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Carrying Concealed--What and How

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Kleanbore, Jan 9, 2020.

  1. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    With "shall issue" CCW laws in so many states, there are more handgun designs marketed for personal defense in his country than at any time before.

    There are also a number of ways to carry them.

    What I carry and how I carry will not suit everyone.

    However, some may benefit from considering the thought processes that have led me there.

    On the choice of an effective firearm:

    I found, after availing myself of some really good defensive pistol training, that what I had been doing at the square range had not helped in the choice.

    I needed to be able to shoot much more quickly, with a balance of speed and precision, at close range. I learned to stop thinking about group size.

    I began to realize that one shot stops were the stuff of fiction or just rare luck, and that my belief in the superior effectiveness of my .45 had been illusory.

    From this, I reached the same conclusions as Rob Pincus: a pistol has to be reliable; it should fit the hand well; ideally, it should have a capacity of eighth to ten rounds; it should not require an operation separate from drawing and presenting to disengage a safety; and the 9mm chambering is adequate and not too difficult to shoot.

    And, of course, it should be something that a defender can and will carry all day.

    That leads to the question of how to carry.

    On the decision of how to carry:

    I saw two main requirements.

    The first is that the defender must be able to access and draw the firearm very quickly, from either a standing or a sitting position.

    For me, that means a good belt holster, with a good belt. And preferably, a kydex one that fits the firearm perfectly.

    The second has to do with comfort. I started out with IWB holsters, chosen with concealment in mind.

    They are now retired, and bough back into service only on occasion. I'm not as fit as I used to be, and I have begun to realize that the pressure of the IWB holster and the gun on my side becomes tiresome and painful after a while.

    I am much happier carrying OWB. Fortunately, I can dress around it.

    I don't see any point in carrying several magazines. I have trained and practiced changing mags quickly, but I'm not that good at it, and cannot envision a circumstances in which I would need two extras.

    I carry a backup gun only occasionally. I hope I never need one. I do think it's a good idea.

    If I still jogged, I would have to put some thought into how and what to carry when doing so, but I don't.

    Your mileage may vary, but I suggest starting by laying out your requirements before making any decIsions.

    I always do that. It's a holdover from my system engineering days.
     
  2. WheelGunMan

    WheelGunMan Member

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    I carry a Ruger LCR357 loaded with ARX .38 Special 77 grain in a "Just Holster It" Kydex IWB holster at 1 o'clock. I rotate it with my 3" LCRx357 which I carry in a leather Azula IWB at 3 o'clock.
     
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  3. guyfromohio

    guyfromohio Member

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    I generally carry a Walther PPS Classic in 9mm with seven round magazine and one in the pipe. 147 gr HST. I use TT Leather Slim IWB Mikes Special. Usually no extra mag. Belt is TT Gunleather reinforced. I was one of the first people in Ohio issued a CHL in 2004 and have been through many, many system iterations. This is the best I’ve found for me. I’ve been carrying the PPS as my primary gun for about five or six years now with a few others popping in once in a while.
     
  4. JR24

    JR24 Member

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    Shootability comes first, followed closely by comfort, then concealment.

    I find the 1911 nails all these best for me, especially when I have a lighter option for the summer (the weight bothers me when it gets hot).

    Caliber gets a little more tricky as I agree that they are probably all about the same, yet when the difference is between 10 in 9mm and 8 in .45, going for that extra expansion becomes more appealing. Right now the 9mm is still faster and easier to shoot well, but I've been working to close that gap some as my speed on the 9mm seems to be plateauing some (a me problem, certainly).

    Every so often I get it in my head that I'll need 15 or 18 on board instead of 8 or 10 (plus one) and go back to a Glock or Sig 226 but it never lasts, the 1911 always calls me back since it's just so much joy to shoot.

    Spare mags? Always bring one, with 1911s I bring 2 or 3 since it's just as easy to carry two as it is one, double stacks are more tricky so I usually just go with one in a Neomag. I'm no speed reloader, I'm ok and do practice, but more than tactical decisions my OCD (not really, just tendencies) doesn't like a gun on one hip and nothing on the other and I like to have an option if a mag fails.

