Selecting a Firearm: It’s More Than Just ‘Fit’?

At the 2020 Expo, Beth Alcazar will be talking about Selecting a Firearm: It’s More Than Just ‘Fit’. I will hopefully be able to catch part of her presentation (or at least talk about it with her at another point).

When you select your carry firearm, what else are you looking for besides fit? How has your firearm selection changed as you’ve gotten more experienced with firearms?

You can find out more about the different sessions at the 2020 USCCA Expo here:


In addition to fit
Does it have a reputation for reliability?
Will I carry it “every time?”
Is it in a “defensive caliber?”
What is it’s capacity?
Last, cost?


I started my journey into “Firearms World” last year. Didn’t have experience at all. [I didn’t count few pistols and rifles shot long time ago living in Poland]. So everything was new for me. I was real newbie :zipper_mouth_face:

My selection was:
Because of costs - 9mm only.
FIT” was a must, no matter what. However this already limited the choice.
Next criteria was ambidexterity. Only few could meet my expectations.
Final criteria was ease to shoot and operate.

After few months of shooting I found these:

  • aluminium frame was way better for me than polymer (better recoil management)
  • hammer fired pistol was more convenient than striker fired. (felt safer in holster)

Now combining the best of each firearm - my next pistol seems to be perfect:

  • 1911 style, fully ambidextrous, double stack with aluminum compact size frame :muscle:

My first handgun I bought for hunting deer so at the time I was limited to a .357 mag or .44 mag, only two allowed at the time (Wisconsin 1985). I found a used .357 S&W revolver from a gunsmith, it is the only handgun I own (other than fun guns) that does not fit right in my hand.

It is also the one with open sites I am the most accurate with out to 100 yards. As my eyes are getting older I honestly dont shoot as accurately as I use to but I still enjoy trying the long distance shooting once in a while.

It was over 20 years later before I bought another hand gun. Now I was looking fit first as I planned on carrying it. My second thought was if it fit my hand I would be more accurate with it (or at least enjoy shooting it more and there for get better with it. While I dont think I will be winning any competitions I also dont think I will have any issues stopping a threat should the need arise.

After that there were certain calibers I HAD to have, my thinking was if SHTF and I was going to have to pick up ammo off the ground/bodies, I needed something to use it in.

So my collecting started of what I considered to be the most likely ammo to find. There were a couple of “fun ones” I also picked up along the way just cause I wanted them but I think I have what “I need” for hand guns.

Now if only I could find an affordable .50 caliber rifle I would be about set it think. :wink:


Fit, calibre, and does it fill a need that I don’t have covered.

10 yards in: multiple pistols. 1 calibre. Much like @DBrogue mentioned EOTWAWKI, I want a common round.

10-50 yards: I have a couple for that. Common calibre

50-100 yards: I have that covered. Common Calibre

100-300 yards: I have that covered. Common Calibre.

300 + yards: I have that covered. Common Calibre.

Only thing I don’t have covered I am saving for.

I had to look that one up… I may just need more coffee.

EOTWAWKI = End of The World as We Know It


The biggest changes in my defensive worldview came from actual events in my corner of the world, basically—

I’ll run out of time before I run out of ammo.
Range will be measured in feet,not yards.
Rapid deployment is critical, right now isn’t fast enough


At least it wasn’t a TLA it was an 8 LA. :innocent:

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Reliability is always #1.

When I first started I wanted small, now it’s full size. I started out carrying a Polish P64, and was self conscious about it. Now I carry a Beretta 92fs with confidence.


I haven’t bought a CCW “Specific” weapon in some years but have bought several pistols BECAUSE they FIT. I was born and raised on 1911’s and as such I have a great deal of difficulty with Glock’s pointing VERY high for me. I like the pointability of the Sig 226 (MK-11) but it’s a full size gun in 9mm. I had to learn the Beretta 92 (M-9) and can shoot it well but the safety is upside down and backwards and as such I have to think about it. Similar to the Beretta in shape and size I LIKE the EAA Witness in 45 but it’s all steel and HEAVY. I love the first generation SA XD’s but again it is full sized and the sub compacts and I don’t get along.

My Holy Grail is a semi staggered 9mm that grips like a 1911 for a CCW. Haven’t found one that fit’s yet.

So yes Fit is paramount.



Good to see you again, @Thad!

Some people can pull off a full size firearm. I’m definitely not one of them :frowning:


My EDC is Compact size (3.6" barrel) pistol. After taking “holster classes” I don’t see any problems carrying Full Size 1911. (however I do this for home dry firing purposes only)

Yeah, it’s been a while. About a week ago I had to send in my Walther CCP for repair (possible heat damage). I stopped in the gun shop saw the Beretta, and couldn’t resist. After the first day of carry, and a trip to the range my only thought was “this is the one”.


reliability/ reputation (I won’t buy a brand new gun. I let them stay on the market for a few years, especially after the sig p320 drip problem, but even guns I like have had iffy recalls the first year of release).

Affordability- I don’t go for the cheapest, but I also look for a good deal.

Purpose- I want the gun I buy to serve a purpose (plinking may be the purpose, but I don’t have room to store too many guns).

I’ve bought three guns and they were all m&ps… great guns, reliable, usually cheaper than glock and I’ve just been shooting them for a couple of years so I’m comfortable with them :man_shrugging:t2:. I’d be open to a glock, but I know the moment I look at that price compared to other really good guns, I usually get turned off.

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