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Duty/Full Size guns vs carry guns

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by DustyGmt, Sep 17, 2022.

  1. DustyGmt

    DustyGmt Member

    Nov 7, 2016
    Green Mountains Vermont
    Just curious how many of you guys who have full/duty sized handguns for off body/nightstand/duty carry a gun of a different make for concealed carry. For instance, if you have a Glock 17 as a nightstand gun or vehicle gun that you don't carry on your person, or if you're LE and your duty gun is a full size Glock 17, do you carry something totally different for concealed carry, like for instance your full size gun is a Glock 17 but when you carry concealed you carry a S&W Shield or Sig P365 or something?

    Just curious, I've been at a couple shoots where I've seen LE's or Citizens who have one gun for duty or HD and carry a totally different gun concealed. I was thinking, would it not be beneficial to carry something similar to your duty gun or HD gun? If you keep a 17 for your HD/Nightstand/Duty/off body gun that you're most comfortable with, would it not make sense to try to use the familiarity to your advantage and choose a Glock 43/26/27/etc? I only use glock as an example, the same could be said for many other manufacturers that make Duty/Compact/sub-compact offerings.

    Not sure if my question is clear enough, but basically, if your "regular" gun is a Glock full size, why wouldn't you choose a subcompact of the same manufacturer for concealed carry. I was able to witness at a range some time back where a police officer was shooting his G17 very well then switched to his Shield and his shooting seemed to suffer but I offered him a subcompact glock to shoot and he shot that as well or better than his duty gun. I couldn't help but think switching to a Shield with a very different trigger, etc might have been a handicap to his ability to score fast and accurate hits switching from one to the other but then shoots my 43 like it was his......

    Just some thought vomit. Just wondering your guys thoughts on this. I understand everybody has different tastes and with enough training and experience you can overcome these differences, I know it wasn't uncommon for a cop to carry a Beretta 92FS as their duty gun and a J frame .38 as their BUG. Just thinking if it were me and the gun I shot the most and best, was a Glock 17, I would probably want to carry a G26/43 for BUG or CC. I know, different strokes for different folks. Just a thought....
  2. unclenunzie

    unclenunzie Contributing Member

    Sep 6, 2009
    My thoughts generally align with yours. I believe in keeping to the same type of system to maintain familiarity. I'm not LEO just an ordinary citizen. My carry gun today will be my bedside gun tonight. In my case, during the warmer weather, it is a SA hellcat. When the weather gets cool enough, I'll switch to my G19. I have given a lot of consideration to what LEO's refer to as a backup gun, but for my non-LEO self it would serve as an option for very fast and reliable close access: The humble j-frame, LCR, that sort, I don't think can be beat.
  3. shoobe01

    shoobe01 Member

    Mar 4, 2004
    Kansas City
    (First: I just carry a full size duty gun with light and RDS as my CCW most of the time. Only switch to smaller things when absolutely necessary, like at the gym, etc.)

    I have no problem switching systems. Just not a problem, my brain immediately recognizes which one is in the hand, I never mess up pressing the wrong place for the button etc. I can imagine if I changed systems radically enough (the SIG reversal of levers) I'd mess it up sometimes, but with the fairly wide variety of guns I have I do not.

    HOWEVER, I have seen lots of people who do get confused. Who e.g. cannot shoot an automatic shotgun because they keep trying to pump it, or cannot get over trigger differences etc. So, until you know yourself, or if trying to give general advice: yes, staying in a family seems a good idea even if nothing convenient like exchanging magazines because it's single/double stack or change of caliber between the guns.
  4. .308 Norma

    .308 Norma Member

    Jun 6, 2016
    SE Idaho
    Oh, yeah. My nightstand gun is a full-sized Smith 1911 .45ACP. My CCW is a Glock G19.
    Same here. :thumbup:
    I agree with that too. :thumbup:
  5. WrongHanded

    WrongHanded Contributing Member

    Jul 6, 2017
    My thoughts process on what is ideal for most people, is this:

    Choose a family of pistols (such as Glock, or whatever you prefer), and go up and down in size as required. Controls are standardized for familiarity.

