*TFF Admin Staff Chief Counselor*
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: At SouthernMoss' side forever!
I debated where to put this item from today's Sierra Times and decided it needed wide coverage. We can move it later to Centre Fire Pistols, if desired.
I felt it presented some good material for all to see.
How to carry a concealed handgun
Carl F. Worden
Ladies & gentlemen:
One of the most prevalent questions I get regarding personal self-defense does not come from my Internet audience, but from individuals I meet in person on the street and in the meeting places. That question is, “How do I carry my concealed gun”? What they are really asking is two-fold: “How do I carry my concealed handgun so that it really is concealed; and how do I do it comfortably for everyday use”?
After 42 years of legally packing a handgun on my person, I think I qualify to answer that question.
My first “concealed” handgun was a Browning 9mm Hi-power, which was about as easy to conceal as a large zit on a pretty face. It had a magnificent capacity of 15 rounds in the magazine, and a long barrel and sight plane to be accurate out to 50 yards. As a concealed gun, it was worthless whenever I had to be scantily, summer-time clad. In terms of width and notice-ability, it was bigger than a full sized 1911 .45 automatic – and equally attention-getting.
The whole purpose of concealed carry is to walk around in public as if you were not armed at all – even if you are wearing nothing more than a pair of shorts and a muscle-type no-sleeve T-shirt. Yes, it can easily be done – with the right gun and holster.
My next choice of concealed handgun was a German-made Walther PPK/s in .380 caliber. Those German-manufactured guns were extremely well-made and totally reliable as long as you kept them super-clean. But the .380 round is known as a semi-mouse gun that lacks the stopping power needed to completely disorient an assailant at a time when s/he is intent on killing you or someone you are trying to protect.
So what I concluded is this: The concealed gun must be large enough to be fired accurately in the hands of the person carrying it, small enough to escape detection even in the summer months, and a caliber that will reliably stop an assailant from killing you or another innocent person with the first shot that hits the center mass of the assailant.
The first line of defense is to have the gun at hand at all times and in all places, while at the same time not bringing attention to it. You must carry the weapon with the same routine as when you place your wallet in your back pocket or carry your purse: It goes with you everywhere you go, just like your driver’s license or the keys to your car.
The very smallest caliber I recommend is the 9mm Parabellum, and the largest is the venerable .45 Colt Automatic Pistol round. In between are the snub-nosed revolver calibers like .38 Special and .357 Magnum, and the pistol (read semi-automatic handgun) calibers like the .357 SIG and the popular .40 many police officers carry.
Don’t even think of loading your gun with cartridges and bullets in full metal jacket configuration or you could be very-very sorry at the time of greatest need. All of these calibers should be of commercial manufacture and in the version of hollow point or at the very least, soft point, to inflict the greatest possible stopping power with a single shot.
To decide which model of firearm to choose, start with how you intend to conceal your gun during the hot Summer months. When Winter comes, you can hide a watermelon under your coat with nobody knowing about it, but Summer clothing presents the greatest challenge to concealed carry, and I will herewith solve your dilemma.
First, you need a gun that is slim and not too long, and the choice is dictated by whether you are a man or woman.
For men who will likely carry the gun on their body, the gun should be no larger than the Glock model 19-23-32. The smaller 1911 .45s are a great choice for men because they are slim and pack one of the most devastating stopping-power rounds ever. The Glock is one of the most reliable handguns ever designed, but it has no traditional safety mechanism and is therefore not to be considered by women who are likely to carry the gun in their purse. For women, the Smith & Wesson Model 3913 Ladysmith in 9 mm is an excellent choice except for one thing: If the magazine on the Ladysmith gets popped loose in the woman’s purse, the gun won’t fire the single round in the chamber. Other guns like the Astra-75 will still fire the single round in the barrel even if the magazine is loose.
