Concealed Carry & Home Defense

CCW Weekend: Concealability Or Carrying Capacity, Which Is Better?

Guns and Gear Contributor
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By Sam Hoober, Alien Gear Holsters

There’s no such thing as a perfect gun. When it comes to a concealed carry pistol, there’s a compromise that will have to be made somewhere. Typically, there are four primary factors when it comes to a handgun, and one or more of them – usually – has to give in order for one of the others to shine.

Those are: concealability, carrying capacity, accuracy and comfort. In order for one of those virtues to be expressed, one or more of the others has to suffer at it’s expense.

Which, though, is more important – capacity or concealability?

Concealability is certainly important, as is comfort. After all, a gun that a person can carry with ease is one they won’t find excuses not to leave at home. Also, the point of concealing is not only keeping potential threats from being aware that you’re armed, but also not to alert anyone around to it as well. Some people are deathly afraid of guns and open carry isn’t welcome everywhere – nor always legal.

The trade-off, of course is that pistols that are easily concealed often aren’t the best-shooting pistols (due to short barrel length and increased recoil) and don’t hold many rounds; most of the highly-regarded CCW guns hold ten or fewer rounds of 9mm or whichever caliber they are chambered.

On the other hand, the capacity offered by compact to full-size pistols is something that some people just aren’t willing to trade away. The studies into gunfights reveal many instances of use of firearms by police and also defensive gun use indicate that three or fewer shots does often end the engagement…except when it doesn’t. There have been many incidents where one magazine was not nearly enough.

For instance, consider the account of Sgt. Timothy Gramins of the Skokie, Ill., PD. During a traffic stop in 2009, Gramins, according to PoliceOne, performed a stop of a man suspected of robbing a bank. The suspect wasn’t having it and began shooting. During the firefight, Gramins fired 33 rounds, hitting him 17 times. Of the 17 shots placed into his attacker, 14 were to body; of those, 6 were in vital areas normally considered fatal, including lungs, heart and liver. It wasn’t until he shot the suspect three times in the head that the encounter ended.

There are plenty of other accounts of people firing copious amounts of ammunition and hitting attackers multiple times with seemingly no effect, of course. There are also plenty of accounts of people merely needing to draw a pistol to effectively ward off an assailant.

The fact is that there’s no way to know if one or two magazines of fewer than 10 rounds is going to be sufficient; it all depends on exactly what happens in the moment. Granted, the odds are that if a need arises to use a concealed weapon, the likelihood is that a whole 17 rounds aren’t going to be necessary. Therefore, why not carry a gun that’s comfortable, easy to carry and conceal? A single-stack compact is certainly ideal in that instance.

But what if a person wants the extra capacity afforded by a full-size or compact service pistol? Believe it or not, such pistols are not incredibly difficult to conceal. After all, one of the most popular concealed carry guns on the market is the Glock 19, which is nearly the epitome of a perfect medium gun. Granted, concealing one in jeans and a t-shirt isn’t the always the easiest thing to do. The extra 3 to 4 pounds on one’s waist from a compact or full-size handgun can also be a serious drag, though a quality gun belt and holster can make it far easier than one might think, as well as concealment.

Also, concealed carriers worry a little more about printing than may be necessary. What seems wildly ostentatious to the carrier is often barely noticeable to the layperson. Unless the full outline of a gun is printing through one’s shirt, not many people are really going to notice.

Ultimately, a person should carry the most amount of firepower they can comfortably conceal and carry and, if necessary, shoot easily and accurately. If that means not carrying anything larger than a compact single-stack 9mm, that’s what a person should carry. If that means concealing a 10mm Colt Delta Elite, then that’s what it means.

Sam Hoober is Contributing Editor for, a subsidiary of Hayden, ID, based Tedder Industries, where he writes about gun accessories, gun safety, open and concealed carry tips. Click here to visit