The Problems with Small Guns In Big Hands


In many situations carrying a smaller gun can be more comfortable and easier to conceal.  It is common sense for the most part.  There are times, however, when a small gun is more of a liability than you might think.  It isn’t all that different from the challenges people face when they try to carry a gun that is too large.  Or maybe the challenges are as different as can be.  The point is, if you have a big pair of hands and you try to carry and shoot a small gun, there are some things that you need to think about.

Handgun Fit

Handgun fit is an important topic in efficiency.  When we face a violent attack we want to solve the problem efficiently, with as little time, effort and energy as possible.  Our mindset, tactics, skills and tools can all play a role in how efficiently we can respond to that threat.  Handgun fit is an important aspect of efficiency.  The better our handgun fits, the more efficiently you will be able to employ that gun.

Handgun fit isn’t a simple topic.  It really comes down to selecting a handgun that, in order of priority, makes it easy for you to press the trigger smoothly to the rear, manage recoil for fast follow up shots and manipulate the magazine release and slide stop without shifting your grip.  If you want to know more about the topic you can read this in-depth article on handgun fit.

We typically think about handgun fit problems in terms of folks with little hands facing challenges when they are forced to operate big guns.  Having big hands and trying to shoot a little gun can be a problem as well.

Big Hands with a Little Gun

I see these problems often.  Folks in search of the simple carry solution set themselves up with a difficult shooting situation because their hands are oversized for the diminutive gun that is easy to carry.

I have experienced these difficult shooting conditions myself.  Although my hands aren’t Goliath hands, when they are wrapped around a GLOCK 43, it is a whole different story.  It seems that the size of the single stack 9mm GLOCK magazine and the grip that wraps around it leaves plenty of dead space inside my grip.  With the recoil of the 9mm in such a small package, the 43 loves to squirm side to side in my grasp.  It’s manageable, but I tend to see groups that open up in width compared to pistols that tend to fill my palms.

I recently saw another challenge with a student in a course.  It was a repeat of what I have seen many times before.  Reloading the small pistol can be difficult for those with larger hands.  In this case the offending tiny automatic was a S&W Bodyguard .380.  The issue was that the grip and the magazine of the  Bodyguard .380 was so short that the primary hand extended well below the grip of the gun.  The result was difficulty on insertion of the magazine.  The weak hand just didn’t have the space to fully seat the mag because of the strong hand.

These problems aren’t impossible to deal with, the simply need to be dealt with and they need to be understood.

Final Thoughts

When we take a look at concealed carry from a balanced point of view it is easy for us to see that every choice is a compromise.  A bigger gun might be harder to conceal, but at the same time it could be easier to shoot.  Just the opposite, a smaller gun might be more difficult to shoot while at the same time it is more difficult to shoot.  Of course you might find the exact opposite is true for you.  The key is to understand the impact that your decisions have on your ability to deal with a lethal threat and to make the choices that will help you prevail when you need to most.