Advice on choosing a carry gun


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The Unknown User
July 6, 2008, 05:16 PM
I've thought about this quite a bit, so I'll keep this short. I got my LTC-A ALP on Tuesday, and I got a 10/22 to start shooting. I've started thinking about what I want for a carry piece, and ended up with a decent list of handguns I was interested in:

Walther:
- P99
- PPK/S

Sig
- P226
- P229
- P239
- P232

S&W
- 642
- 442
- 340PD
- 1911

After shooting a bunch of stuff when jar took me as well as at the 7/4 shooter, I realized a couple of things:
- I'm more comfortable with smaller calibers
- I prefer single-stack to double-stack

After handling all but one of the handguns (P99) on my list at a gun store nearby, I realized a couple of other things:
- I don't think I'd enjoy carrying any of the Sigs, except the P232
- I didn't like the way the P232 felt in my hand

So, that more or less leaves me with the revolvers, and the Walthers, as well as the 1911. The only thing I don't like about the 1911 is the price: $800 or more is more than I want to spend. I'm a student working part-time with money saved for this, but I don't want to go broke (I guess I picked the wrong hobby).

I'm not ruling out the 1911, as it is a comfortable gun to shoot, and even though the recoil was more than I felt totally comfortable with, it wasn't an issue with the 1911.

At this point, I'm leaning towards the PPK/S or the 642/442. When I picked up the PPK/S, I had this "WOW!" reaction to it. It felt great in my hand; it fit my hand perfectly, unlike the PPK, and the weight to it felt great--not too much, not too little. I actually had to tell myself out loud that I wasn't buying anything that day. [laugh]

I didn't have the same reaction to the 642 or 442, as I know both are quite popular, common, and clearly trusted. My reaction alone to the PPK/S is making me lean that way, but as jar aptly put it, I might want something a little bigger.(A .380 is just a shorter 9mm, if I remember correctly.)

So yeah, I'm just not entirely sure what I should be looking for right now. I'm open to any advice on how to choose a carry piece. Are there any handguns I should consider that I haven't listed?

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Shung
July 6, 2008, 05:24 PM
just a question.. Have you ever thought of a PX4 ? 9mm or .45 ?

its pretty compact, and very easy to shoot. less recoil with its rotating bolt..

that would be my advice...

off course, glock is always a good one for this kind of things..

Goblin
July 6, 2008, 05:25 PM
Try some .38 revolvers before you decide. They're dead easy to carry.I just carry mine in my front pocket. I don't live in gangland or anyplace like that so it's plenty for me!!:)

Ridgerunner665
July 6, 2008, 05:29 PM
Sig P220...don't forget that one... Its a 45 acp (large caliber, single stack)...and the only Sig I ever liked.

Small caliber, single stack... Bersa Thunder 380, Springfield Armory EMP 9mm.

1/7GRUNT
July 6, 2008, 05:33 PM
I have a Smith 442 and I love it. Don't let people scare you about the recoil, I didnt think it was bad at all. The weight is perfect for carry. Drop in a pocket and forget about it. Get one, you wont be disapointed! Then after you graduate get another, and another, and...

blackcash88
July 6, 2008, 05:50 PM
Kahr PM9

tbeb
July 6, 2008, 06:06 PM
I'm happy with a 642 loaded with +P Speer Gold Dot 135 gr. JHP's in a Mika pocket holster in my front pants pocket. I've owned snubbies from Colt (Detective Special), Smith and Wesson (a model 49 and a model 37), Taurus (an older model 85), and Charter Arms (an older Undercover .38). I like the 642 the best.

Picard
July 6, 2008, 06:06 PM
You can't forget the CZ's, some of the best autoloading handguns ever made.

Werewolf
July 6, 2008, 06:44 PM
Well - you ruled out my 1st choice which would have been a Sig P226 in .40. 9mm would be OK since you said you liked smaller calibers.

If you don't mind my asking what about the SIGs don't you like. I find them to be the verry comfortable in my hand albeit not the most accurate.

They are the most reliable of the semi's I have ever owned - 1000's of rounds and not a single failure of any kind which cannot be said for my Cz's, Smith's and Kimbers.

Don't rule out the Sigs.

CWL
July 6, 2008, 06:50 PM
You want a smaller caliber and singlestack along with reliability & ease of operation?

Kahr P9.

The Unknown User
July 6, 2008, 07:32 PM
Werewolf, it's not that I didn't like the Sigs, it's that I thought they were a bit bulkier than I could realistically conceal. I've shot them, and I love them.

