0333 – Selecting the Best Handgun for Concealed Carry

In recent episodes we have dedicated a good amount of time to getting out some in depth information about the choices that surround your concealed carry and or home defense handgun.  Today we are going to get into specific firearm recommendations.  We are going to name names!


Selecting the Best Concealed Carry or Home-Defense Handgun Type

We discussed in detail in recent episodes the concept that we need to balance the ability to conceal our handgun with the ability the ability to control recoil when we select our concealed carry handgun and the balance between power and recoil management when we look for a home defense handgun. We also investigated how it is that physics can play a role in our self-defense handgun selection. In our last episode, I laid out the ground work for why 9mm is the best caliber for concealed carry and home defense handguns.

I wanted to lay some serious ground work for this episode so that folks who already have a firmly entrenched opinion can see the fact that I am approaching these concepts from a logical and common sense standpoint. In addition, those of you that don’t have an opinion or are newer to the defensive use of firearms need to have the facts behind the content that I am laying out today.

If you haven’t done so already I would highly encourage you to listen to episodes 330-332 in addition to today’s show as all of the information works together as a package. Especially if you have trouble agreeing with the information presented go back and invest the time to hear the whole package. In addition, remember, you can set yourself up for top notch training by doing a quick web search for an Introduction to Home Defense Handguns and or Inteoduction to Concealed Carry Instructor in your area. These I.C.E Training courses are based on the Combat Focus program and are some of the best in the business.

A lot of instructors will proclaim that they don’t have a horse in the race when it comes to controversial discussions like this one. I’m different. I definitely have a horse in the race. You! I want you to have the best information so that you can make the best decisions about your concealed carry handgun, caliber and associated gear.

Let’s start out with the group of handguns that make for the best concealed carry and home defense handguns.

Preferred Handgun: 9mm Modern Striker Fired Pistol

Glock 19Based on Efficiency and Reliability

  • same trigger pull every time
  • relatively short
  • relatively light
  • easy to press the trigger
  • easier to maintain alignment while pressing the trigger


  • No external safety or other levers
  • Activate the trigger and the gun goes bang
  • Don’t activate the trigger the gun doesn’t go bang

Easy to use

  • Maintains appropriate levels of safety
  • Bore is low over the top of the hand

Efficient both from a fighting standpoint and a resource standpoint as these guns are low to midrange in price
Modern striker fire pistols tend to be some of the more reliable pistolsReliable

  • When we are counting on a firearm for life saving work the gun must work


Consider any of the following 3:


Smith & Wesson M&P

Springfield XD*

Select in this group by:

  • Fit
  • Feel
  • Asthetics
  • Cost
  • Availability


Acceptable Handgun: Double Action Only

  • Long trigger pull which effects efficiency
  • Takes longer to pull the trigger
  • Long hard trigger pull effects deviation control
  • Bore height over hand is increased

Mediocre: Double Action / Single Action

  • 2 trigger pulls to master
  • Most complicated gun
  • Manual Safety
  • Decocker

Poor: Single Action

  • Complicated with manual safety and grip safety
  • Limited capacity
  • Reliability
  • Advantage is more deviation control

Hopefully today’s podcast gives you some solid information so that you can evaluate your choices for your defensive firearms.

Because self-defense is a life or death situation we need to make sure that we don’t make comprimises when it comes to our conceald carry handgun.

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5 replies
  1. Mike
    Mike says:

    What do you think of the Kahr PM9 as a modern striker fired weapon that is highly concealable?

    It doesn’t have the capacity of the wider gripped weapons, but it conceals more easily. It doesn’t have the short trigger travel of a Glock, but it is smooth as butter.

    (I have both because I like options :))

    • PaulCarlson
      PaulCarlson says:

      The Khar Sit In it’s own little place. It has a striker fire mechanism similar to the clocks but it is a true double action so it does have that longer trigger pull you speak of. We could call the car slightly less efficient than the Glock because of the trigger.

      Because of the striker system or does it nice and low over the hand and the fact that they use an angled the ramp laterally angle from side to side it helps to shorten the distance Even more.

      The capacity of the Khar Is similar to that of the single stack striker fired guns but less than that of the traditional doublestack. Less capacity more conceal ability.

      The gun is pretty reliable but compared to the other guns in the category it is expensive.

      All in all I think you get a little bit less for more money.

  2. Mick
    Mick says:

    Paul I haven’t been following closely, and have only been on board a short while, so firgive me if I as redundant questions. First, with roughly 750k rounds downrange with S&W revolvers I have a lot of familiarity and trust with the design, despite the capacity limitations. Is the revo off limits? Second, I have a Taurus 709 that I’m fairly comfortable with, and fortunate enough to have a spare mag (very hard to find right now!).. again, single-stack limits, but very concealable, and shot placement at 10 yards no problem. Is there an issue I am not aware of? Thanks, Mick

    • PaulCarlson
      PaulCarlson says:

      Mick – Good questions.

      I’ll start with the Taurus 709. It fits squarely into that DA/SA category and in my opinion that makes it a mediocre pistol. It has the complexity and the limited capacity of the single stack. I don’t think it is the worst choice out there, but it certainly isn’t at the top. The influx of new single stack 9mm MSF guns are certainly going to be looked at closely over the next year to see if they can stand up to the reliability and durability needed for CC as they are concealable and efficient.

      Revolvers certainly are viable for defensive use. The caveat with revolvers is their low capacity coupled with the complex reloading procedure. Revolvers really are expert weapons. Their reliability is impressive and we rarely see revolvers fail except in catastrophic circumstances when the gun breaks and this is rare. I don’t prefer the revolver for a cc primary gun because of capacity and complexity of reloads, but I do carry a j-frame back up every day. I think the power to recoil management ratio of the large frame sized revolvers in .38 special is really a great package for the right person.

      Revolvers are formidable tools in the hands of the right person, however, I cringe when I here revolvers recommended because of simplicity again I really feel that they are an experts tool.

      Any one who has a properly trained .75 MILLION rounds through a system would probably fall into the expert category so carry on!

      I hope that answers your questions and pleas come back for more!

      Have a great day!

  3. JungleCogs
    JungleCogs says:

    Good info as usual. I happen to be a pro-safety guy (as a old man in his 60s, to release a safety is just simple second nature); but, I appreciate that is not the trend today, by most. I also like prefer hammer pistols vs. striker. The exception is a M&P Shield I use for deep cover carry (but, it has a safety). Whenever I bring this up, man do I get nasty blow-back! My point is that one needs to pick what is best for them, having tried a few different models.

    In my day we all were indifferent (but respectful) to firearms, as they were common-place. Today, they have become demonized by those who do not have any experience or even understand them. My point with this rant is that new folks that are new to the trade would do well to get some starter training. A concealed carry course (with a little range time) is a great place to start. Try different stuff before you feel the need to buy; think of it as classroom and lab time.

    Then buy whatever you feel most comfortable with using. When one is comfortable with their car, boat, plane or firearm; only then should they feel safe (with caution always). As a final pitch, if I were in firearm sales business, I would offer a weekly group training session, grattis for those first-time buyers. It’s a good thing to exploit for marketing reasons and could introduce training as a good revenue source as well. Just my two Pence.


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