    Holster is IWB, Vedder light tuck. I've tried so many and I've really found the Vedder at 2 o'clock does it with any gun for me, so unless I'm in the field with an OWB I've got the vedder, heck it's even more comfortable these days since my body is used to it.
     
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  5. guyfromohio

    guyfromohio Member

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    I shoot no gun better than my 1911s. The lightweight commander is perfect. But I’ve gotten fat and have no butt. When I sit, the beaver tail digs into my side and when I stand, I have to keep pulling up my drawers
     
  6. JR24

    JR24 Member

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    When I started carrying I was a fair bit overweight and could not, due to posture and love handles carry at 4 o'clock. Tried everything and found my sweet spot at 2 o'clock, right between the gut and the love handle, it worked after a rather painful adjustment period.

    I've now been working out quite a bit and have lost a few inches on my waist and could probably manage 4 o'clock again, but I'm used to 2 o'clock and it conceals better now that I have less gut to contend with. Nice thing with in front of the belt is I feel the belt doesn't tent to try to sag as much, also a good nylon/Kydex belt was a game changer for me over even stiff leather, both in comfort and concealment.
     
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  7. WrongHanded
    • Contributing Member

    WrongHanded Contributing Member

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    My go-to carry guns have changed as time has gone by, but I think I might be settling in to something more regular now that I've started reloading .357 Sig. It's pushed out .357 Magnum as a carry round, and with it have gone the revolvers. (I still have and shoot them of course.) I've always been a little better with wheel guns, but I'm fair with semi-autos despite them not feeling as intuitive to me. But the practicality of double the capacity with a smaller lighter gun that is still quite shootable, with a cartridge of similar performance? It just seemed worth it.

    Currently it's one of two guns. A P224 or a G23 Gen4 with conversion barrel.

    The P224 is one I feel safe carrying AIWB in a Sticky holster (there aren't many holsters made or offered for this gun anyway). It conceals well there and is very comfortable whilst being easily accessible. Especially whilst driving. The mag is supposed to take 10, but it really takes 9+1. I carry a spare extended mag for a P229, which is 14 rounds, and would give my pinky somewhere to go if I ever actually needed more than 10.

    The G23, I'm not super comfortable with AIWB, and the aggressive rear sight (aftermarket) doesn't feel too great jabbing me in the gut anyway. I usually carry this one in an old Desantis high-ride paddle holster, where it conceals quite well. Certainly better than the P229 that almost beat it out, but for the extra height of the gun. Turns out that two mags with 12 in each, plus 1 in the chamber is 25. So even though the mags take 13, one box of carry ammo seems enough for me most of the time.

    I can't say I'm quite as accurate with these two guns as I am with the SP101 2.25" bbl, or the GP100 4.2" bbl. But it's not all about slow fire at the 25 yards line, and I'm getting better now that my attention is focused in that direction. I think when it comes to rapid fire, the gap between revolvers and autos narrows for me though. So there's that.
     
  8. 1911 guy

    1911 guy Member

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    What to carry:
    The largest handgun you can conceal in the largest caliber you can shoot comfortably and a model that fits your hands.
    This will vary from person to person, but nobody has ever wanted a smaller gun with less ammo in a fight. Cliche', but true.
    Carry at least one reload if you carry an autoloader. Magazines are the most common failure point.

    How to carry:
    IWB or OWB is personal and depends greatly on individual body size and shape. try a good example of both. You'll probably use both occasionally. Whichever you opt for, buy quality and buy an even better belt to support it.
    Shoulder holsters require you to cross your body to draw, something to really raise an eyebrow if you've ever been in a tussle. And most mag pouches wind up on the wrong side.
    I'm even less a fan of off-body carry. That's a last-resort.

