The Five Best Ways to Choose a Concealable Handgun

The Five Best Ways to Choose a Concealable Handgun

We believe there are five basics to keep in mind, when considering looking for a concealable handgun for personal defense applications.



Choose a caliber with enough power to consistently penetrate the human skull and penetrate deep enough into the body to cause lethal damage (bleeding) to major organs, because when deadly force is justified, you want to stop the threat as soon as possible.

What does Research tell us?

A “Police Marksman Magazine” survey from 1985 – 1990 (on real police shootings) proves accurate heads shots, with .38 special and 9 mm calibers, effectively stop the threat 100% of the time; even though they do not always cause death.

FBI studies (on real police shootings) also proved the only way to consistently stop a threat as soon as possible is to severely damage or sever the central nervous system and 70% of all police shootings, over the last forty years, are between 10 – 15 feet. Therefore, there is no need for a caliber delivering a great deal of range.

Controllability is critical. FBI studies (on real police shootings) prove multiple shots are also an effective technique to stop a justified deadly force assault. They will cause a great deal of internal damage to the assailant, which will in turn cause the assailant to bleed internally

and externally. This loss of blood will reduce the flow of blood and oxygen to the assailant’s brain, and this will eventually cause him/her to lose consciousness, collapse, and end the assault. In any assault, there is always the possibility of multiple assailants, so controllability will be needed to quickly deliver multiple shots and/or headshots. to multiple assailants. A large caliber handgun also produces equally hard recoil, so they may be difficult to control for fast multiple accurate shots.

Suggested calibers

  • Small calibers – .22 (when utilizing multiple hits for lethality), .38 Special and .380 caliber
  • Large calibers – 9 mm and .40 caliber

These calibers have proven themselves to have enough power to consistently penetrate the human skull and penetrate deep enough into the body to cause damage (bleeding) to major organs. They also provide controllability for multiple shots and accurate headshots for increased stopping effect and multiple assailants.


All handguns are mechanical devices, so they can be difficult to understand. Practical defensive handguns are divided into two major types: revolvers and semiautomatic pistols. Even though, they are both handguns, they operate very differently.

In general – semiautomatic pistols are more complicated and can be finicky and less reliable when firing a variety of ammunition types. This is, because they utilize a feed ramp, compacted magazine spring and a straight blow back operation system to extract and eject a fired casing, then cock the hammer as well as chamber a new cartridge.

In general – revolvers are simpler to operate and more reliable when firing a variety of ammunition types, because they do not utilize a straight blow back operation system; a mechanical mechanism attached to the trigger rotate the cylinder chamber directly in front of the barrel and cocks the hammer before firing the weapon.


All handguns require a functional amount of hand/finger, arm and upper body strength.

What does Research tell us?

FBI statistics (on real police shootings) reveal the average police shooting involved firing 3.5 – 5.5 shots. Therefore, the statistics do not mandate semiautomatic with high magazine capacities.

Semiautomatic pistols negatives

They require enough physical hand/finger strength to load cartridges into a magazine while pushing against a metal spring which pushes back progressively harder with each cartridge loaded in the magazine. They also require enough physical hand and arm strength to pull the slide/upper receiver backwards while pushing against a heavy metal recoil spring.

Semiautomatic pistols positives

They have large magazine capacities, just in case you are in a situation that requires increased ammunition, after all its better to have and not need than need and not have.

They also have a faster operating system for quick multiple shots, and their built in recoil spring reduces the felt recoil making them more controllable when firing multiple shots.

Revolvers negatives

They are most often limited to just 5 – 6 shots, and relatively to semiautomatics they have a slower operating system which results in slower subsequent shots. They also do not have built in recoil springs, so they provide a harder recoil, and this may reduce accuracy especially when attempting to shoot multiple shots.

Revolver positives

They require relatively minimal physical hand/finger strength to load cartridges into cylinder chambers, because there is no magazine or magazine spring to deal with. They also have no slide/upper receiver to forcibly pull backwards while pushing against a heavy metal recoil spring.


Once you’ve used the previous three steps to decide on whether you need to carry a semiautomatic or a revolver, you need to actually pick up and hold several different handguns, until you find one that feels the most comfortable. This is the best way to identify a handgun with the right ergonomic design for your hand. The ergonomics mainly focus on the angle of the grip (angled vertically or a more rearward).

A more vertical grip usually results in greater muzzle rise, and this can make it more difficult to hold the barrel of the handgun down on target for multiple shots. This increased muzzle rise occurs, because when a bullet leaves the barrel of any weapon, the force of the bullet moves the barrel in the direction of the front sight. Most of the time, this means moving the barrel upwards and off target; however, if you turn the front sight of weapon to the left, right or upside down, it will move the weapon towards to the left, right or downward. When the grip is designed with a greater vertical angle, the force of the bullet leaving the barrel is exaggerated, so as a general rule the more vertical the grip the greater the muzzle rise. Subsequently, a more rearward angled grip usually results in less muzzle rise making it easier to hold the barrel of the handgun down on target for multiple shots.

The handgun should not be too heavy or too light. Heavy handguns are difficult to conceal, while light weight handguns often have harder recoils thereby making them difficult to control for multiple accurate shots.

The handgun should also have the right overall balance as well. If the top of the weapon is larger and heavier than the lower portion of
the weapon, the weapon will often feel out of balance. The imbalance will increase the felt recoil, and this could negatively affect controllability especially when attempting to deliver multiple accurate shots. Usually, when the lower receiver is larger than the upper receiver, the opposite is true, and there is less felt recoil and more controllability. It all comes down to finding the right balance.

The handgun should not be too large for practical concealed carry. Small size handguns are more concealable, but they often have small hand grips, so you cannot obtain a full one or two hand grip, and this can greatly affect controllability and accuracy. This also makes small handguns less comfortable to fire; therefore, their owners are less apt to practice with them, and this lack of practice can negate controllability and accuracy.


The handgun should meet your individual daily carry needs, inside or outside the work place, while remaining readily concealable. If you are a women, can this weapon be concealed, when you’re wearing a dress, skirt or blouse? If you’re a man or a women, can this weapon be concealed with summer/warm weather clothing?

If you have little firearms training or experience, choosing the right concealable firearm can be a daunting task. It usually results in making a wrong purchase once or twice, until you finally find the right one. Following these five steps simplifies the process and saves you time as well as money while placing the right firearm in your hands, so you protect yourself and your family.

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Matt Canovi
Canovi & Associates
p:417-742-3435  m: 636-259-0267
a:3705 W Farm road 14
 Brighton, MO 65617  e:


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