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Smallest, most concealable gun powerful enough for defense...

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by PokerPro, Dec 27, 2005.

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  1. PokerPro

    PokerPro Member

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    This is obviously a variation of other discussions, I've searched and got some good information, but am interested in getting your opinions tailored to my situation.

    I'll check out EVERY GUN you mention, and take it from there. Thanks in advance.

    My first pistol was a ruger sp101. We're keeping it because both my wife and I are comfortable with it. I don't take it with me when I leave her at the house. It's our "nightstand" gun if you will...

    Now I need a semi-auto that I can take with me. I'm a big guy, and no traditional holster that I've tried work with my build and the way all my clothes fit. Pocket carry seems to be the way to go for me. (I will buy a pocket holster). So please steer me toward a small, but powerful enough pistol for CCW. I am willing to sacrifice some power for concealability, because a powerful handgun that I never want to take with me will do me no good. Your opinions on different calibers are also welcome. Thanks again!
     
  2. Dan0076

    Dan0076 Member

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    .

    I'd try looking at a Glock 26, or any Glock subcompact.

    Also, you can look at the Kahr line. Very small package in 9mm and .40

    And there is also the Kel-Tec 3AT, the KT P11 in 9mm may also work for you.

    Good luck, and don't rule out another revolver or another SP101.
     
  3. rdbrowning

    rdbrowning Member

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    My wife got her pistol before I did and she chose a S&W 640, 2", internal hammer, 357. She chose it because of the hammerless design and the fact that she carries either in her purse or in her pocket and there is no hammer to catch. Practice is always with 38's and it has plenty of recoil even then. Carry load is Cor-Bon 125 JHP 357's.

    I chose the same pistol for compatability. If something ever happened the guns and ammo are interchangable without having to think about any differences.

    I too am a bug guy (actually the doctor referred to it as "morbidly obese" :( ) but I have found that the 640 rides comfortably just above my right back pocket in an Uncle Mike's Sidekick IWB holster. For $10 you might want to check one out.

    Before we bought we got with a friend who has a large selection of concealable handguns and spent a day trying them out. The guns we thought that we wanted we ended up not liking. The gun has to fit and feel good in your hand and shoot well too. We had looked at guns online and in stores, but until you feel the recoil you really don't know how you are going to like it. Try to find a range that rents guns that you think you will like, or a REALLY good friend. The few dollars you spend in rental will probably save you a lot latter.
     
  4. DogWithGun

    DogWithGun Member

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    Now you asked for it.....

    Wow did you ever open a hornets nest....
    The big questions would be just how much firepower would you be willing to sacrifice for concealability and have you really tried every carry method?

    If you set a standard that the weapon must be able to meet a minimum standard of penetration (ie. 9" into balistic gelatin such as set by the border patrol) you would not want to go with anything less than a 9mm. yep .380's and .32's need not apply.... (here we go with the hornets nest)

    here is a pic to illustrate the point.
    [​IMG]

    Have you tried deep concealment methods such as "thunderwear" etc...?if anything around the waist is a problem this method although not as quick on the draw will hide small cars relatively comfortably.
    Maybee the method of cary will be your real answer... there are some inovative alternatives to a OWB pancake holster out there . I'm sure your going to get alot of suggestions on this thread
     
  5. HighVelocity

    HighVelocity Member

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    I recommend you check out the S&W 640. Hammerless J Frame chambered in 357 magnum. Plenty of power in a small snagproof package. It's a great pocket gun and it's stainless so you won't have to worry about the finish.


    [​IMG]
     
  6. Preacherman

    Preacherman Member

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    For a start, I'd recommend against anything less than 9mm. or .38 Special in caliber. The smaller, less powerful rounds are simply not adequate for defence against a determined attacker, as has been proven countless times in real-life encounters.

    Secondly, I'd recommend going bigger in caliber if you can control it in accurate, rapid fire. I personally don't trust the 9mm. and/or .38 Special to be more than marginally acceptable in terms of stopping an attack before you get hurt yourself, and this opinion is based on actual gunfights, not theory. However, there are plenty who disagree on this, so feel free to make up your own mind.

