Best first handgun for CCW


January 20, 2003, 12:41 PM
is IMO the Kel Tec P32. Makes it really easy to abide by rule #1.
From there one can acquire bigger guns, but still have the little one for times when you can't have something bigger. Comments?

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Marko Kloos
January 20, 2003, 12:50 PM
The P32 is a fantastic niche gun. It's a great pocket and backup gun, but I wouldn't recommend it as an "only" gun, especially not to a first-time handgun owner. Its small size makes it harder to shoot well than a decent compact or full-sized handgun, and its caliber is not regarded as a first choice for a main defensive carry weapon.

As a second gun, it makes sense for people who want a sweatpants or backup gun. As a first gun, I'd look for something else first.

January 20, 2003, 01:17 PM
I agree with lendringser.

I wouldn't suggest a KelTec as a first time or only CCW.

SIG 239, Glock 26/19 (if you have already mastered the don't put your finger on the trigger rule), HK USP Compact, Smith revolvers, etc...

January 20, 2003, 02:06 PM
As said, I think that the Ket-Tec is good for its intended niche. However, I believe that niche to be deep cover.
For general utility CCW, I prefer something larger, with a more effective round. Kahr, S&W, Glock, and others provide more fitting options, IMHO.

January 20, 2003, 03:36 PM
And I would urge you to heed it! As far as a choice is concerned I would suggest a Glock 26 or a S&W J Frame. Good shooting:)

Greg L
January 20, 2003, 04:00 PM
For a first gun I wouldn't recomend a Kel Tec (I have/carry both the P-11 & P-32 so I'm not knocking the product). With the LOOONG trigger pull that they both have I would be worried if someone who learned on one of those picked up any other pistol. It seems like a ND waiting to happen. I know that I've come close after shooting one of them for a while and then pick up something else.

Something a bit bigger and more traditional would be my suggestion.


January 20, 2003, 04:31 PM
Guys, he didn't say first handgun. He said first handgun for CCW.

The first rule of a handgun as a CCW is that you carry the thing without the hassle and inconvenience turning you off from the whole schtick. In that vein, I agree on the P-32 under the presumption that it's not your first gun.

For a first gun ever owned that's also intended to become a CCW, I'd also agree on the P-32. That's because carrying is harder than shooting from an attitudinal perspective. Who's going to carry something they can't shoot? Doesn't make sense. Get a P-32, learn how to shoot it well, then move into carrying.

The P-32 is cheap, and sometimes ammo is too. If you learn to shoot a P-32 adequately at SD ranges of 7 yards or less, you've become proficient at most of what you need to know.

Looks like I agree with you all the way down the line, justice4all, and it really feels strange.... :D

January 20, 2003, 05:03 PM
Blackhawk, not sure why it's strange...

Others, note I didn't say the gun one should learn to shoot on, or the only handgun one should buy, or any such thing. My point is this: Someone has $250, has got a CWP, and is now looking for a piece to carry. Everything you guys suggested, there would be occassions where they couldn't carry a G19, Kahr, even J-frame. There's never a place where you can't carry a KTP32.

If you can only afford one gun, and want to always have a gun on you, then I say get a P32.

January 20, 2003, 05:04 PM
As long as we're clear this isn't your only handgun and that it's something you'll have with you when you leave the house (like your car keys & wallet), and works reliably for you, it's a good choice.

January 20, 2003, 05:09 PM
CCW pieces are extremely subjective. My first CCW piece was (and still is) a full size 1911. I can't shoot the nostril guns are well as I can my 1911. The good thing is that, for me, carrying a full size is not a hindrance. The only occasion that I couldn't carry my 1911 concealed would be in the shower or while at the gym.

January 20, 2003, 05:10 PM
Blackhawk, not sure why it's strange... Just a joke. Note the :D

You're surely going to change your mind in a little while. You won't be saying the P-32 is the best first handgun for CCW.

You'll be saying the P-3AT is! :D

January 20, 2003, 06:08 PM

I'm just glad I've had my P32 for a few years now, so I'll feel like I got my money's worth. I'm not sure I'd even buy one once the P3AT comes out.

