The weather’s changing and so is my carry weapon. Every year I switch from my winter carry, a Glock 17 (a rather large and heavy 9mm) to something lighter and easier to conceal. The Glock is easy enough to conceal under a jacket or coat, but in the summer, shorts and a tee-shirt just don’t lend themselves to conceal a gun that big (and heavy).
For the last couple of years, my summer carry has been a Ruger LCP (with Crimson Trace laser). It slips easily into cargo short pockets (in a DeSantis pocket holster) and doesn’t “print” at all. A concealed handgun is said to “print” when the outline of the gun becomes noticeable – a no-no in most jurisdictions. The little Ruger is also light and small.
I’d prefer the more powerful 9mm Glock to the .380 caliber Ruger, but the Ruger wins for the concealability – and therein – lies the story.
Those of us who chose to carry always have a number of decisions to make when it comes to selecting what to carry and this essay is about my decision to switch to a new pistol.
I’m fortunate to live in a relatively safe neighborhood in a relatively safe city. Plano, Texas is perennially among the Top Ten safest cities in the country.
Now that doesn’t mean that I’ll be impervious to a mugging, robbery, home invasion, or carjacking, but the odds are in my favor. Thus, I don’t feel like I need a 1911, cocked and locked at the ready at all times. I can allow myself to be a little more relaxed; as in Cooper’s Condition Yellow.
I carry a handgun because I know that I’ll be viewed as a “target of opportunity.” I’m a smallish, obviously old guy and no longer able to ward off a younger and larger attacker. Neither can I run away, since breathing problems prevent either much speed or distance on foot.
So, if some bad guy is looking for an “easy mark,” he may view me as such. Unfortunately for him, he won’t find me so willing to give up my hard earned cash or automobile, so he may find himself shot – accurately and often. I do fully intend to defend myself and others in my vicinity.
That is all a preface to my first criteria for choosing a new carry pistol. It must be comfortable to carry while wearing shorts and a tee-shirt and of course, it must not print. That means as small and light as possible while remaining comfortable to shoot and retaining adequate ammo capacity – and it will be a 9mm.
There’s one more important factor involved and it goes back to comfort. I found in the winter that the Glock was troublesome and uncomfortable enough that I didn’t carry it all the time. A quick trip to the grocery store might mean that I’d be defenseless. Whereas, in the summer, the little Ruger was so easy to carry, I’d never leave home without it. A lot of guys will maintain that they’d be naked without their big bore .45, but find that it’s often back in the nightstand instead of on their person. A comfortable gun is one that you’ll carry – a heavy uncomfortable one will very likely be back at home when you need it. This new choice will be with me at all times everywhere I go (within the legal extent of the law).
The search was on.
The Internet is a wonderful thing; you can view videos of gun tests, check out reviews, and read forums. All of that is helpful to narrow down a field that is probably in the 15-20 range of candidates for my purposes.
I especially like the Hickok45 videos. He’s a very knowledgeable gun guy who tests a lot of handguns and gives an unvarnished opinion of his likes and dislikes, but there are a lot of others who also review guns as well. The general “Best Carry Guns” reviews for the most part, don’t impress me; most of them look as if they’re just shilling for some of the manufacturers.
The forums are generally good ‘cause you’re getting first-person stories about why they like or dislike certain guns, you just have to take them with a grain of salt. You can become aware of specific problem areas via the forums, since the owners with troubles are pretty vocal.
This is how I narrowed down my choice. I then called around to various gun ranges to see who might have my first choice available in their rental pool. When I found one, it turned out that they also had the two versions of the pistol available for sale and at a good price.
I went, I shot, and I bought. The gun felt good in my hand, it pointed naturally and I shot it well. I was sold.
I bought a Ruger LC9s. The “s” version is a newer striker-fired remake of the LC9 that’s been around for some time. The LC9 was not a top-rated carry pistol primarily because of the long pull and heavy double-action trigger. The new “s” variety now uses a striker-fired system and the trigger is excellent. The LC9s is fast becoming one of the top choices for 9mm concealed carry.
I shot it once since the test firing and am planning another trip to the range tomorrow. So far, accuracy, feeding, ejection, were all great; no negative issues at all.
A couple of other items of note: as gun nuts know, we always end up with multiple holsters for our guns, not for bragging rights or just to waste money, but because fitting a handgun and holster combination to one’s needs is subjective. It’s got to hold the gun securely, it must protect the trigger, it’s got to be easy to attach, and it must be comfortable to “wear.”
I bought a nice DeSantis IWB (Inside Waist Band) holster first and it seemed to fit my needs pretty well, but was a little bulky. I’d noted that on one of the video reviews of the LC9s, the reviewer said that he just bought a new holster that he just loved, a Kydex IWB from Ted Cori. Long story short – I bought one and THAT has become my carry combination. I love it. It’s thinner than the DeSantis and is more suited for concealment under a tee-shirt and inside-the-waist-band mode.
But wait – there’s more!
The other thing that I’ve found is that I’m switching to appendix carry.
What! Appendix carry? Are you loco? You’ll shoot off your man-parts!
The truth of the matter is that the barrel of the LC9s is actually pointed more at my femoral artery than my “junk,” and that’s even worse when you think about it. But, that’s an overstated worry. The Ted Cori holster completely covers the trigger and the Ruger has a manual safety, in the usual 1911 position in addition to a Glock-like safe action trigger as well. And of course, I know that the finger doesn’t touch the trigger ‘till the sight is on the target.
So, obviously I’m not concerned about the gun going off and doing damage to my “goodies” or my femoral artery. I find it very comfortable and it affords several advantages too. It allows easy access to the gun while seated – including in the car, it places the gun in a position where it is more difficult for someone else to grab it from behind and it is very concealable under a somewhat baggy tee-shirt – all pluses. The Ted Cori holster is easy to slip into my shorts and remains where I position it.
And for those gun people who might be interested, the LC9s is rated for +P so I’m loaded with Speer Gold Dot 124 gr. +P ammo. It’s rated at 1220 fps and 410 muzzle energy – that’s more stopping power than standard FMJ .45 rounds. The Gold Dot is a LE (Law Enforcement) round and is NYPD approved.
Now, I feel appropriately dressed for the entire year, both summer and winter, no need to change anymore.
That’s my story an I’m stickin’ to it.