This article originally appeared at Ammoland.
I’m not sure whether I’m decisive or not. Can I get back to you on that later?
When it comes to important decisions like whether I should break off hunks from a giant Hershey bar and dip them in peanut butter during my afternoon writing breaks, I’m pretty sure of my decision process. The answer to that question is always an immediate and resounding yes. Because chocolate and peanut butter. Duh.
When it comes to choosing which gun to carry when I leave the house, things get much harder. The worst part is that there is hardly ever a Hollywood actor around to provide advice and guidance on the matter, so I have to rely on my own limited knowledge.
Here’s the problem. When I can carry a proper full-sized gun, which is almost always given my lifestyle and normal dress code, I frequently get stuck between two of my favorite handguns, a really sweet Springfield Armory 1911 TRP and a really sweet Sig Sauer P229 Legion. Yes, they’re equally sweet, just in different ways, kind of like a two-pound Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup and a Bugatti Veyron.
The Springfield Armory 1911 TRP is a top quality handgun. Yeah, I know, it’s a 1911 – a design that roamed the earth with dinosaurs 65 million years ago, but it doesn’t ever seem to show its age. Modeled after the custom shop FBI 1911 Contract gun, it’s a high-end production model that has many of the same design characteristics, but at a more affordable price point. I’ve geared it up a bit with Crimson Trace 20th Anniversary Master Series Lasergrips and have a slew of nice holsters for it including a Galco King Tuk, Clinger No Print Wonder, and a Galco Miami Classic II Shoulder Holster System (for black tie occasions) just to name a few.
The features and gear are nice, but the real reason this one enters the daily carry decision competition is that it shoots like a dream. Yeah, it’s nice that it’s pleasurable to shoot, but what I really mean is that I shoot it with a lot of confidence, meaning if I aim at something, I’m pretty sure I’m going to hit it.
Here’s the thing. It has a magazine capacity of seven rounds. Yeah, I know, I can order eight rounders, but I already have a stack of factory mags that have proven to be monotonously reliable, so I’m not going to go through all the trouble and expense to validate new magazines just to get one more cartridge in there. I’ve got a nifty and quite comfortable dual magazine carrier from Blue Force Gear that does a great job of toting two extra magazines on the belt, so that brings my total maximum ammo capacity to 22 rounds including the one in the chamber. That’s if I don’t carry a spare mag in my pocket protector.
Also screaming for attention in the carry gun drawer is a Sig Sauer P229 Legion chambered in 9mm. This is another really sweet pistol. It’s a 9mm, but also has a completely different action, using the classic double-action / single-action. While lots of folks hate DA/SA guns because of the transition of trigger feel after the first shot, I like them and have grown to love that revolver-like trigger on the first shot from a draw. I’ve never had any trouble managing the trigger, but admittedly that’s a personal preference thing, and I can certainly understand why some people don’t go for the whole DA/SA deal.
Anyway, this gun shoots like a dream too, and with noticeably less recoil than the TRP, so it helps keep that pesky temporary PTSD to a manageable minimum. With its Grayguns trigger and X-Ray fiber optic / Tritium sights, it’s really, really easy to shoot fast and accurately. I’ve got this one geared up fairly well too with Crimson Trace Lasergrips and a variety of good holsters including another Galco King Tuk, an N82 Tactical, another Galco Miami Classic II Shoulder Holster System for different black tie events, and a new No Print Wonder from Clinger Holsters. Try that last one; you’ll love it. Oh, and it has 15 rounds in each of the three included mags, so when I fill up that same Blue Force Gear mag carrier, I’ve got a total of 46 rounds of 9mm. The grand total is over double that of the 1911 setup.
So there’s the dilemma. The TRP has limited capacity, but since it’s a .45, each of those rounds can wipe out a city block, or at a minimum, Justin Bieber’s Lamborghini. On the other hand, the Legion packs about double the round count, but they’re tiny little 9mm cartridges, hardly adequate for insect control if you listen to the internet commandos.
In all probability, it won’t matter a hill of beans which gun I carry. Yes, we live in a dangerous world, but the odds are pretty darn good that I won’t have to draw either of these guns in a self-defense situation. If it’s a “standard” (for lack of a better word) crime situation, the odds are that the lower capacity 1911 would be adequate. In the very unlikely scenario that I happen to get caught up in one of these terrorist attacks that the news media can’t seem to call terrorist attacks, every extra round will be very welcome indeed. And keep in mind we’re still waiting on that first gunfight survivor to lament the fact that they had too much ammunition available.
I guess there’s always the option of carrying both big caliber and capacity. That would be the FN FNX 45 Tactical, outfitted with a Trijicon RMR red dot sight. It packs 15+1 rounds of .45 ACP and surprisingly, it’s not all that bad to carry. I’ve been using with it an Alien Gear Cloak Tuck inside the waistband holster, and while it’s not as svelte as a Smith & Wesson Shield, it’s perfectly carryable. Yeah, it’s a little bigger and a little heavier, but if you carry a standard full-size gun like a Glock 17/22 or a Smith& Wesson M&P, then it’s not as different as you might expect.
So there’s the problem, and I have no Hollywood elites hanging around to give me advice on the topic. What say you?