Concealed Carry

Choosing a Carry Gun: Putting Your Best Foot Forward

Colt Python Combat Elite revolver, right profile on a pink and white silhouette target

I realize people have different ideas concerning handguns, price, and unfortunately, training and competency. If you are choosing a personal defense handgun, exertion (both mental and physical) must be part of your vocabulary. If you are lazy or complacent when choosing a handgun and mastering the piece, you may end up in the morgue with a toe tag — just as certain as if the act had been premeditated self-destruction. This is serious business.

That being understood, I like to have a cushion and not be in debt up to my eyebrows, but some things demand paying more. If it hurts the budget a little, so be it. I have never regretted purchasing quality.

Nighthawk 1911 .4 ACP semi-auto pistol with two boxes of Silverback ammunition
This Nighthawk 1911 is a remarkable handgun with many good features.

If what you can afford is affordable — and reliable — practice as often and hard as possible. Don’t be in the position of being armed with a deadly weapon but unable to defend yourself well with it. Of course, we all have a budget, and some are larger than others.

Let’s look at the logic of purchasing handguns. I put a lot of time and effort into testing handguns. Some are OK, others are not, and a few are very good. I have realistic expectations. I know an inexpensive handgun will not last as long, or perform as well, as better-made guns. It will not be as accurate, and it will not be as reliable in the long run. However, there are exceptions.

Handgun Quality

I am primarily writing to folks who own good firearms, even great shooting guns, but carry cheap guns anyway. Some have a fear of scratching the carry gun, marring the finish, or perhaps losing the pistol in some inquiry should it be used for personal defense. I get it. But the average cost of a funeral according to a Google search in March of this year has reached $ 7,484. A quality carry gun costs a lot less.

Then again, there is the guy who is just cheap. As an example, a fellow in a local gun shop asked me what a good .22 Magnum for trail use would be. In conversation, he mentioned he owned a new-in-the-box Smith & Wesson Model 63. I replied that the S&W is as good as it gets for a carry gun.

He laughed and said sure, but it is way too expensive to risk carrying in the field. He dreaded getting a scratch on it. I replied he wouldn’t likely be happy with a cheaper gun. The Model 63 isn’t going to appreciate that much, he should use it. After all, IRA and 401K accounts are investments, carry guns are for use.

Les Baer, Wilson Combat, Dan Wesson, and Springfield 1911 handguns
Les Baer, Wilson Combat, Dan Wesson, and Springfield offer first-class 1911 handguns. They are worth the tariff.

A carry gun is too important to go cheap. He didn’t take my advice (if I am any judge of human nature). Purchasing a $400 gun to preserve the finish and value of an $800 gun, doesn’t make horse sense.

When you choose a carry gun for personal defense, there are many choices: snub nose .38, three-inch barrel .357 Magnum, 9mm single stack, 9mm compacts, .45 Commanders, and .357 SIG pistols. All are viable — provided the user is competent. I cannot tell you how many times during my law enforcement career that I pined for a different firearm, or the freedom to choose a proper handgun, when I was issued a handgun that limited my ability.

Fortunately, we may choose a carry gun that complements our abilities and fits our lifestyle. I enjoy that choice very much. Although the institutional gun was usually reliable, it wasn’t the gun of my dreams. I have seen cops in small southern towns carrying Llama, Star, and even Iver Johnson handguns. (Most were some type of constabulary or court-appointed paper server.)

original Browning Hi-Power, Guncrafter CZ 75, and Wilson Combat Beretta 92
Top to bottom: An original Browning Hi-Power, Guncrafter CZ 75, and Wilson Combat Beretta 92. Each is arguably the best of the breed. Custom guns will outshoot issued guns by a wide margin.

A very pleasant older man found standing in front of a municipal building in New Mexico served as a bailiff in a small court and helped me with directions to the next town. He carried an old German single-action revolver in his waistband.

Security officers were often issued double-action .38 caliber Rossi, Taurus, or Tiger revolvers in the past. They may have qualified with one gun, only to be issued a revolver they had never fired. The double-action-only modified double-action first-shot 9mm guns were in vogue for a while and a shooter’s gun from hell. The point is, when you have freedom to choose and you have a good gun, deploy it!

I’m pretty certain your vehicle costs more than the nicest handgun I own, and you’ve probably hit potholes and drive through mud puddles sometimes. I am not the pot calling the kettle black. However, I understand the reasoning behind not always putting your best foot forward with a handgun. However, I carry the best pistol I own.

