Which type of Pistol for CHL?

Lou, after our One on One session last week I once again started looking at gun options. My plan is still to purchase a .38 special full size revolver and a 9MM full size semi auto. The Internet seems to show a strong preference toward Glock for a semi auto. What do you think?

There does not seem to be as much on the Internet for revolvers.  I know Ruger and S&W have good reputations. S&W has a model 686 Plus that has a 7 round capacity but it is a little pricey – retail $849.00.  I am still a little uncomfortable with many semi-autos not having a safety.  Is the barrel length on a revolver that important many come with 2.5 inch barrels like the S&W 686 Plus.

I saw a video on the PPQ M2 that was very positive and I felt comfortable with the one I shot at the range last week.  My concern on the PPQ M2 is that it is relatively new and maybe has not been totally debugged.

I know that you have a lot of experience with guns and wanted to get your input on my comments noted above.

This posting was sent to me via email from a prior student from a One on One class. I felt it might be useful and some interest to others that might have a similar problem. This student is having some difficulty in making up his mind in what to purchase for a handgun. He wants a revolver and a semi-automatic to fulfill these roles for self defense but not necessarily concealed at this time.

The smaller 1 1/2″ and 2″ barrel revolvers are easy to conceal but will be wicked on recoil with defense loads. People who have these have a tendency not to practice much with them. Practice is important before you are going to take a CHL Class in San Antonio and plan to carry

The longer the barrel length & weight the easier the recoil will be to control. This will be true in all handguns, revolver or semi-automatic.

A good compromise would be a revolver or semi-automatic with a 3 1/2″ to 4″ barrel for concealment or range use. Handguns larger than this are a challenge to carry discreetly because of weight and they are bulky. If concealment is not going to be a primary concern, going to a full size handgun is fine. The full size are great in all applications EXCEPT concealment. These are not suitable for most people to conceal. There are better choices for a person with a CHL in San Antonio.

I would NOT recommend having 2 handguns with the different control’s if both of them are fulfilling a concealed carry roll. The muscle memory will be established with the one you use the most, leaving you possibly handicapped if you are going to carry the one you use the least.

The exception might be if I carried a smaller revolver in the summer. Then in the winter I carried a larger compact semi-automatic because my clothes are bulkier and I can hide a bigger handgun more easily. If you devote to practice as the season changes from one operational format to the other you would probably be ok. However, if you carry a revolver 4 days a week and semi-automatic 3 days of the week, that is just asking for trouble. My belief is when you carry a handgun and you have multiple guns that you might carry, try to keep the operational format identical if you can. That way there is no confusion in the use of the controls.

GLOCK  certainly has a fan base, I own 2, one in a .40 and the other in 9MM. I carried one for 4 years and I never had any doubts about the reliability. With that being said, there are many top tier manufacturers that produce very reliable handguns. I would certainly never say that GLOCK makes the best firearm.

If you find you are in need of a CHL Class in San Antonio please look at the available training dates at www.safirearmsinstruction.com and see the training dates on the right side or access the top menu for the calendar.

My opinion is find one that is comfortable in your hands, fits your size requirements for concealment and or the intended use, choose a caliber that will get the job done but keeps the cost of ammunition affordable that will allow for frequent practice, has a good reputation for reliability and durability. Price point is always a consideration but the afore mentioned reliability and durability trump cost. This is your self protection, a one time cost, try not to compromise. Having faith and trust in what you carry is important.

The S&W 686 has been a strong offering for many years, good looks, rugged, great weight for recoil management but in my opinion a little heavy for carry. If you are a big person you might find it is no problem for you. The Walther PPQ M-2 compact, a little smaller than my full size with the same ergonomics has been out for more than a year. I have heard nothing negative about them. I love the way they shoot and the trigger is great right out of the box.

M&P or M&P Pro, GLOCK 19 or 23, Walther PPQ M-2, Springfield Armory XD or XD-M, Ruger SR9 or the SR9c, Sig Sauer, CZ has numerous offerings and is as good as any I have mentioned. I currently own or have shot all the ones I have mentioned.

I find no fault in these, it will come down to what feels good in your hand, do not underestimate the importance of that. You will shoot more if you enjoy what you are shooting with and if the ammunition is affordable to you. This is critical, you will practice more if you enjoy what you have purchased.

If you have not purchased a handgun yet and are considering taking a CHL in San Antonio, go to the next Gun Show, a great place to handle a lot of guns with no obligation to purchase. After that come register for a class I would love to help you.

I hope this helps Lou.