Full size or Your Smaller Carry Gun for High Round Classes

When attending a high-round count shooting class, should you use a full sized gun or the smaller gun that you actually carry? Here is advice from Greg Ellifritz.

Do you take your carry gun or a full-size in classes you’ll be shooting high round counts per day over several days?


Oh, that’s a great question, @BrophE! And the reader has picked a couple of my favorite guns!

Greg Ellifritz makes some great points - what are you going to be able to handle comfortably for that many rounds?

Personally, I’d rather be able to do all of the training with my full size firearm so I can really understand it and be able to apply it to my carry firearm in my range time after the training is over. I’ll still have to train a lot with my carry firearm, but I’ll personally be able to shoot longer, more comfortably with a full size firearm (for most people).

But we suggest people do what works best for them. Some might find it more advantageous to use their carry, some will prefer their full size firearm.

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I only own carry pistols so it’s a no brainers for me.

Otherwise it would depend on the type of class I’m taking. If it’s a defensive class you should shoot what you carry. If it’s a competition class shoot what you’ll compete with.


I usually train with my M&P2.0c for high round count training and then adapt and train on my own with the Shield and HK P2000sk.

Considering there’s not a big difference in size Shield 3.1”, HK 3.5”, and 2.0 4” it’s not much of an adjustment.

Overall the 2.0 feels better in my hand so for long days high round count it always wins.

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That’s my thought process. Train with a gun that is similar in style and function. For extended training, I use 10 round mags that are for a full size M&P, making my carry gun a full grip. The 1/2 inch barrel difference between mine and a full-size is negligible.

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My 2.0 has 15 and 17 round mags, so less reloads in those high count days. The size difference it’s all that hard to adapt to when training with the others.

Surprisingly the 2.0 conceals better than the Shield with Hyve+2 plates.


I’d believe it. The 2.0 Compact, and my 1.0 45C are the same size. The shield with standard mags is almost the same grip length. I would imagine the Hyve floor plates add to that length. That’s why I’m still carrying my 45C, and haven’t bought a Shield yet. Emphasis on yet.


I think SW should have made the Shield a double stack 10 round mag. The HK is a double stack 10 and is much more comfortable in the hand.

For me the Shield is a little too skinny to get the best grip on it and hurts to shoot due to dupuytren’s contracture in my right hand.

If I didn’t have so much invested in it, CT Laserguard Pro, Hidden Hybrid holster, and Hyve base plates, I’d sell it and put the money toward another HK, maybe the P2000 V3 or buy an off roster VP9 from a buddy.

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Ultimately wouldn’t it depend on the objective of the class? Most seem to be centered around concealed carry defense in which case it seems to me that you would want your EDC concealed gun. I took mine to a Rob P class and it worked fine (had 9rd and 15rd magazines) but it was only a 1 day 500rd class. But I could see taking a larger sidearm if I were taking a “tactical” type class for fun.


I’m jealous!:grin:I would love to attend a live Rob P class, but none ever in my area. I attend the online replays. Bet it was awesome!


@JamesR I think that’s a very legit point… and I think you have to balance the wear-and-tear of a 2 or 3 day course against that.
For me, I want to make sure I’m learning the specific skillset with the minimum number of distractions. If I hurt, or I’m tired, I’m going to retain less and acquire less skill. Once a skill is acquired with the gun its easiest for me to shoot long sessions with, that skill will transfer over pretty quickly to whichever gun I’m training with on my own.

and welcome to the community!


Recognize that most gun owners will never fire 500 rounds out of a single handgun in the course of an average lifespan.

I found this statement a little scary. I try to get to the range at least an hour per week and usually go through several hundred rounds, depending on what I am working on. I can’t imagine having a sidearm and not firing it.

Now, that aside, I train with a .45 5" 1911 and a .22LR 5" 1911, depending upon my goals. I then transfer those skills to other sidearms. I do sometimes train with the others, again, depending upon the goals of that particular session.


It was a 3hr drive but totally worth it…if one ever even gets close to you I’d recommend making the trek. :slightly_smiling_face:

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