Wilson Combat’s front-strap checkering and trademark sunburst grips on a pistol
Wilson Combat’s front-strap checkering compliments its trademark sunburst grips.

There are a couple of idioms that I am very comfortable with… the snub nose .38, medium-size .357 Magnum, and a good 1911. I own one double-action .38 that is a great piece of ordnance. I also have a couple of less-expensive Charter .38s that were affordable and serve a purpose.

A revolver may be inexpensive and still be reliable. Accuracy, smoothness, and handling are another matter. Then there is the .357 Magnum. I may like something I would not necessarily recommend to most shooters, but it serves a purpose.

As an example, the aptly named Taurus Tracker .357 is a rugged, stainless steel, seven shooter that is ideal for the trail. I bear scars from an animal and while once in a lifetime is enough. Odds are, something that has happened once may well happen again.

I also own a S&W 66 that is a fine all-around shooter. It is a spare. While the S&W is a great gun, the Tracker suits me a little better. The Tracker’s grips don’t allow much sting in recoil and the ported barrel makes the mighty magnum tolerable. I often carry a magnum when hiking or taking long walks, and especially when walking with my pet, where the likely threat is a coyote or other four-legged beast.

As for the local animal control, and this is common across most states, the locals are past lazy. They approach indolent. Forget any help until the dangerous animal seriously injures someone. So, I carry a magnum. Since those long walks in cool air are peaceful, I often walk at night.

Ruger GP100 revolver with the cylinder open
The Ruger GP100 isn’t particularly expensive but offers an exceptional lockup, leading to excellent accuracy potential.

I own two .357 Magnum revolvers with night sights. One is a S&W Model 640 Pro, a stainless revolver without the ridiculous action lock. This is a formidable J-Frame. At close range, the added recoil and short sight radius of the 640 Pro are not a demerit.

A relatively new revolver in the battery is a Colt Python Combat Elite. This revolver features boot grips and a three-inch barrel topped with a bright tritium dot. It is easily the most accurate revolver I have owned. Often a 25-yard group will exhibit several bullet holes punched together. A man-sized silhouette at 100 yards is in a great deal of danger.

Will night sights make a difference, and should I carry the practically irreplaceable 640 or a Charter .38? (I have yet to see another 640 exactly like mine.) What if I really need a 50-yard shot but don’t have the Python? A lot of what, if, and gee whiz, but that is why we carry a pistol in the first place.

Smith and Wesson Pro revolver with the cylinder open showing live rounds in a moon clip
Among the advantages of the Smith & Wesson Pro is that it is cut for moon clips. This is an expensive custom option, but included on the S&W 640 Pro.

As far as 1911 handguns go, the 1911 requires quality manufacture and attention to tolerance. You cannot cut corners and expect the pistol to remain reliable. Unfortunately, a quality 1911 is increasingly pricey due to this requirement. Inexpensive 1911 pistols are fine for recreational shooting but just not the same as a high-quality pistol.

Remember, the original 1911 was a warfighter of the best material and properly assembled by trained professionals. Inexpensive guns were designed to cut this standard to sell at a reduced price. As a result, I own fewer 1911 handguns than I once did, but the ones I have are very good pistols. There are pricey 1911 handguns.

Wilson Combat offers good, solid, reliable pistols that cannot be faulted on any regard. We cannot all afford this type of handgun. A good quality, stainless-steel pistol that I find to be an excellent value is the Springfield Loaded. The Loaded is a good 1911 — as good as it gets for the money — and a 1911 I have great confidence in.

muzzle of a Wilson combat .45 ACP 1911 semi-automatic handgun with green fiber optic front sight
Wilson Combat offers tight fit and good accuracy.

The Springfield TRP is tighter, more difficult to rack, and commensurately more accurate. The tighter the pistol, the less eccentric wear, and the less likely it is to suffer incident wear. The TRP is superbly accurate.

How much more is this accuracy worth? In rapid combat fire, the Loaded is practically equal to the TRP. Unless your hands are wet, cold, or sweating… then you need the TRP’s grip stippling. In absolute accuracy, the TRP in my hands from a solid bench rest will put five shots into 1.25 inches at 25 yards, the Loaded about 2.0 inches on average. The TRP also features front strap checkering and magazine guide. In being all you can be, the TRP is going to edge away from the Loaded and exhibit better all-around performance.

