An Amateur’s Guide to Carrying a Gun

23Apr17

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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 I 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.

  • IF YOU’RE CARRYING A GUN FOR ANY REASON OTHER THAN TO DEFEND YOURSELF, YOUR FAMILY AND OTHER INNOCENT PEOPLE AROUND YOU, YOU’RE PROBABLY DOING IT WRONG.

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.

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  • CARRYING A WEAPON IS A COMPROMISE, AND THERE IS NO PERFECT WEAPON OR PERFECT WAY TO DO IT. 

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’re likely to be immortalized on the internet as a dumbass.

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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 is 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.

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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 have to 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.

  • SPEAKING OF GOOD PISTOLS, THEY DON’T “JUST GO OFF.” 

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 guy 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.

  • NOW LET’S TALK ABOUT SOMETHING TOO MANY GUN OWNERS IGNORE: WEAPON RETENTION. 

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.

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Photo credit Rawstory.com

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.

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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.

  • SO NOW WE MOVE ON TO HOW TO CARRY. 

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.
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Pistol printing under a shirt. Photo credit Luckygunner.com.

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 it’s 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. 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. 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.
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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.

  • AT THIS POINT, WE PROBABLY NEED TO DISCUSS PEOPLE YOU SHOULDN’T LISTEN TO ABOUT CARRYING A GUN. 

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

  • BUT LET’S MOVE ON TO SOMETHING NEAR AND DEAR TO MY HEART: SPARE AMMO. 

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?

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Double feed. Photo credit Dailycaller.com.

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.

  • THE CURSE OF THE “GET OFF ME GUN” 

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.”

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.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.

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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 BreachBangClear.com 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 chris_hernandez_author@yahoo.com or on his Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ProofofOurResolve).

 

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52 Responses to “An Amateur’s Guide to Carrying a Gun”

  1. 1 Buck

    Condolences on the loss of your friend. I had just discovered his blog a month ago comma he will be missed. And thank you for your service and your blog Chris.

  2. You are on point Chris, as usual.

  3. Thumbs up on the extra ammo:

    Guy #1, serving PD officer, won a Medal of Valor while off duty in a surprise 1 vs. 5 shootout. He got 4, and put the 5th in the hospital, and then LWOPed, but ran his EDC hideout Colt Commander mags dry, twice before he put the last guy down.

    Guy #2, walking post in (then) W. Germany, stumbled into bad guy popping out of an APC in the tank park at 3 AM. His first surprise was the 9mm fired by Bad Guy in a Danny DeVito over the shoulder “to whom it may concern” stance, snapping past over his shoulder. His second surprise was not recalling going prone, but there he was. His third surprise was burning through all 5 issued duty rounds for his M1911, which he realized when he noticed his slide was locked to the rear. Fortunately, somewhere between #1 and #5, he fortuitously hit Bad Guy in the shoulder, which spun him, and the next round hit Bad Guy in the pelvis, severing one of his femorals, and ending him.
    Turned out to be some lesser Baader-Meinhof guy putting an incendiary IED into an M113. And who still had 12 rounds left in the Browning Hi-Power he was toting when he was dropped.

    Guy #1’s takeaway, besides “Bring a gun”, was to carry double to triple the required duty loadout of ammo. Like 6×15 sticks of 9mm.

    Guy #2’s takeaway was wishing the C.O. would have let him carry 3 full .45 mags on duty, rather than 5 frickin’ rounds, but to this day can’t believe he touched off all five shots while involuntarily going between standing and prone in about 1.5 seconds.

    My takeaway from both is that when you’re trading slugs, it is the opposite of drowning or on fire: there is no such thing, at that point, as too much ammo.

    Kudos on the dedication.
    Flippin’ shame in every way.
    I’m pretty sure Hognose is just detached on a LRRP patrol across the River Styx.
    I’m in no hurry to catch up, but he wasn’t that much older than I am.
    That definitely gets my attention.

