Most Practical Concealed Carry
I'm starting a discussion on this question posted earlier - The numbering is for ease of address.
Originally posted by AWR:
1. What does this group consider to be the most practical concealed carry pistols?
2. I know the first thought to cross your mind will likely be "it depends on the shooter (experience, body frame, and personal preference)". I do not have much experience (less than one year), am tall and thin (6' 1", 160 lb), and am wanting something comfortable enough that I will actually carry every day but that will stop a bad guy should the need ever rise...hopefully never.
3. I currently own a Glock 19 and have a Raven Concealment IWB holster. I have found it to work best at the 3:00 or 4:00 position but on my frame it prints badly, only because I am so thin. The Raven holster is top-notch and is comfortable to wear. To help with concealment, I would like something that I could appendix carry, preferably a little smaller than the G19. I have looked at the S&W Shield (9 & .40 cal, http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product4_750001_75...) and the new Springfield XDs (.45 cal, http://www.xdspistol.com/), which are both small and almost identical in size.
4. Since an appendix carry points the barrel straight down the femoral artery, I am leaning heavily toward the XDs .45 for no other reason than the grip safety. The safety on the S&W Shield is less practical to use since it is stiff and requires two hands to operate...not exactly ideal in most scenarios when the weapon needs to be drawn and used quickly. However, both the Shield and the XDs have gotten favorable reviews and the Shield is quite a bit less expensive.
5. Any thoughts on these? Any other pistols I should be considering? The smaller the better but I'm really not comfortable going smaller than a 9mm. Also, my G19 is 9mm and I would like to have at least one other pistol in another caliber in the event there are ever shortages of ammo.
As to your questions:
1. You already have it, in my opinion. If you can't work a G19, the most sensible alternative is the G26 with magazine extenders. This will maintain all of the previous memory you've built with the 19 (trigger pull, magazine, slide release, takedown, etc) in a smaller package that has very similar benefits (it'll fit your G19 holsters, and it's very reliable.)
2. I am 5'11", 165, and I carry a G19 more often than not. With your build, your carry location is probably your primary problem. 3-4 O'Clock requires a relatively boxy physique to carry discreetly. On thin people, this carry position produces printing easily, and it's more dramatic if you have a narrow waist. Especially with a full or medium sized pistol, you're going to have problems with protrusion of the grip, which is a pretty serious tell.
3/4. The Shield is getting good reviews, and I'm not sure why, but I am just not impressed with the XD series of pistols. This is probably a whole seperate topic, but I mean to address your concerns about Appendix Carry:
Appendix Carry (AIWB) is my preferred method of carry. It keeps my weapon in front of my body, and medial, which allows me to defend it, access it, and keep an eye on it with far less "guesswork" than side carry. I often hear that this is unsafe, but I'll tell you this: there is no one more concerned about holstering or drawing their pistol than me. If you're careless with your draw, or you're used to a SERPA, or similarly designed holster - don't carry AIWB. If you are experienced, and can instinctively draw without pressing the trigger prematurely, AIWB is every bit as safe as any other method of carry.
5. If there are ever shortages, your 9mm will be amongst the last to notice. As a NATO cartridge, there are literally billions of rounds out there. Think beyond the initial buy/theft frenzy, and more towards what will be available post collapse. You can get 9mm in Afganistan or Zimbabwe on the black market. How about .357 SIG? Look to the countries that have already collapse. You might find that it's beneficial to have a few extra calibers, but more likely than not, it'll just be an added logistical headache.