About SD Carry

As a young boy in Texas, I grew up with guns. They were basic tools, much like my grandfather's mitre box or pipe wrench, there to perform specific tasks when called upon. I was taught gun safety by virtually every male adult in my family. I spent eight years in the US Navy operating and maintaing various guns from .30 caliber to 5" rifles.

After a few years as a moderator on a popular gun forum, I learned that there is much disinformation, prejudice and plain ignorance about guns posted constantly on the internet.

This blog is dedicated to sharing worthwhile information about the increasing acceptance and practice of legal concealed carry in our country. There is much mis-information and wild opinion about this topic among its practitioners and the public in general. The moral, social and legal responsibilities of concealed carry are immense and must be understood and practiced by all who legally carry a gun.

There is also a vast amount of practical and useful information about carrying and the weapons themselves and I hope to be able to share some of that here. Your comments are welcome, but will be moderated by me before appearing on this blog.

Stay safe.

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Saturday, March 15, 2014

SwapRig - Intelligent Design, Quality Holsters

A few weeks ago I saw a reference to a new, to me, holster – SwapRig.   I have seen and tried many holsters over the years but this was a new name for me, so I traveled over to their website for a look. While the basic design is similar to the ordinary leather/kydex hybrid holster, SwapRig's owner and holster maker, John Malucky, has come up with a unique way to offer a very good holster, good concealment and comfort, quality of materials and workmanship plus, and this is where it gets interesting, the ability to use one SwapRig holster to accommodate hundreds of guns. That's right, hundreds of handguns.

Got my attention.

SwapTuck set up for a Ruger SR9c

Reverse of the SwapTuck showing the adjustment system. Note that the four center star nuts do not have to be removed for adjustments or holster shell swaps – an important point. The clips can be easily moved because the nuts used do not stab into the leather, but fit neatly into the punched holes.
SwapTuck with the shell removed. You could now slip in any of John's shells for practically any other handgun, tighten the four screws in the rails, and you have a 'new' holster.

My carry handguns range from a Ruger SR9c to a Ruger LCP – two significantly different sized guns. I have, of course, different holsters for each. I was intrigued by the idea that I could buy one Swap Rig, say for the LCP, and also carry the SR9c in the same rig. It works like this. John makes a kydex shell for many different handguns that will exactly replace the shell on any Swap Rig holster chassis. Loosen the four screws holding a shell, slip it off the rails on the holster chassis, slip on a different kydex shell for a different handgun, tighten the screws and shazam! you have a holster that will precisely hold that other gun. And the shells cost $18.75 each.


I did exactly that with the LCP holster. (See photo below.) I will say that the chassis – the leather component of the holster – is made wider to cover more surface area for larger guns than for smaller ones, but other than that, it works just fine. I often prefer a smaller backing area on double-clip hybrids anyway, and the SwapRig system allows me to select the size of the holster I prefer for the style of carry I'm interested in, and use it for any gun I happen to have. Nice. Very nice.

John was kind enough to provide a few holsters for me to try out and report on here. I have three different sizes and styles of holsters, two of which also have the capability to be carried IWB or OWB. I have shells for the LCP, SR9c and the Ruger SR22-P. I'll report on those as we go along, but I would note now that changing between OWB and IWB is simply done by including leather belt loops on the back side of the small holster, and slots in the leather for the medium sized holster. It's merely a matter of removing the clips, which is easily done with the great "T" handled Allen wrench John includes with each holster.

When John's package arrived I was in for another pleasant and unusual surprise. Customer service. That's a concept that is often more lip service than actual practice, but not with John. I've received holsters that have been dropped into a thick envelope and sent in the mail. None have been actually mangled, but often I receive only an envelope or a box containing a holster. That's it. I opened John's box to find all of the holsters individually and neatly wrapped along with a comprehensive set of instructions, the necessary tool you will need, and a kydex backing plate for those who might prefer additional retention on a holster. (Mine definitely don't need that, but if I wanted it, John supplies the means to achieve it easily.)

See the photos below for a look at what you get and how it's packaged for you. Outstanding.

An explanation of the different holsters, and instructions for set up, use and swapping new shells.

The CargoPack, for cargo pants pocket carry.

The CargoPack holster.

For example, this is how the SwapTuck arrived.

Unwrapping the SwapTuck reveals this.

The MiniSwap IWB & OWB holster for the Ruger LCP, with a shell for the Ruger SR9c. Note that the shell for the larger gun fits exactly on the MiniSwap backing.

Obviously, I am impressed with the idea, the quality of the components and way in which John makes them come together, and with the idea that one does not have to buy a separate holster for each gun, or for a gun that will sometimes have a light and or laser attached, and sometimes not. One of the issues with lasers is the need to buy yet more holsters to replace your other non-laser holsters. With SwapRig, this can be easily and inexpensively done.

I will be putting these holsters, and others I have collected for a comparison evaluation, over the next few months, reporting on what I find. Holsters have to be worn and used for a period before other weaknesses or strengths come to light, so my evaluations won't be complete until I've given each of them a thorough test run. Stay tuned.

See SwapRig holsters at: http://www.swaprigholsters.com

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

It's an internet minefield out there...

To paraphrase Winston Churchill, "never have so many had so much to say about so little."

I'm probably as guilty as most other people who use the internet to talk about guns. I was a moderator of a popular gun forum for over a year, and I still visit one or two now and then. When you moderate posts written by people who have guns, or want to have them, you read a lot of nonsense, bragging and basically stupid things. These are almost exclusively written by men. Take that for what it's worth.

Internet gun forums are bad enough but add on You Tube videos, which can be made and uploaded by practically anyone, and "self defense" and "training" outfits and you get full-on audio and video "how to" onslaught. Now, some of this – some – is good stuff, valuable information, but not most of it. The problem is, how to tell the crap from the good stuff? It's not easy.

