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Changing Your Carry Depending on Your Environment

June 4, 2020
Tom Gresham

Change. We're in the middle of it. Millions of people have purchased their first guns over the last few months. Riots, looting, theft, attacks, murders. We see it daily on the news. Smart people know, or have just realized, that the police can't be everywhere, and it highly unlikely they will be close when you are attacked.

You are your own first responder. Are you prepared?

The Springfield Armory XD is a great choice when warm weather turns its head.

Trainers across the country are being flooded with calls asking for private lessons. That's good.

Let me explain something that's not obvious to new gun owners, but which can make a big difference in your ability to have a self-defense handgun with you. It requires change.  Specifically, it means you have to change your handgun as conditions change.

I've been carrying a pistol since about 1976. Big guns and small guns, big calibers and small calibers, double stack and single stack, short barrels and longish barrels, revolvers and autoloaders. Why so many types?

There is no one handgun that works for every situation.

You have many types of footwear so that you can have the right function for each activity. Tennis shoes, dress shoes, casual shoes, hunting boots, rubber boots, slippers, etc.

Once you get into carrying you quickly realize the need for various sizes of handguns.

Let me give examples of what I have carried, using just one gun manufacturer. I have carried Springfield Armory pistols for many years. I recently bought the XDm 4.5-inch barrel model in 10mm. Why? Because sometimes I'm in the woods where bears, mountain lions, and wolves live. I really like the idea of having 15 rounds in the magazine of special (deep-penetrating) 10mm ammo with me. It's a full-size pistol, and it is not light weight when fully loaded. That's okay because I use a good gun belt and a good holster to handle the weight.

But that's not what I would carry in most concealed carry situations. For that, I often have opted for two Springfields. The XDs single stack is a dream. Slim, great trigger, and you can get a 10-round mag. Honestly, it's just hard to go wrong there. I can conceal it when wearing almost anything, especially when I use a tuckable holster. I'll admit, though, that I like the idea of more ammo, so I have more often carried my XDm 3.8 Compact (now discontinued). The logical replacement for that pistol is the even smaller Hellcat in 9mm, and I'd use the 13-round mag as standard. It's incredibly small and easy to carry.

When I'm going to spend several days at a shooting school, I'll opt for a full-size 9mm. Easier to shoot. Ammo is fairly inexpensive. I would go for the XD-M Elite 4.5 and a bag full of magazines.

Now, if you are into style, you might just want to add a sweet 1911 to the mix.  Every serious handgunner needs at least one, and after the first magazine of ammo, you'll fall in love with the trigger. If I could have only one 1911 from the Springfield line, I just might go for the new Ronin Operator in 9mm.

You match the gun to the situation. Where are you carrying? What kind of clothes? Open carry or concealed carry? Just a cover garment or deep concealment? What's your body type? Pocket carry?

Experienced gun folks know we must change guns from time to time. This example was just using one brand. You can mix and match, of course. You might want to have a revolver in the mix. Just don't get locked into the idea that now you have "the" gun you need.

Oh, and put serious time and money (!) into the best training you can afford.  A shiny new gun will never replace the vital skills you get from serious instruction.

Be safe. Be kind. Stay dangerous. ~ Tom

Tom Gresham
Author, outdoorsman, gun rights activist, and firearms enthusiast for more than five decades, Tom Gresham hosts Tom Gresham's Gun Talk, the first nationally-syndicated radio show about guns and the shooting sports, and is also the producer and co-host of the Guns & Gear, GunVenture and First Person Defender television series.


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