Purchasing a Handgun for Private Security Use The great warrior-poet Warren G once said: "you can't be any geek off...
The great warrior-poet Warren G once said:
“[…]you can’t be any geek off the streetYou gotta be handy with the steel, if you know what I mean Earn your keep”
An essential part of being “handy with the steel” is equipping yourself with a firearm that you are competent and confident with. With an extensive selection of over a thousand (even the tyrannical state of California permits 832) commercially available handgun models, choosing the perfect handgun can be overwhelming, especially for new gun owners. Our Leadership Team has assembled the following considerations to help guide you in this investment process.
Before we get into the weeds, let’s cover some do’s and don’ts that apply to all handguns carried for private security usage.
According to a poll I made-up for this joke: __________ makes the only handgun worth purchasing and every other manufacturer should be held criminally liable for their negligence and shamed publicly for not being as cool as ____________.
I won’t use this platform to promote a brand-whore agenda. The truth is, many competent manufacturers produce highly reliable and capable handguns. Typically, US or Western European companies with a net worth exceeding $10 million won’t risk their entire business by selling an unreliable or hazardous firearm. While mistakes are made, they’re usually well-publicized and promptly corrected. A short list of brands to consider must include:
9mm handguns and modern ammunition are widely accepted as the standard for professional use. For women and men with smaller frames and the need to conceal in tighter-fitting clothes, smaller calibers are acceptable. Larger calibers are more expensive and unnecessary, but if you need that extra girth to sleep peacefully at night, Leftwich Global Protective Services authorizes up to .45 caliber for duty carry.
Selecting the right handgun for your needs involves several considerations that an arbitrary “Top 5 Handguns” list cannot possibly cover. To help you make an informed decision, we’ve compiled an exhaustive checklist of the different handgun variations available, providing our input to guide you in choosing the right firearm for your specific job. This is where things get fun and interesting.
Larger pistols (4″-5″ barrel, double stacked magazines) are well suited for carrying on a duty belt or plate carrier. They’re typically easier to run than smaller handguns and afford larger magazine capacity.
For EP professionals, undercover (workplace violence), and other security professionals whose clients require, or setting dictates, that they conceal their firearm, a smaller firearm may be ideal.
I prefer to carry the 9mm Sig P320 as my standard duty sidearm. I opted for the P320 due to its full-size construction, which provides me with increased flexibility in terms of magazine capacity, accessory compatibility, and optics choices. My setup includes 17-round magazines and a Holosun 509 series red dot optic, an affordable and reliable option with the added benefit of a redundant power supply through its solar cell feature.
For concealed carry assignments, I rely on the Glock 43X, a subcompact pistol with a 10-round magazine capacity. While it may have a smaller ammunition capacity, the Glock 43X excels in terms of concealability. Its reputable history of dependability made it an easy choice for my concealed carry needs.
When selecting a firearm for duty, comfort and fit are crucial factors to consider. A well-balanced size that isn’t too bulky or small is essential. Regularly training and practicing with your chosen weapon will enhance your familiarity and confidence, as it is important to remember that each firearm has a unique feel and shooting experience. These are some of the key considerations I keep in mind when deciding on the ideal sidearm for duty purposes.
This includes all semi-auto handguns with a barrel length over 4.75″ and may feature a single or double stack magazine. Tactical handguns often feature threaded barrels and suppressor height sights. If hammer fired, they may have an enlarged hammer.
Full size handguns typically have a barrel length of ~4.5″ and may feature a single or double stack magazine. A full size handgun fits in the hand without the need for a pinky extension.
A Compact Handgun has a 3.5″ – 4.5″ barrel. This is the largest frame size of what most professionals would consider a concealed carry platform.
With a 3″-3.5″ barrel, a sub-compact is intended for concealed carry.
Generally speaking, a micro-compact is roughly the same length of a sub-compact, but the manufacturer has reduced the width of the gun to make it even more concealable.
A widespread myth concerning handgun frame sizes suggests that smaller firearms are ideal for individuals with smaller hands or smaller body types. Although a compact handgun is indeed easier to conceal for all body shapes and sizes, it’s not the only factor to consider.
It’s true that smaller hands might struggle with an excessively large frame size, but that doesn’t imply a petite individual should dismiss the idea of carrying a full-sized handgun. Take, for example, the Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0. This model features four distinct grip inserts (plus the option to use none for a fifth variation) to accommodate a diverse range of hand sizes comfortably and effectively.
Competitive shooters often prefer larger handguns due to their ability to “run the gun.” In other words, achieving accurate, rapid shots on target is easier with a larger firearm. This concept might appear counterintuitive to novice shooters, but comparing a handgun to a vehicle can help clarify the idea. Remember that all guns in the image above are chambered in 9mm, meaning they possess the same high-performance engine. So, which would provide greater control: a sports car or a motorcycle equipped with the same engine?
