In concealed carry guns, you see two types of changes done to make the guns more concealable. For example, in the case of the Springfield XD(m) 3.8, you saw that the barrel of the gun was shortened from 4.5 inches to 3.8 inches, but the grip remained the same size. That’s the same idea as the venerable “Commander sized” 1911, where the barrel gets chopped down from 5 inches to 4.25, but retains the same size grip.
On the other hand, you’ll see other compact guns that have the grip size shortened to make the more concealable; while many of these guns often shorten the barrel as well, there are a lot of 4 inch “compact” guns with shorter grip frames than their full sized counterparts. The ubiquitous Glock 19 comes to mind – while the barrel is slightly shorter than the 17, the size of the grip definitely makes it easier to conceal.
The question though is “what’s your preference”? I have messed around a bit with putting a Glock 22 length slide on a Glock 23, giving me the shorter grip frame and the longer sight radius, and while I liked the longer sight radius, the balance felt off. With the Ruger SR9c that I’ll be using for The Quest for Master Class on Downrange.TV, one of the options for magazines is to use a 17 round magazine with a grip extension on it. What that does for the compact is give you a gun with a 3.5 inch sight radius but a fullsize grip. The fullsize grip makes it easier to hold the gun and get rapid follow up shots.
One of the things we’ll test is the difference in effective shooting ability when using the standard flush fit 10 round magazines and the 17 round mags with the grip adapter on them.
But what I’d like to know is what you prefer for concealed carry? Would you have rather a shorter barrel and a full size grip, or a shorter grip and a full size barrel? Pretend for the moment that “shorter barrel and grip” isn’t an option (although it is) and that you’re forced to pick which one of those you would prefer. I’m honestly leaning towards “shorter barrel, full sized grip” because it makes the gun a lot more shootable. We’ll find out for sure on the Quest for Master Class!