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3 Reasons To Carry A Full-Sized Pistol Instead Of A Compact One

3 Reasons To Carry A Full-Sized Pistol Instead Of A Compact One

Concealed carry is a big responsibility, but before you can begin “packing heat,” you first need to select the right pistol.

The decision, of course, can be intimidating. There are an abundance of different guns to choose from, ranging from tiny pocket pistols to big full-sized firearms.

Most people will favor something small, such as a compact single-stack 9mm pistol or a pocket-sized .380. But I carry a full-sized pistol, specifically a Walther PPQ M2 in 9mm.

Why do I carry a full-sized pistol instead of something that would be smaller and easier to conceal?

Let’s examine that question.

1. Greater capacity.

The single biggest reason I favor conceal carrying a large handgun is the greater capacity in the magazine. The PPQ holds 15 or 17 rounds, depending on the magazine you use. Why is this important? The answer is that you may find yourself going up against multiple attackers, and in this scenario it’s always better to have more bullets than less. In contrast to full-sized 9mm handguns, the single-stack counterparts such as the Glock 43, S&W Shield, or Walther PPS hold 6, 7 or 8 rounds in the magazine.

2. Recoil control.

Another huge advantage to the full-size pistol is greater recoil control. Not only does the increased weight and size help dampen the recoil, but you will have improved control over the weapon, as well. It always will be easier to shoot a Glock 19 or 17 than it is a pocket pistol like a Ruger LCP or Kel-Tec P3-AT

 3. Versatility.

Finally, I also prefer a full-sized pistol for its overall versatility. While I can conceal carry the PPQ, I also can strap it to my hip for open carry for a sidearm when I venture out into the woods, such as for camping, hunting or motorcycle/ATV riding. In other words, I don’t have to buy one pistol for concealment and another for general purpose use. I can use one gun for both purposes.

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Now, could you technically also carry a smaller pistol such as S&W Shield in this fashion? Sure, but most people would agree that a larger pistol is more preferable for general purpose outdoor use than a smaller one.

Next, let’s go over a couple of tips you can use to make conceal carrying a full-sized pistol as easy as possible.

Invest in a quality belt and holster

Quality holsters almost always cost more money, but they are well worth the investment. Factors to look for in a holster include rigidness, touch stitches or rivets, and the ability to hold the pistol tightly while also permitting a clean drawn. High-quality leather or Kydex works great for this; nylon or anything cheaply made will not suffice.

In addition, don’t forget to buy a high-quality belt. Avoid some dress belts, as they may not be able to support your holster, firearm, spare magazine(s), and whatever else you have for the whole day and could end up breaking. Instead, go with a thicker leather belt made specifically for supporting the increased weight of your gun and equipment.

Be conscientious about what you wear

A major goal of concealed carry, regardless of which firearm you are carrying, is to minimize or prevent printing. The best way to prevent printing of a full-sized pistol is to wear loosely fitted outer layers, such as a long and loose T-shirt, jacket or sweat shirt. In addition, the darker the color of the garment, the less the pistol will show. Remember: You don’t want to draw attention to yourself, so wear something that looks as casual as possible.

What do you prefer for concealed carry – a full-sized pistol or a compact one? Share your observations in the section below:

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9 comments

  1. I carry a 9MM in a holster under my left arm. Concealment is an issue especially in warmer months…..I prefer a loose fitting shirt

  2. I carry a water ppq m2 as well. Great gun and not to difficult to conceal with a good holster and loose shirt

  3. I generally carry a full-size or compact pistol. The compact models, such as the M&P 9c or the Glock 26 are nice because they are compatible with the full-size magazines. For myself I find no real advantage in the single-stack options as the thinner profile does not seem to warrant the sacrifice in capacity and magazine compatibility. I find the shorter grip does make it more concealable, so a compact double-stack seems the sweet spot.

  4. It depends on why you carry the gun. I don’t CC everyday for protection – I carry for ranch work and hiking / hunting. A compact pistol when doing chores is easier for me to deal with – my Star PD is perfect for that, little bulk that does not weigh me down or get in the way. It could work as a conceal carry with the right holster.

    I do agree for shooting, the full size handgun is easier to shoot for accuracy and control of recoil. Great points made for appropriate holster / belt.

    Thanks for the post.

  5. I usually carry my Ruger LCR .357….super light weight and easy to conceal…and packs a punch!!

  6. TheSouthernNationalist

    I alternate between my Ruger P-89 9mm and my Springfield 1911 .45.
    Both carry really well and at times I carry them both.

  7. I agree with a full size pistol. I carry the FN 5.7, due to its weight and mag capacity. Also, a quality holster is a must!

  8. I carry a mid size pistol, specifically a PARA Carry 12 which is 12+1 capacity. I usually have two 14 round spare mags close by. For me, it’s the best of both – higher capacity & more weight than a compact, smaller & less weight than a full size.

  9. I can see this article pertains mostly to men. I am a small woman and a full-size weapon is impossible for me to wrap my hand around, which would mean I could not hold it steady. I carry a Ruger LC9S in a concealed purse pocket so no need to worry about printing.

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