Category Archives: Equipment

Best Concealed Carry Guns

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punchWhen Violence Happens…

Ok, so if you have perused other areas of my site, you already know what I consider the best concealed carry guns available…that would be the gun you have on you when the bad guy shows up to do you harm like the guy in the video, right. No gun, no caliber, no size…nothing about a weapon will matter when the bad guy arrives if the gun is at home on the nightstand or in the center console of your vehicle. Now, we got that said. The gun ON YOU is the BEST gun.

But now let’s discuss what criteria you must consider prior to deciding which gun you will actually carry, day in and day out, in all kinds of weather and all manner of dress…even at the beach. What, you say? …bad guys go to the beach? Figure it out.

bulletarrayYou must first consider whether or not you understand enough about calibers in order to “feel” more secure with one versus another. Do you know enough to determine which caliber weapon you trust to “get the job done”.  If you know nothing about calibers, ask friends, family, spouse … or me.

One solution to this is to go to the local gun range, many ranges today have guns they rent so you can try them but realize this is not necessarily a speedy process because there are so many factors that can make significant differences. You must consider:

  • Caliber
  • Bullets
  • Gunpowder
  • Materals
  • Grip angle

And all of this BEFORE you consider conceal-ability and wear-ability.

Calibers

caliber-comparisonCaliber has to do with the size of the projectile, especially the width of the bullet. Just to illustrate, there are three categories of 9mm (diameter) ammo, two of which are shown above: the small .380 ACP on the right (aka: 380 Auto, 9mm Browning, 9mm Corto, 9mm Kurz, 9mm Short, 9×17mm and 9 mm Browning Court), the 9mm Makarov (aka: 9×18mm PM) and the most well-known 9mm Luger on the left. The differences between these three 9mm’s is 1mm in the length of the case. For further reading, see the Wikipedia article here.

Bullets

Hollow_PointsEven within the same caliber there are different bullets based on weight, shape, length and type. The image on the left shows four different bullets, all of which are hollow points. I say this to inform you of the fact that there are so many variables to consider, it’s important to work though these various considerations prior to purchasing a weapon, holster, etc. Using one caliber with one type of bullet may give you a very different shooting experience than using another…this is not to scare you but to caution you not to rush this process. Again, for further reading see the Wikipedia article here.

Gunpowder

Black_Powder_Close_UpThis is the substance that  burns within the round to create the pressure that forces the bullet to project down the barrel. Different rounds have different amounts of this powder and the amount is determined by the intended use of the round; hence, a self-defense round is different than a target round. Self-Defense rounds are specially made to stop upon impact and not penetrate beyond what they first hit, thereby minimizing the risk they will pass through your intended target and strike an innocent bystander. Never use a target load in your self-defense weapon. The manufacturers of ammo take all these things into consideration when they label their ammo. If you are confused, ask the counter person at the gun range  or gun store (regrettably, the counter person at the big box stores where they sell ammo rarely understand anything about this). More on this subject at Wikipedia, here.

Materials

Ruger LC9The easiest way to demonstrate the difference in materials is to show you one of the new “modern color” weapons. It is easy to see that the bottom of the gun (frame) is made of purple polymer (plastic) while the top of the gun is made of steel. You must take into consideration if the weapon is all steel, other metals (aluminum)or polymers (plastics)…these materials effect weight and recoil. It’s important to know so you don’t incorrectly judge one weapon over the other. What do I mean? Two handguns of the same caliber will recoil differently based on construction materials. You might like shooting an all steel Smith & Wesson  (S&W) but not like shooting the same caliber steel and polymer S&W. I was hoping to provide a reference to direct you to for further study but was unable to find one. If you know of one, please direct me to it in the comments section below.

Grip Angle

Luger P08 Ruger_P89_1

If you have ever handled a weapon, the first thing you notice is whether or not it fits “right in your hand” and this is perfectly normal. The width and feel of the gun is very important; however, that experience of it “fitting right in your hand” does not inform you as to how it will feel when you fire it. The angle of the grip, notice the different angle in the photos above, determines how much “felt recoil” you experience…whether it drives the recoil force “up and back” at the wrist or “straight back” into your arm. “Up and back” will normally put a lot of pressure on your wrist; whereas “straight back” will generally disperse the recoil into your more substantial forearm. So, for example, you might enjoy shooting a steel and polymer S&W but not like shooting the same caliber Ruger, or vice versa…they have different grip angles and this changes how much “felt recoil” you might experience.

