There is this idea that smaller is better when it comes to concealed carry. This is correct generally, but what I am observing for new shooters is the opposite.
Responsible gun owners
We see more and more responsible people becoming responsible gun owners, responsible in the sense they seek out training and education to improve their understanding of an unknown to them. In our classes, we see many first-time gun owners bringing the micro sized handguns because they feel or were told they would be great first time guns. I disagree on many levels, but I don’t want folks to misunderstand why. I am not disagreeing these are not good handguns, I’m disagreeing they are good handguns for new shooters.
These micro handguns might be lightweight and easy to conceal, but those benefits are the reasons they make them not a good choice for new shooters. The lighter weight handguns will have exaggerated recoil impulse despite the caliber. While I agree “a gun, is better than no gun” you want to be proficient with the handgun should you be called to use it under high stress. The proficiency will require hours of training and hundreds of rounds downrange. If all you intend on firing is a single box of ball ammunition every now and then, maybe this won’t apply to you. Then again, how in the hell do you expect to maintain proficiency if that is the best you have to offer.
It’s all about the size and friction
The size of the handgun will influence it’s handling under recoil and with less weight you can expect a more pronounced impulse all else being equal. On top of that, the smaller frames; ideal for concealed carry make the recoil impulse more challenging because there is less surface area to create friction. While friction is not the only means to managing recoil, it is an important one and not something I am crazy about giving up. The other difficulty you will experience is in finding a consistent grip, you will discover a slight degree of difficulty obtaining the same grip over and over. This will lead to further problems of accuracy since accuracy is nothing more than being consistent.
What a lot of folks don’t realize is if you plan to rely on handgun for self-defense you will need to invest time, money and resources developing confidence and competence. These micro handguns do not create an inviting environment due to the challenge of shooting them. We have also discovered many of them are not designed to handle the higher round count abuse their big brothers typically see. You will need to fire hundreds of rounds and it the wear and tear on these smaller handguns that shortens their shelf life. Many were not designed with longevity in mind.
Now, I do find them to be excellent additions to your EDC inventory. They offer unique capabilities larger framed handguns do not, but not as a novice shooter. I would much rather see a new shooter develop the confidence and competency of marksmanship; which is principle driven and not platform specific. Then branch out to try other makes and models to see if they offer improved performance and or benefits. At what point does that become a reality? A very good question and one you must be honest with yourself regarding your skills.
If you are new to shooting or carrying concealed, consider waiting on these micro handguns. Develop solid marksmanship skills first, there is no substitute for hard work.