    For pocket carry, bear in mind that your pockets may need some modification to adequately conceal your handgun. I've posted about this before, here, and you might find this useful.

    I routinely pocket-carry a Glock 27 in .40 S&W, using a DeSantis Nemesis pocket holster. I find this easy enough to conceal in a decent-size pocket. Other possibilities, by caliber, are:

    9mm: Glock 26, Kahr MK9 or MP9 or P9 Covert, Taurus PT111

    .40 S&W: Glock 27, Kahr MK40 or MP40, Taurus PT140

    .45 ACP: Taurus PT145, Taurus PT745, Kahr P45
     
  7. lucky_fool

    lucky_fool Member

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    If you're going for ultra-small you'll probably want to check out the KelTec P11, Kahr PM9, and the Rohrbaugh R9. If you want a .45, Springfield makes nice Micro and Ultra Compact 1911s.
     
  8. PokerPro

    PokerPro Member

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    That's an excellent start, and like I said, I'll check out every single suggestion.

    No, I haven't tried EVERY carry method, but I feel like by going pocket carry, I'll establish the habit of always carrying, (Just like my wallet and cell phone) and then I can go from there.

    Also, I didn't want to tell you where I was leaning, but I'm pretty sure it is toward a 9mm or .40, nothing smaller.
     
  9. W Turner

    W Turner Member

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    For primary pocket carry, an alloy j-frame is the standard. There are good reasons for this as it is a compact, lightweight, adequately powered package. However I would stress the "adequately powered" part. You do give up both power and capacity with the 5-shot snub as compared to semi-autos. IMO, the trade off is better concealability. Speedloaders and speedstrips help, but they don't make the round any more powerful.

    You say that all conventional OWB holsters haven't worked for you. Have you tried carrying a sub-compact weapon (Glock 26 for example) on your belt instead of larger weapons? I am a big guy too (6'8"/325) and have always caught flack from my friends for carrying sub-compact weapons. Funny thing is I ALWAYS have one on me even when their magnumblaster4000 is in the truck because it's too much hassle to carry. I am not down on pocket carry, but there may an alternative.

    A Kahr PM9, Kel-Tec P11, Taurus Millenium Pro (of any caliber), or similar could pull double duty as both a pocket peice when necessary and a belt piece when possible. Any smaller than that and you're back in the realm of the 5-shot revolver.

    When you say that all conventional methods don't work with your build/clothing fit, do you mean that they print a little, show the outline of the gun, are not comfortable, or what? What brands and type of holsters have you tried and with what weapons? Have you ever considered IWB?

    I'm not trying to be a 4th point of contact, just trying to get a clear picture. There is a big difference between a Glock 21 in a Fobus paddle and a 1911 in an quality IWB holster when it comes to concealability and comfort.

    W
     
  10. Janitor

    Janitor Senior Member

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    If you really want small & .45 ACP, thiere's the Kahr P45. A bit of a handful recoil wise, but completely manageable.
    -
     
  11. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    Pocket + money is no object - Rorhbaugh(sp?) 9mm
    Pocket + money IS an object - Keltec P11 9mm
    IWB either CZ Rami or CZ PCR/PO1 9mm


    Really small, money is no object, weird is no object, willing to learn a very strange/awkward operating system for a big caliber - Semmerling .45.
     
  12. grimjaw

    grimjaw Member

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    • semi-auto
    • no traditional holster
    • Pocket carry
    • small, but powerful enough pistol for CCW
    • willing to sacrifice some power for concealability
    I personally wouldn't carry anything less than .380 for primary carry. The Kahr line would be good to check out, especially the PM/MK series; available in 9x19 or .40S&W. KelTec's are popular, and they offer guns in .380 and 9x19. North American Arms makes a Guardian .380 that'll fit in a pocket. Seecamp makes a pocket concealable .380, but it's out of my price/availability range.

    Lots of other pocket guns, but those seem to fit what you've asked for.

    jmm
     
  13. PokerPro

    PokerPro Member

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    More Info

    To clarify, I am overweight, and for 15 years I've worn my pants lower than I should. My gut hangs over my pants. I wear a size 46, but would wear a 48 if I pulled them up over my belly. I also think it looks funny. Many would surely disagree. All my pants are 46, so a brand new wardrobe and a less comfortable (for me) style of dress isn't an option. I tuck most of my shirts in, and the ones I don't, aren't long enough to conceal a belt holster on my belt that's a little lower than most. I live in Indiana. (Varied Climates).

