The Stylish Man’s Guide to Concealed Carry

Seriously, if this isn’t winning the debate over concealed carry, what is? 

  • An extra layer of canvas and lining in the jacket increases stiffness, which reduces the “print” the gun makes through the outer fabric.
  • Extra length in the back (you can usually get away with up to an extra inch before it starts to look odd) helps keep a paddle holster concealed when you move or raise your arms.
  • Small armholes make the jacket rise less when you move your arms, making them good for paddle holsters. Large armholes, on the other hand, help hide a shoulder holster, and the hem of the jacket lifting doesn’t affect shoulder carry. Pick whichever you need for your holster.
  • Small pockets can be added inside the lining at the bottom front corners. You can slip a fishing weight or large coin into the pocket to help keep the jacket in place as you move, preventing any inadvertent holster-flashing.
  • If you’re planning on pocket-carrying, a small cloth sling or loop can be added inside the pocket to hold your pistol at the proper angle and keep it from sliding around.
  • Select a textured fabric to help break up lines, especially if you carry a bulkier gun. Herringbone, birdseye, and rough tweed all help reduce the visibility of the outline. Stay away from stripes, which emphasize any bulges.
  • A stiffened rod or strap can be sewn into the front edge of the jacket, making it easier to flip out of the way when you do draw but keeping it lightly weighted down at all other times.
  • Extra pockets can be added to any garment for spare ammunition. If you plan on carrying one specific type of magazine, bring an empty along and have the pocket made to fit it.
  • Get a tight-fitted shirt if you use a shoulder holster, to prevent the holster from tugging loose fabric into conspicuous wrinkles across the front of your body.

No mention of what kilt is best for concealed carry, though…

Mini 9mm Roundup

I’ve been a fan of mini 9mm pistols for concealed carry since before they became a market niche all their own. A pocket 9mm is hard to beat for size, power and accuracy and that’s why they make a lot of sense for ordinary people who want to carry a pistol day in and day out, in their ordinary clothes. 

Which is kind of funny, because these guns aren’t really that fun nor easy to shoot. They’re easier to shoot than a pocket .380 to be sure, but because of their size and weight (and Newton’s Three Laws of Motion…) they’re most likely a suboptimal gun for beginners to learn on (and don’t EVEN get me started on the “Here, little lady, why don’t you start out with this .38 snubbie…”). There is definitely a market out there for the mini 9mm and the pocket .38 but (IMO) both are best when used in conjunction with a larger-sized pistol and/or a similar .22LR for practice and training. 

Because of their popularity, the market for compact 9mm’s has become VERY crowded as of late and as part of my series on the Smith and Wesson Shield, I thought it important to show what other comparable pistols to the Shield are available right now. 

Pistol Action Capacity MSRP Avg. MSRP % +/- Avg. MSRP Suggested
AMT/High Standard Backup *** DAO 5+1  $525  $540 -$15 Pocket
Beretta Nano Striker 6+1  $475  $540 -$65 IWB Holster
Bersa BP9 DAO 8+1  $429  $540 -$111 OWB
Diamondback DB9 Striker 6+1  $490  $540 -$50 IWB Holster
Kahr CM9 DAO 6+1  $517  $539 -$23 IWB
Kahr CW9 DAO 7+1  $485  $540 -$55 Pocket Holster
Kahr P9 DAO 7+1  $739  $540 $199 OWB
Kahr PM9 DAO 7+1  $786  $540 $246 IWB
Kel-Tec PF9 DAO 7+1  $333  $540 -$207 OWB
Kel-Tec P-11 DAO 10+1  $333  $540 -$207 IWB
Kimber Solo SA 6+1  $747  $540 $207 IWB
Ruger LC9 DAO 6+1  $443  $540 -$97 OWB
S&W Shield Striker 8+1  $450  $540 -$91 IWB
Sccy CPX-1 DAO 10+1  $319  $540 -$221 Pocket Holster
Sig Sauer P290 DAO 6+1  $758  $540 $218 IWB
Sig Sauer P938 SA 6+1  $809  $540 $269 OWB
Taurus Slim SA/DA 7+1  $483  $540 -$57 OWB
Walther PPS Striker 8+1  $599  $540 $59 IWB Holster
IWB = Inside the Waistband holster. OWB = Outside the Waistband Holster.
Other Comparisons
Glock 19 Striker 15+1  $649  $540 $109  
Glock 26 Striker 10+1 $543  $540 $4  
Kel-Tec P3AT DAO 6+1 $318  $540 -$222  
CZ P07 SA/DA 16+1 $496  $540 -$44  
Pistol Length Height Width Weight (oz) Loaded Wt * Soda  Can Equiv.**
AMT/High Standard Backup *** 5” 4.1” 1” 24 27.97 2.03
Beretta Nano 5.63″ 4.17″ 0.90″ 17.7 20.76 1.52
Bersa BP9 6.5” 4.8” 0.94” 21.5  25.47  1.85
Diamondback DB9 5.6″ 4.0″ 0.80″ 11 14.09  1.02
Kahr CM9 5.42″ 4.0″ 0.90″ 14.0  17.09  1.24
Kahr CW9 5.9″ 4.5″ 0.90″ 15.8  19.33  1.40
Kahr P9 5.8″ 4.5″ 0.90″ 15 oz. 18.53  1.35
Kahr PM9 5.42″ 4.0″ 0.90″ 14 oz. 17.53  1.27
Kel-Tec PF9 5.85″ 4.3″ 0.88″ 12.7  16.23  1.18
Kel-Tec P-11 5.6″ 4.3” 1” 14 oz. 18.85  1.37
Kimber Solo 5.5″ 3.9” 1.2” 17 oz 20.01  1.46
Ruger LC9 5.97″ 4.46″ 0.90″ 17.1  20.19  1.47
S&W Shield 6.1″ 4.6″ 0.95″ 19.0  22.97  1.67
Sccy CPX-2 5.7″ 4″ 1.00″ 15 oz. 19.85  1.44
Sig Sauer P290 5.5″ 3.9″ 1.10″ 20.5  23.59  1.71
Sig Sauer P938 5.9” 3.9” 1.10″ 16 oz. 19.09  1.39
Taurus Slim 6″ 4.53″ 1.08″ 18.5  22.03  1.60
Walther PPS 6.3″ 4.4″ 1.04″ 19.4  23.37  1.70
Other Comparisons
Glock 19 6.85” 5” 1.18” 21 28.05  2.05
Glock 26 6.29” 4.17″ 1.18” 19.7 24.60 1.79
Kel-Tec P3AT 5.2” 3.5” 0.77” 8.3 10.65 0.77
CZ P07 7.3” 5.1 1.5” 27.2  34.70  2.52
* Assuming 0.441 ounces for each 124gr 9mm cartridge and .355 ounces for each .380 100gr cartridge
** A full can of soda weighs about 13.76 ounces      
*** I couldn’t find a review for the AMT Backup in 9mm. If you know of one, leave it in the comments

