After my recent post comparing the Glock model 19 9mm and Sig Sauer 2022 9mm for plinking and self-defense, I received emails from readers about other handguns more specifically geared toward concealed carry.
One of them came from a good friend in Midland, TX, who simply wrote: "I own the Glock 19 and the Sig Sauer 2022, but I carry the Springfield XD Subcompact 9mm."
His point was well taken. Therefore, for any of you who are part of the growing number of Americans getting their first concealed carry permit, I thought it wise to look at three very popular concealed carry pistols: the Springfield XD Subcompact 9mm, the Glock model 26 9mm, and the Ruger LCR .357 revolver.
First the Springfield XD Subcompact 9mm.
This is a remarkable gun. When it was introduced into the polymer handgun market some years back, it did what other guns in the genre had failed to do -- it took the best characteristics of many already-popular guns and put them together in one package.
It had a safety-system built into the trigger (like a Glock) with another safety on the back strap of the gun (like a model 1911 .45). Added to these was an easy-to-see "loaded" indicator, so that the user would be reminded he or she had put a round in the chamber.
The gun is very compact, having but a three inch barrel, and therefore very easy to conceal. Yet another design plus for weapon is that even though it's small it still holds 16 rounds of ammunition.
Like my friend in Midland, I've fired one of these guns quite a bit and it is a weapon you can count on every time, no matter what. Moreover, it is easy to shoot and weighted in such a way as to lend itself to an accurate second shot.
For concealed carry this is very important, as a poorly placed first shot or an attacker who's high on drugs may dictate the necessity of firing a second and/or third round to stop the aggression.
On to the Glock model 26 9mm.
Like the Glock 19 of which I wrote a few days ago, the Glock model 26 is as close to handgun perfection as mankind can witness in this world. In the 26, all the best qualities of larger Glock models are brought together to make a concealable 9mm that fit the hand of most shooters well. However, for men who find the grip too small, Glock and Pierce Grip make aftermarket magazine extensions that lengthen the grip and make the gun much easier to hold.
Like the Springfield XD Subcompact, the Glock model 26 will shoot any factory-loaded 9mm ammo you feed it. From full metal jacket target loads to high pressure hollow-point self-defense ammo, the Glock shots it all and begs for more.
As with the Springfield XD Subcompact, recoil with the Glock model 26 is very manageable and second shot accuracy can be obtained by almost any shooter who will take time to practice, practice, practice.
Now the Ruger LCR .357 magnum revolver.
This gun is a departure from the Springfield XD Subcompact and the Glock 26 in that it only holds 5 rounds of ammunition. However, it has benefits which make up for this, not the least of which is that fact that the .357 magnum is a demonstrably superb self-defense round.
The LCR .357 is a whole new kind of revolver inasmuch as it is part polymer -- the same plastic used in the Glock and Springfield -- thus it is very light for a .357. It comes from the factory with an excellent, recoil absorbing grip that makes controlling the gun easy, even for individuals with very large hands.
The other advantage withe LCR .357 is that it also shoots .38 Special ammo, the recoil of which is markedly less than .357 loads.
My advice: if a man is buying this gun for himself, load it with heavy grain .357 rounds for the penetration factor: in a self defense situation these will be man stoppers, period. If this gun is being purchased for a female, load it with plus-P .38 Special hollow-points -- this is will continue to give stopping power but with reduced recoil.
Holsters and accessories for all three of these guns are widely available, as these guns are wildly popular for concealed carry applications.