Go Big

994325_10201226366874642_910207755_nI’m done.  I’m not going to do it any more.  I’m not going to carry a tiny mouse gun anymore.  That’s over.  As a main carry gun, of course.  Maybe as a backup piece, or a hold out.  But no more as my main carry gun.  It’s time to go big.
Why do we carry at all?  Think about this for a minute, or more.  And think about the possible scenarios that might require you to actually have to use your concealed carry gun.  In any of these scenarios, does it play out that you would be better off in those situations with a smaller gun?  Or did you, like me, come to the conclusion that you would rather have as much gun as you can?
You have a CFP, or more commonly a CCW Permit.  Most States do not require you to carry a specific gun.  You have the option to change it up.  If you have the option, why not go big when you can?  Let me tell you, it doesn’t matter to the Anti-Gun Biggots what gun you carry.  They have never said “Oh, its okay, he only has a .380.”   In fact, they have tried specifically to ban small guns because they are more concealable.  Remember they made a run against Saturday Night Specials?  They don’t care.  That being the case, f you are going to get wet, you might as well go swimming.   Should you have to use your weapon, and you end up in a court of Law, they will make no distinctions regarding the size or type.  Or if you are in a store and lift your arm up to reach a top shelf item and someone sees the grip of your pistol. They call the cops no matter what it is and when The Bronze approaches you they don’t make any distinction either.  You are either legal to carry, or you are not.   Size does not matter.
The last several months I’ve been packing bigger guns.  Mostly full sized duty pistols.  Government Model 1911’s, Railed Commander 1911’s, Beretta 92FS and full sized Storms, Glock 22’s.  The smallest gun I’ve carried is a Glock 23. None of these are Mouse Guns or Pocket Pistols.  Each on let’s you know you have a “fist full of Iron”. Or advanced polymer as the case may be.  As I write this, on my hip right now is a Springfield 1911 .45 and there is a great deal of satisfaction in having it on me.
Bigger guns make fewer compromises.  They hold more rounds, are more reliable, more accurate, maybe more powerful, and are certainly more intimidating.  The more intimidating the gun is, the more likely you won’t have to actually pull the trigger.  The only disadvantage to them is the greater challenge of carrying it concealed.   To carry a full sized gun concealed, you are going to have to take a bit more care in your holster and wardrobe selection.
Thankfully the good folks at Crossbreed Holsters can help us out.  The Supertuck is available for many handguns, including the big 92FS.  This holster allows for the big gun to be carried comfortably, inside the waistband, all day long.  For me, that’s the advantage I need.  Because I’ll wear a gun from the time I get out of bed until I give up on the day and go back to bed.
Normally I wear Pancake style rigs, wide, outside of the waistband holsters that help contour the shape of the gun to hide it, and pack more comfortably while wearing normal sized pants.  I find this to be an advantage when riding a motorcycle.  The downside to a pancake rig, is that the length of the gun makes it easier for the muzzle end to peak out from under your jacket or shirt.
This isn’t so much of a problem during most of the year.  But during the peak of the summer, wearing jackets and sport coats becomes less than ideal.  During these times, as much as possible, I’ll wear a Mechanics style shirt or a Bowling shirt.  If one is less fashionable, or a huge fan of Weird Al, you can wear a Hawaiian style shirt.  Anything that can be worn untucked, loose, and can cover up the whole gun.  But this is me and I am not required to wear Business Casual.  But even then, there are still ways to carry a full sized gun.
