A Galco Gunleather Tour: How Many Holsters Can You Make From 44 Miles of Cows?

Got leather?

Got leather?

Got cows?

Galco does. Lot’s of them. You know Galco, right? They’ve served billions and billions of holsters. Well, maybe not billions, but at least dozens of boatloads, judging by the size of their factory and activity level of all the folks in there.

I recently had the distinct pleasure of a factory tour. You see, I’m a self-admitted holster geek. I even wrote an entire book on methods of concealed carry and gun holsters. Yes, I’m hopeless on holsters, so when I had the opportunity to visit Galco, I jumped on it like Kanye West to the nearest microphone.

The very first thing I learned about was cows. Did you know that every year, Galco turns 886,000 square feet of leather into first-rate gun holsters? That’s about 20,000 cows. If you lined all those cows up, they would reach from PETA’s headquarters in Washington DC all the way to the Chick-Fil-A in Warrenton, Virginia. Trust me, I did the math.

OK, so odds are you’re not reading this because you need to know how many cows it takes to block the highway from DC to Warrenton, so let’s get to the cool part – the making of holsters. It’s a fascinating mix of high-tech automation and skilled hand crafting.

The first challenge is shoes. See, we used to make lots and lots of shoes here in the US, so there were thousands of tanneries that supplied all that leather. Now, since most shoes are made overseas, there are only two major vegetable tanneries here in the US, and Galco buys the lion’s share of tanned leather from both of them.

Just some of the leather headed towards the factory floor.

Just some of the leather headed towards the factory floor.

Like yummy steaks, leather comes in different cuts depending on the intended usage. Galco orders back sections, which are about half a cow from the center of the back down each side. One of these sections is about the size of the hood of a 1970 AMC Gremlin, but not quite as wide and a little longer.

The handmade dies (upper left) are mashed through the leather sheets to produce desired shapes.

The handmade dies (upper left) are mashed through the leather sheets to produce desired shapes.

The older way of cutting leather involves use of hand-made dies. These dies are laid out over a sheet of leather and pressed through to cut the desired shape. It’s up to the experienced cutter to obtain maximum use of each sheet of leather while minimizing waste.

High-tech cutting. The leather is optically scanned to capture shape and flag areas of imperfection.

High-tech cutting. The leather is optically scanned to capture shape and flag areas of imperfection.

The new way is incredibly cool. As each cow is different, the incoming leather sheets are always different sizes. Imperfections such as discolorations or scrapes exist in different spots on each and every sheet. A digital scanner looks at each incoming sheet of leather and identifies shape, surface area and “marks” imperfection areas with a “do not use” status.

Read the rest at AmmoLand!

Holster Review: Simply Rugged Cuda IWB / OWB Holster

The Simply Rugged Holsters Cuda is shown here in the outside-the-waistband configuration.

The Simply Rugged Holsters Cuda is shown here in the outside-the-waistband configuration.

Today’s neat holster design falls squarely into the “Duh! Why didn’t I think of that?” category.

While Simply Rugged Holsters makes a number of different holster designs, the shiny one that diverted my attention away from the squirrel was the Simply Rugged Cuda model. Here’s why.

To use the Cuda as an IWB, flip the straps over the front - that's it.

To use the Cuda as an IWB, flip the straps over the front – that’s it.

It’s all the rage out at Gunsite these days.

But seriously, while that’s not the only reason Simply Rugged got my attention, it’s a big plus. The guys and gals at Gunsite certainly know what the heck they’re talking about, and I would be foolish not to take a close look at gear they wear themselves on a day-to-day basis.

The Simply Rugged Cuda is a combination inside-the-waistband (IWB) / outside-the-waistband (OWB) holster. By combination, I mean you can easily convert it from one to the other. Other designs on the market allow you to perform this exorcism by screwing and unscrewing clips or gun pouches or whatever. The Simply Rugged Cuda design has the conversion capability built-in – with no reconfiguration required.

