My response to current events and the state of our society.

October 28th, 2046. A day I’ll never forget.

It started just like any other day. I was at the station, watching President Ocortez on TV as she sentenced a criminal to death for denying that women experience erectile dysfunction, when the call came through. 10-37, Triggering In Progress at the memorial! I dropped my tofu and latte, sprinted to my patrol Prius, and blazed out of the parking lot at my max speed of 22 miles per hour.

On the way to the call I reminded myself not to get complacent; these situations can turn deadly in an instant. But I knew I’d be okay as long as I followed the escalation of force steps. If the suspect was a cishet patriarchal oppressor, shame, then accuse, then destroy online. But if the suspect was an oppressed victim of colonization, he wasn’t a suspect at all. So the steps were to ask for compliance, beg, plead, cry, apologize for my privilege, grovel, cry, admit everything is my fault, ask permission to touch him, cry, run away, drive to the station, cry, quit my job. Hopefully this situation wouldn’t require more than one cry.

As I tore through the streets, making sure not to hit any of the bicyclists passing me, I heard a muffled thump ahead. Smoke drifted from around the corner of a building. I turned and saw electric cars aflame, blood and body parts scattered on the street, broken glass and shards of metal everywhere. Just ahead of my car a human with long blond hair, wide hips, round stomach and large breasts frantically pushed a baby stroller away from whatever had just happened.

I cranked down my window and yelled, “Excuse me! What gender are you?”

“What gender am I?” She asked? “I’m obviously a pregnant woman!”

I glared at her. She was on the verge of a thought crime. I asked, “What happened here?”

“A suicide bomber just blew himself up!” she screamed.

I shook my head. “Trump,” I muttered. “That son of a bitch.”

“What?” she blurted. “Trump hasn’t been president in 25 years and has been dead for over a decade. This has nothing to do with Trump. Some guy yelled ‘Allah akbar, I love ISIS’ and blew himself up. People are dead and dying, please send help!”

“Oh, I’ll send someone,” I said. “You just stay right here and wait for them.” As I drove away I keyed my radio. “Dispatch, we need a Bias Response Team to 600 Main. A pregnant, female-appearing human expected me to assume her gender. She also failed to understand why a marginalized member of this oppressive society would lash out against the cishetero patriarchy. Tell the team to kill if necessary.”

The dispatcher responded, “Yeeeeeeeee!” Zhe was triggered, and nobody could blame zher. What I’d just described was traumatic. But I knew that zhe’d send the team as soon as zhe got zherself under control. Then I added, “Oh yeah, there was a bombing or something too. No idea of motive, probably workplace violence.” I continued toward the memorial, leaving behind patriarchal colonizers who’d no doubt gotten what they deserved.

I arrived at the memorial. Melinated humans approached me, carrying signs proclaiming their hatred of the non-melinated. Who could blame them? I slowly opened the door, stepped out and said “Hello, may I be of service?” in a pleasant voice, careful not to inadvertently reinforce the trauma of past police violence. Don’t get me wrong, police violence is almost unheard of since climate change ended the world in 2031 just like President Ocortez said it would, and we police have been unarmed since then. Just like socialism, disarming the police has worked perfectly. We only lose 16,000 officers killed annually and we’ve managed to not kill a single suspect, not even mass murderers or terrorists.

“I need to report that homo right there,” one of the melinated humans exclaimed as zhe pointed toward a white-appearing young person standing a short distance away. I looked up in shock at the anti-gay slur, and noticed the melinated humans were also holding anti-LGBTQIA++JFC/0 signs. I started to Yeeeeee, my eyes rolled back in my head and my hands trembled uncontrollably. But then I remembered that the people holding the signs weren’t part of the cishet colonizer patriarchy, so it was cool.

“What did zhe do?”, I asked?

“I called him a bunch of racial insults, told him he and everyone like him should die, accused him of being gay and insulted him for it, and he refused to back away!” the human exclaimed. “Can you believe I had to endure such racist hatred?”

“Yeeeeeee!” I blurted, then recovered from the triggering. “Are you okay? Do you need an ambulance?”

“No, I just want him dead!”


“That bastard,” I spat as I turned away. I started walking toward the racist, but then another human beating a drum jumped in my way.

“I’m a Vietnam [times] veteran!” he yelled. “The men with the signs were insulting that child, so I beat my drum in his face to protect the men with the signs! That child is a beast, and they were his prey! I’m a Vietnam [times] veteran, and I’ve seen this kind of mob violence before!”

“Oh god!” I stammered. “What did the racist do when you beat your drum in his face?”

The drummer burst into tears, obviously traumatized. “He…he…he racistly smiled at me! And I’m a Vietnam [times] veteran!”


“Yeeeeeeeeeeee!!!” I triggered, overwhelmed by the intensity of racism I’d just heard. “Take cover, I’ll handle this!”

The drummer retreated toward safety, still beating his drum. “I’m a Vietnam [times] veteran!” he yelled over his shoulder as he disappeared behind a trash can. I dashed toward the suspect and confronted him.

“You!” I screeched. “What did you do to make those people with the hateful signs insult you?”

The young, male-appearing suspect appeared confused. “Uh,” he muttered, unsure what was going on. “Nothing. I didn’t do anything to them.”

“Nothing but 400 years of oppression!” I screamed. “You expressed your privilege, and I know it! I’m a grown man, I know racism when I see it!”

“But I didn’t do anything,” the suspect said quietly. “I was just standing here and those guys started yelling racist and anti-gay slurs at me. I stayed away, but then the protester with the drum got in my face and started chanting. I didn’t know what was going on, so I just stood there.”

“Yeeeeeeeeeeee!” I triggered. “You just deflected blame onto the melinated protesters because you think your whiteness lets you get away with everything!”

“What? No!” he yelled back. “I didn’t do anything! Seriously, I just stood here and smiled.”

“Yeeeeeeeeee! You admit it! You racistly smiled at a Vietnam [times] veteran activist drummer!”

“All I did was smile!” the suspect said. “And anyway, he’s not even a real Vietnam veteran. He was an electrician who never left America.”

“Yeeeeeeeee!” I triggered again. “He’s a war hero! Stop denying his personhood! Allow people other than yourself the right to exist! Stop mansplaining!”

“Mansplaining?” he asked. “But, you’re a man too.”

“Yeeeeeeeeeee! Now you’ve misgendered me!”

“Misgendered? You just told me you’re a man.”

“That was seconds ago!” I gushed. “My gender changed since then!”

“What the heck?” the suspect asked in shock. “Forget it, I’m leaving.” He turned around and tried to leave but I threw the cuffs on, dragged him to the patrol Prius, and threw him in. After assuring the drummer and people carrying racist signs that I’d arrested the violent, vicious criminal, I took him to the station. Judge Reza punched him to death that afternoon. Criminal cases are so much faster, more equitable and fair since we banished the racist “presumption of innocence” that nazis loved so much.

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Chris Hernandez is a 24-year police officer, former Marine and retired National Guard soldier with over 25 years of military service. He is an Iraq-times, Afghanistan-times and combat-times veteran who actually deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan and was in combat, and also served 18 months as a United Nations police officer in Kosovo. He writes for and has published three military fiction novels, Proof of Our ResolveLine in the Valley and Safe From the War through Tactical16 Publishing. He can be reached at or on his Facebook page (


I’m a huge gun rights advocate. I’ve been shooting and collecting guns since I was twelve. I got my first AR-15 thirty years ago, at age sixteen. I joined the Marine Corps Reserve at seventeen and became an infantry weapons repairman and marksmanship coach, and later was a tank crewman, cavalry scout and human intelligence collector in the Army National Guard. I’m an Iraq and Afghanistan combat vet. I’ve been a cop for over twenty years, and for a few years was one of my department’s Response to Active Shooter instructors. I’ve attended advanced weapons training through the military, my police department, and as a writer for I’ve fired tens of thousands of rounds out of everything from .22 pistols to ARs to heavy machine guns to sniper rifles to an M1A1 Abrams tank’s 120mm main gun.


