Are Single-Stack CCW Handguns Obsolete? ~ VIDEO

U.S.A. -(AmmoLand.com)- Full disclosure, while I may have learned to shoot on an old Gen 2 Glock 17, my first quality handgun was a mil-spec M1911 chambered in .45 ACP. So, don’t mistake my opinions for those of someone totally enamored with plastic fantastic tactical Tupperware. That said, the title is a valid question. Are single-stack handguns obsolete in the era of ever-shrinking compact polymer-framed handguns feeding from capacious magazines?

Simply put, no – but also yes. At least sort of.

Let me explain.

While the proliferation of super-compact handguns like the SIG P365 or the Springfield Hellcat might make single-stack compact guns seem less appealing, there are subjective, often intangible factors that influence whether or not a gun is well-suited for a particular individual.

That’s because while capacity is very important for concealed carry handguns, it’s merely an aspect of the ideal concealed carry equation that each shooter much solve themselves.

Taurus GX4 Kimber Micro 9
With nearly double the capacity of the Kimber, the GX4 is very appealing. But capacity isn’t everything. IMG Jim Grant

Old But Not Outdated

Just because a particular design is dated, or even limited in one regard doesn’t negate its efficacy in other categories. In fact, how each aspect is considered, and how much importance a shooter weights each one depends on several subjective factors.

For instance, a proficient shooter with arthritis may not consider direct blowback handguns or those with smaller controls, simply because it would pain them to operate the firearm effectively. On the other hand, a large-framed shooter who prefers baggy clothing will often opt for a full-sized handgun, because it fits their hands well, and is easier to conceal due to their stature and apparel.

Low capacity magazine vs high capacity magazine
The six-round Kimber Rapide 9 vs the 11-round Taurus GX4 magazine. IMG Jim Grant

Capacity Isn’t Everything

Along these lines, capacity isn’t paramount to most shooters. Personally, and I’m sure most professional shooters and trainers would agree with me, reliability is the single most important aspect of any design meant for serious use. Whether that’s trodding through the jungles of Vietnam, or riding along in SWAT member’s holster, or sitting inside a lint-filled pocket of a concealed carrier, is irrelevant.

Because all that matters is that a shooter has a dependable firearm they’re proficient with when they need it. Everything else is secondary.

Kimber Micro 9 Rapide
Are single-stack magazine-fed pistols like the Kimber 9 Micro outdated? Perhaps, but they absolutely aren’t obsolete. IMG Jim Grant

Are Single-Stack CCW Guns Outdated?

In the simplest terms, no. Any firearm of sufficient caliber and excellent reliability will suffice if the shooter has enough training and the proper mindset. With the latter being much more important than most give it credit for. Although not the most popular (or prestigious) training school, Front Sight Academy has it 100% correct with their old motto: “Any gun will do, if you will.”

Yes, I would personally like as much ammo in a magazine as humanly, and concealably possible. But I wouldn’t feel under-armed with a single-stack 9mm like the Kimber or my SIG 938, provided I was experienced and confident in my abilities with it.


About Jim Grant

Jim is one of the elite editors for AmmoLand.com, who in addition to his mastery of prose, can wield a camera with expert finesse. He loves anything and everything guns but holds firearms from the Cold War in a special place in his heart.

When he’s not reviewing guns or shooting for fun and competition, Jim can be found hiking and hunting with his wife Kimberly, and their dog Peanut in the South Carolina low country.

Jim Grant

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Mikial

Not sure why anyone would consider a single stack obsolete. In a very non-permissive environment, such as at the job when you can’t risk your EDC showing because of a stretch or sudden movement, a single stack in a front pocket is often all you can manage. I love my G2s on those days when I can’t get away with carrying my G2c IWB. Other than the width, the two guns are identical so there’s no issue with a different manual of arms under stress and my personal preference is a 9mm over a .380..

Will

I don’t think single stacks or obsolete or obsolescent. Hell,I’m still into revolvers too Own three. Got a Colt snub nose .38 I bought back in ‘73. Most original blue too.