Not long ago I was talking about packing large handguns with a local Police Officer.  I mentioned that I was packing a Beretta 92FS and he didn’t believe me.  I was in the process of selling him a Beretta but he was balking on the purchase, thinking it was too big to be carried undercover.  I was wearing an Under Armor polo shirt.  You should have seen his eyes when I pulled my Beretta 92FS out, cleared it, and laid it on the counter.  I can’t repeat what he said, but he was clearly surprised that I had it on me as he normally could tell if someone was packing or not.  After that, it became a discussion regarding holsters instead of the gun.  To end this story, he bought the gun and has enjoyed it ever since.
I live in a very rural area of Utah.  My front yard is a farmer’s field.  We get all sorts of wildlife here at “Ogre Ranch”.  Some big, some small.  One night I came home on my motorcycle, late and in the dark.  I shut off my bike and jumped off.  As I stepped around the big KTM Enduro, I saw a dark shadow and eye shine.  Something was there in the shadows beside my house.  I don’t remember drawing, or even making the decision to draw, but suddenly my gun was in my hands and that gun was in a ready position as I was squinting to try to identify what was over there in the shadows.  At that moment, a full sized duty sidearm was very comforting.  The only problem was that I didn’t have a light mounted on my weapon and my normal companion of the Surefire Aviator flashlight was with me but tucked safely in my backpack.  Inaccessible and useless to me as this didn’t feel like a time when I could shrug my pack off and dig through it to find my light.  Instead I was there, gun in hand, waiting until I could ID this thing as a threat or not.  I could hear it breathing.  I could see it’s eye-shine, and that was it.  It really was a freaky moment.  The moment ended though when my wife pulled up and her headlights illuminated what I was in a standoff with.  It was a large Mule Deer Buck.  I can chuckle about it now, but in that moment of looking into the unknown, had I been armed with something small and mousy, I’d probably have been a lot more uncomfortable with the situation.
This goes back to what the great Clint Smith has said.  Guns are not supposed to be comfortable, they are supposed to be comforting.  He is exactly right.  I don’t recall ever being in a situation where I was comforted by packing a tiny little gun.  I remember one time I needed something small and concealable where low profile was critical.  A .25 Caliber Baby Browning the answer.  I could stand there with my hands in my pockets and still be ready to draw that little pistol.  I thought it was a perfect solution.  Until I needed it.  I reached into my pocket and grabbed the little gun, but didn’t draw it.  Let me tell you, that pistol offered no comfort.  In fact, I let it go and instead opted for the ASP Baton tucked inside the waistband.  At least that felt solid.  It felt like a weapon. The .25 felt like a squirt gun.  In this situation, neither was required to be used, thankfully.  But it impressed upon me that the small gun was useless.  Harsh Language proved more potent.  That was the last time I bothered with the .25. I think I remember that I traded it for a few boxes of ammo.
I’m not saying that only huge hand cannons are the way to go.  I’m just saying you don’t have to limit yourself to tiny guns.

