Though open carry is still banned in some jurisdictions, it seems to be growing in popularity where it is allowed. I attribute this to a number of reasons. One, open carry is more comfortable than concealed carry in most circumstances, and especially so over long periods of activity. Two, for some, open carry is a statement and affirmation of their 2A right to bear arms. Three, even with practice, drawing a weapon from concealment is slower than drawing it from an open carry holster. The difference, while small, can be significant. And four, to be concealable a handgun must be small. Unfortunately, small size and weight limits the power of the cartridge for which a handgun can safely be chambered. Open carry eliminates most of the size concerns … though I wouldn’t go so far as to strap an eight-inch barreled .44 Magnum on my hip.
As much as I support open carry, I understand that there are times and circumstances where an exposed firearm just isn’t feasible or reasonable. While I have usually used a full-size handgun when I open carry and a smaller auto or revolver for when I concealed carry, it would be far more practical and cost-effective to have one gun capable of doing both. The following list of six handguns are each capable of pulling double-duty, and are chambered for hard-hitting, proven calibers - nothing less than a 9mm here. Also, for the purpose of this article, I’m loosening the metaphorical purse strings, since one gun is taking the place of two.
6) SigSauer P226 Mk-25D, 9mm Auto - $1,236: The Mk-25D is the same pistol carried by the US Navy’s SEALs. This Desert finish version of SigSauer’s popular P226 is carried by military forces and law enforcement agencies around the world. Though not a small pistol, at a barrel length of 4.4 inches, and a weight of 34 ounces, it’s certainly not too large to be concealed. I don't consider myself a fan of the 9mm, but this is the one nine that’s on my want list.
5) Springfield Armory Range Officer Compact 1911, .45 ACP, $899: There’s no way I could compile a list such as this and not include at least one 1911. Even a mil-spec 1911 is a great choice for open carry, but Springfield’s Range Officer Compact is far beyond mil-spec. With a compact-sized aluminum frame and 4-inch barrel, it’s as good for concealed carry as it is for open. Equipped with a beavertail grip safety, National Match competition barrel, and 6+1 rounds of .45 ACP, it’s a perfect pistol for the range or street.
4) Smith & Wesson Model 586, .357 Magnum, $839: While revolvers might not dominate the defensive carry market the way they once did, there are still a lot of gun owners, yours truly included, who love a wheelgun holstered to their hip. When I think of my favorite revolvers, two names come to mind - Smith, and Wesson. Recently, S&W began offering some of their greatest revolvers in their “Classics” line - reissues of guns such as the Model 36, Model 10, Model 29, and what may be the finest law enforcement / self-defense revolver ever made, the 4-inch barreled Model 586. Originally introduced in 1980, the L-frame revolver was designed to solve the tendency of the smaller, lighter K-frames to stretch and fail when fed a steady diet of .357s. And, while it came on the scene too late to stem the on-rushing tide of autopistols from taking over the law enforcement market, it’s still hard to go wrong with one of these guns at your side.
3) SigSauer P239 DAK, .357 Sig, $800: What do you get when you take a .40 S&W cartridge case, give it a bottleneck, and pop a 125-grain, .357 caliber bullet into the top? You have a rocket-hot round that mirrors the ballistic performance of the .357 Magnum and functions reliably in auto pistols, also known as the .357 Sig. For a double duty handgun chambered for this round, it would be hard to beat the SigSauer P239 DAK. DAK is Sig-speak for their double-action only trigger. This model features a crisp, 7-lb. pull for each and every shot. With 7+1 rounds of .357 in a compact package, this would make a great carry gun. While pricier than what I normally recommend, $800 is on the budget side of the SigSauer catalog. And, as I’ve before, Sig’s quality is undeniable.
2) Springfield Armory XD-S 4.0, .45 ACP, $600: Springfield Armory exploded the personal defense handgun market in 2002, when they introduced the XD line of imported polymer-framed handguns. Produced in Croatia as the HS2000, by HS Produkt, the XD pistols are an obvious challenge to Glock’s dominance of the polymer handgun market. The XD-S single stack pistol, chambered in .45 ACP, was introduced in 2014, and quickly became one of the hottest pistols of the year. Though it’s capacity (with the 5-round flush fitting magazine) is only half that of the similarly-sized Glock 30, with a round in the chamber it’s still one better than a five shot revolver. The slimness of this weapon makes it markedly more concealable than the beefy Glock.
1) Glock 23, .40 S&W, $550: I’ve made no secret in these articles of my love for the pistols of Gaston Glock. My third one, a recently purchased G23, only serves to increase my admiration for these Austrian firearms. Small enough for easy concealment, it’s still substantial enough for one to consider it a primary defensive sidearm. With 13+1 rounds of .40 S&W, the same capacity as my full-sized Glock 21 .45 ACP, the pistol that I currently carry on the job, the G23 is capable of dealing with virtually any threat one is likely to encounter. It may be the perfect double-duty weapon; in fact, I may soon make it a triple-duty pistol, as I’m seriously considering letting my beloved G21 take some time off in my gun locker.
Did I miss something? Let me know if the comments. - Big John
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