Here’s the secret. The holster itself is a classic pancake design with three belt loops. Depending on which loops you use, you can wear the holster as a traditional strong side outside-the-waistband with standard or canted angle or a cross draw outside-the-waistband on the weak side. Simple enough, right? What Simply Rugged has done differently is add leather straps that hang downwards on the back (body side) of the holster. When you want to wear the holster as an inside-the-waistband, you flip the two straps over the top then down the front. The holster goes in your pants while the straps with snap loops are exposed to latch onto your belt. The beauty of the design is that you leave the straps in place when wearing as an OWB and they don’t get in the way. You can literally move this holster from OWB to IWB in no time flat because there is no reconfiguration. It’s hard to explain, so check out the pictures here to see how it works.

Here's the Cuda in action as an IWB holster.

Here’s the Cuda in action as an IWB holster. Image: Gunsite and Simply Rugged Holsters.

The Cuda model is hand molded to your specific firearm and Simply Rugged will happily work with you to design a holster that fits your gun, Lasergrip and light configuration. No one can guarantee a fit for every combination, but if you don’t see your specific gear combination listed, be sure to check with them first as offerings are always changing. One more thing regarding the Cuda design. The holster is made of thick leather, and while the mouth is not technically reinforced, I’ve had no problem re-holstering even while carrying inside-the-waistband.

When used as an outside-the-waistband holster, the IWB straps hand out of the way on the back.

When used as an outside-the-waistband holster, the IWB straps hand out of the way on the back.

If you prefer a holster with a hard reinforced mouth for absolute frictionless one-handed re-holstering, check out the Defcon 3 model. It’s got a layer of (proprietary trade secret unobtainium) sandwiched between the layers of leather to keep the mouth open at all times. All other features and options are similar to the Cuda, so you can get the Defcon 3 with IWB straps too.

Both Cuda and Defcon 3 designs are open mouth and secure your firearm with fit and friction. This is working out just fine on my Cuda model for a Smith & Wesson E-Series 1911 with a tactical rail. If you feel more comfortable with a top strap, check out some of Simply Rugged’s other designs – you’ll find a variety of models all geared towards heavy outdoor use.

Since you’re wearing a holster every day, or should be, you might want to take advantage of customization options. For example, the holster shown here has the optional basket weave pattern on the exposed side of the holster. BBQ gun anyone?

If you want to learn a whole lot more about different approaches to concealed carry and holsters, check out The Insanely Practical Guide to Gun Holsters, 2nd Edition 2014.

It’s on sale now along with our other shooting books!

10 Things You Learn Carrying A Gun Daily

Berettas and holsters-1

Reflecting on my experiences carrying a gun daily for near a couple of decades, I figured out that I’ve learned a couple of things. Here’s a short list.

1. How clueless the average person is.

I don’t mean this in an offensive way at all, I mean it quite literally. When you first start carrying, you manage to convince yourself that every person you see in public will spot your gun. After a couple of weeks, you begin to realize that people are far more immersed in their phones than your appearance. The folks that do make eye contact with you almost never look for telltale bulges around your waist.

2. How quickly anti-gun folks can change their views – at least temporarily.

My wife was out for dinner one night with some friends, some of whom are decidedly anti-gun and can’t understand why someone would carry. Walking to the car after dinner, the group noticed a couple of suspicious characters hanging around a dark corner of the parking lot. Looking to my wife, the group asked the same question, “You do have your gun with you, right?”

Moral of the story: everyone loves a sheepdog.

3. The value of a good belt

Physical fitness starts with a strong core. A skyscraper requires a deep foundation. Carrying a gun safely and securely requires a proper belt. A quality gun belt, like the Galco SB-2, will hold the weight of your gun, keep it close to your body and prevent the holster from flopping around due to belt flex. If you’re having trouble with a holster, make sure you’ve got a proper belt underneath.

