I'll start by saying, I don't actually care what gun you carry. I have no vested interest in Glock, SIG Sauer or Smith and Wesson selling more guns. The point of this post is to get new and existing concealed carriers to think of why they carry the gun they carry, and in doing so find out if it truly is the best gun for them to carry.
So the question is, which gun you carry, and more importantly, why?
It's the First Handgun I Carried, and It Works for Me —
Many people carry the gun they do because it's the gun they first bought and ‘it works for them‘. For most of us, the knowledge we have of the attributes of different gun makes and models grows as we study more about concealed carry and self defense. So, as our understanding increases, we should assess our handgun choice considering new information.
You may have started out with a small double-action-only Ruger LCP, but after understanding a bit more about different pistol action types, you may desire the benefit of a single-action semi auto handgun.
Advances in Engineering —
Another reason to reassess why we carry the gun we carry is because of advances in engineering. It was in 2018 that SIG Sauer upended the entire concealed carry handgun market with the P365. SIG got 10,12 or 15+1, 9mm rounds in the same sized gun as the 8+1 Smith and Wesson Shield, or 6+1 Glock 43.
If you wanted 10+ 9mm rounds in a smallish handgun back then, you had an option like the Glock 26. But the Glock 26 was much heavier, thicker and not as shoot able as the P365. In the few years since the P365 debuted, other manufacturers have engineered fantastic options that balance size, capacity and performance that just weren't options before.
Not that carrying a Glock 26 is a bad thing, but if you're still carrying one only because it's the smallest 9mm with a 10+ capacity, you're missing out on many options.
Aftermarket Gear Options —
Similar to advances in handgun engineering, companies are constantly designing products to help make carrying a gun safer or help in performance. An example of this could be something as simple as holster selection. Many times, the first holster anyone owns is a generic universal one. Once they train more, they realize the holster is not ideal as far as performance or safety. But if the gun you carry isn't popular, you're likely not going to have a wide range of holsters to choose from.
Another example is something that the industry is currently going through, and that is the use of pistol optics. Optics on handguns isn't new, but putting one on your defensive pistol has only really become popular within the last 6 years or so. And it's only the last couple years companies started producing most all their handguns ready to accept an optic. The problem is, if you want to add a pistol optic to your handgun and it didn't come from the factory ready to go, you must send your slide in for milling. If this describes your situation, this is a perfect time to reassess what you want out of your everyday carry gun, because it might make sense to sell your current gun and just purchase a new gun that is ready for an optic.
Assessing Reliability —
Many people use the popular, modern, self defense handgun models from companies such as Glock, SIG Sauer, Smith and Wesson, and Walther, and there is a lot of data out there on general reliability for these models. Every company can produce a lemon, but if you've experienced some reliability issues with increased training, you need to consider fixing it, or ditching it for something else. Here is a post on what we recommend when assessing the reliability of an everyday carry handgun.
I'll end the post with my personal story of the first gun I carried concealed and why. The first gun I carried concealed was a .40 Glock 27, that I carried off duty. Our department issued me a Glock .40 Glock 22 for duty and I thought it would be a great idea to carry the same caliber off duty. My wife purchased it for me when I graduated from the Police Academy, so it also had nostalgic value. Even after the department switch from .40 Glock 22s to 9mm Glock 17s, I stuck with the trusty G27.
My reasoning was that I shot it well, but looking back, the real reason probably had less to do with how I shot it and more with my attachment to the gun my wife purchased for me. That, and we have a tendency to stick with what we've always done because, in our minds, changing can feel like we made a mistake at first.
I saw the benefits of carrying something like a Glock 19, but I figured I couldn't comfortably carry or conceal ‘such a big gun'. These justifications kept me tethered to a Glock 27, when in much better options existed. Could I shoot the G27 well, sure. Did it ‘work for me?” of course.
But it wasn't until I set everything aside and really assessed why I carried what I did, I realized better options existed. It took some time to change holsters and such, but switching made my everyday carry experience better in the long run. I wish I would have realized that much sooner in my concealed carry journey.
So, what gun do you carry, and why do you choose that gun?