Packing A Lightweight
Isn’t Wimpy!

Sometimes you have to overcome your macho
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A few of Tank’s lightweight guns: a Ken Kelly custom Ruger GP-100 in .44 Sp.
(top left), S&W 3" 66 (lower left) and single-stack 9mms represented by
Honor Defense (top right) and S&W Shield (bottom right).

If the eyes are the windows of our very soul, the gun we carry is an extension of our defensive cognition. As young bucks, we wanted guns like us — shiny-new and in the latest, greatest, biggest and baddest caliber we could handle; or at least thought we could handle. Size and weight didn’t mean a thing to us. If it did, we wouldn’t admit it.

As time rolls by, funny things start happening for some. Your 5″ Government Model 1911, with three magazines, strapped on your belt used to be joyfully carried over hill and dale. Over time it seems to have gotten heavier.

Now, wearing it all day, or even 5–6 hours, takes effort. Every time you strap it on your lower back starts tightening up. Some big-clawed monster is squeezing your lower spinal erectors and won’t let go! Can you say “Uncle?”

Poly-framed guns lighten the load while offering plenty of firepower. Good choices
are (left to right) the Ruger Security 9, S&W Shield in 9mm and .45 ACP.

The Alternative

Welcome to middle age. We can’t eat cereal sprinkled with gunpowder anymore. No sir, its bran flakes with bananas now. Funny things happen to our bodies as we age, it’s not for sissies.

The harder we worked, or more strenuous the activities we subjected our bodies to, the more those aches and pains hauntingly visit in protest. What comes around goes around, eh? Now, lugging a heavy six-shooter or auto-pistol throws your sacroiliac into psychotic dislocation.

Like the infamous water-drop torture, the steady, continuous exposure drives you crazy. The slight tugging causes you to subconsciously compensate by leaning to the opposite side, unbalanced, leading to spasms. Eventually, the mere thought of strapping on 2.5 lbs. of iron makes some cringe as their backs protest from injury, arthritis, or simply age.

However, going unarmed isn’t an option! You know better! Besides trying to make your spine more flexible through stretches and exercise, what else can we do to help? How about packing a lighter piece? You know, one weighing half the weight of your old hog-leg, horse pistol or artillery piece.

Options?

Sure, we love blued, all-steel guns, maybe even stainless steel but checking out one of the polymer-framed, striker-fired pistols available today would sure be easier to pack. Some have an aversion to poly-framed guns, I don’t understand why. I’ve carried GLOCKs, S&W and Ruger — they’ve never failed me.

I very much appreciate the lighter weight. Plus, polymer is immune to rust, a nice feature when packing during hot weather. If you can’t stand the thought of poly-framed guns, there are still plenty of other options available.

A couple of true pocket rockets: an alloy-frame S&W Performance Center 442
with laser grip (top) and the Ruger LCP. Both are excellent back-up guns and
are better than being unarmed.

Reduced Revolvers

For the revolver aficionado, smaller J-Frames from S&W fit the bill. Go with one of the Performance Center aluminum-framed 442s or Lipsey’s 642 Exclusive and you’ll see how light things can really get. As with everything in life, it’s all about give and take, the smaller J-Frame having a 5-shot cylinder.

Ruger’s SP-101 is another viable option. They have several different models in calibers .327 Federal, .38 Special, or .357 Maggie. Built with 2.25″ or 3″ barrels, you’ll have a mighty fine and powerful packing piece.

Tanks 3" SP-101 and 2.25" SP-101 on left and a Ruger Night Watchman and
Commander-sized 1911 on right are powerful but lighter versions of their full-sized brethren.

Poly-framed Wonders

As noted, the flux of polymer-framed, striker-fired pistols is astronomical. The lightened weight of the grip-frame makes them easier to pack without pulling your pants down. S&W has a slew of Shields which are up for the job. I personally like the Performance Center 2.0 Shield in .45 ACP.

For really hot weather, when clothing is kept to a minimum, the Ruger LCP or LCP II are worth their weight in gold. With a pocket holster, they can accompany you anywhere.

1911 Brigade

For those with a fondness for traditional 1911 armament, there’s several ways to go. Simply switching to a Commander size, or better yet, an Officers Model, and you’ve cut several ounces of weight. One of my favorites is a Lightweight Commander from Ruger called the Night Watchman.
As you can see, there are a multitude of options to choose from. We haven’t begun scratching the surface of guns available to ease the load as you go. The important thing is finding a gun you’re comfortable with, something you’ll carry every single time you leave your home. If you feel naked without being armed, you get it.

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