    You may have wardrobe restraints. Work within them. If, however, you can wear whatever you please, choose your handgun and method of carry, then dress around the gun.
    I carry a 1911 in either a Galco Concealable or Alien Gear Cloak Tuck and either one or two spare magazines. It depends on how I'm dressed. The belt is a Wilderness 5-Stitch or a "Amish country Leather" brand gunbelt.
    I do own a shoulder holster, but it is reserved strictly for driving.
     
  9. Koroner

    Koroner Member

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    Speaking of not wearing a skirt, 1911 guy, I don't worry about being ridiculed for wearing a "fanny" pack (in front) because if they knew what was in there they would probably put a lid on it.

    I also have thunderwear, and a variety of SOB holsters and 3 o'clock carry holsters to wear under a jacket.

    Kind of depends on numerous environmental variables.
     
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  10. Fiv3r

    Fiv3r Member

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    I have found that if a gun does not disappear to the point that I forget I have it on me, I won't carry it as much as I should.

    I have settled on the Shield in .45. I would be totally happy with one in 9mm or .40, but the .45 fits my hand a bit better and I have always liked the way the .45 acp shoots. As for the Shield, I shoot it better than a small 1911. The trigger has just enough resistance that I dont strain against it but have a tactile sense of when it is going to break.

    I carry this gun IWB, OWB, and in a large coat pocket. I prefer an OWB holster as I can usually dress around it, but I have a couple of IWB holsters for when I can't. My Shield has a safety which I have begun to use religiously simply because I have trained myself to sweep off a safety on any gun even if it is not there. I have also installed a Clip Draw on the Shield. I know it is not a popular way to carry, and I use a holster 98% of the time. The clip does not interfere with any holster I own and allows me a way to "tuck and go" if I am heading to the gas station or grabbing the paper in my lounge pants. It's just one more option to have that takes up no space.

    I carry the Shield with 6+1 in the gun and a spare magazine. I feel comfortable with 7 rounds for most encounters.
     
  11. camsdaddy

    camsdaddy Member

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    Chances are if you see an otherwise masculine male who is not at Disney world carrying a fanny pack it's carrying a gun. Thunder wear is a great option. I often use smartcarry to carry a Glock 26.
     
  12. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    Pretty much have settled on a S&W Model 638 in a revolver and a Kahr CM9 in a semi-auto. I carry both of them in their respective DeSantis SOF-TUCK holster. Usually take along one or two Speed Strips for the revolver reload and a spare magazine for the semi-auto.

    SlSg8OH.jpg
    hUvdtcf.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2020
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  13. Jeb Stuart

    Jeb Stuart member

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    Same two as you plus add the Beretta Nano, LCR9mm. (have others, but in 9mm these are my favorites for carry) Obviously a fan of the DAO

    72hA91a.jpg 54WjIM4.jpg
     
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  14. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    Jeb Stuart

    When I was shopping for my subcompact 9mm. I looked at both the Nano and the CM9. Nothing against the Nano but to me the CM9 had the better ergonomics and overall "feel" to it. Plus the trigger on the CM9 was way smoother and lighter too.

    I already had a S&W Model 649 when I decided it would be nice to have a lighter weight version of the same gun and found a new Model 638 that was extremely well built with a great DA trigger on it! As for why I gravitate toward this particular style of J frame I don't know; bought a new one back when it was just a Model 38 (nickel plated too), and I have been hooked on them ever since!
     
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  15. Jeb Stuart

    Jeb Stuart member

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    The trigger on the Nano was gritty when I first bought the gun. Beretta puts on a finish that they tell you to break in. Once broken in the trigger is as smooth as the Kahr but slightly heavier. It was 7.2 lbs of pull new but now 6.1 after breaking in. I think the Kahr is around 5-5 1/2. The Nano does have a higher Bore axis and some people do not like that. The Grip is like a 1911. Long and a straight. I like the Ergos. The gun is milder to shoot than the Kahr and very little muzzle filp, that said both shoot mild and I love shooting the Kahr. I carry the Kahr more than the Nano because the Kahr is about 3-4 ounces lighter which is a lot. Nothing beats the Kahr for carry. I shoot the Nano much more. In fact, a few months back, It went over 10,000 rds.

