HGR 081 - Choosing Your Concealed Carry Firearm

Hello and welcome to Handgun Radio! I’m your host Ryan Michad from the wilds of Central Maine, and this is your home for all the news, information and discussion in the handgunning world. This week, I’m joined by TJ to discuss some important considerations when going to purchase your first concealed carry firearm!!!

Brought to you by the Firearms Radio Network

Week in Review:

Ryan: TJ will be joining me at NRA Show in April. TJ, what are you interested in seeing at NRA Show?

For me, I’m interested in that reproduction Colt 1903, hopefully a Glock Single Stack, and I’d love to handle the new Korth Sky Marshal.


Main Topic: Purchasing Your Concealed Carry Firearm

Purchasing a new firearm for concealed carry purposes can be a daunting task, especially if you aren’t terribly familiar with all the operating methods, brands, types and calibers out there. As always, I recommend getting the proper training in how to safely carry a firearm and for you to feel comfortable shooting not only just rimfire training handguns, but some of the larger centerfire calibers as well.

Some of what we will discuss, such as caliber, will be a personal opinion type thing, so don’t take it as complete gospel. That said, both TJ and I have spent a lot of time handling different styles and brands of handguns, and have spent time training with concealed carry firearms. We hope to be able to better inform you if you are a first time buyer, or if you are someone who is a seasoned buyer, maybe we can make you think about something you hadn’t thought of before.

Revolver or Semi-Auto?:

-Revolvers are harder/slower to reload. Training for the reload is quite a bit more intensive than the reload for the semi-auto.

-For a long time, revolvers carried more potent rounds in a smaller package than most semi-autos, which were largely chambered for .32 and .380. Today, we have semi-autos that are smaller or as big as many J-frames, hold more rounds and are just as reliable.

-Revolvers don’t malfunction terribly often, but when they do, it is often a catastrophic failure that renders the gun useless or almost useless. (My Model 60 broke it’s bolt and could be fired, but not reloaded.)

-Semi-autos are often more inexpensive compared to most small revolvers like the J-frame.

-Semi-autos tend to be more shootable for the average person when compared to small revolvers.


-Personally, I carry a 9mm Kahr CM9 with one 6+1 round magazine and another spare 6 rounder on my person. I choose the 124 grain Speer Gold-Dot or Winchester SXT +P. I don’t care for lighter weight bullets like the 115 grain. The 124 grain strikes a good balance between bullet weight and good velocity for expansion.

-I find concealed carry handguns in .45 to be too bulky for my tastes, and the .40 S&W is really tough to control for me in a small handgun. For many years I carried a Glock 27 and while small and concealable, it was a handful with defensive ammo.

-I used to carry a S&W Model 60 chambered in .38 Special, and in that I either carried whatever 158 grain SJHP I could find or the great Speer Gold Dot 135 grain Short-Barrel load.

-Smaller guns may be more finicky with the ammo you select. Be careful.


-A lot of people think that they can only carry the micro-compact pistols and snubbie revolvers.

Manual of Arms:

-If choosing a semi-auto for concealed carry, you have to consider all of the different manuals of arms, meaning the differing locations and styles of controls. Some pistols have nothing but passive safeties and some have multiple manual-type safeties, and even styles of those types of safeties. When looking at purchasing a pistol, you should take all of these different styles into consideration, and try them out, if possible.

Sights & Grips:

-Night sights can be incredibly advantageous on a defensive firearm.

-Some factory sights can be made of plastic and can break with aggressive use. Consider this when choosing sights for your defensive gun.

-Grips can make a huge difference in shootability when it comes to defensive gun use. Make sure they fit your hand well and allow proper trigger finger placement.

Other Miscellaneous Things:

-Certain guns/mechanisms may be harder for some people to operate effectively. This may be something to consider.


Until next week, have fun and SAFE SHOOTING!!!