|Ruger SR9c, Comp-Tac Minotaur AIWB, Kytex mag holder.|
|Bond Arms Snake Slayer, Remora holster, |
BA Ammo holder with .410 Personal Defense Rounds
I also have the proverbial box of holsters, except in my case, it is a large drawer full of holsters. As readers of this blog will note, I've tried and analyzed many holsters over the past months, reporting on what I see as their good and bad points relative to self defense carry. There are many different designs and executions of those designs. There are many ways to carry spare ammunition, a subject that really doesn't lend itself to debate - if you carry for self defense, then be adequately prepared with extra ammo. A gun with no ammo doesn't work. It looks like a gun, but it don't shoot. Case closed.
Laser sights. Night sights. Grips. Mag extenders, modifications (which I don't recommend in general) to the gun... There are many, many ways to spend money on more stuff for more guns.
But, I've come to the conclusion, what's the point? If you are interested in guns, shooting, target practice, and all of that, then fine. There is little limit to what you can spend your money and concentration on. But, if you are primarily interested in carrying a gun for self defense, and the legitimate defense of other innocent people who may need protection, all of the 'noise' of more stuff isn't going to do you much good for a couple of reasons.
One, it really doesn't matter if you have a leather or kydex holster, or mag carrier. It doesn't matter if you carry a Model 1911 .45, or a LCP .380. Strong side carry, cross draw, appendix and anywhere else - it's not all that important to the main goal of being prepared with your pistol for self defense situations. "No," someone is going to say, "you're wrong." Then comes one of the standard arguments: caliber (bigger is better vrs. accuracy trumps caliber), carry style (cross draw is too vulnerable to gun-grabs, and slow vrs. cross draw is better for driving and sitting), or (IWB is too uncomfortable and harder to get to, vrs. OWB less concealable and harder to get to...)
And so on.
Two, if you have four different holsters, three different styles (IWB, OWB, SOB) and five different guns, you are setting yourself up for confusion, uncertainty and delay when, as the Marines so accurately put it, the shit hits the fan. Take the Bond Arms derringer and the Ruger SR9c for example. I had both of these guns - still have the Ruger - and can speak from experience. As the photos demonstrate above, carrying them in the same manner still presents significant differences and potential difficulties. It's easy enough when I'm just practicing moves like drawing from concealment, safety, presentation, reloading, but if that SHTF moment ever comes, I will be suddenly in full blown, adrenaline fueled, get-it-done-right-now mode. No luxury or time for consideration of what's in my waistband, or where, exactly, it's located.
If I'm carrying the Ruger with the manual safety on (I don't, but I don't recommend this practice to anyone. You have to make your own choices.), I have to click it off when I draw. If I'm carrying the derringer, the safety will be off, but I have to cock the hammer. It's a single action. (Which barrel will fire first? The bottom one for more accuracy and recoil control, if I've remembered to set the hammer accordingly.)
I can quickly squeeze off two, three or four shots (or more) with the Ruger with simple trigger presses. I have to re-cock the derringer with the thumb of my weak hand before I can shoot a second time. Third shot with the derringer? Well, first in the midst of all this fear, panic and craziness, I have to open the barrel latch, swing the barrels up and over, lock them there with my shooting hand thumb, strip out the two shotgun hulls, reach to my ammo carrier, lever up two shells so I can grab two together, bring them up to the gun, which I hope I've remembered to lock upright into my field of vision so I can also assess the situation while seeing the empty chambers, slide two shells into the barrels - all the way in - and close and lock the barrels into the frame. Oh, then I have to re-cock the hammer.
By then, I might be dead.
With the Ruger, once I've emptied the magazine, which will be eleven to eighteen rounds, depending, I have to push the mag release button, hold the gun into my field of view, slide a new magazine from the holder on my weak side, and slap it home and slap the slide back into battery.
Confusion. Mistakes. Too many options for a time that demands simplicity and clarity.
I am simplifying. The Snake Slayer, a fine handgun, is on the block. Someone will like it and find a good use for it. I don't spend much time afoot in snake country, although there are a few 'wild' dogs around here that would benefit from a face full of #4 shot. My holster collection is being reduced to a few that are simple, effective and concealable. I am carrying in only two locations on my body and none of my holsters are so comfortable that I 'forget I have it on'. That's pretty much BS anyway. Your conscious mind will become attuned to a good holster, but it doesn't forget where it is.
