Owning and carrying a pistol has been a dream of mine for some time. Just recently it has become a reality for me as just 2 weeks ago I received my pistol permit. I want to carry for personal protection, not because I’m worried about being attacked but because I believe in being prepared. I already carry a flashlight and 3 pocket knives (more on that another time) anywhere I go and I have found many times where they were handy for technical issues (I’m the go to guy for opening any type of package and putting batteries in Christmas/birthday toys for the whole family.) I doubt that I will ever NEED a pistol statistically, But I have always subscribed to the ‘Better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it’ philosophy.
What to Carry?
Once I got my permit, I have wasted very little time in prepping. I first purchased a Ruger SR22, firstly because my local gun shop did no have the SR9 that I wanted in stock; second: because I planned on getting one anyway. I like the looks of it (even though it’s got a pink camo slide), and since it’s very similar to the SR9 I wanted to get, it will make a good training pistol for myself. Even at today’s ridiculous prices, .22 is still cheaper that 9mm so I can get more training for my dollar. The pink camo slide is ok too because I wanted something my wife can shoot. I figure if she shoots with me it’ll be more fun and I can also train her to use a pistol in case she ever needs it.
Obviously I’m not going to carry a .22 if I have a choice, so I decided a Ruger SR9 would be a good first carry piece. My reasoning for this particular pistol, is fairly simple:
First, 9mm is a good starter round, I know my people like _insert caliber here_ better, but I wanted something cheap (rules out any specialty calibers) and something with manageable recoil that would allow me to gain competency quickly. I can always upgrade my caliber later as skill with firearms is largely transferable between similar systems. Since .22 is out and .380 is not available in very many full sized pistols (and is probably a little under-powered) that leaves 9mm as the best option for me.
I have to admit my next criteria was price. I wanted an inexpensive pistol that I could use a lot, carry a lot, and probably abuse more than a little. Don’t want a cheap pistol (read Hi-Point) but a $1,400 Kimber would also be money wasted (no matter how great a pistol they make). I stuck to well known manufacturers of standard-sized 9mm semi-autos on the lower end of the price range. That narrowed it down to M&Ps and Rugers. My internet research suggested the Ruger SR9 based on looks but I also spent plenty of time at guns shows manhandling the various options. I know some people are screaming Glocks at me but I never considered them too seriously because I think they are ugly (sorry, looks do matter to me.) Handling the pistols decided me on the Ruger SR9 because it just felt right. So that was my decision.
…Except that’s not what I bought. I admit, I ordered a SR9 with the stainless slide from my local shop but he accidentally ordered the 9E instead. I ended up getting the one he ordered (even though he offered to order the right one for me) because he gave me such a screaming deal I couldn’t refuse. The 9E came with only one magazine, does not have a loaded chamber indicator (viewing port instead) and fewer slide serrations making it $100 cheaper than the SR9 and the deal I got was even better. I don’t need a loaded chamber indicator because I don’t think you should ever trust a mechanical device with a human life (ALWAYS check, manually), and the serrations don’t effect the operation of the pistol at all. With the discount on the model and from my dealer I was able to buy 4 more magazines and still have money left over. Talk about a deal! My only lament is that the 9E does not have a stainless slide, but I’ll get over it.
How to carry?
Here’s where I think things may be a little variable. I’m not sure how it will work out but I have 2 holsters for the 9E. The fisrt is a Allen Company Cortez Nylon Pistol Holster, Size 4. This is primarily for ranges and IDPA where they won’t let me draw from my other holster. The second is a DeSantis Tuck-This II IWB holster. Based on the way I normally dress I think 5 o’clock inside my waistband will be the best way to carry a pistol this size. Time will tell.
Why Blog About it?
I have decided to chronicle my experiences for others who may be facing this challenge in the future. I have found very little info on the topic of actual concealed carry aside from basic descriptions of the options. I suspect there is a large body of work available for the right price but I can’t justify the expense of classes or even most of the books on the topic right now. People in the know evidently know that the knowledge is valuable an know just how much to charge for it. I won’t fault them for it though, we all have to make a living.
I however, have no illusions about making a living at this so I have no problems sharing my experiences with the world for free. Laugh at me or scream at me maybe you’ll learn from my experiences.