Currently Browsing: Carrying / Self-Defense

Another Kind of Poll: LTC Applications Surging

After the attacks on Paris, I turned to Bitter and said “I’ll bet this will see another surge in gun sales, and particularly a surge in people applying for concealed carry licenses.” Sure enough, western Pennsylvania sheriffs departments are reporting they are overwhelmed by the number of new applicants:

Requests for licenses to carry concealed handguns jumped sharply in some Western Pennsylvania counties Monday and Tuesday, a reaction some sheriffs’ offices said they have come to expect in the days after mass shootings and terrorist attacks.

And this kind of poll is the only kind that counts. Regardless of what Bloomberg wants to trick people into believing, when Americans become concerned they may come under attack, they arm themselves.

I first got my LTC in 2002, less than a year after 9/11, and it was 9/11 that convinced me to pull the trigger, so to speak. I figured they’d eventually try something here like they did later in Mumbai, Kenya, and now Paris.

Dealing With Attackers Armed with TATP Suicide Bombs

I asked Joe Huffman, who runs Boomershoot and who has more explosive experience than any other gun blogger, if he would have any commentary about suicide bombers who were armed with TATP bombs, and he has responded. He’s certain that if TATP gets hit with a bullet impact it will detonate, so necessitates head shots. He goes into a lot more detail than I will, so read the whole thing.

One weakness in my own shooting is that I’ve spent very little time shooting at moving targets. I’ve done it once, and I did OK, but I’d love to spend more time with targets like this:

Of course, I should offer the standard Internet disclaimer which goes: “That kind of gamer stuff will get you killed on the street,” or something like that, but since you can’t practice shooting terrorists in the gourd, these kinds of moving targets seem like a good idea.

Pushing the Narrative that Civilians Are Inept at Self-Defense

After the attacks in Paris, I’ve never seen the media more enthusiastically pushing the meme that civilians will just form a circular and kill a lot more people, rather than accomplish anything useful. Every town and their media enablers must be aware that the Paris Attack will likely further drive gun sales, and that concealed carry classes are going to start getting a lot busier. Let me turn to Brady board member Joan Peterson, who captures much of the arguments floating around out there:

Predictably there are Americans who actually believe that if only French residents were allowed to carry guns in public, lives could have been saved. These delusional people have an alternate view of the world not shared by most. If someone can explain how a gun could have been used to take out guys wearing suicide vests when there is no expectation that someone will blow themselves up in seconds, then go ahead. Enlighten us. If someone can explain how a pistol in a waistband holster would save innocent citizens from men armed with AK 47s, (maybe automatic type weapons) then go ahead- enlighten us.

Of course, Mrs. Peterson’s blog is her safe-space, so it’s closed off to differing viewpoints. She’s asking questions that she in no way, shape or form wants answered, so I’ll do my best to enlighten.

First thing I would say is that if I were to find myself in such a situation, I am not anybody else’s hero. I carry a gun to protect my own ass and the asses of my loved ones. That it. If I can beat a hasty retreat to an exit, I’m going to do so up against those odds. Absent that, I’m figuring I’m going to die anyway, so I might as well take a few of the buggers out with me. That’ll be a few less for the cops.

Here are a few of the myths gun control proponents like to peddle:

You won’t be able to tell who the bad guys are.

Generally speaking, if a person is shooting at me, they are a bad guy. But in this case, they were armed with Kalashnikovs, so target identification is even easier. Normal people don’t carry Kalashnikovs to theaters, so I feel pretty safe in using that as a determiner (yeah, sorry rifle OC guys, this is why it’s a bad idea). It gets a little harder if someone else is shooting with a pistol, but even here, if he’s shooting at the guys with the Kalashnikovs and not shooting fellow theater goers, he’s a good guy, don’t shoot.

You’ll just kill more people because the bullets will just set off their vests.

Those vests are going to go off anyway, because that’s why they call them suicide vests. I’d much rather it go off not at a time and place of their choosing, where they can maximize body count. If two of them are close together, you might even be able to get a two for the price of one bonus. In this case they were wearing vests made with TATP explosive, which is very unstable and shock sensitive. If it’s a more professionally made vest, most common plastic explosives aren’t sensitive to shock. Even if I get killed or taken out of the fight by the vest going off, that’s still one less terrorist for the cops to deal with, and one less terrorist continuing to shoot at people. When the cops come in, what do you think they are going to do? They are going to shoot the people wearing the vest, because there’s no better option available. The anti-gun folks must assume the police have some special magic that relieves them of having to shoot the bad guy wearing the vest.

A person with a pistol could never successfully take on a person with a Kalashnikov.

This is complete nonsense. First thing to do if you can’t find an exit? Find cover. Theaters often have hefty support columns that would make good cover. Unlike the bad guys, who have given up their element of surprise, you still have yours. They are not going to be expecting people to shoot back. If you do engage them, while they are focused on you, they are not killing other people. At the least, you’re buying time for others to escape, even if you yourself fail to beat the odds.

