FROM THE ED­I­TOR

Concealed Carry Hand Guns - - TABLE OF CONTENTS - Steven Paul Bar­low, Ed­i­tor CC

Iwish I could set­tle on one. I’ve changed my pri­mary carry gun nu­mer­ous times over the last few years. That’s not nec­es­sar­ily a good thing. Fa­mil­iar­ity and rep­e­ti­tion are el­e­ments of be­com­ing pro­fi­cient with a hand­gun.

It wasn’t al­ways so. A lim­ited bud­get and fam­ily pri­or­i­ties en­sured that I had to be ap­pre­cia­tive of what I had. My first hand­gun was a Smith & Wes­son Model 28 re­volver in .357 Mag­num with a 6-inch bar­rel, a grad­u­a­tion gift from my brother. Many years and count­less hand­guns later, it still has the best trig­ger of any hand­gun I own. It con­tin­ues to be a great field gun, but it is rather large for con­cealed carry.

I was given a Char­ter Arms Un­der­cover .38 Spe­cial five-shot re­volver a few years later, and that served as an off-duty and backup gun for a long time. I had no com­plaints about it what­so­ever. Be­tween the two, I thought I had my hand­gun needs ad­e­quately cov­ered. In reality, I prob­a­bly did, but still I craved more.

A long line of hand­guns fol­lowed, both re­volvers and semi-au­tos. Some, granted, were spe­cial­ized: .22s for tar­get games, big bores for hunting and small hand­guns as hide­outs in sum­mer at­tire. But many others were can­di­dates for my con­stant side­kick carry gun. When I started writ­ing re­views of firearms, my dilemma be­came worse.

“I re­ally like this one,” I’d say about the one I was cur­rently test­ing. “I can see car­ry­ing this on a reg­u­lar ba­sis.” The truth is that there is no one best hand­gun. Limit the con­ver­sa­tion to carry guns and still you would be well armed with any one of a mul­ti­tude. Among my cur­rent fa­vorites are my Ruger Amer­i­can Com­pact .45 and Oriskany Arms Com­man­der-sized 1911 .45. Adding back-coun­try travel into the equa­tion, I like the Ruger SR1911 10mm, Glock 20 10mm and S&W 629 Moun­tain Gun in .44 Mag­num.

In my heart, though, I know my trusty Glock 19 9mm would never let me down. And I have to con­fess that, against mod­ern main­stream thought, I’ve even tucked a Ruger Va­quero sin­gle-action .45 Colt into my waist­band on oc­ca­sion.

If I was build­ing my ideal carry gun in my imag­i­na­tion, it would be of suf­fi­cient power for both ur­ban use in de­fense and ru­ral use on game. It would be large enough to shoot eas­ily while still be­ing rea­son­ably con­ceal­able. I’d want some long-range ca­pa­bil­ity; I would have to be able to clang 12-inch steel plates at 100 yards reg­u­larly with it. It would have to be ei­ther stain­less steel or have some cor­ro­sion-re­sis­tant fin­ish be­cause I’m al­ways get­ting rained on.

The gun on my hip right now is the S&W Model 66 .357 that I tested for this is­sue, and it could be ar­gued that it ful­fills all of the re­quire­ments of my ideal carry gun. Maybe it will…at least un­til the next is­sue.

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