    • LWOPed?

      That soldier in Germany was crazy lucky. That reminds me of Paul Howe’s story about the Battle of Mogadishu, when an untrained Somali ricocheted a round off a wall and hit Delta Force soldier Earl Fillmore square in the forehead.

  4. 6 RandyGC

    Good article as always Chris.

    I am more and more carrying using a shoulder holster (Galco Miami Classic) as it is the most comfortable and usable (FOR ME) with my chosen carry pieces (Glock 17 or BHP). I spend a lot of my time out of the house sitting ( driving) and it is much more accessible than my IWB holster when seat belted in.

    I only carry concealed and have had weapon retention training. It would be nice if they made a retention holster, but this does work for me in the here and now.

    One downside of carrying with a shoulder holster is that it is hard to find a range to practice draw and live fire.

    My recommendation on the holster rig is to get a quality one (you’re going to spend some bucks, but I consider it life support equipment) and buy a system, not just a holster with attachment points for shoulder or belt carry.

    As with all holsters inspect the rig regularly, and adjust/replace as needed. I once had to adjust the retention snap placement on my Galco after about 10 years as it had stretched over time and would no longer snug up my BHP properly. It’s now fine but I still check both rigs regularly.

    • Actually, after I wrote this I realized I have carried with a shoulder holster. As a tanker I occasionally used an old military shoulder holster, although never in combat. I’ve never used a shoulder holster in civilian life. I wouldn’t be averse to trying it, but only concealed.

      By the way, I’m envious as hell of your BHP. I’ll give you $100 cash for it. No questions asked. Hawaiian money.

  5. 8 RandyGC

    I’ll place your offer on my to do list. Right under the last time you made the same offer. 😉

  6. Ruger and Jennings lumped together? Did you really mean to strike so low a blow? (If so, I invite you to go back to Kevin O’Brien’s recent post on hammer-forged barrels, where he references an article co-written by a Ruger engineer and a college professor, in which they tested some Ruger hammer-forged barrels and found them to be about on par with good match-grade barrels. And yes, Ruger casts a lot of their parts, but those are investment castings done in high-grade steel, not Jennings-style die-cast pot metal.)

    • Fair enough, but my point was that Rogers aren’t as high quality as others like Glock and Sig. I’d take a Ruger over a Hi-Point any day, but I’d also take a Glock over any Ruger.

      • 12 Joe in PNG

        There’s some reports of Ruger’s QC going down hill of late.

  7. 13 Gary Meissner

    Excellent article Chris. Lot’s of good advice. Should be required reading at all CCW classes.

  8. 14 Old 1811

    A few comments:
    The FBI Miami shootout was in 1986, not 1989.
    Moving on . . .
    I’ve found that ankle holsters don’t really conceal all that well. When you sit, your cuff rides up and reveals the gun, and your cuff can actually fall behind the grip, so when you stand up, the cuff doesn’t drop back down and conceal the gun. This happened to a Customs agent I worked with while he was testifying in Federal court. When he left the stand his ankle gun was completely exposed, and neither the judge nor the marshals were amused.
    I worked plainclothes (Federal) in the Midwest. A shoulder holster there is invaluable during the cold months. It’s the only truly accessible way to carry when you have to wear your parka snapped shut. Most parkas have both snaps and a zipper; you can snap the top and bottom shut and leave two or three of the middle snaps open (see which works best for you), and reach your weapon. The horizontal Galco Miami Classic and similar holsters by other makers work the best. If you don’t like shoulder holsters (and a lot of people don’t), crossdraw works better than appendix for cold-weather carry because you don’t have to sweep your coat back.

  9. 16 Joe Nichols

    Sorry about your Nano extractor. The only thing I don’t like about mine is the lack of an external slide lock. About every thousand rounds it double feeds and trying to strip that
    magazine is tough. I use a Serpa shoulder holster for motorcycling. A belt holster doesn’t work well with chaps or touring pants and the pistol under my riding jacket is both more secure and accessible.

