newcomer to handguns and ccw.

Not open for further replies.


Jul 19, 2009
Linton, IN
i am very new to the whole handgun and ccw community. i just applied for my ccw permit today. is there any advice that the veteran ccw permit holders can give me on what the best handguns, holsters, and ammunitions to chose from? thanks for you help.
Well my high drag low speed opinions are as follows.

1-Having a gun with you is much better then having a gun at home that is too much a PITA to gear up with. I like J frame sized revolvers for a whole host of real world tactical reasons (that I feel are relevant, others may not) but also because they are easy to grab and go.

2-You will think the whole world is looking at you and the tumor on your side that is your gun. The reality is that 99% of the world is oblivious and wouldn't notice you if you were open carrying with a bright orange shirt with big bold letters that read "Hi, my name is Chris and I have a cocked and locked .45 caliber handgun at my side, have a nice day."

3-Don't get too hung up on ammo. Buy a good quality defensive round that works for your firearm choice and make sure you can put them where you want fast. Caliber, brand, etc. matters little IMO beyond the fact that they function and are a reputable brand of defensive ammo(HP) ammo.

4-Find a holster and belt combo that is easy for you to put on and take off. Otherwise you are likely to not use it all the time. I like pocket carrying J Frames, again, quick and easy to grab with a pocket holster. If you will belt carry get a good belt and a good holster that clips, loops or paddles. Basically anything easy to put on and take off.

All these are my opinions only and I know enough to know I don't know jack, so use them as a single research point only.

Take care, shoot safe, be careful.

Reading Material

Massad Ayoob has a recent book out:

The Gun Digest Book Of Concealed Carry


This would be a good place to start.

And welcome to The High Road.



  • Ayoob-CC-Book.jpg
    50.7 KB · Views: 154
My Advice...

As to what firearms are best, find a local range that rents firearms for use on their range, and experiment a little, see what feels right to you. A handgun that I love the feel of you may hate.

As for holsters, again, personal preference comes into play as well. I've got like 6 different holsters in my collection of them, some I actually like using, some that were uninformed purchases, and I'll probably never like using.

For practice ammo, full metal jacketed ammo is the way to go, it's cheaper, and using the same grain ammo for practice as what you use for carry ammo is a good way to replicate the recoil you'll experience using the carry ammo. For carry, my advice is a jacketed hollow point. Myself, I use a jacketed hollow point with a polymer "ball" inserted into the hollow point. They chamber much like a full metal jacket round.
The above three posts are excellent!

1. Again, get the book by Ayoob. He also authored "Combat Handgunnery" 6th ed. Another great book that will give you the ins and outs of CCW.

2. Don't discount the humble Smith and Wesson j-frame. (Like the model 642 or 638). Many have gone full-circle. They started with the j-frame, then went with full-sized pistols then tried micro .380 automatics (pocket carry)..... only to go back to the j-frame (.38 special). It seems to have the best combination of 99.99999% reliability of going bang per trigger pull, ruggedness, size, and power (use .38 +P hollowpoint... any major brand will work).

A snub nose revolver allows you to fire from inside your pocket. It also allows contact shots (where the gun is pressed against the assailant's body) without causing your gun to malfunction.

3. And get one with a laser. The laser, not only aids in aiming, but will also just give you enough illumination at night, w/0 ruining your night vision.
(When getting a laser, get the type that has a master on/off switch.)

4. Other good choices: Ruger LCP (a great .380 for pocket carry), Kahr PM 9 ( a rugged, good quality, yet very small 9mm, works great IWB carry)

5. Get yourself a quality holster and gun belt. And yes, you will need more than one holster.

6. Practice drawing the weapon from concealment. Being a good marksman is not enough. You must be able to deploy your weapon quickly.

7. Don't get hung up on the silly revolver vs. auto argument. Carry both! Carry the j-frame IWB, and a small .380 in your pocket. Carry spare ammo. There are many ways to get killed in a gunfight, but it should never be because you did not have enough ammo.

