On several occasions, I’ve expressed concern for the people who switch the type of concealed-carry gun they carry on virtually a daily basis. The problem is that the management of the handgun has to almost be subconscious while your attention is focused on the threat and your plan to deal with it. Switching guns is a really good way to get hurt.
Recently, I have been giving a good deal of thought to carrying something other than the 1911 that I’ve carried for quite a number of years. My newfound interest is focused around the Nighthawk Custom Hi Power in 9 mm. I haven’t yet determined that I definitely will make the switch, but I am seriously considering it. With that in mind, here is the decision-making process I'm going through.
The first step was to determine that the potential concealed-carry gun had a high level of reliability and accuracy. During several trips to my local gun range, I put 400-500 rounds through the gun. As a result of these sessions, I’ve determined that the pistol functions flawlessly. I was also able to determine that it shoots to point-of-aim at 25 yards with the 124-grain 9 mm ammunition that I prefer.
Being satisfied with that first step, I moved on to the second step of using the Hi Power in the informal steel-plate matches that our club sponsors on a regular basis. These matches put a little stress on the shooter and cause him to focus more on the shooting drill than the actual management of the pistol. If the gun is really a fit for the shooter, that should be reflected in his performance while in competition with others.
As far as I can see, the final step will come when I take the pistol to Gunsite Academy in a few weeks. I’ll be shooting drills I have shot before with the 1911. Most importantly, I will be shooting under the watchful eye of trained instructors who can help me to determine any weaknesses and problems that might arise. They will see faults and mistakes that I won’t see. If the pistol continues to perform well and I perform well with it, I just might start carrying it as a defensive proposition.
Some of you might think that this is a long, drawn-out process for simply making a change in a concealed-carry gun. But I want to know that the gun and I fit each other before I get into a situation where I might have to bet my life on it.
People who change their concealed-carry gun the way some people change their socks either doesn’t understand what is required or are just playing at personal defense. Either mistake can be a fatal one. It is a mistake that this old coot doesn’t intend to make.