Posted: 11/25/2003 6:38:55 PM EDT
Noticed today that I am in my tenth year of carrying concealed and thought I'd post what I have learned. Not trying to set myself up as Mr. Know It All, rather just what one average guy went through over the years. If my conclusions differ from yours, that's because mine were right for me and yours are fine for you.
Years 1-3: John Brown's Handgun lies awaiting in my holster
My first carry gun was full-size .45 ACP Government Model. I could only afford a Norinco, but it was a solid gun once it got over the habit of throwing its front sight. In fact when I was shooting my qualifying course to get my CCW was one of the times the gun went bang, the muzzle flipped up, and the front sight arced over my left shoulder, bound for points west. I shot the remainder of the course doing as best I could and did well enough to pass.
After 1.5 years, I tired of the weight of the full 5-inch Gov't Model. Saving my $$$ I was able to get a Springfield Arms Champion, which was a stainless steel 1911 with a 4.5" barrel and full frame. (Bbl may be off as it was a while back). The shorter barrel also paid off in that the .45 didn't print as easy. I found with a forward tilt holster the 1911 nudged my rear pocket out a skoosh with its muzzle.
I tried a Browning HP briefly as it was even more concealable than the Springfield, but back then I was stuck on the .45ACP and never got comfortable with the 9mm. (Hey, I was young.) I remember thinking the Browning HP in 40 S&W seemed awfully tempting.
After three years of 1911 and other single-action carry pieces, though, I decided to try another pistol. The reasons were threefold: first, the 1911 and HP had those hammers which loved to snag/tear clothes and occasionally gouge me. Second, I was concerned about liability. Now you know and I know that a cocked and locked 1911 or HP is perfectly safe. But would a jury believe or think I was carrying a "dangerous handgun of poor design." Yes, that's absurd, but jurors are not always knowledgable about pistols and neither are all lawyers. Third, a few times as I was removing the holster at the end of the day, I'd find the safety had been swiped off during my normal activities.
Years 4-7: The Italian Job, eventually
After deciding the 1911 and HP had their drawbacks, I become interested in DA/SA concept. Of course I was still enamored of the .45ACP as it's a great cartridge, so it was off to a S&W 4516. Yet, try though I might I could never get decent with that pistol. Plus the safety goes up, not down?!
And mine would jam periodically, not what you want in a carry gun.
So I strayed from .45 and went to 9mm in the Beretta 92FS. Yes, it's a large gun, but I am tall enough that I can pack it and conceal it with a modest effort. Took a long time, but I finally got accurate with it. The gun has never misfed or jammed or failed to feed even to this day. Difficult to shoot one-handed, though. A fairly ocmfortable gun to carry, no sharp edges or cocked hammers.
Years 7-present: I fall for Tactical Tupperware
I was plinking down at the range. I swapped pistols with a guy who wanted to try a Beretta, so to be polite I shot his Glock. Two days later I own a Glock 21. Yes, back in the land of .45 ACP. Larger than a breadbox to pack though. So after six months (the mini-Glocks weren't out yet) I buy a Glock 23. The 23 fits my hand like a dream; goes bang every time, easy to fieldstrip, plenty accurate, most comfortable gun I've ever carried as it's light and has zip sharp edges. I like the 40 S&W cartridge.
But the siren call of the Beretta continues as does the benefit of that heavy DA trigger then lighter SA. So I am dinking around with a Beretta 96 Vertec. Not ready to commit as it's had three FTE in 300 rounds and the Glock has had...zero in about a zillion rounds. So it would take a lot for the Vertec to displace my Glock. Once this faceoff ends, I'll start paring down my gunsafe's contents and stick with one handgun design for carry purposes.
I tried a few other handguns. A Taurus 85CH, which I opted not to use as I didn't like the two-finger grip. I keep this .38 snubbie as a winter jacket pocket gun, though. A Kel-Tec P-32 was a jam-a-matic, plus .32ACP is not enough gun for me. A .44 Spl from S&W was too bulky and not enough rounds for its size. An S&W .357 in 4-inch barrel remains my woods gun.
