Saturday, August 18, 2012

Selecting a Gun to Carry – Part 2 - What Handgun Model Should I Buy?


So you’ve decided to take the plunge and buy a handgun to carry for your personal protection. Now you have to decide, “What handgun model should I buy?” There are a lot of things to consider when selecting a handgun for concealed carry.

·         Is the gun reliable?
·         Is it accurate?
·         Does it have the stopping power?
·         Does it fit your hand and are all the controls accessible?
·         Is it concealable?
During this process, the last thing you want to consider is the price. Sure, everyone wants to keep as much of their hard earned dollars in their own pockets, but we’re talking about something that could save your life. Once you’ve narrowed your search, you can start comparing prices and then work out a deal with a gun store. But that’s down the road. Don't start with a dollar figure and then try to find something that fits that instead of you.

The first thing you need to do is a little homework. Get on the web and look at the different models available by the popular manufacturers. Read reviews on the various guns, but try to stay clear of reviews by people or organizations that are being paid to review them. Gun forums like GeorgiaPacking.Org or USACarry.com can be a wealth of information. Go around to some of your local gun stores. Be careful with the information you get from some people behind gun store counters. There are people behind those counters that aren’t all that knowledgeable about guns. They are a minority, I think, but they are out there. Don’t be afraid to pick their brains about their firearm’s experience. You will come up with questions while you’re doing your research. Write them down and take them with you to the gun stores. See what kind of answers you get to the same questions from different people.

To help you narrow your search, I’ve put together a list of the more popular handgun manufacturers and some of the more important specifications for their guns. Some of the specs shown are:

·         Height – This is from the bottom of the grip to the top of the slide or frame. This affects concealability. The taller a gun is, the harder it is to hide under a shirt.
·         Width – Wider handguns are harder to conceal and could also be a grip problem for smaller hands. You should be able to operate all the controls on a handgun with either hand.
·         Weight –This will matter over the course of a day of carrying. It also affects recoil. Weights shown below are unloaded with the magazine.
·         Capacity – This is affected by height and/or width. It’s also a good comparison feature. The more cartridges you have in the magazine, the less reloads you’ll have to make.
DISCLAIMER - I did not include specs for any .380 handguns. I personally think some of these 9mm's are just as small and more powerful than the .380 counterpart. I did not include barrel length in the specs. Though a longer barrel gives you higher velocities and better accuracy, we aren't talking about very noticeable differences in a self-defense environment. I did not include pictures of every single model that I give specs for. The only difference between some models is the caliber. I also did not include any 1911’s in the list. They are a whole separate post in themselves. Some would also argue if they are a good beginner’s pistol.


Beretta - http://www.berettausa.com/
Beretta Nano

Caliber - 9mm
Capacity - 6+1
Weight - 17.7 oz.
Height - 4.17"
Width - 0.9"


Beretta Px4 Storm Sub-Compact

Caliber - 9mm          .40S&W
Capacity - 13+1       10+1
Weight -        26.1 oz.     
Height -           4.5"
Width -            1.4"

Beretta Px4 Storm Compact

Caliber - 9mm          .40S&W
Capacity - 15+1       12+1
Weight -        27.3 oz.     
Height -           5.2"
Width -            1.4"

Beretta Px4 Storm Full Size

Caliber - 9mm          .40S&W     .45ACP
Capacity - 17+1       14+1         9+1
Weight -        27.7 oz.              28.2
Height -           5.8"                  5.9"
Width -                     1.4"

Beretta 92FS

Caliber - 9mm 
Capacity - 15+1
Weight - 33.3 oz.     
Height -  5.4"
Width -   1.5"



Bersa - http://www.bersa.com/

Bersa Thunder Pro

Caliber - 9mm          .40S&W
Capacity - 17+1       13+1
Weight -        30.7 oz.     
Height -           5.5"
Width -            1.45"




Bersa Thunder Ultra-Compact Pro

Caliber - 9mm          .40S&W     .45ACP
Capacity - 13+1       10+1         7+1
Weight -        23.0 oz.              27.0
Height -           4.75"                5.1"
Width -                   1.45"




Glock - http://us.glock.com/
Here is a handy reference chart that shows all the Glock model numbers, sizes, and calibers. I'm just going to touch on a few.

Compacts

             G19           G23          G21

Caliber - 9mm          .40S&W     .45ACP
Capacity - 15+1       13+1         13+1
Weight -        21.6 oz.              26.5 oz.
Height -           4.75"                5.1"
Width -            1.18"                1.28"



Sub-Compacts

            G26            G27          G30

Caliber - 9mm          .40S&W     .45ACP
Capacity - 10+1       9+1          6+1
Weight -       19.75 oz.             20.1 oz.
Height -           4.17"                4.76"
Width -            1.18"                1.1"


Kahr Arms - http://www.kahr.com/
I couldn't lift pictures off the Kahr website, so here is everything in their line up.
              CW9         CM9           CW40            PM40         CW45            PM45

