The Great Carry Gun Dilemma – Capacity vs Firepower

By Tom McHale

Both fine guns, the Springfield Armory 1911 TRP has big bullets and modest capacity, while the 9mm Sig Sauer P229 legion has double the capacity.
Both fine guns, the Springfield Armory 1911 TRP has big bullets and modest capacity, while the 9mm Sig Sauer P229 legion has double the capacity.
Tom McHale headshot low-res square
Tom McHale

USA –-(Ammoland.com)- I’m not sure whether I’m decisive or not. Can I get back to you on that later?

When it comes to important decisions like whether I should break off hunks from a giant Hershey bar and dip them in peanut butter during my afternoon writing breaks, I’m pretty sure of my decision process. The answer to that question is always an immediate and resounding yes. Because chocolate and peanut butter. Duh.

When it comes to choosing which gun to carry when I leave the house, things get much harder. The worst part is that there is hardly ever a Hollywood actor around to provide advice and guidance on the matter, so I have to rely on my own limited knowledge.

Here’s the problem. When I can carry a proper full-sized gun, which is almost always given my lifestyle and normal dress code, I frequently get stuck between two of my favorite handguns, a really sweet Springfield Armory 1911 TRP and a really sweet Sig Sauer P229 Legion.

Yes, they’re equally sweet, just in different ways, kind of like a one-pound Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup and a Bugatti Veyron (the RC version).

Springfield Armory 1911 TRP

The Springfield Armory 1911 TRP is a top quality handgun. Yeah, I know, it’s a 1911 – a design that roamed the earth with dinosaurs 65 million years ago, but it doesn’t ever seem to show its age. Modeled after the custom shop FBI 1911 Contract gun, it’s a high-end production model that has many of the same design characteristics, but at a more affordable price point. I’ve geared it up a bit with Crimson Trace 20th Anniversary Master Series Lasergrips and have a slew of nice holsters for it including a Galco King Tuk, Clinger No Print Wonder, and a Galco Miami Classic II Shoulder Holster System (for black tie occasions) just to name a few.

The features and gear are nice, but the real reason this one gun enters the daily carry decision competition is that it shoots like a dream. Yeah, it’s nice that it’s pleasurable to shoot, but what I really mean is that I shoot it with a lot of confidence, meaning if I aim at something, I’m pretty sure I’m going to hit it.

Here’s the thing. It has a magazine capacity of seven rounds. Yeah, I know, I can order eight rounders, but I already have a stack of factory mags that have proven to be monotonously reliable, so I’m not going to go through all the trouble and expense to validate new magazines just to get one more cartridge in there. I’ve got a nifty and quite comfortable dual magazine carrier from Blue Force Gear that does a great job of toting two extra magazines on the belt, so that brings my total maximum ammo capacity to 22 rounds including the one in the chamber. That’s if I don’t carry a spare mag in my pocket protector.

Sig Sauer P229 Legion

Also screaming for attention in the carry gun drawer is a Sig Sauer P229 Legion chambered in 9mm. This is another really sweet pistol. It’s a 9mm, but also has a completely different action, using the classic double-action / single-action. While lots of folks hate DA/SA guns because of the transition of trigger feel after the first shot, I like them and have grown to love that revolver-like trigger on the first shot from a draw. I’ve never had any trouble managing the trigger, but admittedly that’s a personal preference thing, and I can certainly understand why some people don’t go for the whole DA/SA deal.

Anyway, this gun shoots like a dream too, and with noticeably less recoil than the TRP, so it helps keep that pesky temporary PTSD to a manageable minimum. With its Grayguns trigger and X-Ray fiber optic / Tritium sights, it’s really, really easy to shoot fast and accurately. I’ve got this one geared up fairly well too with Crimson Trace Lasergrips and a variety of good holsters including another Galco King Tuk, an N82 Tactical, another Galco Miami Classic II Shoulder Holster System for different black tie events, and a new No Print Wonder from Clinger Holsters. Try that last one; you’ll love it. Oh, and it has 15 rounds in each of the three included mags, so when I fill up that same Blue Force Gear mag carrier, I’ve got a total of 46 rounds of 9mm. The grand total is over double that of the 1911 setup.

So there’s the dilemma : Capacity vs Firepower.

The TRP has limited capacity, but since it’s a .45, each of those rounds can wipe out a city block, or at a minimum, Justin Bieber’s Lamborghini. On the other hand, the Legion packs about double the round count, but they’re tiny little 9mm cartridges, hardly adequate for insect control if you listen to the internet commandos.