4. The value of a good holster.

Once you have a solid foundation with a proper belt, you need to continue building on that with equal quality. A good holster does three things:

  1. A holster helps you access your gun quickly, easily, and safely. It will hold your gun in a fixed position. If you ever need to reach for your gun, it will be exactly where you expect. It won’t move around and you won’t have to constantly check the position of your gun.
  2. It protects the trigger. By necessity, you may have to find and grip your gun quickly while under stress. A safe holster keeps the trigger completely protected until you have a proper, and safe, grip. Many things in your daily routine (chairs, seat belts, keys, etc.) have the potential to push through clothing hard enough to move the trigger.
  3. It ensures that your gun remains under your control. Retention features in a holster aren’t just for law enforcement professionals. Make sure you invest in a holster that will keep your gun secure through your range of daily activity whether that includes getting in and out of cars, working outside or any other sort of physical activity.

5. Bending over can get you in trouble – in more ways than one.

It doesn't look like much, but the extra weight of a couple of loaded magazines really adds up during a long day carrying.

It doesn’t look like much, but the extra weight of a couple of loaded magazines really adds up during a long day carrying.

A number of carry methods can cause printing dysfunction if you’re not careful. Most belt holsters, inside or outside the waistband, can cause the gun grip to press against the back of your short or cover garment if you lean forward too much. If you carry a gun daily, you quickly learn how to reach low things by bending your knees and keeping your back straight.

Read the rest at OutdoorHub!

 

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Pro-Gun Policy Will Fail Because There Were No Nuclear Wars

 

Cold War strategy sucked

Some gun control mantras make my head explode – and they don’t even use the phrase “for the children!” I’ll venture a guess they will cause you equal frustration. So go find a roll of duct tape. Then wrap your head with it. Done? Good. Now wrap an extra couple of layers, because I’m going to repeat the argument here loved by gun control groups like Moms Demand Alimony From Tyrannical Little Elitist Socialist Mayors with Napoleon Complexes (MDAFTLESMNC).

Concealed carry doesn’t stop mass shootings! There aren’t any examples of mass shootings where a concealed permit holder citizen stopped a mass shooting!

If you read this one slowly while moving your lips and concentrating really hard, you’ll detect some broken logic. The logic flaw boils down to this:

If someone is there to stop (or even disrupt) a mass shooting, the event never has a chance to become a mass shooting in the first place. The whole point is about the benefits of prevention, like blocking Anthony Weiner’s texting plan.

Buying into the exact same logic construct would mean that the Cold War failed. The whole point of the Cold War strategy of Mutually Assured Destruction is to prevent either side from throwing a pre-emptive nuclear missile haymaker. If you decided to evaluate the success of the mutually assured destruction strategy by counting the number of nuclear wars, then you would be well qualified to calculate unemployment numbers for the government.

“Hey! Our Cold War strategy sucked! You can’t name a single example of a nuclear war that was ended by the cold war strategy! Nyah, nyah, nyah! Now go get me a copy of the New York Times.”

Most studies define mass shootings as events where more than four people are deliberately killed in a single incident at a single location. Unless you develop the number using common core math, in which case you get an answer of -17.9 apples. But I digress. So, stick with me here, because the logic gets complex.

If a killer is stopped before they manage to harm four or more people, then it’s not a mass shooting.

See where I’m going here? If someone like, oh, say a concealed carry permit holder, is on the scene to disrupt a shooter’s plans, then they never get the opportunity to harm four people, so the event is not classified as a mass shooting, and like nuclear wars that never happened, it doesn’t factor into Emperor Mikey and Queen Shannon’s statistics.

The whole point of concealed carry is that first responders to an event – that would be you, not the police – have the right and responsibility to protect themselves. Rather than allow a homicidal maniac to proceed with their plans uninterrupted, an armed first responder – again that’s you – can disrupt the event as soon as it starts, so it never has the opportunity to become a mass shooting.