Moving Right Along

So, why would I spend such a great amount of time on the above factors: caliber, bullets, gunpowder, materials and grip angle? The reason is I want to help you realize your decision to carry or not carry will usually be determined by you becoming convinced that the tool you use will indeed make you a more effective weapon. If you are not sure your gun will do when you press it into service, you will not bother to carry it…you must be totally convinced you have on you all that is necessary to accomplish your task. Getting these issues out of the way up front, I believe, will make deciding on the actual tool (gun) so much easier.

Once you decide on the caliber (and all the related issues pertaining), you can then start looking for the gun that fits your other needs. Choosing little or big is not the issue because these days you can get a little 45 Taurus Millennium Pro P145 (on the left below)

TaurusP145380Browning

or a big 380 Browning BDA (above right) The Taurus is under 21 ounces; while the Browning is just over 23 ounces…looking at the two pistols from the side you’d probably think the Browning is the larger caliber…so it’s easier, I think, to choose your caliber then figure out what gun will meet your conceal-ability and your wear-ability factors.

Guns Are Like Cars

Edsel
Ford Edsel
Aztek
Aztek
Ford_Pinto
Ford Pinto

Guns, to me, are similar to cars. If money is not the determining factor, we buy our cars not on what is really the best, whatever that means, but rather on how sexy they appear to us. I was astounded when the Pontiac Aztek was put in the same category of “ugly” cars as the Ford Pinto and the Ford Edsel…WHAT? There was absolutely no comparison.  I have owned two Pontiac Aztecs and loved both of them. If they still made Aztecs I’d buy one again in a heart beat. Of course, I like things that “look different”, are unique, but I also like comfort. The Aztek was exceptional, its drive was sporty, not Corvette sporty, but sporty. They had the comfort of a Buick Park Avenue and they were phenomenally versatile and not unreasonable on gas mileage. Great cars!!! But to others, they were the ugliest cars next only to Edsel, Pinto and Gremlins…go figure!

Visiting the Gun Store

When you go to get a gun there will be something in you that just “likes that one”. Whoever goes with you will “just like another one”…that’s the way it is with guns…that’s the way it is with cars.

You will “just like” one and not like the others as much. The one you “just like” will be a certain type of gun. Let me explain by using cars again.

volvo
Volvo
BMW
BMW

To me a Volvo is a very masculine vehicle and a BMW a very feminine vehicle; whereas, the Aztek was neither a masculine nor feminine vehicle, it was functional and I love functional. I wouldn’t want to drive a Volvo (older models that is, they’ve become more feminine since Ford took over their design several years ago) nor would I want to drive a BMW…I could stand a Mercedes but not a BMW. The Bentley and Rolls-Royce combine both the masculine and feminine in their vehicles…but both really are out of my league.

Nevertheless, to me it is the same with guns. There are firearms manufacturers who brilliantly combine both the masculine and the feminine in their design; normally though I consider them too expensive to carry on a daily basis…remember this, in the regrettable event of a self-defense shooting your weapon will be confiscated by the police. Recognizing this, I’ve put the limit I’m willing to have walk away at five hundred or under. But don’t be concerned for there are thousands of guns in the five hundred and below price range; for my money, the S&W M&P satisfies my likes and I’ve grown rather fond of the Springfield Armory SD models as well…but that’s just me. You have to do your own research and make your own decision. As they say in Latin, “De gustibus non in esputantes”…in matters of taste, there’s no dispute.

Summary

There are thousands of guns…big/little, lite/heavy, small caliber/large caliber…the possibilities are endless. You have to start somewhere, so I suggest you start first by ruling out caliber and all the factors I mentioned; then, start looking for what “tickles your fancy”.

Recently I read an interesting comment, the person said “Carrying a gun is comforting but not necessarily comfortable”, in the final analysis, you will buy what appeals to your sense of “sexy”…did I say that?

