The Seven Deadly Sins of Concealed Carry: Not Going Through the Motions

Hey, if you're gonna practice at home, don't make it too easy. Cover that gun up with your regular concealed carry clothes!

Hey, if you’re gonna practice at home, don’t make it too easy. Cover that gun up with your regular concealed carry clothes!

Usually the phrase “going through the motions” carries a negative connotation. Like feigning interest hearing about Uncle Stanislaw’s commemorative spoon collection. Exciting as that may be, some of us would have to gen up a bit of enthusiasm to inspect his most recent purchase from the International Tea Set and Doilie Museum.

When it comes to concealed carry, not going through the motions can be deadly.

What do I mean by going through the motions? The motions of practice! Practicing drawing your concealed gun. Practicing changing magazines. Practicing clearing malfunctions.

Most people assume they will rise to the occasion with relatively simple and basic skills like drawing a gun, changing magazines or clearing a jam. There’s a real easy way to disprove that notion. Enter a local shooting match. Steel Challenge, IDPA or USPSA – it doesn’t really matter. The first time you have to perform an action under the stress of a clock running and crowd watching, you’ll most likely see how quickly you fall right back to the level of your most frequent practice. And that’s with an infinitesimal level of stress compared to any real armed conflict. The first time you do that I can almost guarantee you’ll mess up at least a little. Heck, in one of the training classes I took, the instructor was hollering at me (just for fun and to try to induce a little pressure while I was shooting) and I managed to dump a full magazine on the ground, eject two live cartridges and inadvertently engage the safety before getting off a successful shot. He and the rest of the class had a great laugh from that experience. It wasn’t unprofessional or malicious – just the opposite. You see, I was feeling kind of cocky because I was the guy shooting awesome groups at a whopping range of 7 yards, so our opportunistic instructor saw a chance to teach us all a valuable lesson. By tormenting me, he showed the class how easy it is to revert to your lowest level of skill with only a little bit of induced stress.

Fortunately, developing some muscle and brain memory through practice is easy. And you can do it at home with your carry gun if you practice safe dry fire procedures. After all, dry firing is not as dirty as it sounds. Or, you can get fancy and invest in a practice gun like the S.I.R.T. training pistol. That’s money well spent as it provides visual feedback on where your practice shots hit.

Here are a few of the scenarios I like to practice in my home office and man cave.

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Be sure to check out our latest book, The Rookie’s Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition. It’s available in print and Kindle format at Amazon:

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

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

The Seven Deadly Sins of Concealed Carry: Not Carrying

Piece be with you! But if it's at home, and not with you, it won't do you a whole lot of good.

Piece be with you! But if it’s at home, and not with you, it won’t do you a whole lot of good.

The fourth deadly sin of concealed carry is… not. Not carrying, that is.

Crazy has roamed the earth for about 65 million years – several decades before Joan Rivers’ first plastic surgery. Consider that we live in a world where  people proudly claim they are “Beliebers“, faux celebrities name their cute babies North West and despotic Korean dictators have family members executed for missing a Black Friday Blu-Ray player sale. The scary part is that the current level of human crazy barely makes the nightly news.

So forgive me if I disagree when people tell me they aren’t carrying for reasons like this:

  • “I’m just running to the store.”
  • “I’ll only be out for a few minutes.”
  • “I won’t need my gun.”
  • “I won’t be in any bad areas.”

It’s an insanity-filled world out there and there is no such thing as a perfectly safe public outing. If you were really able to predict when and where you might be a victim of violent crime, why on earth would you ever be there in the first place, armed or not?

While the cause of spontaneous and violent crazy might be bath salt dessert parties, crystal meth fueled enthusiasm or just plain evil intent, you never know what’s going to happen out there. A quick look at news stories will tell you exactly why you must carry all the time if you carry at all.

The big news is frequency. According to the FBI, a violent crime of some type occurs in the United States every 26 seconds. A murder occurs every 35.4 minutes; a forcible rape every 6.2 minutes and a robbery every 1.5 minutes.