    The NEW APX/Carry has a completely different grip, with a low bore axis which many prefer. Beretta advertises the new Carry to have a trigger pull of 6.1 lbs of pull. But every one that gets one says they are actually coming in at 5.7 new. I recently bought two more Nano's, and Beretta must have made changes, because the new triggers are at 6.1 lbs. These triggers once the coating wears off are very smooth. The Nano and Carry do have the Glock safety and Prefer the Kahr over that.

    The Grips on the APX and the Nano are interchangeable and Nano mags fit the APX Carry. I put a APX grip on one of my Nano's and have been shooting both to see which one I like. Turns out I like the higher bore axis. I bought yet another Nano (Carry) for my Son and he prefers the Lower. I also bought another Kahr, and asked my son if he wanted the Kahr, or the Nano, he liked both, but choose the Nano.
    The New Carry has a slide release that the Nano does not. One reason I am sticking with the Nano. I have become so use to having one without, that I prefer it that way.
    I have many pics comparing both the Carry and the Nano and with mixed parts like receiver and grip and all the differences of the Nano vs Carry. Some subtle differences in components. But will not post here. Most people as you know do not like DAO triggers no matter how smooth and if it is not a light striker fired trigger than they will not like either gun. And both the Nano and Kahr have just great Striker fired DAO. One reason I do not post much about them. Recoil on the New Carry is rated even lower than the Nano. In fact lower than all the Micro's in comparison. (very smooth and easy to shoot).
    These guns are not for every one. If you like a smooth, controlled, deliberate DAO you will love the guns, if NOT you will hate them. I love these triggers for every day carry and shoot them very well to the point, that I do not want a light striker fired trigger on a carry gun any longer. but that is JMO.
    PS Beretta did a great job with the 8rd mag and prefer both guns with them. Fit very nicely and make handling very easy.

    O9eqjwv.jpg

    APX carry on left, Nano on right. 8Zk7Uh6.jpg
    courtesy of Beretta1542

    PS I also shoot the LCR9mm much more than the Smith 642, but carry the 642 more because of the lighter weight. I also put a custom trigger on it. Lightened it up to around 9 lbs of pull and made it a little smoother.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2020
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  16. Old Guy

    Old Guy Member

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    Changing pistols like changing tee shirts is not my idea of common sense. Depends on age as well. 30 years of age, going to work in an office, every day? Or like me, 84 YOA, and not working at anything. Big difference.
    Very rarely go out without my Wife, just what we prefer. Tried out the Glock 43X, plus a spare 10 round magazine, as the largest problem with self-loading pistols, are magazine malfunctions, not so much thinking I will run into a twenty round gunfight, but you could do so. Swapped back to my Glock 19. Love that pistol, shot a few 1000 rounds in IDPA.
    TruGlo night sights, 4.5 lb trigger, extended slide release (I know, slide lock!) carry in the cheapest Glock holster, and mag pouch, made by Glock. Used them for years. Look like the day I bought them. Spare Glock 17 magazine.
    Used to use a Kydex holster, a bit bulkier than the Glock paddle, but fast. The Glock paddle tucks into the body, the best of any holster I ever tried. And of course, weighs nothing.
    If you read any articles by Massub Ayub (I think I spelt his name wrong, I am an Englishman, what can I say!) most are quite good, common sense, except for his idea that to change anything on a pistol, would go against you in a self-defence shooting in Court? bunk!
    Glock plastic sights, out of the box, are crap. Aftermarket night sights are a must, most shootings in the street, tend to be in reduced light. 3 green dots are instinctive. A little polish on the trigger bits smoothes them out, not too light though. That extended slide release? If you use the latest extended thumb grip (I don't) forget the extended slide release, the thumb can cover it, will not lock back when you run it dry.
    My 43X I bought the blue box way, and factory-installed Ameriglo night sights, great. Shot straight to point of aim, out of the box. And in the dead centre of the slide, a first. They were made for Glock.
    The last word CARRY every day!
     
