In the last five years, there has been a fair amount of innovation with guns becoming smaller while offering the capacity of a larger framed handgun. Innovation in the gun community is never a bad thing with multiple companies like Glock, SIG, and Springfield Armory all offering high capacity sub-compact handguns. With innovation come challenges and there’ve been a number of challenges especially for younger people who concealed carry. A fairly common question I get from people is whether or not to go with a smaller carry gun or something larger for daily use. Let’s dive into the pros and cons of having a lightweight carry system vs a larger gun with more bulk.
Smaller Carry Guns
Carrying a smaller gun can be great for various places and seasons throughout the year. When it’s 70-100 degrees outside, it’s extremely difficult and downright uncomfortable to carry larger framed handguns. Your skin will become irritated much faster when you’re hot and it just gets uncomfortable after a while. The beauty of small carry guns is the overall simplicity to carry on a daily basis. Small guns are great for just throwing on your belt or in your pocket and go throughout about your day.
Whether that’s a small J-frame revolver or a Glock 43, they all are fairly easy to carry even with light summer clothes. Having a small carry gun in your loadout can give you options you may not otherwise have. Having one may be the perfect companion to a formal event where you need to be discreet but want to carry, or when you’re making that quick trip to the store and just want to have something.
Small carry guns are by no means perfect though. The biggest problem with them is the overall difficulty to shoot them quickly while maintaining accuracy. Don’t get me wrong, it’s very possible to master shooting a smaller gun but it takes hours of range time and a concentrated effort to be really good with one. For most of you, that’s not an issue but the majority of younger concealed carriers don’t have the skills to defend themselves with a small concealed handgun.
The Argument For Mid and Full-Sized Handguns
Larger framed handguns are sometimes a pain to carry but are immensely easier to shoot and handle in a stressful situation. Most people who are new to carrying concealed think mid or full-sized handguns are harder to carry and there’s no need for a larger handgun. The truth is a larger handgun is considerably easier to shoot. Typically when most go out to the range, they shoot their larger handguns because it’s more enjoyable and easier to make accurate shots. This is the same under stress and carrying the extra weight is well worth being more capable in a self-defense situation.
So having a larger pistol is more accurate and easier to handle, that’s fairly understandable but what about concealability. Most don’t believe me when I say having a longer slide on a handgun actually makes it EASIER to conceal a handgun than a shorter sub compact wonder nine. This boils down to larger handguns having two points of contact rather than just one on your belt. The longer slide will usually have contact with your leg or hip making your handgun sit straighter rather than sagging outward. Keeping it straight up on the body not only brings it tighter to the body for a uniform comfortable position, there will be less ballooning which means less printing.
So What’s The Best Way?
So here we are wondering what the best route is to go. Between my experiences carrying along with others in the community, all agree to go with a midsize handgun to try and get the best of both worlds. The Glock 19 and that overall size bracket is a great choice to start with. The Glock 19 has enough capacity and a large enough grip to feel comfortable in the hand. The slide is also long enough to get that second point of contact to straighten out the gun to keep it tight to the body.
If the Glock is a little too big, the SIG Sauer P365 XL is a great alternative. The P365 XL is probably the smallest I would go for people just getting into concealed carrying. It’s barely enough to have two points of contact and is little snappy for its size but overall it’s a fantastic carry option for every day carrying. At the end of the day, you have to find what’s comfortable for you.
It’s important to find a gun you can carry on a daily basis as well as something you can shoot accurately at the range under some level of stress. Let me know what you guys prefer in the comments below. Do you prefer a real small carry gun or something a little larger that will sit closer to the body? Let me know for sure! If you have any questions feel free to shoot me a message on my Instagram @fridgeoperator. Stay safe out there!