Currently Browsing: Carrying / Self-Defense

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.

Guns Won’t Deter Every Criminal

A man in West Philadelphia was robbed of a gun when the guy behind him in line noticed he was carrying and decided to relieve him of his firearm (warning, news footage will auto-play). You can read Bob Owens’ take here, and Tam’s here. I don’t really have much more to add. My bet, given the neighborhood, and the guy’s apparent age, is that the victim was probably a student living farther out in West Philadelphia than is generally prudent for a naive kid from the ‘burbs. Good on him for thinking enough about his safety to arm himself, but here he paid the price poor concealment, poor holster, and poor training. The 600 block of North 40th Street is not a good neighborhood (at least it wasn’t when I was going to school there).

Still, I feel for the victim. I’ve done more training than your average carrier, which really isn’t saying much, at all, because one thing more training teaches you is that you don’t have nearly enough! I won’t pretend I’m some kind of ninja who would have reacted any better. I am more conscientious about printing than I used to be, because some people know what to look for, and you can’t expect the sight of a carried gun is going to deter every criminal. Most of us get away with a lot of poor choices in self-defense because we live in quiet neighborhoods where, to be honest, you’re more likely to die from a poor diet and bad driving than lose life or limb to a criminal. But that neighborhood? I’d recommend starting with full size pistol and a good holster, and adapt everything else in your wardrobe (and plan) around that.

Why Would Anyone Need a Gun in a National Park?

A Rough and Tumble With a GrizzlyThankfully, we can now carry in National Parks if the local laws permit it. Unfortunately for one 63 year old Montana man, hiking alone and off-trail while unarmed turn out to be a fatal proposition. Yes, I would carry in a National Park, anti-gun folks, because I have no desire for my mortal remains to include a few dozen pounds of bear poop.


Crosby was the sixth person killed since 2010 by grizzlies in the greater Yellowstone area, which has an estimated 750 grizzlies and includes the park and surrounding portions of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.

Encounters between humans and grizzlies bears have risen sharply in recent decades as the region’s grizzly population expanded. But relatively few lead to death or injury, and park officials say the risk of being attacked by a bear is comparable to the chances of being struck by lightning.

Yeah, and despite the risk of being struck by lightning being very small, years ago when I was hiking in the Northern Rockies, I learned the hard way why it’s advisable to clear off mountain peaks before the afternoon comes around and storms start brewing. I wasn’t hit, but I did learn from a far closer vantage point than I was comfortable with that rocks can be blown apart by lightning strikes. The storm came up on the other side of the mountain, and I never saw it coming. This was before the days when you could just pull up the weather radar on your phone. I will tell you, I was not feeling very comforted by the statistic that I’m very unlikely to get struck by lightning. By the same token, I doubt a hiker who comes across a big ol’ grizzly bear is likely to be very comforted by the fact that he’s very unlikely to be eaten. I wouldn’t hike up a mountain in a summer afternoon, and I wouldn’t hike in grizzly country without a proper hand cannon either.

Another Person Finds out a Gun Permit Isn’t Like a Drivers License

It always seems to be the 9/11 memorial people get busted, when they go and ask the nice NYPD officer where they can store their pistols, who naturally promptly arrest them. It’s amazing how every single one of these stories go down the same way. It’s like they expect that New York City is part of America or something, but they’d be wrong. I have to imagine they cover reciprocity issues in the Texas CHL training class. My first PA LTC came with a two page letter from the Chester County Sheriff explaining various dos and don’ts, including (at the time) the lack of reciprocity with neighboring states, with a big capitalized emphasis on not carrying in New Jersey or New York.

But we can hardly blame people, which is why we need to fix this issue and make every state recognize every other states licenses. We also should be clear that the longer the other side makes us wait, the worse the eventual bill is going to be from their point of view. In fact, because the Courts have abdicated their responsibility to protect the Second Amendment rights of Americans, we’re going to be looking at a whole list of things Congress might do under their Section 5 powers of the 14th Amendment. America is coming, New York City. Better get used to it.