Engaging multiple targets at a Vehicle Close Quarters Battle course


Attending a 1MOA Solutions Precision Rifle course

In addition to reviews of guns and accessories, I’ve written numerous articles about citizen response to active shooters, tips for new concealed carriers, the importance of the 2nd Amendment, realities of gunfights, the stupidity of magazine capacity limitations, the need for armed teachers, and the public’s legitimate use for military-style weapons (conversely, I’ve also beaten up on the stupid fools who thought they were “helping” by walking into Chipotle with ARs and SKSs). I’ve defended the 2nd Amendment my entire adult life, and was even defending it in my childhood.

I don’t defend the 2A because it makes me money. I don’t sell guns or get paid to teach shooting skills. I defend the 2A because I’m a student of human behavior and history. I know that the incredible peace, freedom, security and prosperity we enjoy is an anomaly; conflict and tyranny have been the norm for most humans for most of our existence. An armed populace, rather than hope or wishful thinking, is a good deterrent against external aggression and an excellent defense against internal oppression.

The 2A guarantees our right to keep and bear arms, for incredibly important reasons. It does not, however, require us to be blind and stupid. It doesn’t mean we should ignore obvious warnings from aspiring mass killers, like last week’s high school shooter.


Photo credit

In many previous mass shootings, there were no clear prior warnings. Some vague danger signs may have been recognized afterward, but often, as with the Las Vegas shooter, nobody had any idea whatsoever of the shooter’s plans, and the shooter had no criminal or mental health history. But the Florida massacre was carried out by a teenager who announced his intention to be a school shooter. And he was still able to legally buy a gun.


Of course, we all know the two tips to the FBI about the shooter’s statements weren’t properly followed up. But what if they had been followed up? Depending on the jurisdiction, simply saying “I’m going to be a professional school shooter” isn’t necessarily an arrestable offense, isn’t necessarily a felony, and isn’t necessarily enough to justify an involuntary mental health commitment. So it’s plausible that even if the FBI had investigated, and confirmed he had made the statements, and that he talked about murdering people, and that he introduced himself as a future school shooter, and that he had a history of erratic behavior, he still would have been able to legally buy an AR-15 to murder people with. I say allowing a known aspiring mass murderer to legally buy guns is blind and stupid. And I think most of my fellow 2A supporters would agree.

Or let me put it this way: if a radical Muslim extremist posted online that he believes in violent jihad against the Great Satan and praises the Paris terrorist attacks, would it make sense to let him legally buy an AK? How many gun dealers, if they knew about his plans, would sell him one? Few to none, I’d think.

So is there a way to legally prevent gun sales to those types of people, without infringing on the 2A rights of the innocent? Yes. Does supporting the 2A require us to support gun sales to people who are telling us they want to commit murder? No.


I’m not talking about banning the AR-15, advocating confiscations, repealing the 2A, or any nonsense like that. I’m not suggesting anything that would affect the tens of millions of legal, peaceful gun owners who we live and interact with every day. What I’m suggesting is that when someone tells us they’re buying a gun to commit a crime, especially a crime like mass murder, even if they haven’t broken the law or been committed, we listen to them. I’m proposing that we put laws in place to make those threats part of the background check system, and stop those wannabe murderers from legally buying a damn gun.

No, I’m not saying creation of such laws will be easy, or simple. I recognize the danger of a slippery slope that leads to further gun restrictions. I know legions of gun control advocates stand ready to exploit any opening toward their ultimate goal of “domestic disarmament.” I also know that not every mass shooter legally buys a gun, and this proposal won’t stop all mass shootings.


The Las Vegas mass shooting

But I also see seventeen dead kids and teachers. I see a shooter who told us what he was going to do. I see that current laws allowed him to buy an AR-15 to commit the mass murder he was planning. And I can’t imagine anyone arguing that nothing should be changed, that if the shooter’s clone showed up at a gun store tomorrow he should still be able to buy a gun. So I’m talking about laws that would stop some mass shootings, or maybe only a few, or maybe only one. You can’t convince me the lives saved in that one mass shooting aren’t worth it.

We can talk specifics later. Right now I just want intelligent, reasonable people to discuss solutions, pitfalls and roadblocks. Hopefully I’ll get my fellow gun owners and 2A advocates to agree with the principle, that it’s possible to enact laws to prevent aspiring (yet not convicted or committed) murderers from getting guns, without stopping the rest of us from getting guns.

I welcome any and all intelligent, informed opinions, whatever they are.

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Chris Hernandez is a 23 year police officer, former Marine and retired National Guard soldier with over 25 years of military service. He is a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and also served 18 months as a United Nations police officer in Kosovo. He writes for and has published three military fiction novels, Proof of Our ResolveLine in the Valley and Safe From the War through Tactical16 Publishing. He can be reached at or on his Facebook page (

[If you haven’t watched Star Wars: The Last Jedi yet, don’t read this.] 

As it turns out, Star Wars: The Last Jedi wasn’t just a science fiction movie. In reality, it was a lesson about sexism that we men badly needed. Or something.

According to those who find a misogynist under every rock, Poe Dameron’s rebellious attitude toward Admiral Holdo was sexist. Vanity Fair published an article titled Star Wars: The Last Jedi Offers the Harsh Condemnation of Mansplaining We Need in 2017, in which Laura Dern declares “I think we’re waking up to what we want feminism to look like.” A website called Den of Geek wrote, “In The Last Jedi, Poe is presented as a character who needs to stop with the mansplaining and learn from the more seasoned female leaders in his life.” MTV said “EPISODE VIII PROVES THAT WOMEN RUN THE GALAXY.”


These articles list Poe’s impulsive decision to destroy a First Order dreadnought, which cost the Resistance its entire bombing fleet, as evidence of his masculine failings, and his refusal to heed General Organa’s orders as evidence of his chauvinism. But the real nail in his coffin was his mutiny against Holdo.

As we know, Holdo gave orders to “stay the course” and keep running from the First Order despite the apparent inevitable destruction of the Resistance fleet. Poe demanded to know her plan to save the Resistance, she told him to shut up and follow orders, but he mutinied and acted on his own. Then, of course, when Holdo’s masterful plan was finally revealed and she heroically sacrificed herself to save the remnants of the Resistance, Poe finally realized what a sexist loser he’d always been.


From the perspective of those who view society as a struggle against patriarchy/whiteness/heteronormativity/whatever kinda ism, it’s all cut and dried, really: Holdo was a great leader, Poe was just too chauvinistic to see that, his toxic masculinity unnecessarily got people killed, and he didn’t truly mature until he finally appreciated Holdo’s strength and grace. On the other hand, from my perspective as a former Marine, retired Soldier and combat vet, Holdo’s plan sucked and she displayed terrible leadership.


Holdo decided to run from the First Order, sacrificing smaller ships and a few lives, until her cruiser was close enough to the planet Crait to use nearly-invisible transports to evacuate what was left of the Resistance. That’s not a terrible plan, and seemed to be the only option she really had. But she didn’t tell her subordinates anything about this plan. To them, it must have simply looked like they would run until they expended their fuel and died.


Many times throughout history, a small military force has been left with no other option but to attempt the near-impossible and hope for the best. The Resistance fleet was certainly in that situation. Had Holdo explained, “The situation sucks, I can only think of one option, and that might not work. Anyone have any better ideas?”, I would have no complaints about her leadership. But instead she refused to share information, dismissed her subordinate leader’s reasonable concerns, and made herself look like she was “vapor locked,” fixated on a plan that had no chance of success.

But let’s forget about what the situation looked like to the Joes inside the ships. However bad it seemed to them, Holdo’s secret plan was great – unless something went wrong. Which means it sucked, because any plan that requires the enemy to act exactly as you desire or predict is too inflexible to survive the inevitable surprises of combat. Good leaders expect surprises, make contingency plans, and understand that “the enemy gets a vote.” They don’t just hope nothing goes wrong.

