9 Critical Concealed Carry Lessons: Ep. 2 Revolver or Pistol for CCW?

The age-old question, revolver or pistol for concealed carry?

What is the weapon of choice for concealed carry? That is very much a personal preference. As I explained in episode one of this series, I like my Springfield XD-S a lot, but I carry a Glock 23 when it is time to step it up from Level 1 Carry to Level 2 Carry.

I have always carried autos, but that is as much a training scar as a lifestyle choice. I started this game in the military and not a single revolver existed in our inventory. That makes no sense when you consider that I have actually carried a Sterling subgun into combat, as a primary weapon, yet Uncle Sam didn’t provide us with a single wheel gun.

Check out all the episodes in this series:

I also violate what I consider good advice for new shooters. I recommend that if you are new to pistols, you purchase your carry gun and training gun from the same family of weapons. For example, if you like a Springfield XD-S, train with a Springfield XD-M. If you like a Glock 19 for training, carry a Glock 43. If you have lots of pistol experience, you are probably fine with a mixed bag of guns.

There is an undeniable advantage, though, to staying within a single family of weapons, particularly as it relates to training. The controls are usually similar, if not the same, the trigger is usually the same, and the ergonomics often feel the same.

I trained a mixed class of M9 and Glock 19 in the Army so often, I actually carried both guns on my hip when I was instructing. And as a private sector instructor, it was rare that anyone in my classes had the same trigger. Now as a gun writer, it is common to shoot three different pistols on the same day. My point here is if you have a gaggle of training time and rounds down range, it mostly doesn’t matter what you carry. If you are new to this though, I don’t recommend the mixed bag approach.  Try to stick within the same family, if you can.

One place where police skills and operative skills intersect is undercover operations. Certain law enforcement agents have decades of experience at this in unforgiving environments and that makes them a very valuable resource for advice on carrying weapons. Not only do they do it undercover, they see what all the bad guys do too.

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When I asked one of my friends (shout out to Noto) what he thought about revolvers, he told me it was the only choice. More often than not in this country, a scenario you are likely to use lethal force in starts with an assault, at contact range. In his years of conducting undercover and teaching it, one rule was true 100 percent of the time. An auto is always fouled as soon as it comes out, either with hands or trapped in clothing.

Therefore, in real-world situations, an auto has a capacity of one, while a revolver has the capacity of at least five (or eight if it’s the new hotness from Smith & Wesson). Between us girls, this is something I didn’t really know either. It certainly has made me reconsider going to a J-Frame. I say that as someone who has experience dishing out violence. It was my full-time job for a decade and a half.

If you are new to concealed carry this should absolutely be a time to pause and reflect. We all want to Jack Bauer our way out of a 7/11 full of tangos armed with S-Vests and Scorpion subguns, but it’s not the most likely scenario we are going to face. Five rounds of .38 Special or .357 Magnum is probably plenty for most anything you’re going to encounter on the street.

Sure, we do live in a brave new world with terrorists and active shooters. And yes, if one has no choice but to confront those threats, it is best to do so with full-size, large-capacity platforms. But this is about finding the carry gun you’ll actually carry every day under normal conditions.  Not about fighting ISIS.  That said, if you are concerned that the threat level is rising in your neighborhood and feel the need to ramp up your carry loadout, make sure you check out episode one on the levels of carry. 

About the author: Clay Martin is a former Marine and Green Beret, retiring out of 3rd Special Forces Group. He is a multi-decade and -service sniper, as well as 3-Gun competitor and Master ranked shooter in USPSA Production. In addition to writing about guns, he is the author of “Last Son of The War God,” a novel about shooting people that deserve it. You can also follow him on twitter, @offthe_res or his website, Off-The-Reservation.com

{ 121 comments… add one }
  • Vince Caldeira September 11, 2017, 1:14 am


  • rick August 30, 2017, 9:26 pm

    in print you said you spent one and a half decades in the army and you stated you were a marine in the video. which one is it? you have seemed to have told two different stories of your experience which lessens your credibility. a marine would never call his service as in the army. please explain yourself. you said when you first started out you were a marine. where did the army come in? something smells rotten in denmark

    • S.H. Blannelberry August 31, 2017, 9:21 am

      About the author: Clay Martin served in two branches of service, the USMC and the Army. In Mother Corps, he was in the infantry, a Scout/ Sniper, and a Recon Marine. In the Army, he was a Green Beret with the 3rd Special Forces Group. He retired in 2013.

    • Brandon October 26, 2018, 7:34 am

      A year later and you still look like a total moron by trying to call Stolen Valor on the real deal. If nothing else your lack of reading comprehension only adds to your moronic image.

  • Steve August 17, 2017, 10:25 am

    Well done! Your article was one of the most impressive due to the topic and passion of soooo many on this topic. Your honest opinion should be quite helpful to many first-timers. There are more “comments” after your article than I think I have ever seen before! Here is my experience:
    When the discussion of guns comes up, I have lost count of how many first-timers have wanted to learn to shoot and see what they liked best. I do have quite a diverse array of fire arms which allows them to “feel” each “live” vs what someone else felt was best for them. Most were quite surprised after shooting all my hand guns as before starting…they had “assumed” they would have preferred a certain “type” of gun but at the end…being comfortable with a certain type/model was narrowed down considerably. Gender had some impressive “sways” towards one type or another. Simply put, a first-timer should find someone who has a good amount of experience/training and one who has a wide variety of hand guns with several different size/calibers to offer/test.
    I always start them off with my S&W SR22. It is easiest to shoot with very little recoil or loud bang. It holds 10 in the mag with one chambered if desired. By the time they finish their first mag, they are smiling and wanting the other mags. After a few .22 mags, they now feel comfortable with shooting and getting rounds on target, they see how fun/safe fire arms can be in a controlled environment. Some want to try another .22 gun but most are ready to move to another caliber. I then move them up to a .32 semi. and then to the Charter Arms .32 H&R (magnum) revolver. This gun shoots non-magnum loads as well and I do start with non-magnum loads and progress to the magnums to show them the impact of the different rounds. Nearly all were shocked in the difference when shooting the magnums from this revolver. When I share the ballistics of a .32 magnum compared to higher powered rounds, they begin to understand that not only should they consider a certain type of caliber but also what a different type of bullet it can shoot.
    I then move them to the .380 hand guns. First I have them try the .380 revolver I have and show them that it is odd to find this out there as it requires a moon-clip to hold the rounds. Then I have them try the S&W .380 Body Guard (semi with upgraded trigger). It has a laser for night sighting. Most find the small hand guns in the .380 a bit snappy to shoot but notice the rounds I use for CCW. (Lehigh) which has nearly the same ballistics as a 9 mm round. Many will laugh at that comment but after doing their own research, they would realize that ignorance can be a bad things…check it out before you comment. 🙂
    Lastly, I move them to the .38 revolver and the 9 mm offerings. Note: some are done at this point and don’t want to even try the higher power hand guns. Those that do attempt them, realize that these popular calibers aren’t as scary as they assumed. With the semi’s, I have them use the Kahr first as it has a very smooth trigger. It has a very long pull which is kind of like a safety and some didn’t like the extra long pull. Lastly, I have them try out the Springfield XD-S 9 mm. All were able to obtain a full purchase on this semi and most felt it was very comfortable to shoot, especially when changing to the extended mags. Most preferred this trigger and were surprised how many rounds they could put on the target.
    Conclusion: Nearly all the women liked the Charter Arms .32 revolver (magnum) the best. It had enough power with controllable recoil and they felt they would be most comfortable shooting/practicing with this gun even with the lower rounds in capacity that a semi could provide them. It is really about comfort and ability to put rounds on target. Many felt that the snappiness of the .380 or the more powerful 9 mm would cause hesitation. There were a few “larger” women who could easily handle the more powerful hand guns and some chose them due to their comfort level. A couple women felt the S&W SR 22 was their first choice. I could not argue with them as even with the lower caliber, the mag can hold 10 rounds and one in the chamber. When someone is only comfortable shooting a very small caliber hand gun and can put many rounds on target at a quick pace…how can you argue with that? Better to have them comfortable with accuracy vs not having anything at all!
    It is true that the semi’s have a few more moving parts and actions required to use. I had to yell “thumb” at one guy probably 6-8 times as he kept moving his hand behind the slide. If anyone has ever been “bitten” by the slide, they would realize that a revolver is clearly easier and safer for many to shoot. If one isn’t going to practice often, I would tend to suggest the revolvers over the semi’s. They are much easier to clean as well. First timers who will not practice much, a manual safety on a semi is probably a good thing. Even after an extensive gun intro and safety outline, I found that many cannot remember all safety actions. I watch very closely and found several putting their finger against the trigger vs along side the gun when not in use, which to me…is the #1 teaching that has to be reinforced more than any other thing. No finger on the trigger means…no bang.
    Personally, during the warmer months with little clothing cover, I carry the S&W .380 Body Guard with Lehigh rounds. In cooler months with jackets etc…I switch to my Springfield XD-S 9 mm with Lehigh rounds as well.
    Men: Seem to lean towards semi’s vs the revolvers. Not 10% but surely leaning that direction. The higher power ones seem to also be their choice too.
    Have fun, teach well and practice more! Realize that just like Democrats and Republicans, opinions vastly differ. Same goes with this topic of Semi’s vs Revolvers. Allow everyone their own preference and let them chose after seeing what each has to offer. 🙂

