Sunday, March 21, 2010

A Change in Wardrobe - So To Speak

Things to think about while we wait and watch to see if our Republic collapses...

As mentioned previously, I have a concealed carry license and carry a handgun regularly. The perpetual problem in carrying a gun is the tradeoff between capacity and the ability to conceal it. Typically, a larger gun carries more rounds but is harder to dress around. If you're even the least bit familiar with the firearms world, you'll know that probably the biggest trend is smaller, lighter firearms intended for everyday carry.

My first handgun was a Springfield Armory XDm, in the original 4.5" long barrel (they just introduced a 3.8" barrel). Although it has been the better part of half a century since someone considered me small, if ever, the XDm is a big, heavy, "duty-sized" pistol and I find it hard to conceal. It always seems to stick out too far. On the positive side, it holds 16 rounds of 40S&W or 19 rounds of 9mm if you have the 9mm XDm - ignoring the one in the chamber.

This time of year, it's easy to carry. When it's under 60 all day, an extra layer of jacket or "shoot me first vest" is easy to get away with. In the summer, when Florida outside wardrobe tends to cargo shorts and Tee shirts, I'll never conceal something that big.

That's me, and I'm 6' tall and weigh 2-much. Any problems I have are multiplied several times for the lovely Mrs. Silicon Graybeard who almost stands 4'11" and wears petite everything.

So last summer, Mrs. Silicon Graybeard bought a Taurus PT709 Slim. This is a much smaller pistol than the XDm. After shooting hers several times, I bought one, too, and it became my carry weapon. There's only one drawback - you guessed it - capacity. While my XDm carries 16 rounds of .40, the PT709 carries 7 rounds of 9mm. The two of us took an NRA Tactical Handgun class, and with the 709 having less than half capacity of my gun, she was re-loading literally all the time.

The classic argument for needing to carry more rounds (police, after all, used to carry snub-nosed revolvers with fewer rounds than that) is that you never know what is going to take place. Like carrying in general, if you knew you were going to need the gun for some place you were going, you wouldn't go there. If I knew I was going to need 13 or even 7 rounds, I'd rather not play, thank you very much. But as Rob Leatham, Springfield Amory spokesman and many time champion, says, "there is never a situation where having more ammo is a bad thing". The only exceptions might be if you're on fire, or if you're carrying it while swimming.

Step forward to today, and I have the latest version of what will be my EDC (that's gun nut talk for everyday carry). The Springfield Armory XD Subcompact (XDsc). First off, it is almost exactly the same size as the 709, just about 1/4" thicker. Here's my SA XDsc (left) and Taurus PT709.

The two side by side.

Stacked on top of each other, it's easy to see how similar they are in size. Held side by side, you can see the main difference: the XDsc is about 1/4" thicker. The 709 is a little nicer from the industrial design standpoint. A little less block-y, and the tapered cuts on the slide probably shave a few grams as well as giving it a nicer look. The XDsc stays square in front of the trigger, too, allowing a short picatinny rail for a laser or light.

But that quarter inch buys something important. By going to a double stack magazine, the XDsc holds 13 rounds of 9mm, compared to 7 in the PT709.

I can't answer the obvious questions about how it shoots compared to the Taurus and my XDm. Just got it yesterday, and it wasn't feasible to get to the range today. The XD line is very reliable, in general, and very tolerant of ammo choices. I will post some info on that when available.

UPDATE, Saturday 3/27/10:

I got to take the XDsc to the range today for the first time and it's a natural shooter. At the length of my house's hallway, I was punching out the 10 ring. Mrs. Graybeard picked it up after her Taurus and promptly shot out the eyeballs of a paper photo target (that one literally made me shudder). Maybe because we're used to our XDms, but it's a natural. No problems, no FTF, no FTE, just the solid reliability I expect out of Springfield Armory.


  1. I know of what you speak! I am endeared to the .45 ACP. Most .45s don't make good conceal guns until the latest generation of compact polymer framed guns. I have the PT-145 Taurus and am very pleased. I have a couple of different holsters to go with the day's particular wardrobe, after all, fashion sense says your carry holster should match your shoes even if it is concealed!

  2. A lot goes into picking a good carry gun, for sure. I've heard that 1911-style .45 ACP guns are relatively easy to conceal because of their thickness. On the other hand, many of them are all metal, and pretty heavy. Add 8 or 10 rounds of 230 grain ammo and they have to go 4 pounds.

    Good to hear about the PT-145 Taurus. Taurus makes a nice line of firearms, priced fairly and they work well.

    Never thought about which holster matches my Brooks Adrenaline running shoes, though!