Choosing a CCW – MAC Runs Though Some Questions

There are three questions I seem to get asked as a firearms industry writer on an almost daily basis, which are:

  1. Q: Is this AR a good one for me? or What is a good AR for me?
  2. Q: Can you recommend a good AR trigger?
  3. Q: Can you recommend a good handgun for me for concealed carry?

Most of the time the answer is not as simple as a making a single recommendation.  There are things that you need to know about the person, what they are looking to do and some decision they need to make.  In the end, I cannot tell you what is going to work for you.

About a week ago I came across this video from MAC, where he covers all the the questions and things that I run people though for a good concealed carry handgun.  Many times I tell people take an afternoon, go to a store and handle everything.  Not just things you are interested in… Everything.  From there make a list from there on things that you can go to a local range with rentals and shoot.  Many times people tend to find something that they weren’t even considering because it fit their hand.

I cannot put my hand on your arm, get a feeling and make a recommendation of one of the 1000+ types of handguns out there.  Really, it is just not possible.  When someone asked me the same question the other day, I sent them this video… Followed by the gun store and range recommendation.  Today, they are the proud owner of a Glock 42, and they are happy with it and shoot it well.  Because they took the time to do some homework and make a decision based on their own comfort, abilities and needs.


  • gunsandrockets

    Exactly right.

    Humans are too individualistic for there to be any one best handgun for all.

  • dan citizen

    I have carried for work and personal use for 30 years, everything from a .22 mini revolver to PDWs There is a pretty simple formula for civilian ccw:

    Do you own it/can you afford it?
    Can you operate it?
    Can you shoot it effectively enough (hit someone at 0-5 feet)

    anything else is gravy.

  • Mystick

    There’s no “right” answer…. too many variables.

  • Vhyrus

    1. It needs to be expensive enough to be reliable, but cheap enough so that you won’t cry if it gets confiscated, stolen, or scuffed.

    2. It needs to be strong enough to stop a man, but weak enough so you can shoot it quickly.

    3. It needs to be big enough so you can hold it and shoot it, but small enough so you can conceal and carry it all day.

    • Nicks87

      The answer to 1, 2, and 3 is: GLOCK model 19.

      • Maybe for you, but some of us don’t like the grip on the Glock. But that’s the point here. What’s good for you is not necessarily good for someone else.

        • big daddy

          I have shot the Glock and it is by far the most uncomfortable gun I ever fired. Great mechanical device but the ergonomics just do not work for me for many reasons, that’s why I bought the M&P 9. Although the GEN 4 is better it still does not fit my hand well. The trigger guard rests directly on the middle finger knuckle and does damage to it every time I fired it. My hands are arthritic and that finger was killing me. Some people love them and some hate them, I hate them. The Glock fanboys are annoying, like the Colt AR ones.

          • Nicks87

            … As far as Glock fanboys are concerned, you could say that about fans of anything you dont like. Me personally, I think the 1911 crowd are pretty irritating along with XD fanboys (grip safety fixation maybe?). Also, I said Glock 19 over the S&W M&P series just because GLOCK was around first. IMHO M&Ps are just GLOCKs with different ergonomics. Just like most modern striker fired pistols.

          • big daddy

            That’s pretty much what I meant as far as Glocks being great mechanical devices. Glock and Colt AR fanboys bring annoying to a new level. It doesn’t matter who is first, that’s childish. When it comes to firearms it’s what you shoot best and what is most reliable if you are going to use it for anything that puts you life in peril, whether HD, concealed carry, combat or even hunting. In reality the idea for the M&P was to fix things that were wrong about the Glock. For me S&W did a good job of it.

          • 2hotel9

            I get grief from Glockaholics a lot when out shooting, not so much from 1911iacs. The Glock shooters bang out 13,15,17 rds and average 6-8 hits, I bang out 8 rds and get 8 hits. Reload and do it again. They throw 100 rds and average 60-65 hits, I throw 100 rds and average 85-90 hits. This never stops their derision, it damned well tones them down. They still giggle at my Walther P1, they just do it from behind their hole deficient paper targets.

          • Nicks87

            Next time just call in an airstrike, that will show them how operator you are.

          • 2hotel9

            A couple of stonks 4 duece usually does the trick!

        • Nicks87

          Actually, I dont even own a GLOCK 19 but I do think it’s the best answer to the requirements mentioned above. I own a GLOCK 17 but I rarely carry it concealed. I prefer revolvers for CCW but I wouldnt recommend them to anyone but more experienced shooters. Mainly because of the long trigger pull and reduced capacity…

          • Geodkyt

            Hey, the Glock 19 is a great tool – it’s just not the best tool for EVERYONE. I personally dislike Glocks (mostly the ergonomics), but would carry – or recommend – one in a heartbeat.

            My carry Combat Tupperware is a Sig P250SC and an XD9 Service, because I do like how they fit, feel, and fire. And would unhesitatingly recommend either of them to someone.

            “One size fits all” actually means “one size fits none”.

        • gunslinger

          sush… glock 19 is THE ONLY answer


    • Exactly…

  • Avid Fan

    No, no, no, no, no. Sadly, you’re ALL wrong. The correct process is as follows:
    1. Is it cool?
    2. Will my friends think it’s cool.
    3. How many people in total think it’s cool.
    4. Are the cool gun guys in the magazines using it or talking about using it.
    5. Is it a Glock.
    If any of the above are answered “less than Justin Bieber” or “of course the answer is purple” the gun is deemed uncool, unusable, unsafe and totally unfashionable.
    Save your breath recommending guns to friends. Let them buy Glockfieldwesson autos and save all the LNIB vintage K-frames for me.

