People ask me all the time, “What gun should I buy for concealed carry?”, and my answer is simple: nobody can answer that question for you. You have to do your own research! We are all different and have different wants and needs in our concealed carry firearm. What works best for me might not work for you, and vice versa.
Once upon a time not all that long ago, I was in the market for my first firearm. I wanted to make sure I made the right choice, especially since my first gun would also be the one I would carry on my person everyday. I know many of you are in the same boat, so I wanted to share a little about how I made that big decision.
Step 1: Determine Your Requirements
The process of choosing the right gun for you can be overwhelming – there are SO MANY OPTIONS. So, my first step was to come up with a list of requirements for my concealed carry firearm. This helped me to focus my research and time only on guns that met my criteria. You can do this same thing for any purchase you are going to make, not just concealed carry firearms!
I wanted to be sure that I could easily conceal this firearm on my person, so something slim and relatively small was essential. I also wanted a reliable caliber that would be able to stop a threat but that would still be manageable for me to control, especially in a smaller model. This lead me to a few initial requirements for my list:
I wanted to be sure that I felt at ease with my firearm, so my next considerations had more to do with me than it did with the gun itself. I must be able to:
- Easily manipulate it
- Enjoy shooting it
- Feel comfortable with it, both physically and mentally
And last but not least, I needed to be sure that my firearm would be:
- Easy to clean
- Easy to maintain
It’s important to remember that your requirements may not be the same as mine, or your significant other’s or your dad’s or your BFF’s or that one person on Instagram that seems like they know what they’re talking about. Take some time to consider your own set of circumstances and preferences and build your own requirements list!
Step 2: Get Your Hands On Firearms That Meet Your Requirements
Once I had my list down, I got my hands on as many guns as I could that met the first 3 items on my list. I rented guns or nicely asked friends if we could hit the range so I could try out their guns. From there, I would evaluate if the gun met the rest of my requirements once I got in a little trigger time.
If something didn’t meet even just one item on my list of requirements, I would not hesitate to cross that firearm off my list completely. Glock 42? Sure, it met a lot of my criteria… but wasn’t of the caliber I wanted, so I didn’t even need to get my hands on one to know that it wasn’t going to be an option. Springfield XD-M? Also met a lot of my requirements, but I did not enjoy shooting it and I had a real hard time with the shape and location of the mag release.
Do anything you can to shoot the guns you are considering before you continue on in the process! You may find that it’s easy to narrow down the options by doing the fun part (shooting) before spending much time on step #3. Most indoor ranges will have a selection of firearms to rent, and I found this to be one of the easiest ways to get through step #2!
Step 3: Do Your Research!
I continued on for months before I finally made a decision. It’s okay to take your time! This was a big decision for me, especially given that MY LIFE may depend on the firearm that I choose. Once I narrowed down the list in Step #2, I did a ton of research on the firearm that I thought might be the best option for me. I made sure I was familiar with the ins and outs of that gun, what will be required in terms of maintenance, what issues are common, etc.
As you’re doing your research, you may find that what you previously thought would be a good option for you just won’t work, and that’s okay! There’s nothing wrong with starting over at Step #1!
Step 4: Make a Decision!
Lots of range time, lots of rentals, lots of generous friends letting me shoot their guns, and lots of research led me to finally purchasing my first gun: a Glock 43. 9mm, subcompact, single-stack, fits well in my hand, I can easily manipulate it and reach all the things I need to reach, it’s certainly reliable, and it’s so easy to take apart to clean and maintain. I’m so glad I took my time getting to this point. To this day, years later, I still love my first firearm and it’s still my perfect concealed carry firearm.
Now that I’ve been carrying for a while, I’m starting to consider adding another concealed carry firearm to my rotation. And guess how I’ll make a decision for another gun? That’s right – I’ll follow the steps above, just as I did before!
Now, it’s your turn! What considerations do you need to make? What items would be on your list of requirements?