    • Le Hunt August 30, 2017, 3:01 pm

      I carry a .38 Special revolver and have no trouble firing it. I’m not a large woman, either, I’m 5’4″ amd weigh 122 pounds.

      • andrew September 6, 2017, 6:59 am

        The US Army has had .38 revolvers since at least into the early 1970’s, and they were the weapon that female MP’s carried without exception. I believe that female officers also carried them. Male officers and MP’s carried the .45 ACP.

  • David August 13, 2017, 7:19 pm

    Very good job Clay. Very practical. Thanks for cutting through most of the BS.

  • Richard Steven Hack July 25, 2017, 10:23 pm

    So Yeager has one experience – given he trains people frequently with revolvers – and you have another experience with years of shooting various revolvers.

    So which one should I believe?

    The real answer: Neither. Until someone does a controlled study with a hundred or a thousand revolvers vs a hundred or a thousand semi-autos firing thousands of rounds, and a statistical result obtained, there is no answer other than anecdotal, i.e., worthless, evidence.

    My reason for not carrying a revolver relies on capacity and speed of reloading, not so-called “reliability” which is a concept only applicable to a SPECIFIC firearm firing a SPECIFIC ammo. It is up to the carrier to insure that his weapon is as “reliable” as he can PROVE it to be, not depend on “Internet nonsense.”

  • W.P. Zeller July 23, 2017, 5:33 pm

    I’m going to have to disagree with the trend here based on running thousands of people through hundreds of intro classes.
    Revolvers are harder to shoot well than semis, not easier. What confounds the situation is that the great majority of ordinary handgun shooters go to the range and thumbcock their revolver for virtually every shot. Nothing could be further than that for being useful for a carry gun. In fact, it’s a terrible habit- we don’t even let our students thumbcock their revos in class, if there’s even a suggestion it might be a personal protection gun.
    The double-action trigger is hard to learn and very few give it the practice effort it requires. This goes even more for small guns like 85s and 642s. These guns are very difficult to get hits with beyond three or four feet unless there is significant practice time devoted to proficiency. Even then, it’s still a hard platform to hit with at fifteen feet, which is well within common defensive gun use range.
    When it comes to getting hits on the paper with new or newer shooters, a full-size 9mm semi always produces the best overall results, and double especially so if there is any time factor involved. Semis are easier to master, have triggers that are far easier to control, and also frequently have superior sights.
    I say all this after all these years of watching people learn to shoot. Actual hits vis-a-vis any kind of time pressure at all, it’s not even close. Fewer than one in ten people will perform better with a revolver.
    Not to say I don’t like revolvers; I own more of them than semis, and competed for years in action shooting sports with them, enough to make “B” in USPSA. But I know that I will always get better, faster hits with my semis, and not just 1911s- I can beat myself six ways to next Sunday even with a semi I don’t do so well with (say, G17) compared to my best shooting with a revo.
    And, I even carry a Colt Agent from time to time when the Commander just can’t be made to fit the occasion. But, apart from the disadvantages of capacity and accurate, fast fire, the Agent lacks a manual safety. We strongly prefer having one, not so much for “safety” purposes but to serve as a quick-releasing trigger lock to hopefully defeat unauthorized use, perhaps even for a few seconds. Even our Shields have manual safeties for that reason. A revolver is simple to fire and that’s a negative should the gun get into the wrong hands.
    But it comes back to holes in the paper: given three to six hours of training time, an M&P 9 will give better results than a 686 for at least 85% of your group of shooters.
    Try it. We have.

  • Ollie July 21, 2017, 4:56 pm

    The Colt Agent .38 Special two inch, was what the Army gave me in 1970 to carry in Vietnam.

    • JoeUSooner August 12, 2017, 12:29 am

      As a backup weapon, I carried a (privately owned, unauthorized) 4″ barrel .38 revolver in VietNam in 1970… only fired it one time in nine months in-country, but was very glad to have it that ONE time!

  • Smith July 20, 2017, 5:47 pm

    This article has some great pointers but after reading several comments I saw no complete recommendation, which I humbly submit as follows for a true defensive strategy, assuming the danger could not reasonably be avoided:
    1. Carry a revolver, preferably .357 magnum or at least .38 Special +P rounds. This can be shot from inside a dedicated pocket/purse for immediate response capability and will not be jammed up with loose stuff that should be in separate pockets. Keep you hand on the revolver as much as possible in potentially dangerous area (parking lots, low light conditions, etc.)
    2. Carry another revolver or a semi-auto with plenty of rounds (.357 SIG or .40 S&W, defense rounds).

    You just never know which hand you will be able to use for an immediate threat as is often the case in urban settings (close quarter combat = CQC), one hand might be held back or used to hold someone back, or used to distract while you present your weapon, or used to protect others, or to secure your balance, etc. Where will the menace appear, from what angle, how many, etc.? Be happy but be ready!

    Be alert, situational awareness is key, be prepared (pre-decide scenarios in your mind, practice as much as necessary), and if your instinct tells you to worry, get out of Dodge!

  • RP Daniels July 20, 2017, 3:28 pm

    I have carried both semi auto and revolver for CCW and off duty protection. After many years of 38/ 357 revolver carry both on duty and off, my agency finally transitioned into semi autos. 45 caliber Sig Sauer P220’s were standard Field. Assignment carry; investigators and administrative persons usually carried 9mm or 380 semi autos Sigs.

    I was quite happy with the transition. Extensive research and field testing went into the department’s choice of Sig Sauer’s line of products. After leaving that agency, I found high capacity 9mm semi autos to be ideal for plainclothes and CCW work. I usually carry no less that 3 extra magazines, plus a tactical flashlight, a knife and cuffs, on and off duty. I don’t think any self respecting former or current LEO would carry less.

    Be prepared for the worst, expect the best. It’s better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it, is my mantra.

  • JAY July 20, 2017, 9:40 am

    I think a good quality small semi auto is the best choice today. A 5 shot revolver gives no advantage at all, the capacity is pitiful, they’re often harder to shoot well and reloads are so slow on them that I categorize it as dangerous. A semi auto will give you a fast reload if needed and are easier to be proficient with.

    • Michael July 20, 2017, 11:32 am

      You site magazine capacity and operation. The wheel gun is much more reliable and less complicated to operate. Thus a smaller learning curve to teach. Then we go to your capacity issue. How many civilian shootings required more than 2 rounds on target to end the encounter? So if your going not going to Beirut a wheel gun is adequate for EDC.