I didn't like the feel of the P230 in my hand, which is why I don't like that one.

Craig_VA
July 6, 2008, 08:56 PM
what is a LTC-A ALP?

From context, it is pretty easy to figure the first part is License to Carry. However, the rest is not obvious.
Be kind... please remember that each state uses it's own bureaucratic jargon and abbreviations.
BTW, if Massachusetts is as much of an anti-gun mess as I assume, congrats on getting the license.

woad_yurt
July 6, 2008, 08:59 PM
Please, before you buy, shoot a Makarov, preferably in 9x18. Single stack, slim, reasonably sized, as reliable as a revolver. They are an amazing design. Easy and pleasant to shoot, too.

The Unknown User
July 6, 2008, 09:23 PM
what is a LTC-A ALP?

From context, it is pretty easy to figure the first part is License to Carry. However, the rest is not obvious.
Be kind... please remember that each state uses it's own bureaucratic jargon and abbreviations.
BTW, if Massachusetts is as much of an anti-gun mess as I assume, congrats on getting the license.
Oops, should have clarified:
- LTC: License to Carry
- "A": A-class LTC (as opposed to B-class); A is for high-cap and concealment, B is for low-cap
- "ALP": All Lawful Purposes; no restrictions on the LTC

The CLEO where I filed my application is known for being really awesome; took 5 weeks to get the license.

MedWheeler
July 6, 2008, 09:39 PM
I LOVED my PPK/S back when I had it. Tough times forced me to let it go. It was easy to carry, dead-on-balls accurate for such a compact package, and well-finished. I was a LEO when I first got it, so it was my off-duty and back-up weapon.
I don't have a CCF permit now, though one is in the works. That PPK/S, purchased new in 1990, was my last handgun purchase, until the other day. I bought a Bersa .380 from the new Gander Mountain store near me (forty miles away.) I have to go back and pick it up on my next day off, which won't be 'til Thursday.

romma
July 6, 2008, 09:49 PM
I carried My PPK/S all day today. Nice choice, but some would say that .380 is not enough stopping power... Some days I carry a .32, some days my 9mm, and some days in between with the Walther.

Coltdriver
July 6, 2008, 09:49 PM
If you wanna try a cheap experiment before you commit your hard earned money put three pounds on your belt and walk around all day with it.

You will find that small and light are the two prime characteristics to have in a daily carry pistol or revolver.

The little PM9 is outstanding. So is a 10 to 15 ounce S&W .38.

The truth is you will probably never pull your weapon. And after lugging a big old .45 around long enough you will stop carrying it.

If you can find something that is one pound or less loaded it will be a frequently carried weapon.

basicblur
July 6, 2008, 10:03 PM
I have a PPK/S and it’s a surprisingly accurate, enjoyable little gun, but iff’n memory serves, from some of my reading I seem to recall Massad Ayoob didn’t like the PPK/S since it could accidentally discharge if dropped (no firing pin block)? I may not be correct with the technical details, but I’m pretty sure he preferred guns that could not fire if accidentally dropped? Jest something to think about…?

Anywho…you’ll get the usual chatter from the “I don’t need no stinkin’ safety” or “anybody that doesn’t carry one in the pipe is a fool” responses, but as a civilian, you might want to consider the possibility of accidental discharges (they’ll probably cause you more grief than someone who carries a gun in an official capacity).
One might first consider exactly how you intend to carry the weapon before first deciding what gun you chose?

If so, while it’s not on your list, I kinda like the carry options of the HK USPC in Variant 1. It allows you multiple carry options up to and including:
1. Round in chamber (if you’ve decided you want to go that route)
2. Hammer down (safety also acts as a de-cocker)
3. Safety on
I like the safety on the USPC as it falls to thumb just like a 1911 (convenient and big enough to easily manipulate).

To me, the USPC in Variant 1 is ‘bout the safest way for a civilian to carry iff’n you’ve decided you are going to carry with a round in the chamber.
(My USPC 40 is also the softest shooting 40S&W I have).