In all probability, it won’t matter a hill of beans which gun I carry. Yes, we live in a dangerous world, but the odds are pretty darn good that I won’t have to draw either of these guns in a self-defense situation. If it’s a “standard” (for lack of a better word) crime situation, the odds are that the lower capacity 1911 would be adequate. In the very unlikely scenario that I happen to get caught up in one of these terrorist attacks that the news media can’t seem to call terrorist attacks, every extra round will be very welcome indeed.

And keep in mind we’re still waiting on that first gunfight survivor to lament the fact that they had too much ammunition available.

There's always the option of choosing both big caliber AND capacity with something like this FN FNX 45 Tactical with Trijicon RMR optic...
There's always the option of choosing both big caliber AND capacity with something like this FN FNX 45 Tactical with Trijicon RMR optic…

I guess there’s always the option of carrying both big caliber and capacity. That would be the FNX 45 Tactical, outfitted with a Trijicon RMR red dot sight. It packs 15+1 rounds of .45 ACP and surprisingly, it’s not all that bad to carry. I’ve been using with it an Alien Gear Cloak Tuck inside the waistband holster, and while it’s not as svelte as a Smith & Wesson Shield, it’s perfectly carryable. Yeah, it’s a little bigger and a little heavier, but if you carry a standard full-size gun like a Glock 17/22 or a Smith& Wesson M&P, then it’s not as different as you might expect.

So there’s the problem, and I have no Hollywood elites hanging around to give me advice on the topic. What say you?

About

Tom McHale is the author of the Insanely Practical Guides book series that guides new and experienced shooters alike in a fun, approachable, and practical way. His books are available in print and eBook format on Amazon. You can also find him on Google+, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

64 thoughts on “The Great Carry Gun Dilemma – Capacity vs Firepower

  1. I have been a combat soldier, a police officer, a prosecutor and a person who is committed to carrying a firearm every day. I have survived two LE shootings , and have spent years teaching new police officers and CCW applicants. The short answer is I don’t care what caliber you carry, find a firearm that is reliable and fits your life style (i.e. One that you will actually carry EVERYDAY) and spend your extra money on training. I don’t mean buy a hundred rounds and go out to the desert and shoot at tin cans. I mean locate a reputable school/individual and give him/her your hard earned money and spend 4 days / 8-10 hours a day perfecting the fundamentals. That single experience will let you know if your initial choice of an EDC was wise . . . Or perhaps in need of reconsideration. And remember, the gun and the ammo are simply tools you choose for the job at hand. I have carried revolvers, 1911s, Sigs, FN, Colt, S&W . . . Whatever I needed to get the job done. Go ask Massad Ayoob what his EDC is . . . .I think you’ll be surprised to find out that it changes with the particular job at hand. Good Luck.

  2. I’ve shot plenty of rounds downrange in my day, many in pistol competitions around the country and a few as a big city LEO so I (obviously) have an opinion of this subject, and my go-to carry gun for leaving the house is a 2-inch 5-shot .38 revolver loaded with +P ammo. My gun is dependable (no stovepipes or failure to feed), it’s easily concealed and it delivers enough energy to make my point. Sure, five shots may not be enough in a military firefight, but I don’y usually go to places where I will need to maintain sustained fire. We all have our opinion on this issue, this is mine.

  3. No shortage of responses I see. So I’ll keep mins short. I have always aid and stand behind “Capacity trumps caliber”. There, I’ve said it so it must be true. Good luck with your daily decision.

  4. Humorous article! Even more humorous are the myriad of complementary and opposing viewpoints on this wonderful thread. While the opinions expressed are interesting and worthy of consideration, they are still just opinions. I’d like to change tack, and focus on the definition of Firepower in the context of individual small-arms combatives. Firepower is comprised of a number of factors or variables, namely Accuracy, Lethality, Volume, Sustainment and Control. A .50 Barrett is extremely accurate and lethal, but the volume of fire and the basic load required to sustain it in a prolonged engagement may be problematic. “Control” is not about being able to hit your target (that’s Accuracy); Control is about the weapon being used for the purpose for which it was intended. The .50 cal is best used for taking out soft skin vehicles full of bad guys, not necessarily for vaporizing a single enemy combatant. Now, that’s an extreme example because I usually don’t pack a rifle as my EDC weapon, but you get the idea. So, back to the topic at hand, what we are all parsing about is should we carry a gun that is arguably more lethal (.45) as opposed to the 9mm/.380 that could possibly give us more volume and sustainment. Still, other intelligent posters have placed more emphasis on Accuracy versus Lethality or Sustainment. So, what’s the answer? You’re all correct! Each individual is placing more value on one or more factors of Firepower based on his/her experience and threat analysis. In the end, we all choose an EDC based on what we perceive as being the best solution to the worst situation we may find ourselves in. My personal attitude toward my EDC is simple: its sole purpose is to allow me to fight my way to my rifle, the weapon that has an ideal combination of all the factors of Firepower. Namaste.

