Firearms Handguns Self Defense

Evolution of My Everyday Carry

There is no perfect everyday carry configuration for every situation. It's very likely that more than a one configuration will be needed to cover different forms of attire. It will also most likely evolve over time as preferences and proficiency changes.

I’ve mentioned my first concealed carry firearm here and there on this blog before, but I haven’t really said much about what I carry regularly today and why. Let’s cover that.

To recap, I decided on purchasing a Springfield Armory XD-S (now out of production) chambered in .45 ACP for my first firearm and everyday carry. I used it to qualify for my Texas License to Carry (LTC), which used to be known as a Concealed Handgun License (CHL). My primary carry method was an inside-the-waistband (or IWB) hybrid holster from Concealment Solutions. My ammunition of choice for self-defense was 230 grain Federal Premium HST. I would usually carry it loaded with a seven (7) round magazine plus one (1) in the chamber and an extra seven (7) round magazine in a pocket.

Springfield Armory XD-S (.45 ACP) in Concealment Solutions Black Mamba IWB holster

Every now and then my clothing would make it difficult to properly conceal this setup. When that happened, I would use a pocket holster instead and shove it in a front pocket. Nothing else would go in that pocket, just the holstered gun. In this configuration, I would load it with a five (5) round magazine and one (1) in the chamber and would still usually carry an extra seven (7) round magazine on my person. But even this setup required my pants or shorts to have relatively large front pockets and that wasn’t always the case.

Springfield Armory XD-S (.45 ACP) in Concealment Solutions Pocket Viper holster

The table below provides a summary of my first everyday carry setup:

Configuration v1PrimarySecondary
FirearmSpringfield Armory XD-SSpringfield Armory XD-S
Cartridge.45 ACP.45 ACP
MethodIWBPocket
# Rounds1513

Days where my clothing wouldn’t allow me to carry would leave me feeling unprepared. So I eventually got around to acquiring another firearm to give me more options.

The second firearm to go into the everyday carry rotation was a Smith & Wesson Bodyguard in .380 ACP with a Crimson Trace laser. This gun was paired up with some 99 grain Federal Premium HST ammo carried in a Concealment Solutions Pocket Viper holster. This gun was loaded with a six (6) round magazine plus one (1) in the chamber and I stashed an additional six (6) round magazine on my person. The round count was the same as the XD-S in a pocket carry configuration, but the overall package was much lighter and smaller which eliminated the requirement of large front pockets. Between the XD-S and the Bodyguard, I had enough options to virtually carry anywhere I was legally allowed to regardless of attire.

Configuration v2PrimarySecondary
FirearmSpringfield Armory XD-SS&W M&P Bodyguard
Cartridge.45 ACP.380 ACP
MethodIWBPocket
# Rounds1513

I was perfectly happy for several years with these everyday carry options. At least until I realized, the frequency of these two guns getting any sort of range time and practice was really low. Truth be told, neither of these guns are fun to shoot. The recoil XD-S became more and more punishing as I began dealing with arthritis in my hands. The Bodyguard is also very snappy due to it’s very small and light frame even with the significantly milder .380 ACP cartridge (in comparison to the .45 ACP).

Given that my primary to secondary carry ratio is north of 80/20, I decided to go to another subcompact pistol in 9mm to replace the XD-S. With that decision made, the Glock 43 was added to the gun collection and replaced the XD-S. The Glock 43 was carried in IWB fashion (in yet another Concealment Solutions holster) with an extra six (6) round magazine loaded with 124 grain Federal Premium HST ammo. My overall round count in my primary configuration was down by 2, but I felt more confident since I am able to manage the recoil from Glock 43 much better than the XD-S.

Configuration v3PrimarySecondary
FirearmGlock 43S&W M&P Bodyguard
Cartridge9mm Luger.380 ACP
MethodIWBPocket
# Rounds1313

The third configuration was short lived for two reasons. First off, my wife decided to get her carry license (yay for her!) and informed me that I would be required to forfeit the Glock 43. Additionally, the Sig Sauer P365 had recently hit the market and I was quite excited about the pistol (after all I am a bit of a Sig Sauer fan boy). While it did initially have some questionable reviews, my experience with the P365 so far has been favorable (aside from striker drag symptoms and a bit of slide bite). The P365 was carried and loaded in the same fashion as the Glock 43, but it did almost double my round count as I opted for the twelve (12) round magazines.

Configuration v4PrimarySecondary
FirearmSig Sauer P365S&W M&P Bodyguard
Cartridge9mm Luger.380 ACP
MethodIWBPocket
# Rounds2513

The next evolution in my everyday carry configuration is my current one and is a result of realizing that I spent significantly more time operating full-sized double stack 9mm pistols while at the range, while training, and while competing than I do any other handgun platform. While I’m competent and confident in operating subcompact 9mm pistols (like the Glock 43 and the Sig Sauer P365), I’m much more familiar with and capable with the something like the Sig Sauer P229. Yes, it’s a bulkier and heavier – but I can deal with that. The fact is I can maintain everyday carry program compliance with the P229 and it’s where I have the most proficiency in comparison to the previous everyday carry choices I’ve made.

Configuration v5PrimarySecondary
FirearmSig Sauer P229S&W M&P Bodyguard
Cartridge9mm Luger.380 ACP
MethodIWB or OWBPocket
# Rounds3013

There are a couple of take aways from this discussion:

  1. What one carries is a personal choice and it has to work for you. If you need help, check out my guide on selecting a concealed carry firearm.
  2. What and how one carries will evolve over time.
  3. It’s critically important to spend time becoming proficient with what one carries along with other aspects of self defense. Proficiency comes from practice and training (so get some).

I’ll keep y’all updated as things evolve on my end. I do hope this will help somebody select their everyday carry firearm and perhaps save them a few bucks by short-circuiting their evolution.

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