The Sig Sauer P320 XCarry has been my go-to choice for duty carry, owing to its overall efficiency and performance. Featuring a barrel length that strikes a balance between compactness and functionality, this firearm enables quick draws from the holster while optimizing muzzle velocity.
While on duty, the double-stack magazines provide increased carrying capacity, enhancing effectiveness when engaging targets at a distance. As a trusted manufacturer with a longstanding reputation among law enforcement and military personnel, Sig Sauer delivers reliability and confidence in the equipment used on the job. The importance of dependability in a duty carry cannot be overstated.
The P320 platform offers customization options to accommodate individual preferences, including body type, grip size, and carry style. With interchangeable grip modules and a wide range of holsters available, tailoring your duty carry to your specific needs is seamless and convenient.
There are several types of handgun actions, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. The most common types of actions are single-action (SA), double-action (DA), double-action/single-action (DA/SA), and striker-fired. Here, we’ll go through the differences and benefits of each, listed in order by most commonly used for private security.
Most modern handguns manufactured for the purpose of being a duty weapon are striker-fired. Striker-fired handguns do not have a hammer. Instead, they use a spring-loaded striker or firing pin to fire the gun. The trigger performs the dual functions of cocking and releasing the striker. Striker-fired handguns usually have a consistent trigger pull weight and length for every shot.
Benefits of Striker-Fired:
DA/SA handguns combine the features of both single-action and double-action handguns. The first shot is usually fired in double-action mode, while subsequent shots are fired in single-action mode after the slide has cycled and cocked the hammer.
Benefits of DA/SA:
In a double-action handgun, the trigger performs two functions: cocking and releasing the hammer or the striker. This means that the user can fire the gun without manually cocking the hammer first. After each shot, the hammer returns to its uncocked position.
Benefits of Double-Action:
In a single-action handgun, the trigger performs only one function, which is releasing the hammer or the striker to fire the gun. To fire the first shot, the user must manually cock the hammer, which also loads a round into the chamber. After firing, the slide will cycle and cock the hammer again for subsequent shots.
Benefits of Single-Action:
My preferred carry weapon is the M&P 40, which offers a combination of easy handling, reliability, and adaptability. Its widespread availability of holsters ensures ease of carry, while the ergonomic design provides a comfortable and secure fit in my hands.
Prior to purchasing the M&P 40, I considered its widespread use among law enforcement and military personnel as an indicator of its dependability in real-world scenarios. The firearm’s relatively low recoil enhances aiming and shooting accuracy, making it a pleasure to use.
As a left-handed shooter, I appreciate the M&P 40’s ambidextrous slide release and reversible magazine release, which cater to my specific needs. The M&P 40 is an ideal choice for those seeking a versatile and reliable sidearm that accommodates both left and right-handed users.
Handgun safeties are designed to prevent accidental discharges and enhance the safe handling of firearms. There are several types of safeties, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. The most common types are manual safeties, grip safeties, trigger safeties, and firing pin blocks. We’ll go through the differences and benefits of each.
A firing pin block, sometimes referred to as a “drop safety,” is a mechanical safety that prevents the firing pin from moving forward and striking the primer unless the trigger is fully pulled. This safety feature is commonly found in most modern semi-automatic pistols, especially those designed for duty carry, and should be considered a must-have.
A manual safety is a lever or button that, when engaged, physically blocks the trigger, hammer, or firing mechanism, preventing the gun from firing. The user must manually disengage the safety before the gun can be fired.
A grip safety is a lever located on the backstrap of the handgun that must be depressed when the user grips the gun. If the grip safety is not depressed, the gun will not fire. This safety mechanism is commonly found on many modern pistols.
A trigger safety is a small lever or button integrated into the trigger itself. It must be depressed along with the trigger for the gun to fire. This safety mechanism is commonly found in Glock pistols and other striker-fired handguns.
The choice of safety features depends on the user’s needs, preferences, and level of training. Some users may prefer the added security of manual safeties, while others may prioritize the simplicity and speed of use offered by passive safeties like grip, trigger, hammer block, or firing pin block safeties. Ultimately, the best choice will depend on factors such as intended use, personal comfort, and proficiency with firearms.
My recommendation for a versatile and efficient sidearm is a compact-sized, striker-fired pistol with an integrated trigger safety, such as the Glock 19 Gen 5. The compact design offers superior adaptability, making it suitable for both duty use and concealed carry in low-profile or covert situations.
The integrated trigger safety ensures rapid deactivation when the pistol is needed, streamlining the process compared to other safety mechanisms such as thumb or grip-actuated safeties. Furthermore, training with an integrated trigger safety is generally more straightforward.
Striker-fired pistols are known for their reliability, primarily due to the absence of external moving action parts, which sets them apart from hammer-fired counterparts. By considering these factors, one can make an informed decision when selecting an ideal firearm for professional use.
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