    • I figured out a semi-quick way to yank the slide back and hold it, then reach in the ejection port with my pinkie and push up on the slide lock. I sent my Nano back to Beretta to fix the extractor, they said they fixed it but it had the same problem. Too bad, because I really did love everything else about that pistol. At a Matt Graham pistol class I even made a first round hit on steel at 130 meters with it. I may take it to a gunsmith to see if he can save it.

      Just FYI, Serpas have some issues. Several people have shot themselves with them, and they occasionally get debris behind the lock and then you can’t get them open. Not that nobody should ever use them, but wanted to make sure you knew.

  10. 18 Michael Klam

    Chris, great article, as usual. A comment about cross draw: I started carrying that way (in a cross draw holster) a few years ago when hiking in the back country carrying a back pack. Having tried several methods I found for me that’s the most comfortable and accessible way. On winter hikes I occasionally use a chest pack but in the summer that gets quite hot and I prefer cross draw. Also I prefer a revolver in the woods, simply because I am less concerned about people (I barely see anyone where I hike) but also have the critters in mind that roam here. So for the peace of mind I like to pack more bang, mine is a .357mag. Back in civilization, though, I don’t use this setup, just recently switched from a Glock 26 to a S&W Shield and am quite happy with it carrying AIWB.

    • 19 Thorn

      Same story here… I like crossdraw (and find it faster) in the woods with a revolver. It’s also better in a car, but usually there are better options.

  11. 20 Jamie

    Just discovered your blog. I want to say, “Excellent article!” You teach what I teach but say it so much more eloquently. Two points I’d like to make. Clip on mag pouches can tend to come off with the mag under stress if they aren’t well designed, I prefer belt threaded pouches if carrying a mag that way, though I also mostly pocket carry.

    Re: shoulder holsters, maybe I missed it, but I advise against them for three reasons. #1 They come unsnapped and the gun can fall out. #2 Many hold the gun with the barrel pointed horizontally at everyone behind you. #3 To draw you sweep your support arm and then have to bring the gun all the way across your body to line up. As opposed to pull and rotate from a 1-3 o’clock.

    And a funny shoulder holster story. I was dropping off class flyers at one of the gun stores we work with in AZ. There was a middle aged guy with a middle aged gut, wearing biker attire, as a big motorcycle event was going on in town. And worn OUTSIDE his “colors” vest in a nylon, one size fits all holster, was a Hi-Point .45. And when he turned around I noticed his club “affiliation” was, the “Sons of Anarchy.” 😀 To their credit nobody giggled until after he left and got into his California plated Minivan where the wife and kids were waiting. 😀

    • 21 Old 1811

      Jamie:

      I concur with your reservations about horizontal shoulder holsters, but I still think they’re useful in certain applications (see above). You’re right that if the thumb break unsnaps, gravity is not your friend. I once kicked a 3-inch Model 36 the length of a subway platform when my shoulder holster unsnapped itself while I was running. (I picked the gun up and stuck it in my pocket, and nobody noticed a thing. Their attention was focused on waiting for their train and their backs were to the platform.)
      But for reaching through the front of a closed parka, they’re outstanding. Drawing from a vertical shoulder holster requires rotating the gun while you’re bringing it out from under your coat and just complicates things. And as for muzzling yourself, well, appendix carry is always touted as the best way to carry while you’re driving, but if you draw while you’re sitting, guess what?
      Nothing is 100% risk-free.

    • 22 Thorn

      ” #2 Many hold the gun with the barrel pointed horizontally at everyone behind you.”

      Serious question: so what? I suppose if you’re not wearing a jacket people would be put off, but that gun isn’t going to decide to kill someone by itself and fire in the holster. The same anxiety exists with appendix carry but the reason applies there too.

