Concealed carry gun recommendations?

My, we do have a lot of gun threads going lately, but I have a request for opinions that doesn’t quite suit the home defense weapon thread.

I’ve been thinking about renewing my concealed carry permit. That thought has been echoed by friends of mine who work in the judicial system and know what my job is and where I live. I don’t really anticipate any problems actually getting the permit; I’ve held one before and know the basics, but would undoubtedly have to go through the training again. No problem.

But last time I carried, I didn’t mind having a gigantic purse, so carrying my 4-inch barrel Ruger GP100 was not a problem. It’s the gun I’m most comfortable with, but now I’d be more likely to actually wear the gun in a paddle holster as well as put it in my purse when appropriate, and I think something a little smaller might work better for me.

I’m sort of leaning towards the Ruger SP101; I’ve shot that as well and I’m comfortable with it. I’m more a revolver sort of person than a semiauto, but I’m not a fanatic about it and will consider one. Perhaps there are new guns out that I haven’t heard of, being somewhat out of it for the last fifteen years or so. So, any recommendations?

Are you still planning on carrying off-body (ie in your purse)? A lot of people do not like that from a perspective of an increased risk of being separated from your weapon, but I can also see that women’s clothes are usually significantly less amenable to concealing a gun than men’s clothes. On the other hand, if you’re going to often be wearing some sort of garment you can use for concealment, a suit jacket for example, I would suggest looking into on-body carry for greater security.

If you are planning on carrying in your purse, I would agree with your inclination toward a revolver. 5 or 6 rounds of 38 sp or 357 mag is nothing to sneeze at, and few autos approach the reliability of a revolver, although reliability has greatly improved in the past few years. There is the possibility of debris from the purse jamming the gun, especially if it is not carried in a holster, and if necessary a revolver can be fired repeatedly from inside a purse.

If you want to move toward on-body carry, autos are often slimmer and therefore easier to conceal. Of course, in the end it comes down to what you are most comfortable shooting.

I need to run right now, but if you would like some auto recommendations I will come back this evening to give you a few links.

My mother has a concealed carry permit. She’s got a “Lady Smith” .38, snub nose, and she’s got a “gun purse” to carry it in. The "gun purse has a pocket designed to hold the gun, and, if necessary, she can fire the weapon without having to draw it clear of the purse.

She went through a failry intensive training program to get her permit. Had to attend classes over several nights, also had to demonstrate safety awareness, and fire some rounds at the police range. Sounded like a great program, and I’d recommend similar training, even if only as a refresher.

For all my foaming-at-the-mouth defense of autos, I sure do love my little SP101. There are also some ultra-light weight type revolvers out there, Taurus and S&W are leaders IIRC. I’ve never shot the odd metal (scandium and titanium, aren’t they?) but I can’t imagine going wrong with a Smith, providing it fits your hand and you can afford the premium price tag.

On the other hand, the Colt Government mdl .380 is a sweet little pocket auto. I don’t know that they make them anymore, but if you run across one used I recommend them. A little more substantial than the Colt Mustang, but it’s still only a .380.

I’m guessing a 1911 is out? :slight_smile:

I would like the flexibility to carry on-body and off. If I’m standing up for a while, I’d like it on me. While I’m actually doing my job, I’m bent over a lot, and I don’t want an outline under my shirt that screams “gun!” I could see keeping it either in my toolbox (in a holster) or under my truck seat (which is usually parked pretty closely) in those instances. Purse would be an “in case nothing else suits” option.

I would like auto recommendations; I’m going to a range next week after work to try out what they have there. They don’t have the Ruger revolver, but they do have a few S&Ws that I could try. I have fired autos; I’m just more comfortable with revolvers. I do know that most 1911s are too much gun for me and the fatter-gripped 9 mms and .40s are just a little too wide for my hands.

I did just find out that this particular range won’t rent a handgun to someone by themselves; apparently they had a suicide on their range. Can’t really blame them for not wanting a repeat. So I have to find a friend to go shopping with me, which will be inconvenient. It’s been over ten years since I went to a commercial range; is this a trend in policies, or maybe just that one?

Wow, I’ve never heard of the partner thing before, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see that come up more and more often as a story like that gets around.

If it were me, I’d opt for something hammerless in a revolver, as hammers can catch on material when drawing from concealed. Something like the Smith and Wesson model 640. I like the J-framed Smiths, and you can definately draw this type quickly and fire it from inside a pocket or purse without material getting snagged on the hammer and causing a misfire.

The SP-101 is compact and fairly slim (by virtue of having a 5 round cylinder), but quite heavy; definitely not ankle holster material (not that you should carry any defensive gun in an ankle holster). An SOB (small of back) holster is a good way to carry that size of gun–it works pretty well even with just a light shirt–but it’ll poke you in the back every time you sit.