And of course, something serious did go wrong: the transports weren’t invisible after all. And since they were unarmed and unarmored, they could do nothing but explode dramatically as they were picked off like sitting ducks. Holdo’s solution to this apparently completely unforeseen development was to kamikaze her cruiser into the pursuing Star Destroyer. That was heroic, but it shouldn’t have been an “oh crap” reaction to a problem she reasonably should have foreseen.


Many viewers, and undoubtedly almost everyone who made The Last Jedi, think military leadership is how movies usually depict it: overbearing, egotistical (male) brutes getting their way by treating everyone below them like crap. But despite what the typical civilian might think, leadership isn’t simply screaming, cursing and berating subordinates.


Saint Mattis, loved by his troops because he truly cared for them.

True leaders listen to their troops, share as much information as possible, praise in public, discipline in private, and show their soldiers genuine concern and respect. The best leaders I’ve ever known treated me more as an equal than subordinate, sought my advice, explained what I didn’t know or understand, and almost never relied on their rank to gain compliance. I can think of three officers in Afghanistan whose orders I would have followed even if I knew, without question, that those orders would get me killed. I knew they would send me to my death only if there was literally no other way to save other lives.

On the other hand, leaders who don’t respect their subordinates often become targets of subtle displays of hostility, or even overt signs of hatred (like one lieutenant I heard of, whose soldiers all fired a blank in unison in a formation as a sign that he was about to be symbolically “fragged”). Soldiers will respect a leader who makes honest mistakes and owns up to them, as long as he/she cares for and respects their troops. But a leader who refuses to share critical information with subordinates while simultaneously appearing to freeze under stress, like Holdo, won’t be followed or respected.

I was fortunate to have had only one terrible leader. Nobody wanted to talk to him, because he seemed to despise his subordinates. Many of us were sure this leader would have sacrificed us all to further his own career. Over a decade after I served under his command, I still hear soldiers express their seething hatred of him.

No, Holdo wasn’t anywhere near that bad. And any leader who sacrificed herself for her troops as she did deserves respect. But she was still, during the Resistance fleet’s run to Crait, a bad leader.


As I watched the Resistance fleet running, and dying, I was reminded of a quote from Black Hawk Down. In that true story, as a lost convoy’s soldiers were shredded by bullets and RPGs, one man muttered something under his breath: “We’re just going to keep driving around until we’re all f**king dead.” That man, stuck in a humvee and unable to do anything about what he saw as the pointless destruction of his unit, probably doubted his leader’s capability to handle the situation. Maybe he thought all the senior leaders were paralyzed with indecision.


While I was fortunate to never have a leader freeze up in combat, I’ve seen some vapor lock and nearly panic when a plan failed during training or even routine tasks. In one memorable incident a company first sergeant was badly running a rifle range, and her inefficient plan was bottlenecking an entire battalion. When I and other soldiers pointed out the obvious problems and suggested easily-implemented alternatives, she vapor locked; visibly shaken and overwhelmed, she simply said, “We’re gonna stick to my plan, and that’s it!” Under stress, all she could do was fall back on what she was already doing even though it was failing.

Years ago I read a book by a military historian who noted the WW2 Soviet Army’s “penchant for lost causes.” Soviet troops were infamous for pressing doomed attacks on Germans even when everyone on the battlefield plainly saw that the Soviets could not possibly prevail. According to this historian, the Soviet response to failure was “If it doesn’t work, do it faster.” So they’d repeat the same failed tactic over and over, until they lost too many men to go on. This wasn’t done out of bravery or dedication; it happened because Soviet leaders often vapor locked when their plan didn’t work, and were either too unimaginative or terrified of superiors to adjust to reality.


Like every other leader, I had my own problems in this regard. Training and experience corrected it. We train so that we can discover and correct our leadership flaws before we encounter a real enemy. In training we have the luxury of allowing a leader to fail, take corrective advice, and learn when to adjust or abandon a failed plan. In a real world crisis, if a leader vapor locks they could literally kill everyone under their command.

Mutiny is generally a bad thing. But if there’s ever a time for it, that time is when the plan has failed, the leader has vapor locked, and if nobody takes action the fleet will “just keep flying along until we’re all f**king dead.” Poe Dameron, when faced with a leader who refused to abandon an apparently-doomed plan and refused to even explain her decision to her subordinates, can be forgiven for acting on his own to save his fellow rebels’ lives.


Shut up. Stop preaching. Get back to doing what you do best (you know, like sexually harassing actresses), and stop trying to teach me morality. Don’t try to show me “real” leadership, when you obviously know nothing about real leadership. Swim back to the shallow end of the pool.

When I go to the movies, I just want to see a damn movie. I go for the entertainment, not to be told how toxic I am. I don’t need Vice Admiral Holdo to show me that women can be real leaders. I already have Leigh Ann Hester, who fought through an insurgent ambush in Iraq. I have Captain Jennifer Moreno, an army nurse killed during a patrol in Afghanistan. I have Ann Carrizales, a police officer who was shot in the face but still helped chase down her attackers. I have my mother, who managed to finish her degree while working full time and raising five children. I have the stories, videos and photos of the brave Kurdish and Yezidi women fighting ISIS.

So please, Hollywood. I’ve been watching Star Wars for forty years. Don’t ruin it, don’t put your own personal crusades into it. Don’t spoon feed me your ideology. Just make a good movie.

Special thanks to my ten-year old, Star Wars fanatic son Elan for making sure I had the movie details right. 

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Chris Hernandez is a 23 year police officer, former Marine and retired National Guard soldier with over 25 years of military service. He is a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and also served 18 months as a United Nations police officer in Kosovo. He writes for and Iron Mike magazine and has published three military fiction novels, Proof of Our ResolveLine in the Valley and Safe From the War through Tactical16 Publishing. He can be reached at or on his Facebook page (

Shortly after Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo published this cover:


The caption reads, “God exists! He drowned all the neo-nazis of Texas!”

We should all know about Charlie Hebdo. The newspaper has a long history of attacking anyone they deem worthy, usually with crude and offensive cartoons. That wasn’t much of a problem until they published cartoons mocking the prophet Mohammed. Those cartoons led to a brutal jihadist attack on their office that left twelve dead in 2015.

To be clear, I supported Charlie Hebdo’s right to publish offensive cartoons in 2015, and I support it now. CH didn’t deserve to be physically attacked for their opinions about Islam and don’t deserve to be physically attacked for their opinions about Texas. However, they do deserve mockery, scorn and derision, for numerous reasons.

First, Hurricane Harvey primarily impacted Houston, which is in no way a nazi city. Houston is actually the the most diverse city in America, “where 51 percent of all those under the age of 20 are Latinos and 19 percent are African American.” A third of city residents over age five speak a language other than English at home, and according to census reports 145 languages are spoken in Houston. Over 15,000 Houstonians speak French. The city leans liberal and recently elected a black democratic mayor who replaced a lesbian democratic mayor, who replaced a white democratic mayor, who replaced a black democratic mayor, who replaced a white democratic mayor, who replaced a female democratic mayor (Houston has had democrat mayors since 1982). And while Texas voted republican in the 2016 presidential election, Houston itself went almost completely democrat (even if you ascribe to the incredibly shallow and unbelievably stupid belief that “republican equals nazi,” you can’t pin any nazi republicanism on Houston). And if being democrat isn’t enough, Houston also has a thriving gay community with the most gay-friendly employers in Texas, and hosts one of the oldest and largest gay pride parades in the American Southwest. Houston ain’t exactly the Third Reich.