22 thoughts on “Go Big”

  1. I’ve been thinking about switching to a larger gun myself.
    I guess I’ve been paranoid about what I can conceal.

  2. Don’t forget the possibility of over penetration and clocking a innocent bystander with any size weapon. While a 44 Mag is great for bear country, it would be reckless in a crowded environment. Smaller can be the better way sometimes.

  3. I have been known to carry a Glock 35 IWB, with 3 spare mags and a pocket-carried .38 snubby, in front of CCW classes, and only after 2-3 hours of lecture would I reveal what I was carrying. Usually, only 2-3 folks out of 15 or so students would clue in on the full-size Glock under my shirt before the reveal.

    The confidence you have in the performance of a larger, more capable pistol, and the confidence you have in your own performance with a larger, more capable pistol, can not only mean the difference between a hit and a miss, but can potentially mean the difference between effectively controlling a threatening situation, vs. over-reacting or acting prematurely out of fear and lack of confidence in your weapon or your skills with it.

  4. I dig the way you are thinking. I carry a 5″ 1911 in cooler months and a 4″ K frame in warmer weather. Not exactly mouse guns.

  5. Glock 29 fits the bill perfectly.
    But I’ve always wondered why the IIsrael is
    Used .22s when hunting down and killing the terrorists who killed the athletes at the 72 Olympics

    1. I’ve always told people that come into our gun shop that a .22lr isn’t a defensive caliber, it’s an offensive one. If you either 1.) have the time to make a slow, aimed shot, or 2.) can take your target completely by surprise, that .22lr will work just fine. But if you have to use it to defend against a person committed to doing violence on you, that a .22lr may not stop them before they do said harm to you.

  6. 4″ .357 ruger gp-100. I carry that even in the summer with the two t-shirt trick. I only step ‘down’ to the SW99 when I need to wear a suit. 40oz of American steel feels good in my hand.

  7. I am pretty confident you’ll be writing about your switch back to a smaller gun probably sooner rather than later.

  8. I inherited a Charter Arms Bulldog in 44 Special/ 1 1/8″ barrel years ago. Small, light, and powerful. And easily concealable.

  9. I carried a Glock 21 and 2 extra mags in a shoulder rig for years. With a t shirt and a jacket, flannel or similar overshirt worn as a jacket it was easily concealable. I could even get away with wearing it under a loose fitting t shirt if I was careful about reaching above my head or extreme arm movements. It rode tucked way up in my armpit and was pretty well covered by my biceps. Was it heavy? Yeah a G21 and 46 rounds of .45ACP isn’t featherweight but after a while you don’t notice it so much. Feels rather comforting actually. I kinda missed it when I went to a 9mm. Can’t wait to go back.

  10. Guys, first rule is .. HAVE A GUN .. And while I tend to carry My Kahr P45 98% of the time I am awake, I have a P3AT in my pocket 110% of the time.

    Needless to say a good holster helps, I have found the Crossbreed a touch to obnoxious in the AZ summer but still swear by Kydex. If you are the same take a look on my website for the Custom Kydex stuff there. Outstandingly (new word) done and made right here in AZ. Have a great day.


  11. Having fired a Baby Browning I can understand a reluctance to rely on it, the dang thing is the least ergonomic handgun I ever fired, it demands a 1 pinky grip
    On the other hand I love my PT22 w/10 rnd capacity and a full hand grip

  12. I never realy understood the whole “total concealment” mindset. By that I mean one spends a tremendous amount of time trying to hide something as if they’re Harry Houdini. The vast majority of LEO’s don’t for obvious speed of access and the simple visual effect, and you have to admit it works. For the masses however this clearly isn’t necessary, or practical, to buckle up 15lbs. of equipment to go out-n-about and do whatever in their daily lives. Simple, comforting, and effective is key yet not trying to out-do everyone else hiding and entire tool box of weaponry. My personal experiences with this range from humor to total shock and awe. Myself and several of my friends consider ourselves “gun nuts”, and amongst ourselves a few try and try to out-do themselves with the lastest and greatest in CC rigs. We can and do poke fun as well give constructive critism to keep ourselves on an even keel. Is it realy necessary to carry 2-3 spare mags?, no. Is it realy necessary to have a weapons light/sight system on an auto tucked into a holster so fricken big that a winter coat couldn’t hide?, no. Is comfort and less moving parts necessary?, yes. Not too big, not too small….just right! Peace my brothers/sisters, and stay safe.

  13. In the deer portion of this story, the flashlight would have been more important than a gun of any size (assuming you didn’t have a tag). A good light could have been as effective (or more) than the asp also. I carry a good light 100% of waking hours. It is my most useful tool.

    1. Yeah, and I normally do too. But as I said, I had my light in my backpack and it wasn’t readily accessible. See, what you normally do is often different than what you do when riding a motorcycle.

      1. I know. I lost an E1b on my moto. I now move my pocket stuff (wallet, peashooter sometimes, and light) to the zippered pockets on my jacket. My LCP’s holster doesnt have retention, so i am paranoid of what will hapen with it if(when) i go down. If i am not wearing the jacket they typically get thrown in the fairing storage if it is a longer trip than the grocery store.

    1. I want to really like the Boberg – but it’s just so different. I’d have to spend a lot of time with one before I’d carry it.

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