What do you think, would you start your gun purchasing process with a consideration of caliber or would you look first for conceal-ability and wear-ability? Give me your take on the subject.

 

 

 

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Best Caliber Handgun for Concealed Carry

Now we’ll see the sparks start flying! bulletsparksflyingIn the concealed carry community of gun owners there exists strongly held opinions. One swears by the venerable 45 and considers anything smaller simply a “mouse gun”; whereas, there are those who tout the effectiveness of the smaller weapons, stating simply “the 22 in your pocket is better then the 45 in your nightstand”. They make this claim based on fact…big caliber weapons are normally not as comfortable to carry nor as easy to hide.

So, what’s the truth? The truth is, in a manner of speaking, they are both right…and they are both wrong. The fact is that no handgun, as I’ve said elsewhere on this website, is fully capable of taking down a hostile, large, committed human being without delivering a direct heart or central nervous system (brain) shot. All other shots may wound, but will often give the hostile individual ample seconds to rain upon you significant injury, perhaps even death.

When I say, “all other shots”, I mean any shot that does not immediately drain your body of substantial blood volume/pressure or catastrophically unhinge the integrity your nervous system to function. Ugly thoughts, I know, but we’re not talking about baking a cake. We’re talking about someone killing you, your spouse, kids or parents.

Story in Point: A chiropractor several years back went into a McDonald’s with her aging parents and just before exiting her vehicle, she removed her concealed carry .357 magnum revolver from her hip holster because, at that time, Texas law made it illegal to concealed carry in restaurants. She watched as armed robbers entered the restaurant and in their killing spree, took the lives of both of her parents…while her weapon sat stored in her truck only twenty feet away. We’re talking about this kind of reality. Ugly, but regrettably happening in too many places in our once civilized nation.

So, again, only a rifle caliber is able to “take down the proverbial angry man”bulletrifle…handguns are not capable BUT they are better than nothing. What makes the difference? Some will tell you caliber, others training, others specific handguns…the possibilities are almost endless. I, of course, have an opinion and since you are still reading…I’ll share it with you.

I read an article published about a year ago of a study performed by a police officer working on his Master’s Degree in Criminology. He reviewed the findings of thousands of actual shootings…noting caliber, number of hits and eventual outcome of the shooting. When I read that article I didn’t have plans to develop this website, so please forgive me if I am not precise with his findings…I read it for my own benefit and here is what I remember.

Remember, a direct single brain or heart shot is deadly with any caliber. Aside from those, only two calibers were capable of enough force to effect our “angry man” with one shot, they were the 44 magnum and the 357 magnum.  ALL other calibers required more than one shot. The interesting part of his study was he graded the calibers. For example, in the actual shootings he would list the 22 as requiring two bullets (2.00), the .380 required 1.75 bullets, the 9 mm required 1.45 bullets, the 40 required 1.20 bullets and the 45 required 1.10 bullets (understand I made up the foregoing numbers, I didn’t remember the actual numbers but they do represent his findings in principle I believe). Again, here is what I learned, since there is no such thing as a bullet and a half (1.45), it is either one bullet or it is two bullets.

Now you might ask, “Why not just carry the 44 or 357 magnum?” Good question, I’m glad you asked. The reason why not is because a man can travel twenty-one feet in seconds and that means that if you miss the target on the first shot, by the time you bring the gun back into position to fire the next round, he can be all over you like “white on rice”. These two weapons have such substantial recoil that it was thought, in the regrettable event you would miss with your first shot, you could never accomplish a second.

The issue of recoil becomes a primary focus of our attention in choosing caliber. If a 22 requires two bullets (2.0) and a 45 requires two bullets (1.10) then a main consideration is which caliber will allow you to most easily bring the weapon back into service after shooting the first round. Well, the answer is easy, the 22 has amazingly less recoil then the 45…so if that is the only factor…we all should be carrying 22s, right? And if you are excellent shooting a 22 and you trust your 22, then that’s all YOU will need.