    As you can probably picture, OWB doesn't work because it digs into my gut. I haven't tried small of back. Anyone built like me do that?
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2005
  14. W Turner

    W Turner Member

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    I was writing my post when you submitted your last one.

    In 9mm and .40, there are a lot of good options. Some better suited to pocket carry than others IMO.

    For me a pocket carry semi-auto pretty much means a single stack of one flavor or another. Double stacks can be pocket carried, but most are too bulky for my tastes.

    Single stacks...

    Kahr PM series- lightweight, tiny grip if you have big hands, stout recoil, and there have been some teething issues with the .40 models

    Kahr MK series- great, no real issues that I am aware of, but they are heavy due to the all-stainless construction.

    Taurus Millenium PRO- some calibers are made in single stack configurations, the newer PRO series has been getting rave reviews, stay away from the plain Milleniums

    Sig P245, P232- as big as some double stacks, expensive, high quality

    STI LS9/LS40- 1911 style, high quality, expensive, single action

    Rohrbaugh R9- the cream of the crop in this market niche, light enough to carry, decent capacity, handmade quality, and expensive ($900 +/-)

    Double stack

    Glock 26/27/33/39- pick a caliber, any caliber, glock reliability, glock ergonomics, good capacity (10+1 in 9mm, 9+1 in .40 and .357sig, 5+1 in .45 GAP), decent price, bulky for pocket carry, but doable

    Taurus Millenium PRO- the double stack versions are slightly less bulky than the Glocks, offered in 9mm, .40, and .45 right now, again-avoid the plain Millenium series

    Kel-Tec P11- slightly more compact package than either the Glock or the Taurus, long/heavy trigger pull as compared to most other sub-compacts, inexpensive, but not cheap

    Springfield XD- good trigger, comparable capacity to the Glock and others, a bit more bulky than the Glocks, IMO, better suited for a S/C belt gun

    I am sure there are more double-stack subcompacts, buit that is all I can think of right now.

    W
     
  15. Sleeping Dog

    Sleeping Dog Member

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    A pocket-type gun might work, S&W 642 or 442 is light and small. .38 Special +P should be ok.

    Glock 26 is nice, too, but I would never carry it without a hard molded holster. I just don't trust the so-called safety in the trigger when there's a round in the chamber.

    Regards.
     
  16. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    It all depends on your definition of "powerful enough" and your wallet, or how fat your wallet is. :D

    My personal carry weapon is a Kel Tech P11, and I love the thing. But, you might prefer the "safe action" trigger of a Glock 26/27. Get a GOOD pocket holster for a Glock that covers the trigger for safety reasons. A pocket holster is never a bad investment with any pocket carry firearm, but the Glock demands it.

    Everyone has pretty much covered the gamut, just putting in my $.02. I like the little nines a LOT. If you can shoot it, Corbon 115 grain +P is an awesome performer out of a 3" barrel.

    My bottom basement SD caliber is .380, personal decision. I do carry a .380 pocket gun from time to time, a Grendel P12 that is no longer made. The P12s were good shooters, but not beloved by many due to the trigger is rather weird. Long, skinny fingers are required, it seems. The P10, its predecessor, was a POS apparently with a lot of feeding problems, but my P12 uses a different magazine set up. If you have "rotund" fingers, I'd pass on a used P12, though. You could probably get a good purchase on a P11 or G26 'cause there's more room in front of the trigger.

    I've never tried the Millenniums or, really, any other of the compact nines. I've dry fired a few Kahrs. For what they cost, they'd BETTER work and everyone seems to like 'em that actually shoot them, so they must be okay. They're no more expensive than the Glocks.

    Personally, my Kel Tech doesn't work for me in a jeans pocket. Slightly bigger pockets are required. I do have some slacks that swallow it, though, so long as I don't have the finger extension magazine in it. I put a "handall" finger groove grip thingy on it, too, that I wouldn't have on it if I pocket carried it.
     