  12. 23 Jim

    Okay, a reason to carry crossdraw.. Normally I carry a CZ P-01 IWB at the 4 o’clock position. This works well for me. Being a somewhat older guy(66) I have arthritis, and one place it’s settled is my lower spine. A couple years ago it decided to impact my sciatic nerve. It became VERY painful to carry in my normal position. After some experimentation, I found the ONLY place I could carry with a tolerable pain level was crossdraw with a Shield. It was that, put up with pain, or not carry. I opted for crossdraw. Fortunately after about 6 or 7 months my sciatic pain subsided and I now carry in my preferred spot with my normal pistol. Ordinarilly I’d agree with you about the crossdraw method, but in this case I had no other option.

    • Jim,

      Understood, thanks for sharing that. I have a spinal issue myself, so I’ll tuck away that information in case I need to use your method later in life. Glad to hear you’ve gotten a little better. 🙂

  13. 25 Joe in PNG

    Some observations:

    One important thing to remember is that one not only needs to spend the $$$ for a good holster, but one also needs to get a good, strong, heavy duty belt to hook the holster onto.
    Cheap, thin belts will cause your pants to sag, and won’t hold the gun close to your body.

    For AIWB, a pistol with a hammer is a good idea. When holstering, you can put your thumb over the hammer, and avoid inadvertently shooting yourself- a good idea for holstering in any position. However, there is the new “Gadget” Striker Control Device for Glocks, which does the same thing.

    J-Framed revolvers are GREAT pocket guns, and great non permissive environment guns. But, there’s a few drawbacks, speed reloads being the big one.

    Dryfire is a cheap, easy, and effective way to build skill without spending a lot of money. One can find good resources online. Just be very careful when doing it. I use a dedicated dry fire gun with a Laserlyte cartridge. Each and every time I begin a session, I lock the gun open, view that the mag is out, then press the switch on the back of the cartridge, and confirm the laser on the wall. Then I press it another time.

  14. 26 Dave

    I hate this part. I’m going to get called a commie pinko leftist again (none of which are true, mainly), but when people ask me what kind of gun they should carry I tell them none.

    When I’m working I carry two pistols, a knife, other assorted nasties and prefer to have both a rifle and a shotgun in the car. But I go out looking for trouble. And I even carry a gun at other times because sometimes I make bad decisions about helping other people who have made bad decisions.

    But epidemiologists (yes, its spelled right) tells us a gun is more likely to hurt the owner or a member of his or her family. So if you think you need a gun and you’re not a cop, solider or bail bondsman, think long and hard about what you’re doing that makes you think you need a gun. Perhaps you can save some money and some trouble.

    • A note on that: the stats supposedly show that gun owners are more likely to be shot, etc. etc. But I’m pretty sure those studies don’t differentiate between legal gun owners and any criminal in possession of a gun. So sure, Chicago gangsters have guns are are far more likely to be shot than regular people who don’t have guns. But that doesn’t mean law-abiding citizens who own guns are more likely to get shot. Look at how many people in rural communities have owned guns for decades or generations, and how many rural families have owned guns for centuries. Is the rural gun-owning community being killed off by gun violence?

      Oh, and by the way, you’re a commie pinko leftist. 🙂

      • 28 Dave

        I think plain old suicide skews the numbers. And that’s a rural problem, too.

        • That’s not how the issue is presented though. We have roughly 70 million gun owners in America, and roughly 20 thousand gun suicides annually. So I shouldn’t own a gun, because a tiny fraction of one percent of gun owners commit suicide?