  5. I find that the smaller lighter caliber pistols are carried more so than the larger. I carry a .380 and many friends of mine carry the same. A well placed .380 round WILL STOP any threat. The size of your gun does not directly relate to how big a man you are. Accuracy impresses me much more.

    1. ‘ll go for capacity on the theory that in a close quarters self-defense situation you are not going to be able to reload no matter how fast you are on the range so it’s what’s in the mag that counts, not what’s on your belt.

      1. this, I think, is a non-issue. CQB is dynamic. You and your attacker aren’t going to stand there shooting at each other from three feet away. If an attack starts at in your face range, or an attacker manages to close with you, you have two choices. You can retreat to available cover rapidly and preferably at an angle that makes it difficult to get an accurate shot off at you, while drawing and returning fire. Otherwise, you’ll have to close and grapple, binding his weapon while striking with your own. In the latter case, I probably won’t be reaching for my handgun; this is a situation where the sharp and pointy things come into their own. Multiple assailants will vastly increase your chances of having a really bad day, which is why situational awareness is so important. Much better to see the threat while you have some distance and some opportunity to avoid it.

    2. I’m a small man, and used .44 mag and .45acp for years. Only after having a stroke, two heart attacks, and a few other challenges, did I make the permanent switch to 9mm… The P226 TACOPS is as large as a full sized 1911. However, my strength isn’t what it once was, and recoil does, indeed, adversely affect me nowadays… Yes, a .380/9mm Kurz can, and does, stop adversaries, when bullet placement is key… I’d never underestimate anyone’s handgun, regardless of size… In the Olde West, there was a saying, “Beware the man with one gun- he knows how to use it…”

      As for my TACOPS being loaded with 21rds, and carrying 80rds more, in four mags in belt pouches, I believe it’s better to have, and not need, than to need, and not have…

  6. Correction to my above OldARcher post. My word processing program did err… I intended to say, “One must never forget, that regardless of caliber, a hit trumps a miss- like a hit by .22LR vs. a miss by a .50 BMG.” I frequently have this problem when using my iPad… Somehow, it uses what it thinks “IT” should say… My apologies to all and sundry…

    OldARcher

  7. I’m 67, a small man, with multiple health challenges. I’ve gone from .44 mag down to 9mm, in carry guns. They’re all fun, when you’re young and healthy. Now, I go with what I can handle, and do it well… I’ve always believed that accuracy is “king.” To that end, all of my guns over the last half century were tack drivers. Life is too precious to pay good money for something that may not be up to the task of self defense- for self and/or others. If you’re smart, you get what you pay for- with no regrets.

    Time, tide, and technology wait for no one… The contest of .45acp vs. 9mm (or any other calibers), is almost meaningless now… Bullets that double in diameter, without shedding mass and weight, dumping all of their energy into their intended target, penetrating Class II to IIIa armor, as pistol rounds, obviate the contention that, no matter what, .45acp is still “king.” Hogwash. One must never forget, that regardless of caliber, a hit trumps a miss- like a hit by .22LR vs. a hit by a .50 BMG.

    I only have several handguns now, but my EDC is a Sig Sauer 9mm TACOPS, that came with four 20rd mags. Since the mags from Sig cannot have their mag springs replaced, I go with Mec-Gar 20rd magzines. Four mags on my belt, and one in the weapon itself, plus one in the chamber. 101rds, all up. All, Liberty Civil Defense 50gr, 2000fps, able to defeat Class IIIa armor at close range… Explosive, definitive, and devastating. Low perceived recoil, fast follow-up shots, and no loss of sight picture.

