Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
If there’s any topic that will get gun owners up in arms, it’s claiming that one gun is better than another. We all have our favorites and are quick to defend them. Nevertheless, I want to take a look at what makes a good concealed carry gun, especially for a prepper who is thinking in terms of a post-disaster scenario, as well as everyday carry.
The one big difference between a post-disaster situation and normal concealed carry is that the likelihood of getting into an actual firefight is probably higher. The statistic that is commonly quoted in concealed carry is that the average self-defense situation that leads to shots being fired is three shots in five seconds. It is apparently rather rare for anyone to need to fire more shots than that.
But in a post-disaster scenario where you are protecting your family from those who want to take what you have, you’re likely to be faced with multiple assailants, resulting in the need to fire more shots.
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Semi-Automatic vs. Revolver
I know there are a lot of revolver fans out there. Their main argument in favor of revolvers is their simplicity. In a post-disaster scenario, repairing a revolver would be easier than repairing a semi-automatic pistol. Of course, you’re going to need parts in either case; so that might negate this advantage.
Going back to my opening statement, I’d personally rather be armed with a semi-automatic firearm in a post-disaster world, because of the likelihood of a needing more than five or six rounds. I have only met one man who can use a speed loader fast enough to rival the reload rate of a semi-automatic, negating the normal advantage of semi-automatic pistols.
The Question of Caliber
As a general rule, most people say: “Carry the biggest caliber that you’re comfortable shooting.” While there may be some validity to that statement, it really doesn’t take into account the ballistics of the different calibers and how that affects their effectiveness as self-defense rounds. In other words, there’s more to the puzzle than just size.
While any bullet can kill, the smaller the bullet, the less damage it does. Therefore, it’s harder to kill with a small caller bullet than a larger caliber one. For that reason, bullets in the .22LR to .380ACP range are not normally considered good self-defense rounds. On the other hand, while .357 magnum and .44 magnum are both powerful rounds, they aren’t popular self-defense rounds either.
But the big argument in self-defense calibers is between 9mm and .45ACP. Each caliber has its followers, who swear that their caliber is the best self-defense round there is. I’m personally a fan of both; but for different reasons and at different times.
The .45ACP was developed for energy transfer, increasing the possibility of the round knocking down the target; what most people refer to as “knockdown power.”
It was created by John Browning for the US Army, back when they were having trouble with the Moro tribesmen attacking them while high on drugs. The Army needed a pistol round that would stop those tribesmen and put them down, even if they didn’t feel it hit their bodies, due to the drugs. It’s not high velocity and doesn’t penetrate very far; but it is great at energy transfer.
Today, the .45 ACP is still the best pistol round for dealing with anyone high on drugs, if you happen to get into a firefight with them. But that’s somewhat unlikely in a post-disaster scenario, where drugs will be hard to come by. The other problem with the .45ACP as a concealed carry gun, is that it is hard to hide. Trust me, I carry one.
In contrast to the .45ACP, the 9mm NATO round is smaller and has a much higher velocity. But there’s one other major difference; the bullet geometry is much pointier than that of the .45, which is rather blunt.
Although it’s not as sharp as a rifle bullet, the sharper point, coupled with the high velocity, gives the 9mm excellent penetrating power. This is what it was developed for; so that the bullet would penetrate far enough to damage the vital organs, specifically the heart and lungs, even if the shot was from the side.
Typically, you can get more rounds into a 9mm magazine, than you can into a .45ACP one, which is a big advantage in a firefight. But the 9mm has something else going for it as well; that is, it’s the most popular pistol cartridge there is, with the possible exception of the .22LR. That means that you will be much more likely to find 9mm rounds in a post-disaster world, than any other pistol round.
Going on to the Guns
Obviously, any concealed carry pistol has to be small enough that it can be easily concealed. Some states are strict enough with their interpretation of their own laws, that the police will stop you if they see your pistol “printing” (the outline being visible) through the fabric of your shirt.
Even if they don’t; if the police can see it, then there’s also a chance that criminals can see it as well; and they’ll be well motivated to look for it.
In contrast to that, you want as many rounds as you can carry, just in case. That’s a problem with most concealed carry pistols, which don’t have very big magazines. The solution is to be sure to carry a couple of extra loaded magazines on you, preferrable extended mags, if you can get them.
Springfield XDS – 9mm
The XDS from Springfield Arms is essentially the single-stack version of their popular XD series. A bit heavier than most concealed carry pistols, the extra weight helps you retain your grip when firing. Springfield sells a version of this pistol with a Crimson Trace laser sight on it, making for a very nice package.
I must be honest, I carry a Springfield XDS, although it is a .45ACP version. So, I’m a bit prejudiced in favor of this particular gun.
Smith & Wesson CSX
One of the few hammer-fired concealed carry guns on the market. This is a great option for those accustomed to the Smith & Wesson line of guns. It does have a thumb safety, which some will see as a safety advantage, while others will see it as something to slow them down.
S&W M&P Shield EZ – 9mm
Probably the biggest selling point for this pistol is that it doesn’t take a ton of force to rack the slide. That’s a real advantage for most women, who struggle to rack the slide of a typical 9mm pistol. This is also a hammer-fired pistol, rather than striker-fired. The magazine has a very respectable 8 round capacity, plus one in the chamber.
Mossberg MC2c – 9mm
As I mentioned earlier, one of the problems with most concealed carry pistols is magazine capacity. Full-sized semi-automatic pistols have largely gone to double stack, to increase magazine capacity; but it’s hard to fit a double-stack into a concealable fame. But Mossberg has succeeded, putting 13+1 rounds into this new pistol.
FN 509 – 9mm
This pistol is the smaller brother of FN’s concept for the US Military’s Modular Handgun competition. Although a midsize pistol, making it somewhat large for concealed carry, that extra size gives it a 4” barrel and a greater sight radius. The gun still conceals well and will hold 15+1 rounds.
Glock 48 – 9mm
We can’t complete this list without including something from Glock, the inventor of the striker-fired pistol. Anyone who knows Glocks knows that they are the most consistent rand of firearms, across their line. That makes it extremely easy to switch from one to another, as the situation may warrant. This is a single-stack, but still offers 10+1 rounds of capacity.
Sig Sauer P365 – 9mm
Many people see Sig Sauer’s P365 as the pistol that redefined concealed carry. This pistol has a 3.1-inch barrel and is only one inch wide. Small and compact, it still boasts a 10-round magazine.
Walther PPK – 9mm
The king of concealed carry himself, Jamed Bond carried a Walther, making it legendary. But the pistol outlives the legend, proven out by the fact that this gun has been on the market since 1930. While redesigned in 1930, turning it into a .380ACP, you can still get the 9mm version. (The video below is about the 380ACP.)
Kimer EVO SP – 9mm
Kimber has long been known for the quality of their firearms, especially their various models of the venerable 1911. But their line extends beyond the 1911, including such firearms as this 9mm compact pistol. Their first striker-fired gun, it is available in three different finishes. Showing their attention to detail and quality, the pistol comes with factory-installed tritium sights.
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