Glock makes a series of really small subcompact (“Baby Glock”) guns; unfortunately the 9mm Model 26 is a double stack and therefore rather thickish; ditto for their .40S&W, .357Sig, and 10mm Auto chamberings. The Model 36 is a single stack with six rounds in the magazine, but I think I’d opt for 9mm for a really lightweight gun. I’m not a big fan of Glock ergonomics anyway, and I can’t imagine that they’re any better on their sub-pistols. I’m rather partial to the Sig pistols myself, the P239 being pretty good for concealment. The Kahr 9mm subcompacts seem to have a large following in law enforcement as backup and off-duty weapons, and they have a polymer frame model that’s lighter than the original steel. I’m not wild about DAO pistols, but the recoil axis is low relative to the grip.

Back in the day, the H&K P7M8 (not the monsterous M13 double stack) was considered the epitome of the compact 9mm handgun–the closest thing to a pocket gun in a 9mmP or better caliber–and extremely safe for carry due to the squeezecocker mechanism, and accurate and easy to shoot because of the fixed barrel, low recoil axis, and single action trigger. Unfortunately, they’re no longer made by H&K, though the reference indicates that a company in Greece is making them. You can still find them used but they’re pricey ($1000+) and you have to be mindful of how the previous owners treated it, as the gas port can get plugged if not cleaned regularly (or if unjacketed ammo is used). If I had the money, that’s what I’d buy.

I haven’t reviewed California CCW regulations, but make certain that you’re not required carry it on person; some states prohibit storing a handgun in driver’s reach (but not attached to the driver) regardless of CCW. And unless you have some way of positively securing the gun, I don’t think it’s wise to leave it in the car anyway. Plus, it’s basically useless to you if you are attacked without warning…which is the reason to carry a handgun in the first place. Several companies make purses or briefcases specifically designed for carry a handgun (i.e. keeping the gun in a seperate, outside accessible pocket), which is the best option if you can’t carry it in a holster. Carrying a handgun daily is really kind of a pain in the ass (in the case of an IWB holster, literally) and requires a certain amount of vigilance. Not to discourage you from carrying if you feel the need, but a lot of people seem to get a permit, carry for a while, and then realize what a constant irritation compared to how small the actual daily threat is. So bear that in mind when deciding where, what, and how to carry.

Good luck to you.


I’d love to get me a Sig P239, I think it’s a single-stack magazine, so shouldn’t be a fat grip.
H&K looks huge, even the USP Compact, but I’ve not shot one.

You know, when I first got my CCW I went through probably a dozen holsters and 4 guns before I found what was comfortable. Kydex (sp?) was terrible, although I was later informed that I had a cheap POS and a good one isn’t noisy and clumsy, some nylon Uncle Mike things, a couple of different leather types, IWB, SOB, etc. Makarov, SP101, Commander, Mauser M2. All sorts of different combo’s before I settled on this.

I don’t know why I felt that was relevent, but I’ve already typed it so you’re stuck with it now!

That H&K squeeze-cock gun is huge, Bobo; my ex-husband had one, and I couldn’t shoot it, never mind it being uncomfortable. From the sounds of things, I’ll be trying out Sigs and Glocks for semiautos, although I remember Glocks as being sort of fat too. I may just stick with a hammerless revolver.

Stranger, I’m just now looking into the regs, but when I last held a CCW in California, it wasn’t illegal to have it in your vehicle. It might be now. I’ll check!

I don’t plan to carry ALL the time, just when I feel that I need to, which is mostly when working on equipment in questionable areas by myself in the evening. Which, unfortunately, is a rather large part of my business. The tool box never leaves my side when I’m working, so that may be an option to stash it.

Thank you for your suggestions!

I got one in 357SIG this spring, and it doesn’t have a fat grip. It is a good little piece, easy to shoot and easy to maintain. If you get one you won’t regret it.

Well, autos don’t get much smaller than a Kel-Tec, or a Rohrbaugh if you’re willing to spend $800-$900. I have no personal experience with either one; the Rohrbaughs supposedly are more reliable out of the box, but I hear both have great customer service if what you buy is not reliable to start out. Plus, both make guns in 9mm, which most people consider a good defensive caliber.

What about 2 CCWs? These little guys are the size of a business card (LxH), are single-action (with a hammer-down feature that locks the chamber in a position that is not in line with the barrel), and the .17HMR has a f.p.s. of 1200 - about 50% faster than a .22 magnum. In a jeans pocket they feel like a rabbit’s foot keychain. And for $200, they ain’t bad value. This is the one you can always keep on you AND also have a larger gun in your toolbox. They are surprisingly accurate at 20 feet.