    Can the above be said of any full sized M1911A1 or clone thereof? With the commensurate firepower? My 101rds weigh less than your 101 rounds… And I can get my rounds, at the short distances I am likely to be at, on target, far faster than most… I never look for trouble, but if it finds me, I won’t be lamenting the fact that I no longer carry the 1911…

    For years, I was a member of the Cult of the 1911… Then I went to the .45acp Glocks… And now, towards the last active phase of my life, the 9mm… Technology, when it works, is great. The latest generation of defensive pistol ammunition is nothing less than amazing. It is not a replacement for the rifle or shotgun however… I believe it was Mr. Clint Smith, of Thunder Ranch fame, that said something to the effect, “The pistol is what you use, to get to the rifle or shotgun you shouldn’t have put down…” I apologize if that’s not a correct quote- my memory is not what it once was… Mr. Smith, God Bless him, is correct… I’ve read that some trainers say that handguns are less than optimal, when choosing defensive weapons… Well, it’s like wars… We fight with what we have, not what we want. Trouble will find you, prepared or not, with the latest whiz-bang toy or gear that you have… If you’re not trained, and practice with what you have, you’re SOL.

    Precision, practice, perseverance. All three are vital… For me, I’ll stick with my TACOPS, and at a minimum, 101rds EDC, every, single, day…

  8. For some years I carried a .45 Para-Ord P-13 (13+1) and 2 spare mags, but when I reached 68-9 years old, my arthritic thumbs made it hard to field strip and clean. So for the last couple of years I’ve been carrying a .45 XD(m) with the 5.25 inch bbl and 2 spare mags (also a 13+1 set up). I live in south TX, where it’s almost always hot (except for our 4 days of winter in January!) and found that both pistols conceal well enough under a large size (I’m a medium) T-shirt, or even better yet, a Hawaiian shirt. I suppose they ARE heavy, but with a little practice, you get used to the weight and don’t notice it anymore. I carry 24/7 everywhere (OK, not in the shower, and it goes in a bedside holster at night).

  9. My EDC is a Glock 27, either ankle holster and 2 extra mags ( on the other leg ) or OWB. It just depends on the venue. Yeah it’s a peppy round and I have everything between a .22 and .45, but over the years, it just seems I’ve gravitated to the .40. My 27 comes up on target quickly after each shot, though my S&W revolvers ( .357 and .45 ) are real tack drivers, but a little to unwieldy and heavy to carry comfortably for an extended period of time. Great article.

  10. Looking for a reliable, high caliber, accurate, high capacity, easy to carry handgun. Well look no further. The Springfield XD M 3.8 compact in a 45 caliber is an excellent Choice. Lightweight, 13+1, Match grade barrel, and no safety lever to slow you down. Get one, you’ll love it. I do!!!

  11. Some say, 45 or nothing. Most can not hit squat with a 45 small enough to be an EDC!

    Where I work, a husband shot his wife in the parking lot. He shot her, she went down and he stood over her and emptied a 357 magnum into her. She was back to work in 4 weeks! People shoot what you can make good shot placement and a 22 will be enough! End of story! It has been proven over and over that most people can shoot a 9mm in an EDC much better than larger calibers, and with the new ammo being made now that is plenty if you can shoot. No need to argue, a shot to the head with a 22 is better than a shot in the arm with a 45! If you want to argue size, just go ahead and carry a 12 gauge down your pants leg, most people will be about as likely to carry that everyday as a 45 large enough that they can control it!

  12. I love the 1911. I first shot one when I was 12 years old in 1955. Back then they were only .45 ACP. Today the design comes in 9MM, .38 Super, and 10MM as well. But they’re bulky, and unless one always wears a sport coat, they print. With modern loads, 9MM is more than adequate for personal security. The questions for me are concealability and controlability. It is easier to keep a 9MM on target quickly than it is a .45 ACP. The 9MM, particularly in the smaller carry guns being marketed today, is more controllable. I don’t mean to pick on Kahr, but a friend of mine who is older than I am insisted that I find him a .45 Kahr. He can’t shoot it. I tried to warn him about the recoil. A 27 year old man I know, on the other hand, loves his XDS in .45ACP. As always, the best carry gun is the one you can use effectively.

  13. I have a cwp in CT, so choices are limited for capacity. So I carry the Springfield .45 ultra-compact in an inside the waistline holster with 1 extra clip. Really, a fantastic gun, super reliable and will stop anything with hollow points. Don’t see any votes here for the Springfield, Kimber yes, but having tested both extensively, I decided Springfield Ultra checked all the boxes, and recoil was fine. Recently read about importance of holstering off center of spine, in case of a fall, I won’t break my back. Never thought of that, but have made the change and practice draw, sight and fire as often as possible. It’s never jammmed, but I do think some new clips are probably a good idea. Think I’ll take Tom RKBA’s advice and look into Wilson. Have heard much good about their clips. Thanks for everyone who added thoughts to this threat. Carry On~

    1. I love XD’s and XDMs. I didn’t mean to Omit them. I have a competition 5″. I cannot get a XDS in Fng California. The double stacks are a little wide for the way I carry, though I plan to get an XD sub-compact as my second Hi Cap gun if I get my CCW renewed. I really like the grip safety. I don’t want to worry about remembering to drop my safety or missing my safety with a single stroke if time is supper critical. The XD platform is a no brainer. As a matter of fact, I told my own sister to get an XDM 4.5 for home defense and if she can carry in a purse she’ll be golden.