    What I actually do:

    G33, G43 or G42 for my non-dominant (right) side. This could be considered a primary gun (even though it's on my non-dominant side) because I always have one of these, anywhere I can legally carry. Pocket carry or AIWB is typical for the single stacks, and can be easily transferred from one carry method to the other. For the G33, I prefer OWB but may choose AIWB depending on the situation.

    G20, 686+ or G31 for my dominant (left) side. I don't carry a large gun like these at work, or at home, but for all other places I legally can, I will carry one of these. Sometimes in a non-traditional holster such as a safepacker, but generally just OWB.

    Because I can shoot the smaller guns quite well with my non-dominant (right) hand, I have no issue relying on this in relatively safe and known locations. And if I am carrying OWB or AIWB on the right hand side, I can better defend myself in my vehicle. Which is rather difficult to do as a lefty carrying on the left side, when someone approaches from the driver's side (left) window.

    But it also means that when I want a larger gun, I just add it to my dominant side, and then also have a backup gun on my person by default.
  6. C-grunt

    C-grunt Member

    Jun 12, 2005
    Phoenix Az
    Im not to worried about the differences as they've never caused me any issue in the past. My current lineup is a Glock 17 for duty use and either a Glock 43x or a S&W 442 for off duty. Off duty gun changes by clothing worn that day and/or my need to be very concealed.

    The Glock 43x recently replaced a Sig P365XL because of grip size. The Sig was a fantastic gun but the bigger grips of the 43x work better with my larger hands.

    52365067734_5011cdcb41_o.jpg 2022-09-17_02-02-03 by chase, on Flickr
  7. trackskippy

    trackskippy Member

    Oct 2, 2010
    I like the KISS principle, so I just carry the full size, all the time. :p

    I do think using something like the 26 as a BUG makes a lot of sense too. :thumbup:

    If youre going to use something different, then you need to shoot it enough that you're comfortable with it, and you dont have to think about shooting it, and your brain knows it as well as anything else you shoot regularly, so there is no issue.

    Helps if youre as broad in your experiences as possible too, that way, anything you pick up is likely familiar and known to you.
    luzyfuerza, StrawHat, Smaug and 3 others like this.
  8. Electrod47

    Electrod47 Member

    Apr 7, 2021
    East Mississippi
    In my case there's not a lot of thought. There was in the beginning of my permit carry starting in Texas 2006. Inside the waistband .45acp Khar, Then a Taurus P-something 45acp, Then a Keltec 9mm, Then a Beretta Tomcat .32acp, you start to see the trend. So, Today its....
    My nightstand gun is a 14 shot Sig 228 9mm w/spare mag nearby. In the dark its all about the firepower.
    Strolling my property its Charter Arms .44 Bulldog loaded with 4 grains Red Dot and 200 grain DEWS. and a .22 snub w/6rds snakeshot in my hip pocket.
    In my pocket to Walmart its a Keltec .380 w/spare mag.
    Going into a Movie Theater I have that Sig 228 inside the waistband WITH a spare mag total 28 Rds 9mm 147 grain Gold Dots.
    This is where I'v landed. Just stuff thats comfortable for the task.
    Southerner up North and DustyGmt like this.
  9. DR505

    DR505 Member

    Sep 2, 2009
    Carried a G22 and a G27 as a backup...my G22 was always carried concealed. I also had a G21 service weapon that I concealed, but that was mostly under a suit jacket.

    Retired now; I carry a BHP or a Colt Combat Commander often. A G27 or G43X in a shorts pocket on really hot days.
    Southerner up North and DustyGmt like this.
  10. Big_Al

    Big_Al Member

    Feb 10, 2019
    I normally carry an lcp max or sig 365, my nightstand/truck pistol is a glock 19 or cz75 compact.
    bannockburn and DustyGmt like this.
  11. Hangingrock

    Hangingrock Member

    Mar 10, 2010
    Using the S&W MP9,MP9C and Shield 9X19mm as examples, of the (3) my EDC is the Shield. I do not do carry rotation. The Shield and my abilities are going to be good enough or not good enough dependent on circumstance. That's life! What just as important if not more so as how you conduct your life and risk management
    Southerner up North and DustyGmt like this.
  12. SteadyD