KK

As long as there are state laws limiting magazine capacity to 10 rounds, single stacks remain viable. With a G-19 holding 15+1 NOT being an option, a single stack 9 that holds 10, even if it takes a mag extension to get there, is about the best you can do. If you feel 9 rounds of .45 ACP will do you better than 11 rounds of 9mm, a 1911 is your thing. A .45 Shield is a sweet little carry gun and with a HYVE extension gives you the same 8+1 as the 1911. Then again just get a G-30… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by KK
Don

An excellent single stack pistol is the Glock 48 with a 10 round magazine. It is the same length and height of a Glock 19, but it is thin. It fits my hand much better than the G19. It is also legal in those states with a 10 round magazine limit. I carry a G43 most of the time. It is only 6 shot capacity, but it carries in a front pocket quiet well.

Finnky

See shield arms magazines for the G48. Flush fit standard mags hold 15 and extended mags hold 20. Two spare extended mags and flush fit in the gun gives you 56 while remaining compact and easily concealed.

gregs

hand size should factor into which handgun you choose to carry. you should be able to easily manipulate all controls on your handgun without adjusting your grip and sometimes hand size determines if you can do that. my wife cannot lock slide back or reach mag release button without adjusting her grip on a double stack firearm. i having large hands cannot easily manipulate the controls on a .380.
carry options also matter. do you open carry or concealed carry? depending on what you wear a single stack is easier to conceal.
single stacks are not obsolete.

MarkE

While you can never have too much ammo, perhaps more time should be spent in training (realistically) to effectively engage and stop a threat than simply carrying a box of ammo just in case. The vast majority of gunfights are short in time and distance – if you feel the need to carry more than 20 rounds or so, then how many is enough? If you aren’t able to stop the threat with a half-dozen rounds, then you are truly hoping your threat is as errant a shot as you. All too many gun owners spend more time “shooting” ammo… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by MarkE
Irrenmann

I’m sure Walther will muse over whether or not they are obsolete as soon as people stop buying so many 😉

Dogma Factor

Dammit Jim no gun is ever obsolete! As long as it works and fulfills a need it’s never obsolete. GunTubers and supposed gun writer’s try and set false narratives to create buzz. Sorry but just that simple.

Glypto Dropem

This time of year, I mostly carry my “stack and a half” M&P 45 Shield in a DeSantis Speed Scabbard OWB at 3 o’clock. Covered by an unbuttoned chamois shirt, it disappears and I can wear it all day long. When I want extra capacity, a DeSantis double mag carrier OWB at 7 o’clock does the trick. It also hides under the open shirt and is just as comfortable. All 3 mags are genuine S&W “6+1” for a total of 22 rounds of Hornady 185gr Critical Defense. IMHO, more than enough for me to get the job done when I… Read more »

Rowboat

My everyday carry is a Ruger LCP .380 ; 6+1 that sits perfectly in my right front pocket. Doesn’t print at all and works just fine for a “ get the hell off me” gun, not that I have had to present it -yet. I have a CWP and prefer to carry that way- mainly to not scare the little old ladies at church and the supermarket. Also, if there is a reason for stealth aircraft, I too, like to fly incognito!
My little friend has a lot of surprise factor going for it. Wait your turn.

GeniusJoe

My Sig P238 with Magguts upgrade holds 8 + 1 and shoots better than any striker fired gun (at least in my hands).

I’ll keep my sing stack, single action Sig P238 for when I don’t need my 9mm GX4 printing in my t-shirt… and 380 ACP is incredibly underappreciated.

Ltbdb

This discussion will go on until the end of time. The bottom line is the best firearm for carry is the one you will carry consistently.

Bozz

Been Carrying the Shield 1.0 for 8 years. I installed a Magguts +2 magazine spring kit in one of the 7 round mags and carry that now. Gives me 9 + 1 with barely any increase in mag length.