          • 30 art

            at almost 70 my mind still thinks i am young, my body reminds me i am not. i live in one of those neighborhoods that they tell you not to go into. i have been threatened with death by over a 1/2 dozen national gangs over the years. nothing i can do about it, but have not had much trouble although i was recently assaulted by one of my neighbors. after acting like he was going to hook me for a few times, i guess i am getting old or i let me guard down and he hooked me. he then backed up and felt pretty good about himself. he was out of reach but not my legs. after kicking him in the nuts he said i assaulted him and he did not hit me. before he hit me he said he was going to slit my throat. i have cameras and he is going to trial at the end of this month and they have called my for a witness. i always carry and have settled on appendix. i did not need a gun that time. at first appendix worried me, but after thinking it through if you keep your finger off the trigger until you shoot, the gun cannot go off. all the forces that would be on the trigger will be in the opposite direction of a trigger pull. the only danger is in re-holstering. since i do not take my gun out ever, until the the end of the day and then i take the holster off. i consider it to be a very safe way to carry. while being left handed i shoot right handed. i have carried in an ankle holster and believe it to be good for a second or third gun, just not the primary. i will be practicing with my left hand a lot more in the future and am considering carrying a IWB left handed at 11 o’clock. of course just like a lot of folks i need to loose a little weight., but the guns right in front of me i know where they are and who is in front of me and they are always concealed. carrying on the back or side you shirt can ride up and uncover your guns much easier. i certainly do not do back bends very often but do bend at the waist which does not try to expose anything. my 2 cents worth and i have never had to use my guns and hope i never will. have drawn twice but that is all that was needed.
            i do not understand suicide but if i were going to do it, it certainly would not be with a gun. i would think of a lot more peaceful way to do it.

            GREAT ARTICLE!!

          • Thank you sir. Take care and thanks for sharing your wisdom.

    • 32 Herman Fenstermacher

      Epidemiologists and others who say what you repeated are liars, and use what they pretend are relevant statistics to advance their own agenda. You need to look into this to find out for yourself that I know what I’m talking about. That said, their alleged concern should be taken seriously, regardless of its dishonest origin. Many people, myself included, live in very low-risk environments, and daily carry makes sense only if fairly extreme safety measures are taken. One that is sometimes ignored is that loading and unloading a gun daily, particularly an autoloader, is an invitation to error. Most of us can handle a gun safely on the range, but at home, where are you pointing that thing when loading or unoading? And why are you unloading? Are there not safer ways of handling that thing? Circumstances differ, but one must always ask whether it wouldn’t be safer just not to play with firearms.

      I believe that I have worked out a routine (mostly with revolvers, and no children in the house) that is safer than completely ignoring the local coyotes and unleashed dogs, but I am constantly on the alert for self-created dangers.

  15. 33 Dick sutliff

    Winter in Alaska starts in November and runs through mid March. That means a winter parka to below the hips. In or out of a car the only accessible service sized pistol is in a shoulder holster. Sherif Jim Wilson suggests primary carry plus putting a second gun in a pocket. But then the primarily available defense gun is, well a pocket pistol. Thumb breaks are a challenge because they compromise a good grip at the outset. Alesi makes a 1911 shoulder holster with a snap through the trigger guard which alows a good grip and a firm yank pulls the gun free. I add a strap from the muzzle end of the holster accross my back to the top of the mag pouch to keep the pistol from dangling forward and good resistance to the draw stroke. A nuisance to get in and out of, but comfortable all day long. A variety of vests provide concealment when the coat comes off.

  16. Hey Chris,
    Great article! I agree with your assertions. If you haven’t tried the single sided, Safariland ALS shoulder holster, give it a go. The worries others have expressed here about the thumb snap giving way are alleviated, since the gun is locked in by the ALS mechanism. Also, it’s a one sided rig that’s well balanced for running and moving. I wear it when I’m running or walking the pup. Keep up the good work.

    Regards,
    Sherm

    • Hey Sherman, good to hear from you. I’ll check out that holster, although I’m pretty well set with AIWB at the moment. What did your rig run you? And how you been?

      • I got the shoulder rig off of Amazon. It was around $60. I run primarily AIWB these days too, but some bball shorts don’t support holsters and rigorous physical activity very well.

        I’ve been good. Life is going well right now. I hope all is well with you and your family!