I guess I'll be carrying 3 KT's soon, all at once, instead of just 2.

January 23, 2003, 10:40 AM
My S&W 642 absolutely disappears on my smallish frame, no matter if I'm wearing a t-shirt and jeans or shorts or slacks and button-down shirt. Plus, the concealed hammer makes it a breeze to draw. Another excellent choice, although not a concealable, is the Glock 26.

January 23, 2003, 06:20 PM
I'd suggest checking out the Sig p239. I own one and have spoke to several other with one and I can't say a negative word about the gun. You can pick from a 9mm, 40 S&W, or a 357 Sig. Great CCW gun, the DA pull is smooth and the SA pull is really nice. It conseals very easily. But every one is different.

January 23, 2003, 07:24 PM
Para LDA?

Thats what I think anyway.

January 23, 2003, 08:48 PM
I did a lot of research before settling on a first handgun. I intended it to be for CCW and wasn’t sure if/when I would be purchasing additional guns so this one had to be as much of a jack-of-all-trades as possible. I settled on a Walther P99.


Polymer frame/Tennifered slide. Makes the gun nearly impervious to normal wear and tear and cuts way down on the possibility of corrosion.

Ergonomics. Multiple back straps and very positive reviews on how almost everyone felt about the fit and feel in the hand.

DA/SA. Safety of long first pull, light SA and unlike the Glock or XD the ability to have a second strike without cycling the slide. Yes, I know that you should always do a tap-rack-bang after a failure but I like having as many things going for me as possible.

Flush decocker. Nothing exposed to snag on anything.

Mag release. The USP type lever works without having to move your hand from a firing grip.

Easy field strip. The gun is brain-dead simple to disassemble, clean and reassemble. If you had to you could do it one handed.

I went with the .40S&W to get a little more “umph” over a 9mm (since I’m in the PRK mag capacity .40 vs. 9 wasn’t an issue).

Is the Walther perfect? Nope. Every tool is a compromise in some way. I’m a bit more accurate and consistent with my XD-9, my USP 45 is a joy to shoot but too large to CCW. P22, fun but hardly a carry piece. The Springfield Ultra-Compact I picked up Sunday is a joy to handle and aim, the trigger is superb and conceals better than the P99, but it’s only 6+1 capacity.

El Tejon
January 23, 2003, 09:24 PM
Whatever pistol you like best.

January 23, 2003, 09:42 PM
Once I get out of California and have a carry permit, I plan to pack either my S&W 442 or my Glock 26, or both. I prefer a cartridge with more punch than the .32auto. For quick, reliable, all-weather, all-terrain, all-angle, all-ammo deployment, it's pretty hard to top the S&W Airweight line.

January 23, 2003, 10:19 PM
S&W J frame

January 23, 2003, 10:34 PM
Detective Special

Kahr carrier
January 25, 2003, 07:21 AM
NAA Guardian or Smith J frame.:)

January 26, 2003, 07:56 PM
I think buying your "back-up" first makes sense. It will get you into the habit of being armed all the time. Once you have developed the habit of carring, then move up to your primary defensive handgun.

January 28, 2003, 06:33 AM
I've carried a P32 for 3 full-time years. My lifestyle situation does not warrant being loaded down like a SWAT team member so the P32 was often my primary self-defense piece.

I also carry a Smith 340SC .357 mag but I don't feel it conceals well enough to take places where the P32 is "invisible."

For me, the P32 is an easy gun to carry and make effective hits with, drawing from the pocket. My personal requirements are to be able to draw rapidly from the pocket and put an entire magazine into a paper plate at 5-7 yards and, with practice, the P32 does this with ease.

It is a known fact that most armed encounters are within THREE FEET, LAST THREE SECONDS, and involve THREE SHOTS. With that in mind, drawing, acquiring target, and firing are paramount.

The P32, because of it's size and texture, can be whipped out a lot quicker than my J-frame.

