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Preview – Glock 20 Backcountry CCW

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The Jedi Master Weighs in on 10mm and the Glock 20

Currently, concealed carry is all the rage in the USA. Most folks choose a handgun for CCW that is small, comfortable to carry, and most often chambered in a caliber that is easy to shoot. I’m amazed at the number of people who choose .32, .380, .38 Special, and 9mm pistols that are, in essence, pocket guns. All of these types of guns are selected by people who really don’t expect that they will ever really need one.

Let’s be honest — most folks pick guns that they really don’t expect to use in a life-and-death encounter. A .32 ACP or .380 is certainly better than a sharp stick in a fight, but sadly, most of these small calibers are not always great in providing rapid incapacitation of a threat. Even with some of the better 9x19mm and .38 Special rounds, multiple hits are required to stop an attacker.

I often meet people who carry small handguns for concealed carry self-defense, and they ask what I think of their choice in sidearm. My comment is, “It’s a great handgun choice as long as you never need it.”

Make no mistake: If you ever need a handgun to defend yourself, you will want a lot of handgun, not a little bit of handgun. One of the most troubling things I witness as an instructor is the vast number of people with small, easy-to-conceal handguns trying to shoot them well. Small guns are simply not as easy to shoot accurately or quickly as duty or full-size sidearms.

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I’ve carried a number of handguns in the past, rarely ever using the small-caliber, easy-to-conceal sidearms so popular today with the CCW crowd. I have been a big fan of the airweight J-frame .38 Special S&W revolvers — but mainly as a backup gun, rarely as a primary. For most of my life, a .45 ACP Colt Lightweight Commander or Glock 19 has served the need. Recently, I relocated to the western slope of the Rockies. Concern for two-legged predators now is, quite frankly, much less than those with four legs. My choice of everyday sidearms has subsequently changed due to local needs. CCW is not as much of a requirement as it is in other areas — but even in the wilderness, it has its place. Hence, the backcountry CCW, 10mm.


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It should be understood that a wise gunner will follow the “gray man” rule, blending in with the environment. Dress like the locals and stay in your lane. Don’t dress or act in a manner that attracts attention. This will vary wildly depending on the region of the world you live in.

Selection of holsters is critical for good, comfortable concealed carry. I have adapted to using Kydex holsters for much of my own CCW use. My rule is that polymer pistols belong in plastic and steel-frame handguns belong in leather. I really like and recommend Raven Concealment Systems and JM Custom Kydex holsters for most of my concealment use. With my Glock 20 in either of these rigs, concealment and comfort is outstanding. I find that for much of the time a good chest holster has merit, too. The Diamond D Guide’s Choice is a great rig, and my G20 in a Clark Fork Leather chest rig also works really well when hip carry is not viable.

My first experience with the 10mm cartridge was with the Bren Ten pistol. I don’t shoot it today as it’s now a collector’s item, and replacement parts are nearly impossible to locate. Next I acquired a Colt 1911 Delta Elite, which I still use from time to time. It’s extremely accurate and easy to carry in a good concealment holster.

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