Thursday, April 30, 2015

$75 Utah & Arizona Non-Resident CCW License Class

$75 Utah & Arizona Concealed Carry Weapon (CCW) License Class

Get your non-resident Utah & Arizona CCW permits / licenses - legally and safely conceal carry a handgun in over 33 States. 

Plus earn 4 hours toward your Illinois CCW 16 hours of mandatory training.

Location: Oak Brook, Illinois 
Date: May 30th (9AM - Noon)

Cost: $75.00, includes fingerprints and passport photos 

331-642-8110 /

Do you carry a back-up???

A Backup Gun for Carry: Consider the NAA Black Widow in .22WMR

A Backup Gun for Carry: Consider the NAA Black Widow in .22WMR

Should you carry a backup gun (BUG)? Will you actually carry the BUG? What is a BUG and what is its real purpose? Are there laws that regulate the number of concealed carry firearms you can carry? Is a BUG really necessary? Is the North American Arms (NAA) Black Widow Mini-Revolver in .22WMR (Mag) a good carry BUG option for extremely closeup encounters and your self-defense goal? I have wondered about these things and decided to explore them for myself.

Definition and Purpose of a BUG 

A backup gun is a second handgun, normally carried very concealed, used as ancillary support, and as a supplement to a primary handgun. It may be carried openly or concealed, depending on the circumstances and state regulations, and is usually used for very close-range situations. To me the main purpose of a BUG is to serve as a final, last-ditch tool for self defense in extremely close quartersencounters where a few shots may be all that are needed to end or escape from an attack. It is not meant to serve as a primary carry gun. To me the goal of self-defense carry is to cease aggression and the assault from an attacker, to stop the immediate threat and the forward motion of the attacker. Not to kill the attacker; not to create a fist-sized hole in someone. So a BUG in an adequate caliber may accomplish the self-defense goal, but what is an “adequate” caliber? A debate since time immemorial. More later about this.

A BUG as a secondary gun should be difficult to notice and must be very small and concealable. I carry and have and still do recommend the 9mm as a good caliber for a primary concealed carry handgun. So I carry a 9mm and sometimes a .45. I think it is important to recognize that a BUG is not designed nor intended to replace a handgun of a larger caliber and size, especially for carry. Rather, a BUG should be viewed and carried as a complement, a backup gun for exigencies. Murphy’s Law does exist and if anything can go wrong, it probably will… eventually. I use my NAA Black Widow (BW) 5-shot mini-revolver in .22 Magnum with a laser sight as a carry BUG weighing only 8.8 ounces to my primary carry gun, and when my primary gun is not convenient or not practical. I use it when hiking, biking, jogging, working out at the gym, fending off snakes and small animals, etc. It is an option for you to consider.

NAA Black Widow Mini-Revolver in .22WMR with Venom Laser Sight & Rubber Cobblestone Grips

Do Laws Regulate the Number of Concealed Carry Firearms? 

I am sure you recognize that gun laws vary tremendously by state and jurisdiction. In New Mexico, for example, only one concealed carry firearm is allowed. In Minnesota according to their Statute 624.714 Subd. 11, there is no limit on the number of pistols a person can carry. The law states that “A person shall not be restricted as to the number of pistols the person may carry.” The state of Texas does not allow its uniformed, commissioned security officers to carry a second concealed backup weapon. So the laws vary considerably among all the states and jurisdictions, so check in your area. 

Is it Necessary to Carry a Bug? 

