Help me pick my "primary" CCW


Alan Fud
April 7, 2003, 09:04 AM
Before this thread turns into recommendations for everything under the sun, let me say that I am not planning on purchasing a new firearm. I already own a number of CCW's (.357 J-frame snubbies from both Taurus and S&W; as well as a number of compact & sub-compact pistols in 9mm, .40S&W, .45ACP in both single and double stack configurations).

Instead, I'm asking which gun, of the firearms that I already own, should be my preferred CCW? For the past few years, my primary CCW has been the eight round Smith & Wesson 3913TSW in 9mm because I felt that it was accurate & reliable and the right size (not too big and not too small) ...
... However, several months ago I began to swtich over to the eight round Para-Ordnance C7.45LDA in .45ACP. It's basicly the same size as the 3913TSW but in .45ACP instead of 9mm and since the C7.45LDA is all steel, it helps absorb the recoil and I can shoot it about as accurately as the 3913TSW which has an alloy frame.

However, recently I've come across a few thread here (see this one ( as one example) which seem to suggest that eight rounds of 9mm might serve me better than eight rounds of .45ACP!

This is basicly a .45ACP vs 9mm question but I am curious what members think and whether I would be better armed with my Para-Ordnance C7.45LDA (eight rounds of .45ACP) or my Smith & Wesson 3913TSW (eight rounds of 9mm)? Thanks in advance, ( » ( «
Alligator Al: Share What You Know & Learn What You Don't.

If you enjoyed reading about "Help me pick my "primary" CCW" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
April 7, 2003, 10:37 AM
so take my vote with a grain of salt.

I chose the 3913 simply because I have never heard a bad thing uttered about one. Everybody I know who owns one loves them and I have even heard their quality and trigger compared to.....GASP...a SIG. Now that's just crazy talk as far as I am concerned but what do I know.:D The 3913s I have handled were very nice.

On the contrary I have heard so many negative comments about the offerings from PARA that I personally would not trust one with my life. I would much prefer a "real" 1911 made by Springfield, Colt, Kimber etc. The PARAs that I have handled seem nice enought in the hand but are too much money for me to try because of all the bad press I have heard.

I am not trashing either of your guns nor do I really have a leg to stand on as far as actual shooting time with either. I am only going by my word of mouth knowledge and handling experience.

Oh yeah I am a .45 guy at heart so I did not suggest the 3913 because of the caliber.

April 7, 2003, 11:31 AM
Which one can you shoot more comfortably & more effectively? I'd go w/ the one I'd feel more confident with ;)

April 7, 2003, 12:12 PM
I really like the Para Ordnance as far as Double action goes.

I have no experience with that particular S&W.

April 7, 2003, 06:22 PM
I shot a Para Ordinance LDA at the range one time. They are super sweet.

If your like me on guns your kind of fickle anyway.

April 7, 2003, 06:47 PM
Is your .45 ACP 100% reliable with JHP's? If it is then that's what I'd carry, and never look back.

I have more confidence in a .45 caliber loaded with 230 gr. JHP's. I also shoot it better than my 9mm. Both calibers are good for self defense, but don't believe for a minute that the 9mm will serve you better.

April 7, 2003, 07:05 PM
Carry them both.:rolleyes:

April 7, 2003, 09:46 PM
Two things to consider here, since basically this is a variation of the old 9MM vs. 45ACP theme.

1. Check out the discussion at the Ammolab forum on caliber selection. The difference between the two with premium SD ammo is practically nil.

2. The 45ACP is a subsonic round, and the dropoff in velocity from a sub 4" barrel is much more dramatic than with the 9MM.

Given those two considerations, I would stick with the 3913 and some +P 124 gr loads.

April 8, 2003, 01:26 AM
If you aren't putting at least 100 rds a week end thru one of those pistols, I mean training with them, not target shooting, I mean TRAINING with one of them on a regular and extensive basis, then it doesn't matter which one you carry because you aren't going to get it out and on target in time anyway.

Dave Williams
April 8, 2003, 02:15 AM
I personally cannot fathom how small bullets are better than big bullets. We train, buy good carry gear, research defense issues, all things done to give ourselves every little edge in a fight. And then we consciously choose small bullets? Not me.


April 8, 2003, 08:17 AM
Simple science....two different means to the same end.
If you want to damage a wall...solid brick 10 feet high and 3 feet the end of a 5 mile straight away....