So what about holsters for concealed carry? The most effective and comfortable holster for concealed carry in public also happens to be the least expensive. It is an elastic, wide belly-band that holds your weapon close to your body at the waist or small of the back. You can wear a skimpy black T-shirt or muscle shirt un-tucked or even tucked over a pair of short-shorts, and nobody including you, will be the wiser. It is so comfortable that you will forget you even have the gun on you at times. I know: I am undergoing physical therapy right now following knee surgery to replace my ACL ligament in my right knee, and the other day I accidentally freaked out the staff when I forgot it was there and removed my shirt to do my exercises at the facility.
In an emergency, you can reach under or pull up your tucked T-shirt with extreme speed and totally surprise an assailant who suddenly turns white when they realize they are looking down your barrel instead of you looking down theirs.
In Winter, I often carry my Glock 32 in .357 SIG on my hip or small of back under a jacket, or in a shoulder-holster rig under a short leather bomber-type jacket where I can present my weapon so fast no bad guy can see it coming in time to react. In Summer rig, it might take a bit longer to get to the gun, but in all cases, it beats leaving your weapon out in the car. The whole idea of effective concealed carry involves immediate access to an effective weapon, while making it nearly impossible for anyone but you to know the gun is there before they see it in your hand.
A few years ago, a student at Virginia Tech was punished for bringing a concealed gun into class, and the incident led to the college administration wanting to deny all students and faculty from being armed on campus, even though the State of Virginia has an excellent “Shall Issue” law that allows all law-abiding, eligible citizens of age to apply for and be issued a concealed gun permit.
I don’t know how it was discovered that the student had a gun, but it was discovered and it should not have been. The student screwed up badly, and that incident probably had a great deal to do with the VT college administration wanting VT to be a “Gun Free” killing zone ripe for the likes of Mr. Cho to carry out his evil on 4/16/07.
One of the best summer-time rigs to wear is the Goodrich Photographer’s Vest over a black/dark muscle or T-shirt with short-shorts. The cotton vest wicks off moisture and heat, while letting the wearer conceal a hip or small-of-back nylon or Fobus-type thin plastic holster for the handgun that is immediately accessible in the shortest possible time. But if it is really hot, nothing beats that belly-band from Safari or other belly-band holster manufacturers under a dark-colored muscle or T-shirt, and it is so comfortable you’ll often forget it is there.
Super-small pistols and snub-nosed revolvers in adequate calibers are available from a large number of manufacturers, but if you have large hands like me, you will have two problems with those guns: The grips are so small that you might drop the gun in an emergency trying to access it, or you may not be able to shoot the gun accurately even if you can hold onto it. So the goal is to carry the smallest, thinnest gun you can accurately control upon presentation and firing, while being able to carry it 24/7/365 comfortably, and in a caliber capable of stopping a killer who will also likely be armed with a gun.
If you are a woman inclined to carry your concealed gun in a purse, get a special purse that has the gun compartment separate from where you carry all your other purse-stuff. You can carry a double-action automatic pistol with the hammer down and the safety off in such a purse the same way you can safely carry a 911-type Colt 45, but the biggest problem with purse-carry is a magazine that has come loose because the release button got pushed. You women need to embrace and learn how to carry your gun on your person and not in your purse while still being stylish, and it can be done if you just do a little thinking first.
Finally, I recommend that the magazine release on a semi-automatic pistol be filed down by a qualified gunsmith to reduce or eliminate the possibility the magazine release button will be accidentally engaged and disable your gun when you need it most. If you have a weapon capable of at least 6-8 shots, that is more than enough if you need to use the gun in a self-defense situation.
These recommendations are for citizens who have obtained concealed carry permits in their states. You people in California are totally screwed for the most part. But for you lucky ones who live in states like I do, where the governor and legislature trust you, keep this last recommendation in mind: If you are contacted by a law-enforcement officer of any kind, from traffic stop to whatever, and you are asked for your ID, present both your driver’s license and your concealed carry permit to the officer at the same time. It is an act of extreme courtesy, and it tells your law enforcement contact that you are a law-abiding citizen with no criminal record.
I hope these tips will be of service to you and yours, and I welcome any additional recommendations any of you would like to add.
© 2007 Sierra Times