Zombies? Yeah, they’re the rage on TV and shooting accessory products, but I’m talking about the real kind. A Miami man permanently maimed another with just his teeth before being killed by a responding officer. A Texas man attacked friends and neighbors before eating the family dog. Admittedly, the odds of becoming the victim of a zombie attack are similar to Honey Bo Boo editing the Harvard Law Review. But it’s a classic example of the need to expect the unexpected.

Read the rest at OutdoorHub!

Be sure to check out our latest book, The Rookie’s Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition. It’s available in print and Kindle format at Amazon:

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

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

Wanna Win This Fobus 1911 Rail Paddle Holster Crimson Trace Edition?

Leave your thoughts and ideas on the Facebook post below and we’ll randomly pick a winning commenter Wednesday 12/11/13 at 8pm EST!

Win this Crimson Trace Edition Fobus Paddle Holster!

Win this Crimson Trace Edition Fobus Paddle Holster!

Remember, comments here won’t count, just comments on this Facebook post!

The Seven Deadly Sins of Concealed Carry: Showing Your Gun Booty

A simple reach can out you when you’re carrying. Here, an inside the waistband holster, or a little more awareness, would have solved the problem.

When it comes to inappropriately showing your gun booty, there are really two different scenarios. One is a legal issue and the other a tactics consideration.

In most states, if you have a concealed carry permit, it’s against the law for your gun to show. It must be invisible to others, or concealed, at all times. That’s the legal issue. The other scenario involves whether your concealment strategy is obvious to people “in the know” or otherwise. For example, gun folks poke a lot of fun at what they call “shoot me first” vests – those bulky photographers vests with more pockets than talk show hosts recently fired from MSNBC. Others insist that fanny packs are a dead giveaway that the wearer is carrying a gun – assuming they’re not trying to win the award for Ultimate Disney Tourist. In these scenarios, your gun is completely invisible, but there are other cues that you’re carrying – at least to people familiar with concealed carry strategy. We won’t get into those discussions here. Instead, let’s focus on ways that you might be showing more than you know.

Bending over

People that sell those industrial back support belts you see at warehouse stores make a living talking about the dangers of bending at the waist to pick things up. People like me derive untold hours of free entertainment trying to spot other concealed carriers when they bend at the waist to help their child, tie shoes or pick up that heads-up penny in the street.

Why? Bending forward at the waist can not only put strain on your back, but on your concealed stealthiness. When carrying anywhere on the waist behind the three or nine o’clock position, the grip of your gun will show a picture perfect imprint as the back of your shirt gets drawn in towards your body.

So what to do? First and foremost, make a habit of bending at the knees – every time. You can also try a holster that is more aggressively canted – one that angles the rear sight forward, thereby minimizing the distance the grip extends to your rear. You can carry a gun with a smaller height, meaning the distance from the bottom of the grip to the top of the slide. Some guns like some Smith & Wesson eSeries 1911s have a rounded butt, which minimizes printing and improves firing hand comfort. A number of the new Walthers (and other models of course) also feature rounded butts. Eliminating a sharp corner at the rear base of your grip makes a surprising difference when it comes to hiding a giveaway imprint.

Reaching for the stars

Remember that scene in the movie Animal House when Donald Sutherland walked into the kitchen wearing nothing but a long cable-knit sweater and reached up high to get a coffee cup? Yeah, I know, that was really disturbing. But it provides a great example of the dangers of over-reaching. So bending forward isn’t the only activity hazardous to your concealment strategy. Depending on the type of holster you use, reaching up, or even forward, can out you.

Read the rest at OutdoorHub!