I have always believed that the most important aspect of carrying a concealed firearm is to carry a firearm, to actually have one with you and not let it be a “Safe Queen.” Some believe that carrying “a” gun, for example .380 or .22WMR, is better than not carrying any gun at all. The “best” gun is the gun that you will actually carry with you, everywhere and all the time. I believe in always carrying a concealed handgun and most of the time, depending on some situational variables, usually carrying a Bug “just in case.” Be prepared with support just in case of emergencies; like a life insurance policy for your family when you die or a spare tire for an unexpected problem. Others think the opposite that there is a miniscule chance of needing any gun, so do not carry any gun, let alone carry a Bug. Take a chance, play the odds, and win? Since there is only a 20% chance of a deadly encounter, do not carry a BUG. These folks believe that if we start preparing for small-probability situations, we can go overboard and start wearing even helmets all the time for protection, just in case we get hit in the head with a falling tree branch or smacked with a steel pistol. So it seems situations and possible threats enter into the consideration, as well as your skill level, your risk averseness, lifestyle, location, and other factors. There is a lot of controversy and a variety of opinions and factors to consider about carrying a primary gun and carrying a BUG, so you decide for yourself. I would not insist that everyone needs a BUG, but I would most definitely admit that two guns are better than one.

Some well-respected national self-defense and shooting experts believe strongly in carrying BUGs. Having a backup gun is necessary like Maasad Ayoob says in several of his articles and books. A BUG may be designed for deep concealment as a secondary gun or for times when carrying even a subcompact pistol is impractical. If you have your CCW license/permit, you carry a firearm every day because you recognize that although a gunfight is a low-probability event, it is a life-or-death possibility for which you can be prepared. The risk and cost of not being prepared for a major life-threatening, deadly-force encounter is simply too high to take the risk of not being armed. The stakes are too high relative to the minor inconvenience and efforts for carrying a BUG. Again, think of a BUG as a life insurance policy and protection for catastrophic occurrences.

Ayoob mentions these reasons for carrying a BUG in some of his books: (1) the primary gun may be taken away by the “bad guy”; (2) the primary gun may be unusable in the midst of a struggle and the BUG can be reached; (3) the primary gun may be empty and drawing a second loaded gun may be faster than reloading; (4) the primary gun, as a mechanical device, may malfunction and fail; (5) the primary gun may be struck by an opponent’s bullet and rendered inoperable; and (6) you can arm a second “good guy or gal” who does not have their own firearm.

A BUG Option to Consider

Rather than messing with a malfunctioning or empty primary firearm (assuming you cannot clear the problem immediately or execute a rapid reload), it may be easier to simply draw your BUG and address the threat. So what BUG do you use? What about the caliber and the features of the BUG that meet your carry needs?

I use the NAA BW 5-shot mini-revolver (not a derringer) in .22WMR as my BUG. I usually carry it in my pocket, sometimes inside the waistband at 1:00, and at times on my ankle. I rotate between the smaller rubber Cobblestone grips and the more bulbous and somewhat larger BW grips (shown) for a better purchase. The size and features of the BW make it very easy to have some gun with me at all times. I must admit that I sometimes only carry it because of its many carry features and depending on my risk assessment for the situation. The BW is very lightweight and small and can be well-hidden with no printing in almost ALL of my clothes, pants, and pockets. It sincerely is very inconspicuous in my clothes for this horizontally-challenged guy. Here are Specifications for the NAA BW 2″ Mini-Revolver- with .22 WMR and .22LR interchangeable cylinders:

ModelBlack Widow; NAA-22-BWC
Calibers.22 WMR and .22 LR
Capacity5 rounds
Trigger-ActionSingle Action Mini-Revolver
Barrel Length2 inches
Overall Length5 7/8″
Overall Height3 5/8″
Weight- Unloaded8.8 ounces
FrameStainless Steel
FinishStainless Steel
GripsRubber Stock; Polymer; Options
SightsFixed; Optional Laser



1. Small & Compact: Only 5.8 inches long and .87 inch wide across the grip

2. Lightweight: Only 8.8 ounces weight (frame & cylinders are stainless steel)

3. Decent Capacity: 5-Rounds

4. Interchangeable cylinders: of .22LR for economical practice and .22WMR (Magnum) for self-defense

5. Very Concealable: Narrow frame for deep concealability; no trigger guard with trigger only extending .25″ from the housing