    • Mrb5314 July 20, 2017, 7:41 pm

      You say reloads are slow. Have you ever practiced? If you are going to carry the gun you may intend you have to use, you should practice loading and unloading, not just shooting. I admit I was slow at first, however, after being taught by someone who was proficient at it, I am as fast if not faster than I am at reloading my semi auto; and I have 20 years of LEO experience to boot along with pistol competition shooting experience in both semi auto and revolver. So to say revolvers are no good because they are slow to reload is insane. Learn the gun you intend to use and practice and speed won’t be an issue.

    • Mongo July 23, 2017, 5:44 pm

      Two words for you Jay: Jerry Miculek
      Most self-defense shooting is done within 10 feet, or just a little longer than arms length. Most self-defense shooting involves only about 3 shots. if you can’t point and shoot at 10 feet, which you really don’t use sights, then you have issues and are not thinking practically; this is what we call a “get the f off me” shot. after the first or even 2nd shot, it’s usually over. And I will take what you call “no advantage” with my hammer-less .357 magnum any day over your semi-auto, and I practice enough with it to make you look silly on the range. Do you realize that the 125gr hollow point from the .357 ranks as one of the top “man-stoppers” on even par with a .45? sounds like you need to stay in your lane.

  • FirstStateMark July 19, 2017, 8:55 pm

    Good article Clay. Thanks for taking the time with the autos and revolvers.

  • Charles July 19, 2017, 8:45 pm

    Be honest, you only carry what your willing to deal with. A large revolver or semi will far too often be left in the car. So buy, train and know the limits or abilities of what you want.

    Modern Semi autos that are clean are reliable. Absurd to claim a semi-shot only works for the first shot. About 2000 police and civilian self defense shootings each year along with thosands of murders each year take place with semi-autos

  • Charlie July 19, 2017, 8:00 pm

    Best advice. Do not go with the fads that gun writers of gun store sales people try to convince is gun that you need. Find what works for you and practice. Then practice some more.

    • QHorse13 July 20, 2017, 7:38 am

      Exactly!! I was in a store just the other day. And this lady was mulling over several guns she had picked out and the salesman was talking to her. Me being a nosey person I was listening to there conversation to see how much this salesman actually knew. I have been into firearms for over 30 years. I consider myself somewhat of an expert. Any how. I was appalled by the salesman. This lady had NEVER shot a gun. Never even held one before that day. And after everything that she had seen in the news she decided it’s time for her to get some protection to carry. This salesman had 3 1911’s sitting in front of her knowing full well she was an inexperienced shooter. And had her almost sold on the kimber ultra raptor II. As pretty as it is, it is NOT the ideal weapon for her. One because it’s a .45 caliber. Two because it’s a single action. She would not have the comprehension to be able to disengage the safety in a hot situation. She was a petite woman and had small hands and wrists. The kick from a .45 would rattle her at the first shot alone. Not to mention she said she wouldn’t be carrying on in the pipe. So in a hot situation. She would have to flip the safety, rack, and bring to bear. All in a split second. I’m sorry but I felt it as my DUTY to intervene. I took her around the store being the salesman and spent 30 minutes with her. She walked out with a a Ruger LCR W/crimson trace laser. It’s a .38 so no kick small enough to conceal and something she wouldn’t have to worry about having a safety on and it’s inexpensive. The salesman was PISSED. probably because she went from a $1200 gun to a $400 gun. I’m sure he just saw dollar signs. I saw someone that needed real HELP. The only issue that worries me was that she only had 5 rounds. But I think in a hot situation once the first round went off, the attacker would bolt and run away if she missed her target. I felt pretty good about it. I know she did too. She thanked me several times as we parted ways.

      • Bobby July 20, 2017, 9:33 am

        QHorse13, very nice of you to step in. A hammer-less .38 revolver is a great choice for a beginner and a woman. I’ve recommended the same and similar gun for many beginner women. And I suspect that someone with your common sense and experience recommended training and lots of practice, practice, practice as well.

      • Allen July 20, 2017, 7:45 pm

        Good for you and her too. I’m almost 80. I can barely rack most of the .45’s I have because of arthritis in the fingers.
        Also, the truth about leaving the firearm in the car because it is heavy and cumbersome is reality. I live in a place where there is low perceived danger unless I am in a large, busy parking lot shopping area (day or night.) Being conscience of my surroundings has diminished because of ageing. A month ago I was surprised by a woman who was standing right in front of me as I exited the car. Poof, there she was. Turns out she has been around before, looking for handouts. My menacing stare sent her on her way. My thoughts have been centered on carrying my Colt Detective Special. Robust, healthy guys and gals can handle the big stuff. Thanks for contributing to a decision I needed to make.

  • Donald July 19, 2017, 7:21 pm

    Colt Agent .38 Special two inch six shot manufactured in 1966. Goes bang when asked and remarkably accurate in self defense quarters.

  • Bill July 19, 2017, 5:38 pm

    Another point arguing in favor of a revolver is simplicity of operation. Assume you are carrying a pistol. It may sound silly, but what is its value if you don’t have a round in the chamber? Another point – if you have a pistol with a manual safety, and get into a nasty situation, will you have the presence of mind to take the safety off once you pull the gun out? Either case, no round in the chamber, safety still engaged, is bad news.
    A small DA revolver, tho, no problem with either scenario.

  • Holdigr July 19, 2017, 5:22 pm

    The issue of which firearm (or other defensive weapon) is best for EDC is not likely to be resolved any day soon. What seem to be the best choice for one scenario will undoubtedly prove deficient in another. In a perfect world, we would have no need to carry at all, but that is not the case. From my personal point of view, in an environment where concealment was not necessary, my “be prepared” tendencies might lean towards carrying a Garand, a 12 gauge, and a CZ 75 or 1911. Add a Kevlar vest, ammo, etc. and a person of my advanced years may only be able to walk 20 paces without stopping to rest. In the real world compromise is the rule. Much of the choice for carry weapons is influenced by how we are able to carry and how we prefer to carry. Some conditions may prohibit the carry of a firearm or stun device completely. For those instances a sturdy cane may be a viable option. For situations that allow for concealed carry, choose what you are most comfortable with and practice. The choice of caliber is not the primary consideration. European police have successfully carried the 9mm Browning (AKA 380 Auto) for decades chambered in arms such as the CZ 83, and the much maligned .38 Special in K-Frame S&W revolvers served Law enforcement for almost three quarters of a century. Yes, it is possible to be accosted by multiple attackers, but regardless of your chosen weapon, your chances or taking are increased. On the other hand, most thugs, muggers, etc, are cowards looking to take advantage of the defenseless, so the presence of a weapon may alone be enough to deter an attack. Remember most people do not want to be shot, hence the usefulness of less powerful rounds like the 380acp. The only way to offset the numerous trade-offs involved with personal protection is through proper mindset, common sense awareness of your surroundings, and practice

  • Russ H. July 19, 2017, 5:17 pm

    While everyone is entitled to their opinion, I am consistently amazed at some the STUPID comments people make in these articles. It\’s sometimes hard to tell sarcasm from the truly moronic. I\’ll add: Just because you are a fanboy of one particular weapon doesn\’t mean everyone else is wrong (yes, I get good humored ribbing but…). I\’ll also bet 80% of the people here don\’t go shooting more than twice a year – usually the ones with the biggest opinions, not to mention being \”that guy\” on the range with every doohickey ever made for an AR15 hanging from it. That said, just pay attention to my opinions and you\’ll be correct every time. LOL.

  • Mark M. July 19, 2017, 4:37 pm

    I don’t understand this comment: “An auto is always fouled as soon as it comes out, either with hands or trapped in clothing.” Can someone please explain what that person means?