As to the automatic weapons issue, I would fear attackers taking aimed shots on semi-automatic a lot more than I would attackers spraying automatic fire all over the place. The former signals attackers who are well-trained and know how to use their rifles. The latter signals poorly trained people who are going to empty their magazines quickly and give an opportunity for return fire when they have to reload. It also is indicative that they are using spray-and-pray tactics because they do not actually know how to accurately employ their rifles. Spray and pray may work to rack up the body count in a crowded theater, but it’s not as effective at dealing with a single target who is shooting at you.

I want to be clear that having a gun in a situation like this is no guarantee you’ll come out on top, and everybody lives. News reports are that there were three attackers inside the Paris theater. Reports also indicate they were quick with reloads and seemed pretty competent in employing their rifles. As one person armed with a pistol, I already don’t like my odds. But I like them a lot better with my Glock 19, or even a 7 shot pocket pistol, than I would with nothing to offer but harsh language.

The media and gun control advocates (but I repeat myself) seem to believe we live in some kind of fantasy world. We don’t live in a fantasy world any more than they do, because unless you’ve actually been in a situation like happened in Paris, speculating on tactics and outcome is just a mind exercise. The difference is when they do this, they do it without the benefit of knowing their own capability with a gun (or knowing it’s non-existing), the limitations of what different guns can do, and the limitations of individual shooters. It’s not some Rambo fantasy: if a defender is sufficiently well trained, and the attackers make mistakes, there’s no reason a single person with a pistol could not take out three attackers armed with rifles. Is your average licensee that well trained? No. But neither is your average police officer. And like police officers, there are licensees out there who are that well trained, and our country is better off and more secure for it.

I Guess Bloomberg Forgot to Tell the Israelis Civilians Don’t Stop Mass Shooters

From a story over at Breitbart talking about how Israelis who can’t gun licenses are still arming themselves with whatever they can find:

“[O]nly 2.5 percent of the population can legally carry a firearm,” the Times of Israel reported in 2012. “But those who are licensed to carry a weapon have proved capable of acting swiftly and effectively time and again to neutralize attackers during acts of terrorism.”

Armed civilians have often stopped terror attacks.

I’d note that more than 2.5% of the US population can legally carry firearms. If it works in Israel, why would it suddenly not work here? No, if you’re an American you’re apparently more likely to shoot yourself with it.

Well, This Isn’t Going to Help the Preferred Narrative

There was a concealed carry holder on campus, he had his gun, but was prevented from intervening by the school. Oregon seems to be like Pennsylvania, in the sense that it’s legal to carry on college campuses, but college campuses can still set policies for students, staff and faculty. He’s risking expulsion by coming forward with the fact that he was armed. Bad guys with guns can’t be stopped by good guys with guns if the good guys are locked behind closed doors and prevented from intervening. Our opponents were all atwitter yesterday about how there was a CCWer on the campus, as if to say “See! See! It doesn’t work!” Well, yeah, sure. It doesn’t work when it’s actively prevented from working.

Carry Your Guns, People!

This is a lengthy article from Foreign Policy about the terrorist attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi in September of 2013, but I’d suggest it ought to be required reading for gun folks:

Far from a dramatic three-day standoff, the assault on the Westgate Mall lasted only a few hours, almost all of it taking place before Kenyan security forces even entered the building. When they finally did, it was only to shoot at one another before going on an armed looting spree that resulted in the collapse of the rear of the building, destroyed with a rocket-propelled grenade. And there were only four gunmen, all of whom were buried in the rubble, along with much of the forensic evidence.

We’re fortunate that our military and police forces are far better than armed looters, but that’s not to say you can be guaranteed a quick and competent response if the situation goes extremely pear shaped.

During the roughly three-and-a-half hours that the killers were loose in the mall, there was virtually no organized government response. But while Kenyan officials prevaricated, an unlikely coalition of licensed civilian gun owners and brave, resourceful individual police officers took it upon themselves to mount a rescue effort.

Well, that kind of destroys the narrative for the gun control crowd, doesn’t it? When the shit hit the fan, it was armed individuals who stood up and got the job done. Of course, they and their ilk are doing everything they can to ensure something like that can never happen in this country.

The Trouble with Flashlights

Tam has been carrying a SureFire E2D Ultra, and comments that the switch design leaves a lot to be desired. I carry a Fenix LD10, showing here:

Fenix LD10

It’s a bit more worn than that today, and in truth it’s probably out of date. With the Fenix, you adjust the intensity by screwing out the lens a bit. That’s fine when you have both hands, but sometimes you don’t, so I leave it on the highest setting. The big issue leaving it on high is the on switch, which is on the butt of the flashlight, gets switched on when I sit down sometimes. It can either engage furniture or engage the sheath of my Leatherman. Now, give it 10 minutes or so, and I’ll usually notice, “Something feels warm in my pocket, and I know it isn’t that, so the flashlight must have gotten stuck on again.” I’ve had batteries drain completely in this scenario, and it happens often enough I now use NiMH rechargeable, and just change them regularly. I use the flashlight multiple times a day.

Ideally I’d like a flashlight where I can turn on and off, and change intensity using only one hand. The SureFire E2D Ultra looks like it might be a solution. It would seem the solution to Tam’s issue would be to make it a one second double click instead of two. Maybe even half a second. I can double click a switch a hell of a lot faster than I can move my whole body. Perhaps a microswitch could be fitted somewhere inside that allows the user to adjust the double click speed.