First Impression? That’s a lot of guns. I’d wager there weren’t that many “wonder nines” out there when IDPA created the SSP division, which makes me wonder if a rule change isn’t in order so as to make the “Defensive” part of IDPA a bit more relevant in today’s world.

Second Impression: The Shield does a good job holding its own against the competition. Yeah, there’s cheaper (Kel-Tec, et al) but for a “name brand” gun, it has all the features you want at a very nice price.

There’s two big surprises on that list. The first is the Glock 26, which we don’t often think as part of the “mini 9mm” group but is right in the middle of the pack when it comes to size, weight and firepower. The second is the Kel-Tec P3AT. I put that on the list to compare a true pocket pistol to the “pocket” 9mm’s, and the Kel-Tec is far smaller, skinner and lighter than the smallest 9mm. It’s also a LOT harder to shoot accurately.

And why weight in soda cans? Because I suck at judging weights, that’s why. In my mind, there’s not heavy, heavy and “lift with the legs, not with the back.” But a can of soda? I know how heavy that is. Imagine carrying around two full cans of soda on one side of your belt all day long (like a Glock 19), and you’ll know why these guns are so popular for concealed carry. 

Update: Hey, if you’re new to the site, feel free to stick around and/or give me a Like on Facebook.

Gun vs. Training

We figured out awhile back that for the same cost as a high-end 1911, you can get yourself a pretty decent starter kit for 3 Gun. 

Let’s eschew competition for a moment and talk about self-defence. What gun/training combinations can you buy for the same price as a top-of-the-line 1911? 

Well, a Glock / M&P / XD, holster, ammo and a MAG40 class with Massad Ayoob, for starters. 

  • Pistol: $550 (Your choice. They’re all in this price range, more or less) 
  • Ammo: $150 500 rounds factory 115gr 9mm
  • Holster: $75 max. PDB has a good review of open carry holsters for less than that, and a good hybrid IWB holster costs a bit more. 
  • Magazine pouch: $50. And that’s for an expensive one. 
  • Magazines: $150. -ish. This will give you 5-6 magazines depending on what gun you buy.
  • Class: $800. MAG40 has been THE standard in civilian self-defence for the last dozen years. Other classes may teach more shooting techniques, but no one is going to give you more and better training for before, during and AFTER a gunfight than Massad Ayoob. 
  • Hotel (est): $900. Six nights/days at a cheap to mid-range hotel. Your mileage may vary. 
  • Meals (est): $300. Six days/nights at $50 a day. 
  • Airfare (est): $500. Again, your mileage may vary. Literally. 

Total cost: $3475, or within spittin’ distance of the total cost of a really nice 1911. 

Gun Culture 2.0, Internet Zero

I pretty much agree 100% with this post about Gun Culture 2.0 over at Human Events Online by Richard Johnson of the excellent BlueSheepDog blog (via Sebastian), including, sadly, this last paragraph. 

