Enter into a conversation with anyone about concealed carry and the first issue will be what size pistol you should carry. My first recollection of that discussion was in 1983 with a police officer and Master Class IPSC shooter. At the time, semi-automatics were not approved firearms yet they were often carried “off-duty.” For many, policy violations were secondary to being properly armed. In this case, the other officer carried a lightly customized, full-sized 1911 in 45 ACP. Given that the issued weapon was a six-shot revolver, two extra rounds and a spare magazine were a huge advantage. To be honest, the “wonder nines” were not all that wonderful back then and 9mm ammunition was not what it is today. The huge number of compact and subcompact pistols that exist today were not even a consideration at the time. So for semi-autos, 1911s were still the choice of many professionals, and more often than not, full-sized versions were carried. Almost universally, the reasons were similar. They were 100-percent reliable, provided better ballistics and were no more difficult to conceal than smaller pistols. This truly set the tone for me as a concealed carry professional, a tone that still exists to this day.

When it came to revolvers, the same was often true. My first real duty revolver was a 4-inch Colt Python. That revolver served me through the academy and my entire time as a reserve with the sheriff’s office. That did not change until my employment our department switched to the Smith & Wesson Model 686 by policy. Off-duty weapons were authorized, but only one: the five-shot Chief’s Special.

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