    SteadyD Member

    May 5, 2017
    Always a revolver, not always the same size.
  13. entropy

    entropy Member

    Feb 9, 2004
    G_d's Country, WI
    I have a 1911 I sometimes carry, just ordered another holster for it today. My Gx4 is what I usually carry.
    sparkyfender likes this.
  14. Heir Kommt Die Sonne

    Heir Kommt Die Sonne Member

    Dec 24, 2018
    I carry what works. I first started out with a Glock 17 but eventually I got paranoid about printing (as I should be). After that started sticking to a Trooper MK3 or a Night Cobra. For a while I started with a 1911 which worked very well, then a S&W K frame.

    Right now I'm sticking to the compact size, like a G19 or that K frame. They're big enough to be handled comfortably, but are small enough you can carry it easily. That G17 and MK3 would be very noticeable sometimes. (Although I never saw evidence the 17 was printing, still got nervous about it)
    Never carried a subcompact but lately considering adding one to the rotation.

    I'm proficient with all of these expect the Night Cobra. Not that it's not comfortable, just am not accurate with it.
  15. MikeInOr

    MikeInOr Member

    Feb 1, 2016
    I carry small plastic guns and I use large metal guns as range guns. My home defence is a large plastic gun (Springfield XD mod 2 in .45acp with 13 round magazine) even though it is sold as a "compact" gun.


    My first hand gun and the one I learned to shoot with is my Beretta 92 INOX. After mastering a slide mounted safety / decocker and DA / SA pull everything else has been very easy to adapt to. There are only one or two guns that I own that I can't shoot instinctively... like my C96 "Broom handle" Mauser or P08 "Luger"... and only because I don't shoot either of those two styles of guns very often.

    Plastic guns are... "draw and pull the trigger"... not much to adapt to there if you have already mastered a somewhat heavy DA trigger.

    I have often thought that younger folk with high levels of trigger snobbery should master an old school DA / SA metal gun to learn proper trigger control on less than hair triggers. When I first bought my Beretta 30+ years ago I would put a snap cap in the chamber and sit around practicing pulling the trigger to build up my finger strength and make the motion second nature.

    0116192046 - Copy.jpg

    I have heard that British officers had to qualify with their Webley revolvers shooting them double action. I have friends that don't have the grip strength to shoot my Webley with a DA pull.
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2022
  16. tarosean

    tarosean Member

    Oct 22, 2010
    I don’t agree with you at all. I will choose the best for my needs instead of a name in the slide. A lot of options out there.
    Styx likes this.
  17. Styx

    Styx Member

    Dec 11, 2014
    @DustyGmt I don't see the difference between using a Glock or a M&P. The slides rack the same, the mags insert in simular fashion, the mag release is basically in the same spot and method of actuating it is the same, so on and so forth.

    Other than that, I never seen any evidence to back up what you're thinking, and the officer in your anecdotal probably suffers from poor trigger control. As someone who is use to shooting DAO and SA/DA revolvers and pistols respectively, I honestly do have a problem picking up and shooting the modern day 5 to 6 lb striker fired triggers. If anything, my only issue maybe the local of the slide stop causing the slide to not lock back, but I really don't see that as being a real issue.
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2022
    guyfromohio likes this.
  18. CDW4ME

    CDW4ME Member

    Mar 15, 2009
    FL USA
    I've been carrying a Glock 34/35 with RDS - only guns I had that were MOS and I've grown to like the dot so I carried it (AIWB).
    I've sent a Glock 22 slide to get milled and will be putting a dot on it, afford me the option of a shorter slide that feels different when carrying.
    For several years, smallest I carried was a Glock 19 but after getting a holster with claw in Jan. I've been carrying 17 / 34 size guns since.
    The grip on the 17 feels better to me than the 19 (cramped) and the grip is where its likely to bulge (print) under a light shirt, solved that problem.

