Handguns and Ammunition Forum banner

Why do you carry a full-size auto or revolver?

4273 Views 29 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  cajunbass
We've done pocketguns and snubbies, but here's an equally interesting question: why the full-size shootin' irons?

Please, no one say "because I'm a LEO." We all fully understand your reasons for carrying a full-size automatic. You have a VERY high chance, relatively speaking, of needing that kind of firepower, and don't have to worry about hiding the gun, and we're all fully aware of that!

What I'm interested in is the logic behind the choice of those private citizens who don't step out the door with less than a true service-auto, or 4" .357.

Granted, some of these guns conceal rather easily for their size, like the Hi-Power, for instance, but still, that is only for their size. It would still be inifinitely more easy to stuff a J-frame or a Kahr into a pocket.

Granted, with the autos, you have maddeningly deep ammunition reserves, but some semi-compact, and even compact autos, like the Glock 26, aren't exactly leaving you out in the rain for ammunition capacity, either!

Granted, with the revolvers, you have excellent reliability, and the ability to utilize the magnum opus among handgun and ammunition manufacturers' defensive power capabilities, no pun intended, but a 10mm auto is, nowadays, very easy to verify as nearly if not equally reliable as a revolver, and still packs enough punch to bring down a good-size bear, with a hot load.

For all these facts, though, some people still tote a Glock 17 IWB, or a 6" S&W model 28 in a shoulder rig, and wouldn't switch for the world. There must, then, be some reason, and that's what I'm here to find out.
1 - 20 of 30 Posts
Hello. When I go with a belt gun for concealed carry rather than the pocketed J-frame, it is because I see myself as being in a more likely scenario to have to use a sidearm for protection. For example, if having to go into a rougher part of a large city at night, I'd rather have a Browning 9mm Hi Power or .45 1911 than "just" my snub. For me, it is a balance of perceived need vs ease of carry. I believe in being armed 24/7 if at all possible, but don't feel the need to wear a "real" gun all of the time. When I do carry something larger, the J-frame & one reload for it remain on my person as well.

The wisest choice might very well be to carry the belt gun all of the time, but most of the time, I'm at home or not in other than my neighborhood.

I use my colt 45 or my browning 40 because they are dependable and a better defensive round. I carry in my briefcase or in a belt holster.
I carry the biggest I can, considering weather, clothing, and conflict potential.
The season dictates what I carry. When "winter" comes down here, and everyone is more layered up. I just suspect a full size carry piece (ie 1911/686+) is more applicable (and easier to conceal at that time of year) than a mouse gun.

During the winter, my SP 101 with the FBI load or my Mak is about the lightest I'd go. Otherwise, my P-32 or Mak will do me just fine in the summer, unless I feel I'm in a high threat environment.

Indeed, maybe I should just stay out of the environment (although this summer it was kinda tough with the Hurricanes blowing through
See less See more

Guess I can throw in my two cents. I carry a NAA 22 Mag Mini revolver all the time, where it's legal. I also add a Keltec P3AT when I have the right clothes on for easy carrying without being spied out. I will also carry a Rossi 38 snub instead of the Keltec sometimes.

For some reason I can't seen to find an IWB holster thats comfortable enough for full time carry with my Browning or my 686 Smith. But I will continue to look and experiment with different types as funds, friends and time permit.

I carry a full-size duty weapon most of the time. Handguns are a compromise at best -- availability on the one hand, limited power and range on the other. So I want the best weapon I can have. Not that I never carry a pocket gun -- there are times when this is the best I can do, such as when I may have to take my jacket off. But my job and lifestyle permit full-size carry almost all the time. This lessens the amount of compromise -- doesn't eliminate it, just lessens it. Second, I often have chance opportunities to get a little shooting in, so I always have a gun that I want to shoot and enjoy shooting, which is not really the case with my pocket guns. Also, the guns I carry (HP, 1911, Model 24, Model 13, Beretta 96, in rotation), I guess this is kind of sappy, but I just really like them and like having them around. They are all classics, all in great shape, all supremely reliable. Some people feel the same way about their car or truck. I don't give a darn about vehicles, but I dig my guns. Sounds like some kinda nut don't it?
See less See more
Hi there chubbypidgeon,

Yes, I carry my G-23 or BHP when I know that I am going somewhere where the possibility of an armed encounter or threat environment might increase in a RH belt slide holster.

Mostly, reliability. Easier to shoot would be second.

I now carry, in order of preference: 5" 1911, Browning HiPower, HK P7.

I can usually hide the 5" 1911 or BHP OK, so that's not a factor most days.
But if the clothing I'm wearing requires me to go with something easier to hide, I go to the HK P7.
I skip right over compact 1911s. I've only had two (Colt and Para), but both were pretty undependable.