  17. beaucoup ammo

    beaucoup ammo Member

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    As I Post...

    ..there's a KAHR P9 in the front left pocket of my baggy cords. Light weight, less than an inch wide with 7 - 9mm in the mag..124 Gr. JHP.

    For my money it's the perfect CCW weapon. Check out the others..most all are excellent.

    Take Care
     
  18. FireBreather01

    FireBreather01 Member

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  19. HankB

    HankB Member

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    I had a Kahr P9 for a while. To call it a troublesome POS is an understatement. It was so bad that after several (unsuccessful) attempts to repair it, the factory replaced it.

    Being of the "once burned, twice shy" sort, and resentful of being Kahr's unwitting beta-tester (though he company did try to make it right, I'll give them that) I immediately traded the new replacement P9 for a Glock 26, which has the virtue of actually working first time, every time, though it's not as neat a package.

    For pocket carry, I have an S&W 340SC . . . light and, so far, totally reliable.
     
  20. tbeb

    tbeb Member

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    I am 6-2, I weigh 275, and my waist is a 44. I use a Mika pocket holster in front pants pocket. I've been carrying an old model Charter Arms Undercover .38, but just ordered a new S&W Model 642. The 642 is a .38 special that holds 5-rounds. It has an internal hammer, a stainless steel barrel and cylinder, an empty weight of 15 ounces, and it is rated for +P ammunition. I like the 158 gr. lead hollowpoint. I can use this combo in any long pants or short pants I wear--from jeans, to shorts with a string tie (instead of a belt). If I wanted a semi-auto it may be a 9mm Kahr PM9. It costs about $150 more than the 642. If you're okay with five shots of .38 special than a snubby is a real good choice
     
  21. cookekdjr

    cookekdjr Member

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  22. PokerPro

    PokerPro Member

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    I'm going to hold and shoot all the guns you all have mentioned, but aren't most of these semiautos less bulky than the revolvers? That, plus the added capacity are the reasons I'm pretty sure I'm getting a semiauto.
     
  23. cookekdjr

    cookekdjr Member

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    semi-autos less bulky...well, no.
    Hold a 342pd, and compare it to any semi-auto .380 cal and higher. As for capacity, the highest capacity you'll find in something as packable is 8 rounds. And when you reach that number...well, there will be a trade off in reliability and weight.
    Good luck, and let us know what you select.
    -David
     
  24. Preacherman

    Preacherman Member

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    Pokerpro, there are pro's and con's. I find the G27 to conceal just about as well as a J-frame S&W: the butt is a bit fatter, but then, there's no cylinder bulge, so what you lose on the swings you gain on the roundabouts. One thing, though: the flat, squarish-profile butt of a pistol can be hard to grasp in a hurry for a rapid draw, as the pressure of the pocket will press it into your leg. A rounded butt like a J-frame's is easier to grip under pressure of time. You'll need to practice this until you're smooth and fast, while walking, etc.
     
  25. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    For the most part, the compact nines are smaller, lighter, flatter packages than the revolvers, and some of 'em like the Glock and Kel Tech carry a lot more power and more ammo than any .38. A +P 9 is closer to .357 snubbie ballistics with a lot less flash, bang.

    It's just hard to beat a 14 ounce (Kel Tech) 9mm that fits in a pocket, shoots 3.5" 25 yard groups, and holds 11 rounds, 13 with the new optional mags. I like revolvers, carry one from time to time, but I can't say it's preferable to a good compact 9 or .40. Either you're a revolver guy or you are an auto guy most times. I have the rare privilege of being both. :D But, I do think my little Kel Tech is the absolute BEST CCW gun in MY collection. If I had a Kahr or Glock 26 that worked as well, the same would hold. The compact 9s are perfect for CCW IMHO.

    The movement to CCW "shall issue" laws across the country and the 10 round limit of the Clintonian era conspired to bring us the handiest, most powerful line of handguns I, personally, have ever known. The funny part about all that is the gun grabbers shot themselves in the foot with their 10 round limits (actually a Bush 41 era law as I recall) . When CCW laws got movement from the 94 elections, it made for the most advanced and powerful "Saturday night specials" the world has ever known. BWAAAAA, ha, ha!:evil:
     
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