Are You Carrying the Right Gun?

By Tom Gresham
Posted in #EDC #Guns
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Are You Carrying the Right Gun?

September 13th, 2020

4 minute read

Change. We’re in the middle of it. Millions of people have purchased their first guns over the last few months. Smart people know, or have just realized, that the police can’t be everywhere, and it’s highly unlikely they’ll be close when you are attacked.

You are your own first responder. Are you prepared?

Choosing a CCW gun is not a simple question with just one answer — your situation and environment may alter your needs.

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. Why so many types?

There is no one handgun that works for every situation.

Finding a good gun that you can shoot well is just one part of the equation.

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.

One-Stop Shopping

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 XD-M 4.5″ 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.

While you might want a tiny 9mm for urban carry, a 10mm like this XD-M might be good for the wild?

But that’s not what I would carry in most concealed carry situations. For that, I often have opted for two Springfields. The XD-S 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 XD-M 3.8 Compact (now discontinued, but there is a new XD-M Elite 3.8” Compact available — learn more here). 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.

A micro 9mm like the Hellcat would be ideal for discreet CCW 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 in 9mm.

The Right Choice

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.

The Ronin 1911 is a great option for someone looking for a high-quality and affordable 1911 pistol for self-defense.

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.

Editor’s Note: This article was written by Tom Gresham and shared with us by The original article can be seen here. Also, be sure to check out The Armory Life Forum, where you can comment about our daily articles, as well as just talk guns and gear. Click the “Go To Forum Thread” link below to jump in!

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Springfield Armory® recommends you seek qualified and competent training from a certified instructor prior to handling any firearm and be sure to read your owner’s manual. These articles and videos are considered to be suggestions and not recommendations from Springfield Armory. The views and opinions expressed on this website are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Springfield Armory.

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Tom Gresham

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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