Kids these days have it good regarding CCW Options


By Louis Valdes

When I started carrying CCW. This did not exist yet.

When I first started carrying, the Clinton AWB was still in full swing. Back then your options while not limited, were what would be considered primitive by today’s standards. RDS/MOS was fiction for the most part. A Gucci Gun was a dehorned 1911 Commander or a S&W 3913. Micro subcompact like the Ruger LCP or even the pocketable 9mms like the M&P Shield, G43, and XDS were non existent. Hell, the super subcompact doublestacks like the Hellcat or P365 weren’t even on the drawing board.

Pocket pistol were relegated to .32 ACP and .25 Auto mostly like the LW Seecamp LWS32 or a Beretta Jetfire Also guns like the Colt 1903 and 1908 were popular.

The biggest you could do was a S&W J-Frame in .38 Special or .357 Magnum as a pocket gun. But the .357 Magnum guns were all steel and heavyweights for pocket carry. An aluminum framed 642 were better options in .38 Special.

They were more likely carried as IWB on a belt along with guns like the S&W 3913 and 6906, Colt Pocketlite, G26, Sig P230/232, Walther PPK/S, and Makarov.

Those were the king of the concealed carry world at the time. Sig came out with the P239 and S&W came out with the 4040PD and that was considered amazing well for the era because it was a CCW piece that small in .40 S&W.

Yeah, a surplus Cold War Eastern Bloc pistol was popular as a CCW piece in the late 90s and early 00s.

That just gives you an idea of how things have changed. Today, a gun like a Makarov is looked at as a C&R piece meant to be a range toy. Not a serious CCW capable self defense carry piece.

Yeah, carrying fullsize duty guns was still a thing then like now. But most quality holsters for CCW were leather, not kydex. Also, guns like a 4″ Ruger GP100 or a 3″ S&W Model 13 was still considered decent for carry.

The advancements with carry guns is amazing. You kids today don’t know how good you have it. Super reliable micro .380s that are lighter than their contemporaries that used to be .32 or .25 autos. And the amazing thing is how cheap they are. A LWS32 was a hand crafted hunk of steel and it was famous for being as small as it was as a .32 Auto, and now we have the Ruger LCP which is polymer (lighter in weight) and it is a .380 Auto. Also the LWS32 had a one year wait time.

Scandium framed .38 Special and .357 Magnum J-Frames, Micro pocketable 9mm pistols, Red Dot equipped G19s, and so much more.

Seriously…. I dig through my Army Footlocker of holsters and I’m flabbergasted at how it has evolved. I still have CCW holsters for my guns, but honestly. They’ve mostly been retired. The guns I now usually carry are a LCP in a pocket holster, a S&W 342 in a OWB, or a G17 in a Kydex IWB. My leather has been retired. My 1911s, S&W 3rd Gens, Steel Framed Wheel Guns, etc have been retired to the safe and I rarely carry them these days.

Eventually I spring for a Glock with a RDS. But right now I’m focusing on other things. But the fact that such a thing is now commonplace and an option is absolutely amazing.

Additionally, the market support for CCW is phenomenal. So many choices in clothing and holsters. You can get pants, belts, shirts, etc meant for CCW and it isn’t a custom one piece you had your local seamstress make.

Again, you kids today don’t know how lucky you have it.


  1. I enjoy this kind of thing just to see the march of both progress and marketing.

    There was a time where I thought that a Sig 239 in .357 sig was about the hottest thing under the sun and you’d be hard pressed to beat it for a nice clothes concealed gun. State law meant that I could get my hands on two surplus ones from a private seller and they were my go to for years before I turned 21 and bought my first FFL pistol, a glock 29, and went wild for 10 ever since.

    AMT backup rechambered to 10mm, ouch, somehow managed to skip the James Bond inspired walther craze. Never even saw anything smaller than a .380 till some old timers organized a back up gun match at a club with a mix of everything from Ravens to LCPs.

    Can’t wait to see whats next and what the kids will say “wow you carried THAT around” about.

  2. It’s still a Hammerless lightweight J frame for me.
    I have put quite a few thousand rounds through it over the decades and it is both accurate and reliable.
    There are better choices for those starting out now, but it’s still does the job.

  3. I have to agree that we have it pretty darn good.

    After reading enough reviews and praise for the Sig P365, last fall I purchased one. After putting several hundred rounds through it, I’m rather happy with the purchase. I use 12-round magazines, and to have 12 rounds of 9×19 in this form factor is quite impressive. The trigger is “meh,” but better than most striker-fired plastic handguns. For the purpose, this is a reasonably well designed pistol.

    20 years ago, I would have had nothing but .32 ACP and .380 as my choices.

    So the industry is showing some improvement in some aspects – even as it is swirling the drain in fit, finish and quality.


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