I've preferred the feel of Commanders over 5" 1911s since the first time I handled one. But, when I once kept track on paper for a period of about a year, I had slightly more malfunctions with the Commander-size guns.
And I mean very slightly.
Still, any difference is enough.
I'm going to go to the "old critter" response. Over time as my hand have become stiffer and more arthritic it's far easier to acquire and aim my BHP, 1911 or even a 4 in. Python. I guess the offsetting benefit is that as I got older and "bulkier" it's easier to conceal a full-size handgun.

May not be very profound - but a practical response to reality for me.
Well, as most of you probably know by now, I don't carry everyday, because I can't. However, when I can, it'll be a full size handgun the majority of the time, for several reasons:

1) Reliability. Compact handguns, because of their size are by nature more complicated than large ones. Murphy packed a full size handgun.

2) Accuracy. No question that a full size gun is more accurate than a smaller gun.

3) Power. Full size handguns are more powerful, based upon their ability to handle more powerful cartridges AND their longer barrels aid velocity.

4) Heavier...if something goes wrong I can use it for a club! <---I'm just joking of course.

It's not practical however, to carry my full size 1911 everyday. Thus, I find myself looking for alternatives, Kel-Tecs keep popping up on my radar. A P-32 for pocket carry and a P-11 for belt carry, seems to be a great option when the 1911 isn't.

See less See more
Hi Chubbypigeon,

We've all heard the advice that we carry handguns "just in case," and if we knew a gunfight would happen we just wouldn't be there. This usually comes on the tail of someone saying that they carry only when they think a gunfight might happen.

I feel the same holds true with small guns vs. big guns: You never know when you'll be confronted, and what type of firepower you might need.

If I'm carrying a five shot snub and am confronted by three people, they get one shot apiece and hopefully cover/concealment will be near. After that one shot apiece I'd only have two shots left.

With my Taurus, I can give five shots apiece in the above scenario before I have to reload. I can do this with more power and less muzzle flip at near .357mag power levels. I won't go into the ergonomics and pointability of the thing.

I guess I subscribe to, if you think it's worth carrying a gun, then it's worth carrying a big gun.

I do not look down on "mouseguns" however. I'll have to carry one next summer and while I'll feel less armed, I won't feel unarmed.

Josh <><
See less See more
So far, it looks like the replies boil down to one of four major types:

"I think I'm going somewhere where things might get serious."

"They're easier to shoot."

"I just like 'em."

"I can."

All good reasons!

Cause it makes me feel better. I sort of have that "what if" factor in my brain.

And yes, it does have to do with being an LEO. Thats what caused the "what if" thingy to thrive. ;)
I'm wearing my 4" 686,
1. Because I like it
2. It shoots easy with magnums (because of weight and 4" barrell)
3. It is my only handgun. For home defence I believe in my Mossberg 500....
I carry the full-sized, full-power 10mm because... it works!

Been my experience that full sized semiautos simply run more reliably, are easier to shoot because they fit more hands better, and they maximize what little power a pistol has via barrel length.
I'm a surgeon presently living in the philippines. Carnapping(esp for SUVs) has been on the rise lately esp. the area where my hospital is located. I carry a .45 STI Edge , placed in abelt bag by my side in the car. I just feel more secure w/ a full size gun than a smaller pistol in case i encounter these thugs. Having said that, I wonder if I really have a rats chance in a shootout, because these guys usually carry armalites or some hi-powered weapon and they maneuver quite fast almost military-like! Therefore,I'm now considering in obtaining a baby armalite or a baby ghalil. Or maybe just give up my car!!
Since I am but a lowly school teacher and not VP of Enron, I don't have a massive stable of shootin' irons to choose from ( and no. . .I don't take firearms into the school !!! ). Outside of .22s, I have the choice between .32 auto or 9mm parabellum. Frankly, I feel safer carrying a good knife than my Walther PP, though I think it's darn cute. That little cartidge just does not inspire confidence. So, for carry, it's definitely the Browning Hi-Power.

Now the question of why we carry. This is not directed at law enforcement types, or you guys in high crime areas, or those that sell $100,000 diamond jewelry. I live in a nice area with very little violent crime, but I still feel better armed. Hmmmmm. . . Genetics, I think, and you just can't fight genetics.

My wife continually asks me why I like guns. I shrug and ask, "Why do you like flowers?"


The problem with full-sized guns is getting to them. In parts of the country where you have real winter, (like where I live), a 1911 or BHP isn't that easy to get to under a winter coat and maybe a sweatshirt etc.. That's why I carry a 642 in a coat pocket. If the area's really bad I'll do as Mr. Camp and carry a second bigger gun in my waistband.
1 - 20 of 30 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.