We preach carrying as much gun as possible, but for people who live in the real world in which professional and social obligations do not lend well to dressing around a full-size gun, a deep concealment pistol is needed. When out and about in casual clothing, I carry a double-stack 9mm pistol, but when I need to dress formally for certain social obligations, I usually carry a small revolver. However, this is not the only circumstances in which I use the small gun; when exercising in gym shorts, when working outside in the yard, and when simply lounging around the home, the small gun is either in the waistband or in a pocket. I suspect that many concealed carriers out there are similar in this regard; the small gun gets carried often.
With this in mind, I would submit that for many concealed carriers, the deep concealment option, which is often considered secondary, is likely the most important defensive weapon due to the amount of time it is actually used. Many concealed carriers may feel that they wear their “full-size” gun most of the time, but in fact, they don’t. If one is honest in their self-assessment, they will likely realize that the small gun is getting carried for the occasions that require something small, but likely, far more often than just that.
Is there anything wrong with carrying a small gun more often? The argument to carry “as much gun as you can” is well-intentioned and well-reasoned. With the increase in criminal activity involving multiple aggressors and with the increase in mass killer events, carrying a capable fighting pistol makes good sense. A larger handgun with more ammunition capacity is typically more shootable, and more capacity is a good thing. However, most would agree that a small pocket pistol or small-frame revolver that gets carried all the time is far more valuable than a more capable gun that is carried only part-time. It is human nature to go with the easier solution, so small guns get carried a lot. Thus, for most, it is the most important gun.
Know the Limitations
Unfortunately, the majority of concealed carriers that use a small gun rarely practice with it. Even if the small gun gets carried ninety percent of the time, the big gun that only gets carried occasionally tends to get all the training time. Again, human nature, big guns are easier to shoot. However, if you are carrying your deep concealment gun most of the time, then it warrants significant training effort.
The first benefit gained through training with your small gun is understanding the limitations. How much do you give up in performance compared to your full-size carry gun? Three constructive elements will emerge from knowing this: first, you will understand the limits of your range, accuracy, and speed with the small gun. Second, you will better determine how often you should be carrying the small gun compared to the more capable pistol. Third, you may well realize that much of the limitation can be overcome through more practice with the limited platform.
Determine the Role of the Small Gun
If you utilize a small revolver or a pocket pistol chambered in 380ACP or the like, then you should acknowledge that you are, indeed, giving up significant capability compared to carrying a full-size or compact autoloader. The new breed of micro guns that are chambered in 9mm, yet have a substantial capacity of ten plus rounds may be a solution that can be carried anywhere, and these guns, indeed, greatly close the gap between service pistols and pocket-sized guns. If one of these tiny but higher-capacity guns works for carrying all of the time, in all circumstances, I would propose not losing sleep over it. Simply maximize your training with it.
But, If you must use something that is even smaller for deep concealment like the aforementioned small revolver or tiny pocket auto, then having an honest assessment of when you can carry more is warranted. Again, if you only carry such a diminutive option, but you carry it all the time, you are ahead of the curve compared to the general public. However, there is probably a great deal of time when you can carry more. While carrying any gun is far better than carrying no gun, I am always inclined to suggest carrying “as much gun as you can” in light of the current state of the world.
When out in public during times that you can be dressed casually, which is probably quite often, there is no reason not to carry a larger, more capable gun. With modern holster options, most people can conceal compact, or even full-size, pistols under an untucked or open-front shirt. Consider the escalation in active killer events, the prevalence of multiple assailants in armed robbery, or the increase in gang activity; an auto loader with duty capacity is in order.
Still, we return to the reality that determines the course of most concealed carriers’ choices, and even for those committed to carrying enough gun, there are many circumstances that limit this choice. The small, deep concealment pistol is likely the one that will get carried most often when combining the need to accommodate non-permissive environment carry, gym or jogging carry, and home carry. Therefore, do not neglect training with your deep concealment gun, which might be your most important defensive tool.