 

Be sure to check out our latest book, The Rookie’s Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition. It’s available in print and Kindle format at Amazon:

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

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

5 Reasons Concealed Carry Laws Are Ridiculous

I’ve started another new venture and am writing regular columns for Bearing Arms. It’s a great source of news, opinions, and how-to info for all things shooting and Second Amendment related. You can find them on Facebook also. Here’s this weeks rant…

Gun free zones

Every day there’s something in the news about someone or other campaigning to restrict concealed carry.

For example, the newly-formed group MDASININE (Moms Demand Action Supporting Irrelevant Nonsensical Insane Nanny-like Edicts) is frequently on the warpath to shame businesses, who want nothing more than to just sell stuff, into the gun debate.

And they’re not the only ones. Federal and state officials – you may know them as bamboozlers in training – are constantly dreaming up new restrictions, laws and public proclamations. All these rules are just as ‘guaranteed’ to make us safer as the rock-solid ‘guarantees’ that health insurance will be cheaper and we can keep our own doctors.

Restrictions vary by geography. If you have a fast enough computer, you can calculate the number of restrictions by multiplying the number of politicians by the number of media microphones within a radius of 97 miles. Some examples of “no carry” restrictions include…

Restaurants. Churches. Public bathrooms. Sporting events. New York City. Political conventions (think about the number of criminals per square foot there!) Medical facilities (even though doctors kill far more innocent people than guns.) Post offices. Buffalo Wild Wings. Staples – or maybe not Staples. Schools. Movie theaters. The St. Louis Mass Transit System that delivered most people to the NRA Annual Meeting. 7-11 stores? Canada. Military bases. My house. Ha! Just kidding with ya.

I can’t for the life of me understand the logic behind restricting concealed carry to reduce crime. To believe that, you also have to believe that those who carry concealed are the root cause of crime. There’s no other way around the logic.

Not surprisingly, the concealed carry community has been proven over and over again to be the safest measurable population group around. More so than priests, active duty police officers, Hollywood intelligentsia, politicians and Amanda Bynes. The crime rate of Mayors Against Illegal Guns membership (sorry, I meant Mayors Against Legal Governing) is orders of magnitude more than that of concealed carry citizens. I can’t prove this, but I hear you have to provide photographic evidence of extortion, fraud or preschool fight club gambling to become initiated into the exclusive MAIG crime syndicate.

A number of states have compiled data on the lawfulness of concealed carry holsters. For example, in Texas, the average citizen is 7.7 times more likely to commit a violent crime than a concealed carry holder, and 18 times more likely to commit a non-violent crime than a concealed permit holder.

Read the rest at Bearing Arms!

 

Be sure to check out our latest book, The Rookie’s Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition. It’s available in print and Kindle format at Amazon:

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

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

Guns ‘n Guts: Galco Underwraps Belly Band Holster

The Galco Underwraps Belly Band holster is all about options. Which is why we use it a lot.

The Galco Underwraps Belly Band holster is loaded with pockets to carry guns, magazines, gear, cash and credit. Even handcuffs if you're into that.

The Galco Underwraps Belly Band holster is loaded with pockets to carry guns, magazines, gear, cash and credit. Even handcuffs if you’re into that.

As a belly band design, there is no required “fixed position” for mounting this holster system on your body. You can mount it low around your waist. You can mount it just a tad higher so half of the band is inside your pants and half above the belt line. You can even mount it higher on your torso, maybe around solar plexus level. The higher mount method is particularly handy for a cross draw setup where your strong hand reaches across your body to draw the gun. The gun is mounted with barrel pointed down and bottom of the grip facing forward.

Wear it high, above the belt, or low, partly under the belt line - your choice.

Wear it high, above the belt, or low, partly under the belt line – your choice.

The Galco Underwraps Belly Band holster has two leather pouches sewn into the wide (and comfortable) fabric band. As there are two gun holster pockets of slightly different shape, you can either carry two guns, or you can use the opposing side pockets to mount a single gun in the exact placement you want. The band also features two elastic fabric pockets sewn into the band. These are handy for just about anything — spare magazines, handcuffs (if you’re into that sort of thing), wallet, credit cards, emergency money, flashlight, pocket knife, cell phone, night vision goggles, or whatever else one might want to carry discreetly.

