Picking a carry gun A lot of people ask me what to look for in a carry pistol. Well I do not pick carry pistols, I chose fighting pistols. I own pistols of varying quality, design, and cost. I train with them often, carry them more but should the occasion arise I have to fight with my handgun there are several things I look for: Reliability Magazine capacity Availability of spare parts Ease of maintenance Accessories (support gear) Cost Reliability being the number one area I really research, test, and become absolutely convinced that it is as close to 100% reliable as it gets. (First anything mechanical can and will break at some point in itâ€™s life). This is not from hearsay but from a collaboration of research and my own first hand testing. When I test a handgun for my personal use as a carry weapon I will shoot it a lot (500 rounds), chunk it in the dirt, kick it around, pick it up and expect it to function (for another 500 or so rounds) just like it was before it got all dirty. I am not beyond taking it to an extreme and really punishing one. When I am done I have confidence in that pistol. I go home, disassemble it (all the way down) clean and inspect all components for damage, lube and reassemble it and perform a function check. Chances are you will catch me with one of three guns on, a G19 I have been carrying for years, a G17 that is almost as old, and a SIG P226. I am confident that all three of these guns are as close to 100% reliable as you will find. I do sometimes tote a Wilson Combat CQB, but very seldom due to low magazine capacity. Magazine capacity is important to me for one reason; I had rather be shooting if I need to, than to be reloading. Spare parts, as I said earlier anything mechanical will break at some point. So inspecting and replacing worn parts is important. Getting them easily and economically is a vital aspect of that for me. Ease of replacing parts, cleaning and inspecting. I do not want to have to be a freaking mechanical engineer or own a tool company to do this. Accessories and support gear are important to me because most stock pistols come with crappy sights, I do not want to have to wait 12 to 24 weeks for the holster and magazine carriers I want nor do I want to have to spend $500.00 to get them. Cost is vital thing as most of us (at least not me) are not millionaires and cannot spend tons of money on a handgun. All of my carry guns are in the 400 to 500 dollar range and they work. Things that I shy away from are small subcompact guns, yea I know there easy to carry and conceal, but one day if the purpose I am carrying should ever arise I do not want to be skimping on reliability, shoot ability, magazine capacity, and controllability because it was easy. One of the sorriest excuses you hear in gun stores is â€œit is a good gun for a womanâ€ what the hell does that mean? Women can shoot the same guns as men, if you donâ€™t think so I can introduce you to a few women that can take a G22 and smoke your ass on any given day. The difference is mindset, determination and training. It comes down to picking gear that works, not because it is cute, small, cheap, lightweight, or someone gave it to you and the worst of all, â€œthe gun store guy told me it was a good gunâ€. Of course he told you that honey, why would he be selling it if it wasnâ€™t? MONEY The little itty bitty ballistic binkies all have a place in life, the Keltecs, Baby Kahrs, J-Frames, Raven, Beretta Tomcats, NAA Guardians and so forth. They are either a good back up gun or a nice dust collector. They are not fighting guns! If you have to draw one you will most likely indeed be fighting for a life.