An Officer's Firearm
In November of 2006, Para-Ordnance unveiled its Carry 9 LDA, designed from the ground up for concealed carry by undercover or off-duty officers. The pistol's alloy frame, its light weight, fine balance, flat cross-section, and excellent ergonomics make it a natural for the job. As you may ascertain from its moniker, the new Para is chambered for my all-time favorite pistol cartridge: the 9mm Parabellum.
I'm sure the latter statement will raise some eyebrows among the "bigger bullets are better bullets" crowd, but I make no excuses for my partisanship of this, the world's most popular pistol cartridge. When loaded with jacketed, hollow-point bullets at +P velocities, the on-target performance of modern 9mm Parabellum ammunition comes close enough to equaling the on-target performance of many of its larger caliber cousins—with the added benefits of lighter recoil and higher cartridge capacity.
The Carry 9 features the Power Extractor (PXT), which is under constant spring pressure and provides 50 percent more contact with the cartridge rim for improved, controlled feeding of cartridges from the magazine, positive extraction, and ejection of spent cases.
Other custom features include a bushingless barrel and dual spring recoil guide rod for consistent lockup and improved accuracy. A finger rest extension on the magazine baseplate permits a full, three-finger grip, while the Para Carry Option bobbed tang and hammer means a snag-free exterior and smooth presentations from concealment. As do most pistols today, the Carry 9 uses the three-dot sighting system with deep serrations on the rear to cut down on glare.
My friend Butch Simpson helped me run the Carry 9 through its paces. For our offhand drills, Gould & Goodrich kindly supplied one of the company's Yaqui Belt Slide holsters and a mag pouch.
As is my standard practice with compact pistols, accuracy testing consisted of firing a series of five-shot groups with each brand of ammo from a rest at the intermediate distance of 12 yards. The little Para proved a very consistent shooter, with all of our groups hovering around the two-inch mark.
Offhand, rapid fire drills at seven yards showed that, despite its diminutive size and attenuated grip, the little Para handled as well as a full-sized pistol, putting every round we fired into the target's A zones. This performance only goes to reinforce my belief that those who believe you can only get real accuracy from a pistol if it is fitted with a single-action trigger are full of…Well, they probably haven't fired an LDA yet.
The only criticism I can voice is that the pistol does not come standard with ambidextrous safety levers. These would be a big plus—and selling point—for the southpaws in any department and would not compromise concealability at all. Aside from that, if you want to carry a mini-1911 on or off duty, but your agency will not permit single-action pistols, the Carry 9 LDA might be just what you're looking for.