The Galco Underwraps Belly Band holster is also fully ambidextrous — simply flip it inside out. At time of writing, it’s available in either khaki or black.

The Galco Underwraps Belly Band holster comes in four different sizes — not only to accommodate body dimensions, but also to account for where you want to wear it. So be sure to measure your desired carry area before ordering.

Be sure to check out our book, The Insanely Practical Guide to Gun Holsters. It will teach you all the major methods of concealed carry and walk you through pros and cons over 100 different holster models. It’s available in print and Kindle format at Amazon:

Now available in print! The Insanely Practical Guide to Gun Holsters

Now available in print! The Insanely Practical Guide to Gun Holsters

 

The Seven Deadly Sins Of Concealed Carry: Using the Wrong Holster

There isn't a single "right" type of holster. As long as you consider the three criteria for an effective concealed carry holster, there are many good options.

There isn’t a single “right” type of holster. As long as you consider the three criteria for an effective concealed carry holster, there are many good options.

There are an infinite number of factors that have influence on which holster to use for concealed carry. I wrote a whole book about gun holsters and even that just begins to scratch the surface. The bottom line about gun holsters is that there is no cut and dried option for everyone. The right choice depends on each individuals lifestyle and specific needs. What’s perfect for one may be completely dysfunctional for another.

However, I believe there are three criteria that a concealed carry holster needs to meet:

  1. A good holster helps you access your gun quickly, yet safely.
  2. A good holster protects the trigger.
  3. A good holster ensures that your gun remains under your control.

With that said, let’s take a look at some “wrong holster” topics.

The Un-Holster

There are different definitions of “the wrong holster” and one of them is “no holster.” This simply refers to sticking a gun in your belt or pocket without use of  holster.

I do not like this Sam I am. For two different, but often intertwined, reasons.

First, using a holster is a good way to make sure that you and your gun stay together. A good holster should have retention features – whether that’s achieved by friction, fit or positive retention devices. As they say, the first rule of gun fighting is to have a gun. If you rely on just the pressure of your pants or belt, you may find you don’t have a gun when you most need it!

Second, your gun trigger is completely unprotected when you are not using a proper holster. When carrying in your belt, you certainly don’t want your trigger exposed. The problem is even worse with holster-less pocket carry. Keys, change or that roll of breath mints just might get caught up in the trigger.

Strangely enough, reasons one and two frequently go together. Case in point: NFL star Plaxico Burress, 2008. While only he knows the exact details that led to his “leg-o-cide” it appears that he was carrying his pistol sans holster when it started to slip down his leg. He inadvertently yanked the trigger while groping to catch his gun and shot himself in the leg. A classic example of reasons one and two playing together with malice.

Unfortunately, I could fill up this entire story with nothing but links to news stories of people negligently shooting themselves, and sometimes others, simply because they were not using a holster. Of course, every single one of those cases also involved a different deadly sin – keeping your finger off the trigger. Of course, most un-holster incidents are the result of a desperate grab to catch a falling gun, not an intentional trigger discipline issue. The point is that a good holster that protects the trigger will not allow a gun to be fired while holstered.

Read the rest at Outdoorhub!

 

Be sure to check out our book, The Insanely Practical Guide to Gun Holsters. It will teach you all the major methods of concealed carry and walk you through pros and cons over 100 different holster models. It’s available in print and Kindle format at Amazon:

Now available in print! The Insanely Practical Guide to Gun Holsters

Now available in print! The Insanely Practical Guide to Gun Holsters

The Seven Deadly Sins of Concealed Carry: Using the Wrong Ammo

I had a lot of fun with the “Seven Deadly Sins of Handgun Shooting” series a couple of months ago, and hope you did too. I got to thinking about other sins—yeah, I know, thinking can hurt your brain—and it occurred to me that there are plenty of deadly sins when it comes to concealed carry. There are way more than seven, but as “Seven Deadly Sins” is kind of a thing, I’ll pick out seven interesting, and relevant, ones.