6. Reliable: and well-made Single-Action Revolver which requires the hammer be manually cocked before it will fire; has a very short and soft trigger- about a 4.5 pounds trigger press measured on my Lyman Gauge

7. Safety notches: enhance safe carry with all 5 chambers loaded; safety slots are milled into the back rim of the cylinders, so lowering the hammer into a notch locks the chamber in place so hammer rests against cylinder rather than cartridge rim

8. The Grip angle: is very nice, open, and allows a solid & comfortable grip (the bulbous Grip allows a great purchase for me from concealment & the smaller Cobblestone Grip is nice for certain types of carry)

9. Many accessories are available, including many grips & holsters for various purposes; custom laser sights

10. The .22LR ammo: is less expensive to practice & plink with than the Magnum rounds (NOTE: a friend told me that the .22LR works almost as well if loaded with CCI Velocitor ammo which gives about a 30% higher power factor over a standard .22LR hollow point round.


1. Time consuming to reload and load- the cylinder must be removed for this, so the cylinder pin must be removed, inserted into each chamber to extract the spent cases, then the cylinder positioned correctly back into the frame, with the pin then reinserted (so make your 5 rounds count in an encounter!)

2. The rear sight notch is not that wide to help with sight alignment (but remember your purpose for this gun-an extremely up-close encounter probably not using your sights)

NOTE: The Laserlyte Venom Laser Sights are custom made for the NAA BW & weigh less than .75 ounce, adding no length or width to the BW. They quickly mount under the barrel by removing the factory cylinder pin and locking the laser sights easily in the notch there, projecting a red laser beam for quick target acquisition. Just press a reachable bottom-of-the-barrel laser button to activate either as constant-on or pulse mode. I found Point of impact and Point of Aim with the laser to be very close and my point-and-shoot up-close accuracy was acceptable. See my results below.

3. .22WMR cylinder with laser sights added will not fit in currently readily-available standard pocket holsters.

The .22 WMR as a Self-Defense Round

Many consider the .22 WMR (Magnum) as too small a round for self defense. I want to share with you some studies and tests I discovered. To me penetration, velocity, and shot placement are key for the carry goal and caliber. Richard Mann with American Rifleman did a 2013 study comparing how various .22WMR loads and larger-caliber loads performed in 10 percent ordinance gel, which most agree offers the same resistance to a bullet as would muscle tissue. With the .22WMR, it seems to me that velocity is more important because of the relatively small bullet. Of course, longer barrels result in more velocity, so Mann’s series of tests with various .22WMR loads were fired from barrels from 1″ to 22″ long. Remember, the BW has a 2″ barrel. Mann found that terminal performance from barrels between 2″ and 4.6″ were, for all practical purposes, identical. Mann also found the penetration for 9 mm Luger and .45 ACP to be about 13 inches and the penetration for .22WMR to be just over 12 inches with barrels ranging from 1 inch to 4.5 inches. Mann concluded “Not much difference.” The average 9 mm Luger velocity with varying barrel lengths is about 1175 fps, while the .45 ACP average muzzle velocity is about 1,000 fps. Mann found in his tests averaging all the .22WMR loads in different barrel lengths to be about 1,050 fps. Mann concluded the velocity and penetration of the .22WMR, when compared to 9 mm or a .45 is not all that different. The difference in the terminal performance of a .22WMR when compared to a 9 mm or a .45 is mostly in expansion and energy. You might believe what some believe, that displaying any gun generates fear and often leads to a fight being stopped. This, of course, is very situational and complex. What if the .22WMR is the most powerful handgun you can handle and shoot effectively? Perhaps a medical condition, etc. What if that is all you can afford or have to protect yourself– better than no gun at all? I believe that the .22WMR round is more weak in power and energy, but the deep penetration possible with its velocity makes it FOR ME acceptable as a BUG. I do not plan on switching my primary 9 mm and .45 ACP handguns soon, but do accept the .22WMR for its support role. You must shoot a .22WMR to see its power, deep penetration, and velocity. I did with the BW and was impressed.

