Monthly Archives: November 2023

Primary EDC Pistols I Own

What is a Primary EDC Pistol?

Three compacts and a subcompact, and I am comfortable with any of them for the role of primary EDC

There are a lot of proponents of always carrying the same gun no matter what, and there’s something to be said for that. But I have found that the circumstances of my life do not always permit this; sometimes I need greater discretion, sometimes I need something with more power, for example a sidearm to carry when I am hunting. So for purposes of this discussion the term Primary EDC means my ‘go to’ carry gun, the one I prefer to carry when circumstances allow.

What works for you in this role will be determined in part by your physique, level of experience and skill, where you work and how you get there and a thousand other things. For myself, taking into account that I am a large and let’s not mince words, fat person with extensive experience, large hands and a reasonable level of skill I find that a compact pistol fills the role nicely. By compact I mean something in the general size-range of a Glock 19. Big enough to get a good grip, small enough to conceal most of the time and usually 15+1 capacity. It’s a carry gun capable enough to flex into home defense.

Understand I am not making a recommendation for you; these are simply suitable guns I have on-hand, and two of them I would absolutely not recommend to most other shooters. This is really to provide you with food for thought when considering your own options.

We live in a veritable Golden Age of modern, well made carry pistols. Think about the criteria and features I mention more than the specific guns, then go to a local range with gun rentals and try out a variety of options if that service is available in your area.

All of these guns have been very reliable in extensive firing. All are chambered in 9x19mm and the weights given are with the guns loaded. All are loaded with Underwood Xtreme Defender 90gr. +P ammunition. I always carry with a round chambered.

PSA Dagger Compact

At 27.4 oz. loaded the dagger is the lightest of the bunch.

I did not get this as a carry gun. I needed to review a pistol optic and this is what I could get that was optics-ready. This is the least expensive of these guns by a wide margin and if you shop carefully you can get into these for $300 or less. It is also the least modified, having only the grip texture enhanced.

It’s a clone of the Gen 3 Glock 19 and all parts are interchangeable. I prefer the ergonomics of the Dagger and it has a better factory trigger than the Glocks I have previously owned or handled. That trigger improved further over the first 500 rounds through the gun. It’s been very reliable and shoots quite well. As mentioned I have enhanced the grip texture, but the stock grip texture was pretty good. I did this more to experiment with texturing polymer-frame pistols than because it was needed.

It has an accessory rail on the dust-cover for a weapon-mount light or other accessories. This is a picatinny rail with a single slot, not a Glock rail.

The Dagger with the Cyelee Bear optic mounted. Good gun, good optic but not well-matched to each other.

It’s also light, with a loaded weight of 27.4 ounces. It will fit holsters made for the Glock 19, so options abound. Naturally it takes Glock magazines with a capacity of 15 or more, so there’s never an issue finding reloads.

It shoots like a Glock 19. Which is fine. Neither the best nor worst shooting pistol in this category it is certainly adequate. As mentioned it has better ergonomics and a better trigger than a stock Glock 19 so it actually shoots a little better.

It probably does not have the extreme longevity that might be expected from a Glock, but I expect it will be adequate for my uses. I dismounted the optic because I will be installing a new test optic shortly.

Will I EDC it? If the new optic works and is adequately durable I will carry it as part of the testing regime. But while I find it a perfectly adequate gun my preferences lie elsewhere. If you are on a tight budget though you should definitely consider this. It’s in the same price range as other reliable budget guns and is able to take advantage of the massive Glock aftermarket.

CZ75 P-01 Omega w/Cajun Gun Works Trigger

With it’s alloy frame this is in the middle of the pack in terms of loaded weight.

First off the P-01 has qualified under NATO standards for a service pistol, and that’s a pretty good recommendation to start with. It’s an alloy-frame DA/SA with a 15+1 standard capacity, and will accept longer magazines from the CZ75 series. If you do not have small hands the ergonomics are excellent. It can be configured either with a hammer-drop or a safety that allows wither single or double-action carry options. I’ve configured mine as a hammer drop because I carry autos of this type with the hammer down.

The de-cocker (or safety if you go that route) is the only ambidextrous control. It does have a Picatinny rail with a single slot on the dust-cover.

Some folks find the longer, heavier DA pull gives them a greater sense of security for a carry gun, but you will definitely need to work on transitions if you carry hammer-down for a DA first shot. It’s not hard, you just need to practice.

The stock trigger is decent for a service-type pistol and quite usable. This one has a full Cajun Gun Works set-up on the trigger, which takes it from decent to superb with a lighter, smoother DA pull and a crisp, light SA pull with little overtravel and a very short reset.