Fight the Derp: The Handgun Sling

I’ll join in with other bloggers who have pointed out what is quite possibly the most dangerous holster idea I’ve seen to date.

Note they had to top off this screaming ball of fail with unsafe gun handling on the video to boot. Of course, to be fair, I’m not sure how you get the tip into the muzzle without sweeping your digits, due to the inherent dangerousness of this design. If you absolutely positively have to risk your spinal cord and kidneys by carrying small-of-back, there are far better options.

I saw in a comment section of the Internets that derp can neither be created nor destroyed. Higher level derp, if destroyed, can only transform into more lower level derp. Conservation of derp. I now believe this to be a legitimate scientific theory. More study is needed.

This solution really isn’t any better than Mexican Carry. In fact, it may even be worse, since that doesn’t necessarily require you to stick your booger hook all around where the bullets come out of.

What to look for in a holster:

  • The holster retains the gun sufficiently as to prevent it from falling out. The test I usually use is if the gun dumps when you turn the holster upside down, you should adjust it so it won’t, or find another holster if you can’t adjust it. It should still take some force to break the retention.
  • It should protect the trigger guard and essentially make it impossible for anything to engage the trigger.
  • It should keep its shape to allow the gun to be re-holstered easily and instinctively. If you have to pry your holster open to re-holster the gun, your holster sucks and you should find another one.
  • Along with a good holster, you need a good belt. The best holster in the world won’t work well if your belt is insufficient.

I use the Comp-Tac Infidel. A few years ago I would not have recommended their belt clip models (as opposed to the loops), because their clips were insufficient and were prone to working loose from the belt. I had this happen to me twice, though thankfully not in socially problematic situations. The redesigned clips work much better at holding the gun in place and gripping the belt, and are not prone to letting go without deliberate force being applied to pry the clip away from the belt.

Confessions of an Ordinary Gun Toter

Summer Time Carry GearIn the comments over on a previous thread, HappyWarrior offers what I’ll call the lament of the non-gun-ninja, regarding the burden of carrying around all the equipment advice on the Internet would have you carry if you took it all seriously. I can sympathize, because I’m no special gun carrying ninja. We all have to make tradeoffs, and it’s OK to make those tradeoffs. It’s your life, not someone else’s.

There are only two things on my belt at all times, and that’s a Leatherman multi-tool and an iPhone. No, I don’t carry a tactical folder anymore. Why? Because I can’t carry it everywhere, and I use the Leatherman enough that grabbing it and one handed opening is quite natural to me. If I’m leaving the house, and it’s winter, and sometimes in summer, there will be a Glock 19 on the belt in a Comp-Tac Infidel holster just behind the iPhone.  Tactical advice is to “dress around the gun,” but realistically, there are times you can’t do that. Tactical advice will dispute this, but it’s your life, not someone else’s.

I’m not carrying the Glock, it’s an LCP in a pocket holster in the strong-side pocket. I’m usually carrying OC spray in the weak side pocket, along with a flashlight clipped to the pocket, and a spare magazine for the LCP. If it’s winter, the OC goes in the weak side coat pocket so my jeans pocket only has the reload and flashlight in it.

Yes, I realize this is not very “tactical,” and I’d be fumbling for a reload if things end up going pear-shaped, but if things end up going that pear-shaped and all I have is an LCP, I’m already figuring I’m pretty well screwed to begin with. It’s all trade-offs, and only you can make them. Sometimes I don’t even carry, which is the biggest tactical sin of all!

And why do I make these tradeoffs? Because I can’t run around looking ridiculous with half a dozen things clipped to my belt in summertime, and having to dress around the gun. Yes, my professional reputation and that of my company are more important than the very unlikely event that I find myself in a situation where a firearm would come in handy. That said, I manage to successfully carry something most of the time I’m out of the house.

But I don’t feel bad about making tradeoffs to accommodate life. You shouldn’t either. As Tam’s original post noted, you should just understand and accept the risk those tradeoffs impose on you.

On Feeling Safe and Self-Delusion

As a community, we often don’t have much patience for people who are just fine with security theater measures, because they want to feel safe. They don’t want to confront the idea that life entails risk, and that bad things can happen regardless of what precautions you take. Tam makes a very excellent point that people in the gun community often exhibit the same behavior.

I still remember the initial hostility I got when I started recommending people who carry a gun also carry a defensive spray. I was initially hostile to the idea myself, because I figured a prosecutor would argue, if I had spray, that I should have used it instead of shooting the bastard.

But I was turned into a believer by a series of articles that disassembled all my assumptions and refuted them. Unfortunately these articles seem to have disappeared from the Internets. A lot of the arguments against defensive spray struck me more as “this makes me uncomfortable, because it threatens the world view I’ve constructed” rather than solid arguments against the practice of carrying defensive sprays. We are all capable of fantastic feats of self-delusion to defend our own world view. No one is immune. The key is to be capable of recognizing self-delusion when someone points it out. Some people will never be convinced.

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