Is the Loaded good enough? Certainly. Top-quality handguns are designed from their inception to offer good performance and long-term service. A variation on the TRP, the Bureau Model, went 25,000 rounds in FBI testing without a single malfunction.

Glock clone above and Glock 19 9mm pistol below
The Glock (lower) has an excellent reputation for reliability. The others… maybe.

Fit and finish are important. Cost isn’t the overwhelming criteria. A cheap gun is well… cheap. Something must give to produce a cheap, inexpensive, or ‘affordable’ handgun. Can an affordable handgun be reliable? Certainly. For example, the Glock is a baseline.

The Glock is reliable and requires little maintenance. It has become the baseline for institutional and personal defense use. So, there is little to no reason to adopt a firearm cheaper than the Glock. After all, the Glock is a model of reliable function.

However, young and old alike, and anyone on a tight budget, may find a less-costly handgun attractive. There are a few. The Smith & Wesson SD9 has Glock-like features, but it isn’t a Glock. Reliability seems good. The pistol will eat the X-ring out of a target at 7 yards. There are no grip inserts and little aftermarket support, but the pistol works.

S&W SD9 2.0 9mm semi-auto handgun with boxes of Winchester, CCI, and Speer ammunition
The author fired the SD9 2.0 with a variety of ammo, both range and defensive, and found it to be both reliable and accurate. Its handling was on par with more expensive guns such as the M&P, SIG, Beretta, and Springfield.

Canik handguns are similar enough to the Walther to offer a good level of protection. With some of the cheaper guns, the problem comes when costs are cut, quality control is also cut, and fewer parts are rejected. Little hand fitting is done.

The person purchasing a cheap carry gun isn’t going to fire it often and certainly isn’t planning on using it in a competition. I have always been aware that there were more cheap guns than good guns. The difference is that today, we have better inexpensive guns than anything of the past, with better safety features. Just the same, if you can afford a better gun, your shooting experience will be much more positive.

What is important?

Reliability is a million times more important than finish or any other criteria. Reliability isn’t the exclusive province of the expensive handgun, but most firearms costing over $1,000 are very reliable. They should be at that price point, and the demanding customer will accept no less. Less-than-ideal reliability is no reliability at all.

Speer Gold Dot Carbine ammunition 9mm Luger
Quality ammunition in your carry gun is essential to your defensive plan.

As a rule, inexpensive revolvers are less likely to malfunction than inexpensive automatics. On the other hand, I have seen cheap revolvers literally tie up with the hammer midway in its travel.

Reliability isn’t a modern marvel by any means. The original Colt 1911 went over 6,000 rounds in military testing without a malfunction. The Springfield Bureau Model went 25,000 rounds. Glock pistols have endured more than 30,000 rounds in similar testing. SIG’s P-series came out on top of a 228,000-round firing test. From the Colt 1911’s original test to modern institutional testing, these firing trails are critical studies and data we should consider when choosing a firearm.

When you jump into the handgunning world, I would recommend a middle-of-the-road pistol. Not so cheap to discourage your progress, and not so cheap progress isn’t possible. When your shooting ability is limited by the pistol, you will know it, but it takes a long time to reach that point.

Colt Python Combat Elite revolver, right profile on a pink and white silhouette target showing bullet holes in the throat area
If your best revolver is a Python, you should darn well carry it!

Some shooters begin with the best and eventually begin to shoot right up to the gun’s potential. But the middle of the road is a good place to be in the beginning. Most stay there. If you feel that you could shoot better with an improved trigger, sights, grip treatment, or just want to be all you can be, a more expensive carry gun may be the ticket. A cheap gun will never be. And when you own that gun don’t carry a cheap gun. Be all you can be, at all times.

Leather

A cheap scabbard is an embarrassment for a quality handgun. A floppy, out-of-shape, fabric holster, or a poor piece of suede leather that is poorly stitched, is simply unacceptable. A good-quality holster is needed to keep the pistol secure on the belt, ready for presentation, and at the proper angle for a rapid draw.

Les Baer in a Wright Leather Works paddle holster
This is the author’s Les Baer in a Wright Leather Works paddle holster.

A balance of speed and retention must be present. It isn’t easy to get right, but there are makers who get it right every time. Wilson Combat offers a wide range of excellent gear. Wright Leather Works is a maker with an excellent reputation.

Ammunition

Anything that is safe and goes bang! is fine for practice. Quality ammunition, with a well-designed and thoroughly-tested projectile, clean powder burn, and good accuracy is the only logical choice for personal defense. For me, that is most often Federal HST or Speer Gold Dot ammunition. Consider the many institutional tests these loads have passed and choose accordingly.

