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Concealed Carry: Do We Need Heavy Hitters?

4 Dec

One of baseball’s loftiest achievements is the elusive .400 season batting average, last attained by Ted Williams in 1941.  Today, any player that can consistently hit .300 or better can easily command a multi-million dollar salary. baseball player

This is roughly the same proficiency as a law enforcement officer.

In his recent article “If More Is Better, Why Are There No More .400 Hitters In Baseball?” on USConcealedcarry.com, author Rick Sapp reported that a 2014 FBI study questioned whether a larger caliber bullet could more effectively stop an adversary than a smaller caliber one:

“The intent of the report was to study — yet again — the effectiveness of caliber… The FBI noted that most law enforcement shootings result in only about 30 percent of the rounds hitting their target.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)

A 30% performance rate in professional baseball is considered hugely successful.  The same proficiency in law enforcement is often considered to subpar at best and in many circles, dismal.

In order to offset the perceived inefficiency, the caliber of the weapon used by law enforcement is often considered to be the equalizer. Stopping power is defined as the ability to incapacitate a target from further resistance. This, in theory, makes sense.  The larger the weapon’s caliber, the more stopping power the shooter has.

Yet in reality, a target can be incapacitated with any weapon. Most law enforcement personnel load their weapons with hollow-point configuration or expanding full metal jacket bullets.  The most common calibers are .38/.357, 9mm, .357 SIG, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP. Needless to say, any of these can inflict serious damage.

At 30% proficiency, a clip of 6 bullets only yields 2 hits at best and may not incapacitate the target.  The pressure on a law enforcement officer using deadly force in volatile situations is exponentially greater than that of the pressure on a major league hitter, whose greatest fear is a bruised thigh or shoulder from a wild pitch.

Law enforcement officials use their weapons when lives are on the line. Most would agree that more bullets are better than larger bullets when it comes to firepower. As mentioned earlier, a clip of 6 bullets only gives two target hits at best, but a clip of 12 or 15 with a backup magazine increases stopping power considerably.

So like the professional hitter who does not want his entire season average based on two or three at bats, an officer on the street prefers to have as many opportunities to bring down the target as possible, no matter the caliber.

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Choosing a Knife for Self-Defense

13 Nov

It’s commonly accepted that if you carry a firearm for self-defense, then a knife should also be part of your system.

lapel dagger

A knife is a simple form of force enhancement that is not susceptible to the mechanical malfunctions that can happen with guns.

However, knives come nowhere near a handgun in terms of stopping power and if you have to use a knife for self-defense, you’ll have to get much closer to your adversary than is normally advisable.

However, in last resort cases, you’ll be glad you had a knife instead of nothing but your fists.

Statistically speaking, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll ever have to use a blade against another person. The knife will usually be used as a tool to cut things like rope and to open packaging, which is useful in and of itself.

Make a point to actually use the knife you carry as part of your self-defense gear. Always return it to its holster or the pocket you clip it to. Using the knife and returning it to its place will help automate the process of accessing it.

If the time should come for you to need to draw it, you’ll know where it is and be able to get to it without fumbling around. Familiarity with your knife and its location is key to an emergency situation.

When it comes to selecting a knife, there are many different makes and styles. Knives aren’t very expensive in the grand scheme of things, so there’s no reason not to own several. You’ll probably end up with one or two that you prefer and that’s normal.

There are also historic designs that inspire some people and they enjoy carrying these for this reason. Author George Hill describes one such knife and its history of being used against the Germans in his article “OSS SOE Lapel Dagger” on USConcealedcarry.com:

“…a small, concealable dagger that they could use to quietly dispatch unsuspecting Nazis standing guard. The knife was a 2-inch, double-edged dagger with no handle. The whole knife was essentially a blade. The rear portion was unsharpened with some line or checkering filed into the metal to provide grip.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)

When it comes to blade type, keep in mind that no knife holds its edge forever and will need to be sharpened many times throughout its lifespan.

So-called stainless steel blades are popular today because they require very little maintenance and aren’t prone to rusting.

However, stainless steel blades don’t hold their edge quite as well as high-carbon steel blades. The downside to most knives made of high carbon steel is that they rust more readily.

The final decision is largely a personal one. Both metals work well, but there is no reason not to own a few of each style, just to see how they hold up and perform on a day to day basis.

Self-Defense: How to Rapidly Assess a Situation

18 Sep

The act of defending oneself with a firearm is not a skill you are born with or taught as a kid. Since it doesn’t come naturally, self-defense must be learned by conscious repetition and instruction.

hand holding gun

Drawing, aiming, and firing a handgun is a motor skill.

Like other actions requiring coordination such as bicycling or swimming, skills related to shooting can be learned and honed through repetitive practice.

Repeating the same movements over and over helps solidify the muscle-to-mind connections and partially automates the process.