    • davud July 20, 2017, 2:14 am

      I think he means at contact range, hand-to-hand range, the bad guy can get his hand on your gun and disrupt its cycling. or he’s just so close you can’t help but touch his clothes with the pistol as you present.

  • don comfort July 19, 2017, 4:28 pm

    A very well thought out and well written article. I started my career as an LEO way back in the Stone Age (1970). At that time Revolvers were King You were spot on when you said 5 or rds. of 38 special/357 mag. will be enough for civilian carry. I teach CWP in my State/carried off duty for about 30 years and have seen many styles,some good,some not, of concealed carry. One problem I have seen too often is weapons carried a lot, cleaned very little. This is one aspect where a revolver will out shine a semi auto. I own a multitude of hand guns but choose to carry a J frame 357 with night sights and Crimson Trace laser. I venture out feeling as well armed as anyone. Try disengaging the TINY safety under stress on many of the small,concealable semi autos. Revolvers as you pointed out are ready from the get go

  • steve hammill July 19, 2017, 4:16 pm

    I shoot a good bit. Over the years I’ve gravitated to revolvers. My reasoning is simple: in a life or death situation, I’m just not good enough to handle a fubar pistol – a revolver goes bang and is my best chance to live another day. I really don’t care how much a layperson drills, few have the brass that it takes.

    • Russ H. July 19, 2017, 5:21 pm

      \”I really don’t care how much a layperson drills, few have the brass that it takes.\” Best thing said here in ages.

  • Beachhawk July 19, 2017, 4:03 pm

    The best advice I ever got about gun selection was that the best gun is the one you have when you need one. It’s kind of like the first rule of gun fighting is “Bring a gun.” The type of gun doesn’t really matter if you don’t have it when you need it. As an LEO, I carried a .38/.357 because that’s what my agencies required at the time. Off duty, I usually carried a .380 because they were small and easy to carry. I still have a Sig P238 and a Sig 938, but I prefer a bigger bullet for self defense. I really love 1911s. I have several and I shoot them reasonably well, but I don’t normally carry one because I cannot comfortably conceal them. Now I can have the best of both worlds, big bullets in small pistols. I carry an XDs or S&W M&P Shield both in 45acp. I recently acquired a Kahr CM45 which I will put in the rotation after a break-in period. They all disappear under an untucked shirt or jacket and are very reliable.

  • Bobby July 19, 2017, 2:11 pm

    Great practical article. I try to avoid 3 and 4 and for over 50 years of CC I’ve been successful. All other times I always carry a GP-100 4 in .357 mag with 2 6 round quickstrips, total 18 rounds. And ALWAYS high level of situational awareness. Even with arthritis I fire approx 100 rounds every month; 38 specials are easier on my hands and wrists. I also have a number of quickstrips loaded with .357 snap caps and I practice, practice, practice; almost as fast as swapping mags on my .40 browning hi-power.
    Yes I know it’s not a very concealable rig but I just always wear a cover shirt and everyone is used to seeing me that way. And I carry for protection not style or even comfort. And if I hit you with a single Hornady Self-defense round, you are going down even if you are wearing a vest.
    Thanks for the common sense.

    • Dave Mills July 19, 2017, 3:51 pm

      I am a 71 yr old senior and have carried and used many different weapons and shot thousands of rounds in my day.
      This article is the best and most realistic I’ve had the pleasure of reading from this site. I always say,”keep it real” and they will listen.Thanks.
      D. Mills

    • Tim Smith July 19, 2017, 7:45 pm

      “And if I hit you with a single Hornady Self-defense round, you are going down even if you are wearing a vest.” Simply not true Sir. Not even close to being true.

  • Dick Jones July 19, 2017, 1:57 pm

    Clay, I also do some gun writing, in fact I often contribute to Guns America Digest and I have to say that was a very well done piece. I agree for all the same reasons and I’m favorably impressed with you ability to express a somewhat controversial opinion. I also teach and express the exact position as you to my clients. By the way, did you have to do a tap/rack with the Commander after the first shot? That appeared to be the case. Another point in favor of the revolver is the possibility of inadvertently releasing the magazine of a semi-auto in a concealed carry situation, requiring a tap/rack to get the gun going again. Anyone who carries a semi-auto should train with random dummy rounds in the magazine so they learn to execute a tap/rack as a conditioned response.

  • J. A. R. July 19, 2017, 1:54 pm

    Dear Web,
    Thanks for the observation concerning the art of combat (as the comparison of semi-auto & revolver):
    Personality, (it seems to me, myself) do not believe guns require the need to be concealed. thanks

    • Haevey July 20, 2017, 12:31 pm

      Jar open carry is ok in the weeds but in a city open carry makes you the first target
      Bad guy looks see your open carry weapon takes you out dose what he came todo you and your weapon are no longer in the game


  • Chris Baker July 19, 2017, 1:52 pm

    Wow! A lot of cogent statements of opinion and also a lot of uber macho balony. Having nuts of a particular size has nothing to do with being able to shoot any particular firearm nor with being able to shoot it well. I have a redhawk in 44 mag and I can shoot it just fine but it’s sure not easy to conceal carry with it. I like my little Beretta 3032 in 32 ACP. Yes it’s a wimpy round but I can place my shots nicely with it and it never leaves my side unless I’m at home where I have various firearms secreted around the house. Everything from an AMT Lightning with CCI Stingers (they will too) to a nice Mossberg 500 that predates serial numbers but the pump is so smooth and I’m sure birdshot to the face would deter most anyone. EVERY auto loader (aka semi-auto) my wife or I have has a safety that flicks off with a downward motion of my right thumb. Flick off the safety and pull the trigger. Near the head of my bed is a nice shooting Ruger GP100 with factory 125 JHP loads. Sheesh, the noise would kill the burglar. LOL I hope I NEVER have to shoot someone but I will to protect myself or my family or an innocent, for instance a shooter in my church or a robber/shooter in a store, or the aforementioned burglar. Otherwise no one will ever know that I have it except my pastor and my wife, oh and my wife likes to carry her 1911. She has a bigger purse than I do.

    Like several others have mentioned, having it with you is the most important part of owning a firearm for self protection.

  • Tenbones July 19, 2017, 1:42 pm

    What to carry? Pistol or revolver? Clay brings up some good pro’s and con’s for both and for those of us who were born with
    a gun in our hands they are not that much of an issue. However, if you have never handled or shot a handgun before
    all those “pro’s and cons” can be a bit daunting, if not overwhelming. If, “Little Bo Peep”, decided that her
    sheppards crook was no longer adequate and decided she needed a concealed gun of some sort and her handgun knowledge and her ability to practice for proficiency was limited, what type of handgun would be best for her?

    Let’s face it! There are a lot of men and women out there who have never held a handgun who are applying for concealed
    permits and buying a handgun of some sort and not having a clue as to what they are getting. What would be the best choice
    for the “first timer”? The amount of training and practice needed for a novice to become proficient and comfortable with a pistol is going to be more involved than someone training with a revolver. I think the revolver is a good “first choice”, they are relatively uncomplicated, easy to shoot and a good weapon on which to build shooting confidence and feel comfortable carrying. Once they become proficient and comfortable with the revolver then pistols can be the next step in the learning process.

  • bob h July 19, 2017, 12:17 pm

    The biggest issue I see with concealed carry has zero to do with what handgun to carry- pistol or revolver, what caliber, round count, holster or pocket or any other firearm specific decision. The biggest and most important issue is simply situational awareness. Here’s an example of what I mean. I was sitting in a favorite restaurant with four buddies, all of whom had CCW permits, when three male strangers walked in. One stood by the door while the other two approached the cashier. They had a brief conversation with the cashier and then all three left. After the three had left I asked all four of my buddies if they could describe the three unknown males. None could. Two of my buddies hadn’t even noticed the three at all despite the fact that we were the only customers in an almost empty restaurant and we were no more than twelve feet away from the two that approached the cashier! Nothing bad had happened but if it had I’m sure my four buddies would have been sitting in open mouthed shock or maybe even totally oblivious to it.
    Yes, think about what to carry. Make your choice and then practice but most importantly, PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT’S AROUND YOU.

