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In the Hand. On the Belt. At the Range. Under Siege.

The simple and comprehensive guide to select the perfect concealed carry handgun for you. Four things to consider when purchasing your first line of defense.

We are jumping into a fun and important topic today. Choosing the best concealed carry gun for you. We love equipping our locals with defensive weapons, we know that with each purchase there is another person that’s got our six.

What to look for in a concealed carry gun.


If you did a quick search online, you would probably find several different lists that all encompass different things in which to look for concealed carry handguns. We are going to take a little different approach. Bear with me here but let’s look at this from a geographical-ish standpoint There are four different places to consider when looking at a concealed carry handgun. In the hand. On the belt. At the range.  Under siege. Thinking about these four situations while shopping for a concealed carry gun will help bring your next concealed carry gun into focus.


In the hand.


You must select a gun that fits your hand. A well-fitting gun means a better shooting experience. A better shooting experience means more shooting experience (it’s not a gun you want to put down)! More shooting experience means more confidence. More confidence directly translates into better defense of yourself, loved ones, and the community you cherish.

Once an associate of TRA hands you a firearm, make sure it’s clear and then go to town! Check the fit in one hand. Check the fit in two hands. Practice finger placement on and off the trigger. Depending on the grip, where is your support thumb going? How textured is the grip? Is the grip ‘grippy’ enough to fight against rain or sweat? Finally, whether you have an extended grip or a short grip, are you confident with the hold you have on your last line of defense?

Next, test the trigger. Unless the gun is rimfire, feel free to dry fire. If you are unsure, ask the associate. I know some cringe reading that, but it is really is OK to dry fire. Check the chamber and really focus on the trigger pull. Make sure you like it. Is it too long of a pull? Is the weight of the pull to heavy? Consider the shape, do you prefer a curved or a flat trigger? Does the trigger pinch at all?


On the belt.


So, the whole idea behind concealed carry is the carry of it all. Whatever gun you end up selecting you’ll have to carry around. Most likely you’ll have this gun attached to your person, either on a belt, or in a more specialized location like some of the Dene Adams holsters (also available today at TRA).

After ensuring you enjoy the fit of the gun in your hand, you have to make sure it fits your concealed carry comfort preferences. Check the size of the firearm. Typically, the smaller the gun, the easier it is to conceal. When considering size, check the width and overall dimensions of the gun. If the gun is thinner, it will minimize printing. A smaller grip also means less of a protrusion. The smaller the gun, the more comfort when carrying, but less overall capacity, so keep that in mind when considering size.

Next, Check the weight. There are thick gun belts and great holsters, that will keep your gun and your clothing secure, but heavy guns can weigh you down. We all love the CZ Shadow 2 with its all metal frame and beautiful curves. Hell, if I bought that gun, I would want to take it everywhere with me as well. At TRA, we understand wanting to strap a S&W 500 to your side. Some of us need to compensate… but, low self-esteem aside, strapping a cannon to your side can wear on you after having to run errands all day.

Size matters, and whether you have room in your pants to spare or not, calibrate the size of you concealed carry to your practical everyday needs and carry an extra magazine or five with you.


At the range.


Practice, practice, practice. Concealed carry guns don’t have to be the best shooting guns in the world. They have a right to be a little snappy and a little uncomfortable to shoot. But if you could have a beautiful shooting gun that was also concealable, who wouldn’t choose that over a hand hurting gun?

Check the reviews. Just about every gun ever made has a 1000 round review sitting somewhere in the midst of the internet waiting to be viewed by you.

Ask the staff. TRA is a great, but relatively small gun shop that counts on your returning business. We will do everything we can to set you up with the gun that fits you perfectly. All this to say, we’re honest. If there’s a gun that shoots better, we’ll let you know. Plus, we have Supreme Deen (the Manager at TRA), that dude has shot pretty much everything, and while not all of us have his abs or his recoil control, he calibrates his experience to the normal human.

Choose a perfect caliber for your needs. There is a lot to say about calibers. Some people swear by .45acp. Some others are exclusively 9mm, and then there are those who choose .40, .380, .357, .22WMR, or 500 S&W. Choose a caliber that you can handle and that you can afford. You need practice with the gun that you are counting on to save your life. Choose a round that you don’t hate to shoot and choose a round that won’t murder your wallet.

Little side note here, extra magazines and clips make practice easier, saves time at the range (which can add up in price) and add confidence to your everyday carry. Lots of manufactures also have extended magazines, that increase capacity while carrying, and allow for longer shooting practice and less reloading.


Under siege.


While we all hope to never use our firearms in defense, it’s good to be prepared. There are a lot of drills that you can run at the range, but in store and before purchase there are two things to check: sights and the slide.

Check the sights in store. You need to make sure the sights make sense to you. Whether it’s the block sights of a Glock, or the high visibility of Sig Sauer night sights, you need to be able to produce a quick and easy sight picture. Now sights can usually be updated, but it’s good to like the stock equipment, unless you already have upgraded sights in mind.

Think about your environment and your activities when checking sights. Standard sights are visible in lighted situations but can be difficult to find at night. Fiber optic sights are great but need some ambient light to really pop. Night sights will glow for years but are a little more expensive. Red dots are great for quick target acquisition, but they also run on sorcery and dark magic. Whatever you choose, keep defensive use scenarios in your mind, and let us at TRA hook you up with what you need.

Slides can be tricky. Choose a gun with a slide you can operate. In defensive situations our adrenaline spikes, which unfortunately makes our hands shaky and sweaty. Great defensive guns have great serrations. Make sure the gun you choose has serrations that match where you naturally grab it to rack it. Smith and Wesson recently released a .380 and 9mm EZ. It’s called the EZ because, well its easy. That gun racks like no other. This is particularly helpful for new shooters, or shooters who might have difficulty racking some stiffer slides. Some slides from certain manufacturers rack better than others, so when shopping, rack each gun.


You. Tú. Toi. Sie. Du.

Whether you’re American, Hispanic, French, German, Swedish, or anything else, selecting a concealed carry gun is all about you. Get hands on and check the sights, slide, trigger, magazine function, size, and weight. It has to fit you. At TRA we’ve had people come in hating the gun they just bought (at another shop). We don’t want that for you. Come in. Take your time. Select the gun fits your needs, not your know-it-all-.40-or-die-brother-in-law.


Come see the friendly staff at Tar River Arms; we’re the most convenient place to purchase a firearm.