By Sam Hoober, Alien Gear Holsters

Completely obvious double entendres aside, a trend in handguns on both the supply and demand side is to make them smaller, for easier concealment. By and large, it’s a good thing.

However, what some people get sucked into thinking is that’s the only kind of gun you can successfully conceal and carry. It’s not.

Here’s an unpopular idea: you can dress around a lot more gun than you’d think, and you should worry about whether you can shoot worth a darn first. Then worry about stepping down in size or adding various bits. If you can hit well with a Glock 19, M&P Compact or what have you, but have a lot harder time getting in the 10 ring with a Shield, Glock 43 or Sig P365 – then you should carry the bigger gun that you’re more accurate with until you’ve practiced up.

For the experienced shooter, that’s kind of a no-brainer. For the newbie, deluged by the cacophonous din of gun magazines, YouTube videos and internet forums, you can easily get seduced into thinking that it really, really matters that your gun is small.

If you suddenly get conscious about having too-big a gun because everyone else has a smaller one, pump the brakes. Chances are you’re overthinking it. Well, unless your current handgun is like a Model 29 or a Sig P220 or something. Then you probably should get a smaller pistol to carry everyday because you’re gonna get back problems that way.

This isn’t to resurrect some stupid old saw from the 70s that think you can’t hit the broadside of a barn with a small gun. You can do a heck of a lot better than that; subcompact pistols have gotten not only better, but legitimately good in recent years.

This is more to say that the point of a concealed carry gun is to deliver lethal force if you have to do so in order to save your own life or that of another person if needs be. To be able to do that, you have to be able to place shots well. DUH. Shorter sight radii and a poor fit in the hand make that more difficult.

Red dots make sighting easier, but are they needed to be able to shoot quickly and accurately? Not really.

Granted, some people have to carry as small a pistol as possible for various reasons. Company dress code mandates certain styles of dress and that may be the only viable option. Some people just can’t find a way to carry something like a traditional compact comfortably, and that’s fine.

But the point here is that people make far too much of the hardware. The user and the software, meaning the shooter and their inherent skill level, matters a whole lot more. Lewis Hamilton can lap a Honda Civic a heck of a lot faster than most people can, because he’s an amazing driver. Rob Leatham can probably take a pocket .380 and shoot groups that would make you astounded. Caliber matters less than you think. And so on and so forth.

Point being, what matters is how well you use the tool, not so much the form of it.

But what do you think? Is a subcompact striker the only CCW gun you’ll contemplate carrying? Or do you favor function over form? Sound off in the comments.

Click here to get your 1911 Pistol Shopping Guide.

Click here to get The Complete Concealed Carry Training Guide

Sam Hoober is a Contributing Editor to, 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

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