Second, the drowning victims weren’t nazis. Six of the victims were from a single Hispanic family and included an elderly couple and four children. Another was a 60-year old Hispanic Houston police officer. Another was a nurse whose three-year old daughter was found clinging to her body. Another was an elderly woman drowned in her home, another was crushed by a tree that fell on her house, others included a clockmaker trying his save merchandise and a young man who foolishly drove around a barricade marking high water. There is no indication whatsoever any of the victims were “nazis,” and no reason to believe Hurricane Harvey just happened to strike an unknown nazi gathering. The storm killed dozens of innocent people, not dozens of nazis or any nazis at all.


Six members of the Saldivar family, who died together when their van was swept away by flood waters.

Third, over 22,000 Texans died fighting nazis or their allies during World War II. Approximately 750,000 Texans served in total, making up 7% of the entire American fighting force. Supreme Allied Commander in Europe Dwight Eisenhower was a Texan, as was our most-decorated nazi killer Audie Murphy. The Texas 36th Infantry Division – MY division, by the way – participated in Operation Dragoon, the invasion of southern France, and was even at one point attached to the French First Army. Charlie Hebdo and many others are seeing nazis under their beds and finding them under every rock lately, but when real nazis really invaded France and really needed to be defeated, Texans showed up to do it.

And fourth, French and Texan soldiers have gone into combat together during the ongoing War On Terror, so even if Charlie Hebdo is stupid enough to think Texans are all nazis, other French people know better. One would think at a serious newspaper like Charlie Hebdo (/sarc), journalists would do some in-depth investigative work like, oh, asking a French person who’s been to Houston if it’s full of nazis. CH apparently never bothered with such minor details.


Gasp! French troops posing with Texas nazis in Afghanistan!

Here in Texas we don’t even know how many we’ve lost. Victims probably haven’t even finished dying yet. Bodies will be recovered from flooded homes and overturned cars for many days to come. Families desperately searching for missing loved ones are dreading the tragic news they know is coming. One family is mourning the almost indescribable loss of beloved grandparents and four cherished children. Police officers all over the state are wearing badges covered with black bands to honor our lost sergeant. Texans and other Americans of many races, religions and political ideologies have spent the last week disregarding petty differences and coming together to help each other survive and recover. And for some unknown reason that’s sure to be incredibly moronic, Charlie Hebdo chose to slander the storm’s innocent victims as “nazis.”

When Charlie Hebdo was brutally attacked in 2015, millions of Americans, including me and many other Texans, stood against the jihadist attackers and for CH’s right to free speech. Whatever I thought of Charlie Hebdo’s politics or “art,” I argued that nobody deserves to be murdered for offending someone. I still believe that. Neither I nor other Texans will shoot up the Charlie Hebdo office, or demand their right to free speech be restricted.

I’ll simply point out that the surviving Charlie Hebdo staff presumably doesn’t believe their cartoonists deserved to be murdered for their opinions; one might think Charlie Hebdo would know better than to falsely accuse innocent people of being nazis, then suggest they deserved to die for it.

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Chris Hernandez (pictured above) is a 23 year police officer, former Marine and retired National Guard soldier with over 25 years of military service. He is a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and also served 18 months as a United Nations police officer in Kosovo. He writes for and has published three military fiction novels, Proof of Our ResolveLine in the Valley and Safe From the War through Tactical16 Publishing. He can be reached at or on his Facebook page (

On Tuesday, August 1st, the Texas “campus carry” law went into effect at community colleges, allowing students with Texas License to Carry (LTC) permits to carry concealed pistols in public community college campus buildings. It had already gone into effect at four-year colleges last year. Permit holders can’t openly carry pistols in campus buildings, nor can they carry long guns. And as it turns out, licensed carriers have been able to carry on public campuses (but not into buildings) for over twenty years, since the Texas Concealed Handgun License law went into effect in 1995. Although opponents of the CHL law predicted “shootouts at high noon” and had other apocalyptic visions, the opposite happened; crime actually decreased, and permit holders have proven to be extremely law-abiding. In 2016, Texas CHL holders accounted for only 148 criminal convictions out of 42,797 criminal convictions statewide, meaning Texas CHL holders made up only .3458% of Texas criminal offenders that year.

Several other states already have campus carry laws, and thus far those states don’t seem to be having an issue. After the original Texas CHL law went into effect in 1995, then-Harris County (Houston) District Attorney John Holmes, who had opposed the law, wrote in a letter to a Texas senator, “As you know, I was very outspoken in my opposition to the passage of the Concealed Handgun Act. I did not feel that such legislation was in the public interest and presented a clear and present danger to law abiding citizens by placing more handguns on our streets. Boy was I wrong. Our experience in Harris County, and indeed state-wide, has proven my initial fears absolutely groundless.”

A police chief in Utah, which has had campus carry since 2004, was asked about campus carry for a 2014 article:

“Officials at several universities, including the University of Utah, Utah Valley University, Dixie State College and Utah State University told that though carrying guns on campus has been legal for nearly a decade, they haven’t seen evidence that their schools are less safe.

‘We haven’t had much problem with it,’ said Steven Mecham, head of the Utah State University Department of Public Safety. ‘It’s just not been an issue.’

Reached via email, University of Utah spokeswoman Maria O’Mara told, ‘We have had no incidents on campus regarding this law.’

Mecham said his agency only receives calls when a carrier’s shirt pulls up and other students or faculty see the weapon and call the authorities. When that happens, the police official said, officers will check the carrier’s permit to ensure the holder is carrying legally.

With guns close at hand, though, has Utah State University, the state’s second-largest school with about 20,000 students, experienced college kids threatening faculty or other learners with weapons?

‘We haven’t had any of that,’ Mecham said.”

Another Utah campus police chief said his school had a few reports of “students threatening or intimating gun violence,” but no shootings or accidental discharges.

Despite the widespread lack of doomsdays that have followed passage of concealed carry laws we still get irrational worry, generally expressed by the exact people we expect it from. For example, the New York Times published an op-ed written by a University of Texas at Austin professor who wrote,

“Allowing guns in classrooms (against the will of the overwhelming majority of professors, staff and students) will not only increase risk but, as has been argued elsewhere, will stifle classroom debates – an essential component of learning… Do I dread the potential presence of young vigilantes – because, let’s not be euphemistic about it, ‘vigilante’ is the right word for the people (mostly men) who will carry concealed guns – in my classroom? Certainly.”

But on Tuesday, when the Texas campus carry law went into effect, the New York Times was one-upped by a San Antonio College geology professor who – no joke – wore military body armor and a helmet to class.


The professor, Charles K. Smith, told a local journalist, “It definitely makes me feel uneasy that there are more firearms on campus than there really should be. (Dressing this way) was just a statement on how I felt.”

So let’s address a few points:

  • Professor Smith has every right to express his stupid, irrational, near-panicked opinion. There’s no indication he’s a bad professor or treats students unfairly, and so no reason to advocate for firing or punishing him in any other way.
  • He doesn’t really believe he’s in danger. If he thought he truly needed a helmet and body armor, he wouldn’t go to work. Additionally, if he thought he was in real danger he’d wear that gear every day. As far as we know, he only wore it one day to make a statement. So his own actions show he doesn’t believe he really needs it.
  • He’s not in any more danger since campus carry became legal. As Utah and Colorado show, campus carry doesn’t equal “students murdering each other over classroom arguments.”
  • Even in Texas, campus carry hasn’t led to more violence. Four-year colleges enacted campus carry a year ago, with no issues. An officer I’m acquainted with who works at a very large and well-known Texas university said, “As a university police officer for a huge university, I’ll point out that we have had no problems since campus carry went into effect last year. The only incident I know of was a reserve police officer (who would be allowed to carry anyway) open carrying in a way that his badge was not readily visible.”

