• Summertime Concealed Carry

    In the 1988 film “Biloxi Blues,” a young World War II Army recruit played by Matthew Broderick is going through summertime training in Mississippi. Being from New York City, he is amazed by the temperature. “Man it’s hot. It’s like Africa hot. Tarzan couldn’t take this kind of hot.” Of course Tarzan deals with the heat by wearing a loincloth, which would likely make any sort of concealed carry problematic. The fact remains that when the mercury rises, sane people adapt their clothing choices. Most of us probably aren’t going the loincloth route, but shorts and a T-shirt seem reasonable. The thing to consider is that the gun-and-holster combination you were used to carrying while wearing a jacket, suit or sweatshirt may not work with lighter attire. I personally don’t care how hot it gets; going without a gun is not an option. There have been several occasions which found me without a gun during a time I very much wished I had one. Fortunately I came to no harm but was left with a distinct dislike for feeling helpless. Fortunately, for those who live in the jurisdictions where a law-abiding citizen can carry, there are a lot of options when it comes to summertime carry. The priority is to keep your firearm concealed and avoid unwanted attention. Most of us already carry something smaller than a full-size handgun to help achieve this goal. Smaller handguns are not only easier to conceal but also weigh less and make carry a bit more comfortable. If you are definitely going to be wearing less clothing, you may want to downsize your carry gun even more. Pocket pistols offer the maximum amount of concealability, especially the pocket .380s paired off with a suitable pocket holster. DeSantis and Uncle Mike’s make some good, solid pocket holsters in different sizes. The advantage to this type of holster is that you can grip your gun and prepare for a very fast draw if trouble seems likely without arousing any suspicion since it looks like you have your hands in your pocket. And if you prefer something other than a .380 ACP pistol, for just a slight uptick in size, pocket pistols are available in larger calibers. Pocket holsters are not limited to semi-autos however, and there are several that will fit small frame revolvers as well. Some are also designed to accommodate guns with lasers attached. The squared-off design of pocket holsters prevents the gun shape from printing through pants material and, even if it does, it could be explained away as a wallet. Pocket holsters also all feature some type of tacky polymer or rubber material on the exterior so the holster stays in your pocket when the gun is drawn. If you prefer, you can use your standard waistband holster. Just make sure you have a light garment to keep it concealed-this may prove difficult or too hot to wear in the summer. One option I like for waistband carry that provides total concealment with no covering garment is the Sneaky Pete Holsters “Cell Phone” case. It has the appearance of a leather cell phone case but provides instant access to a small-size pistol. Another popular option is to use an inside-the-waistband (IWB) holster. With the gun and holster riding inside the pants, only the grip of the gun is exposed, keeping it mostly concealed. The gun also rides much closer to the body, helping to prevent printing against clothing and revealing the gun. Still, it is advisable to wear a loose covering that is long enough to keep the gun concealed when you raise your arms or won’t print when you bend over. Inside-the-waistband carry requires clothing a bit larger than normal. It is a good idea to purchase pants that have a slightly looser fit to accommodate for the room the gun takes up. Also required are loose covering garments such as button shirts or T-shirts one size larger. Several manufacturers sell short-sleeve button shirts with extra room and access flaps to provide for quick access. The next decision is between tucked and untucked. In many settings, walking around with an untucked shirt is not appropriate, especially in professional settings. Fortunately many holster manufacturers have developed tuckable IWB holsters. These feature extended clips that leave a deep gap between the top of the clip that goes outside the belt and the bottom of the clip that attaches to the holster. You can tuck your shirt over the gun and into the clip. From the outside all that is visible is the belt clip. Of course, manufacturers have also devised clips that fit between your pants and your belt, which exposes only the small portion that hooks onto the belt. It may also be a good idea to wear an undershirt with waistband or IWB carry, as this will help keep sweat off your gun and help prevent chaffing. Some IWB holsters, such as those from Crossbreed have extended backings that protect the gun from you, and you from the gun, so you don’t have to wear an undershirt if you don’t want to. Keep in mind that this is going to slow down your draw as you will need to pull your shirt out of your pants to access your gun. Re-holstering won’t be any easier, as you will need to find a discreet place where you can tuck your shirt back into your pants. A bellyband holster, basically an elastic band with a pocket, is another option for deep concealment with crossdraw carry. You only have to undo a few buttons on your shirt to gain access, or rip them if in a hurry. With most small-concealed carry guns, you end up sacrificing ammunition capacity for size and weight. This makes it all the more important to try and carry a spare magazine or speed strip for a revolver. Spare magazines and speed strips can be carried loose, but the preferable way is in a separate pocket away from keys, change and other junk. I prefer speed strips over speedloaders because they lay flat in my pocket and still provide a fast revolver reload. Several manufacturers also produce small single stack magazine holders for waistband carry. Since these are fairly innocuous it is less necessary to keep them concealed. The truly prepared individual will need to keep gun and spare ammo concealed, and carry a cell phone to call for help, a pocket knife, a small high output flashlight and if possible some sort of self-defense spray. All of these items are available in smaller versions for summertime carry. Remember to stay cool and safe no matter what the weather.
  • Choosing a Handgun Shooting Stance

