Carrying a Big Gun is Stupid


I know, that HK USP45 looks wicked operator and it’s a lot easier to shoot well than your 638. But where is it right now? In your safe? Big handguns are more fun to shoot and we can shoot them much faster and more accurately than little guns. But most folks end up leaving their full size pistols at home most of the time. Please don’t misunderstand me, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t ever carry a larger gun. Especially if you have a solid reason, like for large animal defense when you’re out in the sticks. Even just because you enjoy carrying that fancy 1911 in the nicely tooled leather holster at a social gathering. It really isn’t carrying a big gun that’s bad. It’s leaving your Beretta 92F at home because it might print at the grocery store and you’re too macho to carry a P3AT that’s stupid.

Even more stupid is if you’re the kind of guy who has so much self worth tied up in the gun you carry that you are too proud to carry a “wimpy” 9mm. If you’re carrying a full size .45 because you think it’s more powerful, then you are a fool. Now, before you get out the pitchforks and torches, I’m not saying that .45 isn’t perfectly suitable for carry. I’m just saying that you shouldn’t be carrying one for the wrong reasons. Even worse, if you are one of those rare cats who thinks that carrying something ridiculous like a Desert Eagle impresses anyone, you are a child. Of course, no one reading this is that foolish, though. TFB readers are smarter and more astute than any other group of people in the world. And because of that, you’re probably thinking, “Isn’t this the same guy who told us a couple weeks ago that carrying a tiny gun was stupid?”

Yes. I am that guy. And I meant every word in that article, just as I mean every word in this one. Carrying a little gun, when you have the opportunity to carry something larger is dumb. Carrying no gun at all because you are too stubborn to buy a gun that’s comfortable and concealable or worse, carrying an awkward hand cannon that you don’t shoot well and can’t control is also stupid.

A smaller gun might be more reasonable.

If you’re a gun guy, you probably have several handguns. The best handgun to have in a fight is the one that you shoot best. And the one you shoot best is probably the one you like shooting most. But if that’s in the safe, it doesn’t matter how fast you are with it. You should be carrying a gun you shoot well, and you should also be carrying all the time. That means you will have to compromise a bit. Get a proper belt and holster for the largest gun that you can reasonably conceal in the activities that you normally engage in. Depending on what your day looks like, that could be pretty small.

Then shoot the snot out of that gun. Take some classes with it. Shoot some steel competition games with it. And don’t worry about what some jackass on a gun blog tells you to carry.


Andrew is a combat veteran of OEF and has performed hundreds of ballistic tests for his YouTube channel, The Chopping Block ( He is an avid firearm collector and competitor and lives with his family in Arizona. If you have any questions, you may email him at


  • Scott Tx

    tomorrow’s article: Carrying a small gun is stupid

    • 1LT Homer

      It already exists, actually.

    • EdgyTrumpet

      BREAKING: Carrying a gun is stupid

      • Samuel Millwright

        Umm… No it’s not…

        Go back to democratic underground fool

        • Vhyrus

          Might want to tune your sarcasm detector a bit.

        • Trotro


      • Rick O’Shay

        Everything’s BREAKING around here.

        • QuadGMoto

          It’s breaking so much that it should already be broken. ๐Ÿ˜

          • iksnilol

            Maybe they got some duct tape.

        • Joshua

          BREAKING: everything is stupid

    • Edeco

      This is why I quit watching The Yankee Marshall, he spends too much time playing with his own opinions. Like “X is stupid” then “X is the best”, and the viewer is supposed to be intrigued I guess.

      • Timmah_timmah

        Glad to see I am not the only one that doesn’t really consider this type of approach very thought provoking. But that is the beauty of many sources. We can read what we like!

      • DanGoodShot

        That guy got WAY too full of himself and I, for the life of me cannot figure out how or why.

      • El Mac

        You talking about the Yankee Dumbazz?

    • hghgf

      that’s already an article

    • SerArthurDayne

      Best post evwr

  • Vhyrus

    Or, you can all open carry, carry the same size gun as the cops, the same way, in the same caliber, with the same amount of ammo, as comfortably as they do, all day, and not have any of these problems, and not have to get a permit or ask permission to do so, like I do.

