A new line of semi-automatic firearms is on the rise and quickly becoming the “go-to” gun for concealed EDC (Every Day Carry). These types of pistols are small, thin (1inch wide), lightweight, and accurate. But most importantly, they come chambered in the powerful 9x19mm, .40S&W, and .45ACP.
These newly designed sub-compact semi-automatic pistols are based off of their standard line counterparts containing full metal slides and polymer frames with a compact sized grip, creating a lightweight firearm that can even be carried as a “pocket pistol” without much worry of printing (printing is when the shape of the concealed pistol can be seen through clothing, which then becomes illegal for the pistol is no longer concealed). Combined with an internal holster, the “slim” pistols are practically impossible to see through clothing and can barely be felt when carried.
In this article, I will discuss:
-the importance of carrying a concealed pistol and being properly trained to use it
-slim pistols on the market available for civilian purchase
-Survival Operations EDC Choice Award
-alternative slim designed pistols for concealed carry
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” -Thomas Jefferson
If there was ever a time for carrying a concealed pistol on a daily basis, now is that time. With the tragic massacre that recently occurred at a midnight showing of “The Dark Night Returns” in Aurora, Colorado, many people are beginning to question if they should start carrying a concealed firearm for self-defense purposes. The answer is YES, but firearm safety, legality, and proper training in using a firearm for self defense must first be considered AND respected. The last thing this country needs is everyone and their brother going out and buying up firearms without first knowing more about the dangers involved.
In order to legally carry a concealed pistol, one must first obtain a Concealed Weapons Permit (CWP) or Conceal Carry Permit (CCP). The permits are the essentially the same, just labeled differently by the State in which you reside. Obtaining a CWP/CCP requires taking a 3-4 hour class that usually ranges in price between $30 at a gun show up to $80 from a gun store. This class will teach you the basics of firearm safety and you will be required to discharge one round at the local range (in front of the instructor) to demonstrate you have a basic understanding of firearm safety. Afterwards you will receive a certificate of completion and be required to get fingerprinted and photographed (inexpensive and not often included in the price of the class). Next, you will have to send in your certificate of completion to the state in which you reside. The usual waiting time to receive your Concealed Weapons Permit back from the state is between 30 and 60 days (though some states such as Florida have sped up this process to only 2 weeks due to the overwhelming rise in the number of citizens obtaining a CWP). Once one has received their permit by mail, they are now legally able to carry a firearm concealed on their person ..but by no means does that make it safe or OK to do so. Knowledge of the law and proper training should be a first priority before every day carry (EDC).
When carrying a concealed pistol with a CWP/CCP, there are many laws that will get you into serious trouble if not strictly followed. Primarily, the pistol needs to remain completely CONCEALED and only drawn if you feel threatened for your life. If the shape of the pistol prints through your clothing and other people can recognize you are carrying a firearm, you may get arrested. If you bend over and your shirt slides up high enough for someone to see any part of the firearm, you may get arrested. You cannot pull out a firearm in public to show your friends or family, or you may get arrested… The ONLY time one may draw a firearm is if you feel threatened for your life. It will be up to the police and a judge to determine if you were actually in mortal danger. So drawing on an unarmed civilian (whether you feel threatened or not) will most likely land you in jail. You should only draw your concealed pistol if another person has first drawn a deadly weapon (firearm, knife, baseball bat, etc..) and/or is threatening your life or the life of another in some other extreme fashion. Keep in mind, while carrying a concealed pistol, it is illegal in most places to drink alcohol, walk into a bar, or even sit at the bar section of a restaurant. Check your local city, county, and state laws about concealed carry before you even consider carrying.
Just because you have passed the basic firearm safety class and received a CWP does not mean you are ready to carry a pistol. Research as much as possible to learn more about firearm safety; read the horror stories, watch the video clips, and learn from others’ mistakes. Hit up your local shooting range as often as you can to continue practicing what you have learned in class and on the internet. Practice makes perfect and only through repetition will these values become engrained into your mind and muscle memory.
