A close friend of mine reached out to me the other day, he’s been thinking about getting his conceal carry permit, and he’s looking to buy a handgun. He wanted to know what my take on a good handgun was.
I’ve conceal carried since 1994. I’ve owned firearms all of my life, I grew up with them. I’ve owned multiple handguns since becoming an adult. I worked a job for almost 20 years that required me to carry a firearm while on duty. I’ve had a little experience in this area.
So what did I tell my friend? I’m going to share that with you right now. You may find this information interesting if you are new to the conceal carry market and are looking at purchasing a handgun.
Before I get into the 3 things that you need to know about a conceal carry weapon, I want to cover a couple of other things first.
Purchasing a conceal carry firearm shouldn’t be done on a whim or taken lightly. You are buying something that can and possibly will end another life. Laws vary depending on where you live, but you will end up having a day in court if you use lethal force. Taking a life is no light matter, and if you use self defense as your defense, there is no disputing that you took that life, you killed them. In the eyes of the law, that is a homicide. Last time I checked, homicide is a crime throughout all of the United States, punishable by long extended stays in prison, and could possibly be a capital offense which could warrant the death penalty. Again, no one is disputing that you took a life, the evidence will show that clearly. We have a body, we have a weapon, we have possible witnesses, and we have all sorts of forensic evidence pointing directly at you. But was it justified? That’s the key. If it was justified, basically you are good to go, at least in the criminal sense. Civilly could be a whole other can of worms. If it wasn’t justified, well, you just committed murder. Welcome to prison and worse.
Check your local and state laws when it comes to what it takes to get a conceal permit and the use of deadly force. I’m not an attorney, I’m not providing legal advice. Ignorance of the law does not excuse you from the law. The consequences of ignorance are solely on your shoulders.
A few questions you need to ask yourself before getting a conceal permit and a firearm.
- Why do you want a permit and a weapon? What are your reasons? I don’t care about your answer, but you should.
- Are you willing to end a life if need be?
- Would you hesitate to use your weapon?
- Are you willing to accept the consequences of using that weapon?
You would be surprised how many people I’ve talked to over the years who didn’t think about any of the above questions. Especially the willingness and the hesitation questions.
Realize this: If you hesitate at the moment of truth, you will end up dead.
Let me say it another way: Let’s pretend for a moment that I’m the bad guy. If you hesitate, I will take your weapon from you and kill you with it. Your firearm doesn’t know who its owner is. It has no loyalty. Zero. It can kill you as easily as someone else.
Get some training and experience with handling firearms before you go out and get your conceal permit and a handgun. I am still somewhat shocked to see people who have never fired or owned a handgun going in to get their first handgun and their conceal permit. They are a danger to themselves and possibly others as far as I’m concerned. They are the ones that are most likely to either end up dead by their own firearm, or end up doing a long stint in prison because they were not justified in the use of deadly force.
Know the laws. Get training. Practice. A LOT.
Next thing, when it comes to a conceal carry weapon, don’t skimp on the price. Don’t go out and buy some cheap piece of shit “Saturday Night Special.” That cheap handgun will jam, misfire, stove pipe, you name it. You don’t want that happening when it is your moment of truth. Spend the money. Buy something that has a proven track record and is reliable. We are talking about yours, or someone you love, life here.
Try firing a bunch of firearms. Go to a range and rent a bunch of guns if you have that option. See what ones you like. Which one fits your hand best? Which one is the most comfortable to hold? How’s the weight? How’s the recoil if any?
How much stopping power do you realistically need? A .44 Magnum or a .50 caliber Desert Eagle are great for showing off your ego, shooting elephants and shooting through houses. The courts will probably consider it overkill when it comes to self defense. Keep that in mind. 9mm, .40, .45, and .357 are your best bets.
Carry factory ammunition in your conceal carry weapon. Reloads are great for target practice, not for self defense. A prosecuting attorney may go after the fact that you had reloads in your weapon when you used it and that may not sit well in your favor when you have your day in court. The goal of your ammunition should be to stop your target, not stop your target and the 12 other people in the vicinity. No reloads while conceal carrying.
Armor piercing rounds, if you can get them, are a bad idea too. Know why? Because they can go through all sorts of materials and hit bystanders, and they make you look like a cop killer. Do you want that when you have your day in court?
If you have stuck with me this far, I’m now going to give you the 3 things that I mentioned in the title of this essay. Let’s call them CCR. No, that’s not short for Creedence Clearwater Revival.
CCR stands for:
- Cost. A conceal carry firearm will usually cost you more than its full sized counterpart. You get a smaller sized gun for a bigger price tag.
- Capacity. A conceal carry firearm usually holds way less ammunition than its full sized counterpart. Keep that in mind.
- Recoil. A conceal carry firearm can be made of much lighter material than its full sized counterpart and since it is smaller, it is usually quite a bit lighter. Less weight of the firearm, more noticeable recoil. I’ve shot several conceal carry firearms that had a much greater recoil than their full sized counterparts, it was interesting to say the least. Try shooting a 4 inch or 6 inch barrel .357 Magnum and then shoot its conceal carry equivalent.
So what are my personal thoughts on buying a firearm that has been made specifically for conceal carry? Out of all the handguns that I own, only two of them are actually considered conceal carry. I have a Walther PPS and a Ruger LCP. Both of these purchases were made in the last couple of years. Before that, all I carried was full sized handguns. I still carry my full sized .40 concealed. I still carry my full sized .45 concealed. I have no problems concealing any of mine. It’s a matter of personal choice and preference when it comes down to it. Personally I like a cheaper price tag, more ammunition capacity, and less recoil. But that’s just me.
So let’s recap:
- Don’t skimp on price
- Know why you are getting this weapon and know what it can do.
- Get training and practice a lot. Become very familiar with your firearm.
- Factory made ammunition only for whatever you conceal carry when you carry.
- Know the laws where you live and where you are traveling.
Keep yourself and those you care about, safe. Stay out of prison. Stay alive.
Sharpen your Mind. Weaponize it. Start here and here. Sign up for my newsletter here.