Saturday, July 24, 2004

Gun Selection 2- Concealed Carry

Now, as I've said before, much of my weapons knowledge is down to extensive reading on the subject- I'm the firearms equivalent of an armchair quarterback. For what its worth here's a short list of concealed carry weapons (and its great to see that CCW laws in the States have led to a decrease in crime).

My first choice would be a .45ACP. That's the easy part. The hard bit is actually selecting a platform. If a revolver is preferred then there are two obvious choices- Smith and Wesson's Model 625-10 or the excellent Taurus M455. Both are equipped with a 2" barrel making them concealable enough and while either would be a good choice, personally the six shot Smith edges out the 5-shot Taurus. The barrel of the S&W also seems a little shorter than it actually is (and gives it a pretty distinctive look) because it extends back in through the frame. Either would take a bit of practice to shoot fast because a full power .45 load in a package that small would be a bit of a handful- and getting that second shot on target rapidly is essential in a defensive situation.

If a semi-auto is preferred then my two choices would come down to either a Kimber Pro Carry II or a Para-Ordnance Carry 12. The Para has a slightly shorter barrel but it also come with a 10-shot mag (and two pre-ban 12 shots). The Kimber on the other hand can only take 7. Another plus for the Para is the bobbed hammer and lack of a grip safety extension. For my taste, the LDA Para would probably win the day. In a .45ACP, the five extra rounds would probably never be required- but there's a certain peace of mind that having them there would bring. That's two down (well, really it's four but I really like guns, okay?).

Next up is the .38 Spl. Even in this day and age of high capacity, sub-compact semi-autos there is still most definitely a place for a snub nosed .38 revolver. While I do think the Smith and Wesson 642 with Crimson Trace laser grips is a nice package, I'd rather go for the Taurus CIA Model 851. With its shrouded hammer it still allows for a single action shot (maybe that's just something that appeals to me because of the target shooting I've done) and Crimson Trace do a set of laser grips for Taurus small frame revolvers too. +P ammo for the .38 is effective enough for most any situation.

Next up, a semi-auto that's small enough for concealed carry in lighter clothing and which is also suitable for the fairer sex- I'm thinking of my other half here. While the old Walther PPK is a logical choice I'm not a huge fan of the .380ACP and would feel more comfortable with the full size 9mm. This is a round that has gotten a lot of criticism, especially when the M9 became the choice of the US Army, but those days are long past. Modern 9mm ammo is much more effective now than it was at the start of the '90s and it's a round that I would happily depend on. There is also a fantastic platform for it in the little Kahr PM9. Just read this. That says it better than I could and Kahr have a great reputation for reliable weapons.

My last choice is also for a tiny gun- but one even smaller than the Kahr. It's North American Arms Guardian in .32NAA. It's tiny, has a capacity of six, can be fitted with XS tritium sights and seems to function very reliably. While such a tiny gun (even with Cor-bon ammo) wouldn't be my first choice to carry, there are going to be times when packing a .45 or similar just isn't practical. Enter the Guardian. With twice the muzzle energy of a .32ACP, its still a very, very compact package and would suit either half of a couple as a defensive firearm. Better to have a little gun than no gun at all. And check out the accessories page for a set of lovely cocobolo grips to dress it up in.

1 comment:

John said...

Some top notch choices. One thing you might consider is that barrel length is not factor in concealed carry. A good IWB holster can hide any length barrel. It is the stock or grip gives one away when carrying concealed. So to find a gun that conceals well look for one with a shot grip. You can always carry an extra magazine for an autoloader. You don't need 15 or twenty rounds in a carry gun. If you like .45's take a look at the Beretta 8045 Mini-Cougar. It has short grip and the magazine only holds 6 +1 in the pipe. The spare mag holds 8 though. I can put on a pair of short paints and a button up shirt in the Summer with a Mini-Cougar and no one would ever know. Don't be too concerned about weight either. With a good belt and holster, carrying around a two pound gun on your hip is not a problem.