Keep It Simple (with Colonel Smoothbore)
By angelamontana

Posted: October 1, 2017

It seems that almost every week a new concealed carry “wonder” gun comes to market. Nearly all of these are semi-auto pistols and some of them can only be described as miniscule at best. Often, students will ask, “…what gun should I get for concealed carry?” That question is almost impossible to answer; I can only give some suggestions and I will go with students when they “try on” pistols at a gun store. Only the user will know just what gun is right for them.

Many factors come into play when choosing a concealed carry gun, but simplicity of operation is one of the most important; in my opinion, simplicity is second only to reliability. So here are a few of my thoughts on the simplest and very reliable double action revolver used for concealed carry.

Fortunately, very, very few people will ever find themselves in a lethal force situation. Most likely we will carry our guns in their holsters for years and never draw them. That’s the good news; the bad news is that maybe some time we may be faced with having to defend the life or lives of innocents, whether they be ourselves, family, friends, or even total strangers. If that ever happens, one needs to be as prepared as possible.

Few, if any, of us really know how we will react to deadly force and it is only through constant mental and physical training that we can reasonably expect to do what is right. There won’t be much, if any time to analyze what is happening. Only training will give us the opportunity to save ourselves or others. That’s where simplicity comes into play.

There are many small double action revolvers on the market. Offerings from Colt®, Taurus®, Ruger®, Charter Arms®, Kimber®, and Smith & Wesson® are just a few of the many manufacturers who offer light, concealable wheel guns. If you would like to check out others, I suggest a trip to: , there you will be able to access a plethora of websites that will take you to what might be your “perfect carry revolver.”

Here are a few items that I suggest you consider when buying a CCP revolver. I suggest a barrel no longer than 3 inches and try out some of the lighter frames (aluminum, polymer, and other alloys). Make sure you can see the sights; a teeny bump at the end of the barrel won’t be very useful beyond a couple of yards. When it comes to caliber choice, I’d suggest .38 Special as a starting point. There are some 9 MM guns available, as well as .45 ACP. The .44 Special is a great cartridge for self-defense in a small wheel gun. Be careful with the heavy recoiling magnums; all the power in the world is useless if you don’t practice and then can’t hit the target. Be sure to get a quality holster that is comfortable for you and practice with that holster.

The revolver carry rig I use the most is really simple; it works very well for me. My gun is a S&W® Model M&P® 340. This is a scandium frame, 5 shot gun chambered in .357 Magnum, .38 Special +P; the latter is the ammunition I use, specifically Hornady® Critical Defense™. The barrel is 1 7/8 inches and is made of stainless steel, as is the cylinder. The gun has a shrouded hammer and is double action only. The rear sight is a well-defined groove on the top of the frame, and the front sight is a very easy to see large XS Sights® 24/7 Tritium Night Sight. I love the combination.

This little powerhouse weighs only 13.8 ounces. It is really a handful with .357 Magnum cartridges in it, which is why I recommend the .38s. I carry it in a Blackhawk® A.R.C. (Appendix Reversible Carry) IWB holster. This is really a comfortable rig and with a spare speed strip in my back pocket, I feel that I am prepared should an unfortunate encounter occur.

Small DA revolvers aren’t for everyone, but they will work for just about anyone. The manual of arms is simple, they are some of the most reliable guns available, and they are easy to conceal. Like Jeff Cooper once said about would be the best gun for a gunfight, “…the one you have with you.”

Be safe and good shooting.

Colonel Smoothbore

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