Subcompacts or the myth of easy insurance.

Let it be the Ruger LCP, a snubbie, a Seacamp or any of the old and new subcompacts out there, let us dispense with the bullshit from the get go: They are carried out of laziness by 90% of their owners.

Since I’ve been carrying, I have done so with a medium size firearm (after a short initial stint with a full size) and I know the kind of dedication it requires. It is not light, it is not that concealable if you carry outside the waistband, you may be faced with having to do a whole uncomfortable strip show if you have to go inside a Government-Mandated Gun Free Zone. Doctors and dentists offices seem to prefer chairs with arms where a you can’t seem to fit with the gun in your waist, etc. I know it is a pain in the ribs, you know it too.

One day,  Lazy Gun Owner is perusing through the glass counters of his local gun shop and sees that small wonder Stamp-Size Gun and suddenly his mind flashes with an epiphany: “Well damn! Look it here! I can carry that pretty little thing in my pocket, nobody will notice and I don’t have to load up on my waist like rough carpenter!” So they get that gorgeous cute thingie, a couple of boxes of ammo (one defensive-type of course) and head for the range.  Here is when he discovers that cutie Stamp-Size Gun won’t shoot accurately past 5 yards, although actually the gun can but it is the Shooter that cannot do it since a small handgun usually has the trigger pull of a nutcracker trying to pry open a golf ball and a small sight radius that makes aiming more difficult. But Lazy Gun Owner does not know or promises himself he will take the time to learn sometime in the future and anyways most gunfights happen at bad breath distance, right? Who needs aiming? Next he gets home, ditches his big gun, holster, spare mags and slides the new miniature in the pocket….along with the tactical knife, 43 cents in change (including a Canadian penny), 3 Skittles and 3 ounces of lint.

If you are going to carry a sub-compact, be smart about it. First: Be Proficient with the Gun. I don’t care how well you shoot your $5,000 ultra customized 1911 from a race holster, it is not a guarantee that you will be James Bond with a small semi auto drawing the bottom of your front pants pocket. Shorter Barrel and short sight radius makes any sub compact a gun that requires a different approach and practice, plus the added time and effort to dig for it in your pocket which does hinder proper grip and initial manipulation. Second: Carry the gun smartly. Have nothing but the gun in the pocket designated for the gun and use a pocket holster designed for that effect. There are holsters available that not only will help you with a proper grip and presentation of the gun (remember, you are still drawing from a pocket and it won’t be fast) but will also protect it from sweat, dirt and other elements that might cause a malfunction when the you need the gun the most. Added advantage is that most pocket holsters will disguise the shape of the gun and help you avoid printing. Third: Get the best defensive ammo you can safely shoot. But also be aware that smaller pistol calibers will be more inefficient than bigger pistol calibers and that all pistol calibers are not good people stoppers. Fourth: Carry spare ammo. Yes Virginia, there are malfunctions and missed shots and multiple targets out there. Who told you that only 5 puny rounds were enough?

There is always one or more trade offs when you seek comfort or any other advantage.  What you carry is your decision as well as how you carry and how much practice you should have. We all have heard/ read the tales of people brought down by a single shot from a .22, but always think that it is not going to happen to you and that Murphy is going to mess with your sorry but right there and then.

6 Replies to “Subcompacts or the myth of easy insurance.”

  1. LOL when you mention the dentist’s office… he didn’t know I was packing till he put his elbow on my waist to get some leverage… and wanted to know what the hell was that ‘hard thing’ on my waist. (I wear IWB with a Smith 9mm).
    Reminds me, also, of John Wayne at the dentist office screaming as the dentist pulls his perfectly good tooth but has to fool the bad guys.
    Thanks for the chuckles.
    Shy III




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  2. Initially this post smacked of Big Gun Elitism. But after reading it a couple of times I see that you’re saying that too many otherwise-able gun owners are choosing to carry a featherweight so they aren’t bothered by any bulk.

    I carry every time I get out of bed. Sometimes CC, sometimes OC, but always. I usually carry a snubbie. I’m also a school teacher. I think you get the picture. On the days I’m not at work I rotate through a full-size 1911 in .45 or a 6-inch J-frame in .357, both on my hip. Tons of bulk, but I feel lots better about my security with a bit more gun.

    I have to shoot twice the rounds at the range with my snubbie than I do anything else in my collection just to stay confident. For me it’s lots more work to carry a snubbie than a 1911. It allows me to carry at all times, something a full size would prevent.




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  3. If you carry a snubbie, do you shoot it DA? If it has a spur hammer, remove it. When I take a snubbie to the range, most people want to thumb cock it first. Even with a pocket hammer! It’s NOT a target gun, folks! (I’m considering making them DAO.) I like to shoot them on the 40 yard tin can range. DA, of course. If you don’t carry a reload, I think that is being foolish.
    Still, if all you can successfully conceal is a mouse gun, and changing the circumstances is not feasible, go for it.




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  4. I suppose the comfort factor isn’t a big deal to me. It would not do for me to think that if I was ever involved in a life or death fight, I chose comfort over the ability to halt an attack. Excellent post.




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