Others, however, have not made any moves to change with the times. I fear that some of those companies will not survive. I overheard two executives from a major firearms company discussing the internet culture in the airport after the SHOT Show this year. It was obvious they had no idea how to approach the new crop of gun owners so they were trying to convince themselves that they didn’t matter. I wonder if those two used to sell typewriters or pagers?

I’ve written at length on how gun companies just don’t “get” the internet, so it’s nice to see that thinking bubble up into the larger media, at last. 

The old model for gun culture tended to be: 

  1. Father teaches son(s) to hunt. Maybe the daughter, too, if she’s the tomboy type. 
  2. Sons grow up hunting. 
  3. Personal defense training for civilians was done by cops, if ever.
  4. Wash, rinse, repeat. 

The Gun Culture 1.0 broke down for a number of reasons, including the urbanization of the U.S. and single-parent families becoming the norm, and Gun Culture 2.0 reflects that fact, as well as the fact that in today’s media environment, the deer now have guns. Some companies get that, some don’t. The ones that do will own the future. 

Living with the Smith and Wesson Shield

A few updates on carrying the S+W Shield on a daily basis…

  1. It’s VERY easy to carry. I forget I’m wearing it most of the time.
  2. Because it’s so thin, my “carry pants” don’t fit well.
  3. The Crossbreed MiniTuck is fantastic. It’s comfortable, keeps the gun where it should be and allows for a good grip on the gun during the draw.

LC9 Magazine v. Shield Magazine

The biggest issue I’ve had so far is dealing with spare magazines. The Shield doesn’t use a single stack or a double stack magazine: It’s more a stack-and-a-half, which means that it’s too wide for 1911 magazine pouches but is too small for double stack magazine pouches.

Here it is compared to the single-stack Ruger LC9 magazine. See what I mean?

Because of this, choices for a weak side magazine carrier are limited at best. Would could go nylon, but I prefer Kydex, and things look pretty barren. Comp-Tac makes a bunch (I kinda like this one for everyday carry) and CrossBreed has some as well, but other that, it’s pretty slim pickings out there.

Other than that, I continue to fantastically impressed with this gun. I put another 50 rounds through last weekend, and punched a bunch of holes into a milk jug 30 feet at speed with no troubles at all. most important, for it’s size, the Shield is incredibly FUN to shoot, which is something I can’t say about any of the other smaller pistols I own. The Shield may take a bit more training and practice to master than a compact pistol like my CZ P07, but it’s far and away the easiest-shooting “mini” pistol I’ve ever owned, and a good choice for someone who’s looking to either upsize their pocket .380 or downsize their compact 9mm.

The World Is Your Desktop

As I tend to do a fair amount of Photoshop work on my computers and that sort of thing can get thrown off by bright colours on a desktop image, my backgrounds are either boring grey or something out of Apple’s “Black And White” picture collection. 

Like this. 

And don’t EVEN get me started on monitor calibration. 

Well I’m a-runnin’ down the road tryin’ a loosen my load, gotta world of troubles on my mind

Humina humina humina

Spotted one of those, a Ferrari 360 Challenge Stradale in the opposite lane of traffic last week as I was headed home from work. Supercars such as these just aren’t common in the quiet suburbs of southeast Phoenix, so it’s stunning looks and growling exhaust were just what I needed after a long day at work. I spotted it a ways off, and followed it as it passed in the opposite lane and disappeared in my rear-view mirror. 

And then I noticed the parked motorcycle cop with the speed gun pointed at me, not the Ferrari. 


Now, what does this have to do with firearms and self defense?

I was tired and thinking of other things, and BLAMMO, something came along that grabbed my attention and made my day, so much so that I forgot to pay attention to what else was going on around me. 

The asocial predator knows that all of us do this and will use it to his/her advantage. He needs to get close to you in order to rob/attack you, so he’s going to NOT look like a predator until it’s too late. He’s not going to jump out from behind a car 15 feet away from you with a mask on and threaten you, he’s going to walk up and ask for directions or jumper cables or few bucks of spare change, and then wait for you/us to be distracted, then make his move. 

I managed to avoid getting a ticket last week through sheer dumb luck, and I learned a lesson: No Ferrari, no good-looking woman, no act of kindness is worth your life. Or a ticket.

Gun Culture 1.5

In an attempt to get into hunting, I’ve been attending the meetings of the Arizona Predator Callers, and I’m enjoying it so far. They’re knowledgeable, friendly and most importantly, are willing to accept total noobs like myself into their ranks. They also realize there’s a benefit to be gained from reaching out to Gun Culture 2.0. 

One area of commonality is fighting the push by environmentalist to ban traditional ammo. The leadership of Arizona Predator Callers realizes a ban on lead bullets would suck, and they’re eager to engage with other shooters to help block any attempt to have junk science influence our ammo choices. A ban on lead ammo affects ALL shooters, not just hunters, and I support their efforts to throw this bad idea onto the junk heap of history, and you should, too.

There’s a lot of common ground between Gun Culture 1.0 (hunting) and Gun Culture 2.0 (concealed carry), and both sides will benefit if we work together to further our sports. It just needs to happen more often than it does now.