    Insanity, I know.

    • Porty1119

      Hush with your logic.

    • Timmah_timmah

      Hmmm who would have thought?!

    • Fred

      Except for for a great many of people they would not be able to be employed while doing so. Not just one’s place of work, many people have jobs in things like sales where not only do they have to visit many other companies buildings and properties, but they also have to fly to get there, etc.

      Point is, this isn’t one size fits all.

      Carrying all time in the manner that you wish you could is not always possible.

    • Chop Block

      I don’t need state permission to carry concealed. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • iksnilol

      Being the only guy with a gun visible openly makes you stick out like a sore thumb… and makes it hella easy to be targeted first in a scenario.

      • Vhyrus

        Lies, slander, urban myth. Take your choice. There is not one single shred of evidence backing up these claims. It is simply mall ninja secret squirrels constantly spreading this bullshit.

        • iksnilol

          No, not really.

          It’s a perfectly sensible thing. You’re Johnny Jihad, you see a crowd, who do you shoot first? The guy who will most likely return effective fire (IE cops) or somebody who’ll just run and scream for their life ?

          This is common sense.

          • Vhyrus

            Show me one confirmed instance of this happening, anywhere, at any time.

            I’ll wait.

          • iksnilol
          • Vhyrus

            Your links have absolutely nothing to do with ‘Johnny jihad shooting armed people in a crowd’. The second one does not even have a confirmed motive by the author’s own admission.

          • iksnilol

            Oh it has absolutely to do with my point. Being the only guy with a gun visible, makes you stand out, makes you a target.

          • retfed

            It hasn’t happened because Aloha Snackbar attacks are so rare. But open carriers get attacked for their guns, and robbed of their guns, fairly regularly.
            Open carry should be legal, but it’s not good tactics (read: stooopid) in any urban setting. You can’t see 360 degrees, and you can’t positively protect your gun while you’re walking through a crowd, pumping gas, or paying for a Big Mac. It’s far better if they don’t know you have one.

          • Bill

            Sorry, with the uptick in ambush-style attacks on cops, it’s reinforced the fact that not everyone is deterred by openly-armed cops.

  • DangerousClown

    I alternate between a Shield, and a .460 revolver.

    • El Duderino

      I tried a .460 Shield, but the grip was just a touch too wide.


  • MigNoche

    I don’t get nearly as much enjoyment from shooting pistols that I do from shooting long guns.

    • Porty1119

      Join the club. I own one pistol, and don’t see that number climbing above two or three…ever, really.

      • Vhyrus

        You need the big pistol, the small pistol, and the revolver. Anything else is showing off.

        • Joby

          I’d add .22 to the mix if you use your small pistol for carry. Overlap is allowed.

      • neoritter

        A gun I like to shoot (some cross section of comfortable, cost, and quality), a classic/collectable gun (e.g. 1911, Colt revolver), the fun/interesting gun (e.g. Desert Eagle, Rhino, Kolibri).

        Similar thought process for you?

      • Dougscamo

        I used to think that too….and now I find myself surrounded by pistols….a perfectly innocent pastime that somehow got out of control….BUT still have more long guns and love to shoot them….

      • iksnilol

        What about a backup gun? Maybe a couple of ankle guns in addition (real smooth, y’know)? One chest gun in case somebody grapples you on the ground (revolver works well, or a howdah, less stuff to bind/shove out of action). Also, tape a Beretta to your back, in case you need to pretend to surrender.

        OOOoooh, a NAA Mini revolver on your keychain as a good luck charm.

        So I count at least… like 6 additional pistols you can do with. I assume your primary is in a bada$$ shoulder holster (you can easily add another one on the opposite side, be like Lara Croft).

        • Dougscamo

          Nah, just 3 for me for EDC….though the NAA belt buckle is something to consider….hmmmm….

          • iksnilol



          • Dougscamo

            Nah, the key chain model would get tangled up with my pocket .380…

          • iksnilol

            I’m a rookie, I completely forgot about the pockets, you can have like a pocket .380 in one and a pocket .32 in the other.

