The Guardian Broadcast
"Providing Concealed Carry & Armed Self-Defense Wisdom."
A podcast by Patrick Kilchermann, founder of the Concealed Carry University.
"Is There a Place for Enjoyment in Concealed Carry?"
While most people never make it to the point of objectivity that will allow them to even ponder fun and concealed carry, the well-balanced guardian can tackle that question with confidence. Join Pat as he explores the "Fun Gun Factor."
Listen using the audio player above OR read the text transcript of this podcast below.
Note: 100% accuracy on text transcription is not guaranteed.
Well, hello fellow Guardians. One of the most interesting components to the armed lifestyle is the merger of the technical elements of guns and holsters and ammo and body mechanics with the human elements of desire and preference and feel.
It’s fascinating, because it reminds us that empirical data and measurements can only take us so far. Now, without a doubt, I do not believe most guardians ride the empirical data far enough. What I mean is, I think a lot of people get into handguns and concealed carry, and they see all the vastly different types of weaponry and accessories, and combat training schools of thought that are out there, and they think: “well, if even the experts can’t agree on what’s the best, my number one job then is to just find out what works best for me.” That would be fine, except most people’s idea of what “is the best” settles on what is easiest. The easiest gun to carry must be the best. The most comfortable carry position must be the best. And on, and on.
I don’t recommend that approach, because rarely are the easiest pathways in any topic the best ones. Anyone who has been a Concealed Carry University alumni or a student of the Guardian Discipline for very long knows where I stand: chase the empirical evidence to the top of what your body and abilities will allow, and THEN let the human element take over. At that point, let your personal preferences take over. Go with what is the most fun for you. Because that’s important! Fun is important.
So, what do I mean by all that? Well, let’s consider handgun selection.
Let’s say that you tried my “best practice” advice, which is to conceal a double stack 9mm or .40 S&W, starting off in the smallest size, the sub-compact. A pistol that holds 10 rounds or more, in a very small footprint. But let’s say you just can’t do that. Your station in life demands a tuckable holster in a very thin pistol. So, let’s say you’re down to hunting for the best, most reliable and durable single-stack 9mm you can find.
Very quickly, your research will lead you to pistols like the Beretta Nano, a Walther PPS, or GLOCK 43, or Kahr CM9, a Sig P290, or a Smith M&P Shield, or of course the Springfield XDS.
Now, these are all fantastic weapons, each with their own nuanced advantages and disadvantages within this category of single stack 9s, some more durable and heavy than others; others a bit wider with nicer triggers. And while I’d personally place the Sig, the M&P Shield, the G43, or the XDS at the top of the pack for durability, they’re all fine concealed carry weapons in terms of reliability, when you use the right ammo. So, this list – and maybe a couple others – is where the empirical evidence of “which are the best single stack 9s” will take you. But that still leaves you a lot of choices! And the multitude of options available to us even at the Tier 1 level isn’t only isolated to handguns: even when you reach the top of the pack with holster selection, or ammo selection, or carry position, or even defensive tactic school of thought and instructors – there are still a lot of great choices.
And this is where the human element of gear selection and preferences kicks in. Because: how then do you make the best decision? Who do you ask? Well, that’s the great part: the choice is absolutely yours, and yours alone. You choose what works best for you, and which one you like the most.
We humans have always formed bonds with the tools in our lives. Tools are, after all, one of the things that makes us unique in the world. Some people will mock the bond between a man and his muscle car or truck. Or a woman and her shoes. These people don’t realize it, but they’re mocking human nature. They’re mocking gravity. People have always formed bonds with tools, and the great takeaway here is that, the stronger the bond, the more effective with those tools the person tends to be. And in the case of concealment handguns: the more bonded we are to our guns, the more likely we’ll be to carry them and keep them on our persons. So: we must increase the bond.
How do we do that?
The beginning is to, as I said, choose a gun you like. Chase the empirical data, yes. Choose a Tier 1 gun over a Tier 2 gun, recognizing that a Keltec is not as good as a Sig or a Smith or a Springfield or a GLOCK. But then, try them all. Put them in your hand and see if any sparks fly. You might put the GLOCK 43 in your hand and think. “Hmmm… it’s good, yeah, I can see carrying this.” But then you might put the XDS in your hand, and think, “Woah!” Or the opposite could be true.
The bottom line is, you can’t let anyone else influence you here. You have to choose the gun you like. My right-hand man and I carry completely different pistols from completely different platforms. I carry a GLOCK, and he carries a CZ75. Why do we each carry different pistols? I like a GLOCK more, and he likes a CZ more. One of my old consultants carries a Smith & Wesson M&P. One of my close friends carried a Springfield XDM. Another carries a Ruger SR9. We all respect each other, and we respect each other’s choices.
So let me make this clear: While a Tier 2 gun is simply not as good as a Tier 1 gun, all Tier 1 guns are plenty good enough. And so if you hear anyone arguing GLOCK over XD, or XD over GLOCK, or Sig over Smith – just tune them out. Unless they know something I don’t, they’re almost certainly just trying to inflict their personal preferences on you. And you don’t need that. These factions that form around brand loyalty really have no place.
But once you choose your gun, there is something else you can do to go a little bit further, if you wish. I’m referring to cosmetic pistol modifications. These should only be performed by experts, whether that’s you, or a paid professional.
Pistol mods are a great way to personalize your handgun to make it feel more personal to you, and in some cases may boost your effectiveness with it. Things like grip modifications, custom sights, custom coating jobs, etc. Some people go to extremes and have the form factor of their polymer pistols by experts to reduce grips or add stippling – and other people have the steel slides of semi-autos modified for better ergonomics.
There are a lot of schools of thought on pistol mods. Some argue that if they were good ideas, the pistol’s engineers would have implemented from the start. But at least in all cases, that can’t be fully the case. After all, grip texture and sight design come down to personal preference. Another speculative argument is that these mods could look bad in court following a shooting: “Your honor, this man loved killing so much that he changed the factory color of his pistol from black to olive drab!” These arguments sound great conceptually, but they’ve always smelled a little funky to me. In fact, my team and I are working to get to the bottom of many of these legal-related questions we often have, and so far what we’re finding is that almost all of these legal fears are grossly over-stated. And as of yet, I’ve not found a single instance of a legitimate self-defense shooting where a pistol modification was used as ammunition against a CPL holder.
And in that light, in addition to cosmetic modifications, mechanical modifications are possible too. Many Tier 1 models offer improved barrels, control surfaces, trigger group replacements, and on and on. Again, there are many schools of thought here, and these should only ever be performed by an expert. That said, my legal-related research is coming up dry when trying to justify many of the old fears related to pistol modifications.
That’s all up to you. I can tell you that I have many stock, factory GLOCKs, then I have a couple of highly customized GLOCKs. I have one GLOCK that has nearly $2,000 in upgrades. It’s a fine pistol – a real Cadillac. Shooting that pistol really does remind me of driving my dad’s old Oldsmobile Delta Ninety Eight, weighing as much as a Land Rover SUV, with its 450 cubic inch V8. And, I doubt there’s another like it with its exact configuration anywhere in the world. I don’t have a problem at all carrying handguns like this concealed.
At the end of the day, it’s important that we like our guns. When our guns are “fun”, they can enrich our quality of life, motivate us to carry them more often, and push us to obtain a greater level of skill and ability.