With enough practice, gun handling movements can become almost unconscious. Have you ever automatically put on your seatbelt to move your car across the yard a few feet? It wasn’t necessary, but the automatic part of your brain took over from habit.

This type of automatic mind response can be dangerous if you allow it to take over your perception of self-defense situations.

Unlike motor skills, you don’t want your mental assessment of threats and self-defense situations to become inflexible. If you train as though you’ll always be approached and threatened in the same manner, you’ll seriously limit your ability to act in real time to a legitimate threat.

Any preconceived notions of how things “should be” will add several seconds to your response time. You’ll have to first realize that events aren’t going according to your preconceived model and then adjust yourself in order to respond to reality. This lag in response time can give an attacker an advantage.

Author Bruce N. Eimer, PH.D. discusses this in his article “Mental Rehearsal in Combat and Firearm Training” on USConcealedcarry.com:

“The most common delay is when a conflict develops between what one observes and one’s expectations upon orienting the information. Thus, one of Boyd’s rules was: ‘Reality’ always trumps expectation! Reality is always ‘right.’” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)

Self-defense training is mostly action, usually involving reactions to threats. Inaction can be deadly, but so can taking an incorrect action. It would be a mistake to train yourself to draw on a threat no matter what because some threats are far enough away or simply don’t warrant deadly force.
Fine-tuning your ability to quickly assess threats in real time and responding appropriate by calling on your learned motor skills is something that takes dedication and practice. Learning these skills will allow you to respond appropriately to threats without losing ground or reacting too aggressively.

Concealed Carry Handguns: You Can’t Just Have One!

31 Jul

Being able to mix up your regular carrying routing without sacrificing safety is a great way to stay sharp and on top of things. This means varying your carry style, holster, and even the gun you carry.

revolver

It can be easy to get stuck in a rut if you only carry the same gun with the same carry method, day in — day out.

Your brain can get so used to this routine that if any part of it changes, you are at a loss.

Failing to change up your routine can lead to complacency, which is dangerous.

In the grand scheme of things, good pistols for self-defense aren’t all that expensive. Their cost is miniscule in comparison to many other things you buy multiples of, such as vehicles. 

Often the gun buying process is approached with the mentality that the gun you ultimately end up buying is the Holy Grail. This will be the one gun you own and the only one you will ever carry. 

Unfortunately, this can pigeonhole your thinking. Some guns are better for certain situations and it is nice to have options when you’re buckling a weapon into place for the day.

Generally speaking, your choices are either some form of semi-automatic or a revolver. Before you discount the capability of revolvers as effective self-defense weapons for the 21st century, read what author Duane A. Daiker has to say about them in his article “Thunder Ranch Model 22: A Serious Carry Gun, Retro-Style!” on USConcealedcarry.com:

“Revolvers have come a long way from the fixed sight, carbon steel, square-butt revolvers of years gone by. New offerings from Smith & Wesson offer high-tech, lightweight frame and cylinder materials, recoil-absorbing soft rubber grips, bright, fiber-optic front sights, and even laser sights.” (Read more about revolvers at USConcealedCarry.com)

If you can afford to purchase one handgun for self-defense, then at some point down the road, you’ll probably be able to buy another one without breaking the bank. It’s sensible to have a few guns to choose from. Much like a selection of apparel, you can pick up the gun that suits you for any occasion on any given day.

And remember that like any other possession, handguns can be bought, sold, and traded for other weapons. This is often the most effective way to learn what guns you like the most since you’ve actually been able to own them for a time and have seen how they work in your day-to-day life.

Rationalizing Our Decision to Carry Handguns

13 Feb

Our decision to carry a firearm for self-defense is at times, a controversial one. The position on gun rights is often attacked with false statistics and statements aimed at cultivating emotional responses that aren’t grounded in reality.

Image

It is sad to see people who choose to carry firearms for their own defense demonized and considered dangerous, unstable, or even bad people.

It can be helpful to occasionally refresh ourselves with the reasons for our choice to carry and the positive impact concealed carry can make on our lives.

As author Larken Rose says in his article “Pro-Crash Extremists” on USConcealedcarry.com:

“Seat belts and airbags are designed to do one thing: make it so people can survive car crashes. So do people wear seat belts, or buy cars with air bags, because they want to crash? Of course not. They do those things so that if they’re unfortunate enough to find themselves in a dangerous situation, they’ll have a better chance of surviving it. (Read more about the public desire to carry handguns here)

Individuals who make the decision to get a concealed carry permit, attend classes, and spend many hours choosing the right handgun, ammunition, and carry system are not doing these things to cause trouble. They are engineering their own self-defense system. These are knowledgeable people who are taking responsibility for their own safety and protection instead of relying on luck or the police.

