Concealed carry is a big responsibility, but before you can begin “packing heat,” you first need to select the right pistol.
The decision, of course, can be intimidating. There are an abundance of different guns to choose from, ranging from tiny pocket pistols to big full-sized firearms.
Most people will favor something small, such as a compact single-stack 9mm pistol or a pocket-sized .380. But I carry a full-sized pistol, specifically a Walther PPQ M2 in 9mm.
Why do I carry a full-sized pistol instead of something that would be smaller and easier to conceal?
Let’s examine that question.
1. Greater capacity.
The single biggest reason I favor conceal carrying a large handgun is the greater capacity in the magazine. The PPQ holds 15 or 17 rounds, depending on the magazine you use. Why is this important? The answer is that you may find yourself going up against multiple attackers, and in this scenario it’s always better to have more bullets than less. In contrast to full-sized 9mm handguns, the single-stack counterparts such as the Glock 43, S&W Shield, or Walther PPS hold 6, 7 or 8 rounds in the magazine.
2. Recoil control.
Another huge advantage to the full-size pistol is greater recoil control. Not only does the increased weight and size help dampen the recoil, but you will have improved control over the weapon, as well. It always will be easier to shoot a Glock 19 or 17 than it is a pocket pistol like a Ruger LCP or Kel-Tec P3-AT
Finally, I also prefer a full-sized pistol for its overall versatility. While I can conceal carry the PPQ, I also can strap it to my hip for open carry for a sidearm when I venture out into the woods, such as for camping, hunting or motorcycle/ATV riding. In other words, I don’t have to buy one pistol for concealment and another for general purpose use. I can use one gun for both purposes.
Now, could you technically also carry a smaller pistol such as S&W Shield in this fashion? Sure, but most people would agree that a larger pistol is more preferable for general purpose outdoor use than a smaller one.
Next, let’s go over a couple of tips you can use to make conceal carrying a full-sized pistol as easy as possible.
Invest in a quality belt and holster
Quality holsters almost always cost more money, but they are well worth the investment. Factors to look for in a holster include rigidness, touch stitches or rivets, and the ability to hold the pistol tightly while also permitting a clean drawn. High-quality leather or Kydex works great for this; nylon or anything cheaply made will not suffice.
In addition, don’t forget to buy a high-quality belt. Avoid some dress belts, as they may not be able to support your holster, firearm, spare magazine(s), and whatever else you have for the whole day and could end up breaking. Instead, go with a thicker leather belt made specifically for supporting the increased weight of your gun and equipment.
A major goal of concealed carry, regardless of which firearm you are carrying, is to minimize or prevent printing. The best way to prevent printing of a full-sized pistol is to wear loosely fitted outer layers, such as a long and loose T-shirt, jacket or sweat shirt. In addition, the darker the color of the garment, the less the pistol will show. Remember: You don’t want to draw attention to yourself, so wear something that looks as casual as possible.