Citizens Defending Recruiting Stations & Rifle Open Carry

I’ve seen a lot of discussion about people stepping up to defend military recruiting stations in the wake of the Chattanooga attack, and putting it in the same class as rifle OC. We’ve certainly seen our share of derp associated with some of these folks, but conceptually, I have a difficult time putting this in the same class as people carrying long guns into Target. I think the reason is because context matters. After an attack on a recruiting station, I think people can put two and two together and understand what’s going on. There is context for ordinary people to put this in that doesn’t make it as strange or threatening. I think we could certainly do without the derperators, but I don’t really see a problem conceptually with citizens stepping up responsibly, to do an important  job our government won’t. No one can top this guy, though.


From the “He’ll Just Take Your Gun” Files

Apparently it happened, but it was an escort defending herself from someone who was trying to kill her, and it turns out it may be that she stopped a serial killer who was responsible for possibly up to four other murders. He put the gun down to strangle her, she picked it up and shot him fatally. One the one hand, good show. On the other hand, I guess it is possible for an unarmed person turn the tables on someone with a gun! In this case, I’m glad she was able.

New Study: You’re Better off Running Away

Now that Bloomberg has put some real money back into anti-gun research, the studies appear to be flowing. Bloomberg’s mouthpieces, Evan DeFillippis and Devin Hughes (yes, those guys, who I now speculate were paid shills all along) point to a new study out that shows you’re really just better off running away. Notice how all their studies are published behind paywalls, while our researchers upload their studies to SSRN where anyone can read and dissect them?

Anecdotally, I only know two people who have ever had to use a gun in self-defense. In one case, the friend was in an attempted robbery. Attempted because he drew a gun on the robbers, and they retreated posthaste. The incident was reported to 911, but the dispatcher asked if the friend really wanted a car sent out to take a report, and he answered no. The second was in a rural home, before the days of 911, and was just never reported to police. Both of these were absolutely and unambiguously self-defense.

I’m not surprised they are picking these studies apart, because just about every study has shown a fairly significant amount of defensive gun use. I would expect more studies on how ineffective firearms are at protecting people. But here’s a question for Mr. DeFillippis and Mr. Hughes: if firearms are so ineffective at self-protection, when will Mr. Bloomberg, your patron, voluntarily disarm his security detail? Or are guns only effective when they are protecting rich billionaires?


A Reddit thread on self-defense

Redditors who have had to kill in self defense, Did you ever recover psychologically? What is it to live knowing you killed someone regardless you didn’t want to do it?

Found this on Facebook, and while I can’t say I read all the comments, I did scroll through to the end, so I saw an awful lot of the root-level stories. Unsurprisingly, they were basically all self-defense incidents. Not all were defensive firearms uses, and more than a few ended with an attack hoist on their own petard, with the “victim” getting ahold of an attacker’s weapon and using it on the attackers.

The main thing I noticed? That in a lot of the cases, the attackers were not armed with firearms, but the victims were. So that even the anti-gunners got their way and were able to wave the magic wand and disappear all the guns, it would result in good people unable to defend themselves against bad people. These are the people anti-gunners want dead, maimed, or raped. And a number of them did what their attackers wanted and were still hurt after compliance.

The Ultimate Gun Free Zone: The Beach

Thinking about the mass killing of 27 people at a tourist beach in Tunisia over the weekend, I worried that this sort of attack could provide a template for attacks here. I am not personally much of a beach person. I don’t like crowds, my pasty skin doesn’t appreciate much sun, and I’m not a big fan of salt water. When we visited Hawaii, I did go to a few lesser visited beaches to do some snorkeling. Even if Hawaii allowed carry, I wouldn’t have had a gun on me.

I think it’s safe to say that even in some very gun nutty states like Florida or the Texas Gulf Coast, your average beach goer, even the gun nutty types, aren’t going to take a piece when they head out for some beach time. It seems to me if this type of attack is to be a template, the only viable solution is a stepped up police presence at beaches, with the officers appropriately armed with patrol rifles (for those of you who are gun control advocates, ‘patrol rifles’ are what you people call an ‘assault weapon’) that can handle the kind of range you’ll encounter in a beach environment.

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