          • Dougscamo

            And you’re the one that makes fun of cargo pants! Think of the possibilities man!

          • iksnilol

            You’re sorta right, but by my math we’re already up at like 10 guns…. adding two-four pockets more would mean like, 2-4 more guns.

            And that’s starting to be ridicilous.

            I’m thinking though, you can carry one of those undershoulder cut down shotguns whilst still having a couple of guns in shoulder holsters? Right, that means with the cargo pants we could be up to like 16 guns.

            You’d be unstoppable. Gun goes *click*, and the tangos are all “yay, he’s empty let’s get him” then you’re all like “surprise, another gun, madafacka!” You’d be like Il Duce from the Boondock Saints! THERE WAS A FIREFIGHT, indeed!

          • Dougscamo

            The only problem here is all the water at the moment….you could trip into a puddle and become the victim of a tragic boating accident….

          • iksnilol


            Tragic Boating Accident strikes again, harbor gang wiped out, 20 dead!

          • Dougscamo

            I prefer Deadpool which would be more appropriate considering the circumstances but someone says that’s already taken….Deadpuddle?

          • iksnilol

            The superhero name is TBA.

            You see that? That was a pun, it can go both ways that way.

          • Dougscamo

            Got to admit….I LIKE IT….

          • Bill

            Google “Sam Andrews Urban Safari” and “Firepower Rig.”

            I want Il Duce’s vest.

          • iksnilol

            That was the rig, “firepower rig”.

            Just wondering if it’d be possible to make one with two shotguns and two pistols.

            I mean, with such a rig + Il Duce’s vest you’d be able to have maaaany guns on you at once. Here’s my math.

            Ankle holsters = 2 guns
            Cargo pants = 4 guns (one in each pocket)
            Belt buckle (for mini revolver) = 1 gun
            dual firepower rig = 2 guns + 2 shotguns
            belt = 1 gun behind back
            Duct tape = 1 gun behind shoulder
            Necklace = 1 mini revolver on necklace (as a good luck charm if you will)
            Il Duce vest = 6 pistols

            Total = 18 pistols and 2 shotguns

          • retfed

            Ankle holsters=4 guns. One on the inside and one on the outside of each ankle.
            Cargo pants=6 guns. One in each front pocket, one in each back (hip) pocket, and one in each cargo pocket.
            Jeez, do I have to do all the thinking around here?

          • Dougscamo

            +1 more NAA revolver on keychain in cellphone pocket….but iknsilol doesn’t like cargo pants so he loses count…..

          • retfed

            I like the cut of your jib, sir.
            If iksinol was from around here, I’d blame Common Core.

          • iksnilol

            So we can bump it up to 22+2? Neat.

    • Blake

      Agree with you there. I’d say that I “love” shooting ALL our rifles (even the ones that aren’t that accurate e.g. Norinco SKS), but of our pistols that love is limited to:

      – long-barreled 22LRs (all of which are more accurate than they have a right to be)

      – my Uncle’s Marshall-plan bringback Walther P38, which in addition to having a ton of history & personal nostalgia behind it, also happens to be our only large-caliber pistol that I can repeatably group well with.

      • iksnilol

        Uhm… it makes sense, most .22’s have fixed barrels and are made for precision because what else are you gonna make them for?

  • UWOTM8

    So you’re telling me I should carry my Makarov?

    • Timmah_timmah

      No, he’s telling you to disregard his sweeping generalizations as click bait.

    • Kaban

      He probably means you’ll do well to consider PM instead of 8-inch 686. Although when it comes to impact (in every sense) on bad guy, the winner is clear ๐Ÿ˜€

  • AZgunner

    I carry a Glock 26 everywhere. Super comfortable.

  • El Duderino

    Nice. I carry the exact same Glock pictured with the +2 Pearce. 12+1 9mm +Ps with a backup 19 round mag…if I need more than that I am in trouble.

    I used to carry a Kimber Solo but it was so small I recognized I could easily carry a larger gun. A G26 with an extension is neither a big nor a little handgun.

