OPTIMAL WEAPON CHARACTERISTICS FOR CONCEALED CARRYTweet
Those are mostly jobs and tasks of the VIPs, high-value items and infrastructure close protection, when it is important for operators to keep “low profile” as much as possible and therefore usually wear civilian clothes, leaving out the official insignias, or with small, unnoticeable ones, such as little icons on shirt collars, suits etc. It should be mentioned that in practice similar tasks could be performed by trained civilian personnel (for example, employees at private security companies).
The specificity of the tasks and duties of this kind induces a different approach, when choosing personal weapon and gear. In general, the choice in this area is narrowed by the criterion that a weapon, in its size, must be suitable for concealed carry, under one`s clothes. Thus, long-barrell weapons, such as assault rifles, are not rational choice for this purpose. However, just to be clear, it should be pointed out that assault rifles, and even light machine guns, are quite often choice of the CAT (Eng. counter assault team) close protection teams, but in this case, although it is about close protection, it is not a concealed carry. Similar stands for shotguns, and gauge ballistics is one more reason why the weapon from this category should not be used while performing tasks and duties that require concealed carry, because threats in these situations are often in the immediate surroundings of the unwanted targets, so shotgun use directly endangers those people.
That being said, it is logical to conclude that the choice of personal armament usually comes down to weapons from categories of submachine guns, personal defense weapon — PDW, as well as handguns, semi-auto and automatic. Models from these categories (especially handguns) are, as a rule, compact in size, thus suitable for concealed carry, in specially made holsters or clothing pockets.
SMGs AND PDWs
When it comes to submachine guns and personal defense weapons, the biggest advantage of these armaments is a higher fire power that is given to a shooter through: full automatic fire, and higher magazine capacity, compared to handguns in first place.
Also, comparing to the latter ones, weapons of this category have a longer effective range of fire and are more precise. New generation models have, as a rule, very good ergonomics, which is an important criterion, basic commands are logically placed with a noticeable pattern among Western models at one, and Eastern (Russian in first place) on the other side. Wider use of composite materials in the process of weapons construction significantly reduces their total weight, making them easier to carry over time.
Personal defense weapons have, as a rule, more compact size compared to the traditional submachine guns, along with the specific calibers of the first ones. As for the bullet ballistics, the most important criteria are stopping and penetration power at short and medium distances, considering that in practice threats usually occur at close range. In practice, the use of most of these models requires both shooter`s hands, which could be aggravating circumstance when performing certain actions, for example, when it is needed to extract a VIP from an area of attack, or prevent them to flee from the attackers. Of course, the efficiency of a weapon use largely depends on the shooter`s level of training, but no one could have reasonably objected the claim that the SMG or PDW bilateral use is really a better option and a rule, while the unilateral weapon use is performed only in extreme situations, based on the specific circumstances. It is in these situations where the advantage is given to the shorter, lighter and easier to use weapon: semi-auto and automatic handguns.
SEMI-AUTO AND AUTOMATIC HANDGUNS
It is right to say that the weapon of this category is the most common choice, when it comes to concealed carry. Handgun series are mostly made in calibers 9×19 mm Parabellum, .40 S&W (Smith and Wesson), as well as .45 ACP (Eng. Automatic Colt Pistol).
Effective range of this weapon type is limited to 50 meters, largely covering the situations in which retainers and the CAT face the threats to the VIPs, high-value items or infrastructure. As for handguns construction, their sizes are significantly less than models of previously mentioned weapon categories and are ideal for concealed carry. Compact size means less total weight of a weapon, which is certainly a positive feature, also supported by the habit of manufacturers to produce handguns frames from different types of polymers, also increasing weapon`s resistance to climatic conditions and similar.
Along with this fact comes a large number of different gun holsters on the market, made for concealed carry, which are usually mounted on a belt or a strap in the front or aside, or attached to the inner side of pants, along with the holsters that are mounted around a shoulder, and lately, there is a growing number of holsters that are mounted over one`s chest, placing a handgun to the left or right side of the chest.
Holsters of this purpose must meet several criteria: first, they must provide a relatively hidden, unobtrusive carry, then they must ensure secure carry, even with a “hot weapon”, and also must allow a secure and quick draw, when needed.
The criterion that makes the choice even more complex is the magazine capacity. Higher capacity induces a double-row magazine, which, of course, increases the width of a mag, and thus the width of the handgun. The wider the weapon, the more evident in carrying, for example, under a T-shirt or a shirt. However, higher mag capacity gives a retainer more confidence, which could be the main criterion why most specialists aim for models with a higher magazine capacity.
At the end, all tactical-technical features should be put aside, and individualization of weapon should be completed under the ergonomics criterion.
The feeling that a shooter gets when he takes a gun and operate should be the primary standard when choosing a weapon, not only for the requirements of a concealed carry, but in general.
The weapon should be chosen according to the size of the shooter`s hands, with a due attention to the handgrip, and basic commands placement. If it does not fit ergonomically to the shooter`s hands, it will negatively impact the use and vice versa. Colleagues experience is certainly welcomed, but only in a form of advice, because no one is the same: what suits one shooter, does not have to suit the other. Therefore, it is the most rational for a shooter to test a handgun model for a period of time and familiarize with its features before the final decision.
In practice, for close protection tasks and duties, it could be pointed out that Austrian Glock 17s, the third and the fourth generation, in 9×19 mm Parabellum, are being widely used as retainers` concealed weapon, as well as compact series Glock 19, in the same caliber. Also, there are other models as well, such as the Glock 22, made in a more powerful pistol caliber .40 S&W. These models precisely are the most common choice of the specialists within the Serbian Armed Forces and Serbian Police.
 Models made for Military & Law Enforcement have full-auto mode as a standard, but those made for civilian market usually have only semi-auto mode.
 For example, Belgian personal defense weapon FN P90 has a magazine capacity of 50 bullets.
 Due to longer sight radius, which is enabled by longer length of the weapon, as well as of the barrel.
 The name of the caliber comes from the Latin proverb “Si vis pacem, para bellum“, which means “If you want peace, prepare for war”.
 Technique and speed of drawing a weapon out of a holster or pocket, depend on a level of training and skills of a shooter, but manufacturers should simplify the construction of their products as well as weapon locking mechanism.
 Besides, retainers carry several (usually 2-3) reserve magazines.
 Many manufacturers deliver interchangeable pads in several sizes within a standard package, intended for adjusting width of a handgrip of a weapon ,in order to suit a size of a shooter`s hand.
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