Why not carry a full size?

Before I start, I’m a believer in carrying what you will carry. If that means you carry a .380 pocket pistol because of how easy it is, good on you for carrying.

The reason I ask this is over the past few years the G19 has been the gold standard carry gun that’s the perfect size for carry and self defense.

This made me research the M&P compact. So I looked at the M&P compact (which is considered a serious competitor with the G19 for carry), and the only difference between the M&P Compact and M&P full-size is half an inch on the grip.

The way I see it, I’ll take the extra half inch for 3 rounds.

(That being said, I think S&W has these guns set up where the Subcompact, and Compact half mags that extend to the full size gun which makes them a tad more versatile).

So, why not carry a full size? I carried a full size M&P yesterday with 0 problems.


I’m pretty new to carrying, so I am hyper-cautious about printing. Once I get more comfortable carrying a subcompact all day everyday, I may very well consider exactly what you are suggesting. Full-sized guns are easier to shoot fast and accurate and have greater capacity. I just don’t don’t have confidence that I could effectively conceal it all day every day. And if it proved to be significantly less comfortable than my subcompact, I would probably be weak-willed enough to opt for the comfort.

I do a lot of training with my carry gun, and I carry extra mags, so I am confident that in the vast majority of self-defense situations it would do the job. If I find myself in a protracted gun fight, I may regret the limited capacity and need for mag changes. Since protracted gun fights are an extremely small percentage of self-defense situations and since self-defense situations themselves are pretty rare, I feel good about playing these odds.


Good point @Scoutbob. Carrying full size (if you are comfortable with) is a good choice. However it may be great for one person, completely unacceptable for another. That’s probably the reason most of manufacturers come with FULL, COMPACT and SUBCOMPACT versions in their product line.

I personally prefer Compact for IWB (3.6" barrel, 15+1 rounds) and kind of compromise between Full and Compact for OWB (4.25" barrel, 17+1 rounds).
I cannot carry my M&P 4.25" IWB…it just doesn’t fit well. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

Whatever the choice is… we have to be sure we operate the tool well and gonna win every fight.


A few years ago, we drove from Florida to Minnesota. We took the long way, avoiding Illinois. I carried my Glock 17 under my arm until we got to the Minnesota border.

I was surprised as how concealable the full-size Glock was. I’m still not comfortable enough with my ability to conceal it, so I carry my 43 or 43X. However, I know that I could carry the 17, at least if I drop the pounds I have planned to drop since getting home from that trip. :slight_smile:


In shorts, flip-flops, and a tank top, I just feel like they might be printing when I reach for stuff in the grocery store.

2 gold desert eagles


Only on the most rare day do I carry my sub-compact (Kel-Tec P11). We are talking once every few years, maybe. The rest of the time will be some variant of a full size. Beretta M9A1, G17, 5" 1911, XD Service… or perhaps the G19. I also realize that my wife would be able to do it as well, however not comfortably, and she would print very likely. There is a reason she chose the P365…


When the apocalypse ends and I have some free gun money, I’m going to look into this gun. The length of the butt is not what bothers me with conceal carry, however, the thickness of the gun is a significant dimension that adds comfort for me. I thought the 43x was silly with its longer grip and short slide, but I wouldn’t mind considering a skinny G19.

I’m going to expirament and keep carrying the full-size just to see if the weight ever does bother me after awhile.


The terms sub-compact, compact, and full size still confuse me. For example, a 1911 with a 4" barrel is called “compact”, yet an FNP with a 4" barrel is called “full-size”

( 1911 Range Officer® Compact .45 ACP Handgun - Springfield Armory (springfield-armory.com)

( FN Herstal FNP-40 — Pistol Specs, Info, Photos, CCW and Concealed Carry Factors™, Firepower, Concealalability, Reviews, and User Comments — WhichGun.com )


This is true, some people call the M&P full size “compact”. I think it’s just a brand thing and they’re all on their own sizingz


1911 shouldn’t be categorize as FULL, COMPACT or SUBCOMPACT. 1911 already has been categorize with its own names.

What I’ve been seeing - whatever is 4" and longer is FULL.
SUBCOMPACT category applies to COMPACT size (or smaller) but has shorter grip for better concealment.

But yes… these names can be confusing. Usually manufacturers adjust categories to existing models. Sometimes COMPACT can be the same as FULL from other Company and SUBCOMPACT same as COMPACT… :face_with_head_bandage:


Too heavy, bulky, and difficult to conceal, and I don’t go anywhere that I need 17+1 plus a spare giant mag. :slight_smile:


If I drop the 10 pounds I plan to lose, I’ll only have 15 pounds to go.


I usually carry the shield 45, the full size is thicker and heavier. The difference between them is grip and 7 rounds of 45 vs 18 rounds of 9mm.

It’s not really fair because a round of .45 will stop a dinosaur in its tracks.

(I feel adequately prepared with both guns. It’s just varying size, but the full size isn’t that much more difficult, and their are only pros in regards to the weapon itself)


For me I carry full size STR-9 because that was purchased as home defense gun first. I now have 2 of them. 1 for HD and the other for CC. Size wise it is in between a G17 and G19.

Newer to CC and don’t go out much because of pandemic but so far 0 issues with printing that I know of. Have been in and out of dozens of stores albeit right now most of the time with a jacket due to weather.

I have frequently walked my neighborhood for exercise with just a light t shirt as well.


Tell Springfield Armory that :grinning:

Edit: Sig makes “Full Size” and “Carry” 1911s


I carry a full size 1911 45acp and won’t carry a compact, I like to have a good grip on my weapon ( I have big hands ) compacts seem to get lost in my hands and controls Safty etc. Are hard to manipulate.

Bill J


Also carry Str9, and bought Str9 c for wife, but sha still carries old kahr(omc) 380, but it’s too small for my hand and not fun to shoot


Mostly because they’re already dead. :crazy_face:


Honestly don’t believe a well placed .45 stops an attacker any better or faster than an equally well placed 9mm.


Cool to chat with another STR-9 owner.

Crazy question…what is the size difference between the 9 and 9C? I was thinking about getting the C but hard to come by around here so I wound up getting another 9.

1 Like