7 Awesome Concealed Carry Guns For Older Carriers
Some people find as they age that they need to change concealed carry guns as the pistol they're used to just isn't to their liking anymore. Granted, some people have no issues; it's all really down to you in the end.
Usually, age brings arthritis and a bit more sensitivity to sharp knocks, though no change in resilience. As a result, you'd probably start thinking of switching to something with a bit less recoil, a bit less snap, and a bit easier to shoot with hands that may not be as strong as they used to be.
Granted, you can also just switch to a reduced-recoil load and not have as many issues. With that said, here are 7 great picks for the concealed carrier that may want to switch to something that shoots a little softer.
S&W M&P Shield 9mm
The darn S&W M&P Shield 9mm is nearly the perfect carry gun. Capacity is good for a CCW - 7+1 or 8+1 with the flush or extended magazine - and it's so compact and light that basically anyone can conceal one every day without issue. They're also incredibly easy to shoot and accurate to boot; how it handles belies the compact package.
Some might find standard 9mm ammunition snaps a bit, but a reduced recoil load will take care of that. And that's IF you have to; one of the gun's selling points has always been how easy it shoots in spite of its compact size.
TIE: 9mm Kimber Pro-Carry II & Springfield Range Officer Compact
Actually, these are brilliant. First of all, both the Kimber Pro Carry II series and the Springfield Range Officer Compact series (you can choose the Elite or the standard) are lighter than most Commander frames, both weighing in under 29 ounces. That makes them more reasonable to tote.
Both are offered in 9mm, and while capacity is reduced compared to the standard plastic fantastic, is still good for a carry gun - 8+1 of 9mm. Both have a bit shaved off the grip; the Kimber is cut down to 5.25 inches and the Springfield to 5 inches, as that model is a CCO model.
Why are these good for the older crowd? First, recoil is reduced by virtue of the 9mm round instead of .45 ACP. Second, it's further reduced because a bit of heft (that 29-ounce weight previously mentioned) actually cuts down on recoil.
Also, 9mm requires a lighter recoil spring than that for .45, meaning the slide is easier to rack. 1911 magazines are single-stack, so they are easier to load by hand.
They're a touch on the bigger side, sure. They're a tad heavy. They're also a bit expensive; expect to shell out around $750...but they'll shoot softer and will be easier to operate than other semi-autos. They both make a nice appearance too. See? Told you these were good picks.
S&W M&P Shield 380 EZ
The S&W M&P Shield 380 EZ is actually designed for the elder market in mind. It's got everything the Shield 9mm has, just with a slightly longer barrel (3.7 inches vs 3.1 in the normal model) and it's chambered in .380 rather than 9mm. There are some other additions as well.
The .380 Auto round doesn't require as stiff a recoil spring, so less effort is required to rack the slide. It was also designed with safety in mind, featuring a grip safety lever in addition to the integrated trigger safety. You can get ambidextrous safety levers as well, and this model uses the larger units from the M&P Compact rather than the discrete safety lever of Shield.
However, the Shield 380 EZ is a slim compact rather than a mousegun. As a result, it's a lot more shootable than other .380 pistols and more accurate in the bargain. Some people might "well it's .380" and yada, yada, yada, but the truth is .380 is perfectly adequate with good ammunition and shot placement matters more anyway.
The Ruger SP101 is the only revolver on this list. Other recommendations of concealed carry guns for older shooters usually has a snubby or two on it, but the thing is they aren't necessarily the best choice in some cases.
The weight. That sounds weird, but follow along. Most snubbies these days are lightened for easier carry. That comes at a cost, and namely recoil. In a 4-inch Model 10, .38 Special is gentle and easy, but in a 14-ounce compact snubby has more snap than some people want to put up with.
The Ruger SP101, on the other hand, has not been put on a diet. It's still a compact, but is built stout because Ruger. It can be had in .38 Special or .357 Magnum. While any compact firing the latter will be a right handful, running .38 Special or .38 Special +P will be a lot less troublesome. Also, most SP101 models can be fitted with comfort grips and a high visibility front sight if desired.
While the 26- to 27-ounce weight isn't the lightest, it's far from untenable. What you get for that is a compact revolver that won't torque your wrists like they owe it money.
Sig Sauer P225
Now this is just being ridiculous; one of the Sig service guns? Again, ye of little faith! The Sig Sauer P225 has a lot of the same virtues of the Commander frames mentioned above.
It's small enough to conceal, and the weight of the pistol means recoil is soaked up when shooting. While Sig's high bore axis means a bit of muzzle flip, the steel frame will take the brunt of it. The magazine is single-stack - holding 8+1 of 9mm - meaning you don't need a power hammer to get more than a few rounds loaded in it.
Granted, the P225 is just a Smith and Wesson Model 39 in a tactical vest and just like other Sig pistols such as the Sig P220 or P227 some believe it costs a bit more than it arguably should. However, it's going to be easier to run than a poly pistol for those with recoil-sensitive wrists. That said, it's also built like a tank and with a bit of care, can be passed on to your grandchildren in working order once they come of age.
Out of the small Glocks, the Glock 26 is going to be the best bet. It's small enough to carry easily, chambers 9mm and holds 10+1 in the base configuration.
If grip is a concern, it accepts magazines from the Glock 19, and with a grip sleeve added to a G19 magazine you get 15+1 of capacity. Or you can find extended magazines that take it up to 12+1.
Lighter pistols mean more recoil, but the Baby Glock has enough heft in the slide to soak it up despite still being relatively light at about 21 ounces unloaded.
Like the Shield, the Glock 26 is one of the most popular CCW pistols on the market and for very good reasons. You can also find one in just about any gun store, and for reasonable prices. If you need to make any alterations - extended magazine, more visible sights, what have you - aftermarket support is very ample.
The Springfield XD-E is actually designed with easier operation in mind for a concealed carry gun. Springfield advertises that the slide is 27 percent easier to operate than the rest of the XD line. It also has a number of features that add up to a versatile pistol that's well-suited to use as a carry gun for anyone, including those that have a bit of trouble with stiff slides and recoil.
The XD-E is Springfield Armory's only double-action pistol, as it's a hammer-fired, polymer-frame single-stack compact DA pistol. It carries 8+1 of 9mm with a flush-fit magazine or 9+1 with the extended. Since the frame is polymer, it only weighs 25 ounces. That's a tad more than a striker gun of the same size (such as the XD-S) but it turns out to be a bonus; extra weight soaks up recoil.
The gun as the grip textures and ergonomic features of the XD Mod 2, as well as swappable palm swells for a good fit. The controls, though, are the party piece. The safety lever borrows from FNH's FNX line, as they do it all. You push the lever all the way down and it decocks the hammer. However, you can also push it up and engage a manual safety. This lets you carry in DA mode or - if preferred - put the safety on and carry cocked and locked.
For those with aging hands that still prefer a double-action system, this may be the gun to get. It's even more compact than the Sig Sauer previously mentioned, and also about half the price.