  • Pete Sheppard

    Good information, as far as it went. Not mentioning revolvers is a major minus, IMO. Despite the low capacity, the reliability, simplicity and economy of a revolver are important factors to consider.
    While there are NO unsafe handguns, as long as the user is safe, I would have to qualify a SA pistol like the 1911 as requiring more training AND PRACTICE than other pistols to maximize safety

    • “Good information, as far as it went. Not mentioning revolvers is a major minus, IMO.”

      And, in particular, I would add to your factors that semi-autos and revolvers fit different grip shapes. Some people have fairly square grips and some people have sharply angled grips; if your firearm doesn’t match the shape of your hand, it will not be as comfortable and you will not shoot as well. The shape of a person’s grip TENDS to be correlated with sex which is why many women prefer revolvers and rifles to semi-autos and why many men keep trying to square the grips of their rifles, but it also depends on the individual and there is no substitute for simply trying both and figuring out what works for YOU.

      If you don’t know what I am talking about, get together with a group of people of mixed sex and make fists. Look at the angle your fingers make and compare. Then think about the shape of a revolver. The angle of a person’s thumb can be another big individual difference (power grip versus precision grip), but that matters more in fencing than firearms.

    • GuruofGuns

      Striker fired pistols with no manual safety rely completely on the users experience to be handled safely, so I would say they require more safety training.

    • AK™

      How does the 1911 require more training and practice? When you draw,your natural motion of your thumb would disengage the thumb safety. It isn’t rocket science to put the safety up when you are holstering it.

      A Rock Island Armory Full Size 1911 in .45ACP was my first CCW gun. Never had a problem with it.

      The 1911 has been around for a hundred plus years. It’s seen every version from .22LR to 9mm,to 40SW,10mm,.380ACP,.460 Rowland,.357 Magnum,.38 Super,etc.

      • Pete Sheppard

        The 1911 is indeed one of the top fighting handguns. A Commander was my first handgun and carry pistol.
        While extremely safe in trained, practiced hands, the combination of light trigger and thumb safety can be fumbled if the shooter does not keep in training. There are many stories of people not wiping off the safety under stress, or ND-ing one when they DIDN’T realize the safety was off. OTOH, lives have been saved when a 1911 user was disarmed and the attacker couldn’t quickly figure the gun out. For myself, I once nearly gut-shot myself when I fumbled a draw. MY FAULT, NOT THE PISTOL’S!
        This told me that *I* needed to maintain a high level of practice if I wanted to carry the Commander Condition 1, which I consider the most practical defensive carry state.

        • 2hotel9

          All the points you make are why I carry a Walther P1 and a Beretta M21. Round in chamber, hammer dropped, safe to carry ready to rock.

          • Pete Sheppard

            Yep. Plus, you have that long, DA pull to give you a last “Are you SURE??” before the shot goes, with all it implies. I don’t have a problem with the DA/SA transition, but since I pocket carry, I stick with a J-frame revolver.

          • 2hotel9

            In the mid-80s after leaving the Army I carried .38special snubbie and never could get consistent with it, thats when I got the Beretta. Traded off for higher accuracy with a smaller bullet and the same conceal-ability. I carried a Enfield .38 revolver, too, when concealment was not so much an issue. Love that piece, but I joined the 20th century in 2001 when I bought the Walther(and yes, bullets dipped in irony are quite effective).

          • Pete Sheppard

            Isn’t it great to have choices? 🙂

          • 2hotel9

            I have a “pro-choice” tshirt, it has 5 different guns on it. My leftard friends and family REALLY hate it.

          • Pete Sheppard


  • n0truscotsman

    1.) Palmetto State Armory
    2.) Stock. If you cannot stand stock, then ALG defense.
    3.) Glock 19 (17 if you are 6’4 and over and 26 if you are under 5’5). S&W shield if you cannot stand the fuckwit reasons for disparaging Glock.

    You ask and you shall receive

    • JumpIf NotZero

      I’m not sure if you actually missed the entire point of all those words that came after the numbered bullet points…

      Or your post is just facetious.

  • 2hotel9

    I hope your answer to each of those AR questions is to slap an AK in their hands!

    Seriously, though, I get the 20 questions deal from people and I start by asking them what weapons they have fired, then build from there. If they have fired no weapons before I take them out and let them pop some rds in a couple of mine. That usually sets the hook quite well. The variables in what weapon is a good fit for an individual are so wide that there is no specific, generic one size fits all answer. In our region there are very few places to do “rental” shooting, so the best alternative is to get them around people willing to let them have a test drive. Good thing I got lotsa friends that like to shoot and are not selfish!

  • derfelcadarn

    Carry what your body type and preferred mode of carry conceals best and what you can shoot with the most confidence. Any gun is better than no gun and a small well shot round beats a hyper magnum round shot badly on any day of the week.

  • AK™

    I Zaptal™ carry a S&W .500 Magnum.

    or I have a S&W SD9VE in a Uncle Mikes holster.

  • Stan Robertson

    Talk about “fanboys” This guy was a walking talking ad for Kahr. I like a good discourse on guns, but let’s be fair. He didn’t mention Glock, Springfield, Sig, Ruger, or Kimber. Really???

    • 2hotel9

      Got to admit, Kahr does make a fine product, and priced to move.