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Push me over the edge on a XD9 Subcompact...

1433 Views 15 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  Verm
Here's the deal,
I want a "backpack gun." I may use it for CCW, but I'm currently good in that department.

Basically my wife, our 3 year old son, and I go day hiking a lot in the summer, and I carry a backpack with supplies (food, water, first aid stuff, compass, map, etc). I want a smaller pistol to put in an accessable pocket of the backpack to use for possible encounters on the trail/in the woods (ie. critters, bad guys, etc.). I am getting ready to buy a new backpack, so I have 'some' leaway as to pocket sizes for the pistol. Still though I'm looking for something capable of carrying the most rounds without sacrificing size to much.

I own a number of pistols, the smallest in physical size would be my Glock 23, or XD9 service, everything else is fullsize. I'm pretty much set on 9mm. The weapons I am considering are the subcompact XD9, the G26, and the Kahr PM9. I have never actually even held an XD9 subcompact, but have had plenty of experience with a G26, Kahr PM9 and P9. I liked them, but I wasn't necessarily 'sold' on any of them.

Oh yeah, I know I could probably fit the G23 or XD9 4" in a backpack, but this is a good excuse to get a new pistol!

Suggestions? I'm open to other options too, it doesn't have to be an XD.
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Go to a gun store and check them all out. If possible rent them out and see what your comfortable with. What ever fits your hands best should be your choice.
* shove *


Imagine holding your Service but the grip being short enough that your pinky danlges off the end. That's what it's like holding an SC. You'll seriously want some Pearce Grip Extensions.

Something I thought, if this gun is gonna be a bag gun, I'd get something with a manual safety. I realize that the design of the XD requires that one more or less be gripping the gun as if to fire before it'll go off, but the idea of blindly grabbing into a pouch for a gun with no manual, active safety kinda makes me nervous. (Of course, I just realized that the PM9 doesn't have a manual safety either...)

The Kahr's are kinda pricey, and while I've never shot one, I've handled a few (when I was shopping for my XD), and they seem nicely made, and they're good and slim. Low capacity, of course (almost to the point that it'd be just as well getting a revolver), but y'know, that comes with the single-stack territory.

If you like your Service and you shoot it well, I don't see any reason not to get the SC. I love mine, and wouldn't trade it for anything.

Enough pushing? :)
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Check out my 'Subcompact shoot out' thread in Range Reports. It convinced me.

Whatever you use as a pack-gun you'll want to at least get some kind of cheap nylon holster for it, to keep dust and lint out, and to keep anything from snagging the trigger/trigger guard.
Just a question, but if you want to carry it, why would you carry it in a backpack poket? If you need it right then and there, how are you going to get to it?
FatBob said:
Here's the deal,
I want a "backpack gun." I may use it for CCW, but I'm currently good in that department.

I own a number of pistols, the smallest in physical size would be my Glock 23, or XD9 service, everything else is fullsize. .
Everything you have is full size...You say you are "good" for CCW.

For me, small is better for CCW. I have an XD Sub, and while I love the gun, for me it's still kind of big and heavy. Thick for sure. I like to dress light (I live in South Florida).

So my preference would be the Kahr MK9...it's significantly smaller than the XD Sub...and it's still a 9mm. I have been thinking about a .380 Kel-Tec also, but am not completely sold on the .380 round. Or the overall quality of the Kel-Tec. The Kahrs seem to be good quality pieces...I guess you get what you pay for. The Kahr is twice the price of the Kel-Tec (I believe).

You say you want higher capacity, so maybe the XD Sub is more the ticket for you. You can get 12 rounds of 9mm in the .40 caliber magazines. I love mine...and yeah, the Pierce grip extension is nice. I do prefer it on the range, but for concealed carry I don't feel a big need for it.

I would carry a .22 Beretta if I thought it would do the job in a real self defense situation. But everything is a compromise. I don't see that a 7 round magazine in a 9mm Kahr is an unreasonable trade off. More capacity than most revolvers.

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The SC is great, I have the 40. I just installed the Pearce grip extensions and like mrOw1 said I too feel it's a must have. Get the subbie, you wont regret it.
Well, now...not to overanalyze too much, but...

A sub with the Pearce extension ends up being about 1/4 of an inch shorter in the grip than your full size. If you go that way your only real advantage is the 1 inch shorter barrel. I have both models.

If you are daypacking, most likely your pack does not have a waistbelt. I would suggest carrying either IWB or OWB and wearing a Hawaiian shirt or something similar as a cover. Or all three of your suggestions will fit nicely in a bellyband. Just be sure to keep the XD properly lubed and protected as sweat plays heck with the finish. Better on you than in the pack. If you do not have a CCW permit, then you are still breaking the law by carrying in the bag.

If you must get something new, then definately go with the XD sub. Your service mags will also work with it for that extra capacity.
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Thanks guys for all the input.

As far as everyday, I had a G27, and the slide rubbed the webbing of my hand and was very uncomfortable to shoot. I tried the G23 which was a lot more comfortable to shoot than the G27 and not really much more grip to conceal. Also tried a new holster at the same time which probably helped out a lot as well.

As far as backpack carry, I like a pack with a thick waist band, and if you've done much backpacking (I have) most of the weight should be placed on your waist with the sholder straps more or less just stabilzing the load. This would not only make it uncomfortable, but hard to access a weapon. I know a pack isn't as convenient, but it can work with the right pocket placements.

I do need to go check out a sub XD and see how it feels for me. I know that that the grip (beavertail area) will fit a lot better than the Glock sub.

Thanks for all the opinions.
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Ever thought of a Glock 29 for a sub compact that will take care of bigger woods critters?

I also like takin off backpackin and have thought bout what to carry.
Ya gotta figure in how much weight all the extra ammuntion etc is gonna put on your back.
The new SC's sometimes with mag extensions that feel exactly the same as a service model. I just looked at one the other day.
Course I pack for days at a time when I'm out in the woods, so you might not need to worry about weight if you don't stay out like I do.
Hope that helps.

You said you dayhiked with a 3 year old, so I thought you would be carrying a pretty small, light pack. When I do stuff like that and have no need for tent, sleeping mat, sleeping bag, etc my pack is an ALICE pack with the frame removed.

When I go on 2 or 3 day trips and my pack gets up over 45 lbs. I carry in a homemade tactical vest. Last time I wore it under a sweatshirt and pulled the sweatshirt out over the waistbelt. I am modifying it for summer trips to wear over a t-shirt and still keep my full size XD with M3 tac light concealed.

My apologies for misunderstanding what you are needing.
okgr8outdrs said:
My apologies for misunderstanding what you are needing.
No apologies necessary. I am looking for suggestions on a good backpack pocket gun. But I am also scanning for other suggestions on carrying with a pack, and other peoples experiences in general. I appreciate everyones opinions and experiences, then I get to act as the filter to see what may or may not work for me.

I'd like to carry a medium size frame-less pack, but a small internal frame pack would be great as well. I am thinking a smaller pistol in a lower side pocket on my strong side would be about best.

I'm giving a lot of thought to the Kahr PM9 or PM40, even though it has less rounds, it's small and light and I could put it in a pocket holster, and most likely I would sew a pocket holster into the pack (inside a pocket or somewhere). Also I could easily carry a spare magazine somewhere else without much bulk .
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for hiking, I like to have at least a .40 full size for accuracy and power against possible animals. I carry in a shoulder holster to keep the weight off my waist but have quick access to it if needs arise.
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