Firearm: Springfield Armory Ronin Operator (MSRP: $849)
As we head into the winter months, longer and heavier cover garments mean we have more leeway in the size of our carry gun. Now, we’ve long advocated for keeping the same “operating system” for your defensive firearm, but simply going up a size in the same family is certainly acceptable. Why carry a G26 when you can easily conceal a G17? Or, in the case of today’s pistol, why limit yourself to a Mustang 380 or Officer’s model 1911 when you can effectively carry a full-size version?
Springfield Armory’s Ronin Operator is available in 9 mm and .45 ACP, and with 4.25 and 5 inch barrels. All models feature the two-tone, hot-salt-blued slide with stainless frame, laminate grips, fiber-optic front sight and ledge rear sight. The 9 mm version we have here offers 10 rounds capacity, is 8.6 inches long and weighs in at a hefty 41 ounces. With a 5-inch barrel, this Government model will help make the most of even 9 mm +P ammo.
The 1911 platform is mature, has tons of gear available and uses one of the best pistol triggers on the market owing to the single-action operating system. While even the 9 mm version offers lower capacity than polymer-frame, double-stack pistols, it’s a tradeoff. Many find the 1911 more accurate owing to the lighter trigger, which certainly makes it attractive as a defensive arm. The increased weight of the all-steel handgun will help absorb recoil and facilitate faster follow-up shots.
In the end, it’s all about choices. Some opt for a double-stack, polymer-frame striker fired pistol for the capacity, while others might choose a 1911 for the better trigger and greater control. In any case, Springfield Armory’s Ronin Operator series of pistols has some seriously upgraded options at an entry-level price.
Holster: Galco Concealable Belt Holster (MSRP: $131)
Obviously, a heavier pistol is going to require a substantial holster. Fortunately, Galco’s Concealable Belt Holster is not only designed to carry the heft of an all-metal 1911, but it’s contoured to tuck into the body to help maximize concealment. As an outside-the-waistband offering, it’s naturally going to require a bit more planning in the cover garment department, but the tradeoff there is faster access. The Concealable Belt Holster has a butt-forward cant for faster presentation and also to keep the pistol more in line with the body.
Galco’s Concealable Belt holster is available in left- and right-hand offerings, and can be found in either black or Havana (dark brown). It’s also available in certain exotic hides, but those naturally incur greater cost. While the holster is relieved for a Crimson Trace Lasergrip, it is not intended for red-dot equipped handguns.
Flashlight: LA Police Gear Recon Pocket Light (MSRP: $69.99)
Speaking of tradeoffs, the cooler months that bring cover garments that can hide bigger handguns also bring shorter days. Something that should be part of your EDC anyways, but even moreso in the winter months, is a good flashlight. LA Police Gear’s Recon Pocket light offers up to 725 lumens of dark-vanquishing power at an affordable price. With four total settings – high, medium, low and strobe – run time ranges from 1.25 hours on high to 14 hours on low. Even on low setting, there’s 68 lumens available, comparable output to some of the high performance lights of just a decade ago.
As is getting more common with handheld flashlights, the Recon Pocket light is USB rechargeable, which makes life super simple. Unscrew the tailcap, plug in the standard micro-USB connector, and your light is charged. In use, it’s just as simple, with push-click on that defaults to high, with push-hold for strobe. Cycling through the tailcap switch runs high-medium-low, and the lamp bezel adjusts from spotlight to floodlight. That’s a lot of flashlight for slightly less than $70 – and you can find it for quite a bit less, too.