Time for a New Gun

Unless something extremely surprising happens, it would seem that my entry in to the world of private security is nigh.  After a quick perusal of the “approved” list of heaters, it seems I’m going to have to buy a new blaster because 1) Single Action Only (1911) guns aren’t approved, and while I’ve got my LDAs from Para, 2) Para isn’t an approved manufacturer.  Too bad for me.  Now, any gun that I would carry as a part of my job is gun I’m going to shoot the wheels off of in competition as well, because one of my bedrock principles is that any defensive weapon you’re going to carry you should also shoot a lot.  So here are the choices I’ve narrowed it down to, and now you (my readers) get to pick my blaster for me.

Personally, I’m leaning towards the Sig route, or getting a wheelgun. I could get a Glock, but that would make pdb happy, and we just can’t have that now, can we? Honestly, in a perfect world I’d just stick with a 1911, but that doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen, so I’m going to have to get a gun from elsewhere. Also, if anyone from Ruger reads this – I would have gotten an SR9, except for that damn magazine safety.


  1. I vote for the Glock. Ugly as sin, but goes bang with each pull of the trigger even if there’s a 1911 melted down and jammed into the barrel.

    However, I’d trust my life to practically any on your list. The only reason I’d shy away from the wheelgun is capacity and even that’s not THAT big of an issue.

  2. First I have to revise the poll to reflect price differences:

    What Gun Should I buy?
    (like 18 or something) Springfield XD-Ms
    (3) Glock 17
    (1) Sig P226/225
    (2) Smith & Wesson M&P
    (2) Wheelguns

    I asked a similar question not too long ago. For me, it’s between the Glock or the M&P. There are M&Ps at my local store now, but come on, $670? I could buy a Glock and an aftermarket barrel for that much.

  3. The XD is just a Glock with more crap in it that nobody needs like a grip safety and cocking indicator. I don’t know much about the M&P, other than I like how they feel in my hand.

    Are you allowed to carry a wheelgun as a backup for your plastic-fantastic?

  4. “I don’t know much about the M&P, ”

    You don’t know much about the XD-M, either. I went over one with a magnifying glass when they started arriving, to see what the differences were between it and the standard XD…. the XD fire control parts are in fact MUCH SIMPLER than the Glock, and more robust to boot.


    That’s for a better trigger, if allowed, and we’ll see if the upcoming Mitchell’s clockspring magazines work worth a darn… if they make one for an XDM40 it’ll very likely be 19 or 20 rounds. An XDM9 clockspring mag, well…. 22 rounds in a flush-fit mag would be a wonder, if it’s reliable.

  5. I love my M&P. It is not a decent CCW gun (too big, too heavy), but it is tough, and shoots well, and the only malfunctions I’ve ever had were due to bad ammo, not the gun itself.

    Otherwise, get a wheelgun, make it a Judge.

  6. Considerations:

    Ruger SR9 (yes, it has the magazine disconnect. That said, being a security guard is one of the few situations where that design aspect could turn out to be beneficial).

    If you really like the 1911, you could also consider the Ruger P-345 chambered in .45ACP. Kind of like a Glock on the bottom and a 1911 up top. But it too suffers from California/Mass magazine disconnect.

    I never find Glocks to be very comfortable.

  7. Go with the M&P first or the Glock second. SIG quality has dramatically fallen in the past few years. DHS had had nothing but problems with their contract SIGs.

  8. The M&P. If I could get normal capacity mags for the damn thing here in Mass I’d own an M&P9 RIGHT NOW.

    They feel nice, shoot nice, have a 1911 grip angle, no extranious safety “features” decent trigger pull, and some pretty hairy endurance challenges on the internet to boot.

  9. I voted for the Sig 226 but I would have voted for a wheelgun if the calibers included .357 Magnum and not the probable .38 Special.

    Something to think about when carrying for armed security is the trigger travel of your duty gun. Yeah, I know we are all adults and all that, but single action semi-autos like the XD, although great on the range, are something to be concerned about when you’re forced to hold someone “…at gunpoint…” Additionally if the job is ‘armed courier’ service like I used to do you are expected to draw your gun when making a delivery or pick-up, or at least I was when I worked that stuff. Even though I practice the old ‘finger straight’ rule, you will be surprised how quickly it finds it way inside the triggerguard when the hair on the back of your neck suddenly stands up. that’s why I personally went to a Sig 226 many, many years ago. Dead nuts reliable, extremely accurate and that first shot with the traditional DA has some trigger travel, just like a good DA swing-out cylinder revolver. Of course it complicates your range and competition experience, but all it takes is trigger time to overcome that as well.