Having the slide mounted inside the rails allows for excellent inherent accuracy and the low reciprocating mass of the slide gets you back on target very fast for follow-up shots. I think this is an excellent choice if you have the budget for and the ergonomics work for you. Because of the DA/SA trigger system you will need to train with it more than simple striker-fired pistols so it will require a bit more dedication than many other options. Holsters are readily available.

It’s also a bit heavier than most modern striker-fired polymer pistols and will require a good gun belt and holster for comfortable carry, but if you can accept that the trade-off is superior performance.

This was my primary EDC for a short time and I didn’t change because of any deficiency of this gun. The downside is they aren’t cheap and the CGWs trigger set up ads a good bit more.

Custom Alloy-Frame Sub-compact 1911, the LDD

At 29.4 oz. loaded with 8+1 rounds this is almost as light as the PSA but offers significantly less capacity.

I put this gun together as modernized tribute to the classic Detonics Combat Master. The is a highly modified gun with an alloy frame, a very short grip- shorter than an Officer’s Model- and an 8+1 capacity. It has an accessory rail with three slots and a full-length dust cover, an ambidextrous safety, undercut trigger guard, hand-cut 20 lpi checkering where needed, custom Denim Micarta grips, a ported 3.5″ bull-barrel and a lightened slide.

Dead sexy.

The real star of the show here is the 1911 trigger. there’s enough slack to let you know your finger is on the trigger before it goes bang but that’s it. The trigger has a super-crisp break at 3lbs, and reset is short. The Detonics slide cut at the rear shortens the sight radius, but I have never found this to be an issue out to 25 yards or even beyond.

The lightened slide has a very fast lock-time and the low reciprocating mass gets the sights back on target instantly. The port helps with this, though it isn’t the most efficient configuration possible. The base of the magazine extends just enough to get a three finger grip without compromising concealability.

What you get is a gun able to be fired accurately very, very quickly and an easy to conceal subcompact size. What you also get is a gun you’d better be damned well trained on; proper grip and trigger discipline are absolute requirements and you need to be as well-trained on the manual arms as you should be with other guns.

You also sacrifice capacity. I’m fine with 8+1, but that’s me. It’s possible to cobble up something like this on a 2011 frame but you’d sacrifice a notable degree of concealability for the added capacity.

I’ve been messing with 1911s so long they are practically hard-wired at this point. My experience, skill and focus on speed and precision offsets the disadvantages for me. There are very few people I would recommend a gun like this to.

Honorable Mention- the 1911 Street Racer

This gets an Honorable Mention because it isn’t my Primary EDC, but now that we’re into coat season I find myself carrying it in preference to the LDD despite the weight. Oh yeah, it’s a chunk. At 38.7 ounces loaded with 10+1 rounds its well over half a pound heavier than the PSA dagger and the LDD listed above. I’m a big guy and have a good gun belt and holster so it really doesn’t bother me but it would most people.

that sight is undeniably weird, but if it’s weird and it works- yeah OK, it’s still weird.

This gun started out as a concept; a carry gun that could cross over into competition shooting like Action Shooting International matches. It’s been through several iterations but this seems to be its final form. It has all of the features of the LDD above combined with greater weight and even lower reciprocating mass.

The trade offs are the same as the LDD above, though you do get 2 more rounds. The advantages are that the trigger is even better with an extremely short and very positive reset at about 12-14/1000s of an inch. The lower reciprocating mass combined with the heavy steel frame means that for accurate rapid fire this gun is seriously cheat-mode. It’s almost ridiculous. The experimental sight is very, very fast to pick up and offers the same sort of precision I get from conventional sights out to 25 yards. It fully meets its mandate as a carry-sized competition pistol.

definitely not for everyone.

Also like the LDD there are very few people I would recommend a gun like this too. It requires a higher level of dedication and training and is low capacity compared to most guns in this class. OK, it’s also cool AF, but that’s just icing on the cake.

A Good Choice For Me…

…isn’t automatically a good choice for you. In fact I would generally recommend not following my choice. As a carry gun I don’t recommend 1911-platform guns to anyone unless they are already sold on them for whatever reason. My guns are custom builds specifically tailored to my preferences that offer great dividends to a life-long 1911 shooter, and serious deficiencies for anyone who isn’t. It’s a literal case of ‘do as I say, not as I do.’

Modern striker-fired polymer-frame guns are fine. They will get the job done and the cup of good options is overflowing. The Glock platform and it’s clones have a bigger aftermarket than anything but maybe the 1911. The Sig P365 series has great support and provides a lot of options as well. Springfield has not introduced a compact version of the Echelon yet, but its inevitable and I will be intrigued when it comes on the scene. Budget options from Taurus, Canik and even S&W abound. Make a realistic assessment of your life conditions and needs and start looking from there. Odds are excellent the perfect Primary EDC gun for you is out there.