GeniusJoe

Magguts in all my guns if they make one for them.

Bigfootbob

My grandsons carry Hellcats. They are too small for my hands, I don’t only have bigfeet. My daily carry is a Ruger SP40 with a Vortex Viper and sometimes at night I attach my Veridian Green Dot laser, and I always carry a spare magazine. I totally agree with the sentiment of the posters, good advice from you’all too, carry whatever you can operate like an operator and train, train, train. With ammo being nosebleed expensive, buy a Strikeman dry fire system or similar. Those help a lot. Especially if you have the same misfortune of loving your hometown although… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Bigfootbob
Arny

K

Last edited 1 month ago by Arny
DC

Lately my CCW is preferably in a OWB holster, just concealed by a shirt or jacket. But when I need to conceal better, inside the waistband, I wish I could get a thinner pistol. Even most single stacks are fatter than is comfortable. I wish manufacturers would offer some leaner options. How about slide and grip within 3/4” (for 9mm), and even with controls, within 1.0”? The trend is for fatter, shorter, less options pistols. I want a thinner, DA/SA with a 4”+ barrel, hammer-fired. Not all engagements are within 15 feet. I want a weapon that helps me be… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by DC
Montana454Casull

I pack a 1911 .45 acp daily unless I am going to the woods and then I carry my Ruger New model Blackhawk .44 mag . If 6-8 rounds is not enough then more range time is required . Proficiency is a must nomatter how many rounds the weapon holds .

swmft

I carry 3 all 45acp a defender,gvnt officers that was my fathers issue and a backup carry 3 extra mags though 1 is redundant. I have been in firefights and prior planning gets you home in the woods ,or everglades I carry a desert eagle in 50. I met a bear in your neck of the woods and dam they are big had to empty 44 into it so bigger is safer like a 454 casul @Montana454Casul

Deplorable Bill

Lots of people buy a relatively small hand gun, something light weight and easy to hide. If you never shoot it that works out pretty well. Most smaller framed hand guns have minimal sights. Not that they are absolutely needed 100% of the time but sights lead to bullet placement and that IS important. Power. You want ease of carry but you also need power. You need something that will cause injury to vital organs even through heavy clothing so a reliable 380 ACP WITH GOOD AMMUNITION is about minimum. To my knowledge, the world record Brown bear was felled… Read more »

Bigfootbob

Sage advice, thank you. I also agree that a .380 is the lightest caliber you should consider for a CCW. In my neck of the woods, Washington State, I would consider a .380 a seasonal carry. Even in my temperate area, we rarely see temperatures below 25 degrees, people wear layered clothing with a heavy coat over that. I don’t think the .380 regardless of the load has the penetration needed to make ME feel comfortable carrying my 40 year old Taurus .380 in the winter. I do love that little gun though, I had to present it once in… Read more »

GeniusJoe

I swapped my highly modolified Taurus TCP 380 with a 7 round mag (when you could still buy the +1 extensions from Galloway years and years ago) for Sig P238 with a Magguts-modded 8 round mag… favorite CCW / Pocket Pistol except when I carry my Bersa TPR9c in the winter. SA or SA/DA are best for ammeliating my bad shooting.

Don

I use a G43 (6 round) and feel good with it. It replaced a S&W M642 (5 rounds) because it has a better trigger pull. The G43 doesn’t conceal as well as the 642, but it is easier to hit with. I admit, I didn’t even look at the higher capacity pistols, and now I would.

Roland T. Gunner

Modern plastic subcompacts are to small and too light for most shooters to utilize well or efficiently.

