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How to select your first concealed carry handgun

first ccw concealed carry pistol

That first step towards becoming a daily concealed carrier begins with selecting that first concealed carry gun. This can be surprisingly difficult for both first time carriers and veteran CCWs alike. Why? Because it's not just a pistol or revolver – it's an investment in security. That's why we're going to discuss several things that can help you make the best call for your first concealed carry handgun.

CCW Pistol Grip and Heft – Full Size or Sub Compact?

Issue: What feels right in your hand?

Not all hands are shaped the same way. Let's take the classic CZ-75B. It's an all steel alloy frame which makes it a weighty full size concealed carry pistols. For some shooters, the heft of a metal grip is exactly what the doctor ordered. For others, it may be difficult to get a good sight picture if the weight of the pistol is unruly.

Then there's pistols like the Glock 27 – aka the “Baby Glock”. It's a double stack pistol that's perfect for concealed carry. Lightweight, light trigger pull, and able to interchange magazines with its larger brethren – the Glock 17 and Glock 19. Because it's constructed out of a mixture of metal and polymer, it keeps the weight down. Even with a decreased weight, it still may be too wide for smaller hands. That's when we begin to get into a class known as sub-compacts. Take a look at the most important form factors for a concealed carry handgun.

Solution: Before purchasing a carry handgun, get familiar with a whole host of handguns at a range that allows you to rent different models. This is simply the best way to toss aside the conventional wisdom of modern advertising and dig in deep on finding the perfect fit.

Pistol or Revolver?

first ccw gun semi vs. revolver

Not much for pistols? There's something to be said for the sturdy weight and reliability of a revolver. While we all are usually familiar with Ruger and Smith & Wesson revolvers, there's far more than just the classic “Dirty Harry” .44 magnum or a six-shot snub nose .38.

One of the features of this last year's Shot Show in Las Vegas was the Korth 9mm revolver. It takes standard 9mm parabellum rounds which makes it ideal to switch out for your favorite 9mm pistol. Unfortunately, because it's new on the market, it runs a bit heavy – MSRP $1,000.

Taking a step back from the high-end “newest of the new”, there's also the Chiappa Rhino. Available in multiple sizes and featuring an incredibly unique flat cylinder, it was designed from the ground up to be a fantastic compact, reliable concealed carry revolver.

Consider Your Concealed Carry Holsters options

best first ccw concealed carry holster

After finally settling on a pistol or revolver, also understand that not every situation works with every gun. Working out in the gym? Walking on the beach? Each case may require a different weapon.

No matter if you settle on a full-size, sub-compact or even an added micro – remember to consider your concealed carry holster options. For most, an IWB holster ( inside the waistband ) concealed carry handgun holster is the best way to go. Easily tucked into the waistline, make sure you find one that forms with your body and clips on tight to the belt. And it's always good to have a holster with good retention and the ability to adjust the ride height, can't and retention to suit your daily ccw carry comfort needs.

Did you have any considerations when you were getting your first carry pistol?
What are some things you looked for when you first started carrying – and more importantly, how have those views changed with experience?

Tell us about it in the comments section below.

James England

About The Author

James England (@sir_jim_england) is the contributing editor for Alien Gear Holsters. He is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and private defense contracting in Afghanistan.