However, for me, that was not the only factor to consider. This is a personal, highly embarrassing admission: I, Papa Dave, actually stink at shooting small caliber guns. I’ve practiced with 22s, 25s, 380s, etc. and I just can’t seem to hit the target reliably…even close up…it’s pitiful ; however, put a 40 caliber or 45 in my hand and everything changes…I really don’t get it either. Even a 9mm is too light for my liking. So now I’ve presented you with another problem…how to resolve the issue of increased recoil, knowing that there is no doubt that the 40 caliber has more recoil then any 22 or 380 or even 9mm, yet finding some people, like me, are poorer shots with the smaller handgun calibers?

The Armed Americans Complete Concealed Carry Guide to Effective Self-Defense
The Armed Americans Complete Concealed Carry Guide to Effective Self-Defense

In my opinion, this then gets down to the issue of training. Those who find themselves perplexed with their inability to shoot well with the smaller calibers, thus automatically increasing their felt recoil, must train enough to decrease the negative impact of the larger caliber choice and hence, the reason I previously provided the review of The Armed American’s Complete Concealed Carry Guide to Effective Self-Defense.

The realities you must consider are caliber, conceal-ability, wear-ability, recoil, weapon trustworthiness and skill. You must be assured you can trust the weapon you will carry to accomplish the job you need done…first time, every time.

Hence, you have to be convinced that you can deliver the necessary rounds to the target area rapidly enough to overcome any aggression toward you. To me, a 22 is a good gun to buy me the time to get to my “real gun”, because the fact of the matter for me is that I trust my S&W M&P 40 caliber to deliver the force to stop the threat every time, first time, period.

What are your thoughts on this issue? I’d be interested to know.

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Concealed Carry Holster for Fat Guys

FATConcealed Carry has its challenges for everybody…no one is immune from the issues that arise; however, what would be a problem for one person is not necessarily a problem for another. There is a perception, perhaps most among those who carry extra weight, that there must be a best concealed carry holster for fat guys. Since most of us aren’t doing marathons like the guy in the picture on the left…we’re usually less active and less active usually means less exposure of the weapon. Speaking of running, I have a joke among the kids in my extended family, I ask them “What does it mean if you see Papa Dave running?” The answer they all respond is, “You’re out of ammo.”

Let’s be real, skinny guys FatNOTguyhave problems too trying to figure out where to position their guns. Consider this “poor” guy on the right, what will he do? Where the heck could he possibly hide anything larger than a handkerchief? You see, you’re not the only one with an issue with concealment…haven’t you ever considered why the military and police wear baggy battle fatigues, it’s to hide what’s concealed.

Nevertheless, while there is certainly an increase in girth among the heavier fellows, it doesn’t mean each one is going to face a great deal of difficulty when deciding to carry concealed. There are many variables to consider. Think about it, some people sweat a lot, but others hardly sweat at all…moisture rusts guns; hence, guys who sweat a lot have a problem to solve.

FatGuySome guys wear their belts over their belly, other wear it on the belly  and others wear it below the belly, sort like the guy to the left, if he were wearing a belt. Where you put your belt will affect the conceal-ability of the firearm. There are as many styles of dress as there are people; hence, some leave their shirts hanging out, others tucked in and there are those who wear tucked-in with a sweater, vest or jacket (again our friend at the right).

I’ve been concealed carrying for decades and I’m 305 lbs and just over 5″10″…can you get the picture (No! I am not in any of these pictures)?  When individuals first consider concealed carry, they fall into an almost paranoia that others will see their weapon, and a reasonable amount of concern is justified. But the fact is, people are not looking for your weapon and unless you are wearing something that forces the outline of the gun to stand out, called “printing” it probably will never be observed. Now, you have to consider what clothes do when moving; hence, if your weapon is barely covered by a shirt and you bend over, you’ve got problems.

You’re probably thinking I’m just rambling without an answer to the dilemma FatGuyScaleof the Best Concealed Carry Holster for fat guys, and if you thought that, you’d be wrong…ask my wife, I always have an opinion. Due to our natural girth, which already extends further from our center point than others, we have to be careful not to disrupt the natural side silhouette of the body…that space between the body and our arms…can you see the space in the photo to the right? No, but if his arms were down you might…NOT! You can’t have daylight shinning through one side and not the other…people might wonder what is causing the difference; but consider this, most people wear cellphones today, therefore the majority of people might just categorize it in their mind as a cellphone.

