The guns we choose to carry have a great deal to do with personal opinion and preference, similar to the cars we drive. However, also similar to the cars we drive, there is the element of practicality. A guy who spends 99% of his time just driving to and from work in an urban commute is probably better served by a Toyota Prius than by a Dodge Ram with a Hemi engine. Still, many of us prefer the Ram no matter the circumstances. It is similar with guns.
For myself, weight has become an integral part of my decision making concerning carry guns. My most commonly carried guns, and really the only two guns I have used for concealed carry for the past several years, are a Glock 26 or a Ruger LCR revolver. Both are very light in weight for their class of weapon. Compare that, however, to two of my previous carry guns: a Colt 1911 Combat Elite and a Ruger SP101. Both are very heavy for their class.
Now, is the extra weight the end of the world? No. In fact, with a good holster I always found the full-size 1911 fine to carry. But, why bother? A Glock 19 holds almost twice the ammo for half the weight and requires less maintenance. My Glock 26, with 12 round magazines, carries considerably smaller than a Glock 19 and has 50% more capacity than does a standard 1911. For myself, that made all the difference, and a 1911 has not been on my waist for many years.
Similarly, I used the SP101 extensively several years back, but compared to the LCR, it provides the same limited capability of being a 5-shot snub, but does so at twice the weight. For me, it makes a difference, and I don’t carry that gun anymore. The SP101 is really geared for belt carry as it proves heavy for ankle, pocket, or even deep-concealment belly band carry. Therefore, if I am carrying a gun on the belt anyway, why would it be a 5 shot snub instead of a 12-17 round auto?
So, the light-weight and more modern guns are certainly more practical for carry, but does that mean the older, heavier, designs are not viable? Hardly. The 1911 is still used by legions of devoted shooters and concealed carriers. The obvious reason is that, despite the age of the design, the trigger mechanism is like no other, and a 1911 will typically out-perform all else concerning marksmanship from a pistol due to this aspect alone. If that is worth the additional weight and limited capacity to the user, so be it.
Similarly, the SP101 is only a 5 shot snub as is an LCR or Smith and Wesson J Frame, but it shoots much better due to the weight. If an individual is a revolver enthusiast that chooses to use only a snub, but on a belt, the SP101 proves a small, but very shootable, option. Firing 200 rounds of 38 Special at a range session with the SP101 is easy, with the LCR it is a herculean task. Therefore, despite the weight for class, it is eminently useable for some people.
For myself, lighter is better. Polymer framed guns prove light in weight and easier to carry, and they also require less maintenance than all-steel guns. Both the 1911 and the SP101 would form rust when carrying them even though they are stainless steel. A Glock and a Ruger LCR are all but impervious to rust. I want to spend my time carrying and shooting my guns, not maintaining them. For me, the modern world of polymer pistols has a lot to offer and I am never going back. I still love the all-steel Colt and SP101 but I won’t carry them again. Your mileage may vary.
I carried an SP101 for a bit. It was way too heavy, but I was young and inexperienced. I’ve tried a bunch of others since including Glocks, Kimbers, and Ruger compacts. I have since settled on a SIG 365. I agree that the weight of the pistol starts to “weigh” on you as the day ebbs on.
I completely agree. I think many who argue that weight does not matter are the guys who leave their gun in the car and don’t actually carry it.
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