Likewise, don't get hung up on caliber wars (.45 vs. .380, etc.) Americans like to talk of .45s, shoot 9mm, and carry .38s.
Last edited:
What type of gun do you think you will want to get? I also look at where I live to help what type of gun to carry I use a glock 27 and smith and wesson M&P 9c for summer then a glock 17 for winter I just got the subcompact gun this month so Im sure I will keep a backup for winter the G17 is just to big for what I ware in the summer. Rember the point to ccw is to hide the gun or try to.
Yep, get a gun that fits you and not what fits some stranger on the internet. Might be a Glock, might be a 1911, might be a CZ 75, might be an XD, but rest assured it won't be just because someone told you you should have it. It will be because of the geometry of your body. Once you find what grip angle fits you you'll be able to decide on compact or full size. Go to for fitting guidance.
thanks for all the advise. i am still looking at guns but i have narrowed it down to either the glock 26 or the glock 27.
My first carry (and my cold weather carry) is my XD45-- that being said, in Texas, the XD is sort of large for concealed (on me)-- I had a Bersa T380, but traded it due to ammo prices, and now I carry a Taurus PT111 Millennium (not Pro), and am happy with it.

Try out a bunch of guns-- find what is comfortable with you-- I can't recommend anything in particular, but my B.I.L. carries a G19 (Glock) or a COlt Mustang (like a .380 Colt 1911 sort of looking)-- I like the COlt the best, but again, .380 is sort of hard and expensive now and I am a believer in practice, practice, practice--

Thus why I went to a 9mm(and a .45ACP)..
Several good points already stated.

I would say a few things from my experiences.

1) read as much as you can from reputable sources, much is available on the internet but like I said make sure their reputable.

2) Check your local area for a local introductory CCW class and then reputable training.

3) Try several different guns to see what fits your needs best including their feel in your hand and your ability to shoot them.

4) A good gun belt and holster make a huge difference when carrying the weight of a handgun and also with it's concealability.

5) Regardless of caliber selected use good ammo from a reputable company. It's usually a good idea to use that manufactures law enforcement line of ammo. If you can't find ammo for your caliber in a law enforcement offering that should give you pause as to your caliber choice. It doesn't mean you should not use that caliber I would just try and limit it as much as possible for your situation. I tote a p3at with crimson trace and Flatnose FMJ ammo when lounging around the house or could conceal nothing else but whenever possible I have a Glock 9mm with Federal HST loaded. YMMV

Edit: I just saw that you said you are considering a Glock 26. This is what I use and it's great. 9mm gives me great capacity, quick and accurate follow up shots and light + concealable. It works great with the Glock combat holster and rides high on your belt and pulled into your body. I know I said to get a good holster and this is only around 10-15 dollars but it is very good. The 26 also allows you to insert a G19 15 round magazine and with a grip sleeve works well. I use this when the pistol is on my nightstand or a cover garment allows me to conceal it. This way most of my handgun practice comes from my one gun allowing me the most familiarity with it's controls, grip, trigger, sights and poa/poi. I also only ding and scratch one gun as opposed to some I know who use several different types of guns.
Last edited:
The single most important thing when starting out is to get some training. There is no substitute for an instructor watching what you're doing, commenting on it and helping get things right. You'll waste a whole lot less time, money and ammunition; and you'll start to get competent a lot more quickly.

See if there's an NRA certified instructor in your area offering Basic Handgun, Personal Protection Inside the Home and Personal Protection Outside the Home. The three classes will give you a good, solid foundation.
I'm sure you will receive plenty of excellent advice on firearms from the members here at THR. Since others are covering that, I will add some firearms related advice that is also important.

Your gun is there to save your life. Don't gamble by doing it halfway. You don't go halfway when it's your life in the balance.

1) If your gun doesn't go "bang" when you want it to, it's only an expensive paperweight. Having a firearm you absolutely, positively know will go "bang" when you pull the trigger is a comfort in itself. Not having to "hope it works this time" is well worth the price you pay for a gun. It's the price you pay for NOT having to worry about it.

2) Whatever firearm you end up with, spend the cash and get a sturdy gun belt with a well made holster. What good is a reliable gun if you can't carry it and draw it reliably?

3) Don't just practice shooting. Practice drawing from a concealed holster. (While unloaded, of course!) Practice reloading. Practice in different positions other than standing fully upright in front of the target. Practice clearing a jam. Learn the functioning of your firearm. Get familiar with it in ways other than shooting a piece of paper. If you ever need it in "real life", I can almost guarantee neither you, or the BG (bad guy) are going to stand still and take your time like at the range. Being more familiar with your weapon may be the difference in surviving.