    All The Best,
    Frank W. James

  10. M&P all the way baby.

    I’ve got two now, and they don’t cost no $670. My second one was three weeks ago at $525. Bud’s online is in that ballpark too (though out of stock right now). And Smith is running their load up deal until April 30 which gets you two additional mags free. They’re still a heck of deal.

    The M&P has it all over the Glocks. The grip angle, grip shape and replaceable back straps show how long Glock has been sitting on its laurels.

    The SR9 mag safety is easy to remove so don’t let that stop you. Unless home smithing is a legal tar pit for your new gig. The SR9 in our group is a nice shooter too.

  11. Madrocketscientist said:
    “I love my M&P. It is not a decent CCW gun (too big, too heavy)”

    Ah ha! See? I’m not the only one who noticed. The M&P is freakin’ HUGE!

    The M&P is the only pistol that has a caliber and a GVWR stamped on the chamber.

    I didn’t like the finish on my M&P, so I took it to the gunsmith and told him to do some cosmetic work, but keep it appropriate. When I got it back, it had three chromed oval port holes glued on either side, and “Park Avenue” etched on the slide.

    That’s not a serial number–it’s a ZIP Code!

    Spare M&P magazines come with a stepladder so you can load them.

    When I was looking at the M&P in the gunshop, I said to the guy behind the counter, “What’s this thing sticking out the back?” He said, “That’s a ball hitch, son. How else are you gonna get it to the range?”

    I tried to order a custom holster for the M&P, but the company told me that no one sells Kydex by the acre.

    When I brought my M&P to the range, a police officer wrote me a ticket for parking my Buick at the firing line.

  12. If you want a Glock, let me know.

    I can sell you one of mine as I have plenty of copies (they are all Gen I).

    Shootin’ Buddy

  13. For the money you will not get a better deal than a Sig P6/225. You can touch up the holster wear if you want. It comes down to how much money you to spend.

  14. I have been issued a P226 as a duty gun for over 14 years. The first 10 or so was the old-school 9mm, and a few years back we got new .40’s. They flat out shoot. I shoot mine a lot and I am a range instructor for a mid-sized PD, so I watch a lot of people shoot too. I have yet to see a firearm related failure, the only broken part we have had since our transition was a chipped hammer, which was likely caused by it being dropped on concrete (gun still works fine).

    Having said all that, the Sig is the only gun on your list that is DA/SA. After buying my first 1911 a year or so ago, I am not such a big fan of that trigger system anymore. I also bought a .40 XDm a few months ago and I really like it, a lot.

    So, to parrot what others have said, all those guns are solid choices. If you go with the Sig though, I would recommend you look into getting one with the DAK trigger. I have never shot one, but it sounds to me to be similar in use to Para’s LDA.

  15. Having actually shot a guy once (and no I’m not going to talk about it) I’d STRONGLY echo Farmer Frank and suggest something with a long first trigger pull. Those single-action triggers become feather-light all by themselves when you’re in a tense situation.

    You don’t want to be the security-guard equivalent of the guy clearing his house who shot his daughter when she jumped out of the closet as a prank. I’m sure your training and mindset’s already taken care of most of that, but why not give yourself the extra little edge?

    Also make sure you inspect your employer’s insurance policy coverage for you in lethal-force situations, and if it’s inadequate try to jack up your homeowners’ personal liability coverage as soon as you can afford to.

  16. Colt Python or Diamondback. What the heck, you are going to have to be able to shoot with your gun, their gun, someone else’s gun, kill with a bic pen, a shoestring garrote, a half-empty bottle of muscatel…..
    So it really doesn’t matter.

  17. Don’t get the G17, you’ll hate it. It doesn’t have any knobs, levers or switches to dink around with and there’s nothing you need to customize, replace, modify, paint, glue or screw up, apart from needing new sights.

    The G34 is probably more your speed. You can screw around with the sights all day!

  18. I prolly don’t have to tell you this, but if you go with a wheelgun, best take a good 2 – 3 day combat handgun class specific for revolvers, like they offer at Gunsite or Thunder Ranch. Wheelies are a-whole-nother story.

    For example, combat reloading a revolver with a speed loader / moon clip under stress, or movement is not intuitive; outside the class I took no one ever told me the right way to do it before. They were all wrong.

    I also found that quick deployment with proper grip, good target acquisition, and solid trigger / fire control is pretty darn different for a revolver compared to drawing a 1911 and popping off a failure drill. It took me a while to overcome my 1911 tendencies.

    Now days I practice with both my semi-autos, Glocks & 1911s, and my revolvers, every range session. That way I keep up my muscle memory for both types, and can switch up without thinking.

    If this sounds like a lot of work, don’t get a wheelgun for something as important as defensive carry.