    1. Another point which I omitted my original article is that if you are in a gunfight you are likely to have your firearm confiscated. This may make a difference to you if you survive. Do you want them taking a $3,000 Les Baer away temporarily or permanently? Even if you get it back it’s likely to get banged around dropped thrown on a Shelf or anything else. It would not hurt so bad if it were a $450 Shield.

  14. The EXACT RIGHT ANSWER TO WHICH CARRY GUN IS BEST for a CCW by Mike Cantor
    There has been so much debate over what is the best carry gun for a CCW since well, the beginning of the carry gun. Well, I just read another seemingly endless blog of arguments with dozens of different opinions. I decided to write about it and give a definitive answer, once and for all (maybe).
    You will never need your Carry Gun 99.99999% of the time but you have to carry it 100% of the time. After carrying a Glock 26 for 3 or 4 months I switched to a shield 9mm. It’s only a few ounces lighter plus a couple ounces for the other 2 rounds, but this weight is a significant difference in the weight on your belt (if that’s how you carry!). It is much more manageable, conceals better (possibly. The grip is a hair longer but the gun is thinner. ) and has a longer grip for better control, IMO (depends on hand size). If you can’t wear a suit or sport jacket everyday like 9 or 10 months out of the year in So Cal or Florida or probably TX, LA, AL, etc., and you have to be discrete, you are probably not going to love a 1911 full size. A Compact 1911 with an Aluminum frame might work. Also, it depends on what you do every day for work. Are you an office manager or construction worker? Do you have to run or jog at your job or lay down on your back under a sink like a plumber?
    How do you want to carry the gun?: Outside the waste band under a shirt? Inside your belt but outside of your pants? Inside of your pants’ wasteband? Above the waste band? Below the waste band? (Deep cover), URBAN CARRY HOLSTER STYLE? Strong side carry? Cross draw carry? Appendix Carry? or in the small of the back straight up or sideways? Rear hip? In a shoulder rig under your arm, up or sideways or upside down? In a fanny pack? Shoulder pack? Purse? Bra? Briefcase? Ankle Holster? Pants pocket, front or rear? Coat pocket? Under a hat? In a paper bag? Gym bag? Toolbox? Oh, do you want a retention strap or other device or none at all? There is SO MUCH to consider SO THERE IS NO RIGHT ANSWER only a BEST answer for the end-user. A finely tuned 1911 full size is an awesome gun. Finely tuned is the key phrase. I got sick and tired of getting jammed up because of extractor and ejector problems and magazines not locking my slide back. Even my Kimber Super Match has its idiosyncrasies. My Rock Island double stack 9mm was a nightmare- sold that. I have had ZERO problems with S&W M&P, Springfield XDM, Glock 26 and S&W Shield with at least 500 to 3000 rounds through each and all kinds of ammo. I clean them at least every 300 rounds or after a match, sometimes I will partially clean and lubricate them part way through a match if I have a chance, just in case. I discovered, and I now use a CZ Tactical Sport based on a Browning High Power for competition because it gives me the shootability of a 1911 with accuracy as good or better than most factory produced 1911’s, and the reliability of one of the aforementioned striker fired guns. But I wouldn’t carry it unless I had to or wanted to. The only reason I switched from my XDM and M&P CORE for competition was because I needed more weight for faster follow up shots in competition and did not want to add a compensator.
    On “Caliber” I’d rather have an extra round or two of 9mm +P Speer Gold Dot than an empty magazine of 45s or 40s. Everybody who carries a CCW gun and who has never faced real SH&$, you do not know what will happen to your nerves when you have a gun pointed in your face.
    I suspect many people will freeze up or Pee in their pants. I don’t know what will happen to me, but I train as much as I can to be confident with my gun. I’m sure combat veterans and police who have survived gunfights will fare differently.
    But how many times on the news have you seen police in gunfights, through their dash-cams, who are facing away from a shooter but trying to fire aimlessly, and they have training and larger “easier” to shoot larger exposed carry guns.
    Not to say my choices are perfect,; on my Shield, I still had to add rubberized decal type grip panels because I thought the bare plastic was too slick, especially with sweaty hands. I tried a rubber sleeve grip from Hogue and Pachmayer and they moved around too much and felt awkward . I installed HANDLEIT Grips, die-cut stick on grips; I use them at the range and they have not moved one bit. For less than $10 they work for me and I can replace them if I have to. Yes, the Shield is more difficult to shoot than a 4 inch XD, but that’s the trade-off for concealability and weight savings. And the shield can be learned to shoot very accurately, gunfight accurate, at gunfight distances.
    A couple of other things to consider: I am only 5’-8” and lets say I am over 225#., I may be able to conceal a larger gun than someone who is 5’-6” and 125# soaking wet. And someone who is 6’-2” – 235# may feel comfortable with a larger gun than I feel comfortable with.
    More considerations yet: If I worked in or frequented the outdoors where I might cross paths with something as dangerous as a mountain lion I am going to want a 4 or 6 inch .357 Magnum. If I am in Alaska I’m going to want a 3 or 4 inch 44 Magnum, at least; or maybe a 454 Casull or even a .460 or .500 S&W Magnum in case I come across the BIG BEARS.
    Bottom line… I’m not going to tell you what gun suits you the best. I may make recommendations based on my experience But you may have to try what you think is best for yourself…and you may have to go through a few guns till you get it right. And, have realistic expectations. Best of luck out there, be safe and practice.

