SHOT Show’s Range Day is always a challenge. Acres of guns of almost every type, price and design are there to shoot as gun makers make their pitches while you put a few rounds down range and try to get a feel for their latest and greatest. This year, for the concealed carrier, a few guns stood out from the crowd. If you pack a handgun as part of your daily routine — or are thinking about starting — here are three that you’d do well to consider.
Smith & Wesson M&P9 SHIELD M2.0
The SHIELD has always been a great choice for everyday carry. It’s comfortably slim, concealable and reliable. Maybe its only drawback was its trigger, never a strong point in any of their M&P pistols. Well, not any more. Like the M2.0 versions of their full-size M&P pistols, the SHIELD has the new trigger design. It’s a big improvement over the old version — a smoother, lighter pull with a tactile reset — making the SHIELD a top contender in the single stack 9mm mix. The M2.0 treatment probably puts the SHIELD at the front of the single stack nine line.
Walther PPQ M2 Sub-Compact
Probably the best feature of most Wather pistols is the sublime out-of-the-box triggers they put in their ergonomically excellent handguns. Their new PPQ M2 SC — a double stack 9mm — continues that tradition. Walther’s put their first rate bangswitch into a subcompact body with about an inch of rail space tucked under the muzzle. If you’re looking for a concealed carry pistol that packs more than six or seven rounds (it comes with a flush 10-rounder or the extended 15-round magazine, above) the PPQ SC needs to be on your list.
Colt “Night Cobra” .38 SPL Revolver
When we saw the re-introduced Cobra — the first Colt snake gun in God-knows-how-long — at SHOT last year, we were less than impressed. While the trigger was creditable, the bead-blasted finish and overall feel of the reincarnated revolver just weren’t up to the standards of what gun lovers had loved in Colt’s snake guns. The new “Night Cobra” version, however, changes that. It features a black DLC coating, a tritium front sight, an exceptionally comfortable G10 grip and a bobbed hammer that’s perfect for IWB or even pocket carry. At $899 MSRP, it isn’t cheap, but it’s good to see a Cobra that’s once again worthy of the name.