Thursday, January 20, 2011


Self appointed experts, that is.

Me and Billy Ray and Max and my old friend Lawyer Mikey, together with my friend Cowboy.

Billy Ray and Max are looking at single stack 9mm's as the smallest weapon they want to go to for concealed carry. Lawyer Mikey, on the other hand, went from j frames in a belly band to a Kel Tec .380 in a pocket holster.

Max is a big .357 enthusiast, but finds his Model 66 and L frame .357 snubbie are too large for most occasions. He has some sort of Centennial also, in .38 special, and often carries that gun in a pocket holster from El Paso Leather. But that requires some room in the pockets, and not all clothing is designed to conceal a j frame in a pants pocket.

Billy Ray likes 9mm, and has a Sig P250 Compact that is pretty concealable, somewhere in concealability between a Glock M36 and M19. I found it to be very concealable for the couple of weeks that I test fired it, carrying it in a High Noon IWB Bare Asset FBI cant semi-high rise holster. The grips were a bit scratchy against my skin but otherwise it balanced well and once secured in the holster, the gun and holster didn't move.

So soon it'll be time to visit one of the ranges that has a large selection of rental guns. We want to shoot:

(1) the Walther PPS
(2) the Para Ordinance LDA 9mm
(3) The new Kimber Solo Carry DAO pistol introduced this week at Shot Show 2011
I like the fact that this striker fired gun (assuming it's striker as no external hammer) has a thumb safety.
(4) The Sig Sauer P290-if this gun shoots as accurately, smoothly and with as nice a DAO trigger as the P250, but without the FTF's, it may be the one to get for me.

You'll note I'm omitting Kahr and Kel-Tec from this lineup. Both are fine guns, but I care not to own one. I toyed with the idea of getting a Kel-Tec .32 as a backup gun for certain circumstances, but I sure do like my buddy Cowboy's Seecamp, which inspires far more confidence than the Kel-Tec. I don't care much for the Kahr and Kel-Tec 9mms and I've briefly shot them both.

Of course, as I've said before, if the hallowed Glock would make a THIN (under 1") single stack Glock 9mm, it would sell! sell! sell!

Billy Ray and Max and I were talking about the various thin 9mm's introduced at the Shot Show 2o11 as well as those on the market.

Me, I'm also thinking about a five shot .357 magnum. No, not one of ultra-light Smith and Wesson models, but a real .357 where you can actually shoot .357 ammo out of it with relative comfort, speed and accuracy. I want to shoot a Model 60 Smith and Wesson as well as a Ruger SP101.

I've got a near permanant indention in my right rear hip from IWB carry of mostly J frames and Colt D frame snubbies for thirty years, with Glocks, Colt Commanders, Browning Hi-Power, Beretta PX4 Storm Subcompact, HK p7's, a Walther PPK/S, a Colt Python, various K frame Smith and Wessons and a few other guns thrown in for good measure.

But most often, when concealment and hot Texas weather affect choices, it's a J frame, a Colt D frame Cobra or a Glock M36. These weapons pretty much fit all of my needs, with the J frame and the Glock M36 being the most concealable in an IWB holster. The J frame conceals much better with the stock minimalistic wood round butt grips, but shoots far better with a set of Pachmayr Compac grips with just a minimal less concealability.

So I have been considering a Model 60 S&W or a Ruger SP101 for a .357 carry pistol. Yeah, they weight nearly or more than twice as much as the wonder S&W .357 magnums that go for under 12 oz, but try shooting more than one shot from the lightweight magnums and see how fast and how accurately you can shoot five shots. If you can shoot relatively fast and accurately from these lightweight guns, you're a better shot than most.

I'm also interested in looking at the DAO model of the Ruger SP101. What I'd really like to have is a semi-hammer, like the one used on some of the Taurus Judge Public Defender .410 pistols. It's sort of a chopped off but wide and checkered hammer that enables single action cocking but is shorter than a regular hammer spur by about half.

An abbreviated enough hammer to stay out of the way of skin when carrying IWB would be nice, and I like the option of cocking to single action if I want to. I suppose I could have one machined somewhere as a replacement for the stock hammer from a regular SP101 hammer with a spur.

My recent foray after many years with the .357 on the last few range trips convinced me of the controlability of that round in the proper gun, meaning a gun with a good bit of weight and a proper grip angle. The Ruger SP101 comes with some nice rubber grips, and the grip angle is different than most revolvers, like my Security Six. I'll want to try a S&W Model 60 with some Pachmayr Compacs and with the stock skinny J frame wood grips with a Tyler T Grip adapter. The latter would be more concealble than the former, but I suspect the Pachmayrs will have the comfort factor won by a comfortable margin.

One outside dark horse that could rear it's ugly head for me would be a nice condition Colt all steel Detective Special D frame. Although not a .357, it can take +P rounds well due to it's all steel construction. My Cobra is an exemplary firearm, and if I could find a Detective Special for $500 with as good a trigger as the Cobra, I'd need to have it. These Colt D frames have a different grip angle than the J frames, and felt recoil is low and point and shoot accuracy has always been a claim to fame for me for these revolvers.

Billy Ray and Max will likely go with the super slim 9mm's for their next carry gun. I might get swept away by one of the 9mm's we shoot, and I am a big Walther fan. In terms of these slim 9mm guns, most hold one or two rounds more than a revolver so we are nearing equality in terms of round count.


  1. Greetings from Falls County,
    A wise man once said, "I am fat, therefore I can conceal large handguns."

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Arthur. It's been a while since I've been through Marlin, but do like the Falls on the Brazos River for which it is named.

    I've got a big of middle age spread myself, but still can't conceal a 4" Python any better than I could when I was fit and skinny and a young officer.