1) Do you choose a Ferrari GTB308 that weighs 3400 lbs that hits the wall at 190 mph?

2) Do you choose a Kenworth that weighs 12000 lbs that hits the wall at 98 mph?

Both hurt the wall.....both are FUBAR when done.....
Different means same end.......

Shoot well......

PS...Id gladly carry either.

April 8, 2003, 09:25 AM
S&W 3913 w/124 gr. GDHPs; absolutely one of the best CCWs; when the SHTF, this one will go bang!

April 8, 2003, 11:13 AM
Which one do you shoot better? :scrutiny:

April 8, 2003, 12:16 PM
Which one I shoot better is not as important as which one will work for the guy carrying it. For a CCW, reliability is a more critical criteria than accuracy, and Mr. Fud said that he had owned the 3913 for a few years, and had the P/A LDA for a few months; for a carry gun, I would be more comfortable with the gun I had owned and practiced with the longest, and the 3913 has a proven track record for reliability.

April 8, 2003, 01:08 PM
I picked the LDA b/c I like a 1911ish platform and can't stand that line of S&Ws.

As far as ammo...


And don't forget...



Country Boy
April 8, 2003, 03:15 PM
You're an intelligent guy, do a little research. I'm kind of surprised at a "newbie" kind of question from you. No flame, just surprised. Which do YOU shoot better? Which gun is more reliable? Which cartridge are you more comfortable with?

Personally, I would go with a .45, because they come "pre-expanded" :cool:

April 8, 2003, 03:23 PM
Make the decision by saying this to yourself..

'inny minny miny mo'


April 8, 2003, 04:34 PM
Mr. Maddogkiller raised the best argument on this thread, in that you have to train with the gun you carry, and because 9mm ammo is cheaper than .45 ACP, you are likely to train more with a 9mm vs. a .45 ACP. Because of the fact that there is a lot of good 9mm defensive ammo available these days, I think the 3913 would work.

Alan Fud
April 8, 2003, 04:51 PM
Country Boy, After a few initial hic-ups during the first 200 rounds, the Para has been running flawless -- 500+ rounds. I've attributed those early malfunctions to the break-in period.

At 50 feet (the eyes aren't what they use to be and the days when I could put a bullet in the middle of the "X" at 25 yards are long gone), I'm able to shoot both of them equally well. The Para has more of a kick because of the larger caliber but it is also all steel and heavier that the 3913 (which has an alloy frame) and that added weight absorbs the heavier recoil rather well.

Consequentially, I would rate the accuracy & reliablity of both guns about equal. If there is a difference, then it is too small to be accurately measured.

That brings it down to the effectiveness of the 9mm VS the .45ACP. I have always been of the belief that the .45ACP was superior to the 9mm which is why I purchased the Para in the first place -- it was ABOUT the same size and overall shape of my 3913 making concealment with either one about the same.

However, as I stated in my opening post, I have read a number of things which seems to indicate that the 9mm MIGHT be superior to the .45ACP. This is an area that I have no personal experience in -- I've spend the past two decades putting little holes in paper (target shooting) ... I have never shot anyone nor have I been shot.

It may seem like a "newbie" question but even so-called "experts" disagree on the effectiveness of the .45ACP vs the 9mm and I'm interested in getting input from other members regarding these two choices.

As I said initially, these are my two "preferred" CCW's. If deeper concealment is required, I'll carry a J-frame or if circrumstances permit, I'll carry ten rounds of .40S&W in a compact pistol. But under MOST circumstances, it would be either the C7.45LDA or the 3913TSW.

Given that accuracy & reliability is ABOUT the same or the difference too small to be objectively measured, would you go with eight rounds of .45ACP or eight rounds of 9mm?

Alan Fud

PS: Thanks to all that have replied.

April 8, 2003, 08:11 PM
I carry a concealed Para C7.45 Companion daily but I am familiar with the Smith.

They are almost the same size but the Para is much heavier. I don't find that a drawback for carrying but the weight does damp the recoil and the overall balance doesn't change as much when the magazine runs empty, due to the steel frame.

The Para's safety is much easier to quickly disengage on the thumb downstroke than the Smith is due to the Smith's need to be thumbed forward AND up. The Para comes naturally but the Smith takes work and practise.

Most defensive presentations stop the aggression without the need to fire. At least according to the information that I've read. I'd guess the "Colt 45" appearance may be something of a deterrence, as may be the damned big hole in the end of the barrel.