  15. Just heard statistics this weekend…the FBI hits between 20-30 percent of their shots fired when weapons are used in a firefight. These are people that (supposedly) train a LOT with their weapons. And what would the average ccw citizen probably do in a similar situation? Probably far worse. My advice ? Carry a round that is both effective mamageable and plentiful in the size frame you choose to carry. I am a new ccw license holder and my everyday carry choice is a compact 9mm 10+1 capacity with holster that can carry 2 spare mags. The holster also adjusts to carry my full size 16+1 9mm should I feel the need or want to carry it. I don’t own a 1911, would love to but if I did carrying concealed with it on any kind of routine basis wouldn’t cross my mind. The options out there now just make the 1911and it’s shortcomings a non-factor in the ccw landscape IMO.

  16. Interesting discussion. Being left handed, I never even looked at auto pistols until very recently, being content with a .38 revolver, and since I live in California, my choices are very limited for the time being anyway. For the most part, you should carry what you can shoot best under stress. If you happen to reside, permanently or temporarily, in a state with idiotic magazine capacity restrictions, then you have to go for power. Otherwise, compromising on stopping power for more ammo might be sensible. I think technology will make this discussion moot soon, at least for those of us who are not handicapped by politics. The FN Five Seven is an example of this, as well as the .22 TCM, both providing carbine level performance with relatively large ammo capacity (the only way to get power and a big mag in a reasonably sized package, is to go small and fast). The new Brno 7.5 FK is another example. I’m predicting that the cartridge will become popular, while the over-engineered pistol will do a Bren Ten crash. Looking at the ballistics of the .25 and .32 NAA rounds from a 2″ barrel, I really wonder what they could do from a 5″ or longer tube; my guess is they would be impressive, with negligible recoil. I’d like to see something like an HK USP in a 6mm cartridge, maybe based on a necked down .38 Super, pushing an 85 grain bullet out an around 2,000 fps.

  17. Love the review

    I have all 3 – the sig is the best, nice beaver tail on kidneys /it’s fast in a gunfight situation with more than 1 assailant – & you can fire bursts from hip so accurately they wont know your shooting till their shot with 3 in each bellie – also its a 3 gun winner with minimal to 0 trick out ; )

    FNH great but large and the 1911 is always good but not ass fast or accurate as the sig – larger felt recoil

    But all great guns if your size permits and waistline ; )

  18. My solution to this dilemma was to acquire a Sig P228 in 9mm and when it became available, a sig P220 compact (the older one with beaver tail) in .45 cal. Both are DA/SA so I don’t have the transition problems others speak about. I have had both weapons for quite along time and practice regularly with both. Day to day I usually carry the P220.

  19. Great article. I carry a 9mm in several different guns; this way, I have a minimum of 30 rounds on me at all times. Around the house, I carry a little 380 because I’m 2 steps away from a larger caliper gun lol.