Taking responsibility for oneself is admirable and should be lauded, not treated as barbaric scare tactics or lies.

There are those who say that we wouldn’t need guns if we simply avoid dangerous areas and situations. These people also believe that the police will protect us.

Remember, these types of arguments are not based in reality. All one has to do is pick up a newspaper to see crimes committed across all spectrums of society. Shootings don’t only happen in bad neighborhoods. They happen in gated communities, too. As for the police protecting us, the fact of the matter is that they are not present everywhere 24/7, nor do we want them to be. Most of us cannot afford personal armed bodyguards either.

This reduces our options considerably and again, brings us face to face with the only real option at hand: carrying a firearm for self-defense.

A responsible citizen in possession of a handgun is prevention. If a criminal succeeds in killing someone, there is no cure that will bring them back.

Galco M7X Matrix Holster — Safety, Security, and Affordability

21 Nov

When carrying concealed, you want assurance that your holster is not only comfortable, but also holds your handgun securely. Except, there’s more to it than that. There is also the comfort, the ease of putting your holster on and taking it off, and the overall cost.  This is exactly where the Galco M7X Matrix comes in.  matrix holster

Some weapons, such as the Springfield Armory XD-M .45, come with their own holsters, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that they are the best fit or design for the weapon or your body.

A comfortable and secure option such as the Galco M7X is not only an outside waistband holster, but it also holds some weapons much higher and tighter than the holster that it came with them.

Installation-wise, the M7X is very simple to put on and take off. It has plastic loops that are durable and snap into place easily. When first using the holster, it may seem a bit uncomfortable as it takes time for it to mold to the carrier’s body.

The M7X is also molded for specific handguns and you’ll know it’s secure in place when you hear it ‘click.’ It also supports overall concealment thanks to the non-adjustable forward cant which forces the weapon and holster to ride more up than back. This also allows for a more natural draw, adding to its benefits.

In his article “Galco M7X Matrix Holster” on USConcealedcarry.com, Mark Kakkuri explains why the M7X Matrix is a great choice for those who carry concealed:

“The M7X Matrix defines simplicity. It offers no adjustability whatsoever—no tension screw, no height or cant adjustment. But it doesn’t seem to need those, either. Moreover, the M7X Matrix is maintenance free, maintaining its good looks and functionality without any input from the user. You snap it on and snap it off. You insert the handgun and draw it out. While M7X Matrix holsters come in left or right hand designs, they are only available with a black finish. Matrix holsters also allow you to carry multiple versions of the same gun in one holster.” (Read more about the M7X holster here.)

When looking for a holster beyond the one that your weapon may automatically accompany, you should seek out something that is comfortable, and affordable. It should aid in concealment, and provide confidence when carrying. If you’re seeking value and practicality in your holster, look no further than the M7X.

Making the Draw in a Stressful Situation

2 Jan

If you have a CWP, you probably almost dread the day when you might have to pull your pistol and shoot. You’re trained to try to avoid situations where this might be a possibility, told not to look for trouble, and told to give loud warnings before the attacker approaches. But sometimes, no matter how careful you are, trouble will find you.clearing cover garment for concealed carry pistol

And then, you have no other recourse, except to draw your pistol.

You may not have to shoot, but you sure don’t want to be struggling to get to your weapon, regardless of the outcome.  Incompetence in this area could make the situation worse for you, too. So, it’s important that you practice clearing the cover garments you wear when carrying concealed.

As Kevin Michalowski wrote in this article, “Clearing the Cover Garment: Don’t Overlook This Vital Skill,” on USConcealedCarry.com, “If you don’t practice drawing from concealment you are only halfway prepared for a deadly force incident.”

To get to your pistol smoothly, there are really three steps – the reach, the pull, and the aim.

First, reach across your body with your weak side hand and pull your shirt up high quickly. Make sure it’s nowhere near the weapon. Then, pull the pistol and point it at the intended target.  It’s not that difficult, but if you don’t practice doing this,  the weapon could hang up and be trapped – not something you want to have happen, but your reflexes don’t always work the way they should in stressful situations.

So, you must practice. Practice with different types of clothing that you might wear, too. Michalowski wrote:

“Clearing a jacket or vest is another skill entirely. In most cases, the jacket is too long or bulky to yank up cleanly. So you have to swing it open. What if it is zipped? Buttons could be a real pain at a time like this. Snaps would be nice.” (Read more about clearing the cover garment here.)

He suggests that buttons should be avoided when possible or left open; to use a long zipper pull that you can easily grab, on a zippered jacket; and to use both hands at the same time, when dealing with snaps.

Learning to use your gun and your mindset about handling stressful situations are important, but if you don’t practice getting to your pistol, it could mean the difference between life and death. Spend time practicing to get to your weapon, just as you do in learning how to aim and shoot it.