NAA BW – FIELD TEST- 5 ft–3 yds–4 yds

Range Testing the BW in .22WMR with Laser Sights 

I was impressed with the accuracy, bullet velocity and penetration of this little gun, especially for extremely closeup targets. It was fun to shoot. I believe with proper shot placement this BW may end an attack or potential attack and allow you to escape the encounter and the attacker to cease the assault from upclose out to about 5 yards or so. I certainly would not want to get shot with a .22 Magnum round. The .22WMR load is now a more appealing option for personal defense given the contemporary ammunition from Hornady, Speer, CCI, Winchester, etc. I know Hornady has Critical Defense 45 grain .22WMR available. There are several new loads specifically designed for self-defense with enhanced ballistics and deep penetration out of short revolver barrels. I have not used them, but I have been told about tests that showed the CCI Maxi-Mag +V in .22WMR had about 17 inches of penetration in gel.  Here above are my first 9″ target hits with the NAA BW .22WMR with laser attached with rapid fire draw and 5 shots each at 5 feet, 3 yards, and 5 yards. I found I had to grip the gun very firmly for better accuracy, more so than usual for me. I shot the ammo I had available which was only 50 cartridges of Winchester Super X .22WMR jacketed hollow points, 20 grain, rated to 2200 fps. I had no malfunctions or stoppages with the BW and ammo and the recoil was very manageable for this very lightweight, ultra small, and very concealable mini-revolver.


I recommend the NAA Black Widow in .22WMR with the LaserLyte Venom laser sights as a BUG and supplement to your primary carry handgun, but not as a primary gun. This is just my opinion with limited data and minimal field testing; of course, you must make your own decision. The BW might also be nice as a companion when fishing, camping, hiking, walking your dog, working in the yard, etc. You should try it for yourself to decide if it works for you and how best it meets your purpose and goal.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Why I CCW @ home...!!!

There Is A Reason That We Talk About The Importance Of Carrying At Home All The Time


The topic of carrying at home is one that I cover a lot. Probably on a weekly basis. There are stories in the news that show just how important it is to keep our firearms in their holsters and on our bodies, even in the safety of our own home. The truth is though, our homes aren’t always safe places. The number of homes broken into each year in the US is staggering and while you’re likely not to have your home broken into, you just never know. It’s why we carry in the first place; to be prepared at a moment’s notice.

A reader sent me this message via email, and I felt it important to share with you all.

– – – – – – – – – –

Hi Brandon,

I just want to share a story with you. I follow Concealed Nation through Twitter, therefore reading many of your posts. One thing I notice you mention quite often is the importance of carrying at home. Every time I read this, I think to myself, “I understand his point, but do I really need to carry at home?” After all, I live in the country where the worst thing that happens is someone hits a deer with their car. Well, I had something happen this past winter that made me realize that yes, I DO need to carry at home, regardless of where I l live.

I work a job that requires me to work midnights. For me to get on midnight schedule, I usually stay up real late the night before and sleep in late the next day. The only way I can do this is to play something on the PS4.

Anyway, I usually wear some of those sound reducing headphones so I dont wake my wife up. I cannot hear anything outside what I am hearing in these phones.

It’s 2:15 in the morning. Dog is sleeping to the right of me on his pillow in front of the pellet stove. There isnt a single light on in my house and all the blinds are shut. When all of a sudden my dog jumps up, ears to the ceiling. I tried calming him down so he didnt wake my wife up. After 5 seconds and him finally starting to relax, he jumps back up again and barks. Remember, I have those ear phones on and cant hear anything except for the game I am playing. I slowly pushed the blinds aside just a hair and looked outside to find a man standing on my front porch. Its so late and Im so tired, I am starting to wonder if I am seeing things. This man is 10 feet away from me. He finally turns and him and I are now staring at each other. I looked the other direction (my dog is going nuts now) and see there are no cars in my drive way. Immediately, I start to wonder where I put my pistol (Glock 26). My poor excuse? Its so dark in my house and I dont want to walk all around to find it and wake my wife up. POOR excuse.