      1. I think you are posting in the wrong forum for a Grammar Nazi: the Huffington Post is at another domain and those snarky PC SJWs will love your derisive and puerile sense of humor.

  20. “So there’s the problem, and I have no Hollywood elites hanging around to give me advice on the topic. What say you?”

    You may not have “Hollywood elites” to help you out – but here in NY, WE ARE truly lucky! WE have progressive socialist/communist politicians to give US advice! Our governor told US that – “NO ONE NEEDS 10 BULLETS TO KILL A DEER”! He probably is concerned that we’ll “shoot our eye out” if we have too many bullets. He told us 7 was all we would ever need – (but some judge said we may need 10 – SO NOW WE HAVE 10!) ((YAY !???)) So ya see – a Sig with 15 + 1 is just not needed around here . . . or . . . allowed by law . . . and thus not an option. (Unless you are in law enforcement – however – that un-equal rights / double standard in constitutional rights thing is another topic)
    If you need guidance – MOVE TO NY! Plenty of government officials willing to “guide” you through life!

  21. Your thinking on 1911 magazines is flawed. The 1911 magazine is more susceptible to wear than better designed magazines like that of the SIG P229. Read Hilton Yam’s articles on 1911 magazines. They are good for approximately six months of duty use. Obviously, if the tubes are good, you can rebuild the magazine. But it is something you need to keep up with and is not a reason to stay with seven round Springfield magazines. Take this seriously and buy quality eight round Wilson Combat ETM or similar magazines with spare parts.

    1) http://www.10-8performance.com/1911/
    2) http://www.10-8performance.com/1911-magazines/
    3) http://www.10-8performance.com/pages/Reliability%2C-Round-Counts%2C-and-Longevity-in-1911s.html

    1. Wilson Combat makes good 1911 magazines, but as with other brands they won’t reliably work in all 1911s.

      I don’t blame the author for not wanting to go through more exhaustive magazine testing just to get one extra round. Besides – nobody chooses a 1911 for its magazine capacity in the first place.

    2. ‘Better designed magazines’. You are aware that 1911 magazines have been running fine since 1911? And who told you they were only good for six months of duty use, Yilton Ham? Don’t believe everything you read.

  22. Over the years, I’ve fired both .45 and 9mm, and both will indeed “get the job done” (assuming adequate operator training and experience).

    However, I’m now pushing 70 years of age… and a little arthritis [aging ain’t for sissies!] is dictating that felt recoil now has to be a significant factor in my choice of gun. For both the range (practice remains very necessary) and for defensive carry, the 9mm is becoming much more attractive.

    1. I faced that same decision process 10 years ago and while I still teach with my .45, my daily carry is a .380 with 2 spare mags.

  23. I’ve carried a several 1911’s over the last 50 years. I trust my life to the .45 in 1911 form. Matter of fact a 1911 has saved my bacon on more than a couple of occasions.
    So I say choose which ever you want. Me, I’ll stick with my 1911 Commander.

  24. I like the 1911 platform…A LOT!
    That said, none of my carry guns have a thumb safety. I use a few different 1911’s in competition, but not for carry.
    I have an FNX 45 Tacticle, but haven’t carried it yet. I’ve had it just a few weeks so far. I carry any of the following;
    S&W model 60 (Two actually. One on either side. I can shoot that revolver with my “off/weak” hand better than any other handgun I own.), G19, G21 SF, G22, Sig P220, P239, P229 or my XD. Really, the XD sees very little carry duty.
    The G21 is the closest to your option of the FNX, with 13 +1 on board.

  25. Respectfully, the average CHL holder isn’t packing either one of the guns pictured and profiled. There are $2500 worth of P229 Legion and TRP featured in this article. 99.99999% of lawful carriers are not lugging around a 42 ounce all steel 1911 or a $1200 Legion. Folks are arming themselves with affordable Glock 43s, Shields, LC9s, or the occasional .45 XDs. Comparing calibers and capacities of handguns that are actually carried seems more logical, though the premise of the article itself is outstanding. I truly mean no disrespect, but when I see a 2 1/2 pound, 5-inch 1911 with 9 rounds pictured in an article about concealed carry, I get aggravated and even skeptical. “Well, the 1911 is thin.” “Well, I have a good belt.” You’d better have a good chiropractor and live in a cold climate so that you can wear a coat to cover up that behemoth.

    1. It is not actually so thin. People say that because of the slide. The actual width is that of the thumb safety at the top of the holster and about as wide as a G19 with standard thickness stocks. The height is more than a Glock 21 with many magazines. This requires more forward cant in the holster.

