Hot Carry in Louisiana
"I live in the deep South and I want to get a concealed carry pistol. I want to know options on what finish to get. The problem is I sweat a lot and want the most durable finish for this.""Concealed is concealed. Out of sight, the finish doesn't matter." To a certain extent, this is correct. Some finishes enhance concealment though, while others are easily noticeable underneath the dark recesses of a sports coat if you happen to leave it unbuttoned.
I live in Louisiana. One of the realities of Louisiana is it is hot and humid. Heat hangs in the air. Suffocating. Sweltering. Unbearable. Air conditioning in the summer is akin to life support. People take off their clothes. They strip down to minimal garments. Heck many people go commando simply because it's cooler! Wearing a cover garment in the summer screams "I have a gun!"
Not only do you have to consider finishes and rust problems (I'll get into that in a bit) but you have to consider how you can carry the gun while still dressing comfortably and discretely in regards to carrying it.
The new-fangled "conceal it under your tucked in shirt" holsters don't work well here. Your shirt gets wet with sweat and the next thing you know the gun shows through, either printing under wet fabric or showing because a white dress shirt becomes translucent. I tried that.......It did not work for me.
I tried a simple belt clip underneath an untucked shirt. With a good gun belt for support, and a good tight clip, this works fairly well for short jaunts. It does away with the problem of a leather or nylon holster chapping sweaty skin. Believe me, a chapped love handle in the summer is something that will make you change your carry mode quickly.
The right holster will be impervious to sweat, and if it covers enough of the gun, the problem is lessened. Picking out the right gun helps a lot as well. Some materials simply fare better than others.
Over time, I have found a couple of decent carry solutions for Louisiana. First, is casual clothes.......Shorts and khakis..........For this mode of dress, I switch to pocket carry with a J-frame. For the particular gun, I would go with a lightweight S&W J-frame rated for +P .38 special or .357 magnum. The scandium frame is pretty corrosion proof, as is the cylinder. A simple Uncle Mike's pocket holster completes the package. For extended trips out and about, this works well. This carry mode does not work well with tight jeans. For tight jeans (which are uncomfortable anyway in Louisiana's heat, but some people persist) a Kel-Tec P3AT or P32 with a hardchromed slide and a holster with a plastic insert makes a good package in a front pocket. Some folks make their own plastic insert from a coffee can lid to prevent printing. Other guns are usually too fat to keep from printing in tight jeans.
If you feel the need for a larger gun, seriously consider your mode of dress. Build up a collection of light sports coats. Dress conservatively. If you buy now, you will find them on sale. Silk summer weight sports coats stay cool and conceal a gun well. Place the gun of your choice at 4:00 in anIWB or a OWB holster on a good belt and Bob's your uncle. For evening type trips, this is my preference. If you must use a IWB holster, consider gluing a piece of open cell foam neoprene backed with nylon or spandex to the inner surface, both to pad your hide, and to prevent soaking the leather with sweat. It will also help hold the holster in place for the draw. Rubber cement will attach the neoprene permanently. The other advantage of a sports coat is it gives you extra pockets. Cell phones, mini-flashlights, cigars, theater tickets can all go in the sports coat pockets. Hell toss a back up gun in one too. The sports coat keeps you from wearing a Bat Belt and a photographer's vest and looking like you area National geographic reporter afraid a bobcat might jump out of your ass at anytime. Plus, you tend to meet a classier dame and jerks tend to leave you alone when you wear a sports coat.
An apron type holster such as a SmartCarry holster works pretty well if your pants are loose enough. The SmartCarry has a sweat proof liner that other types of this holster style do not. It can become rather hot though. By going commando, you can eliminate a bit of that problem. An apron type holster is a bit slower to draw from, and it demands a shorted barreled gun, but it is a very effective concealment device. You may want to have a padded sleeve sewn up to encircle the velcro on the back to prevent chaffing.
As far as finishes go, a reality of carrying a gun must be accepted. Carry guns get beat up. You don't wear a pair of shoes and expect them to be pristine a year later. The same goes for a billfold or anything else carried daily. A carry gun is no different. Carry guns get beat up. Maintain the piece, keep it functional, and accept reality. Yes, it's an expensive depreciation if you buy new. Heck, it's expensive depreciation if you buy used. A gun reaches a point of decreasing depreciation at a certain point of it's life though. Try to buy a good used gun already at that stage if you worry about depreciation. They are out there for sale at any gun show.
Tennifer is a great finish, but you have to accept a Glock to get it. From what I've seen, other "Tennifer-like" finishes don't fare as well as a Glock does. If a Glock is your choice of a carry gun, your problem is over.
Hard chrome is very resistant, but it lights up like neon underneath a jacket. The same goes for NP3 and stainless steel. You have to pick your poison.
A scandium framed gun takes care of part of the problem. Not only is the weapon lighter, but corrosion is minimized. On a semi-auto pistol though, the slide is still an issue.
On two of my carry 1911s I went with a Teflon type finish applied locally by a gunsmith. I alternate these with a SW1911PD which is doing well in regards to corrosion. I carry these guns either IWB or OWB underneath a sports coat, or in the SmartCarry holster. For pocket carry, I go with a stainless or lightweight alloy S&W J frame. I accept the reality that the guns will show wear and corrosion. I keep them maintained and go on with life. After all, I carry them so I may go on with life.