Let’s talk about the importance of disruption for a minute. Something sheeple don’t understand is that mass shooters are not highly trained Delta Commando Para Spetsnaz Seals. They’re psychopathic killers, but in terms of tactical skill, not so impressive. They rely on a docile and unarmed target environment in order to succeed. Rarely are special tactics are required to disrupt a mass killing plan. And disrupt is the keyword here. That’s all it takes. Disruption may, in fact, stop a killer cold or it may slow and delay their plan. Both are better scenarios that allowing them continue uninterrupted.

You don’t have to look far to find examples where armed citizens did, in fact, prevent mass shootings. The key word here is prevent, as the whole idea is to keep a criminal event from ever becoming a mass shooting in the first place.

In fact, you only have to look back as far as last week. Right here on Bearing Arms, you might have read about a doctor who stopped an armed killer in a medical facility. Unfortunately, one person was killed before the citizen was able to stop the killer. According to police, the armed doctor saved a lot of innocent lives.

Another classic example of the power of legally armed citizens occurred within one week of the tragic school shooting at Sandy Hook. A 22-year-old shooter, who I will not name, entered the gun free zone of Clackamas Mall On December 11, 2012 and started shooting random people in the vicinity of the food court. A concealed carrier on the scene, Nick Meli, drew his Glock 22 on the killer, but held fire out of concern for innocent bystanders behind the shooter. When the shooter saw an armed Mr. Meli, he ran into a stairwell and ended his own life with this final shot. The shooter claimed two innocent lives and was surely intent on causing a tragedy of epic proportions. Only because a citizen on the scene disrupted the shooter’s plans, was a tragedy and “mass shooting” prevented.

Clackamas is a perfect example of the benefit of armed citizens. Mall customers, armed or unarmed, were the first responders. Our citizen first responder only had to disrupt the killer’s plan to save the day. It’s that simple.

Like mutually assured destruction, concealed carry is about preventing war in the first place.

Make sense?

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5 Tips for New Concealed Carriers

One of the first steps is to get a proper holster, like this Galco King Tuk.

One of the first steps is to get a proper holster, like this Galco King Tuk.

Maybe you have recently completed the NSSF First Shots program or recently acquired your concealed carry permit. Alternatively, perhaps you are considering getting a carry permit. In any of these cases, there are a few things you need to know in terms of your next steps.

1. Get The Right Holster!

The right concealed carry holster will inspire confidence. You should be able to go about your daily business, whether your style is sedentary or active, without worry that your gun will move or fall out of your possession.

What do you look for in a “good”concealed carry holster? That’s simple. Focus on three things.

First, a good holster will help you access your gun quickly, easily and safely. It will hold your gun in a consistent position, so if you ever have to reach for it under stress, it will be exactly where you expect. A good holster will not move around and won’t require you to “check”the well-being or position of your gun as you move throughout your day.

Second, a good holster protects the trigger. No matter what your method of carry (waistband, ankle, purse, pocket or other), your holster needs to prevent stray objects or fingers from engaging the trigger. It is amazing how keys, change, chairs and other items can interfere with a trigger, potentially causing a negligent discharge.

Third, a good holster will ensure that your gun remains under your control at all times. It will not allow your gun to work its way out. It will not detach itself from your belt or clothing. If you have an active lifestyle, you may even want to consider a retention holster that requires a specific operation to release the gun from the holster.

If you don’t know anything at all about holsters and different ways to carry a gun, you might check out this book.

2. Practice with a purpose!

If you need to use your gun for self-defense, it won’t be much like your outings to the range. Most attacks are sudden and unexpected – initiated and resolved in seconds. Your attacker will be moving. You will (hopefully) be moving. If guns are involved, that means hitting moving targets while moving, and all while under enormous stress.

Standing at the range plinking at cans and paper targets is fun and satisfying. By all means do it! Just don’t think that prepares you for self-defense. If you want to start practicing skills that might help you in a defense situation, be sure to practice drawing from a holster, evaluating targets and what’s behind them, shooting quickly, but accurately and dealing with malfunctions in your gun. Have a friend load your magazines with random numbers of bullets so you might have to unexpectedly change magazines. Get some snap caps and have your friend insert them in your magazines randomly so you can practice what to do if your gun goes click instead of bang.