I know my opinions go counter to many prevailing attitudes regarding self-defense but is what you think works best for your own particular situation.

January 29, 2003, 01:50 AM
My pick, Ruger Sp101 .357 rugged, well made and above all else very dependable:cool:

February 1, 2003, 11:49 AM
You can't beat a wheel gun for starters. Point, pull trigger, repeat as needed. Works every time.

February 1, 2003, 06:34 PM
Most people would say that a Revolver is a good starting point.

However, the DA revolver design is over 100 years old now.
Some shooters demand a semi-automatic for CCW. I have
to agree. We live in 2003, not 1933.

A perfect pistol for CCW is the PCR. Light, durable and very
safe, due to it's decocker design.

Will cost you a bit more than a 75B, but is designed for European POLICE duty and serves well in the USA for covert carry.

Same can be said for the CZ P-01, yet it has a blockier profile..
as the tactical rail is not really desirable for a CCW gun.

I carry mine with the M-3 attatched, but it is a quite bulky

In any event. don't overlook the CZ when you think of your
first CCW pistol.

February 1, 2003, 08:23 PM
I would say a S&W J frame in .38 special.

February 1, 2003, 11:15 PM
I'd add a Kahr K9 or K40 to that excellent list.......

February 3, 2003, 09:09 AM
For a period of three years, my trusty P32 was my primary and only concealed carry piece. Do I recommend that? No, not really but my lifestyle and situation were such that my P32 was adequate.

I've also carried wheelguns in pocket holsters and everyone of them felt like a lump of coal in my pants! In my particular situation, I didn't find snubbies particularly concealable. If you can feel comfortable carrying a snubby, that's pretty close to ideal for self-defense.

Whatever you carry, make sure you can shoot it accurately and handle it safely. Also, for all-day carry, weight AND size matter greatly.

The P32 worked very well for me. I could draw/acquire/fire with great quickness. Stopping power? How about 8 rounds, one after the other? I don't buy into the "one-shot-stop myth, unless, of course, you're toting a rifle around.

February 5, 2003, 06:26 PM
For CCW, my minimum caliber is 9mm in semi auto, 38 in revolver. Pick from any of the quality makes, Kahr, SIG, Glock, S&W etc. Buy lots of ammo and practice, practice, practice! Also get a good holster & belt.

Felonious Monk
February 5, 2003, 06:58 PM
I think buying your "back-up" first makes sense. It will get you into the habit of being armed all the time. Once you have developed the habit of carring, then move up to your primary defensive handgun.Amen, bro!
I bought the P11 first, and WISH I had bought the P32 first. As good/reliable/potent as the P11 is, there are just circumstances when I would NOT carry it.

Same with the J-frames and SP101. I LOVE my Ruger SP101 snubbie, but it's not a CCW...for me.

I would disagree that the P32 is a "nostril gun". Derringers and NAA mini-revolvers fit that characterization. Up to 11 rounds of Cor-Bon JHP or RBCD is potent enough in .32acp to neutralize a threat.

I started a thread a while back that I see a "gap" in revolver sizes, between the NAA mini and the small, light J-frames. While the Ti and Sc J-frames are LIGHT enough, it'd be nice to see a .32acp or .380 small enough to truly conceal, IMO.

The P-32 is a good first CCW.
Maybe not first GUN, but a good first CCW. First gun oughta be a J-Frame or SP101.

Ala Dan
February 5, 2003, 07:23 PM
Greeting's All,

Well, I'm sure there are a lot of different opinions out
there regarding the perfect CCW handgun. And,
I'm NO different cuz I have two in mind that I use on a
regular basis. Those two are: a) a Smith & Wesson J-
frame model 60 in .38 Special, with a 2" barrel and the
"R" serial prefix (1979-80 vintage) and b) a SIG-Sauer
.45 caliber P220A. These two work perfect for
me; easy to conceal, and RELIABLE as death and taxes.