Do you own a safe queen, or do you carry the best gun you own? Which guns are ‘good enough’ for those on a budget to carry and why? Which self-defense ammo do you recommend? Share your answers in the Comment section.

  • two revolver barrels with night sights
  • Wilson Combat 1911 pistol cocked and locked in a leather holster on a gun belt
  • 10-shot pistol group in an orange paper target
  • Colt Python Combat Elite revolver, right profile on a pink and white silhouette target showing bullet holes in the throat area
  • Glock clone above and Glock 19 9mm pistol below
  • Ruger GP100 revolver with the cylinder open
  • Colt Python Combat Elite revolver, right profile on a pink and white silhouette target
  • Speer Gold Dot Carbine ammunition 9mm Luger
  • muzzle of a Wilson combat .45 ACP 1911 semi-automatic handgun with green fiber optic front sight
  • Wilson Combat’s front-strap checkering and trademark sunburst grips on a pistol
  • original Browning Hi-Power, Guncrafter CZ 75, and Wilson Combat Beretta 92
  • Les Baer in a Wright Leather Works paddle holster
  • Smith & Wesson 642 (left) and 640 Pro (right) revolver
  • Les Baer, Wilson Combat, Dan Wesson, and Springfield 1911 handguns
  • Nighthawk 1911 .4 ACP semi-auto pistol with two boxes of Silverback ammunition
  • Smith and Wesson Pro revolver with the cylinder open showing live rounds in a moon clip

About the Author:

Bob Campbell

Bob Campbell’s primary qualification is a lifelong love of firearms, writing, and scholarship. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice but is an autodidact in matters important to his readers. Campbell considers unarmed skills the first line of defense and the handgun the last resort. (He gets it honest- his uncle Jerry Campbell is in the Boxer’s Hall of Fame.)

Campbell has authored well over 6,000 articles columns and reviews and fourteen books for major publishers including Gun Digest, Skyhorse and Paladin Press. Campbell served as a peace officer and security professional and has made hundreds of arrests and been injured on the job more than once.

He has written curriculum on the university level, served as a lead missionary, and is desperately in love with Joyce. He is training his grandchildren not to be snowflakes. At an age when many are thinking of retirement, Bob is working a 60-hour week and awaits being taken up in a whirlwind many years in the future.


Published in
Black Belt Magazine
Combat Handguns
Handloader
Rifle Magazine
Handguns
Gun Digest
Gun World
Tactical World
SWAT Magazine
American Gunsmith
Gun Tests Magazine
Women and Guns
The Journal Voice of American Law Enforcement
Police Magazine
Law Enforcement Technology
The Firearms Instructor
Tactical World
Concealed Carry Magazine
Concealed Carry Handguns



Books published

Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry
The 1911 Automatic Pistol
The Handgun in Personal Defense
The Illustrated Guide to Handgun Skills
The Hunter and the Hunted
The Gun Digest Book of Personal Defense
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911 second edition
Dealing with the Great Ammunition Shortage
Commando Gunsmithing
The Ultimate Book of Gunfighting
Preppers Guide to Rifles
Preppers Guide to Shotguns
The Accurate Handgun
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (21)

  1. For carry, I like several Rugers I have in 327 Fed Mag. One is a Series 7 with bird’s head grip and the other is a 6 cylinder. I also have SP101. I also really like my XD in 45ACP. For the trail I like SP101 and one of the Old Vaqueros I have in 45LC. I have them from when I did Cowboy Mounted Shooting.