You also might create scenarios to track your progress. Try using a paper plate for a target and seeing how fast you can hit it from a draw with 5 straight shots at certain distances. Track your progress and set goals for improvement in both time and accuracy.

The very best way to practice is to make sure you complete step 5 in this tip list. Your instructor will give you lots of ideas for effective practice after your class.

Read the rest at NSSF First Shots!

 

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12 Reasons I Carry A Gun

Call-911-you-dont-need-a-gun

1. A fire extinguisher is a lousy self defense weapon.

No one seems to have an issue with folks keeping a fire extinguisher in the house, right? I mean, people don’t question your paranoia level even though there are fire departments just about everywhere. So I thought about just carrying a fire extinguisher for self defense too. I figured I could foam at least three people in the face before it emptied, and then it becomes an excellent impact weapon. After discovering that finding a concealed holster was near impossible, I gave up.

2. I don’t know when I might need it.

While crime rates continue to fall over the long haul, there’s still plenty of evil behavior to go around. Read any paper and you’ll see that crimes happen all over, not just in “high risk” places. Speaking of high risk places, if I ever thought I was going somewhere I might need to use my gun, you can be darn tootin’ sure I wouldn’t be going there in the first place.

3. Because 186,873.

According to USA Carry, that’s the number of warrants outstanding for felons across the US. They walk among us.

4. An Abrams tank gets horrible gas mileage.

Before you write off this idea, think of the benefits. Although a tank has great offensive weaponry, you probably wouldn’t ever need it. You’re pretty well protected from just about anything other than rust. Just drive it into your garage and be sure to shut the garage door with your clicker before exiting the hatch. Be sure to lower the main gun barrel first.

Read the rest at Beretta USA!

 

Try Competitions To Become A More Effective Shooter

Competition shootingThere’s a big difference between good and effective.

If you are involved in shooting purely for recreation and the joy of punching holes in paper or tin cans, then being a good shooter is, well, good enough.

If you intend to use your gun for self or home defense, then you need to think about how to become a more effective shooter.

What’s the difference?

When you’re enjoying a range outing with family and friends, you can be really, really good. Your shots impact where you want and they’re all impressively close together. When it comes time to reload or change magazines, no worries, you can chit chat about that new gun you want while leisurely preparing for the next round of shots. Hurrying or running around while trying to shoot would put a real damper on your ability to make pretty target patterns. You’ve got all day, and when time isn’t a factor, you are one impressive shooter!

That’s good, as long as you aren’t planning to use these “impressive shooter”qualifications for self-defense needs. If you intend to have a gun for personal protection or home defense, then you need to be effective, not just good. You need to safely operate your gun and get shots on target when the conditions are the worst imaginable—exactly the opposite of those fun days at the range.

One way to become a more effective shooter is to introduce a little bit of pressure and stress into your shooting routine. In this issue of First Shots News, Barbara Baird talks about various types of competitive shooting, so I’ll focus on what those competitions can do to make you more effective.

Even though some shooting competitions, like International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA) mimic self- or home-defense situations, they won’t help you much with specific defensive tactics. They will, however, help you master core skills that can contribute to your ability to use a gun in a defensive situation. Let’s consider some skills you can improve by shooting competitively.

Read the rest in the National Shooting Sports Foundations First Shots Newsletter!

The Rookie's Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition

The Rookie’s Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition

Which Foot Is Legal?

gun free zones

One foot in this photo is in a legal concealed carry zone, while the other is in a gun free zone.

Make sense to you? Me neither.

Useless, pointless, ineffective and ill-conceived legislation gets people killed.

Write your congress leech.

Ammo Review: Winchester Ammunition Train and Defend

Two varieties of the same ammo: one for practice, the other for self defense.