Ready? Let’s get started.

If you’ve ever seen a Wallace and Gromit movie, then you know that The Wrong Trousers can get you in a lot of trouble. So can the wrong ammunition. Using inappropriate ammo can ruin not only your life, but someone else’s too.

Good self-defense ammunition comes in all shapes and sizes. The fourth round standing from the left is a 9mm full metal jacket practice round. The one on the far right is a Federal Guard Dog expanding full metal jacket round.

Good self-defense ammunition comes in all shapes and sizes. The fourth round standing from the left is a 9mm full metal jacket practice round. The one on the far right is a Federal Guard Dog expanding full metal jacket round.

Don’t use practice ammo

Good self-defense ammunition is designed to expand, deform, or otherwise slow down when it hits things.

Good self-defense ammunition is designed to expand, deform, or otherwise slow down when it hits things.

I would classify “practice ammo” as anything designed to be frangible (for indoor or steel target shooting) or with a full metal jacket. Don’t get me wrong, practice ammo is not sub-par—it’s just designed for a different purpose than self-defense ammo. You can buy excellent and accurate practice ammo from all the reputable ammo companies. Some of it is designed especially for matches and is exceedingly accurate—with a corresponding price tag.

Good self-defense ammunition is designed to expand, deform, or otherwise slow down when it hits things.

As good as it might be, practice ammo is designed to follow a straightforward sequence of events: go bang. Fly straight. Punch a hole in a piece of paper. Plow into a big dirt, rubber, or steel backstop. Practice ammo is not designed to deform, fragment, or expand when it hits an organic target. While it may still have fatal results, it’s less effective at stopping a determined attacker rapidly.

Read the rest at OutdoorHub!

A Slim, Yet Effective, Concealed Carry Combo

Researching my forthcoming book, The Rookie’s Guide to the Springfield Armory XD-S, I’ve been doing quite a bit of experimenting. As a result, I’ve stumbled on some pretty fantastic concealed carry combinations, one of which is the Springfield Armory XD-S, a Crimson Trace LG-469 Laserguard and the CrossBreed SnapSlide outside-the-waistband holster.

One of the really nice things about the Springfield Armory XD-S is that it’s thin and “short” enough to easily conceal using an outside the waistband holster. And it doesn’t matter if you prefer fewer (5+1) big and fat .45 ACP rounds or more (7+1) slimmer yet faster 9mm rounds. The exterior dimensions of the gun and laser combination are exactly the same.

For OWB carry, I particularly like the CrossBreed SnapSlide holster for a few of different reasons.

The CrossBreed SnapSlide shown here with a .45 ACP Springfield Armory XD-S with a Crimson Trace LG-469 Laserguard and CrossBreed SnapSlide holster.

The CrossBreed SnapSlide shown here with a .45 ACP Springfield Armory XD-S with a Crimson Trace LG-469 Laserguard and CrossBreed SnapSlide holster.

Like the IWB counterparts, the leather back and kydex holster pouch give a great combination of “thin” yet comfortable. The portion of the holster on the outside of the gun simply cannot be thinner with any other material than Kydex.

The generous leather panel and widely-spaced belt loops offer great comfort and stability with a 1 ½ inch or 1 ¼ inch gun belt. I had no problem adjusting the carry position from anywhere between 3 and  5:30 positions, assuming a right-handed configuration.

Note how high the gun rides with the CrossBreed SnapSlide holsters. Hardly anything extends below your belt.

Note how high the gun rides with the CrossBreed SnapSlide holsters. Hardly anything extends below your belt.

The SnapSlide holds the XD-S high relative to the belt level which aids in concealment. This high positioning and short barrel of the Springfield Armory XD-S mean that hardly any of the gun extends below belt level, so an untucked shirt or blouse easily covers your gun.