  17. 37 Larry Schrader

    Just finished fighting pistol. After constantly reloading and topping off, I was surprised how similar it was to grab a magazine from my pocket as from a carrier. Now I have one less piece on gear to keep me from carrying.

    • Yup. I used to fret over concealing mag pouches on my belt, now I pocket load and find it much more practical. And I train to reload from my pocket every time I switch from a concealment mag to an extended mag.

  18. 39 JBuck

    Chris … While your article is well written and while you’re certainly entitled to your opinion, lumping Ruger in with Jennings and Hi-Point could potentially give a novice shooter a false impression that may deter them from considering what many believe to be several solid carry options (LCP, LCR, LC9, SR Series, American Series & even SR1911 LW CMD).

    • Understood J, thank you. While I certainly don’t equate a Ruger with a Hi-Point, I do know that Ruger isn’t as high quality as pistols like HK, Glock, Sig or others. That doesn’t mean I think Rugers are junk, and I’ve actually heard very good things about their revolvers. But I’ve never known Ruger to be in the running for any police department’s duty gun or any military’s standard sidearm. So yes, Ruger makes some good stuff, but no, it’s not at the same level as the weapons I mentioned above.

      Again, thanks for the comment. Please feel free to come back and add to the discussion anytime.

  19. 41 les.boggess@gmail.com

    Great, commonsense article. Thanks for the posting… I am posting a link to a firearms class that I teach. I am a 22 year veteran, retired police officer and firearms instructor (for 40 years) and currently a college criminal justice professor. This is one of the best, clearest explanations of concealed carry I have ever read, and I am thus sharing with my students. Well done!

  20. 43 bmpaz

    Chris, a respectful question about your comment regarding appendix carry. You say, “Also, appendix carry generally requires two hands for reholstering your weapon, which might cause a problem in some situations”. Could you elaborate on ‘problem situations’? From my perspective, since you shouldn’t be putting your gun away if you suspect you’re going to need it again soon you get no points for re-holstering fast, one handed or doing it without looking, it should be the slowest and most deliberate thing you do in gun handling, especially if you appendix carry. So, what is the issue with using 2 hands to re-holster? Other than not having 2 hands available because one has been injured during the fight, I don’t see any problems.

    • The issue with reholstering is more of a police concern than a CCW concern, but it still matters. As a cop I had countless incidents that started with my gun drawn but required me to go hands on with a suspect. That’s a lot less likely for an armed civilian, but it’s still a possibility.

      Imagine this scenario: you’re in a convenience store and see a short (much shorter than you), skinny, drunk girl with a pronounced limp walk in and pull a knife on the clerk. You legally draw your gun and order her to drop the knife. She tosses it away, out of reach, then starts advancing slowly toward you while yelling insults. She’s aggressive and threatening, but you’re much larger than her, she’s drunk, she’s physically disabled to some degree, and she’s apparently unarmed. Are you going to shoot her? Are you going to run away? What if your wife is in the store, do you retreat from this tiny drunk and leave her there? You’re not legally justified in shooting a tiny, unarmed drunk girl in *this* situation, and pretty much any jury would expect you to manhandle her instead.

      Again, this isn’t a reason not to AIWB carry. But having to put the gun away when you’re not justified shooting and need to use physical force instead is a concern.

  21. 45 George

    Excellent article – Thanks!

    In the early years of my law enforcement career, I found that off-duty carrying my Astra Garcia double action .380 was extremely convenient and concealable. But after a year or so of carrying the Astra and frequent range practice, I began to realize that it was strictly a close-up gun (which is fine) but I wasn’t at all certain that a .380 would provide adequate protection against a large and/or high-amperage attacker – and its accuracy was very iffy over 7 yards from target. So, I put the .380 away and began carrying my Colt Diamondback 4″, loaded with Remington 125 gr. SJHP +P . My holster was ITWB right hip. With this set-up, I felt well armed and was confident I could hit center of mass at 25 yards. However, I generally did not carry extra rounds. In 13 years of law enforcement, patrol and detectives, I never fired my weapon other than the range and I never had an off-duty encounter where I was glad I was strapped. These days, I carry (when I carry) a S&W .357 mag with one extra speedloader. I only carry when I travel well beyond my local universe. I just don’t perceive the need to pack while running errands close to home.