Caliber - 9mm          9mm          .40S&W         .40S&W     .45ACP          .45ACP
Capacity - 7+1         6+1           6+1               5+1          6+1               5+1
Weight - 17.7 oz.      15.9 oz.     18.7 oz.         17.7 oz.    21.7 oz.         19.3 oz.
Height - 4.5"            4.0"           4.62"              4.0"         6.32"             5.79"
Width - 0.90"           0.90"          0.94"             0.94"        1.01"             1.01"

Kel-Tec - http://www.keltecweapons.com/

PF9

Caliber - 9mm
Capacity - 7+1
Weight - 12.7 oz.
Height - 4.3"
Width - 0.88"





P11

Caliber - 9mm
Capacity - 10+1
Weight - 14 oz.
Height - 4.3"
Width - 1.0"


Kimber - http://www.kimberamerica.com/
Kimber was another web site that I couldn't lift a picture off of, so here again is a link to the picture. Kimber is probably best known for their 1911's.
Solo Carry

         Caliber - 9mm
         Capacity - 6+1
         Weight - 17 oz.
         Height - 3.9"
         Width - 1.2"

Ruger - http://www.ruger.com/index.html
Ruger also manufacturers single and double action revolvers, other models of semi-automatic pistols and just recently broke into the 1911 market.

Ruger LCR (Lightweight Compact Revolver)

Caliber - 357 magnum
Capacity - 5
Weight - 17.1 oz.
Weight - 4.5"
Width - 1.875"




Ruger LC9

Caliber - 9mm
Capacity - 7+1
Weight - 17.1 oz.
Height - 4.5"
Width - 0.9"




              SR9        SR40

Caliber -    9mm      .40S&W
Capacity - 17+1       15+1
Weight -  26.5 oz.    27.3 oz
Height -           5.52"
Width -            1.27"





              SR9c       SR40c

Caliber -    9mm      .40S&W
Capacity - 10+1       9+1
Weight -          23.4 oz 
Height -           4.61"
Width -            1.27"


Sig Sauer - http://www.sigsauer.com/
Sig manufacturers other models of semi-automatic pistols including 1911's.
P226
Caliber -    9mm      .40S&W
Capacity - 15+1       12+1
Weight -          34 oz 
Height -           5.5"
Width -            1.5"




P229
Caliber -   9mm       .40S&W
Capacity - 13+1      12+1
Weight -          32 oz.
Height -           5.4"
Width -            1.5" 


Smith & Wesson - http://www.smith-wesson.com/
Smith & Wesson also produces a larger assortment of small, medium and large frame revolvers and 1911's.

              SD9VE      SD40VE

Caliber -   9mm       .40S&W
Capacity - 16+1      14+1
Weight -          22.7 oz.
Width -            1.29" 






            M&P9 Shield      M&P40 Shield

Caliber -   9mm                .40S&W
Capacity - 7+1                 6+1
Weight -              19 oz.
Height -                4.6"
Width -                 0.95" 






               M&P9      M&P40      M&P45

Caliber -    9mm      .40S&W     .45ACP
Capacity - 17+1       15+1         10+1
Weight -    24 oz.     24.3 oz      29.6 oz
Height -     5.5"        5.5"          5.5"
Width -      1.2"        1.2"          1.2"






             M&P9c      M&P40c      M&P45c

Caliber -    9mm      .40S&W     .45ACP
Capacity - 12+1       10+1          8+1
Weight -    21.7 oz.   21.9 oz      26.2 oz
Height -     4.3"        4.3"           4.8"
Width -      1.2"        1.2"           1.2"





Springfield Armory - http://www.springfield-armory.com/

Springfield Armory is another website that you can't copy pictures from, so here is a link to the XDM pictures. Springfield also carries an XD line that are similar to the XDM. They are also a manufacturer of 1911's.
XDM 3.8 Compact

Caliber -     9mm             .40S&W           .45ACP     
Capacity -   13+1             11+1               9+1          
Weight -     28 oz.            28 oz.             25 oz.    
Height -      4.75"             4.75"               4.55"        

XDM 4.5

Caliber -     9mm             .40S&W           .45ACP     
Capacity -   19+1             16+1               13+1          
Weight -     32 oz.            32 oz.             31 oz.    
Height -      5.6"               5.6"                5.75"        

Now you just need to find one that fits and feels good. I wanted to try to explain on here how to tell if a handgun fits your hand or not, but Cornered Cat does a great job of explaining it over at her website. While you’re out groping guns, it's a perfect time to see how well they will conceal, if that’s how you plan to carry. Ask to see the different models in holsters and try some on for size. This will also let you see how readily available holsters are for each particular model and how they fit you.

If you go to a gun store with a range, ask if they have guns to rent. This is a great way to really test a guns accuracy and reliability. This is how I selected my M&P. I actually rented two guns and shot them side by side to compare them. And don’t forget those Internet reviews.

Don’t worry about the caliber just yet. I’ll get into that in my next post. Just go find the right model for you. If it takes visiting less than four gun stores, I’ll be surprised. 

Be safe.

       

No comments:

Post a Comment