  2. Y’all can keep your 1911 platform stuff and your non-natural pointing Blocks, err, Glocks. I don’t need a large heavy, low capacity .45 that’s gotta have hand fitted parts to be reliable or something that doesn’t feel good in the hand or point correctly for normal humans. I’ll gladly stick to my S&Ws. You want something that’s just as reliable, functions and field strips just like a Glock, less expensive than a Glock AND points like it should. Take a look at the S&W SDxVE. I have one of the first of the line when the VE was introduced in 2012. Spent $25 on an Apex spring kit and it rides in a level 2 retention Kydex Cytac paddle holster. At the time Glocks were running $500+, the Smith, I paid $275 out the door. It’s chambered for .40 and has had thousands of rounds through it. The improved 2.0 version is still a better deal than the current Glock lineup. The M&Ps are a solid choice. I have an early (2005 purchased new) M&P duty size in .40, the same thing I carried on duty as a state LEO when we transistioned to it from the S&W 686 revolvers. Speaking of revolvers, I also have 1 7/8″ .38 Spl 6 shot snub. It’s the RIA M206. Is it S&W, Colt, or Ruger quality? Certainly not, however it’s a solid performer. I gave $250 for it new. Timing is where it should be and lockup is fairly solid. Its edges were rough and definitely needed some stoning on the hammer spur and the around barrel to remove sharp edges. Trigger assembly needed some slight polishing. Immediately removed the wooden boot grips that are too small and installed a three finger combat grip. After that, it’s smooth, comfortable to carry and shoot and it’s reliable. Carried in a custom made Lightning Leather Works holster made by a fellow officer and guy I grew up with. As far as ammo, what I carry isn’t widely available anymore. The .38 is loaded with some 125gr standard pressure Federal Nyclad from the old blue, white, and orange box (yes, I’m dating myself with that) but it’s been tested and they are still viable and reliable. The M&P Shield Plus is loaded with 124gr Federal Hydrashok. The .40s with 155gr Winchester Ranger LEO only (tan/gold box, again, yeah, old stuff but reliable although I prefer 180gr). One I didn’t see mentioned that is a viable choice for carry is the Taurus G2c. I never thought much about Taurus until two of my brothers bought a pair several years ago… for $200 each, new. They’re comfortable and more importantly (and surprisingly) they’re very reliable. I was on the lookout for one when I was shopping for small 9mm CCW… at the time, none were to be found and the new Shield Plus was about to drop so I ponied up the $550 and threw my pre-order in line. It fits the hand like it should… like an M&P. However, it’s carried IWB in a GunMate/Uncle Mike’s soft fabric IWB holster (oh no! 😱). Yeah, whatever. It’s slim, it’s comfortable, it holds the weapon low and secure between my leather belt and my appendix. It does what it needs to and quite well. So peanut gallery comments aside for that holster, I’ll continue to use it.

  3. I guess we all have different experiences , the worst gun I ever owned was a Smith and Wesson model 19 357, shot out of time, sent it back to S&W came back and shot out of time again. Traded it for a Colt Trooper. My series 7 Colt 1911 will only feed fnjs but my cheap ATI 1911 will feed anything. Never owned a Glock as I like manual safeties. Carry a Kimber micro 9 but shoot my Ruger LC9S better, but the manual safety is too small on the Ruger. If someone made a safety the size of the one on the 1911 the Ruger would be my carry piece. Revolver wise have both S&W, Ruger and Taurus but miss my old Colt Trooper.

  4. For me it’s SIG. From a 1911 down to a P365 Macro, they’re all tacops. Carry ammo is Federal HST. No red dot sights. Iron is more dependable. I don’t buy “fun guns”. My guns get used and I trust every one to do the job every single time. To me that’s fun.

  5. WEIGHT! Ounces become pounds when carried all day. A little 380 in your pocket is better than a 1911 in your safe.

  6. This author is a little biased. Using Glock as a baseline is hilarious. It is simply the gold standard of modern firearms production no matter the cost. As cost alone doesn’t mean better quality nor does it mean less quality. Firearms are made on Fridays just like ford trucks. So just pick a quality firearm, ammunition and training.

  7. I have shot for years and had revolvers and semi-autos. My first semi-auto was a Glock and I felt like it fit my ‘needs’ the best. I soon learned that the first thing I required was a gun that ‘fit’ my hand, the best. No stretching the trigger figure to reach the trigger and no feeling like most of the gun was too small or too large. My two carry choices over the years, ended up being the Glock 19 and the 43X. They ‘fit’ me. A friend asked me what they should buy . I told them I preferred Glock’s but any well known manufacturer usually makes a quality firearm. Go to a good gun shop and test the fit in your hand. Then rent them and see what you like the best. There is no rush. If you need to think about your purchase, then think about it. Any good gun shop or gun owner should be glad to answer your questions.

  8. I too, carry a Wiley Clap Talo conversion. Love it! Mine feeds on Buffalo Bore 158 grain LSWCHP. I don’t have anything but working guns, no safe queens up here.

