I have a favorite carry-gun. We all do. We choose them for a variety of reasons; size, weight, capacity, ergonomics etc. Sometimes we choose them because someone we don’t know, have never met and who knows nothing about us said we should. Pro Tip: that’s absolutely the wrong way to choose a carry-gun!
So what is my favorite carry-gun? This:
It’s the S&W Model 1917 .45 ACP I recently finished customizing, and frankly even though I love it I have to admit that it’s kind of a dumb gun. Big, heavy, low capacity with a relatively slow reload speed. I mean, with moon-clips it’s now slow, but compared to a semi-auto it’s not fast. I also had some Kydex left-over from another project and made a sort of paddle-holster for it.
OK, I shoot this big beast well, am adept at reloading it and the loads I use are unquestionably effective. With my every-day gun-belt I don’t find it uncomfortable. I’m a large fellow, so it even hides moderately well under my standard wardrobe. As a bonus if I run out of ammo and still need to beat a moose to death it’s not the worst tool for the job.
So what’s the problem? I’ve got better guns for the job. They hold more rounds, reload faster, they are easier to conceal and I can put accurate hits on-target noticeably better. The giant snubby is arguably an adequate tool for the job of civilian self-defense, but this is not a game and tools should be selected pragmatically.
My EDC is a CZ P-01 Omega. DA/SA operation, small enough for me to conceal easily in an IWB Kydex holster, yet big enough to offer excellent control. The full CGW trigger set-up enhances speed and accuracy, as does the light-weight slide’s relatively low reciprocating mass. It is also outfitted with slim G10 grips and night-sights. On a good day I can consistently mag-dump at seven yards and keep all of the hits in the black on a standard small pistol target. It’s also big enough to flex into the home-defense role. It’s an excellent pistol, well set-up and perfectly suited to my needs and I love it.
So why isn’t it my favorite? Because I’m a person, and we’re not always rational. We love things we shouldn’t, we like to show off and we’re whimsical at times. Often what feels right isn’t what is actually what is objectively best. So we make compromises and sometimes accept sub-optimal choices. Arguably that’s a very bad idea when it comes to armed self-defense, and I see a lot of people going to great lengths and bending logic to the breaking point to justify their sub-optimal choices. I’m not going to do that, or at least if I catch myself doing that I stop myself. Mostly.
Now I have my main EDC, but I also have several ‘situational-carry’ guns for less permissive environments and conditions or for when engaging in outdoor activities where dangerous wildlife might be involved. So I heave a heavy, put-upon sigh and relegate the S&W M1917 to ‘situational carry.’ What sort of situations? Things like going to the range, special gun-focused occasions etc. I mean, if I am not safe in places full of competent, well-armed people I’m just not going to be safe regardless of what I carry.
The criteria for a carry gun is pretty simple. It must be reliable. You must be able to shoot it well. It must be pleasant enough to fire that you will practice regularly. It must be reliable. It must be of a size and configuration that you can easily conceal in your day-to-day wardrobe. It must be reliable. It ought to be in the most effective caliber that you can easily manage within the other criteria already specified. It must be reliable. Did I mention that it must be reliable?
The specific revolver in question does fit those criteria. But the CZ P-01 is objectively better in every regard, and reason demands it’s selection over the revolver. Honestly it’s a tragedy of limited scope; the CZ is awesome and a lot of fun to shoot, with the added sentimental factor that it was assembled and set up by a dear friend.
Anyway, some food for thought on this first day of 2023. Happy New year!
Stay safe and take care,
Michael Tinker Pearce, 1 January 2023