    If anyone saw Glock 34 and thought that is too big to conceal (I know how you think ;)) its near the same size as a 1911.
    Glock 34: L 8.8'' / H 5.4'' / W 1.3'' / 26 ounces
    1911: L 8.6'' / H 5.5'' / W 1.3'' / 40 ounces

    In before a 1911 is too big to conceal carry, a lot of people would disagree. :neener:

    Duty / full size guns = carry guns (not versus)
    Heir Kommt Die Sonne likes this.
  19. guyfromohio

    guyfromohio Member

    Nov 23, 2011

    I agree. We over-think this to no end.
  20. Tallball

    Tallball Member

    Oct 2, 2014
    Everyone's different. Like the other poster said, I have a lot of different handguns and over the years have learned to adjust from one to the other without a problem.

    Anything I carry is DAO or the equivalent. The details don't matter that much: draw, aim, shoot.

    I prefer revolvers anyway. My medium-frame six-shot HD revolver works exactly the same as my smaller-framed five-shot carry revolvers. It doesn't matter if they're the same model or same manufacturer or anything.
  21. Rexster

    Rexster Member

    Mar 25, 2007
    SE Texas
    Well, my “off-body/night-stand” gun is a Benelli M2 shotgun, so, it is a bit unusual for me to try to conceal it, when out and about. ;)

    When I was a police officer, from 1984 to 2018, I used a range of duty handguns. During those nearly-34 years, I tended to carry a same-sized, or similar-sized handgun, if not the same handgun, on and off the clock. The most notable exceptions would be my first year, when I carried a small or medium-frame revolver during personal time, and an N-Frame while at work, and then 2002 to about 2007 or 2008, when I mostly used SP101 revolvers during personal time, and an auto while on patrol. 2002 was when I reluctantly transitioned to Glock G22 duty pistols. Not only was I trying to get used to the Glock trigger, after being used to the 1911 trigger, but the dynamics of concealing the chunky Glock were much different, and, one of my pair of Glocks was having reliability issues, so, I was not sure, at all, that I was going to keep using Glocks. (This was when the G22 was having its now-well-known problems.)

    Notably, however, an SP101 fits my hand quite well. My hands are long, but not very wide, and I have thin fingers, so, I can get a good, firm, three-finger grip, on an SP101, and the heel of the SP101’s grip extends to firmly brace against the “heel bone” of my hand. So, my accuracy with an SP101 was not worse than my accuracy with a G22. The “problem” of ammo capacity was readily solved by carrying more than one SP101. ;) When I added a 3” SP101, its longer sight radius helped with practical accuracy.

    I did not remain long, with .40 Glock duty pistols, though the reliability problem was resolved. I bought a P229R DAK, in 2004, and it soon became my duty pistol, because I fired it MUCH more accurately than Glocks. Fit is vitally important. A comfortable IWB holster, for personal-time carry, however, proved to be a difficult problem. That prominent, squared-off accessory rail meant that holsters tended to be rather fatter than I had used, in the past. I actually solved the concealed-carry equation, about 2008, with a non-railed P229, and a really good concealment holster. I finished the next decade, of my LE career, carrying duty-sized autos, on and off the clock. I do consider the P229 to be a duty-sized pistol; that grip is huge.

    When my chief OK’ed 9mm to be an alternative duty cartridge, in 2015, arthritis was becoming a factor, so I switched to a Glock G17 duty pistol, so that a lower bore axis, would provide additional relief, from muzzle flip. I had already bought G17 and G19 Glocks, in anticipation of the policy change. I found that it was not actually any easier to conceal a G19, than a G17, and I shot the G17 more accurately, so, I tended to carry the larger G17. The grip of a G17 extends all the way to make firm contact with the “heel bone” of my hand. That is helpful with accuracy, and comfort. The difficult part of a Glock for me to conceal is the slide, not the grip. The outer rear corner of the slide is what “prints,” and that is the same dimension, on a G19 or G17.

    By 2017, any handgun with a grip that did not make firm contact, with the “heel bone” area of my right hand, was not only less comfortable, but if chambered for a serious cartridge, would be painful to shoot. Firing a qual, with a G19, would result in actual swelling, and discoloration. After retirement, I did not even keep my G19 pistols. I traded them away, during 2020, which was a good time to sell/trade. “Baby” Glocks still have their place, but, I only shoot them with my healthier left hand, which relegates them to secondary status.

