Recently I had a close family member ask me advice about guns and holster types.
It made me realize that some things I take for granted, because I’ve read so much and trained so much, are not immediately obvious to the casual gun owner or new gun owner.
The fact is: most advice that’s in gun magazines or even on the internet (with a few exceptions) is trash.
Many gun articles are written by writers with little actual training experience or even very little concealed carry experience.
Others are written by people that at one time were experts, but haven’t updated their knowledge base in years, or continued to adapt to proven improvements in basic TTP’s.
So let’s talk about the basics today, what I call the 80/20 version (based off Pareto’s principle of the 20% of knowledge that will get you 80% of the results you want) …
The Question: What Gun & Holster Combo For 2015?
So a close family member sent me the following email that sparked this discussion:
“What do you think of the Glock 17? Heard anything bad about it? Do you have holster for small of your back?”
And at first, I was stunned.
I thought that “everyone” knew it would be a great choice for a self-defense handgun.
But, as I said, what I thought was common knowledge apparently isn’t.
Now that’s not to say I’m an expert that knows everything, but I do have a fair bit of experience here having spent quite a bit of time learning from true experts in the field–the best of the best.
The point is that there is a CLEAR trend in the modern combat pistol choices of today’s experts.
The Best Handguns For Self-Defense (An 80/20 Guide)
The short and long of it is that you can’t go wrong with a 9mm Glock or 9mm Smith and Wesson M&P.
If you want a slightly smaller, usually easier to conceal option, then go with a “compact” model of one of the above. The Glock 19 or the M&P Compact 9mm.
(For the record, I carry the Glock 19 Gen 4.)
If you want (or need) an even SMALLER gun for some reason, then you get the most reliable small gun you can in this category which, again, can be found in the Glock 43 9mm or Smith & Wesson M&P Shield.
Both the Glock and the Smith and Wesson M&P line have been proven over decades of use by police, military and competitive shooters. They work.
You will see more people using these at shooting classes, competition shooting events, and in the holsters of American Police than any other guns for a very clear reason. They’re proven. They work. They’re the best choice if you’re just starting out or don’t know what you don’t know yet. Pick the one you like better and that fits your hand best.
9mm ammo is the cheapest of all service calibers and is readily available, pick a self-defense load from this list and then practice with the cheapest stuff available. Done.
The Best Holsters For Concealed Carry
The second part of the family member’s question was asking me if I had a small-of-the-back holster.
Please don’t carry a gun there. Don’t get a shoulder holster. Don’t even think about carrying a “cross draw” holster.
And for the love of God, get a real holster, not a flimsy $10 Wal-Mart nylon holster that won’t stay on your belt and folds and flops around meaning you have to point the gun at yourself and use two hands to re-holster your gun after shooting.
Here is the best advice:
Get an inside-the-waistband, probably kydex, holster and carry it behind the hip on your strong side (most likely around 3-4 o’ clock, figuring out the most comfortable and concealable place on your body behind the hip).
* Appendix carry is also an option, but not until you have a lot of training under your belt and understand the risks involved.
Stay away from cheap brands like Uncle Mike, Fobus, etc.
While many experts I respect hate hybrid holsters, I carried one for the majority of my concealed carry experience (Crossbreed Super Tuck Deluxe) thus far but I do certainly recommend switching to a better made kydex one at the earliest opportunity.
I further recommend an FBI cant for reasons I will explain later, but it makes things better most of the time.
In Summary …
I like simple.
Whenever I start learning about a new topic, I try to put my ego and personal preferences aside and learn from the experts first.
I didn’t pick a gun and carry method and then seek to defend it because I liked it. I chose the one that has been proven to work and then worked from there.
Here are some additional articles that are great reading if you want more info than this short, 80/20 guide I gave you:
– Your First Gun – by Greg Ellifritz
– The 5 Best Handguns for Self-Defense – Caleb (not me) at Gun Nuts
– Gun “Experts” and their Idiotic CCW Choices – Greg Ellifritz
– Features to avoid when buying an IWB Holster – Greg Ellifritz
– Recommended holsters for concealed carry – Caleb (not me) at Gun Nuts
If you’re getting started looking for a good self-defense gun and holster in 2015, then following the simple advice in this article will save you a LOT of time and frustration.