With summertime hitting the Northeast and Midwest states full force this week, there’s no better time to look at carrying smaller guns. Individuals who live in the great north have lost their security blanket of layered clothing and heavy coats with the rush of hot summer weather. For most, the general trend is to carry the smallest handgun possible in an effort to make carrying more comfortable. There’s no denying that carrying a smaller pistol does make life easier in the hot summer months, but there are also disadvantages to really small carry guns. Let’s take a closer look at why smaller isn’t always better when it comes to carrying a concealed firearm.
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Controllability and Ease of Shooting
Now I fully understand the idea of carrying a smaller gun every day during the hot summer months in an effort to be more comfortable. When it gets into the upper 80s to low 100s, having anything against your body like an IWB holster can really irritate your skin and just leave you downright uncomfortable. At these temperatures, carrying a full-size firearm can start to feel like a boat anchor which is why most switch to a small or micro-style handgun.
So switching to a small carry gun is the natural way to go? In short, yes, but it’s not all sunshine with carrying a very small handgun either. The biggest issue with switching to a really small carry gun is the amount of overall control you have with the firearm and how easy it is to shoot. With less real estate to hold onto, a small firearm is naturally harder to control.
With lots of practice, it’s more than possible to become proficient but most shooters won’t put in the time necessary. Carrying a handgun that is tougher to shoot accurately can put the carrier at a disadvantage when it comes to a self-defense situation. Having a handgun on your person is the number one most important factor for self-defense. So having anything on your body is always better than nothing. If you plan on carrying a small single or double stack micro carry gun, it’s important to at least get out 1 to 2 times at the range before you start carrying a firearm for the summer season.
I fully understand recent ammo prices have some people struggling but you should have a couple range sessions of at least 100 rounds of practice through each session. When looking at magazine capacity, it’s really not that a ton of reps but it will at least give you the general idea for recoil impulses and how to shoot effectively with it. Now I always advocate for more practice, but shooting two boxes of range ammo through your carry gun should be the absolute minimum for carrying a smaller micro or subcompact firearm. Some of you may disagree with me and that’s perfectly fine, but having more prior knowledge of a firearm when it comes to recoil and impulses is never a bad thing.
Holsters like an inside the waistband (IWB) holster oftentimes seem like the best method and for most that’s the style they will go with. An interesting concept to look at is the overall surface area that a holster has on your body. With a full-size firearm, you have a fair bit of surface area and contact points between your hip and the holster.
This surface area helps keep the handgun planted without shifting around a lot during your daily activities. The problem with real small handguns starts to show with IWB holsters when you carry a lot after moving from a bigger handgun. The smaller framed handguns tend to either shift slightly throughout the day or can start to wear certain portions of your leg because there’s less surface area contacting your body. It may seem like a really odd concept, but the more someone carries, the more they become used to having the same area in contact with their firearm.
Over time this feeling starts to become normal but once you switch to a smaller gun, a different section of your body will receive wear potentially causing discomfit over a full day of carrying. Carrying a micro or sub-compact handgun pocket carry style is a good alternative but costs you a pocket to use for everyday items. Most times this isn’t a huge deal and well worth the trade, but it’s worth mentioning as a consideration.
Comfort Vs Control
The biggest battle when it comes to deciding on a handgun size is the longstanding argument of comfort versus control. On one hand, you want to be armed yet comfortable any time of year to protect yourself. At the same time, the other argument says you want to be the most proficient with the firearm you’re carrying. Typically most individuals shoot better with a midsize or full-size firearm. Something like a Glock 17 or 19 will allow you to have more accurate shots than a single stack micro-carry gun. After years and years of people fighting over what was more important to them, I truly believe the market is starting to sort itself out and find the perfect balancing point between comfort and controllability when it comes to carry handgun size.
With a sharp rise in popularity for the Glock 43X and P365 XL, firearms have started to become a bit bigger and have more capacity while staying low profile like a micro or sub-compact firearm. The ever so slightly larger frames and slides allow for more accurate shot placement and a bit more control when it comes to recoil mitigation. Most of the larger firearm manufacturers have figured out a solution to offer people a more capable firearm while adding marginally larger slides and frames to minimize the overall size increase.
Don’t get me wrong, small micro handguns most certainly still have a place in society today. They are incredibly easy to conceal and having a smaller framed firearm is lightyears better than having nothing, but they aren’t always easier to shoot and can cause discomfort of their own. I think having that perfect balance between size and capability should be a major consideration when finding a summer carry gun. If you plan on going with a real lightweight micro-carry gun, it’s extremely important to practice with it to be as comfortable as possible. If you’re in the market for a new summer gun, I would definitely encourage you to check out the slightly larger compact guns like the Glock 43X, SIG P365 XL or Springfield Armory Hellcat Pro. These are all excellent concealed carry options while offering slightly bigger frames and slides for a perfect combination.
Let me know what you guys think about summer carry guns. If you could pick any type of firearm to carry in these hot months, what gun would you carry and why? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. If you have questions on carrying concealed or firearms in general, feel free to shoot me a message on Instagram @fridgeoperator. Stay safe out there!
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