    American Rifleman There are multiple factors involved in shooting a handgun well—grip, aiming, breath control, hold control, trigger control and follow through—as well as keeping both feet firmly on the ground. A good shooting stance provides a strong, stable platform, which is crucial for accuracy. In today’s handgun world, there are two main upright shooting stances—the Isosceles and the Weaver—from which other stances have evolved. While the Weaver is probably better known, the Isosceles is more commonly taught to beginners. Both the Isosceles and Weaver stances have proponents, and both have certain benefits depending on the shooting situation. The Isosceles stance is a naturally defensive stance that provides excellent coverage in most directions by simply rotating the upper body like the turret on a tank. The Weaver is often used by police, military and self-defense advocates because it allows accuracy while presenting a smaller profile. This stance is also very popular with actors and directors on both the small and silver screens because it appears professional. Countless movies and TV shows have popularized versions of both stances to the point that many shooters don’t know how the Weaver differentiates from the Modified Weaver, or even that there is a stance called the Modified Isosceles. The Isosceles
    • • Stand facing the target with your feet shoulder width apart.
    • • Bend your knees slightly.
    • • Extend the handgun fully toward the target keeping your arms straight and locked.
    • • With your shoulders squared, your arms form the perfect isosceles triangle from which the stance receives its name.
    The Isosceles is the first two-handed stance taught in most firearms training classes, including NRA First Steps and Basic Pistol classes. It’s taught because the Isosceles is a strong, simple stance that is easy to remember under stress. The Weaver
    • • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart with your strong-side leg slightly back in what is often called a boxer’s stance.
    • • Angle your support arm’s shoulder toward the target.
    • • Bend your knees while keeping your body weight slightly forward.
    • • Grasp the gun using opposite pressure with both hands.
    • • Keep both elbows bent with the support elbow pointing downward.
    The Weaver stance was developed by Jack Weaver while he competed in “Leatherslap” tournaments in Big Bear, Calif., during the late ‘50s. Simply put, Weaver was the first to use a two-handed grip with opposite tension from both hands. Weaver’s push/pull grip stance provided speed, stabilty and accuracy, and he started dominating the popular shooting events. Col. Jeff Cooper quickly realized the benefits of this stance and adapted it for self-defense shooting. Modifications The Modified Weaver is the Weaver stance with the shooting arm fully extended to take advantage of the body’s skeletal system for accuracy. With the shooting arm locked forward, sight movement is minimized because the weight of the gun is held by both bone and muscle. Everything else stays the same including the reverse isometric pressure of the hands on the gun. In the Modified Isosceles, the shooter simply leans forward on the balls of his or her feet for better balance and to help absorb recoil. This makes the stance more instinctive and easier to remember. For example, imagine your response if someone suddenly charged toward you. More than likely you would lower your center of gravity by bending your knees and lean toward your aggressor. This stance is based on the natural response to being attacked. However, the latest stance to enter the handgun world could be called the Tactical or possibly the Fighting stance. This stance combines parts of both the Weaver and Isosceles stances and is taught at many self-defense academies. It could be called the Tactical because many tactical and special forces units have gone to this modified stance, or a similar version, for its speed and accuracy and because it keeps the body-armored chest facing forward rather than exposing the uncovered armpit to a potential threat.
    • • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Your strong-side leg can be slightly behind the weak-side leg
    • • Keep your shoulders squared with the target.
    • • Grasp the handgun using opposite pressure with both hands.
    • • Lock the shooting arm forward while keeping the support arm bent with the elbow close to the body and pointing down.
    Choosing a Stance The choice of a shooting stance usually comes from trial and error, and comfort. Some shooters choose one universally, while other shooters believe that each stance has a use depending on the situation. Personally, I am of the second set when it comes to shooting stances. I believe that every stance has its place in the shooting world, so I train in each and every stance in preparation of having to fire in whichever position would best suit the situation. The simple fact is that there is no best stance, only the best stance for a particular situation.
  • Making shooting more about YOU

    Many courses focus so much on the firearm itself that the fundamentals of a good stance are often glanced over. However, it is the stance that has the greatest effect on consistency and fatigue. Finding a natural and neutral position will very slightly from shooter to shooter. A shooter must understand the effect body mechanics has. In competition shooting, breaks are taken between sets and therefore the shooting stances are designed to maximize stability for a relatively short period of time. In contrast, tactical pistol style competitions require the shooter to be quick, agile and adaptive for a relatively short amount of time. Yet in our day to day lives we have no idea when we will be in a life or death situation. Further more, we will not know how long the situation will last. This is where your stance must become a combination of strategic thought and tactical execution. The Strategic Thought… Anyone who attends training will no doubt hear the phase “know your target and what is behind it.” This is only partially true. The downside of this phase is that you are teaching a static tunnel vision competition style mindset. In your every day life, if you have to draw your firearm that philosophy will get you killed. You need to KNOW your target and everything around it and you. Be sure you understand the situation, protect yourself at all times, and deliver a meaningful defense. The Tactical Execution… Always plan for the worst when it comes to any life or death situation. For example, people who stand up at the range and shoot without any thought of cover are subconsciously training themselves to stand in the open when firing a gun. When shooting from a static position you should always use cover or at least simulate cover with a table or a nearby support pole. If that is not an option, then at least knowledge the fact that you are thinking about your immediate surroundings. Learn to shoot while moving. It is much harder for someone to hit a moving target and easier for a moving target to hit a static target if incorporated into the training. It’s about YOU… Yes, these are advanced techniques per say. But only because you have to break the old habits in order to develop higher standard that will keep you alive. If you train to this standard, all else will come naturally and confidently.