    Ultimately, the SIG Sauer P250 with the small grip fit my hands better than the rest. That was the deciding factor.

  11. #11

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    I bought a little 38 caliber 5 shot Taurus over 25 years ago. I have carried that the most over the years.
    I am more likely to carry something smaller and lighter. More likely to leave heavier and bigger handguns home. So it's better to have
    a smaller caliber than nothing at all. That's for everyday carry, not hunting or hiking. I'm now considering the Glock 33 Gen 4 357 sig.

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    Quote Originally Posted by blackbear View Post
    Funny that my choice with all the options out there is old school.
    .
    Nothing wrong with old school! I love shooting a well tuned 686 more than any other handgun. Most common carry for me in the city is a G22 and if concerned about concealing with nicer clothes- a S&W shield. When out of the city- a revolver.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokey View Post
    For me there are too many scenarios to have just one. During winter with coats or vests on I can pack a much bigger firearm then say summer and shorts. In general I just slip a Ruger LC9 in my pocket - no holster seems to work well.
    I just picked up a couple LCP's a month or so ago, both with Crimson trace laser sights, for the wife and me. I have other concealed carry firearms and holsters but I just have a hard time getting used to carrying something on my side. It just seems so much nicer/easier to throw it in your pocket and go.


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    I swear, I must be a total odd ball. I read a lot of these types of posts about searching for the right gun and the right holster and drawers full of holsters etc etc. My story is 180 degrees the opposite. When I first started carrying a gun, it was a Glock 19. I bought a factory Glock holster that I have to this day never used, but it was cheap. I bought one OWB holster so I could take some classes and because open carry was constitutional and when I got my CCW permit (in a different state) I bought one IWB holster for everyday carry. Since then I have added a second OWB holster with retention because the first one was a friction only and had zero retention. That's it. End of story. I carry the same G19 everyday. I compete with the same G19 that I carry. I prefer open carry for comfort and ease. So I carry with the "newer" retention holster which is also my competition holster. My philosophy on competition is that I want to be better with what I actually carry, not with some race gear. When I conceal it's that same IWB holster I bought when I first started. I carry the same gun every day and don't change it up.

    I do have other handguns that I could carry, but I don't. Like I said, I must be some kind of oddball. Oh I did finally replace the recoil spring on my 19, after about 10k rounds.

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    I kind of agree with Mobius here. I have a 38 snubbie (det spec) and a couple kframes, 3 and 4 inch but my go to carry is a Ruger P345 DA/SA 45. Even in summer time wearing a t-shirt. 9rnds, a skosh smaller than a commander 1911. It rides very well in a canted IWB. For walks in the winter I slip it in my coat pocket and with one in the chamber, decocked, safety off it's as safe as a revolver. I wouldn't want to pack a glock or other hammerless auto with the trigger safety in my pocket.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mobius View Post
    I swear, I must be a total odd ball. I read a lot of these types of posts about searching for the right gun and the right holster and drawers full of holsters etc etc. My story is 180 degrees the opposite. When I first started carrying a gun, it was a Glock 19. I bought a factory Glock holster that I have to this day never used, but it was cheap. I bought one OWB holster so I could take some classes and because open carry was constitutional and when I got my CCW permit (in a different state) I bought one IWB holster for everyday carry. Since then I have added a second OWB holster with retention because the first one was a friction only and had zero retention. That's it. End of story. I carry the same G19 everyday. I compete with the same G19 that I carry. I prefer open carry for comfort and ease. So I carry with the "newer" retention holster which is also my competition holster. My philosophy on competition is that I want to be better with what I actually carry, not with some race gear. When I conceal it's that same IWB holster I bought when I first started. I carry the same gun every day and don't change it up.

    I do have other handguns that I could carry, but I don't. Like I said, I must be some kind of oddball. Oh I did finally replace the recoil spring on my 19, after about 10k rounds.
    It's interesting to me, that CC isn't much of an issue with you.

    I guess I have too many hang ups. I can't stand IWB holsters and snubbies make me wanna barf.

    A heavy gun hangs too low, or prints in a pocket, and a light one hurts to shoot.

    I have difficulty keeping most handguns concealed and doing it with only a T shirt seems impossible.

    I've arrived at a Small, but not Tiny Auto, and a 3" 38 volver, in hip holsters, and sometimes a Tiny Auto in a pocket holster. I'm happiest with the volver.

    There are more issues to CC that I haven't mentioned. If one does CC MOST of the time, which I think is prudent, it is IMO, an ongoing process.

    I will probably end up with a 45 ACP, something like SNYD mentioned in another thread.

