There is no shortage of doo-dads and gizmos to attach to a concealed carry revolver or pistol. Does that mean each serves a specific purpose? We’re going to look at four different attachments/accessories and find out whether or not they actually improve anything.
Laser Dot Sights
Companies like Viridian and others make laser dot sight assemblies meant to be attached to either the picatinny rails directly beneath the barrel or, in some cases, adjacent to the rear sight post. The one convenient thing about having a laser dot sight is the relative speed to get on target. Whereas with regular Tricon or illuminated dot sights, there are a few more moments to get perfectly on target – the laser dot sight gives an almost instinctive response time. Plus, it makes firing from compromised positions – extreme close quarters or night firing – much faster.
Worth it? Yes.
Improves: Target Acquisition
What are the downsides? If you don’t take the time to understand the difference between where the laser dot is on the target and where the bullet goes, you’re going to have a bad day come show time. Laser dot sights don’t bend or weave like a bullet does. If you have the time to go to the range and try it out at different known distances, it can be an extremely effective attachment.
Custom Match Barrel
For 1911 aficionados and other popular handgun styles, custom match barrels have always been something you’ve known about. They’re usually made tighter than the standard manufacturer and are threaded differently to give more precision to the bullet. But are they particularly effective for a concealed carry handgun?
Worth it? Eh…
There’s actually no downside to having a custom match barrel in your concealed carry handgun. If it’s made by a reputable producer – like Wilson Combat or others – then it’s definitely something that will help tighten your shot groups in a fast reaction scenario. Is it worth it for the average concealed carrier? Absolutely not. It’s a nice added advantage.
Whereas a laser dot sight is minimal and straight to the point, a flashlight attachment is great for illuminating a large swath of unknown darkness. From the other side of the muzzle, it can also blind or inhibit the aggressor’s line of sight. This is great for multiple reasons but there’s also the detractor of it giving away your position – immediately.
Worth it? Sure.
Improves: Sight Picture
It’s recommended that if you’re going to add a flashlight attachment, add one that can switch between red light, blue light, and white light. That’s not just us being patriotic – there’s actual science behind this. Your eye doesn’t have to adjust as much in order to go from red light to total darkness. You retain your respective level of night vision. Conversely, blue light can be effective for picking up different aspects of the terrain. We’ll go more into this in a future article. The end result is a good flashlight attachment can and does make sense – so long as you’re aware you’re revealing your position and losing the element of surprise.
From a concealed carry point of view – who doesn’t want to have more rounds in a magazine? However, many extended magazines that can double or even triple capacity come with some surprising catches – they’re not all very well engineered for the firearm. What good does a 20 round magazine for a Glock 19 do you if it fails to feed the 18th round?
Worth it? In some cases – yes.
Improves: Ideally, magazine capacity. Though a cheaply made one may do so at the sacrifice of pistol operation.
The problem with a lot of extended magazines is that their springs are not designed to apply uniform force to the rounds transitioning to the chamber. This means either you’re stuck with springs that are too tight to load properly or too loose to get those last few rounds in the chamber. For the price of those magazines, you would probably be better off just bringing another magazine. Now, for magazines that are designed to give an additional 5-8 rounds of capacity – most of them will be fine. There’s not a lot of difference in design specs. For those that promise 20-30 additional rounds? That’s A.) not very concealable and B.) in practice, inaccurate.
Are there any other common pistol or revolver attachments you’d like us to investigate? Let us know in the comments section below and we’ll get to it!