Call Us Today (713)781-9040

Big Iron: Choosing the right firearm for civilian concealed carry purposes

The classic Marty Robbins ballad “Big Iron” tells of a lawman’s pursuit and conquest of a ruthless murderer using the “big iron on his hip.” Americans have long romanticized large pistols in film and literature. Clint Eastwood’s “Dirty Harry” famously relied upon his “hand cannon,” a long-barreled Smith & Wesson Model .44-Magnum, “the most powerful handgun in the world,” to mete out justice to criminals. The .44-Magnum is impressive. It fires a supersonic round with enough energy to take down a charging elephant.

However, when it comes to civilian concealed-carry purposes, bigger is not necessarily better. The practicality of a pistol with a giant barrel is virtually nil, especially to someone who is not an expert marksman, or in need of downing large wildlife. On the contrary, such a gun would not fit the criteria for an effective selection for civilian use. The primary criteria in selecting your firearm are:

  • Competence
  • Capability
  • Concealability
  • Comfort

The most fundamental consideration is the competence of the person carrying the weapon. Taking and passing a course is by no means the sole determinant. If you are at all lacking in the ability to effectively extract the weapon, place it on target, and regularly hit it with accuracy, rectify this before even contemplating carrying a firearm. Also, learn proper handling, storage, and cleaning techniques. Don’t hesitate to undergo individual sessions with a qualified firearms instructor.

Next is to determine the desired capability of the pistol. This will by and large be dependent upon the shooter’s need and experience. Revolvers are much easier to maintain and keep in reliable working order. On the other hand, semiautomatics offer increased capacity over a six-shot revolver. In some jurisdictions, there are limits to the cartridge capacity, but 15-shot magazines are common. Regardless, many shooting ranges offer test firing of weapons to help in the selection process. It is a good idea to field test several weapons before deciding which one to carry.

Concealability is paramount. It is the mark of competence. An easily detected pistol is alarming to most people and, if spotted by a gun-wielding criminal, creates a target to eliminate. This would generally rule out the big “hog leg” characterized in the beginning of the article. The proper holster lends itself to concealment – and to solid, secure carriage. Further, a suitable holster enables the firearm to be carried in comfort. A gun or holster that is uncomfortable probably rubs or shifts positions, which can lead to a dangerous situation.

A peace officer who is experienced in concealed carry can be a valuable source of advice on weapon and holster combinations. If you need advice on concealed-carry options, contact the ResultQuest team at 713-781-9040. Our law enforcement assets can help you make the right choices.