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Old 05-01-2012, 21:27   #1
dog-pete
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How to Pick your CCW gun

I have my CCW permit but have never really carried in public. I am a big outdoorsman and go way way off the beaten path often and I carry my Glock 20 in the woods. I've been treed by a pack of wolves and have been stalked by a cougar so I never go in the woods without a gun anymore.

Anyways, I have decided to get a carry gun. I've shot some at my local gun range. The Glock 36 felt and shot wonderful. I also really liked the feel of the Kahr p9 and the Walther PPS but all three if these are pretty large still. I would like to shoot the new M&P shield but no one has it in the rental fleet yet. I shot the PM9 and the Glock 26 and didn't really like how my little pinky didn't have anyplace to go but other than that, they were nice guns and shot fine. The Glock 30 felt terrible.

I'm not sure if I want to go with what feels best or what will conceal best. How small is small enough and how small is too small. Being that i've never carried, I don't really have anything to go on. I doubt my local gun shop will let me take turns holstering every gun I am interested in and walk around with them in their store and take up hours making my decision.

I know that my G20 is difficult to conceal (I don't even really try in the woods) and is uncomfortable to carry (pokes me in the gut and I always know it is there) so I know I don't want a full size semiauto. How do you decide what is the right balance between small and shootable? I am 6'2" and 250 lbs. Is there a size difference between what can pocket carry and what can ICW carry easily? Is there a good size gun that will do both? How many rounds is enough and how many is overkill? Is 6 enough? How big of a a caliber is enough and how big is too much? Is a 9mm enough and a .45 ACP overkill?

Everyone I talk to buys a CCW gun and a year after carrying it, ends up buying something else and sells their original gun. I want to buy the right gun the first time.

Last edited by dog-pete; 05-04-2012 at 11:05..
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Old 05-01-2012, 21:58   #2
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Look at the G19/G23 and read as much as you can on carrying concealed. You'll spend a lot of time trying to find the right holsters too. I say holsters because you'll probably want an OWB for in the woods and an IWB for CC. Most right handed shooters carry on the right hip at 3:30. It is about the most comfortable place too. You should not have an issue with your gut in that location either. Check out Cross Breed Holsters, Theis Holsters and White Hat Holsters for CC. They are very comfortable.

A good book is Massad Ayoob's "Gun Digest Book of Concealed Carry".

Last edited by Dooger; 05-01-2012 at 21:59..
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Old 05-01-2012, 23:32   #3
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With a good holster you could conceal your G20!
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Old 05-01-2012, 23:53   #4
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I can carry my G20 concealed IWB under an untucked T-shirt at the 4:30 position using a Comp-Tac C-Tac holster with the proper cant. I'm 6' 0" and 190lbs. I can sit, stand, run, and jump without any issues. So it can be done more effectively and more comfortably than you think. Anything smaller should conceal better and be more comfortable still, but you shouldn't feel like you have to limit yourself to something really small unless that is what you want to carry.
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Old 05-02-2012, 00:07   #5
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Originally Posted by G19_AJ View Post
With a good holster you could conceal your G20!
Aye, I'm 5'10, 160 lbs and I can conceal a 5" 2011. We have faith in you. It's all about the holster/cover.
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Old 05-02-2012, 02:55   #6
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I go with the biggest, most powerful gun I can handle, shoot accurately, and still be able to conceal well.

Currently for me, it's a Smith and Wesson 686 4" .357 Mag.

(Yes, I took a break from my usual Sig 229 .40 and went back to a revolver. At least for now.)

With the right holster and wardrobe, you will be surprised at what you can conceal on your person. I'm not much over 5' tall, weigh 130 pounds and I've carried some really large guns that a female usually doesn't carry.

It's all a matter of preference and what works for you individually. Some people view carrying a gun as a hassle and want the lightest and smallest one out there.

People like me carry the biggest one they can conceal. If that meant I could conceal a 6" Smith and Wesson 629 .44 Mag, I would do so. A 4" .357 Mag revolver seems to be my limit on size and weight.

All the advice I can offer is try carrying whatever you have. If you have more than one handgun, carry each one at least for a week (providing you have that many holsters.) See which one works for you and why or why not.

Then, select the best one of your preference and stick with it.

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Old 05-02-2012, 13:20   #7
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Originally Posted by dog-pete View Post

. The Glock 36 felt and shot wonderful. I also really liked the feel of the Kahr pm9 and the Walther PPS but all three if these are pretty large still.

I am 6'2" and 250 lbs.
I'm 6' 1" and 257lbs and I carry a G20, G35 and a 1911 and never considered any of the too big to conceal or carry.