    • 46 Joe in PNG

      Gunblogger Tam from “A View From the Porch” once gave a reason why she carries pretty much 24/7. During gun school, there was a story about an officer who was shot down & killed on his doorstep by a goblin wielding a .25.
      The responding officers spent hours finding, unloading, and tagging various guns stashed around the house.

      We just never know when that bad day is going to hit us. It could be some thug seeing you as a target of opportunity during your quick stop at the gas station. It could be a pack of feral dogs between you and your back door. Best to be prepared.

      • 47 George

        And ergo lies the dilemma. When they’ve got the drop on you, or just assassinate you, all the guns in the world won’t help. And why would anyone think they would need to carry inside their home or answer their door with a gun in hand – ready to fire? If I felt that unsafe in my home, I’d move. I live in a place where anyone over 18 who can lawfully possess a firearm may keep a loaded gun in their car, home or office and may CCW without a permit outside city limits. It is also a “Must Issue” state and the bad guys are keenly aware that there are many, many people of all ages and backgrounds packing heat. Walking around with your shirt un-tucked where I live, is reason enough for a bad guy to steer clear. Very little random street crime here. Obviously, I understand that other communities suffer from high crime rates and strict gun laws affecting only the law abiding, and extra precautions may well be in order.

        1st rule: Don’t answer the door PERIOD unless you are expecting someone and you have made transparent partition visual verification.
        2nd rule: Try to do all or most of your errands during daylight hours.
        3rd rule: Use online retailers whenever possible and have deliveries made to attended locations – not left on your porch.
        4th rule: Practice situational awareness at all times. Ask yourself “what’s wrong with this picture?” Watch for occupied cars and people loitering around in places where you wouldn’t typically expect them e.g. parking lots, quiet residential streets . . .
        5th rule: Reevaluate choices to be out late at night – especially in an urban setting. Walking back to your car through deserted streets can bring all sorts of potential safety challenges. If you must be out, maybe keep your hands in your coat pockets – let the BG’s wonder is he? or isn’t he?

        • 48 art

          i guess it is nice to have a lot of money and do what you want. some of us are just trying to survive, as i did when i had cancer or open heart.

          i think of it as a boy scout, be prepared. yes it would be nice to live in a better neighborhood, but you should realize the criminals like going to those places instead of the poor neighborhoods they live in. most of us will never need our gun and i hope i never do. it is a lot like ammo. it is better to go home with extra ammo then to need more. i would like to think when out walking in my bad neighborhood, i am trying to make the place better. the dog i have right now would not let anyone close to me. just a mutt and i got her at 1 and 1/2 years old. don’t know what they did to her but she is past the running away stage. i am very surprised i did not get bit the first and second day trying to get to know her. she is very helpful, my hearing is getting old and certainly my eye sight. protection is not just a gun, it is like an onion. lots of layers…

          oh, by the way, the first thing a criminal does is try and find an empty house by ringing the door bell. if no one answers then he looks for a place to break in. so trying to not answer can be the reason you have to use deadly force. when i am not wearing my gun it is in reach next to my recliner. and yes i have answered the door with a gun, i do not make it visible it is behind the door at ready. it is all natural to me now after 30 years of it. be prepared, it will happen and maybe there is nothing you can do, but if given a chance or while dyeing i might be able to stop it from happening to someone else. we all have to decide what we will do, but to make someone out paranoid for playing it safe, well i guess that is your choice.