You’re lucky, I had to make my own. But then I am a Fudd; it is well known.

Stay safe and take care,

Michael Tinker Pearce, 29 October 2023

RANT INCOMING! Can We Get Real Here, People?

My car is comfortable, useful, gets excellent mileage and with routine maintenance will go 150,00-200,000 miles with no issues.  “Yeah, but will it make it through the Paris-Dakar Rally? No? It’s unreliable!”

Sure he’s cute, but can he tear the throat out of an enraged wildebeast? No? What a useless dog!’ This is Albie BTW, and I adore him.

Pretty stupid, huh? The car does everything it’s designed to in exemplary fashion, but it’s unreliable because it won’t do something it was never intended to do.

The handguns I rely on do not experience a meaningful number of malfunctions in the conditions I use them in, and every single one of those issues has been ammo related. I suspect many of them would not make it through a high-round-count training course without issues. How many shits do I give about that? Zero. Because the purpose of these guns isn’t to make it through a marathon training session. It’s to do the job and protect my life if everything goes utterly and completely sideways. I am as certain as anyone can be that they will do that.

I recently had someone comment, “I wouldn’t own one of those because it won’t make it through such-and-such training course.” I asked if they intended to take that course. Well, no actually, they can’t afford that! Guess what Sparky, most of us can’t. So you’re going to diss a gun because it won’t do something you’re never going to do with it? You’re a Muppet.

You May Not Like This…

…but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true. You will never, ever, under any imaginable circumstance, need to fire over a thousand rounds from a handgun in self defense over the course of a weekend or even a week. NEVER. It. Will. Not. Happen. You will never, ever need your handgun to perform to this standard in a real world defensive shooting situation. If some utterly bizarre set of circumstances occurred, which would pretty much require Divine Intervention, you’re going to die long before a quality defensive pistol malfunctions. Life is not a movie and you’re not John Wick.

If your gun functions in reasonable use under reasonable circumstances it’s good enough. If you have the interest and can afford it exceeding that minimum standard is never going to be a bad idea, but you don’t need to.

But You’re Arguing for Mediocrity!

No. I am not. I am arguing for realism. I am saying it’s not reasonable to judge a tool by an unreasonable standard. No car owner needs to race in an off-road rally to insure their car is reliable in day to day use. No gun owner needs to do a high-round-count training course with their defensive handgun to be as sure as they can be that it will save their life. Taking your bog-standard Ford hatchback into the 24 Hours of LeMans is a stunt, not a reasonable test of reliability. Insulting it for not getting the job done is idiotic.

Don’t get me wrong here. There are plenty of out-of-the-box guns that will probably make it through a HRC course fine. That’s fantastic and admirable. Worthy of praise? Absolutely. But is it necessary? For the average user that will never require their gun to do this? Nope.

The absolute best choice for the job in any and every conceivable and absurdly unlikely circumstance? Nope. Useless!

That being said if advising a new defensive pistol user I might steer them towards one of these guns over something else. Not because they need that, but because it speaks well of the gun.

My lightweight J-frame S&W is a fine, reliable gun. I will sometimes toss it in a jacket-pocket for a quick run to the store and be absolutely confident that the gun will not experience a mechanical failure if I need it. But I would definitely not take it to an HRC course. That’s not what it’s for and it likely would not do the job in those circumstances. But there is no world where that makes it a bad gun. Context, people!

You carry that? What if you are attacked by multiple men in body armor with AR15s? You’re a moron!’

If someone came to me tomorrow and said, ‘Pack your bags, you’re going to an HRC course!’ I would cheer, pack my bags and grab my CZ P-01 Omega. Of the guns I own it’s probably the best tool I have for the job of doing an HRC course and I love shooting it. If I go to the shooting range this afternoon I’ll pack my custom sub-compact 1911 9mm because I have every confidence that it will do the job of keeping me alive in any plausible scenario I might encounter. I also shoot it at least as well as the CZ and it’s easier to carry. If I am told, “C’mon, we’re going to go handgun hunting for deer!’ I’d grab my single-action .44 Magnum. Different jobs, different tools.

Now, that sub-compact 1911 might make it through an HRC course, it’s a damn fine gun if I do say so myself. But I am as certain as I can reasonably be that the CZ will and I don’t want gun-bobbles to spoil my good time if I can avoid it.

Are HRC Courses Useless?.