Opponents of campus carry frequently cite notorious college shootings as evidence campus carry should remain illegal. Let’s look at a few of those:

  • The Virginia Tech shooting, committed by Seung-Hui Cho in 2007, resulted in the deaths of 32 innocent people. Yes, it was a horrible massacre, and no, it had nothing to do with campus carry. Cho was illegally carrying on campus, with the specific intent to commit a massacre. The campus carry ban in effect at that time only prevented Cho’s victims from effectively defending themselves.
  • In 2015 Chris Harper-Mercer killed nine people at Umpqua College in Oregon. He was not legally carrying, and like Cho he went to campus specifically to commit a massacre. Umpqua College at that time banned guns on campus; however, that ban stopped neither Harper-Mercer from carrying nor Air Force veteran John Parker, who was carrying with a permit that day. Harper-Mercer, carrying illegally, carried out a mass murder, while Parker, carrying with a permit but in violation of college policy, stood ready to defend his classroom and hurt nobody.
  • In 2014 Elliot Rodger, a complete loser racist who had never kissed a girl, stabbed three men to death in his apartment before driving around near the University of California Santa Barbara shooting and hitting people with his car. He killed six total before committing suicide. He wasn’t carrying in campus with a permit, and his attack had nothing to do with campus carry.
  • Former Marine Charles Whitman murdered fourteen people (sixteen counting an unborn child and a victim who died from his wounds 35 years later) on the University of Texas Austin campus in 1966. Whitman had driven onto campus with a footlocker holding a shotgun, three rifles and three pistols, then killed several people while hauling his weapons to the top of the UT tower before sniping several more. This was the first American campus massacre, and the only one that might fit into the anti-campus carry narrative. I haven’t found anything about campus carry laws in Texas in 1966, but most states seem to have banned guns on campus after the UT massacre. I suspect Whitman wasn’t breaking any laws by possessing a shotgun or rifles on campus, although he probably was by carrying pistols. Whether he was legally carrying any weapons or not, a) Whitman didn’t commit a massacre because he got upset in class, he committed the massacre because that was his entire plan; and b) today’s campus carry laws don’t allow students to carry rifles and shotguns, which were the only weapons Whitman used to kill people on campus.

I haven’t been able to find any reports of legally-armed college students committing campus murders, or legally-armed students getting angry at classroom disagreements and shooting fellow students or professors. As far as I can tell, campus gun violence has all been from criminals and murderers illegally carrying, usually despite bans ordering them not to.

So why did Professor Charles Smith wear body armor to class?

He did it to draw attention to a nonexistent problem. He knows some students were already illegally carrying guns – he said so himself – yet didn’t wear body armor in response to that threat. Instead, he wore body armor because he doesn’t trust students who are at least 21 and have been background checked and attended training. He doesn’t trust them despite the fact that they haven’t murdered anyone in the last year that Texas has permitted concealed carry on four-year campuses, and haven’t murdered anyone in the decade they’ve been carrying on Utah college campuses.

Hysterical academics have been shrieking about concealed carry for decades. I remember the dire warnings of streets drenched with blood before Texas passed its original concealed carry law in 1995. Concealed carry laws haven’t taken us back to the Old West, and campus carry laws haven’t turned classroom debates into bloodbaths. Some have argued that campus carry makes people afraid to speak their opinion because students might be armed, but that’s just stupid; concealed means concealed so nobody would even know a student is armed, students haven’t been killing other students over classroom discussions in the decade campus carry has been legal in other states, nearly all the campus violence nationwide has been against conservatives who speak their minds rather than committed by students exercising their 2A rights, and nobody’s rights should be restricted because some people irrationally believe they’re in danger.

So please, Professor Smith, take your body armor back to army surplus. You’re not in any more danger from legally-armed students, and statistically in less danger from legally-armed students than from the illegally-armed students you already knew were on campus. Quit shrieking for attention, just show up to class and do your job. You’ll be fine.

P.S. If anyone knows of a campus murder or attempted murder committed by a legal concealed carrier, please send me the info.

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Chris Hernandez (pictured above) is a 23 year police officer, former Marine and retired National Guard soldier with over 25 years of military service. He is a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and also served 18 months as a United Nations police officer in Kosovo. He writes for and has published three military fiction novels, Proof of Our ResolveLine in the Valley and Safe From the War through Tactical16 Publishing. He can be reached at or on his Facebook page (

This was published last Sunday on Breach Bang Clear.


Motoring Jihad: Vehicle Ramming Attacks

Chris Hernandez

Berlin, Germany. Nice, France. Ohio State University, USA. Westminster Bridge, London, UK. Stockholm, Sweden. Times Square, New York, USA*. And now London, UK.


Vehicle ramming attacks (VRAs) are becoming the preferred tactic of our jihadist terrorist enemy. Just like the IED threat in Iraq, something we didn’t anticipate but which seem completely predictable in hindsight, VRAs are the weapon sitting in plain sight for years that almost nobody thought to use until recently. They’re incredibly effective for a number of reasons, and we’re already far behind in our efforts to create effective countermeasures.

Aftermath of the Stockholm, Sweden truck attack

The most effective VRA to date occurred in Nice, France last year, and killed 86 people. The least effective was at the Ohio State University, which injured several but killed nobody. Last night’s attack in London, at last report, claimed seven lives and caused over three dozen injuries. We don’t yet know how many died from the ramming and how many from the following knife attack. Sweden’s VRA claimed five, Berlin’s attack claimed twelve, Westminster Bridge six, and Times Square one. That’s 117, including those stabbed by the attackers, in just the last eleven months. And that’s not counting dozens of vehicle attacks in Israel, like this one that killed four Israeli soldiers in January.

Or this one last year in Arizona (watch the whole thing):

If you were armed, could you have stopped that truck? If so, how? You could stand directly in front of it and mag dump into the windshield in front of the driver — shooting at it as it passes will likely have no effect, especially since you’d be shooting upward through the door. But you’d have only seconds to recognize the threat, draw, engage and get the hell out of the way. What’s the likelihood you’d be able to do all that and get a round through the windshield at the right spot, and have that round not lose so much mass and velocity as it goes through the windshield that it becomes ineffective? Maybe that’s not a one-in-a-billion shot, and maybe your response is “So you’re saying there’s a chance,” but I don’t have any realistic expectation that a concealed carrier could take out a truck like that.

You could also jump on the running board and fire through the side window. It’s what I like to think I’d try to do. But the Nice attacker was swerving, and going up to fifty miles per hour. A motorcycle rider said he rode next to the truck and climbed onto the running board before the driver pointed a gun at him, causing him to jump off. Another motorcycle rider reportedly tried to do the same thing but was run over and killed (there are conflicting reports and I’m not sure exactly what happened).

So it’s possible you could climb on the side and take a shot. But it’s also possible the driver himself is armed, like the Nice and Berlin attackers were, so you might get shot in the face and run over anyway. No matter what, using your weapon to stop a big truck like that wouldn’t be easy.

“Well, sure,” you might say. “That’s a big truck, and it would be hard to stop, but most ramming attacks would probably involve a regular car or pickup.” And you’re right, they probably would since regular passenger vehicles are easier to get. So watch this video from the Times Square VRA:

Same question: if you had been there and been armed, what could you have done?

The car was traveling much faster than the cargo truck in Nice. It doesn’t have as much material to deflect gunfire as the cargo truck, but it’s also much smaller and easier to miss. If you’d deliberately stand in front of that car you’re insane, especially since the car will keep moving even if you manage to kill the driver. If your first instinct would be to jump out of the way (and yes, that would be your first instinct) would you then open fire on that small and fast-moving car, in an area full of civilians?

No, I’m not saying there’s no way to stop vehicle attackers. But I am saying it’s pretty damn hard to stop a vehicle with a gun, as many Soldiers discovered during the War on Terror. I personally watched my gunner in Iraq shoot a suspected car bomb with an M2; the vehicle stopped, then started driving again when we were much farther away. If .50 caliber rounds into the hood didn’t stop a Toyota Corolla (I think that’s what it was), your Glock 19 probably won’t stop a VRA.

So what should you do in case a VRA happens in front of you? 

