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Here in Carteach0 land, carry pistols have varied little over the years. In fact, they amount to three choices, depending on various factors. A Colt Combat Commander in .45ACP, a Taurus model 85 snubby in .38 Special, and a Smith & Wesson M&P 9c compact 9mm. Ninety-five percent of the time the M&P won the draw, and was in my holster as I left the house. Read this post to get all the details.
The M&P has features I approve of in a carry pistol. Ease of operation tops the list, as it has no external safeties to deal with. The only controls that need be learned are the trigger, the magazine release, and the slide release. The M&P is also as reliable as any autoloader, and better than most. It gobbles up just about any ammunition, both factory and handloads, and shoots them straight. It’s an accurate pistol—very accurate considering its size.