    Smitty of the North
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    There are several things that are a must for CC. 1. It must be concealable. This means different things for different people but it has to be small enough to conceal yet big enough to shoot well. 2. It has to be light enough to not be a bother to carry yet heavy enough to hold and shoot well. 3.It has to be accessable. I won't carry in a pocket because there are too many other things in my pocket and it can be very difficult to access when sitting. I don't carry a purse so that's out. So, holsters. Shoulder holsters are cumbersome usually somewhat floppy and can be difficult to access at times. so, waist band in or out. 4. Comfort of carry. Inside wears holes in me, outside does as well but not as bad. Revolvers are thicker in the cylinder and lumpier than single stack autos. 5. It has to be reliable, point well and shoot well. It must fit my hand well and shoot where I'm looking without having to worry about sight alignment.
    That is a lot to ask for in one gun with many things being a compromise. There is no compromise on number 5. I'm not concerned about caliber too much as the ranges of self defense are short and a head shot at a few yards should be easy with a gun that fits you. The Springfield XDS fits the compromise parts well enough and is dead on with #5 for me. Currently there are a bunch autos in the same class as the XDS that would probably work as well but I have neither the time nor the money to find out.
    I went to SW and handled a bunch of small autos. The XDS fit my hand well and pointed where I was looking so I bought it. I have only fired 300/400 rds of hand loaded cast bullets through it but it has not malfunctioned yet and a 20yd head shot is easy. The plastic owb holster that came with the gun fits me well and holds the gun securely tight to my body and with good access. My search for a cc gun has been short. Maybe I was just lucky or maybe I'm not hard to please but I am happy with this rig.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smitty of the North View Post
    It's interesting to me, that CC isn't much of an issue with you.

    I guess I have too many hang ups. I can't stand IWB holsters and snubbies make me wanna barf.

    A heavy gun hangs too low, or prints in a pocket, and a light one hurts to shoot.

    I have difficulty keeping most handguns concealed and doing it with only a T shirt seems impossible.

    I've arrived at a Small, but not Tiny Auto, and a 3" 38 volver, in hip holsters, and sometimes a Tiny Auto in a pocket holster. I'm happiest with the volver.

    There are more issues to CC that I haven't mentioned. If one does CC MOST of the time, which I think is prudent, it is IMO, an ongoing process.

    I will probably end up with a 45 ACP, something like SNYD mentioned in another thread.

    Smitty of the North
    I put myself at about a 50/50 IWB vs OWB in the summertime and maybe 10/90 IWB vs OWB in winter. Unless I know I'm going somewhere that I don't really want to broadcast, I prefer open. Places like the malls etc, I'll CC. I use a N82 (pronounced Nate Squared) tactical pro holster for IWB. BTW, not a commercial because I know each person likes or values different things. This is just what works for me. What I like about it is that it's a hybrid holster that has plastic to keep it firm, but also has leather to form to me. What I love about it is the neoprene sandwiched between leather and suede. Suede touches the body. Neoprene gives cushion. Leather touches the gun. I don't feel "gun" when I wear it. What I don't like is that sometimes (and it's only sometimes) the belt clip looses and it doesn't stay canted the way I prefer. But that's rare. 2 belt clips might be more stable, but I honestly haven't found it to be a problem. There are a couple things that I've decided, whether true or not who knows, but I'm sticking to it. First, I'm a chunky guy. So I don't really like to tuck my shirt in anyway. So I tend to wear shirts that don't require tucking. That gives me some room to not have to worry too much about printing. I can wear a t-shirt over this rig and it's concealed. Second, unless it's super blatantly obvious, printing isn't really as a big a deal as we think. MOST people don't even notice you exist let alone that you are wearing clothes and very little chance they notice a bump under a shirt. If they do happen to snap out of zombie land long enough to notice the bump, most people's first thought isn't gun. So unless you are actively looking for a gun bump, 99% of people out there won't even bother. So a little printing isn't the end of the world. A perfectly silhouetted firearm under a skin tight shirt might cause some alarm.


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    Thanks Möbius:

    Have you ever tried what is called a "Pancake" holster??

    I have one for my PPK and it holds it really close to my body.

    It tends to be difficult to take on and off, depending on the placement of the belt loops on my britches, but its a pretty good choice.

    Smitty of the North
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smitty of the North View Post
    Thanks Möbius:

    Have you ever tried what is called a "Pancake" holster??

    I have one for my PPK and it holds it really close to my body.

    It tends to be difficult to take on and off, depending on the placement of the belt loops on my britches, but its a pretty good choice.

    Smitty of the North
    Yes, well sort of. The Glock factory holster is a pancake. It's a flexible polymer, but it is a pancake. The issue I have with them is that they are not as rigid on my belt as I like. Being a chunky guy (I'm not morbid, but I could stand to lose 20) my hip bulges cause the grip of the gun to angle oddly outward away from me. So it actually makes it worse for concealing. Also, I tend to swap between open and concealed carry a lot during the day. At my office we're not allowed to have firearms. But darned if I'm about to go into a store on the way home without one. So I like the ability to use a good quality paddle holster when I get to the car and just slip it on.

    The last thing that sold me on the 2 holsters I use is that the retention/draw mechanic is identical on both. They are only released by properly gripping the gun with a firm grip which causes the gun to rotate slightly in toward me. That releases the latch and the gun comes out clean. It's intuitive and I never really have to thing about my draw stroke. Which is why I use the OWB holster for my competition instead of a race holster with zero retention.

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