Zombieland already gave us Rule #1:




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Chris Hernandez (pictured above) is a 23 year police officer, former Marine and retired National Guard soldier with over 25 years of military service. He is a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and also served 18 months as a United Nations police officer in Kosovo. He writes for and has published three military fiction novels, Proof of Our ResolveLine in the Valley and Safe From the War through Tactical16 Publishing. He can be reached at or on his Facebook page (


Lately we’re seeing a lot more citizens getting carry permits or exercising constitutional carry rights and going armed in public. That’s a great thing. We’re also seeing more and more social media posts showing people carrying the wrong weapons and/or carrying in ways that actually put them in more danger. That’s a bad thing. So I’m going to try to do something about it, and provide some basic information for people new to the world of carrying a pistol.

I’m not writing this from the standpoint of a tactical master; I’m no Paul Howe or Mike Pannone, and if they say anything that contradicts my advice, listen to them. However, I’ve been carrying a gun as a Marine, Soldier and cop for over twenty years, I’ve got a fair amount of training, and I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t through that training, my mistakes and painful experience, other people’s experience, and trial and error. Also, I’m not trying to sell you anything. While I write for a website that advertises weapons and accessories, and have tested and advertised some firearms and products, I’m not writing this to push any company or product. I’m just telling you what I know and how I know it, suggesting you consider it, and asking you to decide for yourself if my advice will help you.

So I’ll present a list a points and explanations, in no particular order. Keep in mind, I’m writing for people who can legally own a gun and will legally carry according to their local laws. With that said, here we go.


Carrying a gun is all about practicalities and reality. Generally speaking, you shouldn’t carry to prove a point, especially a political point. If your motivation is to prove something, you’re likely ignoring practical considerations and tactical realities. For example, in most situations you’re better off with a concealed rather than openly carried weapon. But if you’re trying to prove something, you’ll probably make a bad tactical decision (like open carrying without a security holster) and draw attention that puts you in more danger than if you were unarmed.

As a cop, I urge every responsible citizen to legally carry. But don’t do it in a dumb way that accomplishes the exact opposite of what you’re trying to do.



A cliché about carrying a weapon is “the best pistol for self defense is a rifle.” That’s true, but obviously carrying a rifle around everywhere is kind of a pain, and it’s likely to get you kicked out pretty much any place run by regular people. Not only that, if you carry a rifle in public you’ll probably be immortalized on the internet as a dumbass.


So instead of carrying a rifle, you should carry a pistol. Pistols are inherently underpowered, have limited ammo capacity, and are relatively inaccurate due to their short barrels. But they’re the most practical self-defense weapons we’ve got.

What’s the best pistol? That depends on you. What’s your body type? What’s your realistic threat? What’s your level of training? What’s your budget? Generally, you want the best pistol that you can afford that’s reliable, concealable, and powerful enough to sustain an actual gunfight.

I can’t say this enough: the most important concern for a carry gun is not how light and easy to carry it is. There are plenty of great pocket guns, and they definitely have their place. I’ll carry a two-shot .22 Derringer if nothing else is available, but I’d be terrified to have to pull that against a robber threatening my family. Tiny .380, 9mm and even .45 pistols can disappear in a pocket, but they tend to be inaccurate and painful to shoot because they’re so small and light. I’ve seen the web of a friend’s hand bleeding from firing less than a box of .380 through a pocket pistol, which made him not want to shoot it anymore. Any gun that you don’t want to train with isn’t a good carry gun.

So for a daily carry gun, I chose something bigger and more capable but still concealable for my body type. The gun that works best for me is a Glock 43, which is a single-stack 9mm. “Single stack” means the pistol’s magazine has one single row of rounds, versus a staggered row in a double-stack magazine, which means the single stack magazine and pistol grip are narrower, which means the pistol is easier to conceal. When it comes to hiding a pistol, a half-inch difference in width can be a big deal.


Despite what some guy on Facebook said, this just might not be the best carry gun for you.

In case you’re wondering about body types, I’m a little guy at 5’7” and 170 pounds with a (formerly) thin build. It’s usually hard for me to conceal a large pistol unless I wear big untucked shirts, which makes me look like a complete slob. I carried a blocky, chunky Glock 27 for many years, and it was a little hard to hide, so I always wore baggy clothes. I also carried my full-size Glock 22 duty weapon for a time, and looked even sloppier. Now that I’m older and dress a little snappier, I’ve chosen a smaller pistol that’s easier to hide but still capable.

If you’re a huge monster and wear loose clothing, you might be able to easily hide a bigger gun. If you’re a five-foot-nothing beanpole who has to wear a close-fitting uniform, a smaller gun may be a better fit. Maybe. It depends on you personally, and how you’re shaped.

As mentioned above, your manner of dress also comes into play. Not everyone can “dress around their gun.” If you have to wear tucked-in shirts for work or social situations you probably can’t conceal a typical carry gun on your waist, which is usually the most practical way to carry. If you live in a hot climate you’re more limited in what you can conceal than you would be in Fargo ND, where you’d wear a jacket far more often.

Then there’s the threat level, which I mentioned earlier. If I knew for certain I was going to be attacked by an armed criminal, I’d probably stay home with my rifle by my side. But if I had to go out and couldn’t carry my rifle, I’d wear extra clothes so I could hide a full-size pistol with several spare magazines. Fortunately I don’t face that kind of known threat, so I’m comfortable with the G43. If you live in the worst neighborhood in Chicago and have already been robbed twice, your pistol choice should probably be a little different than mine.

And then there’s your budget. There are many reliable, outstanding pistols on the market like Glocks, Sig Sauers, Smith&Wessons, H&Ks and others, but they’re not free. If you can’t afford a quality pistol you may have to get something cheaper like a Ruger, Jennings or even a [shudder] Hi-Point. The point is, get the best pistol you can afford, and whatever you get make sure you understand its capabilities and limitations. I don’t hold anything against a guy carrying a cheap pistol because it’s the only one in his budget, as long as he trains and knows his pistol’s likelihood of failure.

For a time I carried the Beretta Nano in the top picture, which was perfect in every way except that it didn’t work. It failed to extract so often that I had to stop carrying it, and it’s now dying of loneliness in my safe. But if it was all I had, it’s what I’d have to go with. I’d just make sure I practiced malfunction drills like a man possessed.

Note: my advice about carrying a gun is mostly about autos. I’ve trained with a revolver, and I’ve seen some amazingly skilled revolver shooters, but I haven’t owned one in almost twenty years and the ones I did own were just backup guns. Revolvers tend to be a little harder to conceal because of their cylinders, generally have lower ammo capacity, are usually a little slower to reload, and carrying reloads for a revolver is a little more of a pain than carrying spare magazines for an auto. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t carry a revolver, if you’re well trained with one. It just means I’ve chosen an auto instead. Plenty of revolvers are good carry guns.


This is important. Occasionally I’ll hear of someone preaching that carrying a loaded pistol is just too dangerous because the gun “might just go off.” Maybe that was true of certain older pistols, but a modern, quality weapon will only fire if you pull the trigger. If you don’t trust your pistol enough to carry it loaded, get training; if you still think your pistol is too dangerous to carry loaded, you probably shouldn’t carry it. As long as you train correctly, follow the firearms safety rules and keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to shoot, a good pistol will never, ever “just go off.”

The gun in the video below didn’t just go off. The shooter negligently pulled the trigger, while violating other gun safety rules.

Of course, you may have heard that Israeli police and soldiers carry with empty chambers. You may also think that Israelis are the tactical masterminds of the universe and everything they do is right. Well, even though the Israelis do tend to be tactically proficient, the empty chamber thing is kinda goofy. My understanding is that the original Israeli army was equipped with a variety of old pistols, some of which were too dangerous to carry loaded, so they adopted an across-the-board empty chamber policy so they could train everyone the exact same way. For some reason Israel has chosen to continue this training philosophy today, when they have good, modern pistols. But whatevs; just because they do it, doesn’t mean you should.


