Since 2013-’14, we have seen a boom on the purchase of single-stack handguns for use in concealed carry. I have walked into many FFLs and witnessed the salesperson or a third-party trying to push a Ruger LCP / LC9(S) or similarly sized handgun off to the customer. I have also met many on shooting ranges and watched what they brought to shoot. Over the last year alone, most of those people stopped regularly shooting those smaller single-stack handguns. In fact, the only single-stack that I’ve seen people retain is the 9x19mm Glock-43, so far. In most of the cases, where one quit utilizing the compact handgun they bought for carry, those handguns were bought based on a “feel good” level and I will explain why.
Women are targeted for certain kinds of handguns when it comes to sales. A compact carry handgun had been, almost exclusively, a revolver of some sort, up until 2012 roughly. As it is still the case today: the research and pre-purchase training / shooting had not been done. The complaints were of either the revolver being single-action only or the football field length of the first-round, double-action pull – if the hammer wasn’t pulled back first. Today, with the compact and single-stack semi-automatics, the complaints are of “too little gun” and a Double-Action Only (DAO) operation (SCCY Firearms and Kahr Arms lines). Again, no pre-purchase trips were made to a viable rental range. Mrs. Smith learned that there wasn’t enough grip length or width, nor was there enough weight, to keep even a .380 ACP from being painfully snappy in the hand and wrist while firing.
The desire for a smooth shooting handgun is not exclusive to any one person, but women tend to get the short-end of the stick when it comes to suggestions about carry firearms. Two women, whom I know personally, preferred the “compact” Glock-19 over the double-stack, “sub-compact” G26 and the single-stack, “slimline” G43 variants. For them, as is the case for myself, the Glock-19 gave them the perfect balance of grip height, width and overall weight to keep the 9mm’s recoil tame despite having different hand sizes. They are just as capable of concealing the mid-sized handgun on their person with a proper holster and attire. And, in fact, they shoot the mid-sized handguns better than the sub-compact lines – brands being irrelevant. The most persistent issue with women carrying the “service”-sized handguns, in my humble opinion, is purse carry. I will explain it as simply as this, ladies.
Your purse is already targeted by thieves. Don’t arm them, as well.
The plateau of the boom was when some purchased stop-gap handguns, specifically the .380 ACP Glock-42, while waiting for the release of the single-stack 9mm Glock that ended up being the G43. I witnessed a lot of people buy themselves into a hole instead of waiting for the inevitable release of said 9mm, which is what they really wanted. And, now? A lot of people have the little .380 with no way to sell them, because everyone else either has or wants the G43. Now, those G42s sit, collecting dust and all with no more than one-hundred rounds through them on average. I understand purchasing a Taurus TCP or Smith & Wesson Shield if your reasoning for a stop-gap is that it’s better to have one than not, but that’s not what the purchase of most of those G42s was about. I will admit, there are options for Glock-42 grip extensions such as the Strike Industries +2-round extensions and they make a similar option for the Glock-43.
Sub-compact, double-stack handguns like the Glock-26 (known as the “Baby Glock”) suffer from a not so dissimilar problem. The short grip-length leaves the magazine base plate to sit shallow in the center of the palm. The problem with the recoil isn’t solely fixed by a pinky extension. You also need to support a proper “Combat Grip” with the palm. The best way to do this, using the Glock-26 as an example, would be buying an X-Grip magazine sleeve for alternate G17 or G19 magazines. The downside being that you must buy the standard or compact sized magazines for the platform. The other issue in this is that you have a Glock-19 sized frame, with the magazine seated, and a shorter slide. That’s a loss of kinetic energy. With the grip length that long, I would just go ahead and buy the G19 for the longer sight radius and additional powder burn for the velocity. Or, one could chop the grip on their G17 frame while retaining the barrel length… And, it is seemingly popular to do. I do recommend professional work done on that note.
The moral of all of this is compact (mid-size) handguns will likely do what you need better than a subcompact, or most single-stacks, for concealed carry. Other aspects come into play, as well. Purchasing top-of-the-line inside-the-waistband holsters and belts will broaden your carry options. Your daily wear will also come into play. I am a fellow of 5’09” stature and I only weigh 125-pounds or so, but I can carry a full-size Glock with nothing more than a t-shirt during the summer. I, personally, need to move on to a new belt, but the G-Code INCOG IWB holster has worked wonders. Furthermore, a young lady, whom I know, learned she could run the exact same setup, with a mid-size Glock, while wearing a dress.
Ultimately, you must invest in the proper equipment to get the job done.
I have found a love for the SIG-Sauer P320 series of handguns due to a number of features on the platform. I will go over the P320 here in the near future. I am really impressed with that platform and definitely want to get more trigger time on one. I will include you all in those adventures soon.
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