CCW with Different Platforms

CCW with Different Platforms

CCW with Different Platforms

I’ll open with a confession: this article was written in part to help me work through some issues I had with  CCW, and as a result it may raise more questions than it answers. Caveat Lector.

Recommendations for CCW abound, as do thoughts about backup weapons and finding the right gun for the circumstances: what you’re wearing, what they might be wearing, vehicle carry, office carry, purse carry, ankle holsters for holdout weapons, etc. The assumption is that carrying multiple different platforms at different times and for different reasons is a fait accompli. I started to wonder if that were true.

Can we carry different platforms with different manuals of arms with no loss in performance?

According to my entirely non-scientific research: maybe. A lot depends on the shooter.

Anyone who has ever served in the military knows how much time you spend with your weapons: drilling, training, breaking them down and cleaning them, reassembling them. Mag swaps, shooting positions, and other aspects of the manual of arms become ingrained in your nerves and muscles. There’s a reason for this: under pressure you won’t have time to think about where the safety is or how to cycle the action. It just has to happen, and immediately.

Regardless of which platform you choose for concealed carry, or how many different weapons you use in that role, you need to have that level of familiarity and proficiency. No exceptions, no excuses; practice your basic CCW skills until you can’t do them wrong.  And then practice some more, on the regular.

With that aside, there are some things you can do to make the switch between CCW platforms as smooth as possible:

Consistency is key.

To the greatest extent possible, try and carry weapons in the same places/manners, e.g. shoulder holsters, IWB at 4:00, etc. You’ll retrain less muscle memory. Likewise, keep your extra mags in the same place if at all possible. Seasonal clothing or other issues may prevent all of this, but it’s something to bear in mind.

Adjust your practice time accordingly.

If you carry differently in winter, adjust your training time as that season approaches. This might be a little inconvenient, but it’s better than being caught unprepared. Likewise, if you’re adopting a new platform or carry method, practice extensively before actually CCW-ing with it. You’re trusting your life to this setup, and you need to put the work in so your gear can take care of you.

Try to stick with similar platforms.

That is, try to use handguns with similar controls, sights, etc. As with my first bullet point, you’re giving yourself less to unlearn. I’ll be the first to say that this isn’t a hard and fast rule: guns are tools, and many professionals use switch between different tools instinctively and without issue. That approach does call for more practice time—something to think about as you move forward.

Again, these are just my thoughts on the matter, and different approaches do work for different folks. If you regularly transition from one CCW to another, I’d very much like to hear about your experiences and training approaches. Shoot me an email or hit me up on Twitter. And stay safe out there!

No Code Needed
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S&W M&P Shield M2.0 EDC Kit

This is a neat kit where you get a S&W M&P9 Shield M2.0 along with an M&P Oasis knife and a Delta Force CS-10 Flashlight. Also, S&W is currently having a $50 rebate which brings the price down to $299.99. Not a bad deal.

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Michael Jenkins is a writer and editor based in Wilmington, North Carolina. He is a lifelong reader, gardener, shooter, and musician. You can reach him at
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I think it’s important to say, pick a platform that is comfortable enough that you will carry it every day. You don’t need a 45 ACP 1911 to conceal carry. You don’t need a full size gun with a 17 round magazine. A nice single stack 9mm will do just fine, and with the right holster is so comfortable you don’t even notice it’s there.

LTC (Retired) LD

I agree with groberts1980 – carry a sidearm in a platform that is comfortable and with which you are most familiar. Being intimately familiar with a particular platform reduces the possibility of mistakes with it under stress. This doesn’t mean you have to limit yourself to one sidearm only. For example, the S&W M&P line all function exactly the same way, with all manipulation levers in the same locations. The same is true for Glocks or almost any 1911 configuration. You can carry a single stack or a double stack sidearm, depending upon weather, your mode of dress, etc.; the operation and function of either will be identical to the other. Only capacity and tactile feel changes, neither of which will be a big issue.


I use the Glock platform almost exclusivesly. Interchangeability of magazines, identical manual of arms, and widespread holster availability are all good reasons.

john northrop

I’m with ya. Glocks for the “pull, point, shoot” and the occasional wheel gun if I absolutely have to – again in a DAO pull, point, shoot manner.

I tried it…I’m not good enough to go back and forth under stress proficiently. I also carry all guns and mags, (strips if necessary) in the same positions daily. I choose a method that allows me to carry every day regardless of clothing choices…so that makes it easy. (Smart Carry with kydex insert)