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  17. TarDevil

    TarDevil Member

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    I can't carry IWB or OWB... too painful for my deteriorating back. LC9 in the pocket is completely comfortable. In the car, holster and gun go in the door map pocket.

    I realize this carry method leaves me disadvantaged while sitting but, oh, do I have the jump while standing!
     
  18. ms6852

    ms6852 Member

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    I carry a full size 1911 iwb or a 686+ with 3" owb. I feel comfortable with either or even though I'm not fit like I used to in the military even though I've stacked on the wight due to steroid meds.
    I while back I had injured my hip on a fall and had bruised it badly that hindered my walking a couple of months. During this time I carried a Walther PPQ 9mm iwb but still bother me a little until some one told me about berry suspenders. I purchased these suspenders that attach to the belt by a clip design. These were the solution for my problem as I did not have to tighten my belt that tight and it supported my 686+ which I had owb and you don't have to pull up your pants. I bought them from these guys and they were great doing business with.
    https://www.suspenderstore.com/1-5-inch-wide-perry-belt-clip-suspenders/
     
  19. Bo

    Bo Member

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    I carry a C-Series Browning High-Power everyday. It has had all the springs replaced, an SFS system installed with a Garthwaite trigger that has a 4 1/2 lb. pull.
    I carry one spare 13 rd. mag, all with a Beltman belt and a good holster.
    I find it very comfortable, I even wear it in the summer with just shorts and a t-shirt.
     
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  20. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    Sound advice, methodical approach. Now all that is left is to bring all of the elements to bear, and train to perfection in realistic scenarios.
     
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  21. Hartkopf

    Hartkopf Member

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    I have a frame that allows me to conceal a Glock 21 but I recently changed to a Glock 22, which is the next size smaller frame, all because I can draw and get the first shot on target quicker. Both are full size but the 22 is a little thinner and not as heavy. This is something I never would have known without practicing quick drawing and shoot + getting off the X drills. I shoot the big gun just as well standing at an indoor range with no pressure but everything changes when time matters.
     
  22. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks.

    I must admit that when I started carrying, I ignored what I knew and had taught and had used for years about structured requirements analysis. Instead, I took what I "knew" rom decades of shooting, and I started off on the wrong foot--wrong firearms, wrong holsters, wrong shooting technique.

    Yes indeed

    In fact, it wasn't until I had taken a couple of realistic defensive training courses that I really understood the subject well enough to define the requirements.

    A couple of handguns and holsters went into drawers or out the door after that.
     
  23. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes indeed.

    As a matter of fact, I experienced a stress-induced failure just by having to perform in the presence of a nationally-known instructor whom I had seen on television.

    I had a Ruger SR-9c that I liked and could use well--but the first time I drew it in training, my thumb failed to disengage the safety. It is not as foolproof as a 1911.

    It could have been fatal, in another venue.

    Until that time, having a separate safety switch had been a requirement for me--but after that, the requirement has been to not have one, except on a1911.
     
  24. Trunk Monkey

    Trunk Monkey Member

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    TL/DR I have owned just about every kind of handgun, and every kind of action that there is. I got training I don't like manual safeties. I sold them all and bought 9 mm Glocks. /TL/DR.

    This is a really long story and I'm going to make it as short as I can. The day I got out of the Army (1995) I bought the first handgun I ever owned, a Smith & Wesson model 915. Over the next 3 years I acquired a bunch of different guns. I bought whatever caught my fancy. I bought all the guns that I thought were cool growing up.

    Right before I got married (1998) I got rid of all of them and for 10 years the only gun in my house was a NEF .22 caliber revolver that we kept in a lock box under a pile of junk in the garage. I didn't even think we had ammunition for it.

    In 2007 or 2008 my wife and I sat down and we decided that we needed to buy a little bigger gun than the 22. I ended up buying an RIA 1911 because that's what I had exposure to in the Army.

    I took my concealed handgun course with that gun but before I even got my permit my wife told me that she wanted me to buy a .40 S&W because she thought it would be cheaper than a .45.