    2. I carry a PARA 1911 Expert Commander. 4″ barrel. 8+1 with 2 spare mags. I got a real nice OWB leather holster at 4 o’clock and don’t even know it’s there. I usually wear a lightweight vest to keep it out of sight. Did I mention I paid $479.00 for it at CDNN…Carry what is best for you. Don’t nay say others choices. That’s why there are hundreds of guns to choose from. Ain’t America grand?

    3. I carry a Kimber TLE/RL 10mm in a Crosbreed IWB and find it quite comfortable, although in the warmer months I switch to an XD-S in .45 ACP.

      1. Hey Doc!. We’ve discussed this many times. I also have the M&P45c. Another more reasonably priced CC pistol. Good to see ya on the thread. Peace my friend…RM

  26. Common sense says stick with the one type firarm do that you don’t have to think about. DA/SA! Wise man always avoids dangerous situations if at all possible if not shot first ask questions later…. or why did you keep shooting him… we’ll Judge he kept moving,

  27. My choice: Sig P227, SAS. 2 Spare mags. Find the specs yourself; it’s surprising what you find when you look a couple lines further along then the more ‘popular’ choices.

    1. Agreed 100%, always carry the most firepower, and can be done with a compact. Gun and operator, matched like Conan the barbarian and his sword!

  28. The gun that is comfortable enough and concealable enough to carry all the time in any circumstance is the one you should carry and become and stay familiar with. With proper ammo there isn’t enough difference between a 9mm and a 45 acp to worry about. What do I know. I’ve been shot at while armed but have never found it necessary to return fire so I’m an arm-chair commando too.

  29. Back in 1985 I bought a “new” Colt Officers ACP 45 ACP 3-1/2″, 6 shooter because I knew that Kansas was going to pass concealed carry. I wasn’t planning on it taking 21 years.
    I really like the 1911. The compact 1911 is easy to carry and I have no problem packing four to six spare magazines.
    I just don’t like the grip circumference on a double stack 9mm.
    I haven’t carried my P85 in more than a decade. It might be a car gun IF I ever left a gun in the car, maybe on a long trip.
    My chiropractor has a GLOCK 43, it looks interesting, as a backup gun. I might buy a 9mm 1911 before I buy a GLOCK.
    I carry what I’ve got, not what I wish I had.

  30. To use a ridiculous analogy, you wouldn’t carry a 500 Whetherby Magnum to go walking in the Ozark mountains. COULD there be some use for it? Maybe if a rhino had escaped from a local zoo. It makes better sense to arm up for the most likely scenario. COULD I get into a protracted gun fight in a 7-11? Possible, but not likely. And I make every effort to keep FAR AWAY from any scenario where one might occur. I can drive tacks with my customized Sig 938 and, with 7 shots in the mag, one in the stack and a spare mag, it’s all I’m likely to need.

  31. When newbies ask me my suggestions on carry weapons, I just tell them to get one that is reliable, at least semi-comfortable, one you can control and one you can hit the target with and practice, practice and practice some more. Personally I carry a 45. As a Healthcare person I have seen many 9mm wounds. One to the back of the neck where he was still walking talking. Most of the wounds were to arms and legs or their ass , I have more faith in the 45. Now these were all bangers shooting so accuracy isn’t their forte, the just want to look cool for their Facebook Page.

  32. Choose a gun of sufficient caliber, that is dependable, and the gun you shoot the best under pressure. Capacity and caliber don’t mean squat if you can’t get shot placement. Changing from a SA to DA/SA, or a striker fired gun from day to day ensures you have zero muscle memory under pressure. I’ve seen that mistake played out over and over again.

  33. You already answered your question. I too have never heard anyone come through a shooting wishing they had fewer bullets. A cartridge in the magazine is worth 3 on your belt.

  34. Choose a gun of sufficient caliber, that is dependable, and the gun you shoot the best under pressure. Caliber and capacity don’t mean dick if you can’t get shot placement.

  35. How funny, you will probably get a million different opinions. Myself I have the same problem.The Kimber Tactical or Glock 19 or what. So I just go by eneny meme mo.
    Have a great day.

    Clarence

  36. In my opinion, the answer is an easy one — both. You have two right answers. The trick is muscle memory. These two guns operate differently. If stressed, will you automatically push the safety down on the 1911, or will you flub up the trigger reset on the Sig Sauer. Sometimes the right answer has more to do with the shooter then the gun.

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