Currently Browsing: Carrying / Self-Defense

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.

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.


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