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Old 05-02-2012, 17:18   #8
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Nothing wrong with that G36 if you are thinking of going that way. I carry a G26 but you are a lot bigger than me and I'd guess your hands are a lot bigger than mine. While the pinky finger feels odd its really just a training issue for most people. There are extensions to make the grip larger though and it is for all intents and purposes the same thickness as a G36.
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Old 05-02-2012, 17:50   #9
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I've had and carried my 26 for almost 15 years now. I've carried my 19 too. Here's my suggestion:

Step 1 - Get a Wilderness Instructor 5-stitch belt that's 3-4" larger than your pants size without a gun in the waistband. At your size you're ceraintly not huge, but right on the edge of benefiting from the CSM insert that Wilderness recommends for bigger folks, and bigger/heavier guns. Call them and see what they say.

Step 2 - Get a Comp-tac MTAC holster for your 20.

Step 3 - wear that around for a week or so.

If that still feels too big, thick, whatever, consider going to a 19/23/32 sized gun.

Step 1 - Order a slide version MTAC shell for the Glock pistol.

Step 2 - swap the shell, and go to you local gun shop and ask to try on a used 19/23/32 in the new shell & holster.
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Last edited by DannyII; 05-02-2012 at 17:54..
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Old 05-02-2012, 18:01   #10
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I (5'8" 130lbs) carry what I can shoot the best (G30) and dress around it to conceal.
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Old 05-02-2012, 18:21   #11
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Color me frugal, but I have to think that one of the potentially substantial factors in how to pick a CCW for alot of people is the cost. The other big factor would be size in my guess. My further guess is that more than a couple people start out with a bigger handgun and end up regularly carrying a smaller gun, or perhaps none at all. My opinion is that especially if an economical choice is desired, one of the Smith J frames that seem to be around ~$375 is a good choice. And to a certain extent a J frame was a concealed/plain clothes standard for a decade or three.

I also feel obligated to add that more than a few have reported shooting the Glock 26 better than larger versions despite (or possbily because) of the "pinky" issue.
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Old 05-02-2012, 20:05   #12
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Glock 26 with Pearce PG-39 mag extension... perfect fit for a 'big' hand, yet very concealable.
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Old 05-02-2012, 20:16   #13
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Always a trade off of comfort vs. effectiveness for me. At various times I've carried a 1911, G22, G23, G27, DB9, 649, 642 and LWS 32.

Settled on 23/27 on the belt plus the 642/LWS in a front pocket.
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Old 05-02-2012, 21:30   #14
dog-pete
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Money is not really an issue. The price of a Kahr PM9 is acceptable - more than that not so much.

I carried my Glock 20 with a Blackhawk Sherpa holster for 10 days in Yellowstone last summer and I found it large and uncomfortable and difficult to conceal. Plus I think people pretty much always knew I was carrying. Every time I sat down, I felt it poke me in the gut. I love the Glock 20 as my woods gun when I don't really care if anyone sees it.

I want something smaller for my daily conceal carry in public gun and I hate revolvers. The Glock 36 feels great to hold and shoot but I've heard a lot of people complain about how "large" or "thick" it is making it difficult to carry. People complain about the 26/27 being too thick also and printing. Some people hate the Kahr PM9 because it is too small and others love it. I am a little concerned about the reliability of a non-Glock gun. I want my CCW to be 100% reliable 100% of the time and I have great faith in Glocks. Most of the time that I carry will probably be in the summer so I want something that I can conceal in shorts and a t-shirt. Pocket carry might be cool.

Sound like lots of people are carrying fairly large guns without a problem so maybe the Glock 36 is the right pick for me. My local gun shop told me that I could come in and try a bunch of guns in holsters and see what I think. I am more worried about what it feels to carry the gun. I can shoot any of them and I can get used to the pinky thing.
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Old 05-02-2012, 23:36   #15
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First off the serpa isn't the best holster to carry a gun around IMO. I have one for my 19 and the only time I've worn it was at the range, I carried with it ONCE! And it just stuck out to far.

If you carry owb you need a holster that carrys higher and tight if you ask me and there's many holster options that offer that.

As far as worried about being new and around people carrying..... I had those jitters at first! It's normal but you get past that and you come to realize that the only other folks that might know your carrying are other folks that carry.

General society Aka sheeple will have no clue! I've walked around the grocery store for ten minutes and then realized my shirt rode up on my Glock and it was in plain view before..... Nobody had a clue.

I've had folks bump into my side before and and say oh I hope your phone is ok...... It wasn't a phone lol just my G19.

