I find that I am carrying outside the home a lot more these days, and the venerable S&W .38 DASH is occasionally feeling a little… light. A 5 shot .380 equivalent. Yes, it will take a J-frame speedloader, but I mostly carry a single speed-strip.
Yeah, I’ve occasionally packed my 1911A1 or other, um, less practical (arguably goofy) choices, but usually I just drop the old Smith in it’s pocket holster and go. It’s easy and comfortable, and while it may lack power I can put rounds where I want them in a surprising hurry. But still…
A deciding factor was that Linda has said she really wishes I would carry something a bit more potent. Now when it comes to carry guns I suffer from and embarrassment of riches. But most of them are revolvers, and most of them are even less practical than the old Smith. They are also oddball enough that they might raise serious questions in the mind of a Prosecuting attorney. Like if I was trying to live out some bizarre fantasy, for example.
It was a major struggle not to pick my Detective Special, but again, the caliber leaves something to be desired- It’s a .32 S&W long. My reloads are pretty stout and I have no doubt they posses adequate penetration but they are non-expanding SWCs. The Fitz Special is a purpose built carry gun and will handle +P loads all day long (Colt said at the time the original gun was issued that it could handle .38-44 loads.) I also shoot it quite well, but again it’s esoteric enough that it might bring my motivation into question in the unlikely event that I needed to use it. Also I have to admit the cut-away trigger-guard gives me pause…


So, something in a potent caliber. Something practical, easy to reload, a gun that I shoot well and am comfortable with. Ideally something not too large. “Something semi-automatic,” Linda suggested. “Preferably something we don’t have to buy…” OK, that narrows it down… In the end it came to two choices:

Carry choices

The top gun is a Para-Ordinance LDA .45. The other is Linda’s Kahr E9 (which she loves but never carries.)  Both guns are single-stacks with semi-DA triggers.  Both are flawlessly reliable and easy to shoot fast and accurately. Their footprints are virtually identical.  But for all of their similarity they are very different guns.

The .45 is heavier, but not enough to bother me. It has a shorter, lighter trigger pull and a manual safety.  Importantly it has the hard-wired manual-of arms of the 1911. I like the big, soft shove of .45 ACP recoil, and in this gun the combination of the bull-barrel, multi-spring recoil system and the short, high-velocity slide-stroke brings double taps in on target in a way you wouldn’t expect unless you were familiar with Detonics Combatmasters. It only carries 6+1, but a pair of ten-round mags will help that right along.

The Kahr adds two rounds to the .45’s 6+1, and I have no issues with a 9mm with modern defensive ammunition. The sleeker profile allows me to get three fingers on the handle, and the wrap-around rubber grip is very comfortable and secure. The alloy frame makes it noticeably lighter- though the weight is not a deal-breaker. The trigger pull is longer but it’s like a super-light, super-smooth revolver trigger. So much so that double taps are no problem. As familiar as I am with revolvers these days the long reset bothers me not at all. Our spare mags hold 8 and 9 rounds, so the overall count is basically the same.

Both guns have a lot going for them, and I was having a hard time choosing…

“Carry them both,” Linda said.

“That seems a bit excessive,” I said.

“Not at the same time, you muppet! Alternate until you decide.”

Oh. Uh, OK.

Don’t get me wrong- the venerable Smith will remain on pocket-drop duty, and I’ll undoubtedly throw a revolver of one sort or another into the mix now and again as the mood takes me. I expect though that I will find myself carrying one of these guns more than the other and the decision as to my primary EDC will be made.

In the meantime I guess I had better get busy making some holsters and mag-pouches…


Michael Tinker Pearce  4 June 2018

This content originally appeared at text and was written by Pearce, Michael This content is syndicated and does not necessarily reflect the views or positions of The Liberal Gun Club