I’m excited to see students bringing their actual carry guns to our Concealed Carry classes, but is it the best choice? Some of this subcompacts and mini’s are proving more challenging for most.
Know the difference
There is a little confusion about concealing a handgun, some believe because the t-shirt “covers” the firearm and any supporting gear it is concealed. Far from it I’m afraid and it is frustrating to see the concealment failures in our classes. I sometimes wonder if this is how they conceal in the real world or just because it is a training class. Either case I still see it as a failure. Rather than trying to conceal a full size or even some of the compacts out there we are seeing more and more folks brining subcompacts such as the Glock 26 or even the Mini’s such as the Glock 43. Yes, there are other examples of these platforms, but I wanted to give perspective to the audience. I see these platforms as an excellent backup gun, but as a primary carry gun I still believe there are better options for true everyday carry.
Standards don’t change
These smaller framed guns are hard to shoot and if you are a novice with this being your first platform it is asking a lot of the student to meet minimum performance standards. Typically the smaller frames have increased perceived recoil. Whether it is the shorter barrel or less surface area or combination of the two this complicates matters. Add marksmanship requirements such as being able to hit at 25 yards, typically the maximum range and the shorter sight radius along with suboptimal sights make it challenging even to an intermediate student. I’m not saying these are not good carry guns, what I’m saying is a novice or beginner student would be better off first learning marksmanship principles on a full size instead of the mini’s.
Marksmanship principles are not unique to a single platform, they transcend all platforms. Your ability to place a shot on command into a designated target zone is one thing, consistently doing it is another. The full size platforms provide a degree of forgiveness you don’t get with the mini’s. The larger frame, longer sight radius and reduced perceived recoil will give the student some breathing room allowing them to develop the principles of marksmanship. Once these principles are reliable under stress it makes sense to broaden the inventory with similar, yet smaller platforms. My observations in classes are those students who did not have a minimum level of marksmanship proficiency struggled big time with the shooting standards when using a subcompact or mini. These standards transcend the weapon platform or condition such as duty holster or concealed.
I am very excited to see some of the new mini’s hit the market, they offer a great option for concealment. Nothing is free though, you have to work harder with the smaller platforms so consider them advanced and not beginner level platforms. If you are wondering what type of marksmanship standards are reasonable, this drill will give you a great side by side comparison between your full size and mini platform. Starting at the 25 yard, draw and fire 5 rounds slow fire on an 8″ target, then move to the 15 and fire 2 rounds reload and 2 rounds to the same target. Move to the 10 yard line and fire 3 single rounds to a 4″ target. Move to the 7 yard line and fire 2 rounds to an 8″ and 1 round to a 4″ and finish at the 3 yard line by firing 5 rounds strong hand only to an 8″. Total rounds fired is 20 and if you cannot score an 80% or better you might want to reconsider your mini.
Don’t let hardware overshadow, software runs the programming. Marksmanship is still king on the battlefield.