  • Some Guy

    Am I the only one who doesn’t think the USP series is nearly as oversized as people make them out to be?

    The trigger reach is a little long in DA but otherwise they’re fine. Certainly smaller than the equivalent Sig models

    • Andrew

      Agreed; nothing is wrong with a USP. I’ve always liked the 9mm models.

  • Brett baker

    But folks back down when they see a Mossberg cruiser is what you’re packing.

  • Tym O’Byrne

    I carry two .45’s in the winter, two .380’s in the summer, what was the point of this article again?

  • Cal S.

    I comfortably carry my G22 all the time. Or my Ruger SR40c when I don’t want to print as much in a suit coat with an OWB holster.

  • TalbotFarwell

    I dunno, I got to handle a few subcompact Glocks at a gun shop and they were downright uncomfortable, and it was awkward trying to squeeze all of my fingers on to the tiny grip. It was either that, or let my pinky finger dangle down and around the mag floorplate. Even with the mag extender, it was a chore to get my big bear paws on it. I’m only slightly larger than average, 6’2″ and roughly 210 lbs. I just have big hands with some long-ass fingers.

  • Michael Powers

    tried the small gun thing and went back to a Glock 21. NEVER leave home without it.

    • GaryOlson

      Or better, never allow a G21 to enter your home so you don’t have to worry about leaving it at home.

      • Michael Powers

        I grew up on 1911s and revolvers. Shot a Beretta 92 and immediately bought one as it fit my hand much better (thick is good for me). Glocks came out and haven’t looked back. I LOVE the grip angle and size!!! Of course not everyone does, and that’s OK.

        • iksnilol

          Just sayin’, a G17 is waaay better than a G21.

  • Bill

    It was bait, and I bit.

    Carrying a gun is stupid. I’ve carried one, or several, for maybe 40 years and not used one once, except to put down injured animals. Ipso facto, it was a waste of energy, money and cover garments. I’ve used fire extinguishers multiple times, and an AED once, plus I birthed 2 babies, so I’d be smarter to carry a umbilical cord clamp.


  • Bradley

    “Carrying a big gun is stupid because you don’t carry it.” Brilliant.

  • Bierstadt54

    Clickbait title for a clickbait article. Entire article = best gun is the one you have with you. Daaaah. Andrew, you can do better than this.

    • Drake_Burrwood

      Actually I think it really means practice with what you carry not just what is the most fun.

  • NanoSuitUser059 .

    So what you’re saying is I should carry an HK Mark 23 converted to 460 Rowland?

  • Christian Hedegaard-Schou

    Carry a Glock 19
    Carry a Glock 19
    Carry a Glock 19
    Carry a Glock 19
    Carry a Glock 19

    • Realist

      I wonder if Silver Lake makes 28mm conversion barrels for the G-19…inquiring minds would like to know.

    • Gary Kirk

      You’ve just give the cliff’s notes on Pat R’s last five posts..

    • Trotro

      But which Gen? They are all so different!

      • ostiariusalpha

        Gaston needs you to buy every single one of them. He has all those divorce lawyers to pay after all.

      • Christian Hedegaard-Schou


    • John

      And don’t forget to finish your Kool-aid.

  • Mr. Katt

    With the right holster, like an inside waistband, many mid sized pistols and revolvers are easily concealed. Weight, however, gets to be a b-iach. I have no problem concealing a 4″ S&W Combat Magnum, but I also don’t care to tote the weight around. Weight, and bulk, is where polymer frame pistols sort of have a good niche.

  • BeGe1

    I get it, and I don’t even necessarily disagree with it (in fact…I often preach much of what you just said).

    But the extremely combative tone of the article is just as unnecessary, counterproductive, and overly macho as the thing you’re harping against.

  • Auslander Raus

    Andrew pulled a good troll, and even mildly triggered a few.


  • TheNotoriousIUD

    There are a lot of “You Should” ‘s in this blurb. OK dude, youre super smart, we get it.

    NEXT WEEK: Tell Andrew what you carry and he’ll tell you whether its dumb or just stupid.

    • iksnilol

      30-40+ years old Tokarev, loaded with bubba hollow points?

