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By Bret Rivers, photos by Oleg Volk

My HK P7 pistol and I have been business partners for over 25 years. We’ve even gone on vacation together. My P7 was right in front of me in a half dozen exchanges with hostiles and it was at my side when I gave away my daughter on her wedding day.

I started spending less time with my P7 about four years ago when I started consulting part time for the guys who make the Viridian green laser. Lured by the Viridian’s ability to compensate for my ageing eyes, I started hanging around larger, newer handgun models. The more voluptuous Springfield XDs and the Glocks filled my hand with higher capacity magazine wells and they had those sexy rails for adventurous accessories, like lasers.

My newfound taste for the more endowed pistols started affecting how I dressed. Suddenly I spent more time wearing vests or maybe a jacket. When it was too hot for a vest I carried my briefcase or a Maxpedition shoulder bag, just to keep company with the railed crowd.

When I truly desired to pack light I found myself torn. Do I take the old reliable P7 with no green laser, or do I settle for carrying a Walther P22 with the Viridian? I am ashamed to tell my friends that I sometimes opted for a .22LR pistol when I should have had my 9mm.

I was ready to seek professional counseling. I actually gathered up all of my Viridian-equipped pistols and my trusted P7. I put all of them and their loaded spare magazines into my vest with the most pockets and I drove down to the mental health clinic. I knew that I needed help and I was determined to get the best for me and my guns!

The sign on the front door of the clinic read, “firearms prohibited”. All hope seemed dashed. What kind of so-called mental health organization posts phobic buzz phraseology like that on its front doors? I found it very unprofessional.

My life was going into a tail spin. I couldn’t sleep at night. I cut back on my consumption of red meat. I had almost stopped listening to right wing talk radio, when a friend emailed a photograph to me; it was of a new KelTec PF9 railed compact pistol with a Viridian C5L compact laser attached.

As if Moses himself parted the sea of red tape I acquired a C5L through my friends at Viridian and another friend in the industry hooked me up with a KelTec PF9 at a reasonable price and in record time. Instantly I found several advantages of the KelTec’s lightweight materials and advanced design ideas.

In profile the P7 and the PF9 do not seem too far apart. Although I love the 2.5 pound trigger of the P7, its weight and lack of a rail reduce it to a second-best for concealed carry in my case.


Viewed from the top both pistols are slim by most standards. The shorter PF9 lends itself to more ways of unnoticed carry.

Taking the KelTec PF9 to the range I discovered that zeroing the C5L was as easy as previous Viridian designs. Accuracy at reasonable close ranges and was better than I had expected.

Although felt recoil was expectedly heavier from the lighter PF9, it was quite controllable making follow-up shots no problem. In full daylight I can use the Viridian laser out to about 25 to 30 yards with no problem. I found the PF9/C5L combo able to hit any 6 inch or larger target within the range of the green laser.

Overall, I’m a happy old gunslinger. HK snobs may disagree with my choice of a domestic peasant pistol over the legendary P7. My security needs have changed as I have advanced in age. I am smart enough to know when to change my gear to fit my needs instead of clinging to an outdated relic of a past when I had to carry a bit heavy. If any USP yuppie wants to look down his nose at my KelTec/Viridian combo, let him come back to me when he turns 60 and I’ll see if he still feels the same way.

At my advanced age my eyes are not as quick to acquire a hostile target with standard pistol sights. Diabetic neuropathy has slowed my walk and my reaction times. A daylight visible Viridian laser helps even the odds for an old man.

The slim and lightweight PF9 does not print when carried in a shirt pocket, but it gives any bad guy a reason to back down in a confrontation.

BR

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