Now To Actual Holsters

DeSantis E-Gat
E-Gat

Personally as a “fat guy”, I would not use an on the waistband (OWB) holster unless it was made specifically to draw the butt of the gun in towards the body, such as the DeSantis E-Gat design which has a belt loop on the body of the holster and a posterior loop that draws the grip of the gun in towards the body.

My preference, instead, would be an inside the waistband (IWB) holster, minimalist in design. There are many clips that are made to fasten directly on the gun and become part of it; however, in my experience, they are normally sold for the smaller sized .380 – 9 mm guns. While I once purchase one, I sold the gun before installing it (which I believe is a rather straight-forward process).

VersaCarry
Versa Carry

A simple clip-like design but more substantial and separate from the weapon itself, is the VersaCarry, as seen above, is a plastic unit that drops down inside the pant line with a plug onto which the barrel of the gun sits. I use one of these attached to a mattress plate to hold my “night-time” weapon close at hand.

DeSantisSofTuckRevolverOn my person, I prefer a holster with enough material-weight to put a barrier between the gun and my body so as to minimize discomfort, perspiration and possible chaff, such as the DeSantis Sof-tuck, a holster I’ve mentioned on other pages on the website. This model holster fitted, of course, to my particular carry weapon is the holster I use ninety-percent of the time.

Then there is the inside the pocket (ITP) holster that may be a good possibility keeping in mind the limitations of caliber and accessibility that such a holster presents. I believe I

PocketPants
GUNizer

have references and links to this type of holster under the category “Holsters By Type” but I’ll reference another, the GUNizer, here for your convenience.

What do I think about crossdraw, small of the back and shoulder holsters for fat guys. I’d summarize in the words of a little green creature promoting a product on a tv ad, that says: “Forget it!”

FatGuyShldrSince there is a physical girth protruding anteriorly (up front), one would have to overcome that dimension in order to reach both the crossdraw and the shoulder holster…shoulder holsters are sexy…we think of Don Johnson in Miami Vice right? Well, I’ve tried the shoulder holster and it was anything but sexy. The weapon actually fell back so far under the arm that, to be frank, I couldn’t reach across my stomach and chest far enough to get a proper purchase on the weapon in order to make its use safe for me and others.

I’ve never tried a crossdraw but to me, the gun would sit in front, just as it is in the picture above left, of what is already protruding and way too much in view for my taste.

UPDATE: Recently I read an article in the Concealed Carry magazine discussing crossdraw holsters and I considered I might be wrong…huh?  Literally last night I took my blackhawk holster for my S&W M&P Shield and reconfigured the belt loop to the other side, placing the holster just left of my belt buckle almost horizontal with the belt…I could comfortably place my hand on the grip without issue. I then practiced the author’s technique of bring the weak hand over to meet the drawing hand, both hands then direct the weapon forward…surprised!!! It worked and without a major sweep horizontally but rather almost swiftly directing the weapon at the target. While Amazon does not offer the holster I utilized, it is available from the manufacturer, it is the Blackhawk Standard A.R.C. IWB Holster.

Here is a photo:

Finally, the small of the back holster (SOB). While I’ve never tried one, I can’t imagine trying to sit against a chair with a gun in the center of my back against my spine. In addition, the process of drawing the gun has its barrel sweep over one’s buttock, back, posterior thigh then around past anything to one’s side before bringing it into a position next to the body…I am NOT an expert, I’m a gun carrying enthusiast grandfather…but to me, knowing what I know about how the body reacts to stress, I wouldn’t want to risk my butt (literally) getting shot while I was trying to bring my gun into a firing position.  I am so convinced that the last three holsters are NOT the way to go for a “fat guy”, you’ll notice I have not provided any brands or links…enuf said!

When I substitute-taught high school years ago at a boys correctional school, I used to finish each class with the remark: Are there any thoughts, questions, comments or threats? Well, whether you like the ad above or not, leave your comments.

Papa Dave

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