      Is that stupid?

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        When you point the round end at something does it make it leave you alone?

        • iksnilol

          I dunno… never had to shot somebody yet.

          I’m surprisingly laid back and diplomatic.

          that and… y’know, ball bearing tip through a Tokarev is like the definition of overpenetration.

  • Realist

    Looks like a side-arm version of a Punt Gun…

    • Some Guy

      Personally I’m waiting for the pocket carry Davy Crockett. At least it’ll put the 9×19 vs .45ACP debate to rest,

  • Joe

    We should start by not listening to this jackass on a gun blog… Carry whatever you want.

  • Meh. I’ve carried a full-size 1911 for 15 years. On me, a good holster makes it disappear, and it really doesn’t bother me weight-wise. It’s the gun I shoot the best, and the one I enjoy shooting the most, though I have a *lot* of other guns.

    Personally, I’d rather carry what I train with and shoot well than compromise for the sake of a small gun being more “practical”.

    • Anomanom

      Likewise I actually do carry a USP45 as my EDC. It conceals fine in a IWB holster carried small-of-back (I have wide hips, so hip holsters are right out) and is quite comfortable all day.

    • El Mac

      It’s boneheads that write articles like this one that give gun owners a bad name.

  • Joshua Graham

    Cheap clickbait. CONGRATS, IT WORKED!

    • John

      It’s true, but, if you hadn’t clicked on it you would not have realized that big guns are stupid unless they are not, in which case they are fine, unless they are not. You see, the author is merely expressing his feeling that life is confusing so if you want to get along in life, BE confusing. It makes perfect sense right up to the point at which it doesn’t, you see?

  • Lew Siffer

    You have accomplished the impossible. You were wrong before and you reversed yourself and you are still wrong.

    • John

      Hey, two wrongs don’t make a right, but two rights make a U-turn.

      • Dougscamo

        Uh….you sure about that?

        • John

          Yes, you see, only in a parallel universe would the combination of two right turns would equal UP because of the whole “parallel” thing. But as you approach the speed of light, all things being equal, you will revolve 180 degrees in the space time continuum if you make two rights. Simple math really…plus I’m bored.

          • Dougscamo

            Gotcha….bored….drink bourbon….works for me!

  • USMC03Vet

    Having a big gun is far better than having a small gun or at least that’s what she said….

  • DanGoodShot

    Absolutely killed it with that last line! Ha! Kudos to you mu friend. By the way, I shoot all my guns well. ๐Ÿ‘‰—pew–pew.

    • Drake_Burrwood

      What about your weapons? ;^)

  • Jim Page

    I was a “fool” for reading that drivel……

  • Mike Lashewitz

    Nice fake image! But no. I have large hands so I do carry that big gun most the time. Besides it is what I practice with doing those hostage/terrorist head shots. But when it comes to my punt gun, well I do keep that locked up. Sooooo . . . .

  • LazyReader

    Next weeks article: Medium guns are, Okay ;p

    • Chop Block

      Medium guns are good, mkay.

  • Eeric

    Here’s a novel idea. The gun doesn’t matter; it is a tool. You are the weapon system that operates the firearm. Your senses, cunning, and will to survive are what counts. Whether you have a big gun, a small gun, a folding knife, or take a weapon from someone else doesn’t matter. A person who is aware of their surroundings and recognises the threat first is safer than the grandmaster crossfit operator carrying the tricked out .45 with their face buried in their iphone.

  • Stuki Moi

    Hate to be the boring logic nerd, but this really resolves to “buy into and carry a set of guns that retain operational similarity as their sizes change.” At lest unless you shoot both A LOT, and A LOT with each gun.

    “Carrying”, and because of that doing all your practice with, a G19 or near full size 1911, because those are “the bestest,” while somehow still finding yourself with nothing but a j-frame on you 95% of the time, really is suboptimal.

    But almost comically common, as evidenced by the j-frame performance (or lack thereof) on display at the 7 yard line, when those 5 shots are being fired at the end of every 10th range session, to “stay proficient with the bug”, after 500 rounds have been fired alone 9 other days, malfunctions cleared with one hand, armed cartwheels in the mud have been performed etc. All with the G19 or 1911. Or even G19 AND 1911. Which (both..) otherwise live in the safe. While the jframe lives in the pocket.