  • Jason H July 19, 2017, 12:11 pm

    Try as you might to convince us all, I’ll put my cajun’d CZ Rami against your wheel-gun any day of the week. God willing, it will never have to be used for self-defense, but should it – I have faith in three things: God, my training, and my CZ.

    • Roge Johnson July 19, 2017, 8:04 pm

      What’s with the “\”? LOL!

    • Roge Johnson July 19, 2017, 8:10 pm

      No one is trying to “convince” you to carry a revolver, moron. Read the article again. It’s simply one man’s opinion about another aspect of what is available to carry for self defense. I hope your training is better than your reading comprehension. Congrats on your CZ…it’s a nice piece.

    • Trevor_Phillips August 16, 2017, 5:15 am


  • Marvin Crane July 19, 2017, 11:59 am

    I enjoyed your video about cc with small revolver or automatic. I learned to shoot in the IDF in a Airborne rifle company armed with a 7.62 FN. in that era we were basically equipped like a WW2 rifle company. We learned to shoot through hours of dry fire assault training culminating in a live fire test of squad forward movement in fire. We each had 3 rounds and had to hit center mass target at 50 meters moving forward to qualify. I learned it takes lots of practice to master any weapon.
    My EDC is now a jframe for lots of reasons you discuss, and a Shield for late night travel in the big city. My best weapon is my brain and SA reading body language and avoiding a fight. So far it’s working pretty well.
    Thanks for the video again. You are a good instructor.

  • Ian Innes July 19, 2017, 11:54 am

    Unfortunately good pistols are still hundreds of dollars…… Almost like $500 is a benchmark. Under is very few, over is gun snob. A nice pistol is out of reach for the common retiree.

    • Mark M. July 19, 2017, 4:47 pm

      Sir, you can purchase a CZ75 Compact for $459 shipped almost any day of the week. It’s steel, so not light, but it features a 1911-style external safety and 14+1 capacity and is very accurate. You may also consider the used gun market – many bargains to be had if you look. Your local dealer may be able to help fit you with something in your price range, and if he knows you, he may be willing to work out a plan to fit your budget. Good luck to you.

  • Don July 19, 2017, 11:35 am

    I just read this episode and found it so interesting that I clicked on the link for Episode 1 (don’t know how I missed it the first time around!). Good stuff – I’m relieved to see a pro say the same things I’ve thought for years, and I always wondered if I was lazy, naive, or just cheap to think the way I do when everyone talked about carrying as many rounds as possible and so on ….

  • Geoffrey G July 19, 2017, 11:25 am

    I think you made some pretty good arguments in this video, but I disagree with the final point made. The gases that escape through the cylinder gap of a revolver are very pressurized and can cause serious injury to any body parts in close proximity. This would actually make the revolver a poor choice if you are forced to fire in the position demonstrated in the video. Aside from that, well said.

  • Ace McGurk July 19, 2017, 11:18 am

    “in real-world situations, an auto has a capacity of one” Just not true. Millions of semi-automatics in combat and police actions disprove this.
    Time to first shot is critical. No mention of trade off.
    First shot accuracy is critical. No mention of trigger pull differences.
    OK to inflame the wheel vs semi debate. But be accurate and thorough. Your single data point is “one wheel loving buddy” for God’s sake. Good Molotov cocktail writing (you got me), bad article.

  • Vic vapor July 19, 2017, 11:17 am

    right now, most of the time,
    it’s a Taurus ultra lite 38 special
    with a CCI shot shell for the first,
    handy for critters and face shots.
    Looking at getting a 329pd 44
    because the shot shells work
    efficient in the caliber,
    the 180 grain how’s get serious
    with lessor recoil,
    the 4 inch barrel gives decent sighting
    the space age materials
    make it carry able … that’s where we are going.

  • Michael MacKay July 19, 2017, 11:12 am

    The scenarios for which gun is best to carry are endless, but the point mentioned by law enforcement in a contact range defense situation a wheelgun with a concealed hammer .38 or .3357 snub gun is probably the best option due to what you noted, failure to cycle.

  • Howard July 19, 2017, 11:12 am

    When in RVN, 1969, as a helicopter pilot, I was issued a S&W 38special “wheelie” w/6rds, no extra ammo! Talk about a feeling of inadequate firepower!! 🙁

  • Tommy Barrios July 19, 2017, 11:09 am

    Carried and still carrying concealed or otherwise, a Model 15 Combat Masterpiece since the 70’s!
    Don’t need no fancy light weight pistols or super light frames as I a real man and not a pansy (oh that’s too heavy, WHANNH)
    Currently loaded with 158gr Hornady meat mashers with 10gr of Unique!
    CAN YOU DEAD MEAT at any range I see!

  • Eddie B July 19, 2017, 10:36 am

    Let’s face it everyone, the debate over auto vs revolver for carry purposes has raged in years gone by, and will continue ad nauseum. Nobody has the definitive answer as to which gun is best.

  • Tom July 19, 2017, 10:21 am

    I used to carry a S&W 442 all the time. Then, one day, I met three men intent on doing me harm. Fortunately, they were convinced by the little snubby to leave. But, the thought did occur to me, what if I did have to fire? Hits? Misses? One-shot stops? Three men at close range vs 5 rounds of .38 spl?

    It’s true, the revolver can do things the semi-auto can’t AND vice-versa. Your UC friend’s observations can’t be ignored. I guess a NY reload is the answer? I have grown accustomed to my G26 with a 17 rnd spare mag…

    • Jake July 19, 2017, 2:44 pm

      I recall reading many years ago that more civilians had been killed with .38 Specials than any other round, except for the .22 LR! Another old saying is the best gun is the one you have available at the time. As long as you’ve got “something” you are ahead of the game almost all the time. JMHO.

    • Zupglick July 19, 2017, 9:52 pm

      If you go back to the cowboy days, you find that more men were killed by shotgun than revolver. 12ga. 00 buck to the face will mess up your day, don’t matter if you have armor or not. Buckshot from a “Judge” works good at short range, and in a self-defence situation the range is more likely to be 5 feet not 50 feet.

  • Saul Alinsik July 19, 2017, 10:14 am

    The most important decision about concealed carry is how are you going to carry? I greatly prefer pocket carry, it’s more comfortable and I can have you covered and you don’t even know it. The most important factor in gun selection is WEIGHT! I carry a S&W 360PD (340 will also work). 12oz, 357mag! I know it kicks too much for those lacking in male genitalia. I didn’t buy it for plinking.

    • Capt D July 19, 2017, 11:25 am

      I didn’t know that carrying a big magnum gun makes your genitalia bigger. Good to know.

      • NavyVet1959 July 19, 2017, 1:31 pm

        I believe you are confusing cause and effect in his post. Plus, he’s not saying that it makes it bigger, just that those “metrosexual” girly men (and split tails) that you see these days (such as the FBI hires) would have a problem with it.

    • Jake July 19, 2017, 2:46 pm

      I bet your follow up shots are slow.

  • Dewey July 19, 2017, 10:09 am

    What the hell does carrying a British smg (supposedly) into combat have to do with the military not issuing revolvers? Maybe in future articles you can make MORE mention of your death-dealing escapades as a former HSLD ninja.

    • Tripwire July 19, 2017, 11:57 am

      Watching Clay’s videos is much like watching a naked lady dancing on a stage, if it offends you STFU and go away and don’t watch. I see many people like you that want to denigrate but have nothing positive to add to the conversation. I don’t always agree with all that Mr. Morgan says but I always listen. Somewhere in there is always many nuggets of solid info. If he wants to mention carrying a Sterling on an OP then it’s his vid and his story, he can tell it his way. I would love to hear the whole story but that’s not why we are here. I have pictures of a good friend who has done many deployments to the Stan and likely many more. In one such picture he was carrying a scar, I asked about it, he said IHHO it was a piece of shit. So, point of fact that comment likely pisses off a lot of mall ninjas but he was there on the ground and if he says it I believe it.
      So, Clay carry your Sterling, mention your back ground, it helps many of us to take heed because you’ve been there and done that.