Two varieties of the same ammo: one for practice, the other for self defense.

When it comes to designing ammo, many of the objectives conflict with each other – you can’t have them all. For example, perfect ammunition would have all of the following:

  • Low recoil
  • Low blast and muzzle flash
  • Low noise
  • Reliable expansion, even after passing through tough barriers like 10 copies of the New York Times Sunday edition
  • Deep penetration
  • No over penetration
  • High velocity
  • Weight retention
  • Auto replenishment. Ok, no one has figured that out yet, but I did say “perfect” ammunition, right?

Given that you can’t have combinations like Mach 7 velocity, 4x expansion after passing through Iron Man and no measurable recoil, ammunition manufacturers decide in advance what performance they want and for what purpose the ammunition will be used.

Both 9mm and .40 S&W Defend loads were tested with bare gelatin and multi-layer fabric.

Both 9mm and .40 S&W Defend loads were tested with bare gelatin and multi-layer fabric.

Winchester Ammunition launched its new Train and Defend line with some pretty clear goals. According to the company, Train and Defend is aimed (see what I did there?) at “new shooters interested in training to become more proficient with their personal defense ammunition.”

What does that mean?

First, there are two varieties of the ammo: Train, and, you guessed it, Defend. Both are loaded to yield the same basic performance and feel. If you fire a round of Train ammo, followed by a round of Defend, you won’t be able to tell the difference. This is kind of a big deal.

Winchester Train ammo

Usually, practice ammo is lower powered and, therefore, much more mellow to shoot. When you load a round of full powered self-defense ammo, you’ll feel it. The blast and recoil will be substantial in most cases. Not so with Train and Defend – both rounds feel the same and perform similarly. The Train version is loaded with full metal jacket bullets which result in a much lower cost per round – appropriate for practice. On the street, expect to pay less than half the price of a Defend round for each Train round. It’s easy to identify as it has a big “T” logo on the box.

Winchester Defend ammo

When you’re finished practicing, load your magazines up with Defend. This is what you want for personal protection and home defense applications. The Defend ammo uses bonded projectiles that ensure the bullet stays intact and retain its original weight. The cases are nickel-plated for corrosion resistance and improved feeding. You’ll spot the Defend version by the big “D” logo on the box.

I tested the 9mm Defend load with a Beretta 92FS. Using the SilencerCo Octane suppressor was added fun as this load is subsonic.

I tested the 9mm Defend load with a Beretta 92FS. Using the SilencerCo Octane suppressor was added fun as this load is subsonic.

I got all geeky about how the Train and Defend ammunition is put together and posed some questions to the product manager. Are the Train and Defend Loads identical except for the projectile? Do they use the same powder?

Here are the answers from Winchester:

The Train and Defend loads do not use the same powder and there is a good reason for that. We utilize low-flash powders in our Defend options, because a defensive situation is likely to occur in low-light conditions; it is important that night vision not be impacted due to a bright muzzle flash. HOWEVER, these low flash powders have a tendency to be slightly dirtier burning, so they are not great options for our Train round. We developed Train to be a great high-volume training round so we utilize some of our cleaner burning propellants in these loads. Train would be great for competition, low recoil, 180 grain in 40 S&W will make for a great competition load.

Performance

Velocity

As part of the design goal of Winchester Train and Defend ammunition is to offer lower and more controllable recoil, they’re manufactured to travel at lower velocity. I measured both 9mm and .40 S&W versions using a Shooting Chrony Beta Master Chronograph placed 15 feet down range.

40 S&W Train, fired from a Glock 22: 885.3 fps
40 S&W Defend, fired from a Glock 22: 907.7 fps
9mm Defend:, fired from a Beretta 92FS: 936.3 fps

Expansion

I shot both 9mm and .40 S&W loads into Clear Ballistics 6x6x16 inch gelatin blocks. According to the manufacturer, the blocks are calibrated to 10% ballistic gelatin standards as used by the FBI for ammunition testing.