Here is a sampling of some gun forum internet topics:

"How are you all doing shooting on the move?"
"2 am, you're asleep with your wife, you clearly hear a break-in. Do you check alone?"
"Navy SEAL vrs Israeli Commando: The Deadliest Warrior Video"
"AAR: Tactical Defense Institute Extreme Close Quarters"
"Combat Mindset: Cooper Color Code"
"Firing from inside the pocket"

There are thousands more "training" and "self defense" topics to choose from. Many of them are bad, and many are ill-informed, posted by individuals with no actual self defense training or experience.

I think there are two main camps at work here, the camp populated by people, men almost exclusively, that believe one should think about, talk about and, possibly, train for almost all scenarios of self defense. Home defense. House clearing. Constant street awareness. Knife and bare hand fighting. Guns and backup guns. Night shooting. Shooting while running, walking, standing, lying down, rolling over, ... The list goes on. I suppose if one has been trained by the Army special forces, Navy SEALS or in Marine advanced combat tactics, or wants to be, this is a good thing. For the most of us though, it's unrealistic overkill. All this material, posts, videos, courses, etc., evidently reaches an audience large enough to support forums and numerous "training" organizations offering live, video and internet-based courses for a fee.

I don't want to live my life in constant preparation for the apocalypse, zombie, religious, biker gangs or otherwise. I don't want to train constantly for a street fight with drug crazed monsters out to kill me at all costs. I strongly suspect none of that is going to happen. Not to me, or to most of us.

One online business offering internet training, video courses and "live" training at it's facility said, quite truthfully, that your gun is not the solution to your self defense problems. I agree, that by itself, the gun will sometimes not be enough. But I do not agree that the solution is constant and rigorous training in all manner of self defense tactics and equipment. For the vast majority of us civilians, having the right attitude and a few basic skills, which do need to be refreshed from time to time, is sufficient to provide a much higher level of personal security in normal life. I think these are easily summarized as follows:

Know that you may have to act to defend yourself or others. This is based on the attitude that one should be aware of one's surroundings and the people in them most of the time. You can't always tell if a person in your vicinity is meaning to do violence or not. Sometimes it is pretty easy to make the assumption that certain people may be more prone to violence and unpredictable behaviors than others. Three or for drunk young men hanging out on the street rate higher on the potential violence list than a carload of well dress people heading for the theatre.

Cultivate the attitude of awareness. Be aware of where you are and who is around, or could be around. It's not rocket science.

Be prepared to take action that will move you and those you care about to a more safe situation. This could be just turning around and walking off in a different direction from a situation you are aware of that may be unsafe. Crossing the street. Not getting out of the car. Not hassling people on the highway. Ignoring insults.

And, having the means of protection on your person if your avoidance actions don't work. If you have a carry permit, and you are basically trained and efficient with your carry weapon, carry it. Wherever you can. It will do you no good if you need it and don't have it. Having a gun does not mean you will be successful, or even that you will survive, but it certainly puts the odds much higher in your favor.

This is where the internet "experts", trainers and sellers of all kinds of protective equipment thrive. One could possibly become maximally effective in all scenarios with all manner of gear given the time and money to become superbly trained in them. Most of us won't. Most of us don't need to. But, there is a basic level of effectiveness that is required for those who choose to carry a weapon for self defense. You must know how to carry and use it safely and effectively. Most of us don't.

Many people carry a handgun in a place that is not optimal, like the font pants pocket, or behind the back, or off at the 4 o'clock position (right handers), or even ankle holsters. Getting to a handgun efficiently while sitting down, which for most of us is most of the time, is very difficult when carried in those places.

Getting to and safely pulling a handgun from a concealment holster is a difficult task and should be practiced until the muscle memory is in place. That means you have to be consistent with where it will be carried and have a good holster to keep it there and accessible. And, this is more difficult and dangerous when one has to practice pulling a loaded weapon relatively quickly and efficiently and firing it at a close in target. Hardly anyone practices this. It takes time and money. You must begin slowly in order not to shoot yourself or an innocent bystander at the range (which won't be an indoor range because most of them have insurance companies that would fall over in a dead faint if such a tactic were suggested).

You must be willing to shoot up a significant amount of ammunition in order to get this drill down efficiently and safely. You must be willing to practice shooting with one hand, keeping the other out of the way so you don't shoot it. Most close in defensive shootings happen quickly and with one hand. Most of these only score hits to the target (in real, stressful, life-and-death situations) about 20% to 30% of the time, and 30% may be too optimistic.

Then, to actually be effective, you MUST be able to hit what you shoot at the vast majority of the time. In many situations there will be innocent bystanders around, and the most effective response might be not to shoot at all rather than take the chance of hurting some innocent person. How many of us train NOT to shoot even after drawing and holding with the finger on the trigger? Hardly anyone, is my guess.

So, some basic training by knowledgeable people is a good thing. There are clubs and organizations, sometimes police or Sheriff departments that offer instruction, that can provide the basic education and training you need. You don't need to invest significant time and money to become a civilian commando in order to be prepared to defend yourself. One may not always come out on top, but one can even the odds a great deal with good knowledge and basic training.

Resorting to a legally carried handgun to protect yourself or other innocent people is a deadly serious thing and most legislation that deals with this is very clear on when you are permitted to resort to deadly force. Know it. Learn it by heart. And, although you don't need to undergo zombie apocalypse training, you do have the responsibility to be aware, prepared and effective with your self defense weapon.

Fortunately, the gun in the hands of a citizen who is set to protect herself and, perhaps, others, is often all the deterrent needed to put a stop to a potentially bad situation. I can't help thinking that if most people were armed, the bad people would think twice before attempting to prey on a seemingly innocent, unprepared person.