Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Pairing Pistols For Field and CCW Needs

On my recent road trip the two pistols I chose to keep handy were a pair of Glock 9mm's, large and small. A friend of the blog Chris once described their "his and hers tactical/ carry setup" of subcompact and compact pistols. They chose .40 cal M&P's. The .40 S&W is a fine round (even ball ammo is pretty hot) though it can have issues in some pistols (like they blow up). In any case the point here is not to get into a cartridge or pistol debate but the idea. It could be Glock 9mm's which would be my preference but you could also do XD 45's or whatever.

The advantages of this setup are numerous. Familiarity is one. Common calibers between pistols is another. Most will take the same magazines from larger to smaller (though not visa versa). A guy with a pair of Glock 9mm's say a 19 and a 26 could buy one type of 9mm defensive ammo, and go heavy on Glock 17 mags with a few 26's to keep in the smaller gun for CC. Also (though I am not sure this is the case for all guns) just about every part except the barrel, frame and slide on a Glock 9mm (also .40) is the same. So it even makes streamlining spare parts easier.

For revolver fans I would go with a J framed .38/.357mag and a full sized 4" .357.  I would recommend for concealed carry the smaller revolver should probably be a lightweight type vs a small steel J that might as well be made of lead. A J frame in .357 magnum would be great but .38 special is sufficient. (Speaking of which here is 1k in .38 ammo for $420). Some would note a steel J will probably last longer but these little guns tend not to get much play anyway so for most the issue is negligible. An Airweight J frame like my 642 is an excellent CCW revolver.

For the full sized revolver I would strongly recommend a .357 magnum over a .38. The .38 is a fine round but .357 mag is a real stopper. Also if dangerous animals are a concern with the right load .357 mag is a solid bear killer (though not Grizzly or huge Alaskan bear's which are .44mag and up). The versatility of that setup would range from a great woods gun to concealed carry in town with plenty of plinking fun in the middle. An excellent setup for wheel gunners.

We could quibble makers and models all day long but there are numerous good options. As my finances become a bit more comfortable over the years Smith and Wesson revolvers are becoming the norm. However that's largely because Ruger's haven't been available PP when I was looking. For sheer ruggedness a Ruger SP101, though a brick to carry, and a GP100 are probably the way to go. In any case I would be careful with Taurus's and inclined to avoid other makers.

I'm not saying you absolutely need to have more than one pistol but it is certainly nice. The second gun buys you a lot of options. If the gear and ammo for them is compatible that's certainly a benefit. Worth thinking about beforehand so you do not end up with a Glock 9mm carry pistol and a Sig .40 for tactical stuff with nothing compatible between the two.

On an unrelated note.  The emphasis on large "tactical" type pistols in modern training for civilians sort of bothers me. Folks going to the range and doing classes with a full sized or almost full sized pistol that has a tac light, maybe a red dot and extended magazines. That is cool but most of those folks do not actually carry those guns around. Spending all your training time on a full sized handgun then carrying a .32 in your pocket which has half a box of ammo through it a decade ago is called missing the point. While banging out a bunch of rounds and doing cool guy stuff is satisfying folks need to put a significant portion of their pistol training time and resources into the pistol(s) they actually carry on a regular basis.

Anyway the point I'm getting at is to think a bit and try to choose a set of pistols that compliment each other to suit all of your needs while keeping an eye on simple logistics.



5 comments:

Justin said...

I have a G23 for carry and an XD40(t) for field work. I carry the G23 almost all the time though, so most of my training rounds go through it.

I'd like to have the ability to swap mags, etc., and someday I likely will. For now, changing one or the other isn't feasible.

Unless someone here wants to do a trade, that is...

;-)

Ryan said...

Justin, If you are serious toss the one you want to go cough ditch the XD cough up on the local gun buying/ selling site. Offer to swap it for a G22 in comparable condition, the value is about right. If you offer to toss in an extra mag or something somebody might take you up on it. Worst case sell the XD to buy the G22.

riverrider said...

i like to have two or more of the same model for parts/mag interchange but until recently never thought about standardizing everything. i'd love to go with the glock 19/17/26 setup, but i'm old and stuck on the classics. 1911,m9,browning hp,tokarev, etc. can't bring myself to liquidate to go glock.

Ryan said...

Riverrider, I do like having more than one of a particular gun if possible. The Glock's standardization of most parts lets one have their cake and eat it too.

3rdman said...

My daily carry is a G22 and my off duty is the G23. I even have a spare G22. I also have the exact same night sights on all my Glocks. While I like the 40, I do have some Glocks in 9mm also. You just never know!!!

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