Big But Small – The Best New CCW Trend

The concealed carry market has fads. Yes, believe it or not, something as practical as guns can be subject to fads. The fads aren’t just the popularity of a certain color but the function of a firearm. For concealed carry, the fad has moved from small revolvers to compact automatics and from compact automatics to pocket .380s. Then we had single stack 9s, and finally, micro compacts. What’s come next is an evolution of the micro-compact genre. I can’t think of a better name than the big but small trend.

These guns tend to be micro compacts that have been stretched out in a few directions to be big but still small. Unsurprisingly, SIG was a major pioneer and had the first big but small gun, the SIG P365XL. Other companies followed this trend much like they followed the micro compact trend. The Hellcat had the Hellcat Pro, Taurus has the GX4XL, and I’m missing even more.

Beyond these extensions of micro compacts, we’ve seen big but small guns emerge from other categories. Glock expanded the Glock 43 into the Glock 43X and Glock 48. Taurus took the 856 and expanded it into the 856 Defender series with three-inch barrels. These guns are bigger than the typical concealed carry pistols but still smaller than other pistols.

This is the best new trend in the world of concealed carry pistols. These big but small handguns offer a world of benefits.

The Benefits of the Big But Small Guns

What’s the point of a bigger gun? We all know the most immediate downside to these guns is that they are tougher to conceal. A bigger gun is tougher to hide than a smaller gun. That one downside is obvious, but what are the benefits that make the juice worth the squeeze?

First, most of these guns are optics-ready. It’s not necessarily tied to their size but is a trend worth noting. Optics make guns easier to shoot. They are faster, more accurate, and make shooting at longer ranges easy. Outside of optics, the slides of these guns are longer and offer a longer sight radius with iron sights. A longer sight radius results in a gun that’s easier to shoot accurately.

The longer barrels allow for more velocity. The velocity increase isn’t huge, but that little extra can help ensure your projectile both penetrates deep enough and expands when it hits a soft target. A little velocity can go a long way in ensuring your defensive projectile does its job.

More size equals more control. The guns are a little heavier, and the grips are a little longer. That helps you exude control over the gun and keep the gun on target. Shooting fast isn’t easy, and you can use all the help you can get. This becomes even handier when it comes to shooting with one hand or if you have to switch to your weak hand.

These guns also often feature higher capacity than other firearms. The micro compacts are already well known for their impressive magazine capacity, and the big but small guns continue that trend. Even guns like the 856 feature six rounds instead of five, and the Glock slim lines have at least ten rounds in their magazines.

What About Concealment?

We know that concealment is harder with big but small guns, but how much harder is it? In reality, it’s not tough. These guns might be longer, but they tend to remain svelte compared to similar guns. The SIG P365XL holds 15 rounds of 9mm, much like a Glock 19. However, the P365XL is more than a quarter inch thinner than the Glock 19.

Guns aren’t developed in a vacuum. The support gear surrounding them has also gotten better. It’s much easier to conceal a firearm with a modern holster. Holsters like the Rogue from Crossbreed make it downright easy to conceal a gun like the P365XL or the Hellcat Pro. Good belts help, too.

Concealment can be easily overcome with proper planning. I think the slight decrease in ease of concealment is well worth the benefits these big but small guns offer. What are your thoughts? Let us know below!

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Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record-setting 11 months at sea. Travis has trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines, and the Afghan National Army.

He serves as an NRA-certified pistol instructor and pursues a variety of firearms-based hobbies.


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