4 Steps to Carrying a Full-Size Pistol Every Day

4 Steps to Carrying a Full-Size Pistol Everyday
4 Steps to Carrying a Full-Size Pistol Everyday

Student of the Gun

Biloxi, Mississippi — (AmmoLand.com) – April 14, 2015, a man holding his three month old infant son was attacked by a gang of teenagers in the middle of the day at a gas station in Memphis, Tennessee.  The man was beaten and bruised but he managed to shelter his infant with his body.

August 26, 2014, Ralph Weems IV was attacked while trying eat at a restaurant in West Point, Mississippi. The assailants were a gang of black men screaming about “justice for Michael Brown.” Weems was beaten so severely that he was put into a coma and doctors fear he will have permanent brain damage.

You are reading this article because you are either a gun carrier or are considering carrying a gun. What I am going to ask you now is to consider what kind of gun you are carrying or thinking about carrying.

Many years ago my friend Walter Rauch (former Secret Service agent and one of the founders of IDPA) opined that American men like to “talk .45’s, shoot 9mm’s and carry .38s.” With the rampant popularity of the compact .380 pistol during the last decade, I would surmise that the last part of that statement could be modified slightly.

Pen Lights and Pocket Guns 

A few years ago I attended an event put on by a friend at Gunsite training academy called “Pen lights and Pocket Guns.” For three days we used .380 ACP pocket guns and .38 Special snub-nosed five-shot revolvers as well as the small “Backup” light from SureFire. Basic range drills on paper silhouettes were a pretty standard affair; stand, aim, shoot. However, after the day one warm-ups we moved on to the live-fire shoot houses in the day time and then at night.

Pocket Guns
Pocket Guns

On the third day we had to fight “the robot” (a remote controlled armored chassis with a cardboard or plastic target man on top). The shoot house required us to move around, use cover and engage multiple threats at varied distance. Engaging the robot was naturally a greater challenge as it could move and charge you very quickly and it was unpredictable.

After three solid days of training, everyone present had learned many lessons and were left with lasting impressions. “Pocket guns are there to protect your virtue.” stated one instructor. Another said that “A pocket gun is what you carry when you can’t carry a real gun.”

During the lowlight shoot house drills it was readily apparent that the point and shoot method offered by experts becomes a dicey operation, especially when the target at the end of the hallway is holding “your daughter” and trying to get away with her. Regardless of the target, small guns are tough to get good hits with under any type of realistic stress. Reloading a pocket .380 or even a .38 DA revolver under stress is quite the challenge, even for skilled shooters. Many of the participants found themselves with empty guns in hand as the robot kept charging after taking only marginal hits.

The moral of the story is this: a pocket gun is better than no gun at all. However, if you are serious about coming out on top of a violent encounter, a full-sized gun is a more prudent choice.

Full Sized Pistol EDC

Frequently I hear excuses about how it is not practical or possible to carry a “big gun.” Men and women alike give themselves reasons to either not carry or carry something marginal. Again, A GUN is better than NO GUN, but let’s consider the two incidents mentioned above. Both situations involved multiple attackers mercilessly beating their victims.  It was shear luck and good fortune that prevented the infant in story number 1 from life-threatening harm. In story number two the victim will likely live but carry the results of the attack for life.

Put yourself in that position. Two, three, or more thugs decide that they are going to beat you to death. What would you rather have in your hands; a compact .380 that holds six shots or duty-size gun that hold 15 plus rounds? Are you willing to bet your life on the fact that the gang of thugs will be impressed by the .380 and run away? Do you think they will even notice as they are stomping you into the asphalt?

Step 1: Polymer is your friend

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Carry the largest caliber that you can shoot accurately and rapidly. Shot placement is critical, and having more ammo is always an asset. There isn’t a lot of difference in stopping power between 9mm and the larger calibers–all handguns are ballistically deficient compared to a long gun–so accuracy is the key.


I carry a Block.45 n my mousse is a 45acp or 410/.45colt bond derringer


My EDC is a full sized XD .45 with a spare mag and a Kel Tec PF9 as a back up. It’s not all that hard to carry a full sized gun and I promise everyone that i will put a 230 grain HP in the first person to try to harm my loved ones.


Any info. on the 4 barrel semi pistol?


When I read that Ofc. Darren Wilson fired 12 times (out of 13) at Michael Brown, that’s when I stopped carrying a Kel-Tec .380 and bought a S&W 9 mm. (17 rounds). I’ll gladly accept the bulk and the weight.


Kel-Tec for sale?


Did you look up the gun Darren Wilson was issued? It wasn’t a 9mm but a 40 caliber. Michael Brown had so much mary jane in him that it would be causing hallucinations. It was only the headshots that stopped Brown.

Felix Talbot

Good article – and I’m mostly in agreement with your case for larger calibers. Also appreciate the info on holsters / carry. As to calibers I have to say, generally, pistols just don’t hit hard enough to put an immediate stop to an attack – it takes the body just a bit to realize it’s in trouble. For a pistol to actually drop an attacker at once – you need to place your shot(s) perfectly – brain or heart. Hard to do under stress, in the dark, with attacker moving. Doesn’t matter how great a caliber you’re shooting – it… Read more »


My wife and I carry .380 & 9mm.if someone attack us I would not hesitate to defend myself or my wife if our life was in danger


I would hope not my friend


There seems to be an emerging trend for criminals to operate in groups when attacking lone citizens or couples.There should be a new law added to protect citizens from civil suits when they are confronted by more than one criminal and have to shoot “Dindu Nuffins” and “Sum Doods” who are running with these packs of animals but claim they are innocent after washing blood off of their hands.


I wonder where Obama, Holder, Jackson, and Sharpton were in these cases? Wonder where the hate crime charges are? I agree with this article, but the bottom line is you are talking about bullies and bullies are the biggest cowards in the world. Ninety percent will run the instant their intended victim pulls any kind of weapon. The ones left standing after the loud bangs will also run. In 99% of the cases, no matter what caliber, a reload is never needed. Just one bullet for each person and the rest are history.


Even if a reload isn’t necessary it is not fun waiting for the police to arrive without a loaded gun or loaded backup gun. Speaking from personal exp here after dealing with two robbers while walking home from a local gas station mart. Having a backup gun or loaded gun would have been a lot less nerve wracking. Because I didn’t know if the robbers were going to come back or if someone else would have come along. Even the simple five shot NAA mini revolver or two shot derringer as a backup would have made me feel a lot… Read more »


Sorry Chuck, not all bullies are cowards. That’s just what some people like to believe, it falsely make them feel safer.. Bullies just like to hurt people and some are good fighters that don’t mind getting hurt in a fight. Believing most gang members, criminals, drug addicts, bullies will always run at the sight of a gun is flat out wrong. So is believing firing the gun or one bullet per person is sufficent to stop an attack. It is irresponsible to spread this type of BS. It will likely get anyone naive enough to believe it seriously injured or… Read more »


AMEN to those comments. Always better to have extra ammo and an effective round than to have an empty pistol or a “mouse” gun. Nothing like redundency