          • 49 Absolitely2

            Hi Art –

            Well, I never meant that someone should completely ignore a knock on the door – necessarily; although I do.) Maybe the first thing to do is quietly go to the peep hole or adjacent window and see who’s out there and what they seem to be about. If you have concerns about creating an apparently unoccupied house scenario, then consider speaking through the door and asking the visitor what they want. However, don’t open the door if your are not expecting a visitor. Once the door is opened, you are exposing yourself to more danger than would exists if you kept the door closed and locked — gun or no gun. If on the other hand, you keep the door closed and locked and then the visitor begins to kick the door, you now have a different situation on your hands – you now know their intent and you can then take an appropriate defensive actions. (Standing directly behind/next to the door would not be a defensive position I would recommend.) Call 9-1-1 and take a per-determined defensive position that gives you an advantage over invaders.

            P.S. – I certainly did not intend to paint anyone as paranoid. However, I am a firm believer in good quality, effective security hardware i.e. door and window locks/latches and having a plan. Anything you can do to physically deter / delay a criminal intruder would be to your advantage. You might check-out this video by Massad Ayoob “Don’t Answer the Door”.

            Best,

            George

        • 50 art

          hi George,
          i have seen that video and notice he is wearing his gun in the house. good doors do definitely slow them down. locks on windows that can easily be broken don’t. if someone came in my house my dog would be all over them which gives me a little time. my front door is an old oak door with lots of glass top to bottom. my back door also has a pain of glass in it, but no one would be coming in my back door very easy. it has a double keyed entry just my front door does,. both top and bottom. of course i can see who is at my front door before i open it. what makes my front door, my back door and all the windows very secure is i have them covered in poly-carbonate (bullet proof glass is made from it). it is only 1/4″ and will stop some of the 22 lr but certainly not any pistol or rifle bullets. it will only leave a whole and not shatter. very tough to break into. as i said not answering is not a good idea. it does not mean you have to open the door, but when i do i know what they are holding and what they look like, and i certainly know what i am holding and my dog is right behind me. i feel very secure but a gun is always in reach and if i go out it goes with me, and almost every time my dog also.

          i also have 8 security cameras that cover the street and everyone knows it. i also have another 8 that i have not found the time to install that will completely cover the back. just an onion one layer at a time.

          when i go walking in this bad neighborhood my dog is always with me. she will always give me a little time to react, but so far nothing has every happened on my walks which i have not found time for lately either. i hope to have more time with in 7 or 8 months. we will see. every day off i have been fixing my parents house that i rented out in a great neighborhood for the first time. it was trashed and tested positive for meth. a great neighborhood and they were manufacturing and the police do not care, not one bit. been working on it for 1 and 1/2 years so far and i am getting closer to having it fixed and i am sure i have made it so no one but me will be damaged from the residue. the police have not helped me with any drug problem. i won’t go into detail, i have said enough.

  22. 51 Frank

    One of the best suggestions on using an ankle holster and revolver came from David Bowie (no, not him) at TDI.

    When wearing long winter coats David carried an airweight in a coat pocket and his main sidearm under his coat. When he arrived at his destination the first stop was the bathroom, where behind the security of a stall or locked door, the revolver came out of the pocket and into the ankle holster. When it was time to leave, the bathroom was visited again and the gun transferred from ankle holster to the coat pocket.

    I’ve used a shoulder holster for years for my Kahr P9 and I agree they have limitations. But I’m an armed civilian and expect to carry much more than I will ever draw. Still constant practice is required. I copied the draw Mas Ayoob showed us years ago where the left hand comes up and brushes the ear while the right hand unsnaps and draws the weapon. It’s slow, but the gun hides very well under a simple zippered wind breaker or untucked semi-buttoned shirt. It’s relatively comfortable, especial to those of us who waist is bigger than our hips and doesn’t complicate sitting on the pot contemplating our future.

    Final words: Nice article Chris. Unfortunately you’re preaching to the converted. Don’t stop!

  23. 52 George


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