The three together make an outstanding concealed carry package that’s light, trim, comfortable and functional.

10 Reasons To Consider A Light On Your Concealed Carry Gun

I’m a fanboi.

Of lights on guns.

I used to be a super fan of lasers on handguns. Then I shot the Crimson Trace Midnight 3 Gun Invitational. After what I learned there, I’m a fan of lights AND lasers on guns – like the Crimson Trace Lasergrip / Lightguard setup. To me, having a light and laser combo on a home defense gun is kind of a no-brainer. Of course you’ll also want a quality flashlight like this one on the nightstand strictly for looking. Having one mounted on the gun also speeds and simplifies target confirmation and aiming.

In fact, with today’s weapon-mounted light offerings, there is no reason not to have a light on your carry pistol as well. The only real drawback is holster availability and/or not being able to use holster you already own.

My daily carry setup: Springfield Armory TRP with Crimson Trace Lightguard and Crimson Trace green Lasergrips. Shown with a White Dog IWB holster.

My daily carry setup: Springfield Armory TRP with Crimson Trace Lightguard and Crimson Trace green Lasergrips. Shown with a White Dog IWB holster.

I got to thinking of reasons to mount a weapon-light on your carry gun, and here’s what I came up with:

1. According to the FBI, the busiest hour for crime is midnight to 1am. Remember what Mom used to say – nothing good ever happens after midnight! Need proof? 93.72% of Lindsay Lohan’s arrests were after midnight.

2. Daylight savings. Or maybe you’re just burning the midnight oil at work. What time do you get home from work? Yeah, I know, later than you want. But is it dark when you get home? At least during the winter months? Might be nice if the gun you have has a light. If Sasquatch is hiding in your dark garage, you want to be ready with more than a Jack Links jerky stick.

3. If you have to use your light-equipped gun in the daytime, who cares? Worst case, you burn some battery, and batteries are cheap when doing a spreadsheet on life and death cost / benefit considerations. If you’re just practicing, the Crimson Trace Lightguard has an on / off switch so you can save your battery.

4. Powerful lights are now really, really small. I’ve got a number of Crimson Trace Lightguards on Glocks and 1911s. They add no width or length to your pistol. The placement just in front of the trigger guard means that there is no real impact on my ability to conceal a Lightguard-equipped gun – even using an inside the waistband holster. You get 100 lumens of light with no additional storage requirement. Why not?

5. Theaters. Remember Aurora? Enough said.

6. Restaurants (where legal) for the same reason. The good ones tend to be all romantic and dark. That’s great for foreplay, but no so good for gunplay.

7. Adding a light to your gun gives you an excuse to buy a cool new holster. Like this one. Or this one.

8. Light over 60 lumens has the possibility of temporarily distracting or disorienting an attacker. Don’t count on it, but a surprise flash in the eyeballs just might buy you a couple of seconds of much-needed time. Of course, since the light is mounted on your gun, this scenario only applies if you are in a position where pointing your gun at someone or something is warranted.

9. Even in reasonably well-lit indoor environments, a weapon mounted light will dramatically clarify both your target and your gun sights. Try it.

10. Your carry gun is also your home defense gun. Hey, if your carry gun lives on or near your nightstand while you’re sleeping, you definitely want a light on it. Yes, you want a separate flashlight nearby too for pure “looking” purposes. If you find any bad surprises, you’ll want that light on your gun.

An alternate carry setup: Glock 31 with Crimson Trace Lightguard and Lasergrips. Too big? The same configuration works on a Glock compact like the 19, 32 and 23.

An alternate carry setup: Glock 31 with Crimson Trace Lightguard and Lasergrips. Too big? The same configuration works on a Glock compact like the 19, 32 and 23.

 

Be sure to check out our latest book, The Rookie’s Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition. It’s available in print and Kindle format at Amazon:

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

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

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