6 Criteria for Choosing the Right Concealed Carry Weapon
Concealed carry requires plenty of forethought when it comes to choosing your firearm. Consider these prime factors before you commit.
- People choose to conceal for different reasons
- Your physical makeup is a key factor in choosing the right gun
- Caliber and magazine capacities vary widely
- Form factor is important when choosing the weapon to concealed carry
Are you considering purchasing a concealed carry firearm? If so, there’s one thing you absolutely must do before taking another step: Familiarize yourself with the concealed carry laws for your area and the wider United States. It’s easier than it sounds, and this vital knowledge will help protect you long after you’ve made your purchase
Once you know the lay of the land, choosing the best weapon for you comes next. There are important things to consider when choosing a concealed carry firearm. This guide will cover the six most important factors, so you can narrow in on the best options.
1. The concealment context
The type of firearm that’s best suited to support your application is driven by two factors: Your primary purpose for carrying and your intended method of concealment. Consider how often, for how long, and in what context your firearm will be concealed and any potential scenarios you may have to use it in. Wearing a concealed firearm day-to-day makes different demands than concealing for professional applications or inconspicuous transportation.
2. Your physical make-up
Firearms and their owners come in all shapes and sizes. People have greater or lesser degrees of strength, hand size, manual dexterity, and body mass due to factors that go beyond mere gender. Age is a dexterity factor, as are certain medical conditions that could impact gun owners at any point in life. Guns can be heavy and even when they’re comparatively lightweight they have mechanisms that may take effort to seamlessly work such as double action, a heavy or long trigger squeeze, or difficult slide action.
Effectively using a concealed carry firearm will often depend on the ability to bring it to bear quickly and accurately. This requires that it be a good fit for your hand. You must also be able to hold and aim it firmly, and your non-dominant hand must be able to activate/deactivate any necessary mechanisms and provide added stability without interfering with the weapon’s function.
Firearms can be customized to fit their owners. Various grip options are available, as are sight enhancers like scopes and laser pointers. These boost visual capability, accuracy, and help cope with varying light conditions. Firearm weight and trigger length can sometimes be adjusted so shooters with less strength can have shorter pulls and a lighter gun.
Some weapons are more customizable than others based on their inherent design and what additions are available on the market.
Customizing is an important concern in two ways: First, it impacts cost, so be sure to build any alterations you plan to make into your budget. Second, a scope will affect the lines of your gun to some degree, which is an important consideration when it comes to withdrawing and replacing it. Make sure you factor in how any accessories will alter your gun’s basic shape and that it will still fit in a concealed holster.
3. Caliber considerations
In some instances, it refers to a gun’s overall length in relation to its interior diameter. Caliber size has its pros and cons depending on your personal preferences with standard sizes ranging from .380 up to a .45 caliber.
Typically, weapons of similar sizes have similar calibers. Smaller calibers like 380 ACP usually come in smaller guns than a 9mm counterpart (the .380 Glock 42 and 9mm Glock 43 being one notable exception where they’re essentially the same size).
Larger calibers are synonymous with stopping power but slower rates of fire, whereas smaller calibers shoot more quickly but may pack less punch. Again, keep your concealment context and possible use scenarios in mind.
4. Magazine capacity
There’s a general rule of three when it comes to mag capacity: Your concealed carry weapon should have one magazine loaded and ready, another as backup, and a third as insurance in case the backup mag fails (which does happen). Range shooters will naturally want a higher mag capacity (10 – 15 rounds), but the more the merrier goes for everybody.
Take into consideration two facts: A firefight may be protracted and require numerous rounds, and your state may already have made this decision for you by dictating how large a concealed carry mag can be.
5. Consider the form factor
In the case of both caliber and magazine considerations, it’s important to remember that the bigger the caliber of ammo you want to fire, the larger the gun will have to be. Bigger guns are harder to conceal, especially if you have a smaller frame. You’re buying a concealed firearm because it has to effectively become a part of your wardrobe.
You wouldn’t wear a painful shoe or tight-fitting shirt all day, and you don’t want to buy a weapon that will be burdensome or uncomfortable to carry around everywhere. Some people will choose to concealed carry by having the gun in a bag, purse, or fanny pack. This doesn’t change the added weight you’re carrying. Make sure your concealed carry gun isn’t a distraction.
Electing to concealed carry is a serious and long-term lifestyle change. You can get a head start by checking out our guide to the five best guns for concealed carry.
6. Test fire your options
Once you’ve narrowed down the firearms (and any customizations) you like, it’s time to trim the list even further through a practical test. Handling the same make and model of weapon you’d like to own by actually firing it at a range can confirm or change your preference.
This is the best way to be sure of how the gun feels in your hand, that you can load/unload it efficiently, and that you can operate mechanisms like slides and slide locks without problems. Finalizing your chosen model means you’re ready to start shopping around for the best prices from a reliable retailer who understands guns inside and out.
Make the right choice with Ammunition Depot
Choosing a concealed-carry gun for the first time is a big decision, and our team is here to help every step of the way. We offer the best in weapons, ammunition, accessories, and ownership insight, so you can securely and confidently exercise your constitutional right of self-defense. Drop by our contact page to get in touch.