Not at all. With a good instructor teaching a good curriculum you will learn useful things, gain confidence in yourself and what you can do with your handgun. If you take the right equipment and have the right mindset you will also, not insignificantly, have an absolute ball. It is possible that you will gain knowledge that will stand you in good stead in a real-life defensive shooting, but odds are you don’t need the course to do as well as can be expected should the worst happen.

I used to modify cars to be quicker and handle better, but those mods were neither necessary nor particularly useful in day-to-day driving. They didn’t make the car worse for day to day use, but in the real world they were just a bonus. There was pride in having done the mods and the enhanced capability they imparted even though I would never need and almost never use those enhancements.

Similarly I do gunsmithing to enhance the utility and capability of my guns. These make tiny, incremental improvements in the gun’s performance that I may or may not be able to take advantage of. They will almost certainly make no difference in a real-world defensive shooting. I do them because it’s interesting, fun and challenging. The fact that their practical value in real life is probably nil doesn’t enter in to it. It’s fun.

There are parallels to be drawn here.

I’m Getting Pretty Sick of This Shit

‘Yeah, but will your PSA dagger go 40K rounds without breaking like a real Glock?”

Who gives a shit? I’m never going to put 40K rounds through that gun. Maybe, maybe 5K and it’s probably fine for that. The price, better ergonomics, better trigger, factory RMR cut etc. makes the Dagger a better gun for me in the real world than a Glock 19. I can’t afford an HRC course, so whether a gun will make it through that without bobbles is of zero importance to me. If it will that’s a bonus, but that’s more about bragging rights than anything to do with actual use. I just want the gun to do what I need it to do.

People in our community are too often more concerned with bragging rights than anything that matters. They might buy a $4,000 dollar 2011 for the joy of owning something really, genuinely nice and impressive and I am all for it. You go, dude! But when people use the price and quality of their gun, the training courses they take or the money they can spend as a club to beat down ‘lesser’ gun owners and feel superior? Yeah, they can fuck straight off.

In the same vein Caliber Supremacists irk me. It used to be the ‘God’s Caliber’ crowd, but they are increasingly being eclipsed by the 9mm cultists. In a defensive handgun for the average person or law-enforcement officer there’s a lot of very good reasons to argue in favor of 9x19mm. It does the job, it’s often easier to train with, you can carry more rounds, the ammo is usually significantly more affordable so training is cheaper and training is good. It’s a win-win. But guess what Sparky? Other calibers work too, and for many people 9x19mm’s good points are irrelevant. A .45-caliber bullet is not demonstrably less effective than a 9mm bullet, and if ease of training and capacity aren’t factors for an individual it’s not actually stupid for them to choose .45, or .40 S&W. or 10mm. But a certain segment of the community sneers at them every chance they get.

They don’t do this because 9mm is arguably a better choice. they do it because they’ve want to feel superior and put other people down, or they are so invested in ‘being right’ that they don’t care if they actually are. There are a lot of folks out there that feel it is not enough for them to be right, you have to be wrong. That makes them feel better about themselves. If that’s you seek therapy; you’re broken.

For the Record…

…for the last decade or more I have been leaning heavily into 9mm. As with many other people there are good, objective reasons it suits my needs better than other service-calibers. But if a .38, 45 or whatever works for you I am not going to act like you are stupid or crazy, and I am sure as HELL not going to feel superior about it or put you down for your choice. If you spew spurious information in support of your choice or tell others they are stupid for not agreeing with you, well then it’s on. if you paint a target on your dumb ass you can’t be offended if someone takes a shot.

Also for the record if I were offered the opportunity to take an HRC course under circumstances where it wasn’t bone-stupid for me to expend my limited resources to do so I would be there so fast I’d leave skid marks.

Stop Being a Dick.

We’re all in this together, and these days we ‘must hang together or assuredly we will hang separately.’ I see people dividing our community on a daily basis over shit that has nothing to do with guns, keeping our rights intact or anything else that matters. We’ve got more in common in our mutual firearms pursuits than we do divisions. We need to keep that in mind when dealing with each other.

FFS people! Tolerance, acceptance and focusing on our common ground shouldn’t be this hard. Try a little live-and-let-live, a little acceptance of different people, situations and needs. Sometimes we’re wrong. Sometimes other people are wrong. Sometimes nobody is wrong. A lot of the time it just doesn’t matter. Examine your assumptions, suspend your judgement and make sure your opinions are informed by reality instead of myths, misinformation, irrelevancies and your own stupid need to be the one that is’right.’

Oh, and if this rant offends you I probably AM talking about you.

Hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving!

Stay safe and take care.

Michael Tinker Pearce, 24 November 2023