Tried 'em all. Paddles, small of the back, fanny packs, shoulder, but for me the best is an inside the waist band worn at 9 o'clock (I'm a lefty). For all my guns its an IWB, open top, with a forward tilt.
And that's my story; what's yours?
I've been the proud carrier of my CCW for 5 years. (Not a very long time, but not too bad considering I just turned 24 yo)
In my neck of the woods you have to "wait" until you're 18 to get a CCW. Pretty sad that they'll let you have a CCW but you have to wait 3 years to purchase a pistol yourself. LOL! That should illustrate the difference between state vs. federal perception of the world.
Anyway. I have carried a pistol regularly since I was 16. (No, not at school) When I was 12 my old man gave me a Star Model PS. It's a variant of the 1911 but does not have a grip safety which I happen to prefer. By saying my Dad "gave" me the 45 I don't mean as in, "Here son this is your pistol. Let me know when you want me to get it out of the safe for you to shoot it." He said, "Here this can be yours now. Make sure none of your dipshit friends get a hold of it." I hid that pistol from not only my friends but even my Uncle when he would come to visit. BTW: My Uncle puts the "Nut" in GUN-NUT.
Anyway, my Dad had himself a Glock 23. And I sure took a shine to that little gun. When I was 15 he bought me my first Glock, a 23. For some reason, and I'm sure it was all in my head, shooting my Dad's 23 was much smoother and delivered less snap than shooting my 23. I ended up not liking to shoot the 23. So I traded it off and got something with a little less snap...A Glock 21 in 45 ACP.
Man that was a fine weapon but as stated above, the 21 isn't easy to conceal unless large framed. I now have the correct frame for that pistol but sadly it is not with me any more. "The only interesting guns are accurate" and I've gotten rid of plenty of interesting guns in my life. This G21 was one of them.
So to keep with my affection for the simplicity of the Glock, my appreciation of the 40 S&W round, and keeping in mind the bad voodoo that I had experienced with the model 23, I set out and got into a G22. For me, that's the winner.
My carry G22 has 15 rds of potent 165 grn 40 S&W Hydra-Shoks to back me with and sports a nice set of Trijicon NS. It fits my hand like a good woman and when I draw it out I know I'm gonna nail something hard and fast.
I don't dink around with other models or calibers now. I do have a G19 but the 9mm just doesn't sing soothing thoughts to me as I carry it. I won't part with my G19 as it was the first pistol I used in USPSA competition and it served me well on cardboard. My G19 is always there as an option but it's just not on my hip.
I'm a south paw myself and so finding carry gear has always been a pain. I do have and ITWB kydex holster that a fella out of Arizona made me. It's nice but my wardrobe doesn't permit me to carry ITWB. So I just use a FOBUS paddle holster with matching double mag carrier. When I get to work, I take it off and put it in my desk drawer. The FOBUS paddle serves my purpose well and I also use this same holster and gear with my competition G22 in "Production Division" during my USPSA shoots.
I don't profess to know it all either but I'd have to say flinterfan, you been doing good on your trials. That is until IMHO, you picked up a Vertec...In the end I hope you make the right choice for yourself.
Only had my CCW for 2 years now. I put together a custom Beretta 92g Elite II. The only thing I changed recently was the holster. I went from an Improved Baker Milt Sparks holster, to a Lou Alessi ACP/s black sharkskin holster. Changed belt widths for comfort and looks.
Never had a problem concealing it. Always been comfortable. As my skill increases in shooting, I'm moving towards 45acp though. I'm moving to a full house custom 1911 built from the ground up by some hand picked 'smiths.
The 1911 will be thinner and overall smaller than the Beretta. Plus I prefer the SA only, cocked and locked carry. The gun won't be done any time soon though.
Long time shooter, short time CCW. I love my Beretta 92FS and I can conceal it with a belly band worn high, just under my chest, it not always easy and I have to be very concious about reaching & streching etc.