Before we move on to carry methods, we need to remind ourselves that a gun is NOT a magical talisman (credit to instructor Greg Ellifritz for that phrase). A gun is simply a tool, and if you carry it in a stupid way someone will take it from you and hurt you with it. I once heard a cop say off duty he carried his Glock stuck in his waistband with no holster; I’m sure that’s comfortable and all, but the moment he gets into a physical confrontation and has a loaded, unsecured pistol floating around his waistband, he’s screwed. If you’re going to carry, carry in a way that won’t get you killed if you have to run, fight, or keep someone from taking your gun.


Photo credit

I first started as a cop in the mid-90s, when we were just realizing how often cops were being disarmed and killed. We were told that a huge percentage of police officers shot and killed were shot with their own or their partner’s gun. Even so, we still had idiot cops who argued against retention holsters (more-secure holsters with secondary locking mechanisms) and used cheap thumb break holsters on duty. But I know officers who were saved by their retention holsters, I’ve discovered my retention holster unsnapped after a fight when I didn’t even realize the suspect was trying to get my gun, and I know of two incidents where suspects couldn’t disarm police officers who were unconscious because they couldn’t figure out the holster. Retention holsters work.

But even though we’ve known the danger of pistol disarms for decades, and even though we’ve had instances of open carriers being disarmed, we still frequently see people carrying guns in non-retention holsters, practically begging bad guys to steal their guns. I don’t get it. It seriously makes zero sense. This goes back to “carrying to prove a point”; I’d guess that most of the people open carrying pistols in crappy holsters are trying to prove something personal or political, and in so doing make bad tactical decisions that put them in more danger.


So keep this in mind: if your weapon is ever going to be exposed in public, you should use a retention holster. And remember that concealment is a level of retention. It’s hard to take someone’s pistol when you don’t even know they have one.


There are many methods of carry, and pretty much all of them make sense in some situations. I’ll address some of the most common, and provide a little insight into their strengths and drawbacks.

  • Strong Side Waist, outside waistband (OWB): not bad, but a decent-sized gun on your hip will stick out and maybe “print” (show a gun-shaped object) under your shirt. A thin gun with a good holster that holds it tight to your waist usually alleviates the printing problem. Also, in a physical confrontation you probably have a pretty good chance of protecting your gun if it’s carried strong side waist. On the other hand, one thing to consider is whether or not you can access a gun on your strong side with your weak hand if your strong hand is disabled. In a worst-case scenario, you want to be able to draw with either hand.
  • Four o’clock, OWB (over your back pocket on your strong side): I carried this way for years. I was wrong. While it had advantages in that it didn’t stick out to the side and was accessible with either hand, in a physical confrontation it would have been almost impossible to protect. But it’s not always wrong; if you have to wear a suit, for example, it’s not a bad concealment method.
  • Small of back OWB: basically the same issues as four o’clock carry.

Pistol printing under a shirt. Photo credit

Now, change those from OWB to inside the waistband (IWB). Generally speaking, IWB is far more secure than OWB. On the other hand, it’s way less comfortable. One crappy truth about carrying a pistol is that they’re heavy and uncomfortable. Deal with it, or don’t carry.

More carry methods:

  • Ankle carry: good for concealment but terrible for a quick draw, especially if you’re moving. If you’re unfortunate enough to have to run for your life while someone’s shooting at you, you’re not getting that gun out of an ankle holster until you stop or at least slow down. On the plus side, if you’re carrying on the inside of your ankle the weapon is accessible with either hand. Even with easy concealment, that’s still not enough of an advantage to make me choose ankle carry for daily use. Of course, there are plenty of situations where you might not be able to carry any other way, and that’s cool. Just make sure you understand that carry method’s limitations and how it affects your tactical plan.
  • Pocket carry: if you have a small enough gun and a good pocket holster, it’s great for concealment. There are many holster makers producing kydex pocket holsters that break up the pistol’s outline in your pocket, and not many people look at other people’s pockets anyway. It’s great for retention, and it’s also not a terribly slow draw with your strong hand. But if you have to draw with your weak hand, it sucks. If you have to draw while seated, it sucks. One important note is that pocket holsters made out of soft materials can be dangerous; I tried one with a Glock 42, and during practice at the range I somehow got my finger inside the holster and brushed the trigger in my pocket while drawing. That’s that, I’ll never use a soft pocket holster again.
  • Off-body carry: that is, carrying in a backpack or man purse. While there are situations where it’s necessary or practical, I generally won’t do it unless there’s no other option. Most tactical man purses that carry a gun look exactly like a tactical man purse with a gun, and most backpacks with a gun will take a long time to draw from, so I don’t like that method of carry. That said, I do carry a gun in a small backpack or chest pack when I jog, because there’s really no other way to do it. One of my rules of thumb for carrying a gun is “if it’s not on my body, it’s not loaded.” With all the possibilities of having a bag stolen, or having to take it off in formal situations like business meetings, I’d be real nervous about having a loaded pistol in a bag. But as I said, there are times it makes sense.
  • Shoulder holster carry: never done it [EDITED TO ADD, I remembered that I actually have done it, but only as a tanker in the military, never in public]. I’ve seen a lot of older cops do it, younger guys not so much. I’m told it makes sense when you’re wearing a suit or flying a helicopter. One thing I was warned about is that in a physical confrontation we automatically take a bladed stance against our opponent, and if you’re using a shoulder holster you’re actually putting your pistol closer to him butt first, which makes it easier for him to grab. I’ve also never seen or heard of a retention security holster; they all just have a single snap thumb break, as far as I know.
  • Cross draw: I can only think of one situation where this might make sense, and that’s drawing a pistol while seated in a car or other confined space. But that possible advantage disappears the minute you’re on your feet; now you have to reach in front of your own body to draw your weapon, which you probably can’t do if you’re rolling around in a fight. You also probably can’t draw at all with your weak hand, and if you do draw you have to make an arcing motion to bring the weapon on target so you’ll probably swing past your target and have to reverse motion to bring it back. Cross draw is slow, impractical and dangerous. One of the biggest indicators that a gun carrier has no idea what he’s doing is if he’s carrying in a cross draw holster. I’ve never seen a well-trained shooter carrying cross draw and never heard of any reputable instructor advocating it. I’m all ears, though; if someone knows good reasons to do it, please let me know in the comments.
  • Appendix carry (IWB just off center from your navel): uncomfortable, awkward, fear-inducing because you’re just sure you’ll shoot your weiner off, and one of the best carry methods out there. Appendix carry is extremely secure, and with a good appendix holster you can run and fight without the slightest worry about losing your gun. It’s also one of the fastest draws. On the negative side, if you have a gut it’ll push the grip outward and make your pistol print. Also, appendix carry generally requires two hands for reholstering your weapon, which might cause a problem in some situations. And no matter how much you train to shoot from appendix, you never quite stop worrying about shooting your junk. I carry appendix almost exclusively, and will probably always feel a tinge of worry about it.

Me appendix carrying at a training course a few years ago.

There are other carry methods, but I’ll stop with these. If anyone has questions about others, please leave a comment.


