So there are not any actual set in stone rules for an everyday carry handgun, everybody is different and has different situational needs. That being said I typically tend to stick to a set of requirements when it comes to selecting a firearm for an EDC. This has nothing to do with caliber or brand mind you, it’s a set of rules that can apply to several models but I find them to be fairly synonymous to a variety of pistols.
The first thing I look at is capacity, I want to carry a lot of bullets or at least as many as I can get away with before I start to drastically sacrifice other requirements. If I had to put a number on it I would say 15 is as low as I go in magazine capacity. I also typically carry a spare magazine because the last pistol fight I was in, I ran out and wasn’t carrying a spare; luckily it was enough to get the job done but it was a mistake I do not plan to repeat. Having more bullets means you can deal with multiple threats and stay in a fight longer (hopefully long enough to finish it). Generally speaking, in real life, people also miss a lot because of stress, adrenaline, movement, etc. Also, not everyone has the inclination to train to a professional (high-speed) standard and while I disagree with this line of thought I do understand it, so having more bullets is a good rule of thumb regardless.
Concealability is the next concern in my mind. A concealed carry handgun should be just that, well concealed, and certain pistols will cater to this better than others. Size, shape, and weight are defining factors here. If a gun is so heavy it flops around excessively or pulls at your belt line, it kind of sucks. If it’s so large it prints out the yin-yang then it’s obviously not concealed. Geometrically speaking, the shape can create uncomfortable “hotspots” for the carrier and cause odd printing. Some of this may not sound like a big deal but considering most people carry guns more than they shoot them, it is. Again this is dependent on the individual and I have found that even the largest handguns may be concealed under the proper conditions. That being said, a concealed handgun should be comfortable to carry and easily hidden without the worry of discovery.
Reliability is incredibly important to me, because I need it to work every time no matter what oddball situation I find myself in. Selecting a handgun with a proven track record is a good plan but as long as it is a functioning firearm that is inclusive to the individuals instincts then you’re golden. Part of this is training but a well designed firearm caters to repeatability and consistent performance. Carry what works best for you above all else because that is the definition of efficiency.
More important than all of this is to train with what you carry routinely to the point that drawing, shooting, and manipulating the firearm is subconscious. There is no substitute here and equipment will never make you better than you already are all though it may be conducive to a more natural level of performance. Get out to the range to practice shooting, movement and communication because it pays to get good at a gunfight before you actually have to take part in one.
Photo courtesy of the author