Assuming that penetration of these lower velocity rounds would be less than 16 inches, I only brought one block to the range. You know what they say about assuming right? Exactly. All of the 9mm and .40 S&W rounds tested exited the block and were stopped by my expired Kevlar vest backstop, so the only penetration measurement I can offer is “more than 16 inches.” That’s plenty.

For both 9mm and .40 S&W Defend loads, I fired two scenarios. For the first, I used bare gelatin. For the second, I covered the front of the gel block with the new standard light denim, multi-layer fabric designed to simulate average street clothing layers.

The 9mm projectile surprised me somewhat. Projectiles fired into bare gel and those shot through the test fabric all expanded properly. The bare gelatin bullet expanded to a smaller diameter than the one fired through fabric layers. That might have been caused by gel anomalies or perhaps the lower overall resistance allowed the bullet to travel at higher velocity, thereby pushing back the petals further. I measured expansion of this projectile at 0.535 inches. The projectile fired through the fabric layers expanded to 0.605 inches diameter.

The Defend .40 S&W rounds expanded beautifully in bare gel and after passing through fabric barriers.

The Defend .40 S&W rounds expanded beautifully in bare gel and after passing through fabric barriers.

The .40 S&W Winchester Defend projectiles also expanded properly in both test scenarios. The bare gelatin projectile expanded to 0.690 inches while the projectile fired through fabric layers expanded to 0.685 inches diameter.

In summary, I found this ammo comfortable to shoot and performance matched its design goals. Expansion worked properly after passing through “normal” clothing layers. Winchester Train and Defend ammunition is a great option for newer shooters where the reduced recoil will help keep shots on target and allow for faster and more accurate follow-up shots.

How to Handle A Traffic Stop When Carrying a Concealed Gun

Here’s some useful advice, and straight from the horse’s mouth so to speak, but don’t tell my friend William I mentioned his name and “horse’s mouth” in the same sentence. He spent years in law enforcement and made his share of traffic stops – always a potentially high-risk endeavor. Here are his thoughts on how you, as the concealed carrying driver, can help safely manage the situation for all involved.

iStock_000005794012Small

One of the most frequent questions that I get as a CWP instructor and former police officer is what to do if stopped by a police officer while legally carrying a concealed handgun. The answer depends on the local and state laws where you live, but I think that most situations merely call for a little common sense.

You have to understand that when a police officer approaches a vehicle, they have no idea what they are going to encounter. It may be a 16 year old girl crying because it is the first time she has been stopped, or it may be someone who just robbed a bank who has made up his mind that he is not going to jail. Every traffic stop has the potential to be deadly, and every officer has been through hours of training reminding them of just how serious of a situation it can be.
So what does this mean if you get stopped while carrying? The first thing is that you have to do to make the situation easy and clear for the officer. Pull off the side of the road far enough, if possible, to give the officer enough room to approach your vehicle without having to worry about oncoming traffic. Roll your window down, place both hands on the steering wheel and leave them there until told to do otherwise. The first thing the officer is going to want to see is your hands, because that is where any threat is going to come from. If it is dark outside, take the added step of turning on your vehicle’s interior light; it is just one more thing that shows you’re looking out for his safety. I will tell you from experience that approaching a dark car with blackened windows is not fun. It’s common courtesy as a CWP holder to remove as many perceived threats as possible from the situation.

This is not the time to start digging in your glove box or center console for your insurance card or wayward registration. To an approaching officer, that looks surprisingly like someone reaching for a gun. This is especially true in states that allow one to carry a pistol there legally without a carry permit.

This is also not the time to jump out of your vehicle and walk back towards the officer. Although your tag number, vehicle description and location should already have been called in before the blue lights come on, there may be radio communications occupying his or her attention. Seeing a driver exit their vehicle and start walking back raises all kinds of warning alarms as the officer thinks back to their training on how many deadly encounters started that way.

Read the rest at Beretta USA!

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