You may now start your “anybody that doesn’t carry one in the pipe is a fool” flames! :D

dvcrsn
July 6, 2008, 10:12 PM
If you like revolvers-also look at Ruger revolvers in 357 mag (since you can also use 38 specials). A used Security or Service six is apt to be cheaper, an SP101 is more compact (look at one in 327 mag), the GP is accurate and very strong

yesit'sloaded
July 6, 2008, 10:24 PM
Remember that if you ever should have to use it it will probably be at a distance of under 10 yards and you won't notice recoil. Make sure the finish is durable too. I have had my SW model 36 refinished twice due to carry wear. I blame half of that on sweat and the other half on extensive open carry in a humid environment.

justin 561
July 6, 2008, 10:29 PM
Glocks are also nice carry guns.

basicblur
July 6, 2008, 10:44 PM
Page 86 of “The Gun Digest Book of Combat Handgunnery” (6th edition):
“There are also certain double-action autos that are not “drop-safe” if the manual safety is not engaged. These include all Walther PP and PPK series guns…”

BTW…I see from your profile you’re a relative noob? If so, do yourself a favor and buy/read anything you can get your hands on by Massad Ayoob, particularly covering the legal aspects.
He pisses a lot of folks off because he often challenges “conventional wisdom”, but I enjoy his work more than any I’ve yet run across, and his challenges to conventional wisdom are always food for thought.
(I particularly enjoy the legal articles he writes every issue for Combat Handguns magazine).

so_cold
July 6, 2008, 10:57 PM
If you like the 1911 then I would suggest looking at the Springfield 1911. It is about $630 brand new, so a used one would be possible to find at $500. This is just a thought. I like the gun a lot, but I feel personally that it would be uncomfortalbe to me to carry as it is quite heavy.

I am partial to the Glock. They are reliable and just all around awesome guns. Some people do not care for the safety system on them, but I feel like they are a solid gun, reliable, and also affordable as a new Glock runs about $500 right now. These are just my feelings on the issue.

God bless,
SC

DFW1911
July 6, 2008, 11:11 PM
Sig P220...don't forget that one... Its a 45 acp (large caliber, single stack)...and the only Sig I ever liked.

+1. Of all the Sigs I own this one is by far my favorite...actually it's the only one I'd consider for CCW.

I highly recommend checking it out before you make your decision.

Good luck!

DFW1911

machinisttx
July 6, 2008, 11:50 PM
I suppose I'll throw my two cents in since you asked.

I started out carrying a full size 1911 and quickly decided that it was just too big. The weight didn't bother me, but the size made it difficult for me to conceal. I decided to sell the full size and buy a smaller 1911, a Springfield Micro Compact in .45 ACP. It's much better suited to carry, and lots easier to conceal.

Some time later, I traded into a Taurus 85 snubby and found the joy of carrying a reasonably light weight gun. It was even easier to conceal, and sometimes I forgot I even had it. I shot the little gun a lot, and it started to loosen up.

At that point, I began the hunt for a SP101 in .357. I found one, and it's still my primary carry piece.

I can tell you two things at this point.

1. If the gun is uncomfortable to carry or difficult to conceal, it will probably get left at home.
2. There's virtually no reason someone can't carry a J frame or something equivalent on a daily basis. As long as you aren't a nudist, you can conceal it.

I'll also add that if you do settle on a J frame, shoot the thing! They aren't easy to shoot well, and they aren't the most pleasant guns to shoot---but you need to practice lots if you carry a J frame.

As much as I dislike them, a J frame is probably the most carried gun out there, and light years ahead of that .44 Magnum you left at home in the sock drawer.

LightningJoe
July 7, 2008, 03:08 AM
I don't believe you mentioned your preferred carry mode. If you want pocket carry (recommended for most), then the snubs you listed look good. There are some small 9mms, too. And an assortment of mouseguns if you're not a caliber fanatic.

The Unknown User
July 7, 2008, 04:15 AM
I don't believe you mentioned your preferred carry mode. If you want pocket carry (recommended for most), then the snubs you listed look good. There are some small 9mms, too. And an assortment of mouseguns if you're not a caliber fanatic.
I'm intending to carry on my hip. I considered ankle or pocket carry, but frankly, I don't want to carry on my ankle, and my pockets are already full of stuff all the time. I'd feel more comfortable with it on my hip, honestly.

I've been told a few times that a snub-nose is really good regardless of how you carry, but that a semi-auto is a bit better for hip carry simply because it lays flat.

dogmush
July 7, 2008, 05:30 AM
RIA Tactical 1911 (http://www.centerfiresystems.com/AC-RI1911TAC.aspx)

Then get a good holster and a good belt. I hide mine in shorts and a T-shirt in FL with no problem. No need to spend $800.

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