    I looked around and I ended up with a CZ 75B in .40 S&W. It was actually one of the best handguns I ever owned and decided that it would be a good idea for me to get a smaller gun that was compatible with the 75B, something that would take the 75B magazines but was smaller for when I needed more concealment. I ended up with a CZ Rami that I never could get to work right. I sent it back to the factory three or four times and they could never get it to feed reliably but the concept of magazine compatibility stuck with me.

    To make a long story short again I ended up with a bunch of different guns in a bunch of different calibers and I got so busy chasing the next gun that I didn't have any money to stock up on magazines or ammunition. Then the Ammo Panic hit and I couldn't find ammunition to save my life. In the middle of that I decided if it ever eased up I was never going to get caught short like that again.

    In 2012 I joined my church's security team. The reason that's relevant is because their insurance rider required that all team members who weren't police officers attend biannual professional training and qualify with the handgun that they were carrying biannually. It was the first actual training I was ever exposed to.

    To make a long story short again, the more training I got the more I wanted to simplify the process as much as I could. So I stopped "rotating" my carry guns and decided to limit myself to one platform, third generation S&W.

    In 2013 three things happened.
    1. Colorado passed magazine capacity restrictions.

    2. The security company that I worked for got to go ahead from the client to arm all of their guards.

    3. During a training session with my church I had a malfunction with the gun that I was carrying (SW6906) and when I did the Tap,Rack, Roll drill I engaged the safety on the gun by accident and it (Obviously) wouldn't fire. I decided then and there did I was never going to carry a gun with an external safety on it again.

    I sat down with my wife and together we decided we were going to sell almost every gun we owned and start over. Long story short again we decided it had to be something on my employer's approved list and it had to be in a caliber that my wife could shoot. With the exception of a couple guns that I had bought in Private Sales and a 22 caliber bolt-action rifle, we sold everything and bought a Smith & Wesson M&P 9 and the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield.

    About six months later I discovered the M&P 9C and I traded in my Shield for that because of capacity, magazine compatibility with the M&P 9, the fact that the 9C was also on my employer's approved list and the fact that it was small enough to carry at home.

    I chose S&W over Glock because it was an American company and I'd rather put an American to work than an Austrian but while I was doing my research I couldn't overlook the fact that if I had bought a Glock 19 instead it would have taken the place of both of the guns that I bought.

    I never really liked the way the M&P 9C fit in my hand. So after year I sold it and I bought a Glock 19. My wife fell madly in love with it. And she bought a Glock 19 and then she bought a Glock 43.

    On Thanksgiving of 2018 I was attacked by a meth head truck driver at work. He was upset that the shipping company and took the holiday off and that I wasn't authorized to sign for his load.

    It was an unarmed assignment and I decided I was never again going to go to work without a gun. I bought a Glock 26 which is sitting in my pocket as I type this.

    As far as I'm concerned we are done buying guns. We only have to buy one caliber of handgun ammunition. We only have to stock two kinds of magazines and the standard magazines for all of our guns are currently legal in Colorado. All of our carry guns are functionally identical. None of our carry guns have an external safety.

    As far as how. I carried in various ways until I started working as an armed guard then I decide to standardize as much as possible. I carry on my right hip right along the seem of my pants in a Galco CM holster (at work it would be a Safariland).

    I carry two magazines in the same of carrier I used at work. At work where concealment wasn't an issue I carried it on my left front so I could access the magazines with either hand. At home I carry a little farther back.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2020
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  25. Hartkopf

    Hartkopf Member

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    That brings more validity to the guys who insist competing in shooting events helps for real life defensive situations. Even if it's slight, I believe it does help.

    A comparison could be made to a teenager learning to drive. After several months they think they're pretty good, until the first time they pick up their friends and have to drive with a different type of stress. This is one of the most tricky and dangerous times for a new driver and a common time for their first accident. It could be considered the first time the new driver is in competition because they are trying to be better than and/or impress their competition, which is their peers.
     
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