Best Wishes,
Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member

February 5, 2003, 08:18 PM
I'm surprised it hasn't been mentioned yet, my personal favorite is the 9x18 MAKAROV. Small and reliable easy to handle and acurate. Only draw back I know of is the 8 round magazine and the ammo isn't everywhere. You pobably won't find it at wal mart but about any descent gun shop.

Oh yea, they can be purchased for under $200.

I am considerig a P32 for situations where discretion is important

February 6, 2003, 03:53 PM
How many folks have undertaking serious training with the handguns you recommend? Or are they paper punches.

After several different guns and a load of training, I settled on a Glock 19 if clothing allows. If it is a pocket gun - then a J frame.

I would gently suggest that a serious answer to the question implies some usage of the gun in training scenarios. Otherwise, it is just internet chatter.

Master Blaster
February 6, 2003, 04:09 PM
Snubbie Ruger sp-101, or a S&W in .357

You can always shoot .38 spl, no complex controls concealable.
concentrate on practicing draw trigger control and sight picture.

I can also snap shoot from the hip and hit the center of a B-2 (2 different b2 targets 5 feet apart at 10-15 ft distance with two shots each and a coupe de grace on the still moving one.)

Thats my recommendation.

after a year of weekly practice get a Glock G-26.


February 8, 2003, 02:07 PM
Every other gun that's been mentioned, there will be times when it gets left home, because it cannot be carried discretely. No such problem with the P32.

February 8, 2003, 02:45 PM
Once again, from the newbie: First are you an experienced shooter or new to this? If you are experienced, the its simple; get a concelable version of a gun you are used to shooting b/c there is now subsitute for being intimately familiar with you firearm. Or if you are new to this, then congrats...I would advise a hammerless, j-frame size revover(CIA or chiefs special) in .357 shoot .38 untill you get used to it and then load up. I say that b/c with a gun like that there is no "murphy" hammer to snag, no slide to jam, if it doesn't work pull trigger again. put laser grips on it and practice till it feels good. That is my opinion, for what it's worth. :cool:

Safety First
February 8, 2003, 11:16 PM
As noted by a few people before me the SIG is a great ccw gun..I have just purchased mine late last year and have no complaints.I did a lot of research and it was what worked best for me..It is slim,light,has a 8 rd mag,plus a 7 rd mag,but best of all I can shoot reasonably accurate with it. Oh yes,one other thing, I don't think anyone has ever questioned that it is reliable. So, check it out for your self... good luck...

Kahr carrier
February 9, 2003, 06:02 AM
S&W 649 J frame.:)

February 9, 2003, 06:24 AM
I picked a Kahr PM9. Easy for me to conceal, I'm not a very big guy, I couldn't conceal anything larger in warm weather. (In Memphis, it's warm 9 months out of the year or so).

February 9, 2003, 03:24 PM
The best CCW firearm is one you will carry. That may be different to the one that you want to carry. No firearm is going to do you any good in the glovebox.

May 7, 2009, 02:49 PM
I have to agree with master blaster. Although I use a S&W M&P 40. It serves me just fine

May 7, 2009, 05:00 PM
The first gun I bought for CCW was a S&W 642 and it is still my favorite CCW gun. HOWever, it simply didn't fit all situations perfectly as it was/is more bulky than I am comfortable with when I am at work and have to wear a suit (especially in the Summer).

For this reason, I bought a P32 and I have been very happy with it. I've practiced a good bit with it, and found it to be accurate and easy to shoot. And it is an 'anytime' gun. I can wear it no matter the situation - in church, at work, anywhere. Since I bought that gun I ALWAYS conceal/carry unless I'm going to court or my kid's school or something. If it's legal, I always have a gun on me now - no exceptions.

With that said, I still carry my 642 whenever possible. But you are correct, imo, that the P32 is a gun that can always be carried, and most guns are simply not that concealable. That is a HUGE plus for the P32.

May 8, 2009, 04:47 AM
Why in the world would someone bring back from the Abyss a thread that's over SIX YEARS OLD???
Seriously, this thread was started in late January of 2003!!

May 8, 2009, 08:28 AM
Someone's been messing with the virtual defib machine again =)

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