Why You Should Regularly Carry the Same Gun

posted on September 7, 2020

While having options is always good, intimate familiarity and thus competence is fostered by regularly carrying the same gun.

There’s an ongoing inner struggle between the part of me that’s practical and the part of me that just wants to have fun, and unless one is possessed of Spock-like levels of absolute logic, it will be at least a somewhat familiar tussle for most folks.

This struggle can manifest itself in unlikely places, such as the choice of self-defense implements. Like most people who own more than one, having handguns and shooting them is not only a means of self-defense, but also a hobby of mine in its own right. Handguns are cool, and it’s possible to own and enjoy several of them. This is where the conundrum comes in for me.

We’ve all seen the participant who shows up on an Internet forum, excited about adding a shiny new Blastomatic 2000 to his or her existing stable of handguns. Having run 50 or 500 or whatever number of rounds through the pistol in order to verify reliability, our hypothetical poster announces that it’s ready to be added to “the carry rotation.”

I know the feeling, because I used to be that person. I know the whole feeling of “If it’s Tuesday, I must be carrying the Luger.” But I don’t do that anymore—I’ve pretty much abolished the concept of a carry rotation for myself. To be fair, my opinion on the topic is not as strong as that of the late trainer and professional firearm-industry gadfly, Todd Green, who called it “the sign of a feeble mind,” thereby setting off a firestorm in his blog comments. I do, however, think that it indicates a certain lack of thinking things through to first principles.

Now, before I set off a firestorm of my own in the “Letters” column, I should probably clarify what a “carry rotation” is or isn’t, at least in my own opinion. Most people who carry concealed have a gun they usually carry, whatever they call it. Their “EDC” for “Everyday Carry,” or their “Primary” if they’re feeling all tacticool or what-have-you.

If that handgun is middlin’ large, say about the size of a Glock G19 or bigger, they might have a smaller pistol, or even two different sizes of smaller pistol, for when clothing requirements dictate that concealing a duty-size pistol might be a hassle—perhaps a small, single-stack 9 mm for more discreet IWB and then a pocket .380 ACP for a “board-shorts” gun.

I usually carry a medium-size, service semi-automatic (this year it’s a Grayguns-modified SIG Sauer SP2022), but I have a pair of lightweight Smith & Wesson J-frames for specialized reasons: a 432PD for wintertime, coat-pocket carry and a flyweight 43C with a DeSantis Clip Grip as a sweat pants/pajama bottoms gun for those rare days I don’t get dressed to go farther than the mailbox.

But, these are all fairly concrete reasons. Even the gunwriter who may carry a review gun (not a practice of my own, but many do) is doing it for a specific reason.

The “carry rotation,” on the other hand, tends to not have much of a reason beyond “Oh, I felt like carrying this one today.” It’s a free country and all, but isn’t a CCW gun ultimately a piece of life-saving gear? The whole carry-rotation thing at some point began to feel awkward to me, as though I were changing out fire extinguishers or tourniquets at random so that they’d match my socks.

So, now I get my enjoyment of shooting different handguns out of my system via the occasional range trip or test gun, but I’ll only switch my main carry gun for a new one every year or two as a skill-building aid to help me get past plateaus by being forced to concentrate on the basics again. For me, at least, rotation is for tires, not tools.


EAA company logo
EAA company logo

EAA Celebrates 30th Anniversary

Florida-based European American Armory Corporation (EAA) is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.

First Look: SAR9 Compact Handgun

Sarsilmaz is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of firearms, and now the company is rolling out its new SAR9 Compact pistol.

Mossberg Maverick 88: The Affordable Self-Defense Shotgun

The Maverick 88 is a no-frills cousin of Mossberg’s legendary Model 500 pump-action shotgun, and although the two guns are aesthetically and mechanically similar they are not identical guns.

5 Great Concealed Carry Gear Items for the Fall

As the seasons change, so must your carry wardrobe. Here are products to keep you comfortable as the leaves begin to fall.

Review: Elite Survival Systems HIP Gunner Concealed Carry Fanny Pack

Off-body carry is attractive: you just stick your gun in a bag and tote it along with you. Here's one carry option that makes the best of both worlds. 

First Look: Smith & Wesson M&P9 Shield Plus 3.1-Inch Optics Ready

Now Smith & Wesson Inc. is expanding its line of M&P Shield Plus pistols to include a new optics-ready variant, the M&P9 Shield Plus 3.1-inch OR.


Get the best of Shooting Illustrated delivered to your inbox.