    In retirement, I have largely reverted to carrying short-barreled revolving pistols, typically the SP101, and K-Frames. Littler guns are not comfortable to shoot. Up-gunning, when deemed necessary, usually means longer-barreled revolvers.
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2022
  22. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

    Feb 10, 2016
    Fl panhandle
    My "duty gun" in the mil the last years I was in was a Glock 19, and after I got out and worked as a contractor overseas, it was a Glock 17. During this time frame (when my home was in NC) my concealed pistol was a Glock 19, and I kept several other Glock 19's available through the house-and I competed with a Glock 34. Now that I have been promoted to PFC (Private Free Civilian) and live in Fl., my guns in the home and vehicles are still Glock 19's, and my concealed pistol is a shield 9. Why? "Summer wear" is pretty much year-round wear here, and starting the day with a jacket in the winter often means losing that jacket before noon. I tried the Glock 43 and I didn't like it, and I got into the shield for less than $300- it is similar enough to a Glock I'm OK with it. I got out of 3 gun when it became unaffordable. My hunting sidearm is an older Glock 23.
    Southerner up North likes this.
  23. jar

    jar Contributing Member

    Jan 17, 2003
    Deep South Texas!!!!!
    There are a few handguns I find difficult to carry all day concealed particularly since we only have maybe three or four days a year cold enough to allow a jacket (or long pants) to be worn with comfort. But they are all S&W "N" or Colt "New Service" wheelies with 4" or longer barrels.

    I have a range of guns, full metal and even polymer framed and have never found an issue with carrying those either concealed or discretely all day. Weight has not been an issue as long as I have a proper leather gun belt and a proper holster. Often I carry my smaller handguns and again they vary in weight depending on when they were made and of course the material.

    I find I carry my 1911 framed 45s more often than the S&W Shield 2.0 45 and in 9mm Luger caliber again my metal framed guns get more WalkAbout time than the polymer framed ones. In .380/9mm Mak it's pretty much the same. My Sig P230, Remington RM380 and Makarov tend to get carried more than my S&W Bodyguard or Beretta Pico and the Ruger LCP simply sits in the safe. I can't remember the last time it got to go WalkAbout. My 32acps though are all all metal. No plastic there. That's also the case with my 22lr handguns. In revolvers my Colt Detective Special and my S&W Model 19 tend to get carried far more than my S&W "J" frames or Charter Arms or my Taurus Protector Poly.

    I will admit that I wonder if there is some generational factor involved in what folk consider reasonable to carry full time? I'm old and out of shape and bad hips and lots of pieces parts that don't work like they shudda woulda but as mentioned above, using the right support structure helps and wearing one of my Hawaiian print shirts has to be consider my bold talk for a two eyed fat man these days.
    Southerner up North likes this.
  24. Smaug

    Smaug Member

    Apr 18, 2004
    SE Wisconsin
    Night stand gun = 3” Ruger SP-101 in 357. Carry gun is usually the LCR in 38 Spl. Manual of arms is the same, except that the SP has a laser grip and the LCR doesn’t.

    I practice a lot with the LCR; I figure it’s the most important gun to practice with, since a break-in when I’m home and able to get to the nightstand gun in time is extremely unlikely. (It’s locked up against a teenager, and I sleep with ear plugs so my wife doesn’t wake me twice every night going pee)

    I also have a Sig P365 as a carry gun, but I figure if I need to pop someone in self defense, it’ll be fine. Just present it and squeeze the trigger. I bet in that situation, drawing from concealment in time will be a bigger issue than the shooting part.

    Funny thing is that the Sig is the better CCP, on paper: Thinner, more firepower, faster reload, easier to carry reload. I just don’t like it as much and I figure the revolver advantage in really close in combat would be more important.

    I do have full size range guns, but I just don’t shoot them as much, at least right now.
    .308 Norma likes this.
  25. Shawn Dodson

    Shawn Dodson Member

    Dec 28, 2002
    Having guns with the same manual of arms reduces your mental load when somebody is trying to murder you, especially if you have to manipulate it during the fight. The consistency shortcuts your OODA Loop from Observe to Act (skipping Orient and Decide). You don't have to think, you just do.

    Like everything else with guns, consistency cultivates success.
    Choctaw, shafter and Rexster like this.
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