      • Dewey July 19, 2017, 7:29 pm

        So, you’ve got a tacti-cool screen name and you use terms like “The Stan” but you say it’s your friend that has been there, not yourself. I’d be careful throwing that “mall-ninja” epithet around. An epithet is an insult, by the way.

  • John strickland July 19, 2017, 10:06 am

    You might mention next time that there is a danger in novice shooters with autos that have trained on revolvers. With revolvers you can fire off three rounds and holster your pistol safely. With a auto, you must remember to safety it first before you holster it. Fortunately I caught my mistake before I had an accident. I broke out in a cold sweat when I realized what I had done. I was a police officer and we were making the transition from the revolver to the auto.

    • Vanns40 July 19, 2017, 11:38 am

      If you didn’t have your finger on the trigger there shouldn’t have been a problem no matter what the gun! Just sayn’. Even if it was a 1911, they’re safe to carry “cocked and unlocked” if you keep your finger off the trigger.

    • Tripwire July 19, 2017, 12:00 pm

      I would be interested in hearing exactly what auto your department issued you that had a manual safety. 1911? Browning hi-power? Most LE departments went from revolvers to Glocks. I’m sure I’m wrong to a tiny degree but still… Inquiring minds wanna know.

      • NavyVet1959 July 19, 2017, 1:37 pm

        I can remember plenty of LEOs carrying M1911s before Glock came around with their tupperware. And S&Ws and Berettas also for that matter.

        • Roger Johnson July 19, 2017, 8:32 pm

          And then the mighty 1911 was sent to the boneyard by the “tupperware” Glocks with their higher ammo capacity, durability and lower cost. Keep up with the times and stop living in the past. I’m in my sixties, a retired peace officer and have good memories of the past. But to stick to a dated albeit wonderful design when more modern guns are available is simply ignoring the present and being stuck in the past. Whatever works for you is best but please don’t denigrate what other people have chosen as their pistols/revolver of choice. BTW…..I’ve seen training video where a a LEO initiated a traffic stop and during the ensuing minutes the vehicle operator became difficult and ended up being shot in the stomach by the officer’s .45. It didn’t put him on the ground and he survived. Shot placement most of the time trumps caliber….within reason, of course. Thanks for your post and thanks for your time in the Navy.

        • Dewey July 19, 2017, 11:08 pm

          Don’t question Tripwire, he pays attention and has friends who went to “The Stan”.

    • Charles July 19, 2017, 8:40 pm

      Nearly 90% of current LE carry a semi-auto pistol without a safety! I’ve carried Glocks for 10 years on duty. Off-duty I carry Glock 43 and my wife has one as well.

      • Charles July 19, 2017, 8:41 pm

        Correction- with a safety. Almost none carry or train on a pistol with a safety lever.

  • Andy July 19, 2017, 9:55 am

    Personally I carry a Smith 340pd. A good handgun is a poor tool when you are using it to defend your life. The pistol is the little insurance that I can get the 870 out of the trunk of the Mini Cooper lol
    The mini is loaded for bear

  • John Geyer July 19, 2017, 9:53 am

    Agree on the train with what you will use. Me- Browning HP MK 1 training and CCP is a browning HP MK III. I qualified on the S & W 38 SP for 7 years in USAF then switched to the M9. For many years I carried a 380 Auto. In light of the School and Mall shootings, I upgraded to the Browning. I wish to be prepared for nearly legitimate combat. I have little fear of “Muggings” and would probably deal with that less lethally. I am at that stage in life where assaults do not happen to me(I am where I should be when I should be). But if I am in a theater in Aurora CO, I would be ready. I get to the Range twice a month and get a local class every year. I had been a BSA Range Master for 14 years. Jack

  • Mister Ronald July 19, 2017, 9:50 am

    Very nice information, I carried a J-frame S&W lightweight model 37 for about 40 years, It was and still is a nice carry gun. I now carry a Glock-43 and really like it..With the magguts insert I have 7 in a magazine and one in the chamber for 8 9mm rounds, 7 more in my carry magazine gives me 15 rounds and much easier to fire then the snub nose lightweight.

  • Tom RKBA July 19, 2017, 9:28 am

    ” Five rounds of .38 Special or .357 Magnum is probably plenty for most anything you’re going to encounter on the street.”

    That is a very bold statement in a world of multiple attackers, carjackings and home invasions by groups of armed men and women. I think the snubby is too much of a compromise when it comes to anything more than a single attacker. The short barrel drops velocity too far for most loads–making it essential to test each carry loading from your gun essential. The triggers suck and make shooting difficult. Even my Ruger LCR 9mm doesn’t shoot well enough to carry without extensive training. I think the snubby should be relegated to the role of backup gun or “mailbox gun”.

    • Vanns40 July 19, 2017, 11:41 am

      Bill Jordon might disagree 🙂

  • Del July 19, 2017, 9:13 am

    Excellent presentation. I had not considered the clothing interference issue before to the degree you illustrated in your video. Thank you!


  • Tom July 19, 2017, 9:09 am

    He always provides excellent advice providing information about scenarios we ordinarily don’t even think about. Thorough and professional opinions from someone who has direct experience. His analyses save me time and expand my “what if’s” while improving my situational awareness. Keep up the good work!

  • Chuck Phillips July 19, 2017, 8:57 am

    Good article! I know my LCR revolver isn’t as “sexy” as some carry guns; but it always fits in my pocket, always goes bang and I am very comfortable with it. Maybr I haven’t been to far off base after all.

  • Bob C. July 19, 2017, 8:32 am

    Many thanks to Clay Martin. Very well done Sir. Good common sense advice that breaks the molded mindset that tends to be influenced by prior training, often military and, or police. Also, and most unfortunately Hollywood. When Clint Eastwood was playing “Dirty Harry” back in the 1970s, everyone had a revolver. Then “Lethal Weapon” came along which portrayed a wheel gun with an old guy. This brought about an enormous change to be cool. Both have their pro’s and con’s.
    Personally, I want a gun to go “bang” when I need it to. But more importantly, like Clay says in this video, “carry something comfortable as you’ll carry it more often”.
    Why is common sense so uncommon these days?
    Thanks again Clay!

  • Infidel762x51 July 19, 2017, 8:30 am

    Revolvers have been obsolete since 1911.

    • John Geyer July 19, 2017, 9:55 am

      Thank you John Browning

    • Tripwire July 19, 2017, 12:04 pm

      Thank you for the laugh! I do agree.

  • Bruce July 19, 2017, 8:18 am

    I, along with my wife & daughter, carry daily and keep arms nearby while home. Neither of us have Military or LE backgrounds. These presentations by Clay Martin are proving to be very informative and helpful, and are most definitely among the best use of our time regarding this subject. Thank you for providing!

  • Lonnie July 19, 2017, 8:12 am

    You mention not training women on conceal carry, but my question is actually about size of guns for the women. My wife has smaller hands, so should she be training with a full size as opposed to the Colt Government 380 she carries?

  • James G. July 19, 2017, 8:12 am

    Compare a charter arms .44 with Buffalo Bore with hardcast wad cutters to the results of wonder nine rounds for a real world test when you have time. Besides that the smaller .44 pouch speed strip fits easily into a pocket where the darn magazines for the 9mm print like crazy.

  • James G. July 19, 2017, 8:08 am

    Sure Go ahead and let off that semi auto from the inside of an inexpensive snug fitting windbreaker pocket. good luck with getting a second round out of it.