Unfortunately, the gun world is full of guys with an ounce of experience and a ton of advice. Many of them have literally no business telling anyone how to carry, because they don’t know how to do it correctly themselves. So let’s talk about a few types of people who give bad advice:

  • Pretty much any random guy on the internet. The net is a vast cesspool of bad advice, and the random people offering tips in discussion forums are often the worst offenders. If random guy says something that sounds good to you, even if I’m the random guy, find a legitimate source confirming it before you believe it.
  • Bearded, overweight guys at ranges, gun shows and gun stores who start conversations with “I was a Navy SEAL on Recon Team Delta during the Battle of Fallujah off the coast of Afghanistan in 2010.” The gun world attracts liars and posers like Twinkies attract Rosie O’Donnell. A rule of thumb for life is to not believe anyone who claims to be a Special Forces hero without evidence, and that’s doubly important for a new shooter and gun carrier.
  • MANY veterans. “Veteran” can mean anything from Delta Force pistol instructor to a cook in a mess kit repair unit, and there are a lot more cooks than Delta Force instructors in the military. Most troops get little to no pistol training, so unless you know a veteran has advanced training there’s no reason to believe they’re skilled with a pistol just because they served.
  • MANY gun store employees and dealers at gun shows. Gun businesses are businesses; good ones won’t sell crappy or unsuitable guns to new shooters, bad ones don’t care what you buy as long as they make a profit. Back in 1995 when Texas passed the concealed carry law, some dumbass gun show dealer tried to sell me an AR-15 pistol for concealed carry. So if you’re new to the gun world, don’t walk into a gun store and expect every employee to give you only the best advice. Far too many only care about getting your money.
  • Most cops. Yeah, I said it. I’m super proud of my police brothers and sisters, but damn, a lot of them only train when they absolutely have to. I know cops who fire exactly fifty rounds a year, because that’s all they need to shoot for annual qualification. I know cops who refuse to carry a gun off duty. Being a cop does not automatically equal being well trained; also, as far as concealed carry goes, remember that cops don’t have to worry about getting in trouble if someone sees their gun. A cop might say, “I’ve carried in a Serpa holster on my right hip for years and never had a problem,” and they’re right. But part of the reason they’ve never had a problem is because it doesn’t matter if they get spotted with a gun, so they don’t care if they’re sloppy about concealment.
  • Anyone whose basis for giving advice is “I’ve never had a problem with [my gun/ammo/holster/etc].” Sure, someone can “never have a problem” with something; that doesn’t mean they’ve ever actually trained with or tested their gear. A beloved relative of mine (may he rest in peace) carried a cheap .25 in his pocket for years and never had a problem with it. Then he finally took it to the range, pulled the trigger and found out it was broken and wouldn’t fire. The cop I mentioned earlier could have carried his Glock just stuck in his waistband and never had a problem with it, as long as he never had to actually run or fight. There’s a certain brand of holster a lot of people use and never have problems with, because thus far nobody has torn their cheap holster off its paddle, (which is easy to do). A shooter with a notoriously unreliable pistol can brag about how he’s never had a problem with it, without mentioning he only fires one box of twenty rounds through it every other year. Pistols like Glocks and Sigs have been repeatedly torture tested and continued to fire, and many reputable companies make great holsters that stand up to abuse. One person’s personal experience with what may be the worst piece of gear or weapon ever built isn’t a valid reason for you to mimic him.
  • The guy who says, “I carry a .45 cuz they don’t make a .46, HAR HAR HAR!!” or any other version of “a real man carries a huge gun.” If you ever hear that, just slowly back away. Trust me.

“But this Army Green Beret guy told me he’s carried a Hi-Point for years and never had a problem with it.”


For reasons I will never, ever, EVER understand, many gun carriers are convinced they’ll never need to reload. They carry their weapon with one mag in the mag well, and that’s it. “Well of course!”, they might say. “I carry a Glock 19 with a seventeen-round magazine, why would I need more than that?”

BECAUSE THINGS GO WRONG. Shooters in a gunfight shoot more and faster than they realize. Ammo fails. Magazines fail. Weapons double feed, requiring you to strip your magazine from the pistol, rack the slide several times, reinsert a mag and reload. Are you planning on stripping your mag from your weapon and taking the time to put it in your pocket, clearing your weapon, then taking the magazine back out (and maybe having to reseat or strip the top round because it’s sticking up vertically, as sometimes happens during double feeds) and then reloading, all while someone’s shooting at you? What if you’re running while clearing your weapon, how easy will it be to clear and reload with the same magazine?


Double feed. Photo credit

In real life, malfunctions happen even with the best of weapons. You can accidentally bang your pistol on a wall and unseat the magazine. You can induce a malfunction with an improper grip during a rushed draw. Or, far more likely, you can empty your weapon in seconds without realizing it (like the cop who shot a guy pointing a gun at me years ago; the officer thought he fired two or three rounds, when he had fired eight). Don’t be the guy who never thought he needed spare ammo, and died with an empty gun in his hand. That would be embarrassing.

Spare mags can be carried several ways, from belt pouches to mag holsters that clip to the inside of your pocket to carrying loose in a pocket. Respected tactical trainer Matt Graham taught me several years ago that pocket carrying mags works fine, and that’s what I’ve done since then. Others prefer different methods. However you do it, just do it.

One brief side note: if you get a small auto like a Glock 43 that only carries six rounds in a short magazine, remember that you only need ONE six-round mag. You might need that magazine in the gun for concealment, but your spare mags can have extensions to give you more ammo capacity. All my spare mags have +2 or +3 mag extensions from a reputable manufacturer. But whatever you do, don’t buy cheap mag extensions.


I’ve heard people say they just carry a “get off me gun” (GOMG). This is a weapon intended to just make an attacker stop his attack, not necessarily to incapacitate them. A Derringer, .25 Raven or any number of other small pistols are often referred to as GOMGs. People who carry them frequently don’t bother carrying spare ammo, and often say things like “I just plan on shooting it over my shoulder as I’m running away” or “It might not kill ‘em, but by god it’ll make ‘em quit coming at me.”


.25 Raven. Photo credit Auction Arms.

No it won’t. If you’re going to carry a gun, please, for the love of god, study the realities of gunfights. Determined attackers often take multiple hits and continue shooting, stabbing or punching. Even an unsurvivable wound might not kill someone for a while, as we saw back in the 1986 Miami FBI shootout where a robber/murderer took a lethal hit in the first few seconds of a fight but still managed to kill two FBI agents and wound several others before dying. Real life bullets don’t do what TV and movie bullets do, and if you think you’ll always drop someone with one dramatic shot you’re just wrong. GOMGs are typically underpowered with poor ballistic performance, and will likely be ineffective against someone high or drunk (or even just really mad, like one of the suspects in the FBI shootout).

Also, what if you’re not alone? The guy who plans on shooting as he’s running away seems to have failed to consider, oh, being robbed in the Wal-Mart parking lot while he’s with his wife and kids. Is he going to abandon his family and shoot over his shoulder while running away? Unfortunately, you don’t get to write the script for your gunfight. If you’re an armed citizen, any confrontation you have with a criminal is almost guaranteed to be an ambush where the criminal chose the time, location, and method of confrontation. You’ll already be on the defensive, don’t make it worse by carrying a GOMG with no spare ammo.

Again, there are situations where a GOMG is all you can get away with, and ya gotta do what ya gotta do. But for daily carry, I strongly recommend you carry a larger pistol you can actually fight with.

There are many, many more factors involved with carrying a gun, but I’ll stop here for now. If anyone has counter arguments to my points, please present them in the comments. I ain’t no expert on nuthin’, I’m always learning, and if I’m wrong about something I will gladly acknowledge my mistake. Thanks for reading, and if you’re going to carry a gun in public, please keep this in mind: a lethal force encounter is one of the most demanding, intense, complex situations anyone could ever face. If you’re untrained and get into a gunfight against an opponent with any skill whatsoever, you’re almost guaranteed to lose. So for yourself, your family and your fellow citizens, TRAIN WITH YOUR GUN.


This post is dedicated to the memory of Kevin O’Brien, writer of the Weaponsman blog, who passed away unexpectedly last week. Kevin was a retired Special Forces Soldier, fellow Afghanistan veteran, true American patriot, genius about weapons, and hell of a nice guy. He enthusiastically supported my writing, and wrote the back cover blurb for my novel Line in the Valley. Kevin was taken from us far too soon, will be missed by many, and is hopefully enjoying the peace he truly earned. Rest in peace, brother.

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Chris Hernandez (pictured above) is a 23 year police officer, former Marine and retired National Guard soldier with over 25 years of military service. He is a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and also served 18 months as a United Nations police officer in Kosovo. He writes for and has published three military fiction novels, Proof of Our ResolveLine in the Valley and Safe From the War through Tactical16 Publishing. He can be reached at or on his Facebook page (