Just my 2 cents.
It may have been said before but, Find a gun that you WILL carry.
I have the subxd40 I love it but sometimes, no belt, no carry.
It is better to have a smaller gun on you than a bigger one at home.
People say 'use the gun that fits your hand'

the problem with this advise is hands are generally roughly the same size and while all handgun grips are a bit different, they are all generally the same (expecially within a class, such as double action wonder nines)

the truth is, to a novice, ANY gun will feel pretty good in the hand, especially if the novice isn't aware that he should be holding high on the axis of the gun, and that the gun barrel should be parallel with the arm. I've seen a lot of people pick up a wide griped gun and unconsiously NOT have the barrel parrallel to the arm without even realizing it, they just automatically have it twisted about 10 degrees of center because that allows their hand to more fully close.

You take them, straighten the gun out (which often spreads the fingers) and then they say it feels funny.

Please, Wolfman, before you fully decide on the short and wide glocks, specifically request to hold a Kimber 1911, Sig 220, (Sig 239 too, but this will be harder to find in stock) and the Kahr K9. This will give you a good baseline of what 'single stack' slim grip firearms feel like...then go back to hold the glock, paying special attention to holding it up as high as you can on the grip, and special attention that your forearm, wrist, and barrel all line up (if viewed from the top)

The website Cornered Cat, while aimed at women, has a great section on handgun fit. Please look at the picture labeled "a perfect fit" and "too-large gun". Let me clarify that in the 'too-large gun' picture, it is really more accurate to call it 'grip is too wide and/or long'
also, remember:

Light weight small guns are great for carrying, but are harder to shoot accurately and kick harder

heavy big guns are great for accurate shooting and taming kick, but are a drag to carry all day

light weight guns can have their kick reduced if you select one that is chambered for a less powerful round (like 380 acp rather than 9mm...or even 32 H&R rather than 38 special) however, less powerful rounds stop attackers less quickly.

Still, no one likes to get shot, and the mere sight of a gun will end 9 out of 10 confrontations.

An ineffective gun with you is better than the perfect gun at home.
Try to shoot before you decide what your gun will be. I started with a Glock 19 and hated it. Perfectly reliable, but the grip angle was all wrong for me. Don't buy a $600 gun and several hundred dollars worth of accessories and ammo when a $15 rental and $25 of ammo might convince you that it's the wrong gun for you.
i have narrowed it down to either the glock 26 or the glock 27.

1. Get yourself a good belt - one that's designed specifically for mounting a holster. It makes a tremndous difference in carrying a pistol like the Glock.

2. Don't go cheap on the holster. Again, the right holster will make a world of difference in how comfortably and effectively you can carry your weapon.

3. Defense ammo: Speer Gold Dots, Remington Golden Sabers, Federal HST and the Winchester Supreme rounds are all excellent.

4. Practice ammo: Winchester White Box, Blazer Brass, Remington UMC will all do well. And practice a lot. Go to the range and practice firing at 8" paper-plates or equivalent targetrs from 5, 10, and 15 yards. Start slowly. Get confident about being able to place your shots first, THEN try to build up some speed.

5. First, last, and ALWAYS - handle the weapon safely. Get some time with a qualified firearms instructor. Know all the ins and outs on your particular pistol and the general rules for safety with ANY weapon.

Good luck and enjoy. Shooting is an activity that millions engage in year-round. Welcome to the club.
Southern Indiana? Come out to Knob Creek in KY and rent a few of their consignment guns. They have probably over a hundred to choose from. Range fee is only $10 and you can shoot all day. If you give me some advance notice I could come out and shoot with you as I live 10 miles from the range.
The advice here is good. Get with friends that already carry or shoot and see if they will mind you shooting and handling their pistols. Doesn't matter if it is a revolver or auto loader, find something that YOU are going to be confident with. Rent different guns to try out as well if possible where you are. Once you make the decission on which pistol, practice, practice, practice. Read the books as stated above. Good quality leather is a must. Belt and holster. This again make take some experimentation, but find what fits you and go with it. Adjust your wardrobe accordingly. Don't worry about the eyes starring at you. They probably already did, you just didn't notice it before. I had a friend that was carrying for his first time. We met at a local Denny's for lunch about his second day of carrying when the entire sheriff's office SWAT team came in to have lunch. He was scared out his back side, but no one ever said a thing to him. His backside was puckered to the seat for some time though. Confidence plays a big role in carrying. Best of luck to you and your decissions and welcome to the club.
Not open for further replies.