  • missourisam July 19, 2017, 7:42 am

    I went into police work when all we were allowed to carry in uniform was a revolver. That being said, as soon as I went into a plain clothes assignment where I had options, my gun of choice was a 1911 in .45ACP. I have packed for the past one for the past 47 years, and have never had problems concealing it, and feel undressed without it. By the way my back up gun is a J frame S&W in .38. I’m prejudiced, not an elitist.

  • James July 19, 2017, 7:41 am

    Excellent video that affirms my decision to go with a hammerless revolver for carry. After watching the video it’s pretty clear that autos are easily jammed up in close quarters physical confrontations, which is probably the way one of these situations starts. I have numerous semi-auto pistols that I enjoy shooting but for carry it will be a revolver. Thx!

  • srsquidizen July 19, 2017, 7:37 am

    Guess I’m a tad hypocritical since I do carry pocket auto-loaders especially in warm weather. They conceal so well and comfortably under light clothing. But IMO your best bet is a revolver in MOST situations, especially the altercations that statistics say are most likely what you’ll encounter. He pointed out correctly that revolvers work better if your attacker is already on top of you, but there’s also an intangible he didn’t mention if it hasn’t quite come to that…
    Nothing screams GUN like the unmistakable ugly phat profile of a revolver pointing at you…the only type that let’s a thug actually see the hollow-points that will ravage his innards sitting right there in the cylinder. You’re always better off these days if the scumbag simply turns tail and runs like hell when “oh bleep bad choice” registers in his evil little brain. Unless you’ve got a black rifle hiding under your trench coat, nothing effects that faster than the classic wheel gun.

  • Captain Ron July 19, 2017, 7:36 am

    If I was going to war, and for some reason a handgun was my primary weapon, then I would want a full-size high capacity auto.
    As a civilian, I am never going towards danger, but trying to avoid it. In this scenario, high firepower is not nearly as likely to be necessary as I will likely be at very close range (greater hit probability) and only facing one assailant. In this case, reliability trumps firepower.
    I don’t care how good your semi-auto pistol is, there simply is far more ways for it to quit than a revolver. Let me name a few:
    Failure to feed, failure to extract, double-feed, stove pipe, not to mention dropped mags, slide made inoperative by someone grabbing it. In most cases no second strike capability and this especially true if you have a completely dud round where a subsequent pull of the revolver trigger will bring up a fresh round.
    Revolvers in good condition are generally 100% reliable. The only malfunction I have ever experienced was when I had a bullet jump crimp which did lock the gun up. This was in a .357 magnum LCR using Armscor FMJ (no cannelure) ammo.
    For me there is no question. My concealed carry gun is either a J-frame or in cooler weather the S&W 327 PC.

    • missourisam July 19, 2017, 7:46 am

      Let some one get hold of your revolver and grip the cylinder. Now get off a shot. I had an idiot grab my 1911 by the slide. When it went off it tore the palm of his hand to shreds.

    • John Geyer July 19, 2017, 10:04 am

      That is fine if you are moving away from the sound of gunfire. With the Mall and School shootings I revived my training and carry to move to the sound. I use a Browning HP MK III. A British friend of mind recommended it back in 1982 in Oman. I am tired of kids being hurt by crazies. If all of us Veterans did the same, this crap would end real soon.

  • Bobo July 19, 2017, 7:02 am

    Although I have and have had a variety of semi autos I still carry my colt detective special which I bought in 1974. I’ve never had to draw the gun in all those years for defense yet it’s my go to gun for its reliability, accuracy in my hands and carry comfort. The 38 can be devastating loaded with the right ammo. Wheel gun, semi auto? It comes down to whatever you feel comfortable with.

  • Fort Cannon July 19, 2017, 6:56 am

    The rationale for everyday citizen carry is not a guessing game. Should I carry a higher capacity gun to compensate for missed targets or roving bands of criminals? Or, a weapon so unreasonably uncomfortable, or conspicuous that I leave it at home?. Should we be reasonably secure in ourselves under most normal circumstances, concealled carry provides that?
    The environment we live in with a safety margin for unexpected possibilities. Training and practice have been the key for many years and the rest is all hype. What counts? That we have at least 2 controllable rounds that we can put into a 12 inch target 20 feet. If we have 5 rounds it is 150% surplus. Yes, if we do not train it is necessary to carry more rounds to compensate for expected missed targets. If our imagination runs wild with probable threats of multiple targets our weapon of choice should be a shotgun, but, so many places we go are not shotgun friendly, so life is what it is, common sense.
    Carry what we are confident in it’s use and capable to maneuver.

    • Captain Ron July 19, 2017, 7:38 am

      I carry a Mossberg Cruiser in my pick up. Only 5 shots, but I don’t feel undergunned at all.

      • mauser6863 July 19, 2017, 10:14 am

        Captain Ron, You bring up a good point. Everyone I have ever met (I haven’t met everyone) who says they CCW a full size gun etc., never has it on them, it’s always in the car, the safe, nightstand, etc. Now I know all of us on this board, 100% carry 44 super duper mags and full size 45 Govemit pistols all the time, cause anything less will cause our left nuts to fall off and make us half-a-man (LOL), but most folks simply don’t do that, even if they lie to themselves and everyone that they really do so.

        I used to off body carry a backpack with a Polish P64 inside. Then I started to intentionally notice how far removed I was from the backpack at times. I decided that, if I’m going to carry a gun, it has to be on me, period. The P64 was small, but all steel and simply too heavy in Phoenix AZ summer clothes.

        As most know, the first rule of a gun fight, is to have a gun. The gun at home, in your truck, etc. means simply that you are unarmed. For the most part, our homes and vehicles are pretty safe places, its when we are out and about with strangers that thing can go tits up in an instant, gas station, liquor store, market, the mall. That’s when you will need that gun you left behind.

        Also a lot of folks can’t carry at work, so they either roll the dice and live with it or they go to really small guns that are easy to hide. Big guns are simply a pain in the butt to lug around, unless that is your job. Based on handgun sales, small guns sell more than large guns. Even in the Black Powder era, the little .31 Caliber Colt “1848/49 Pocket Pistol” now known as the Baby Dragoon Revolvers were Colt’s best sellers by a long shot. Historically the big Army and Navy guns garner more attention, but like today, small guns pay the bills and keep the doors open for a lot of manufacturers.

        All of you folks who think you are armed and ready, with guns not on your body, need to wake-up and realize you are in fact unarmed.

  • JGinFlorida July 19, 2017, 6:53 am

    I don’t get to shoot anywhere near as much as I gather most of the commenters on GunsAmerica shoot. I do hunt a lot. For birds, I always used double barrel shotguns. There were times when I would forget to slide off the safety, even after many years of experience. When I got into goose hunting I shifted to a pump action shotgun. I was great in practice. I eventually shifted to a semi-automatic. What would happen is that under the excitement of sitting up in a coffin blind and starting to shoot at a large flock coming into the decoys honking loudly I would get one shot off and then forget to pump. That’s right, my friends would be yelling at me “pump JG, pump” as I could not get a second shot off. It is hard to develop muscle memory when you are older and don’t practice every day. I started shooting with a single action revolver, then a double action, then pistols. I enjoy shooting them all, and really like the smooth flatness of a classic .380 auto for concealed carry. But as I said, I don’t shoot that much, and I have no idea how I would perform under the stress of an attack in which I would want to use a weapon. To me that means I need something that will shoot when I pull the trigger, not after I cock it, not after I take off a safety.

    • Guru July 19, 2017, 8:41 am

      Reading your comment I hoped you wouldn’t make the jump between the automatic safety on some double barrel, over and under shotguns and pistols with manual safeties. If there was a pistol that automatically engaged the manual safety between shots or anytime for that matter I’d avoid it but I don’t think such a thing exists. The big difference is a safety that you yourself manually set to fire or set on safe not one that does it for you. It’s not valid to compare the auto safety on a double shotgun to the manual safety on a pistol. It’s popular these days to claim ” you might forget to take the safety off under stress” which of course was what Glock used to sell everyone on an automatic without a safety, and no that dongle on the trigger is not a safety. If you are not familiar enough with your personal defense pistol that you forget how it operates you should get familiar. You might forget which end the bullet comes out of or where it is or how to aim, hell you might forget you even have it.

