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Need help with CCW, etc.

12167 Views 21 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  darkgael
Hi everyone,

This is my first post here, so I hope there's nothing wrong with these types of posts.

I'm turning 20 very soon, and I'm considering purchasing a concealable pistol for when I'm 21 and of age to carry for personal self-defense. I intend to take some sort of safety class sometime over the next year so as to gauge whether or not this is something I really want to get in to.

So, I started doing a ton of research online. I don't currently shoot, so this is all I can really do. I looked at different weapon calibers, different pistols, and so forth. I was actually very disappointed after stumbling across a lot of case reports from shootings involved with both town police department officers as well as FBI agents. It would appear that there is no pistol caliber capable of taking down an aggressor if they're determined.

One such case involved an FBI agent emptying his .45 ACP into the chest of his aggressor. It took six shots to even slow down said aggressor, and the subject lived. I always considered the .45 ACP the best round to stop a person with, especially after reading all of the stories from WWI and II where the Colt .45 was credited with saving many lives due to its accuracy and stopping power.

After seeing the video from the Miami shootout between heavily armored bank robbers armed with AK47's and police officers armed with 9mm pistols, I'm honestly not happy with even considering a 9mm. The 9mm rounds barely kicked up any dust on the concrete walls behind said robbers.

So, finding evidence to suggest that no rounds on either end of the power spectrum to be suitable for self-defense, I concluded shot placement is most important (it's so obvious I should have known from the start) in saving your own life.

With that said, I started looking at actual weapons, and stopped focusing so much on weapon calibers, especially after reading that certain pistols perform better with certain rounds, and that there's often overlap in performance between different calibers. For example, I read that there are now 9mm rounds that actually perform better than comparable .40 rounds.

So, I decided on a number of pistols that I intend to look at when the time comes for me to go to a gun store.

My first choice was the Springfield Loaded 1911, in stainless. It's a beautiful pistol, and in a classic cartidge. The only concern I had is that it might be too big to actually carry.

So, my other choices were the Springfield XD 4", the Sig P220 Carry, the Sig P232, the Glock 17/19 and equivalent models in other calibers, Walther PPK/S, and the Walther P99. These are all a bit smaller than the Springfield .45, and so they might be better suited for carry.

Then someone had to go burst my bubble. I live in Massachusetts. So, that means I have to deal with the strictest gun laws in the country. So, I won't be buying any Springfields or Glocks here. I took them off of the list.

Right now I'm leaning more towards the Sig P232 and PPK/S despite the .380 ACP being such a "weak" round (I'm told). I figure the P99 might be better since it's available in stronger rounds, but I'm not sure.

So, I'm left with:
- Sig P220 Carry
- Sig P232
- Walther PPK/S
- Walther P99

Anyways, enough rambling. I'll just get to the point. :)

1. Are any of the guns I listed suitable for carry? Do any of you carry them?

2. How important is caliber when carrying for self defense? What is the "ideal" round?

3. What other carry pistols have I overlooked?

I hope I don't seem like a crazed gun nut. I don't ever want to shoot someone, but I also don't want to get jumped and killed if I'm in a rough area. I'd prefer to be able to defend myself.
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My personal fave for CCW is a 5 shot DAO "snub nose" revolver in .357MAG , like this

Autos are a good choice for CCW, but it has to be reliable.
.380Auto is considered by most to be the bare minimum for defence. But I think 9mm Para is the min. You can get 9mm autos just as small as a .380, like a Kahr or Kel-Tec.
Why cant you have a XD or Glock?? something against polymer frames??

Just remember, a smaller gun in your pocket is infinitly better than a larger gun left at home. So ultimately the gun has to be a size you can carry every day, fit your hand and be controllable.
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Shot placement is more important than some "magic"caliber. If you have not shot much you need to do so and make sure you are proficient enough to carry. You will also have to take a class as a requirement to get the permit.

As for the guns listed I don't own any of them but they all have good reputations. Just remember a large heavy gun isn't very comfortable as a concealed carry gun and in warm weather is hard to actually conceal. I fi were to buy a gun today I would try to find something that comes with the crimson trace laser grip sighting system. I can pretty much hit what I aim at but in the heat of the moment you want all the advantage you can get.

As for the .380 well it's better than a .45 at home. I have a Kel-Tec P-3at that is .380 and it weighs a mere 8 ounces. I really like it and it is more accurate than I thought it could be for such a small gun. Sure I'd rather carry my Colt 1991 .45 but unless I have heavy clothes on it's impracticle.
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As you found out, a handgun is not really much of a stopping gun; if it were, militaries would use it rather than a rifle as its main weapon. The handgun is chosen for carry primarily for convenience and acceptability as the general public looks askance at the regular carrying of long arms. The joke regarding handguns is, "One carries a handgun to fight their way back to the rifle they never should have put down." Bullet placement is definitely the key to protecting one's self from harm, caliber and bullet type is further down the line.
As for the guns you mentioned, I have a 220 (actually a 220 with Browning markings) and find it to be a very nice gun. The Carry model is only a little smaller which is pretty much immaterial to me. The 220 is a relatively heavy gun and I do not find it overly bothersome when fitted with a good stiff belt and a holster that fits my body. It is no different than the 1911 style pistol I carried for a few years. I have also owned a PPK/S and know many others with them and they are also a fine carry choice. These are much lighter and a bit smaller than the 220 so whould be easier to conceal in most situations. I've shot the other two you mention and found both to work well. I liked the 232 (and most other SIGs) and thought the P99 to be acceptable. The 232 would fall under the same heading as the PPK. The Walther is the same as the S&W P99 for all intents and purposes and often you can find one of the latter for cheaper. this is a bit bigger gun but many can still readily conceal them.
As for caliber, generally bigger is better but I think anything from .380 ACP and up is an acceptable choice. The smaller the caliber the greater the placement requirement as well as ammo choice. I feel any of the better hollowpoints such as the XTP, Gold Dot, Hydrashock, Golden Saber, etc. would work well enough in any of the calibers. The only caveat I can think of is that the short barrels of most carry guns do not reach the velocity needed for reliable expansion with standard weight bullets. Bullets a little lighter than the norm may be the best choice in this type of gun. My personal carry guns are a 40 caliber Springfield XD Service model, a 40 S&W Kel-Tec P-40, and a Kel-Tec P-11 in 9mm. I use 165 gr bullets in the XD, 155 and 135 in the P-40 and 95 in the P-11. When I had a 380, I ran 80 gr Super Vels which have not been produced in decades. Most who rely on the 380 carry something with Gold Dot, Hydrashock, of Cor-Bon in the name.
I a not famuiliar with Mass. laws so can't suggest any other possibilities. The ones you have are pretty good though.
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Thanks for the replies. :) I'll take it into consideration.