  19. I’ll disagree with the 357 SIG (I own two pistols in that caliber). Nice idea but it’s effectively a snappier 9mm and its a) expensive to shoot, and b) not as available as other more standard rounds.

    I’d go with a 9mm, 40 or 45 for ammo availability.

    Then again I’m not much of a magic caliber believer.

  20. Don’t get the G17, you’ll hate it. It doesn’t have any knobs, levers or switches to dink around with and there’s nothing you need to customize, replace, modify, paint, glue or screw up, apart from needing new sights.

    See, but the neat thing about Glocks is that if you want to, you can tinker the hell out of them. New striker/firing pin assembly from titanium, a 3.5 lb connector, new sights, a match barrel from Storm Lake, and the Sevigny Speedway in the magazine well.

  21. I have that 3.5lb connector on my Glock and I think I’m going to have to second the motion that as a duty gun, that might not be the best idea.

    I don’t plan on holding anyone with my pistol. If I have to draw it, because I’m only going to be doing it in self defense, I’m probably going to be shooting. That 3.5lb feels like ounces as it is, I can only imagine how light it feels when the adrenaline is pumping.

  22. If you decide to go the revolver route, take a real hard look at getting a S&W 625.

  23. imho the M&P has a much better out of the box trigger than the Glock, and you are better off not replacing/modifying/removing internal parts on a carry gun if you can help it.

  24. falstep – I’m a compulsive tinkerer though, especially when it comes to guns. Helps that I use the 1911 platform a lot, because there’s lots of tinkering to be done on those.

  25. Caleb – Yeah, I hear you. But your duty gun might be the one gun you leave as stock as possible. Things will be ugly enough after a shooting (even a perfect one) without it being discovered that you were using a gun that had modifications to its safeties and/or firing system.

    Note that I am not saying that you should carry a handgun that you do not feel comfortable with, but rather that if you can find one that you can be comfortable with without modifying its internals, that would be a good thing.

    For me it would be my m&p or my 625.

  26. Why are 1911’s not “on the list”? That said, if I were to carry a handgun openly, I’d do it with my Glock 22. Are you stuck with a 9?

  27. Caleb: If single-action semi-auto’s are prohibited then you have a problem with the Springfield Armory XD series and the S&W M&P series as both of these designs are ‘single-action’ semi-autos. If you question this, check with the classification given each design by the BATFE. They are NOT double action semi-autos as most of the gun-nieve think they are.

    Actually, in my opinion for what you want to do they are WORSE, because they lack the added safety feature of a Manual Safety. I would say once the ‘suits’ at your proposed new job figure this out (usually from a lawsuit and a court challenge) you will have to make sure you DON’T have one of these designs or else get yourself another gun that fits their needs.

    All The Best,
    Frank W. James

  28. Yeah, I’m pretty sure the suits aren’t bright enough to know the difference between a striker fired gun and a DAO gun. In a perfect world, I’d just carry a cocked-and-locked 1911, because you know and I know how safe it actually is.

    But hey, if wishes were horses. I’m probably going to go with a Sig P220 or a gun that’s not on the list, a Beretta Elite.

  29. Caleb: Well, ACTUALLY the Glock IS a D-A-O as is the Walther P99 and the Ruger SR9. All of them offer a double action trigger and a striker fired mechanism. Just because a gun features a striker firing mechanism it does not follow it is a D-A-O.

    Pulling the trigger must initiate some cocking of the striker of the mechanism to be considered D-A-O. In the Glock such action completes the final third of the cocking of the striker and on the Walther the complete cocking of the striker is accomplished through a full trigger pull (at least on the non-short throw models).

    Whereas on the XD and M&P, the striker mechanism is cocked solely through action of the slide. All the trigger does in either of these, as well as the Para LDA, is release the energy stored in the spring powered ‘cocked’ firing mechanism. That does NOT meet the definition of a Double-Action-ONLY semi-auto.

    Fine points to be sure, but ones that so many are quite willing to ignore and often refuse to recognize.

    All The Best,
    Frank W. James

  30. Well, see, that’s cheating. As the owner of four 220’s (a really old 220, a kind of old 220, a 220r, and a 220r Carry SAO) I heartily back that idea 🙂

    I don’t know if it’s my imagination or something to do with the grip size and how well I can get on the trigger, but 220’s seem more shootable out of the box than 226’s.

  31. Caleb, two thoughts… First, as far as your list goes, I voted XD. I can’t shoot a Glock to save my white hind end, I much prefer a 1911, and an XD fits just the same in my hand. Not saying it will for sure be the same for you, but it might.

    My other thought is something along the lines of an S&W 4506. I know it has a mag safety, but i think that can be disabled. My 1006 looks and feels like my 1911, but the trigger’s not as good.

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