Back in 1995 the State required that each concealed carry handgun be listed individually by type and serial number on the concealed carry license. You were allowed to have up to three firearms listed on your license. Further, you were required to qualify and demonstrate safety proficiency by the type of handgun(s) included on your license. From my foggy memory, I believe the two types of firearms were identified as Pistol and Revolver.
In the weeks leading up to my concealed carry class, I was faced with the arduous task of deciding which firearms I would be committed to carry on my first license. If they allowed three, then I certainly needed to have three on my license. But which three? Back in 95, you couldn't go to the internet and tap into the collective experiences of hundreds of other people. Your information came from printed gun magazines (all unicorns and rainbows with every gun reviewed being GREAT!), advice from your buddies, and whatever happened to be available at your local firearm dealer.
|Concealed carry handguns in 1995 along with period correct ammunition. From L to R: Smith and Wesson 3913 9mm, Colt Mustang Pocketlite 380 Auto, and Smith and Wesson Model 60 38 Special|
Ammunition selection was easier 20 years ago. In the age before YouTube ammunition testing you trusted what you read, or what your buddies told you over a few cold beverages. Winchester Black Talons and Silvertips were the jacketed hollow point rounds to carry. Snub nose revolvers performed best with Remington 158 grain lead semi-wadcutter hollow points. That was the beginning and the end of the ammunition discussion.
My ammunition performance skepticism developed many years ago and I will admit to running a few rounds of each of these into waterlogged phone books just to see how they performed. No denim, no gel, just a single guy with a guest bathroom bathtub full of waterlogged phone books. Shooting the phone books at the range yielded beautifully expanded bullets covered in wet phone book scraps. That was a good enough terminal performance demonstration for me at the time.
Holsters were mostly of the leather variety in the 1990's. I'm sure someone was making Kydex holsters back then, but if you didn't read about it or see it at a gun show it didn't exist. I discovered the Law Concealment System IWB holster through their Guns and Ammo magazine ad. It worked well for the 3913. The Ahern Pocket Natural for the Colt came from a local firearms retailer. The Blackhawk! holster isn't the original pocket holster I used with the S&W revolver. I think it was an Uncle Mike's holster of a similar style that was most likely given away or trashed many years ago.
|Two of the three holster makers in this photo are no longer making holsters.|
Our State dropped the specific handgun listing requirement by my first or second license renewal so I wasn't locked in on these three handguns very long. That turned out to be a good thing because the number of Shall-Issue states expanded greatly in the late 1990's and the handgun manufacturers responded with a plethora of new firearms purposely built for concealed carry.
Transitioning to more recent times, a little over four years ago I started this blog with a goal of writing articles that I would want to read if I happened to find them online. Fair and honest reviews of guns and ammunition weighted heavily on facts and less on my personal opinions. If something was great, I would say that. If something sucked, I'd let you know that too. It's been an interesting journey through 364 blog posts and 331 YouTube videos.
Having reached the 2,000,000 page view milestone for the blog this week, I had the idea for this article comparing concealed carry 1995 versus what I currently carry in 2015. To keep things fair, I picked my 3 most carried handguns using the same classifications used in 1995. Most of these have been reviewed on the blog. You can find all the published gun reviews listed HERE.
|Concealed carry handguns in 2015 along with preferred carry ammunition. Springfield XDs 3.3 45 Auto, Kahr P380 380 Auto, and Ruger LCR 9mm|
As I was laying out the two sets of pictures, I was struck by the handgun design trends over the last 20 years. For me, polymer frames have replaced steel and aluminum frames. Who would have imagined we would be shooting polymer revolvers 20 years ago. Stainless/brite guns have transitioned to black. Every handgun type is 2 to 4 ounces lighter now than its predecessor in 1995.
If you follow the blog and YouTube channel you are aware of the extensive amount of ammunition testing I've done over the last 4 years. If this is your first visit to the blog, the ammunition tests are all cataloged for you HERE. I've tested each of the loads, shown in the picture, through my handguns and have high confidence in their reliability and terminal performance. If you stopped me on the street and checked my magazine or moon clip, you would find me carrying these loads at any time of the year.
Holsters have also changed quite a bit in the last 20 years. The XDs rides at 2 o'clock in the appropriately named Two O'Clock holster from Comp-Tac. Remora holsters can be used as a clip-less in waist band holster or as a pocket holster. The Kahr P380 holster features a leather Remora-Hyde lining. The LCR holster has the stock padded denier lining.
|Modern holsters replace moisture absorbing leather with Kydex or water-resistant synthetic fabrics.|
While I'm pretty stoked about the blog crossing the 2 million views milestone, I wanted to let you all know that the blog will be going on hiatus for a bit. I will be pursuing some commissioned ballistics testing opportunities and also some freelance writing assignments for a much larger blog. With that said, I still reserve the option to drop a content bomb here from time to time as opportunities arise. I will continue to make and post YouTube videos as time allows.
Thanks for stopping by and reading through my trip down concealed carry memory lane.