The MA laws require very specific safeties and triggers. So, Sig DAK models are illegal in MA, as are XD's, Glocks, and Kahrs due to their safeties. The blue P232 is also MA illegal, for some reason.


I'm told the P232 is basically an updated PPK/S. Is there any truth to that? Is one "better" than the other? I'm honestly leaning towards the P232, even without touching it yet. It's just so...sexy. :p
If you're not willing to consider a 9mm, I'd take the .380 off your list as well.

That being said, I've got a SW99 that I like a lot (same as P99). I can carry it pretty easily. I'd vote for that (in .40S&W if you're looking for something bigger than 9mm) or the Sig because Sigs are sexy.
I carry a small frame Ruger .357 magnum revolver - the SP101. I also alternate with my PPK in .380 depending won what I wear and the time of year. If winter coats and heavy clothes factor into the equation then I stay away from .380 and carry the magnum. 9mm is a much more capable caliber than it was several years ago but I still prefer .357 or .45 for myself.
I was just about to settle on the P220--not much bigger than the P232, bigger caliber, designed for carry--but then I noticed it's not MA compliant.

Crap. These laws here are really screwing me over. :/
Those are some crappy laws. I am another revolver fan. I see now, that S&W is offering their scandium alloy J frame revolvers with a steel cylinder in .357 Magnum, calling them M&P models. It used to be that .357 only came in all steel or the titanium cylinder versions. Problem is, this new steel cylinder scandium alloy frame doesn't cost much less than the super light titanium version. I personally like a little heft to tame the recoil of the .357. I carry a 640 which is all stainless steel, 2 1/8" barrel, .357 Magnum. Recoil is stout with magnum loads, but somewhat manageable. Its a bit heavy for pocket carry, (it really makes the pocket sag) but its not even noticeable on a belt. The ultralight scandium framed titanium cylinder .357 Mags are down right brutal. The steel cylinder/alloy framed M&P might be just about right. You can always down load to a good +P .38 Special load if you want to. The Ruger SP-101 is a stout little .357. Its stronger than the J frame Smiths, but also a little heavier when comparing an all steel model like my 640.
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I'm honestly all for gun laws. I don't like the idea of anyone to be able to purchase one. But that's another topic for another day. :)

Are there any good companies that make a good commander-sized 1911 that's legal in MA? The Springfield I wanted isn't legal, but it seems like there are so many other 1911 manufacturers that I'm overwhelmed. I'm not looking to spend $1000 alone on a pistol, as it seems like the S&W 1911's are all at least $1000.

Any thoughts?
If you're looking for an affordable 1911 look at the Rock Island Armory guns.
I've never heard of them before. Are the known to be reliable pistols? I'm just weary of buying a pistol from a company I've never heard of. :(
Rock Island is good quality. They are probably better known for their AR rifles.
Killerb, I think you have RIA confused with Rock River Arms. Rock Island are known to be reliable entry level priced 1911s. They are made by Armscor. I'd like to get a nickel RIA .38 Super if I can find one.


http://gunner777.wordpress.com/2007/02/ ... -tactical/
I am still leary of Rock Island arms, they were noted for having spotty quality not too long ago; some of the frame castings were rather poor and suffered from cracking as well as a lesser number of slides. Armscor itself has had a poor track record in regards to importing quality arms, they are "infamous" for their imported guns like Squires Brigham and a short lived line of revolvers. From personal experience and a lot of observation I have gotten to the point I hardly consider these "budget" importers; I have seldom gotten my money's worth out of them.
I'd also guess that if a Springfield 1911 model is not acceptable to the authorities, any other similar model would not be either. there is not a whit's worth of difference between them, after all most parts are interchanable with little or no modifications. You might find one of the few double action versions of the 1911 to meet Massachusettes' requirements though.
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Re: re: Need help with CCW, etc.

Fuelburns2 said:
Killerb, I think you have RIA confused with Rock River Arms. Rock Island are known to be reliable entry level priced 1911s. They are made by Armscor. I'd like to get a nickel RIA .38 Super if I can find one.


http://gunner777.wordpress.com/2007/02/ ... -tactical/
Yup, you are right I was confused, as usual. Rock River, Rock Island, Rock 'n Roll. Its all the same. Like uglydog said Rock Island/Armscor is a budget import that I would not consider. Unless of course, I become confused again.

Would a Para-Ordnance LDA fit the bill for Massachusetts law?
Most likely. I've seen quite a few Para's on a local gun shops website as being available for sale.

http://fsguns.com/fsg_information.html <-- Ouch.
If it's that complicated I'd get a revolver in .357.
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