Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Todays Rant: My Carry Ignorance

     It might be less than yours but there are only a few themes to this bit, which I wrote in response to an off-topic question in comments about how to carry and if AIWB wasn't barred by the Three Laws of Robotics Four Rules of Gun Safety:

     I don't have an answer for you.  I'm not an expert on ways to carry a handgun -- in fact, because my employer does not allow employees to carry firearms on their property, my handgun normally travels in my purse and is locked in my car (per Indiana law) whenever I am on company property. I use a small "pocket holster" to keep the trigger covered at all times and when I carry on my person, the holstered gun goes in the right rear pocket of my jeans. Know your local laws and the policies of your employer.  Either play by the rules or understand the risk of not complying.  The goal here is to maximize positive outcomes and minimize or eliminate negative ones, which each of us has to weigh for ourselves.

     All that said, I can tell you what I think I know:

     The Four Rules are not negotiable.  If you are pointing a gun at yourself in order to holster it, there's something wrong with your procedure and/or equipment.  As general rule, a proper holster must cover and protect the trigger; a holstered sidearm gets holstered before you put it on and stays holstered until you take it off (and probably afterwards).  Other than practice at the range, the only exception to "stays holstered" would be drawing it for self-defense, at which point it's probably not going to get re-holstered, but end up in an evidence bag for however long it takes the law to resolve matters.

     You get to decide for yourself how you will carry.  It should be a way that you find comfortable, that you determine you can safely carry and readily access your sidearm.  It should provide adequate retention during your activities.  It is as personal as your choice of underwear, and as much anyone else's business as your choice of underwear, too; Internet debates about ways to carry are useful insofar as they reveal possible ways to carry, known failure modes, and poor equipment choices, but you should not be emotionally invested in any particular style nor pay much mind to the choices promoted by others. The Internet is a vast source of rumor, posturing and misinformation with a little real info mixed in and on firearms it is even more that way.

Some quick jabs:

     IWB/OWB under a cover garment behind the point of the hip is extremely widespread and didn't get that way for no reason.  It doesn't work for everyone and can be problematic when seated.  You cannot pay too much for a good holster -- and (IMO) any holster you buy readymade off a peg is probably not all that good.  (Some are much worse than others -- there's one with an index-finger-activated release that seems to build very dangerous habits, and a brand of polymer holsters that break easily, for example.  Tam has little good to say about Uncle Mike's, other than most of them provide, at least, some coverage of the trigger.) (Tam corrects me, saying some brands of readymades are pretty good when properly matched to the gun. Ask her about brands, I'm not qualified to have an opinion.)

     On training and this habit of keeping the gun holstered, you may encounter people suggesting "dry fire," the practice of aiming and pulling the trigger of an empty gun.  Some pros do this. Some amateurs do this. Me, I'm not a pro and I have heard lots of horror stories about forgetful people shooting holes in their house or worse; I use a solid plastic "blue gun" for that kind of practice.  YMMV.

     Think of a handgun as you would a fire extinguisher: you are very unlikely to need to use it but when the time comes, you must know how.  Money spent on reputable training courses is never wasted.  But your daily-carry gun is likely to spend nearly all of its (non-range) time in the holster; when you do need to use it, if shots are fired (and you should not draw unless this is a possibility!), it's effectively single-use: it's probably not going back into the holster for months or years.

     Get training.  Buy good equipment -- you're better off with an affordable, dependable gun from a reputable maker in a well-made holster than a really super-duper high-end gun in a cheap holster and with either one, the more good training you have, the better off you will be.  Guns break, wear out, run afoul of idiotic laws, etc.  Holsters wear (and they do.  Throw them out when they get floppy) or are lost.  Training lives between your ears and in your habits and so-called "muscle memory."  No law or thief can take it from you and it doesn't break or wear out.  A trained person with a crappy-but-working gun is better off than an untrained person with a really good gun.

     Bit of a rant.  Hope it was helpful.  I think it will be today's post.


Guffaw in AZ said...

Good assessments and reminders all!


Bubblehead Les. said...

Good Words! The only thing I can add is that one should carry an extra Magazine (or Speedloader for Revolvers) if one chooses to Carry Concealed. After all, the Wolves out there seem to run in Packs nowadays, and who knows how long it might take to the Cops to get there?

Tewshooz said...

I always carry two extra magazines. I have concealed carry purse and it goes wherever I go. Concealed means just that....nobody knows it is there.

RandyGC said...

Another reason to carry at least one spare magazine for autoloaders is the number of malfunctions that can be tied to magazines, and the number of immediate action drills that call for removing the magazine. Better to grab a spare on the belt once a jam is cleared than to try to juggle your one magazine when trying to clear a malfunction.

+1 on you get what you pay for on holsters. I despised shoulder holsters with a passion due to experience with cheap nylon gun show specials in my youth. When I had a chance to wear a properly designed and manufactured shoulder rig, it changed my mind is now a primary means of carry for me, especially when driving. (works for me, YMMV, my actual point is don't judge a class of holsters by their cheapest versions).