I want a handgun that I can also take with me hiking in case I run into any black bears or other wild critters that may want to do me harm while and 9mm just dosen't hack it for that. I also want a handgun that is easier to conceal and corrosion resistant (I'll be sweating in the summer when hiking).
So I am reluctantly selling the Beretta and will replace it with a 10mm Glock 29.
I am beginning to agree with you. Mastering the Vertec has been a trial and so far the Vertec's winning. Thank god I just shelled out for an IWB from Kramer for it!
A Beretta 92 in a belly band...wow. I know I couldn't pull that one off.
Meanwhile, I find myself carrying my Colt Gov't Model now these days. A 1911 is just so darn easy to conceal, plus it's the gun I shoot the best. I may throw an ambi safety on sweetie's Kimber Pro Carry II and commandeer it or get Kimber of my own.
I have had my permit for about 6 months, was carrying a cz75 in 9mm shoulder holster, didnt care for it, now I have a G21 I carry in a paddle holster for right now.
Beretta 92FS cocked and locked IWB at about a 4 o'clock position. I'm thinking about replacing it with an ultralight Springfield Compact 1911, but that's a bit down the road as I'm more poor than dirt right now.
Edit: I've only been carrying a year, so far.
This thread is starting to look like a southpaw convention. I'm afflicted with lefthandedness too.
After 23+ years as a city cop & a deputy, I have tried quite a few handguns, from the S&W 66 that was my first duty gun to the present. I have now pared my concealment pieces to:
Custom Springfield Armory LW .45
Glock 27 (On-duty for plainclothes)
The .45 & the Glock ride in Milt Sparks Executive Companion IWB holsters on a Sparks belt. The Kahr mostly rides in a DeSantis ankle rig as a backup gun on-duty (and off-duty when I can't conceal an IWB holster). The Kel-Tec is in a DeSantis Nemesis pocket holster as a backup to the Kahr when it is my primary gun.
So far, no one has spotted any of the guns, or at least they didn't mention it if they did.
Sounds like you went through the same process of expermentation that I did.....
Going on 11 years for me. I cant even begin to list all the guns I have tried/carried. After much trial and error, and experimenation, 1911's are for me. My Kimber TLE/RL, and BP Ten II area serving me quite well. Just added a Pro BP Ten II today to the mix. Galco holsters (and a few Eagle High Ride Body Guard holsters) have been my mainstay, but I am about to try out some Blade Techs.
What's interesting to me is that we 1911 guys always seem to come back to Old Slabsides, eventually.
Wish I could have figured that out, say, oh, 9 years ago. Sure would ahve saved my self a lot of headache, and a FORTUNE in $$.
I started with a S&W M37 in an Uncle Mike's Pockey Holster, it still isn't a bad choice. I heard the call of a Government Model 1911A1. I can carry a 1911 but I find them too large and too heavy.
Next, I went to a BHP, like the 1911 you need a good IWB holster and both of these weapons are about the same size. Glocks were tried and then I found my S&W M457. This is a great carry weapon at a good price but my intent was to carry a 45acp in the cold and a 9mm in warm weather.
I went with a custom Kahr 9mm for a while until I decided on a 40 S&W for both seasons. I carried a custom Kahr K40 for a year but I have now decided a $1000 pistol is too expensive to leave in a car.
My current solution is a $250 Bersa Thunder 45; this pistol is inexpensive, accurate, reliable, and about the same size as my S&W M457. An interesting point is I can even use my M457 Alessi Hard Shell Talon holster with it.
I found the BHP to be easier to conceal than my Gov't Model 1911's, but about the same as the Commander-sized Springfield Champion. I agree that it fits great in an IWB. I know some have had trouble with the BHP's supposedly small safety, but I never did. Big thumbs for me, I guess...
... It will be ten years for me next month too. In Arizona it's almost always too warm to wear an jacket so concealment is a bit more tricky than in a cooler climate.
... I love my 1911's but almost exclusive carry a Glock 27, even though I dislike Glocks.