Practical Handgun Carry
ago, I got my Concealed Handgun License. Here in the Great State
of Texas, concealed carry is the only legal kind for the average
citizen; without the permit, you can't carry in public. (Your vehicle
and home do not count as "public," incidentally.) Last
week, my new CHL arrived in the mailbox, meaning that I'm good to
carry for another five years.
In a post-SHTF
environment, being armed everywhere you go is a good idea. We can't
predict exactly what our society will be like, but we know that
violent people are not going to decide that they should give the
rest of us a break because we're busy dealing with huge problems
(no food on the store shelves; mass panic; a highly contagious disease;
whatever). These people are already preying on victims, which is
why I have a CHL and handgun in the first place.
live someplace where permission slips to bear arms are not required.
A few parts of the United States have that going for them, but I
like Texas for lots of reasons. Staying here and having my CHL is
less than perfect, but I love being here and will continue dealing
with the license-to-carry nonsense. At the same time, a lot of us
are pressuring our Legislature to do away with permits and let law-abiding
citizens carry handguns without taking classes, paying fees, and
waiting for our packets to process.
Some of my
advice won't necessarily apply to you. Feel free to take what you
can use and leave the rest; I'm going to generalize so that the
maximum number of people will get something useful (I hope, at least).
Handgun Licenses, Licenses to Purchase, and Other Permission Slips
Now is as good
a time as any to find the legal path to firearms ownership and carry.
Some states require a permit to buy firearms and/or ammunition;
others, like Texas, don't. It's up to you to find out what's required.
The Internet is a good resource for this. Find your state's official
Web sites, as they generally have current statutes and other, important
information. (In Texas, you'll want to go to the Department of Public
Safety Web site.)
Getting a firearm
and/or permit to carry can be time consuming. I suggest starting
now, if you haven't done this already, because we don't know when
our society is going to collapse. Remember the riots following the
Rodney King debacle? Store owners could not arm themselves because
the state had a waiting period. Shopkeepers who'd already acquired
firearms were able to defend what was theirs. Plan in advance so
you don't get caught without something you might need.
I suggest a common one, as that's easier to find and cheaper than
Which manufacturer? That's up to you. I like Glocks, but that's
based on my consistently good experiences with them. I suggest looking
for a major manufacturer and making sure that they offer a good
warranty or guarantee in case something goes wrong.
New or used?
I bought my carry gun new. That's because I wanted to be certain
that the gun was mechanically sound, not worn out, and could be
counted on for years to come. If you're confident in your gun-buying
skills, find a used handgun at a reasonable price.
semi-automatic? We could discuss the pros and cons of each, but
I lean toward semi-autos because I have far more experience with
them than revolvers.
If you're not
sure which handgun you like, visit a shooting range. Many rent handguns.
If you have a friend or relative with a gun collection, offer a
box or two of ammo in exchange for a range trip that includes shooting
some of those guns. The best way to figure out if you really like
something is to try it. Do you test drive a car before you buy it?
Probably. The same caution and diligence applies to handgun shopping.
carrying openly or concealed, you need a carry rig. The most-popular
carry methods include:
the Waistband (OWB): a holster that secures to your belt, but
outside of your pants or shorts.
Waistband (IWB): same story as above, but inside your pants.
Both of these methods should include a thick, sturdy belt to keep
the rig in one place whether you're walking, shifting in your seat,
or even jogging or running. Good holsters will retain your handgun
even if you're upside down for some bizarre reason.
great when you're in a suit or sport coat. Some shoulder holsters
balance the weight by adding magazine carriers on the non-gun side.
a holster (the Belly Band, for example, or Thunderwear) that puts
your handgun somewhere around your navel. I prefer appendix carry
during the hottest part of the year because I can conceal the Glock
even if I'm in basketball shorts and a tee shirt.
a convenient way to carry a sub-compact handgun.
All the carry
methods should include a holster or other retention device that
keeps the firearm in place. Ideally, your rig will also cover the
trigger guard, which prevents things like your shirttail from reaching
the trigger. A ten-dollar, pocket holster can prevent a negligent
discharge, so it's well worth the investment if you ask me.
I don't like
nylon holsters. That's because they're soft and tend to slide around
on my belt. These rigs are inexpensive, which is one of the main
reasons why they're so appealing. However, you want a high-quality
retention device because you need your handgun to stay where you
put it. Good materials include leathers, plastics that have been
molded for your handgun model, or combinations like Crossbreed's
find a carry gun you really like and get a holster that's been made
for that specific model. This approach usually provides a secure,
quality holster that, with minimal care, will last you for years.
Look for a holster made of rigid materials; you want the holster's
"mouth" to stay open so you don't have to holster with
both hands. That can be dicey because you could sweep your free
hand with the muzzle, which I don't advise.
is a personal thing, so I can't recommend specific manufacturers
or models. The companies I personally like best are Dragon Leatherworks,
Michael's Custom Holsters/The Holster Site, and Crossbreed. All
produce reasonably priced, high-quality holsters designed for specific
Lots of us
try more than one holster and setup before we find something that
works well. Nobody else can really tell you what's going to work
best, so you'll need to try a few things for yourself. The good
news is that, when you decide that you don't like a particular holster,
you can find somebody who's willing to swap. Many of us have a "box
o' rejects" with one, two, maybe even a dozen, discarded holsters
inside. I'm happy to let the rest of my family raid the stash.
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© 2012 Survival