Overall my point is you can do it and carry the G20. You just have to dress around the gun and accept that it can be part of your life.

If you don't wanna pack around the G20 send it to me and I'll make sure she gets some good Ccw time.

All the best.... A.J.




Quote:
Originally Posted by dog-pete View Post
Money is not really an issue. The price of a Kahr PM9 is acceptable - more than that not so much.

I carried my Glock 20 with a Blackhawk Sherpa holster for 10 days in Yellowstone last summer and I found it large and uncomfortable and difficult to conceal. Plus I think people pretty much always knew I was carrying. Every time I sat down, I felt it poke me in the gut. I love the Glock 20 as my woods gun when I don't really care if anyone sees it.

I want something smaller for my daily conceal carry in public gun and I hate revolvers. The Glock 36 feels great to hold and shoot but I've heard a lot of people complain about how "large" or "thick" it is making it difficult to carry. People complain about the 26/27 being too thick also and printing. Some people hate the Kahr PM9 because it is too small and others love it. I am a little concerned about the reliability of a non-Glock gun. I want my CCW to be 100% reliable 100% of the time and I have great faith in Glocks. Most of the time that I carry will probably be in the summer so I want something that I can conceal in shorts and a t-shirt. Pocket carry might be cool.

Sound like lots of people are carrying fairly large guns without a problem so maybe the Glock 36 is the right pick for me. My local gun shop told me that I could come in and try a bunch of guns in holsters and see what I think. I am more worried about what it feels to carry the gun. I can shoot any of them and I can get used to the pinky thing.
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Old 05-03-2012, 06:49   #16
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The Serpa is definately not a max concealment holster!

If you want to try OWB for your 20, try the Glock Sport/Combat holster. It's all I'll ever need for OWB carry. For under $13, what have you got to lose?

Check MidwayUSA http://www.midwayusa.com/product/260...-polymer-black,

or Natchez http://www.natchezss.com/product.cfm...O02639&src=sim

or pretty much anywhere else and get one.

I'm still amazed at how cheap and durable it is, and how well it hides a gun OWB.

Here's a review http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/201...ombat-holster/

If you're looking for a carry gun for defense against bi-peds, and not woods critters, hard to go wrong with a 26 and 124 gr. +p Speer Gold Dots. Works for me and Mas Ayoob.

Again, MTAC for IWB, Glock Sport/combat for OWB.

Done!
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Old 05-03-2012, 07:21   #17
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Hey dog-pete, welcome back to Carry Issues.

You bring up a few points I'd like to ask about.

You say, "I've heard a lot of people complain about...," but you don't mention where you are hearing these complaints. Sometimes when people complain about a firearm, it isn't the firearm's fault. Know what I mean?

I like your local gun shop offering to let you try out gun/holster combinations. Bring along a couple, heck, a few different cover garments, too. Ask to use one of their chairs to try the sitting position, too.

Someone else mentioned using Pearce Extensions on the 26/27 mags giving your pinky a place to grip. I use them. They work for me. Your gun shop may carry them. Ask if they'll put one on a rental mag for you to try.

When you say you'll pocket carry in shorts, what kind of shorts? What kind of pockets?

If you have shorts you really like, but lets say the pocket is a little shallow, or the fabric is a little too light for a handgun, and you are not skilled in the "sewing arts", find a tailor to make the changes. It is amazing how easier carrying is using a heavier fabric for a pocket. The proper depth is also important. Too shallow and the butt shows, too deep and it's harder to draw.

Just take your time deciding...
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Old 05-03-2012, 11:20   #18
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I don't want to get rid of my Glock 20 - that is my favorite gun - I just don't want to carry it in public. I carry it everytime I go in the woods. I also have a Desert Eagle .44/.50, a Coonan .357, and a Glock 17. I love all of these guns, unfortunately, they are all pretty big which is why I want to buy one smaller that I can carry everyday for protection against bipeds.

Thanks for the suggestions - the gun range has most of the guns that I am interested in. I am going in this weekend to shoot and try them all in a holster to help make my decision. The guns I am trying are:

Glock 26
Glock 36
Kahr PM9
Kahr P9
Kahr P45
Walther PPS 9mm

I also want to try the M&P shield but they don't have one in their rental fleet yet. I am sure that one of those guns will carry well and also feel comfortable in my hands.

The people that I have heard complaining about the "thickness" of the G36/G26 have mainly been on different forums. Lots of people seem to wish that Glock would make a single stack 9mm. In the same places, I have also heard that the Kahr's just don't have Glock reliability. Some are 100% reliable and others not so much - never know what you'll get. I know that a lot of problems come from how people shoot - like limp writing it and maybe that is the issue with the Kahrs. I know the Kahr's are tight and typically require a 500 round break in period before the function properly.

