Getting your concealed carry permit and carrying a firearm on your person for self-defense is a big decision. However, if you want to have this protection available, it's the right way to go.
Often, one of the first questions that people ask the instructor in concealed carry training is which type and caliber of handgun they should carry. This is a very personal decision, so don't just take any one person's advice and make your decision. Here are some of the considerations.
Do you need to have two different guns?
No, not to carry two at the same time; some people want to carry a smaller and lighter gun in the hotter months when they're wearing lighter clothing.
The problem with this is in your practice. You should become very familiar with a carry gun, practicing often, both with practice ammo and self-defense ammunition. You become used to the ergonomics of handling the gun, the recoil and the accuracy. Having to do this with two different guns usually means less practice and experience time with each.
Revolver or Semi-Automatic?
By far, the most commonly carried firearm is the semi-auto handgun. Many reasons contribute to the decision. Some people like the larger capacities, with more rounds in a magazine than in a revolver cylinder. Others like the fact that generally, the semi-auto guns are thinner and more easily concealed.
However, there is a group of revolver lovers who like the style, but they'll give you one reason for their preference in almost every case; when they pull the trigger, the gun shoots. In other words, fewer malfunctions. Still, it's your choice.
Very few people should even think about sporting the "most powerful handgun on earth." You want to carry a gun that you can shoot accurately, both for the first shot and fast followup shots. That's not likely to be the .357 magnum or a .44 magnum.
The least expensive gun to shoot for practice is the 9mm, simply because of the vast quantity of ammunition manufactured in that caliber. It is a good choice for many people, as recoil is manageable and it is considered effective for self-defense.
The FBI recently switched back to 9mm from 40 S&W, but not really for cost reasons. Their agents were more effective with the lower recoil of the 9mm.
What about the .380 ACP? Years ago this question would get a laugh out of many shooters. They didn't consider the caliber heavy enough for reliable self-defense. However, in recent years ammunition has come a long way. The .380 has become more powerful, and with less recoil than even the 9mm.
It's Your Choice-Take Your Time as It's Fun
When you consider all of the variables, it's a tough decision for some people. There is a firearm out there that will fit your hand, has recoil you can manage, and will perform well to protect your life and the lives of your family. Have fun testing and shopping.