Concealed Carry Selection Criteria and My Surprising Choice

| May 10, 2017 | 4 Comments

Below we are going to look at the four main guns I carry. Yet I do NOT carry them equally. One of them gets carried 90% of the time, while the others are carried far more sporadically. There are a number of factors that go into my decision of which gun to carry. Weight is definitely a major factor, as is magazine capacity (firepower), recoil, ability to make quick accurate follow up shots, reliability, and overall size. Those criteria are about the gun itself, but external factors, like the clothes we wear also help determine, or even dictate, our concealed carry choices.

(NOTE: You may notice when reading my list of selection criteria above, I don?t mention caliber. Personally, I do not put as much emphasis on caliber as others may. First, I think shot placement is more important than caliber. I?m also making the assumption that most people who are reading this article are going to carry a handgun chambered in one of the major service calibers, especially given the incredible range of concealed carry choices out there in these calibers. Today every major manufacturer makes a single-stack 9mm pistol that is not much bigger or heavier than a Beretta Bobcat in 22lr. If you carry a 22lr or a 32acp pistol, you probably do so for a specific reason and realize the limitation of those calibers for defense.)

Let?s face it, the heavier a gun is, the more effort it takes to carry it. In my experience as a non-LEO concealed carrier, my heavy guns just don?t carried very often. For me heavy is anything over 36 ounces. It is just not practical or comfortable for me to carry a heavy gun over extended periods of time?so I don?t. For me then, weight is a huge factor. If it is over 36 ounces, it is not going to get carried.

In my mind, you can never have too many bullets on hand, but you can have too few. I am personally not comfortable carrying a gun with less than a 15 round magazine capacity. If you encounter a situation that involves more than one attacker, you are going to need those rounds. Though sometimes my dress or the weather dictates I carry a smaller gun with a magazine that holds 7 or 8 rounds. While not ideal, it is better than not carrying.

I?m not going to carry a gun that I can?t control or shoot well. I have to be able to control the recoil and be able to make quick follow-up shots with the gun I carry. Simply, I have to be able to shoot the gun well. If I can?t shoot the gun well, which means control the recoil and make quick accurate follow up shots with it, I don’t carry it.

I find that calibers larger than 9mm do not suit me for concealed carry. For me .40 cal and .45acp have noticeably more felt recoil than smaller caliber options. Which means it takes me longer to recover and make accurate follow up shots. So I don?t carry guns chambered in those calibers. Do I shoot them at the range? Sure. But if you pull up my shirt you won?t ever see one on my belt in the 4 o?clock position.

Generally I don?t like small handguns. The sub-compact class of handguns is my least favorite. Guns of this size-class tend to have more muzzle-flip than their compact and full-size brethren; which means it takes longer to make quick and accurate follow up shots.

Smaller guns also tend to be more susceptible to user error such as limp-wristing which can affect reliability. I also just hate to have my pinky of my shooting hang dangling in the air when firing a gun.

Generally for me, the bigger the gun, the better I shoot it. As a result I always try to carry the largest gun I can without violating my WEIGHT rule of keeping the gun below 36 ounces. Unfortunately larger guns are usually more difficult to conceal. However, I have come to find some fairly big guns can be carried IWB with the right type of clothes and be completely undetectable. The right gear and dress can hide a full-sized pistol just as well as a sub-compact pistol.

Using the selection criteria above, there are four guns in my collection that I find myself carrying. There are no doubt many choices out there that could easily replace any of my four. A number of them are sitting in my safe. These are simply the four I find myself carrying most often, because I find they fit the criteria I have laid out above and I shoot them very well.

Before I tell you which one I carry most, I will just show them to you with their weights. After all, weight is a major factor in this carry equation; four to six ounces actually makes a noticeable difference, so every ounce counts.

GLOCK 19 WITH RED DOT (9mm 15+1 Capacity, 31.0 ounces)


FN FIVE SEVEN WITH FACTORY FIXED NIGHT SIGHTS (5.7×28 20+1 Capacity, 27.9 ounces)

S&W SHIELD (9mm 7+1 Capacity, 24 ounces)

CZ P-07 SUPPRESSOR READY (9mm 15+1 Capacity, 36.2 ounces)

(NOTE: For safety purposes all guns were weighed WITHOUT a round in the chamber. But the magazines are fully loaded.)

So we have one full-sized gun here (FN Five seven), two compacts (Glock 19 & CZ P-7), and one sub-compact single-stack (S&W Shield). In terms of weight there is one pretty serious anomaly here. The only full sized gun here, the FN Five seven with a loaded 20 round magazine weighs less than 28 ounces! Not only is the gun light, but a fully loaded 20 round Five-seveN magazine weighs just 7.5 ounces. That is half the weight of a fully loaded Glock 19 magazine. Stocked with 15 rounds of bonded hollowpoints, the Glock 19 magazine weighs over 15 ounces.

