If you are new to CCW and firearms in general, this page is for you. (CCW means "Carrying a Concealed Weapon." Most states issue permits to their citizens for CCW after a class in firearm safety.) CCW without a state permit is illegal in most states. Click here to see how I got my Tennessee permit.
When the weather is cool, we wear more clothing, and it is obviously easier to carry a firearm and to keep it concealed. When the weather is warm, and shorts and T-shirts are the rule, CCW becomes difficult.
My personal solution is to carry the Kel-Tec P3AT in the warmer months, in the front pocket of whatever pants/shorts I happen to be wearing. Here's a photo of my P3AT:
The P3AT is small, only 5 and 1/8 inches long, by 3 and 5/8 inches high. Fully loaded with seven .380 rounds it weighs only 10 ounces. The .380 round weighs about 90 grains and moves along at about 800/900 feet per second. With a bullet as small/light/slow as the .380 my preference is to use fmj (full metal jacket) rounds. (If you want to learn more about ammo, click HERE.)
As the weather cools I almost always wear a sport jacket or suit coat on a daily basis, so CCW of a large full-sized pistol becomes quite possible. However, for greater concealment, and for comfort's sake, I choose to carry a compact Kel-Tec P11 (9mm) rather than my Smith and Wesson .40 caliber. The P11 is only 5 and 3/4 inches long and 4 and 1/4 inches high. It weighs only 14 ounces (empty). The fully loaded P11 will hold eleven rounds of 9mm ammo. Here's a photo of my P11:
There are many types of holsters you can use. You will need to experiment to see how you want to carry your firearm. My personal preference is not a holster, but a clip. In the cooler weather I carry my P11 in the small of my back with a ClipDraw attached to it, and no other holster. Here's a photo of the ClipDraw attached to my P11:
The P11, carried this way, is light and easy to get used to. I insert the clip between my pants and my belt, which makes it even less noticeable. When I'm wearing a sport jacket, it is completely invisible, but easy to reach and pull free.
9mm ammo is heavier and faster than .380 ammo, and fmj ammo will probably "over-penetrate." (It's all well and good for a "bad guy" to have both a hole going in and another hole going out, but what if an innocent bystander behind the BG gets hit by the bullet passing through the BG?) so my choice in 9mm is any hollow point ammo that feeds reliably in my P11, and which will expand, and make a larger hole, and hopefully not quite pass all the way through.
(Whatever you firearm you plan to use for CCW, you should test it with several brands/types of ammo, and use what feeds and fires 100% of the time. Don't just buy a firearm and assume that it will work properly out of the box with any kind of ammo.)
Remember the Four Basic Rules of firearm safety:
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