I really hated the extended mag on the Kahrs. I really like the Glock or Walther extended mags that almost feel/look like they are actually part of the gun's handle instead of a mag sticking out of the end of the handle. I especially like it when the gun comes with a flush mag and an extended mag so you have it both ways depending upon the circumstances.

When I mentioned pocket carry - in the summer I usually wear bigt baggy khaki cargo pants so pocket carrying shouldn't be a problem as long as the gun is fairly small. I will also want to carry this gun IWB.

Thanks for the suggestions on the holsters. Hopefully, the gun shop will have some in stock of something I like. My buddy swears by the Milt Sparks leather IWB holsters but they are pretty pricey. It sounds like you guys are saying that the holster is as important as the gun for feeling comfortable so I'll look at lot of holsters too.
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Old 05-03-2012, 14:30   #19
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For me, a comfortable carry rig is made up of 50% right gun, 30% right belt, and only 20% right holster.
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Old 05-03-2012, 14:43   #20
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The G36 has a growing good reputation, but the G20 is hands down a better pistol. Having 15 os so 10mm cartridges is far better than just six or seven .45 rounds. Carry the G20 in a solid holster.
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Old 05-03-2012, 16:50   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DannyII View Post
The Serpa is definately not a max concealment holster!

If you want to try OWB for your 20, try the Glock Sport/Combat holster. It's all I'll ever need for OWB carry. For under $13, what have you got to lose?

Check MidwayUSA http://www.midwayusa.com/product/260...-polymer-black,

or Natchez http://www.natchezss.com/product.cfm...O02639&src=sim

or pretty much anywhere else and get one.

I'm still amazed at how cheap and durable it is, and how well it hides a gun OWB.

Here's a review http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/201...ombat-holster/

Glock Sport/combat for OWB.

Done!
+1.

Dude, no one realized you were CCWing. Sheeple are clueless

Spyder
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Old 05-03-2012, 17:06   #22
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I started carrying a G30 and now carry a G33 with a +2 OEM may extension. I like holsters that hold high and tight owb and lower iwb.
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Old 05-06-2012, 00:38   #23
dog-pete
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I went to my local gun shop today and shot the Kahr PM9, Kahr P9, Glock 26, and Walther PPS 9mm.

I shot the Glock most accurate but it felt like I was holding a 2x4 and when I tried it in a IWB holster, it felt huge and bulky. Even though the Glock 26 is the same thickness as my Glock 17, it felt much thicker.

The first magazine out of the Kahr was pretty inaccurate and every magazine got better until after 50 rounds, I was almost as accurate as I was with the Glock 26. The Kahr will take more practice to be as good at as I am with the Glock - it is much smaller and I am already used to Glocks. However, the PM9 will be much easier to carry. The PM9 felt much better IWB and I could pocket carry it in cargo shorts pretty easy.

I did not like the Walther much. I did not see much point in the Kahr P9 - not any easier to shoot than the PM9 and its bigger. They did not have an M&P shield and I would like to shoot one before I make my final decision but I am leaning towards the PM9.

All they had for holsters were the Galco IWB clip ons. I don't think that would be what I would choose but it gave me something to practice carry in. I brought along jeans and cargo shorts and tried carrying in both. It felt best when the hoster was just around my hip towards the back. If it was around my hip towards the front, it dug into my gut when I sat down even with the tiny PM9. Right on my side didn't feel great either and it printed pretty bad. I think I want a leather IWB like a Milt Sparks or a Bernie holster. I would like to see/try these kydex/leather holsters from Cross Breed Holsters, Theis Holsters and White Hat Holsters that Dooger recommended.
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Old 05-06-2012, 01:09   #24
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Any reason why you find the 26 thicker than the 17? I just don't get that.
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Old 05-06-2012, 08:13   #25
dog-pete
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I think it is that with the shorter grip that the thickness is more noticable. I know that they are the same thickess but when I hold my G17 I don't really notice it and don't think it feels thick. But when I hold the G26, it feels uncomfortably thick. I also think that the handle is shorter front to back and that might make the thickness stand out more too. However, it might be that I was alternating holding the Kahr and Walther with it too so that it felt thick in comparisson. I don't think so because I held and shot the Glock first and it felt thick right away. Regardless of how it felt in my hand, it felt really thick in my belt. I kept trying to make it work in the belt because I trust the Glock more and shoot it better too. Funny but the G36 does not feel thick in my hand and it is only .05" thinner.
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