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Full size or compact


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I'm trying to decide between a full size or compact M&P 9. I want to use the weapon both for concealed carry and for IDPA / USPSA, so I know there will be a compromise one way or the other. The specs don't make it seem like there's really that much difference in size - particularly if using the mag with a place to rest the pinky on the compact. How much harder is it to conceal the full size as opposed to the compact? I'm a bit on the heavy side if that matters, and can be flexible with dress - I work in a school so any time I have to be in professional attire I couldn't carry anyway.

How much of a disadvantage is using the compact in competition.

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Get the full size. I started shooting USPSA with a 4" 1911 and it was pretty tough on long shots. A buddy of mine has tried to shoot limited with compact xd 45 with the magazine extensions that you mentioned and he has a hard time reloading. You can pinch yourself pretty good. If your a big guy, with a good holster you should be able to carry without too much worry in at least 3 seasons. Good luck

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Carry a full-size. The weights not much different, and the holster width is the same. Its simply not that much harder to conceal a full-size grip, over a compact one.

If you drop down to a single-stack, or a much smaller gun (like a Rohrbaugh, or a PPS), then it does become much easier to conceal than a full-size gun.

Edited by Aglifter
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My shooting mentor told me this,

"How much smaller is a compact compared to a full size? Half an inch? Maybe one inch? You still have to conceal it the same way...with a jacket, a shirt, a fanny pack, etc. With a full size, you get more ammo, better accuracy and it is the same gun you carry on and off duty."

He carries a Glock 34 for both on and off duty. Just for what it's worth. Good luck.

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Even with the extended base pad the compact 9 was still a 2 finger grip for me. I could start with my pinky on it but after a couple of shots it always slipped off and under. The extended base pad does not curve forward at all like some.

I, too, saw little difference carrying the compact and the full size but saw a big difference shooting them.

Edited by High Lord Gomer
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Personally, I will always suggest having two guns, one for the "game" and one for carry.

the main reasons for that is so that you can tweak on your competition gun while leaving your carry gun fairly stock for "legal reasons." If you can afford it, get one for carry and one for competition.

If you are going to shoot the compact in competition, be aware that you will not be as accurate at longer ranges and it will be harder to get a good grip. The larger gun , depending on how you dress, may be more difficult to conceal.... Past that, personal choice.

On a related side note. I *do* shoot my carry gun from time to time, but for the most part, I shoot my competition M&P pro 5" 9mm because I have more "fun" with it. :lol::cheers:

Edited by Classic_jon
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I carry a full sized M&P 45 every day, with X300.

There are essentially 4 important elements that make it possible.

1) No "dress code" restrictions. An untucked t-shirt whenever I feel like it.

2) Body type-- wide shoulders, slim waist.

3) The right belt. Cannot stress that one enough. Wilderness Tactical Instructor for me.

4) The right holster. RC makes a fabulous product; the pistol disappears on one side, while the two spare mags disappear on the other.

There is definitely some performance/"ease of use" sacrificed when you go with a compact. For a game gun, that's all there is to it; for a weapon you carry every day, the added concealment might be worth the trade off to some-- especially those without the option to go FS.

But the advantages of the FS gun carry over; if you can pull it off, why would you consider anything else in the first place?

Like Classic-jon, I feel that some shooting sports are better suited to a dedicated game gun, separate from the one you carry. However, I do shoot IDPA with my carry gun, so there's room for using one pistol for both purposes as well. Most of us on this forum are into USPSA as a game, and not just a supplement to practice/sheer trigger time under stress. I wholly understand that many people are of the opposite mind, and in that regard-- you really DO only want one gun.

So all of that said-- it's about how "raced out" you plan on going. Stick to the DCAEK, a set of combat/hard use sights (no FO), and the factory recoil spring; stippling > grip tape when it's going to be rubbing your skin all day! Nearly every tweak we make to our pistols in order to enhance their performance comes with a cost-- typically in the realm of durability or reliability. That's not something you want in a pistol that may some day be called upon to save your life, or that of someone you love. Fortunately, there's always some middle ground-- find it, stick to it, and you shouldn't have a problem with using a gun for both shooting sports and every day carry.

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Crossbreed Holsters Link

I have carried a Sig p229 everyday since I got hired as an LEO about three years ago. Its a heavy fat bulky gun IMO.

I carry it with a crossbreed supertuck holster inside the waist band and its not that bad of a gun to carry. I usually wear T-shirts and it conceals just fine. The weight of the gun is spread out far enough that it doesn't pull your pants down. It does a good job in smoothing out the pant so it doesn't look like an unnatural hump.

If I were in your position i would recomend a full size M&P and a decent holster. If you decide in the future you would like to carry something smaller then you could always buy a compact then. Perfect excuse to buy another gun right? :cheers:

What I would caution against though is to change anything with the gun to make it better for competition. For example, if you were to put an apex competition action kit in it and then shoot somebody you might have civil lawyers asking you why you were so eager to shoot somebody that you carried a gun with a hair trigger in it. Not to say it may not happen anyways but best not to give them any more reason. Plus you dont want to draw down on somebody and shoot them before you decided it was the correct thing to do. Stress will make some strange things happen for sure.

Edited by nathandewalt
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I would say to go with the full size. I have a M&P 40 Compact that I bought for a carry gun. Then I kind of fell into USPSA and that pistol is all I have that is allowed. It is a great carry gun and shoots really well for a compact pistol, but it is not meant for competition. The short site radius, short barrel and short grips all lead to problems in a competition setting. Just this past weekend at our club match, the classifier included two targets at 105 feet! Not a good thing with a short gun! Needless to say, I am not looking forward to getting my scores on that one! I am desperately trying to get my hands on a 9 Pro even as we speak!

By the way, I carry it in a Galco Summer Comfort IWB holster and it disappears under a shirt.

Good luck!

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I shoot USPSA with full size pistols of all types. That being said, I also shoot IDPA with the same pistols but I also shoot regularly with my carry pistols, a Colt Officers ACP and a S&W 642. Both in BUG matches and the Colt in the main match. I have Wilson 7 round mags so I am not at too much of a disadvantage and sometimes it works in my favor. I hope to try my LCP in a BUG match this season. I use full power ammo in everything I compete with.



PS: I have quality carry options for everything and could conceal almost anything but feel no need/desire to.

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