  • Martin July 19, 2017, 6:44 am

    Being a fan of both pistols and revolvers I’ve carried both. I like my S&W’s and I like my 92 FS and my 1911’s. Given the choice I’ll go with the pistols because that’s what I’m most comfortable carrying AND concealing and there is the main reason. Carry what you’re comfortable and familiar with. No matter which way you lean it all comes down to the best weapon to carry is the one you have with you. This debate will go on forever but in the end it’s “Use what you bring”.

  • Mike July 19, 2017, 6:20 am

    I carry Colt mustang pocketlite 380 auto.. Wife carries SW 642 airweight 38+p (125gr JHP). She doesn’t mess around!

  • Mike July 19, 2017, 6:19 am

    I carry Colt mustang pockelite 380 auto.. Wife carries SW 642 airweight 38+p (125gr JHP). She doesn’t mess around!

  • Paul July 19, 2017, 6:16 am

    As a former LEO , I always carried small frame, non “cop” looking guns. Later, S&W came out with Model 59, and other double action autos in larger calipers, which have the features of both revolver AND auto. But as a CCW weapon, you need rapid deployment. Consider carefully the circumstances under which you will need , and are most likely going to need a weapon. Carry a solution for THOSE conditions.

  • Jay July 19, 2017, 6:14 am

    I can appreciate all the information available today on weapons and choice! The bottom line of advise I received and will always remember came from a retired police officer I knew. He said, there is no best firearm for a new shooter, buy and use your weapon of choice, one that fits you and never trust your life on the advise of someone else but learn from all of it!
    Today, that weapon of choice is far more plentiful and finding one that fits the individual and can shoot it reliably is easier to do. The person on the other side of the counter, no matter how meaningful and helpful they might try to be, it’s you that have to make an informed decision and use the firearm not him or her!

  • singleshotcajun July 19, 2017, 5:51 am

    I have a lot of ‘cool” carry options but always come back to my S&W 442 no lock for daily carry. In order to make it work for me I needed to replace the comfy rubber factory handles with old walnut ones as the factory ones printed and fouled my pocket draw. Thin wood grips on a J-frame can be painful while launching Gold Dot or Buffalo Bore ammo but those factory handles are just not practical for daily carry.

  • Van July 19, 2017, 5:36 am

    I have carried both a colt agent and a glock 17. I like my colt because its lighter and I walk a lot. Less stain on my old body

  • Russ H. July 19, 2017, 5:30 am

    I carried a S&W Mod 60 (38 spec) on my ankle for a backup and a Sig P226 (40 cal) for duty as a state trooper (well, the first two years it was a S&W 686). I don\’t believe the reliability of a revolver can be beat – that\’s why I carried the Smith. In the Army I carried both the 1911 and the M9. With that said I now carry a 380 semi auto that I have fired 600 rds through of various types of ammo to know I can count on it. Yes, it can be painful shooting 300-400 rds of carry ammo that costs 70-80 cents a round but you better do it. I did have to polish the feed ramp a bit but I know it will feed everything now. It\’s about the same size as a J frame but it holds 9 rounds instead of 5. I practice with it a lot – that is the key to all this, that and having faith in what you carry. And with THAT said, I still eyeball that S&W Model 60 from time to time, especially after having replaced the springs. Pick what you\’re comfortable with and PRACTICE with it. I have to agree – don\’t switch between different platforms unless you are proficient with all.

  • Craig Kalsa July 19, 2017, 4:45 am

    Clay contributes a critical presentation on why a wheel gun can be a better concealed option. Unpacks the comparison with autos like the pro he is; invaluable!

  • William July 19, 2017, 4:37 am

    Thank you for a fine article! To many people have disregarded the revolver as being old fashioned. The J Model Smith is an excellent choice. Better, is the new Kimber K6s, although pricy. Both in 38/357 magnum, offer a combination that is perfect. .38 for practice, and fun; .357 magnum for getting serious. The perfect carry gun hasn’t been designed yet. Until that happens, a small revolver is simply the best choice.

  • norm July 19, 2017, 4:11 am

    I’ve always felt more secure with a revolver-they rarely or never misfire when you need them. Can’t say the same for some makes of pistols, although the Bersa is as close as you can get to dependability in a pistol. To me, a lightweight .38 with plus-P ammo fulfills the need. Most .357s are too dang heavy, and the recoil can be tough if you’re not a big guy. My opinion only.

  • Richard Steven Hack July 19, 2017, 3:16 am

    My guess is the reason undercover cops hate semi-autos is that most of the gang members and drug dealers they are emulating don’t carry their guns in fancy holsters. This means the cops doesn’t either because he doesn’t want to stand out as someone TOO knowledgeable about guns.

    So what happens if he carries a semi-auto in his pocket with no holster? It jams because of the usual reasons a gun jams when carried outside a holster and with random clothing selection par for a gangbanger or drug dealer.

    Note that a revolver will jam in a lot of cases for the same reasons. But it’s likely more of an urban myth that “revolvers are more reliable”.

    One case where that statement is very likely true is if shooting through a pocket. That’s been tested and yes, the semi-auto gets one round off before jamming and the revolver continues to work. For some reason it’s easier for the cylinder to revolve again than for the slide to go back into battery.

    James Yeager commented on this urban myth in one of his videos I just watched today as it happens. He states unequivocally that he’s seen revolvers jam with some grains of sand, with pop-out primers and the like. He believes revolver reliability over semi-autos is a just another example of “Internet nonsense.”

    I remain convinced that a revolver is suitable for sport shooting and hunting – not self-defense, for reasons of lesser capacity and slower reloading as well difficulty concealing reload devices. The opinion of an individual undercover police officer doesn’t change my mind.

    • singleshotcajun July 19, 2017, 5:46 am

      A S&W 442/642 carried in a pocket holster(I think undercover folks have sense to use a pocket holster) instead of bathing in lint and sweat is a very reliable tool.

    • John L July 19, 2017, 9:47 am

      Urban myth? That’s a good one. I’ve been shooting revolvers for 55 years. Had one issue back in 1975 when a bad load locked up my .357. Crappy hand load that lacked a powder charge. Can it happen? Sure. Is it likely to happen with factory ammo? Not in my experience. I personally carry an auto for various reasons. But pretending they are as reliable as a revolver is the real myth.

  • Jon L July 19, 2017, 3:01 am

    The issue I take with this article is the fact that close contact with a revolver can very easily result in no rounds fired if the bad guy is able to grab hold of the cylinder. Grabbing the cylinder will result in zero rounds fired because it can’t rotate. Furthermore, five rounds in a potential fight isn’t much when considering LEO nationwide are 20-30% accurate in gun fights. Any gun will do if you will do, but I just don’t agree that the revolver is capable of five or more shots in close contact situations as a blanket statement because of what I’ve stated.

    • singleshotcajun July 19, 2017, 5:44 am

      The same can be said of a pistol. Watch Polenar tactical on youtube. It was surprisingly easy for them to stop a semi-auto by grabbing the slide and frame.

      • Jon L July 19, 2017, 10:49 am

        Oh I agree and that was my point. Saying one is effectively better than the other based on close contact isn’t an effective argument because both types of firearms, in separate ways, can be easily disabled. The round count argument of not needing more than five rounds can be true in some scenarios and not true in others. Some bad guys have a serious will to fight and may be are so hopped up on drugs that the only way to take them out of the fight is through bleed out or CNS shot (more rounds needed most likely), while others get shot once and run away. My stance is carry what you train, train, train with and are good with regardless of round count or type of pistol (did I mention train!?) Carry what you are good with and can conceal well enough with and forget about all the arguments made for or against your preferred carry pistol.

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