As I mentioned in my previous post, I have decided that I am definitely going to get my Pennsylvania License to Carry a Firearm, or LCTF (to be referred to from here on out as a carry permit). However, I find myself facing a not-so-insignificant issue with possibly carrying a gun Namely, my gun. Don’t get me wrong, the SIG-Sauer P228 is a fine firearm, and I love mine, and it could make a great carry piece… for someone else.
See, I’m 5’11″ and skinny as a rail, and the P228 is a very wide firearm, particularly in the grip area. If I were to carry it under a shirt or jacket, it would be obvious that I was carrying a gun, which is a big no-no if you’re carrying concealed. OTOH, open carry is legal in PA without a permit, so I really couldn’t get in trouble legally if my pistol were to print, but all the same it’s a hassle I’d rather not deal with. Also, the P228 is a relatively heavy gun, weighing in at just under two pounds unloaded. Add a full 13-round magazine, or 15 rounds if I were to use my Mec-Gars (which I would), and the gun’s loaded weight tips the scale to two pounds or more (depending on bullet weight). Not a problem for most folks, but I’m discovering that I have apparently not escaped the Raptor Clan Family Curse (TM) of lower back problems. The idea of walking around with three pounds (gun, spare mag, holster) on my hip all day is not at all appealing.
Now I know that a good pancake-style holster can help better distribute the gun’s weight, which may help my back, and carrying inside-the-waistband can aid in concealability, but IWB carry requires wearing pants at least 1 inch larger in the waist than what one would normally wear to accommodate the gun, and I don’t feel like spending the time, energy, or money to replace my entire wardrobe. I hate shopping for clothes!
Plus, this also gives me a convenient excuse to buy another gun. *wink-wink*
So what exactly am I looking for? I’ve been thinking about this for a little while, and I’ve come up with a short list of specifications. Specifically, I am looking for a compact (not sub-compact) semi-automatic pistol chambered in either 9mm or .380 ACP, with 9mm being preferable. It is a more powerful cartridge than the .380, and I already have plenty of 9mm ammo on hand, so I won’t have to stock up on another cartridge. The pistol must me no longer or taller than my P228 (7.1″ and 5.4″, respectively) and significantly thinner (1.5″) and lighter (1.8 lbs w/ empty magazine) as well. Actual retail price (not MSRP) should not be higher than $550, though I can be somewhat flexible here.
Ultimately, these requirements are probably going to lead me to a single-stack, polymer-framed pistol, though I may wind up choosing something completely different. I’m not looking at revolvers at all: nothing against them, I’m just much more experienced with pistols. That said, aside from the aforementioned specifications, I really don’t have any strong preferences. I’m starting with a blank slate, as it were. Fortunately, I do have a few ideas already:
- Kahr CW9
- Ruger Lc9
- Ruger LC380
- SIG-Sauer P239
- SIG-Sauer P238
- SIG-Sauer P938
- Springfield Armory XDS-9
- Smith & Wesson M&P Shield
- Walther PPS
If any readers have a suggestion for a pistol not mentioned here, please feel free to mention it in the comments.
As luck would have it, Targetmaster has a very large selection of rental guns, including all of the above-listed pistols (or at least a close approximation), so I will be able to try them all out before I make a decision. And, lucky for y’all, I’ll writing an informal, thoroughly-subjective and completely unscientific review on each gun. Chronicling my quest, so to speak.
I actually tried out the Kahr CW9 this afternoon, so that will be my first review. I’ll have the post up on that by tomorrow evening.
Until then, peace.