Beobear

Not obsolete at all. Very few defensive shootings go past 6 or 7 rounds fired per person. A higher capacity gun is advantageous in some cases and more ammo is always better but in most cases it will be unnecessary. Just because having a lot of ammo on tap is better doesn’t mean that less ammo on tap is bad. A 6 or 7 + 1 pistol is as deadly as one that holds 100 rounds. Just like a deer can’t tell the difference between a .270 and .300 win mag, a bad guy isn’t any less dead because you… Read more »

Last edited 7 months ago by Beobear
American Cynic

Considering that there are still a plethora of people who enjoy using a revolver and don’t seem to find such a six-shooter to be a problem, then why should the number of rounds be a bone of contention when carrying a magazine loaded firearm? So long as you know the limitation and have prepared yourself appropriately, then bazinga! Enjoy the thinner profile. It is much easier to reload the Kimber than it would be to fumble reloading a revolver. If you insist on a single stack, train to shoot atraight, and carry extra loaded magazines.

willyd

I have more than one CCW, preference and ability are reasons, at times I carry a Beretta PX4 and other times I carry a Ruger SP101, which I am preferent with Speed Loaders, it does take lots of practice but can be done. I don’t get paid to stand and be in a gun fight, it’s called getting out of a dangerous situation without getting KILLED!!!!!!!!!!

BarryB

It comes down to what you can effectively carry. My wife carrys a Glock 43, because it fits her hand comfortably, while a double stack won’t. She can contort her hand to shoot a double stack, but it is uncomfortable. So, a single stack is best… for her.

Trvldoc2

A 1911 in 38 Super carries 9+1 in commander or carry size. I hit center target at 3-7 yards. That is a head shot. Granted I might miss in an adrenaline situation which is why I have done competitions. Unless I get in to a large group attack, 19 rounds should be enough to carry. I alternate with my STI which carries 7+1 in 45ACP and is even more accurate.

Arny

Love my micro 9 but would like to see a double stack with double action in the future. And extend the grip. The extended mag does help with larger hands. I really like the laser grips, besides the auto shutoff. But it does save the battery. Would also prefer the green laser. But for the price I picked it up I can’t complain to much. It is very reliable. And comfortable to shoot.

GeniusJoe

I would love to see a double stack Colt mustang clone, be it Sig p238 or Kimber (or even the crappy Springfield 911)… I haven’t tried Kimber’s striker fired micro 9 yet.

swmft

just same old new vs old bs, I dont like plastic have seen a glock blow up guys hand was destroyed so use what you are good with ; I am fast and accurate with a 1911 officers that was my dads have my 45 as a backup what you carry 2 yes I worked dea in bad old days and have been in shoot outs i keep a level 4 vest handy and a jacket if things look bad i do use it , the spray and pray people usually run when you shoot back ,or pause that is… Read more »

Don

I saw a Glock 17 fire a double charge. It stung the shooters hand, dropped the magazine and kept shooting. We only discovered a cracked frame when we were cleaning the guns at the station. I called the distributor and ordered a new frame ($75) and put the pistol back into service. I don’t know how one would blow up.

Phil in TX

I have come to the realization that my 1911A1 is not my ideal carry pistol. Neither is my Ruger GP100. I have two single stack 9mm pistols that are my current EDC guns (only one at a time). I can carry either one plus a spare mag much easier than the 1911 or the GP100 and have as many or more rounds than the others. One thing about the 1911 is that my hands are not large enough to execute a proper grip and still be able to reach the trigger for a correct placement of the trigger finger. The… Read more »

Roland T. Gunner

On the 1911, match a flat mainspring housing with the short trigger, and you should find it just about perfect.

RoyD

My every day, everywhere carry piece is a Ruger LCP. A satin chrome coated original with a stronger recoil spring. Six rounds of 95gr Ball ammo loaded at +P levels. Yes, six rounds because I don’t carry chamber loaded. And a second loaded mag in the left front pocket. In the last eight years it has been presented twice but only ever fired at the range. That’s how I roll 99.9% of the time. Your mileage may vary.

GeniusJoe

380 ACP is underrated.

O. L. James III

We must each decide for ourselves which risks we are willing to manage and which benefits matter most to us.

Data from John Correia (Active Self Protection) and Tom Givens (Rangemaster) indicates that we will win or lose our gun fight with the cartridges in our gun at the time the fight starts. Correia’s narrated videos often show multiple attackers.

