your mind. The decision will always be a compromised choice that you make
based on your life-style. I would argue that the real choice is what sort of balance you are willing to make as far as your pistols abilities and your level of convenience. To this end, I consistently see the small, thin, semi auto-matic pistols like the Ruger LC9 or Smith & Wesson Bodyguards in my workshop, with laundry lists of tuning and manipulating that
are just not realistic options. Those micro compacts serve their defensive purpose exceedingly well, but they are one of my least favorite conversations to have with customers. So, let’s go over the common things I see with these pistols, and understand what they are meant for…and why.
First thing, the triggers just plain out suck! Do you know why? Because they were
designed like that! The companies that make these little guns know that they‘re going to
be stuffed in pockets, purses, Flashbang bras and my very favorite, Thunderwear.
Which, by the way, if you carry your handgun in a Thunderwear holster; do not bring it to me for any reason. The last thing a firearms manufacturer wants is a lawsuit because someone didn’t keep their cotton picken fingers off the trigger and ended up shooting off something they might like to use in the future. So, yes, the triggers are long and they’re stiff (which is something an accidental discharge will keep you from being). These guns were not designed for target shooting; they are designed for close range combat and easy concealment. They are most often stashed in a pocket, and more than one person has also tossed in some loose change, car keys, and maybe a pen. The long trigger (called double action only) sacrifices a lightweight short traveling trigger to hopefully keep a negligent discharge at bay (remember, the guns are designed with liability in mind, not your personal skill level). They give you a chance to create distance and run like hell, and they are great for that. The trigger design is an inherent safety feature, as most micro compacts do not have external safeties. In short, they are meant to compete with snub nose revolvers, and there is nothing that your gunsmith can do to get around this design.
The second common complaint, “my magazine doesn’t drop free”. Really!? Are you really expecting to do combat mag changes with these things? If so, you done got
yourself into some deep stuff and probably should have been paying a little bit more attention to your environment in the first place. Again, manufacturers know where you’re going to be carrying these little guys and the point is to make sure your magazine stays put. You don’t want to find out that your magazine is lying next to your lipstick or is rattling around in the bottom of your Thunderwear when you need it. These pint-sized pistols were built to conceal in much more flexible and less controlled environments than that fancy kydex rig your Glock sits in. It is easy to unintentionally put enough pressure on the magazine release while the gun sits in your pocket; so thankfully, the magazine is designed to stay in the grip. So forget about the mag drops and the tactical reloads. Again, these pistols are designed as a convenient-to-carry “belly gun” first and foremost. They are tools of last resort, designed to help you create distance and escape the threat.
The third complaint: “I can’t see my sights!” Again, this is not a target pistol; this
is a “get off me” gun. Tall and proud makes a good Marine but it creates a snag point when trying to pull one of these pistols from concealment. Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to snag anything in my Thunderwear. There is a very high probability that you are going to be shooting at distances so close (we’re talking feet and inches, not meters and yards) that traditional aimed fire is just not what the Doctor ordered. Yes, these guns can
surprise you with their accuracy, but range isn’t a primary concern of the design factor. My daughter can also drive a nail with her shoe, but it doesn’t make it a hammer.
These little guns are fine for what they’re designed for, but let’s be realistic
about it. They are modern day derringers. If you decide to buy a micro compact, just make sure you have set your expectations appropriately. It is what it is, and it is designed for close range, “point and click” shooting that is easy to conceal in your front pocket. At the end of the day, when I’m explaining that I can’t install new sights, make the trigger 2
lbs., and modify the frame for drop free magazines, I can’t help but think that the owner didn’t really think their purchase through. I like this new breed of polymer single stacks, and would happily recommend them… just don’t bring it to your local gunsmith expecting them to turn it in to some super-duper combat race gun. If a high round count and nimble handling are options that you want in your defensive gun, then you are just going to need a bigger gun, and bigger guns are going to ask you for more commitment.
All too often, folks just try and use details like caliber, fancy brand names, ad-on
gizmos, and even the blood, sweat and tears (you’d be amazed at how many tears are involved) of a gunsmith to gain skill with their defensive weapon. The truth is, you cannot modify, mill, or tune your way to expertise. It requires hands on practice, training, and good ole fashioned trial and error. I can help you smooth out the rough parts, but I can’t help you overcome a lack of trigger time and dedication. However, if you are
looking into ShootLogic, then you are well on your way!