And, when all else is said and done,..........the Para has the best darned trigger I've ever felt! It's the trigger that convinced me to pitch my Sig 225 (at least for daily carry) and buy an LDA. The trigger tips the balance for me.

April 9, 2003, 05:28 PM
Well, the only real experts I think whose advice is worth a damn are over in Iraq and Afghan sneaking around and killing people. Given most of them utilize the .45 ACP, I suppose I would too, if I were able to handle the weapon with two hands or ONE hand.

Seeing as how I can't reliably shoot with one hand from the only .45 I have worked with in a size I would carry, I dropped to the .40S&W.... But I were able, .45... most firefights occur at 15 to twenty feet or less anyway... and the longest shot anyone here is reasonbly going to make is about 50yards. After that, few people have the cool and nerve to shoot steady from any position.

April 9, 2003, 06:05 PM
If I had to choose CCW among those choices, I would take the j frame. If one gun is all you can carry than take a revolver.

April 9, 2003, 08:35 PM
They may look similar in size but I would guess the smith is about 10 ounces lighter....big big difference in my book for all day carry...and the 3913 is one of the most underated guns I know....wish I had one but can't justify another 9....and I have too much leather for my P7...

Alan Fud
April 9, 2003, 11:52 PM
Posted by Serpico: ... the 3913 is one of the most underated guns I know ... I know first hand how good of a pistol the 3913 is -- which is why I own three of them ...
... but do eight 9mm's beat eight .45ACP's in a compact gun?

Country Boy
April 10, 2003, 09:02 AM
Alan- I'd still have to go with a .45, although with modern ammo, I would feel very comfortable with a 9mm. I own and shoot both, and carried a 9mm for a while before I switched to a .45. I'm just more comfortable with the larger round. When shooting steel plates, the .45 made a more resounding "dong" than the 9mm. Good luck.

April 10, 2003, 04:21 PM
Alan...When I see someone with 3, I feel silly not having at least to the store....well, the grocery store anyway...

April 12, 2003, 11:44 PM
Someone on this board, and I think it is someone that has posted on this thread sent me an email and I deleted it before I realized that it wasn't spam.

If you still want to communicate with me, resend and I will look more carefully next time.

Jeepin' Lawyer
April 14, 2003, 02:05 PM
I had to go w/ the .45.

Love the LDA trigger.

April 14, 2003, 04:16 PM
At first I was avoiding posting here because my first thought was that you were trying to start trouble but you may just be sincere (at least in an "academic" way trying to see people's choices and rationale) so here is my take on this.

Two similar sized guns, no capacity advantage to the 9mm due to same number of rounds. I still don't see it as clear cut one way or the other.

Both are very capable calibers. I think all the major calibers (9mm and up for auto calibers) in quality premium defensive loadings are very similar in capability. Yes, there may be small differences, but are the small differences outweighed by other considerations? Maybe. It is true that 9mm may have a power advantage over .45acp in the smallest barrels since the .45 drops off faster out of small barrels and 9mm doesn't need much barrel length to achieve its top power. However, your two choices are long enough I don't think that is a factor, and without that the .45 (again assuming good defensive ammo) has a slight advantage (for the major advantage of the old reputation you need to use ball ammo which isn't well suited to self defense anyway)- but again that is only in power.

Other considerations I think can make the real difference.

As you know, while it is valuable to practice your accuracy generally the most valuable practice and training is the training you do with the gun you actually use for self defense. Unless you are rich or reload most people can afford to do a lot more practice with the 9mm. If you can't afford to practice as much (or very close to it) with the .45acp then you should consider staying with the 9mm.

Weight? The LDA is heavier (probably significantly so). Are you sure you are comfortable with its weight? Would it affect your carry style, carry location, or even how often you'd carry your main gun?

Familiarity. Which are you more familiar with? In this case, since you've had the 3913 for some time, and you have three of them:what: , that has the clear advantage here. If you want to use the LDA I would keep using the 3913 for a while and get a few months more practice w/ the LDA first.

