Your firearm is the most exciting thing to carry, and can be the most important. I view mine as a life-saving device. It is a tool. It’s meant to get beat up, and should function just fine if it is taken care of a little bit. In today’s market, there are so many good options. By good I mean reliable. That is what is important. You need a gun that will go bang every time you pull the trigger. This is why testing your carry ammo is important. That is the food to your gun.
Today’s ammo is miles ahead of where it use to be. Malfunctions can happen, but you want those to happen at the range while practicing. I buy cheap ammo so that I can practice malfunctions at the range. Carry ammo is made of different materials, and are mostly nickel-plated. Brass ammo expands when it gets hot, and this can induce malfunctions. Staying on the subject of ammo. You don’t know how much you’ll need, so for me, a gun with high capacity is what I want to carry. My carry gun at the moment is a Smith and Wesson M&P9 Pro Series. It fits 17 rounds in the magazine & one in the chamber, plus I carry a 21 round spare mag. This gives me 39 rounds, which I don’t intend to use, but rather top off my gun if I use it. More importantly, the gun gives me a full grip due to it being a full size. It’s designed for competition, so it has a 5 inch barrel, which is about as long as they make pistol barrels with the intended purpose of being a duty-gun. The longer the barrel, the more velocity the bullets will get. The trigger is upgraded from the factory for a lighter pull, which gives me greater accuracy.The only thing I’ve done with the gun is shoot it a ton, and changed out the sights to my preferred sights. While shooting with iron sights, you want to focus on the front sight, so I prefer a bright front sight, and blacked out rear sight.
Another important component of my gun is it has a rail for attaching accessories. For me, I utilize the rail with a weapon mounted light. The Streamlight TLR1 HL gives me 800 lumens. It along with my firearm have solid reputations for reliability, and companies that stand behind their products. It is a pain to conceal a large gun, with the addition of a WML, but a good holster makes this a little more manageable. I’m about 6’1″ 200 pounds, so it is easier for me to carry a larger gun. I also dress around the gun, which usually requires a larger shirt. One other piece of the puzzle that most people get wrong is their belt. You’ll need a rigid belt to support the additional weight of your firearm, and whatever else you’re carrying. My belt is 1.5inches thick, and my holster and spare mag both have 1.5inch clips. This is important because my holster won’t rotate while I move, and I get a solid grip on the gun every time I draw. Like I said earlier, the market today is better than it’s ever been due to technological advances. Just find a gun that is reliable, preferable striker-fired because you’ll get the same trigger press every time, and one that is easy to shoot. Caliber isn’t necessarily a huge deal. I choose 9mm because it has excellent ballistics, capacity, and recoil management isn’t bad with it. It is also not expensive, so you can practice more with it. The FBI just switched back to 9mm along with many other departments. Carrying a gun isn’t for everyone, and you’ll have to find out what works for you, but it has it’s rewards, and responsibilities that come with it.