  • John

    Question: If I want to wear a gold plated Desert Eagle .50 cal around my neck as charm, should the barrel point up at my head or down at my crotch?

    BTW, I carry cocked and sometimes locked.

    • iksnilol

      Sideways, right at your boob.

      • Y-man

        Be SPECIFIC: which boob?!

        • iksnilol

          Whichever you mind least getting shot if an accident where to happen.

  • Bob

    with the correct holster you can carry darn near anything.
    I use and IWB holster and have no troubles carrying a full size double stack 1911 in 45 ACP in the heat in Phoenix AZ.
    NOthing wrong with a 45. I use Speer 230 grain HP’s because that is what the sheriff’s dept uses.

  • PK

    I know, that HK USP45 looks wicked operator and itโ€™s a lot easier to shoot well than your 638. But where is it right now?

    Where I want it and intended to have it when I bought it – in a holster, with accessories, in easy reach of my bed.

  • Eric Breda

    Sold my 1911’s years ago. Fun to shoot at the range, too big for EDC. A .38 or .380? Easy to carry, too small to be a serious every day EDC. Tried Sig 220/226. HK45, revolvers in .38/357’s, Ruger, Taurus, Springfield Armory XDM in 9mm 19 rds std. Too big, too small..My choice for 30 years? Glock. Went from G21FS to G22 and G23(which I liked-recoiled too much with full power loads after 200-50 rounds..). Then G17 prefect..almost. Settled down on G19 3rd and 4th Gen. Vicker grip plug ext. Just right. Now I’m good to go. Summer, winter. anywhere, anytime. I’m 6′ 225lbs. I believe this is what the article was reffering to. Semper Fi Wpns 2/1.

  • Sid

    The last two paragraphs are all that is needed.

  • “If youโ€™re carrying a full size .45 because you think itโ€™s more powerful, then you are a fool.”

    IMOโ€ฆ This statement is neither necessary or constructive. Please dial the venom back as the posters here need no extra motivation to โ€œtoolโ€ on each other…

    That is all… Carry on…

    • Drake_Burrwood

      If you are a fool to carry a full size .45, what are you if you conceal carry an oversize .45 long Colt?!
      +++X;B=3~< ๐Ÿ’จ

  • Joshua

    slow news day?

  • El Mac

    The meat of the article isn’t bad. The title is absolutely moronic. Congrats Andrew.

  • Edison Frisbee

    I think I have Andrew’s formula down:
    Over the top article title? ….. Check
    Dopey rant masquerading as deep thought? …..Check
    Straw man argument that applies to virtually no one? …..Check

  • Karina

    I wasn’t aware that TFB was turning into another version of TTAG. The exact same self-righteous “advice” and tone, the exact same “our opinion is factual – you guys ARE intelligent enough to agree, right?” distasteful flavor that rises in the back of my throat when I read articles of that, no pun intended, caliber.

    Here’s advice for Andrew: You should stop telling me what I “should” and “shouldn’t” carry. I am intelligent enough to carry a firearm, I think I am intelligent enough to discern what is suitable for my own defense and to bear the full responsibility for my choices, even if they’re choices you don’t like, or call “wrong”, as though your opinion was objective fact…

    • El Mac

      Sad isn’t it? And you are so spot on about TTAG too. What a joke they are.

  • John

    Just for the future, a better title for this article would have been, “Too Big or Not to Big, That is the Question”. It would leave more room for discussion.

  • Anomanom

    Gr8 B8 M8! R8 this B8 8/8.

  • Drake_Burrwood

    I conceal carry the same gun I open carry at home.
    I just put pants and over shirt over the belted shorts and t-shirts I wear my guns on. Either 6-shot .357, full size 1911 .45, or 7-shot raging Judge Magnum (I laughed when I realized I could pull that off with my fat old man clothes).

    I am not terribly worried about occasional printing, for the same reason some open carry. It makes people lying to themselves difficult.