The only reason to EDC a concealed pistol is for SELF-DEFENSE. Almost every county in the United States has a company or organization that will train you in properly using your pistol for self-defense. Pay for these classes, THEY ARE WORTH IT. Once you have learned enough and the instructors are confident in your accuracy, judgement, and general awareness, continue to frequent that local shooting range to practice your accuracy and self-defense training on their obstacle courses (usually consisting of open outdoor and closed indoor environments, with both innocent civilian targets and enemy targets). Again, practice makes perfect through repetition. Also, try to keep a mindset that this is not just practice but the REAL THING, so that if you ever need to draw your concealed pistol in a life and death situation, you will be as ready as possible for the anxiety caused by the adrenaline rush that produces the “flight or fight” response. Learn not to hesitate, and only draw your firearm if you are planning on immediately shooting the assailant that is threatening your life.
Hopefully you understand that guns are not toys, and they are to be respected….Now onto the fun stuff!
Smith and Wesson M&P Shield
Smith & Wesson’s new M&P SHIELD is a slim, concealable, lightweight, striker-fired polymer pistol. Available in 9mm and .40S&W, the new M&P SHIELD features a slim design combined with the proven and trusted features found in the M&P Pistol Series. From the pistol’s easily concealed one-inch profile to its optimized 18-degree grip angle, the M&P SHIELD offers professional-grade features that provide simple operation and reliable performance.
Chambered in 9mm and .40S&W for proven stopping power, the M&P SHIELD features a high-strength polymer frame with a black, Melonite coated stainless steel slide and barrel. Both models are produced with a 3.1-inch barrel, which contributes to an overall length of 6.1 inches and an unloaded weight of 19 ounces. For fast tracking and smooth target acquisition, the M&P SHIELD comes standard with a 5.3-inch sight radius and has been enhanced with a short, consistent trigger pull measuring 6.5 pounds. Featuring a quick and audible reset made possible by the striker-fired action, the M&P SHIELD allows multiple rounds to be placed on target both consistently and accurately.
Specs; (production April 2012 – present)
-Caliber: 9x19mm and .40S&W
-Capacity: 7 Round and 8 Round Stainless Steel Staggered-load Magazines
-Barrel Length: 3.1″
-Overall Length: 6.1″
-Overall Height: 4.6″
-Overall Width: 0.98″
-Weight: 19.0 oz
-Front Sight: White Dot
-Rear Sight: White 2-Dot
-Barrel/Slide Finish: Black Melonite 68 HRc
-Frame: Black Polymer
-Trigger Pull: 6.5 lbs.
-Sight Radius: 5.3″
The comfortable design of the all new XD-S feels so natural, it’s like an extension of your own body. The unique combination of an ultra-slim profile paired with enhanced performance point-and-shoot features allows you to shoot accurately without having to adjust your wrist providing superior control.
Specs; (production 2012 – present)
-Caliber: .45 ACP, (9x19mm and .40S&W available soon)
-Capacity: 5 Round Stainless Steel Single Stack Magazine x2
-Barrel Length: 3.3”
-Overall Length: 6.3″
-Overall Height: 4.4″
-Overall Width: 1.0″
-Weight: 21.5 oz.
-Barrel: Melonite Fully Supported Ramp
-Front Sight: Fiber Optic
-Rear Sight: Steel Dovetail
-Slide: Forged Steel
-Frame: Black Polymer
Ultra Safety Assurance (USA) Trigger System:
The USA Trigger System guards against accidental discharge, from dropping or bumping it, by locking the trigger in place until direct rearward pressure is applied.
Loaded Chamber Indicator:
The Loaded Chamber Indicator allows the shooter to verify without a doubt, visually or by touch, that there is a round in the chamber.
Beaver Tail Grip Safety:
Allows firing only when the shooter has a firm grip on the pistol.