Manual of arms (related to above). These two are very different and to top it off you occasionally use a snub as well. The LDA has a light enough trigger that, just like a SA, I would never consider using it without the safety. Do you use the safety on the 3913 or do you decock it and use the long DA first trigger pull as your safety (point and shoot)? Either way the transition to the LDA could get you in trouble in a self defense situation. The safeties work in opposite directions so you could find yourself trying to push the safety in the wrong direction to disengage it in a high stress SD situation (even with a lot of practice you still have, what, years of practice with the other system to overcome and the chance of reverting to that under stress is there). If you are used to point and shoot (if you decock and then disengage the safety in the S&W) then you may end up forgetting to disengage the safety in a high stress defensive situation (again, even with a lot of practice with the new system there is the chance of reverting to the old system under stress). Also, the point and shoot option on the S&W is especially valuable since you sometimes switch off to a snub (the same manual of arms is a very valuable characteristic).

Reliability? Since you've had about 500 good rounds out of the LDA but some trouble in the first 200 it is up to you. 500 is pretty good w/out a hiccup. However, compared to what in the S&W, how many rounds w/out a hiccup? I do know the S&W is generally more reliable, but once you have the gun each one is different and your LDA may be great.

Which platform do you prefer? I love 1911s but I also love S&W autos (they have grown on me and I can't wait to get one). Which do you like better? We see which you are more familiar with, but caliber independent would you still be thinking about switching? If yes, train and develop the LDA familiarity and switch (assuming the other criteria I've mentioned point that way). If no, then you may want to stay w/ the 3913.

To me the number one criteria here are (in order): reliability, whether you can afford to practice enough with the .45, which platform you are most used to and keeping as consistent as possible a manual or arms are about equal (both can be addressed w/ more practice though), which you like better, everything else. Given that, and your degree of familiarity with the S&W and its manual of arms, if you really want to switch to .45acp I'd strongly suggest getting a gun closer to what you are already familiar with (S&W or other traditional DA auto, followed by DAO since that would be the least adjustment, and last a SA or LDA type action).

Remeber, we aren't talking .45acp JHPs or 9mm ball, ball in both or .32acp v. 45acp. We are talking about two calibers where there is a difference in power, but not a huge one. When they are relatively close you really need to look at other criteria other than just power (how many other issues do you decide what to buy/use based on only one out of several possible criteria).

April 14, 2003, 04:58 PM
that you can shoot both equally well, hit with both equally well, and both are equally reliable, I would choose the .45ACP.

As the Mariner alluded to, the experts overseas have had problems with 9mm doing what it's supposed to do in tight quarters. The .45 has legendary battle-proven stopping power. I'm not saying it's a one shot stop---none of them are. But .45 is well known for its battlefield efficiency and our Delta Force currently uses .45ACP--and they are the ones that know the answer to your question.

Stay safe,


Sean Smith
April 14, 2003, 05:03 PM
I personally wouldn't trust Para-Ordinance "quality." :barf:

Just my opinion.

April 14, 2003, 05:26 PM
the experts overseas have had problems with 9mm doing what it's supposed to do in tight quarters. The .45 has legendary battle-proven stopping power. I'm not saying it's a one shot stop---none of them are. But .45 is well known for its battlefield efficiency and our Delta Force currently uses .45ACP--and they are the ones that know the answer to your question

Apples to oranges.

The military is limited to ball ammo in which case .45acp has a clear power advantage over 9mm. However, 9mm ball does have a big penatration advantage over .45acp ball, and in a military situation where overpenatration isn't a disadvantage and where penatration is sometimes a big plus this gives 9mm an occasional advantage over .45acp. Hence, even in a military situation 9mm v. .45acp isn't clear cut (though I would agree, in a .45 ball v. 9mm ball situation, that I would prefer .45acp).

It is also noteworthy that while Delta uses .45acp (and sometimes the Marines do too) other special operations usually use 9mms- Army Special Forces (aka the Green Berets), Navy Seals, Army Rangers, and Air Force special operations guys use 9mm almost exclusively and Marine special operations forces use both.

In civilian situations though, where good HPs and modern ammo designs are options, both are perfectly good and what the military uses isn't really pertinent. Taking the military experience (limited to ball ammo) and trying to draw a conclusion for civilian defensive choices (where modern defensive ammo is available) is comparing apples and oranges- it is not a valid comparison.

Again, in civilian and police situations where quality modern defensive ammo is available the power difference is small enough that I think the other considerations when choosing a defensive gun should take precedence.

April 14, 2003, 05:35 PM
The LDA is not a true da/sa, so if your first shot misfires you can't just pull the trigger again. Also you have no exposed hammer on the LDA.

Sorry, while I like the size of the LDA, I just didn't like the one I handled. Given those two choices ONLY, I'd opt for the SW.

If you enjoyed reading about "Help me pick my "primary" CCW" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!