There are times and occasions when a good OWB holster works well and is appropriate, like a long day on your feet, walking, at the fair, around town. There are times when appendix carry is better, like in the car, or at the coffee shop or restaurant. Even walking around. My holster requirements have gone down by at least 50%.
The carry guns I depend on now, both Rugers - the SR9c and the LCP look and operate much the same way. Yes, I know that the LCP is hammer fired and the SR9c is striker fired, the triggers are very different, and the magazine capacities are very different. But, my hand and brain knows which is which when I put my hand on the gun and it knows how to achieve a self-defense sight alignment quickly (and when it's too close-quarters to worry about sight, or slide, alignment) with either. All I have to do then is press the trigger. Repeatedly, if necessary.
A couple of simple, effective and reasonably comfortable holsters for each pistol, one for AWIB, one for strong side carry. That's it.
If I need a separate mag carrier, I go with one from Kytex. I've reviewed them on this blog and I still recommend them. None better. With a gun in either carry position, the Kytex mag holder and spare mag is always in the same place. Don't have to worry about that.
Finally, simplicity applied to self defense shooting itself.
The internet can be a good thing. Yes, there is a lot of crap flying around out there, especially regarding guns, self-defense, the Second Amendment and all, but I watched a couple of enlightening videos recently that I recommend to you. One was an interview by Rob Pincus with Lt. Col. Dave Grossman a literate, educated, soldier, former LEO and student of violence and combat, consultant and author of a Pulitzer nominated book on those topics. He was discussing the concept of the "sheepdog", the title of his new children's book. Now, I'd much earlier seen a video by Nut N Fancy, who is certainly opinionated and knowledgeable, but whose attitudes I don't always agree with. My understanding of 'sheepdog' then was that people who considered themselves to be that kind of person were arrogant and looked down on everyone else, who they, the sheepdogs, were out to protect. Whether the sheep liked it or not. An odious concept at best.
However, hearing Lt. Col. Grossman's explanation of the sheepdog cast a new light on this concept. There are people who rather than run from trouble, run toward it in order to deal with it. Fire fighters. Cops. Military. Teachers in 'bad' schools. Counselors. First responders. The 'average citizen' who rushes in to help or save. These are all sheepdogs and they don't look down on the people who are not. I believe anyone who elects to legally carry a gun for defense must consider themselves to have accepted the role, to some extent, of a sheepdog, if only for one's self and one's family. I believe the commitment goes much further and that, and it becomes a duty of protecting the innocent whenever that is truly necessary, whether through the use of a firearm, or jumping into a burning house trailer to rescue a trapped person. No one can make someone else be a sheepdog, but if you are carrying a gun for defense, you've already signed up.
I have to remark here that on a gun forum I used to moderate we had a few posters who declared that if they were ever in a place where a random shooter went active, their main and only responsibility was to get away to safety. Why, I asked, were the posters carrying a gun in the first place? I would wonder how a person could live with themselves if they had the possibility and means to stop such violence and they crawled out the nearest exit instead.
Re-focusing on the basics of shooting for defense. Obviously, when pushed to the point where there is no alternative but to shoot your weapon, one then is forced from the defensive to the offensive as a matter of survival. Offensive shooting with a handgun is not difficult. Anyone can learn the basics of drawing, presentation to the main target area and squeezing off rounds. You don't have to hit the bull's eye, or the 10 ring. You just have to put rounds into your target, which at normal self defense shooting distances of around 10 to 15 feet, is not difficult to do. If a normal person trains to do only this, that is all that is needed to be effective at self defense shooting.
And, accepting the fact that you are a sheepdog and you are able and committed to shooting the bad guy(s) if required.
Keep it simple. Restrict the number of your carry guns. Two, or three at the most. Make sure they are well maintained and you can shoot accurately enough to hit a man-sized target repeatedly and quickly. Carry in only one or two locations on your person. Avoid fancy or trick holsters. Keep it simple. No matter which caliber or calibers you choose, make sure you can shoot them accurately.
Where it is legal, always carry your gun.
Where it is legal, always carry your gun.
Where it is legal, always carry your gun.