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The Trinity of Pistols

I prefer to employ pistols for their unique design and application. I don’t go to the range and shoot 500 rounds through my sub-compact, that’s a brutal day. And I don’t conceal carry my full-size pistols.


Most people start-off with a conceal carry gun as their first. If they purchase a compact, like a Glock 19, and depending on their size - the G19 can be a “full-sized” gun for lighter and shorter shooters - this may be the end of their journey. But many larger shooters prefer to employ a full-sized pistol like a Glock 17 or a Sig P320 at the range. The large frame and slide allows you to target your technique better and increase range learning.

There are many reasons why a full-sized gun is the ultimate range pistol. Don’t get me wrong, I practice with my carry and compact guns as well, but the full-sized pistol tends to make things both easier and more difficult in all the right ways.

First-off, a heavier gun requires more muscle exertion over hundreds of rounds. I usually spend at least 200-400 rounds at the range, especially when I am training a new skill. Presenting a huge chunk of metal with a competition barrel and weighted grip is exhausting. It’s supposed to give you a workout, otherwise are you really training?

Most importantly, however, a heavier gun buffers recoil, making the energy exertion required for quick follow-up shots a lot more effortless. Granted, you won’t be shooting hundreds of rounds in a live fire situation with a carry gun. And that’s the point. Your range gun allows you to cement technique, with more rounds.

Heavier guns also tend to smooth-out the draw stroke, allowing me to identify unnecessary movement. You can tell when someone only shoots a tiny gun. Their draw stroke tends to be awkward and too much energy is spent on inefficient movement.


If you notice here, I am not stating the size of the pistol for each of these points on the Trinity, but describing the purpose. This is important. How you employ your pistol should be the result of your requirements. And in the winter, or colder months - we don’t have many of those in Oklahoma - I prefer to carry a larger pistol with a higher caliber.

My preference for Winter Carry is a P320 Compact .45 ACP. Why wouldn’t I just carry my sub-compact 9mm? If you think about an active shooter situation in cold weather, chances are the lucky fella on the receiving end of your defensive response is heavily dressed. Layers of clothing are like bullet-proofing, although nothing like Kevlar or iron plates.

Fact is, clothing can significantly reduce stopping power. A 9mm going through multiple layers of Carhart, fleece, or denim is nowhere near the effectiveness of one going through a t-shirt. That is why the FBI requires multiple layers of fleece when they field test rounds for their agents. A .45 ACP is my preferred carry when bad guys are bundled-up.


In the warmer months I am wearing far less clothing. And so are the bad guys. I can conceal a sub-compact 9mm pretty easily either IWB or OWB under a loose shirt. I don’t have a lot of extra weight and I tend to wear athletic fitted clothes so concealing even a compact pistol is difficult in the Summer. Side note: I don’t ever open carry, I’ll reserve that for cops and tacticool dudes.

My preferred Summer carry is a sub-compact 9mm, P365xl. Since I have larger hands, and I don’t like the Glock 26, the grip is way too short, a larger grip and compact slide makes it both easy to conceal and provides sufficient mag capacity for two bad guys. Some prefer the P365 standard as well, after all it is a hell of a popular gun. But for me I need a cross-over type carry that accommodates my hands better.

All this means, however, you establish a level of skill with each gun. Of course you should be able to effectively shoot any kind of gun, but for your Trinity you should be really efficient. Each gun may also require a different kind of holster and draw technique. Become re-acquainted with the draw requirements each time you switch guns. It may come naturally or require some repetition, but chances are mastering multiple pistols will expand your gun vocabulary, and make you a better shooter on and off the range.


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