As we see the world changing right before our eyes we are living through some exciting times. With that being said, I have taken an increase in daily concealed carry questions from folks of all different skills. Here is my no holds bar opinion on the subject.
Something is better than nothing
First off, I will say that “a gun, is better than no gun.” However, you have to realize that everything is a trade-off. Remember that handguns are convenient, otherwise we would all be carrying rifles. I feel the 9mm is a great general purpose platform, it is more than lethal when the shooter does their part so when we start looking a concealable options it’s a great start. If you go up to the .40cal or 45ACP you are going to find them more difficult to shoot in the smaller framed guns. That is going to affect your accuracy and with these smaller guns you cannot afford to miss.
If you go down in caliber you run the risk of reliability and substandard terminal performance. The “mouse” guns maybe easier to conceal or carry, but they are far less reliable, more difficult to shoot well and have a hard time penetrating at least 12 inches. Even 9mm in the ultra-compact frames has to work very hard to achieve that minimum penetration standard. Most of these mouse guns aren’t worth the boxes they came in.
Mouse guns myths
A smaller handgun may “fit” your hand better, but the real question is will you have the controllability to continue to effectively hit the target. Practice and training certainly help here, but maintaining your same baseline times will be a challenge. I encourage folks to fire at least 200 rounds of high performance duty ammunition to get a “feel” for the controllability. If you cannot meet the minimum accuracy standards for a pistol, regardless of whether it is a full size or subcompact that’s problem number one. If you can meet it with your full size, but not with the subcompacts that’s problem number two. Most folks will totally forget about their subcompacts and train exclusively with their full size. Sure, that is easy and good for the ego, but if you don’t carry the full size on a daily basis it’s pretty much a false sense of security.
How many targets?
When I look at subcompact pistols I try not to go lower in magazine capacity than 10 rounds. If possible, I want to try and avoid a reload, so 10+1 is a pretty good start or better than a 5 shot revolver. You need to factor in not just the dedicated opponent who requires multiple shots, but multiple threats as well. A lot of times these are concepts that were not factored into the purchase decision.
A while back when attending a regular IDPA event; the rules were simple, you shot what you carried through the gate. That pissed off a lot of people who carried mouse guns, but the point was pretty clear. If you didn’t want to shoot it in the match, why would you carry it to protect your life.