  9. Agree with your article opinions. ” I have never seen a 640 exactly like mine.” I have one , though I changed the grips to the older Taurus 2 finger boot. And, I also have the same Python in your pics. Grips feel just a tad fat, But, it isn’t a light gun, & I’m a sucker for 2 finger boot grips. Similar to the Old Uncle Mike’s on my 15-3 (but MUCH thinner). I gush over my sexy revolvers, but I also have a Hellcat, 2 Kahrs,2 XDm’s a Sig P245 (which for a single stack is a bit large, but shoots SO nice and my holster makes it pretty comfy). I try not to buy safe queens, but I do have 2 (revolvers, of course.) A gorgeous older S&W Airweight 3 inch w/ pinned bbl, black pearl grips & Tyler T. The blueing on that one gives the old Pythons a run for their $ . And lastly a Shiny Nickel Colt Detective Spl ( with the first bbl, not the underlug). White pearl grips with Tyler T. (IF, it can’t wear a 2 finger boot, it wears a T with me.) I admit to spending less on Holsters than most, but I love good leather, and scour the sites for bargains. Usually IWB, not for the Python though. Wish I still had my Hi Power, that gun is flat and is a GREAT point shooter. Didn’t like the hammer bite though. Thought about getting the new one out by FN, but I got more than I “need” pistol-wise.

  10. I carry a Colt New Agent in 9mm that went through the Talo shop and has XS tritium sights. Carried in condition 1, cocked and locked. If you’re going to carry this way you better have a good holster with a body guard/sweat guard to keep that hammer from digging into your side while seated in a vehicle. I got lucky years ago and found a little known leathershop in Texas that makes a very high quality holster with the FBI cant and a bodyguard.

  11. Bob,
    I am glad you mentioned charter arms. My regular carry gun is a charter arm’s bulldog in 45 Colt and no it doesn’t have the fit and finish of a Smith or Colt, but mine has been absolutely reliable and nothing I have shot with it has ever complained about that… including an 1100 pound boar.

  12. Safe queens, ehh? 😁 I have one. An M9 A3. I have always loved the Beretta. The A3 I think is gorgeous. I shoot my 92 and the Beretta A3 by Umarex in .22 lr, all the time though. Though, I probably would never ccw the 92 or M9. Too darn big. Especially when driving.

    I have gone through several EDC guns, a Taurus 445, a Ruger P85, then the SR9c, but have carried the G19 for the last 10+ years. I like it. I also like that I have another in the safe just like it.

  13. Jeeeezzz Bob now you’re espousing night sites on a carry revolver!! That’s as good as it gets, so you insure good hits. My fave carry revolver is my S&W 386+ night guard. So light I barely know it’s there, cadmium front site, slick action, and 7 rounds of 38 special +p’s makes it perfect and reassuring! Next is my glock 43X but that’s another story!

  14. Kaniksu

    As a child- and I had forgotten this- my mother rushed me into the house as a bull from a neighboring farm demolished my swing set! You are well armed. That GP 100 will be running when the Colt or S&W is a rattling wreck but still that will be a lot of shooting!!!

  15. Double action (revolver or semi); comfortable leather; practice ammo is fine; it’s all about where you put the bullet. Caliber is whatever you are consistent with. Ruger LCR fits the need from .22 to .38 or 9mm.

  16. Double action (revolver or semi); comfortable leather; practice ammo is fine; it’s all about where you put the bullet. Caliber is whatever you are consistent with. Ruger LCR fits the need from .22 to .38 or 9mm.

  17. I agree with your assessment of carry guns, I know that when I first went into law enforcement that I was issued a well used 38 special which worked, but I would not want to carry it in this present point in time, but as soon as I could I acquired a 1911acp colt in 45 cal similar to what I carried in the military it rattled a little bit but it worked every time and I have been carrying one since but now I carry a colt compact in 45acp and I finally broke down and bought a Glock 19 in 9mm and it to is a very reliable carry gun.

  18. Another article of excellent advice from Mr. Campbell. My most common EDC piece is a Wiley Clapp TALO model GP 100 .357 with a 3” barrel packed with Underwood 185gr. cast lead hard cast due the preponderance of bruins of foul temper in my Montana neighborhood. One aspect not mentioned is the mechanical similarities across different spcimens of same manufacture. I can pick up any Ruger GP 100 and the trigger mechanism will feel the same. The TALO version has factory-polished internals so it is very smooth but every GP 100 I have ever dry or live fired breaks at the same point in the trigger stroke. This makes training quick and easy. Even though my revolver is a special edition that is no longer being made I carry it without hesitation because I am familiar with it and I know it will go bang when I need it to. That counts for everything.

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