The full-sized Five seven is the 2nd lightest gun here behind the diminutive Shield which weighs in at 24 ounces loaded. But the Shield only carries 8 rounds fully loaded with one in the pipe. I don?t use the factory extended 8 round mags because it defeats the purpose of this little gun. With the extension on, it is as tall as the Glock 19. Given my lack of love for little guns, I?m frankly glad the Shield weighs 24 ounces and not less. It is just not pleasant to shoot or train with a lighter gun chambered in 9mm. Recoil and muzzle-flip is harsher, and fast accurate flow-up shots are harder to accomplish.

At 31 ounces, the Glock 19 with a Trijicon RMR attached is the third heaviest, and finally the CZ P-07 Suppressor Ready weighs in at 36.2 ounces. Though the CZ is just over my weight limit of 36 ounces, I shoot this gun so well so fast that it must be on the list. My P-07 may be the most natural pointing pistol I have ever shot. I can put 10 rapidly fired rounds into a 2? group at will with the CZ. I love shooting this gun, especially suppressed. It is hard to not shoot this gun well.

You may notice from the pictures that 3 of my 4 carry guns have threaded barrels on them. Even my little Shield. I love shooting suppressed. Though it is highly unlikely I would ever need to, I like to have the option to suppress my carry guns. When I order my holsters I make sure to select the option to have the front end opened to accommodate the longer barrel. I find it makes no difference if the gun I am carrying has a threaded barrel or not. If I carry my Glock 19 with and without a threaded barrel, I simply don?t feel or notice a difference. My body is never at an angle where the tip of the barrel would push into my butt cheek.

So which gun do I carry most? Drum roll please?I carry the FN Five seveN 90% of the time. Even more surprising, I live in South Florida and I wear shorts and a loose t-shirt every day. Believe it or not, the Five seven completely disappears under a loose shirt. I carry IWB at 4 o?clock and the huge Five SeveN, which basically weighs the same as the little Shield, is simply not detectable. My buddies who know I am carrying and know what I am carrying are always amazed that they can never spot it. Even when I bend down! Normally the bigger the gun and the more ammo it holds, the heavier it is. With the Five seven this logic simply does not apply.

I am indecent shape, tall and athletically built so some days I like to wear a tight t-shirt. On those days I carry the little Shield IWB. Any of the other guns I carry would show for sure in this situation. So I have no choice. If I want to look good, I have to carry a little gun.

There are few situations or modes of dress where I can carry my compacts like my Glock 19 and CZ P-07, but not carry my Five seven. I may have a few shirts where the Five seven just prints a little too much and the Glock or CZ are just right. But those situations are rare, so I don?t often carry the compacts.

Though I must say I LOVE shooting my handguns with an RMR! I simply shoot faster with an RMR. I really like the idea of an RMR on a carry gun, especially for dark situations.

I know there are a lot of 5.7×28 naysayers out there who would scoff (to put it politely) at my primary carry choice. I find those folks simply have not done the research and know little about the caliber. First, the Five seven is one of the most inherently accurate pistols I have ever owned. Some of you may know that 5.7×28 has 40% less recoil than 9mm; which means accurate follow up shots are a breeze and it is easier to get multiple well-placed shots on a target. My Five seven also launches an Elite Ammo 32gr copper projectile at 2400 fps and will penetrate a Level IIIA vest and continue into a block of ballistic gel 19? tumbling and yawing all over the place. I have no doubt it is as effective than any of the other major service calibers out there. Think of 5.7×28 as a small rifle round being fired from your pistol.


Anyone of these four guns would be a great choice for a concealed carry gun. For me personally, I want to carry the biggest gun I can comfortably and effectively conceal with the most amount of firepower. Given the shocking light weight of the full-size Five seven and surprise ease of concealment, it is my primary choice.

Written and Authorized by Jason Bayne of?

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4 Comments on "Concealed Carry Selection Criteria and My Surprising Choice"

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  1. Arthur says:

    In your PS90 reloading review, you seemed to not like the Elite ammo. But now you do.

    I also carry the 5.7 and Elite ammo.

  2. Those reviews were written by two different people.

  3. Thomas Rucker says:

    How do get signed up for your 22lr challenge targets sent via email? I certainly enjoy all your various 22lr rigs. Tom

  4. Love to see you join some of the challenges for sure. I have added your email address to the list.

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