Secure Grip Texture:
The “all-terrain” look of the XD(M) has proven to work so well that the texture has been enhanced for the XD-S with an even more pronounced texture to ensure your grip is always secure.
Melonite Finish and Carrying Case:
To preserve the safety and quality of the pistol, Springfield Armory has added a Melonite finish on all XD models for a deep penetrating finish that protects against corrosion. Also, the rugged case is as durable as the XD-S trademark it carries.
Taurus 709 “Slim” 9mm
“SLIM” is the name of this suave new entry into the Taurus line. Elegant in Blue and Stainless this small, single-action-only, could be found under a cummerbund or a pair of bibs. No revealing lumps or lines makes concealed carry easier than that of a larger capacity pistol.
Specs; (production 2009 – present)
-Capacity: 7 Round Magazine
-Action: Single Action/Double Action
-Barrel Length: 3.2″
-Overall Length: 6.0″
-Overall Width: 1.0”
-Weight: 19 oz
-Front Sight: Fixed
-Frame: Polymer with metallic inserts
New Unique SA/DA Trigger System:
The PT24/7 Pro Trigger system solves the double action/single action dilemma once and for all. When a round is chambered, the trigger sets in single action mode with the trigger traveling freely to the crisp break point. The trigger resets to DA mode until another round is chambered.
The Walther Police Pistol Slim (PPS) model narrows the margin between concealment and confidence by packing Walther innovation into an unbelievable 1.04 inch profile. It’s amazing how much professional-grade design actually fits into this lightweight sub-compact. Available in either 9mm or .40S&W, the PPS packs in more power. All in all, the PPS embodies both the legendary quality and tradition of innovation that make it not just a great pistol — but a great Walther pistol.
Specs; (production 2007 – present)
-Caliber: 9x19mm and .40 S&W
-Capacity: 7 Round Magazine x2
-Barrel Length: 3.2″
-Overall Length: 6.32″
-Overall Height: 4.4″
-Overall Width: 1.04″
-Weight: 19.4 oz
-Sight: Interchangeable 3-Dot Iron Sight
-Frame: Black Polymer
-Trigger Pull: 6.1 lbs.
-Sight Radius: 5.4″
-Ambidextrous Magazine Release
-Includes 2 Magazines
-Loaded Chamber & Cocking Indicators
-Small & Large Backstrap
-Internal Striker Safety
-Walther QuickSafe Safety
Out of the 4 slim designed pistols listed above, we have chosen the Smith and Wesson M&P Shield in 9x19mm for receiving our highest commendations. When it comes to lightweight, polymer framed sub-compacts, we do not recommend firing anything more powerful than a 9mm. This is not to say the .40S&W caliber is too powerful, but with such a small firearm for self-defense, recoil matters! The Walther PPS ranks as our second choice for a slim EDC pistol but has become slightly outdated with its 5 year old design, not to mention the heavier price tag of nearly $600. We have ruled out the Springfield XD-S .45ACP as being overpowered for its size and weight, though the 9mm version of the XD-S may take the prize when it is later released to the public. The Taurus 709 “Slim” has been ruled out, for Taurus semi-automatic pistols often provide poor build quality and are practically guaranteed to have problems over time.
The brand new M&P Shield is the first pistol of the M&P line to incorporate a trigger reset that is almost identical to that of a Glock. Considering that we have previously chosen the compact 9mm Glock19 with 15 round high capacity mags as our go-to all around self-defense pistol, the M&P9 Shield has become our top choice for an EDC pistol. With a price tag of $450 that is absolutely unbeatable for any high quality automatic pistol, this newcomer on the block does not just provide superiority for concealed carry but also gives you the best bang-for-you-buck of any firearm on the market.
Kahr CM9 9mm, MSRP: $517
Keltec PF-9 9mm, MSRP: $333
Ruger LCP .380 Auto, MSRP: $379
S&W Bodyguard .380 Auto, MSRP: $419