In my family, the only carriers of single stack pistols are those whose hands are too small to property grip a double stack pistol. Works for us.

WI Patriot

“Are Single-Stack CCW Handguns Obsolete?”
Not in any way, shape or form…

Jeremy B.

Yes they they are, you couldn’t POSSIBLY harm or stop a violent attacker based on the orientation of ammunition in your firearm’s cartridge storage and feeding device. So tired of seeing click bait article titles. Obviously more rounds on tap means more options for multiple attackers. But this is just an extension of the caliber debate for handguns. Mostly useless and rarely realistic or two informative. I say this as someone who carries a P365 9mm (12+1) instead of my previous S&W M&P Shield (8+1) instead of my previous Glock model 23 (13+1). Just carry SOMETHING. And if you can,… Read more »

Rob

Yet another advocate for the “spray and pray” tactic. Let me know when you’re in town so I can be somewhere else…..

Jeremy B.

I was attempting sarcasm.

Not, “spray and pray”, “center mass untill the threat de-escalates”. Sometimes this happens quickly, other times it doesn’t.

If you think 5/6/7/8 rounds will always be enough for one threat then you need to do more research because your imagination is lacking.

Last edited 7 months ago by Jeremy B.
Roland T. Gunner

I guess Jeremy’s sarcasm totally escaped you?

WI Patriot

You’re an idiot…

Jeremy B.

How eloquent. I was attempting sarcasm. Of course they are t obsolete. I still carry my LCP from time to time.

Roland T. Gunner

Who pissed in your Wheaties this morning?

Rob

Agree! Try to buy one these days!

Darkman

You Are Obsolete!!!
https://youtu.be/zGZqnc6_5To

Darkman

Any Tool that performs it’s intended purpose cannot be considered obsolete.

Boris Badenov

I have a very simple way of considering a carry arm. 1. Something beats nothing 2. Size doesn’t matter 3. It needs to work flawlessly. 4. It needs to be accurate. That’s it. Nobody in their right mind want’s to be shot, when looking down a barrel they aren’t thinking caliber. IF I were to have something on my person, and that is very unlikely being behind enemy lines in Kommieforniastan, it might be a humble little Ruger SR22, doesn’t print, light weight, accurate and reliable. Just my opinion.

Roland T. Gunner

Like all my supermodel girlfriends tell me, size does matter.

RoyD

Well, when your chosen profession causes you to be “stretched out” then it would logically follow that a “larger size” would lead to a more snug fit and therefore “size would matter.” But hey, you do you.

Roland T. Gunner

Hey, it’s your lifestyle choice, don’t be ashamed.

RoyD

It’s your girlfriends we are talking about here, or did you forget that.

abirahemmed

Depending on how you are built, where you work, and who you associate with, a single stack can still be a little less noticeable.

Last edited 7 months ago by abirahemmed
Roland T. Gunner

8+1 in 10mm…

musicman44mag

Favorite revolver is 357 python, favorite semi 1911. I have the python for fun, don’t have the 1911 for self defense because in my mind it is obsolete for defense against todays modern 15+ round weapons. if I were in kommiefornia, I would use the 1911 and feel confident in my 8 max round 1911 because I know all criminals care and follow all laws and the most they would have is 10 and I would bet that I am a better shot and can change out mags quicker, oops I mean clips.

Last edited 7 months ago by musicman44mag
Jwestin

I love my Walther PPS Gen1 that I’ve owned for about 10 years. I’ve owned XD-S 4″, Sig P365xl, Walther CCP, and others that have less recoil, longer barrels, and more capacity. But for whatever reason, I outshoot all of them with my PPS and have never had a malfunction. So what do I carry? My PPS. Find a carry gun you love and is reliable, go with it, don’t just get stuck on what is new, cool, or has good reviews.

Terril Hebert

Depending on how you are built, where you work, and who you associate with, a single stack can still be a little less noticeable.