Then I wonder, should I just call the police? Nope, I didnt.

So what did I do? I answered the door with nothing on me. Not a gun. Not a knife. Not a baseball bat. I just took my CPL class last August. Did I not learn anything? Do I not read the stories on Concealed Nation? How do I know he doesnt have 2 buddies hiding, waiting for my to open the door and all 3 come in?

Absolute poor decision.

Luckily, it ended up being some punk driving way too fast down my bumpy, slippery, icy road and buried his truck in the ditch. He saw I had a truck and thought he could knock on the door and ask for help. At 2:15 AM.

My dog knew he was there. I didnt. Im guessing he may have knocked and thats why my dog jumped up? Who knows.

Anyway, I thought I would share this with you. I now have my gun on my side while at home, and if not I will know EXACTLY where it is at all times. This really opened my eyes and warned me of what COULD have happened. I have a wife and in 8 weeks will have my first child. Making better decisions is a must now, if it wasnt before, and I am fortunate that this time it was only some guy in a ditch.

– – – – – – – – – –

While this wasn’t a bad situation, it easily could have been. If anyone ever knocked on my door at 2am, you bet I’d have my firearm in hand and that I’d be taking every precaution necessary to identifying who is at my door.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Don't get shot!!!

Dodging bullets

You will hear lots of people say the first rule of a gunfight is: Have a gun!

Well, that’s good thinking, but I suggest the first rule of a gunfight is: Don’t get shot! You see, getting shot can greatly reduce your chances of surviving the gunfight. And, while some might call it semantics, I further contend that you can be involved in a gunfight even if you don’t have a gun. In that situation, my rule about not getting shot becomes all the more important. So there are a couple ways to ensure you don’t get shot. The first is to practice effective situational awareness at all times. Pay attention. Move away from danger. Be on the lookout for possible threats, escape routes and effective cover.

This might be a good time to define cover and the difference between cover and concealment. Cover will stop bullets (and not just incoming bullets; more on that later). Concealment just gives you a place to hide. If concealment is all you have, by all means use the concealment; but be looking for cover and get there if you can. In my training as a police officer, I watched one amazing video of an officer and a subject trading shots over a chain-link fence. The fence had those plastic privacy slats installed and the bad guy would pop up, fire a few shots and duck down. The officer at first tried to catch the bad guy as he popped up, but after about the third time, the officer realized where he was and put three rounds through the fence, ending the fight. The bad guy had concealment, not cover. So be looking for cement walls, brick walls, an earthen berm, a file cabinet filled with papers or the engine compartment of a car or truck. Don’t count on doors to stop bullets.

Once you have found good cover, you need to know how to properly use it. First of all, don’t get too close to the cover. Your instinct will be to snuggle right into the thing you believe is protecting you. Fight that instinct. Stay back a couple feet if you can. There are several reasons for staying back from your cover. The first is that you can better use the angles to your advantage. Secondly, the distance gives you a bit of protection if the incoming rounds impact your cover and fragment or send pieces of that cover your direction. The same is true for outgoing rounds. Remember I said cover stops bullets? Well, it has happened that people too close to their cover have shot their own cover. If you are too close, those fragments can really ruin your concentration.

The question is: How can we train for this? What drills can we run? First off, you need to find cover (Get it? You are going to need to take something that represents cover to the range). You can use 55-gallon drums or you can attach tall pieces of thin plywood or thick cardboard to target stands. For training purposes, these represent cover. In real life they are concealment.

Now, to learn to effectively shoot from behind this cover, set up your cover directly in front of your target. Approach and stop at least one arm’s length, but not much more than three, back from the cover. We will start from a standing position. Assume your firing grip and stance, pointing your pistol directly at the back of your cover. Establish your sight alignment and, maintaining that, step forward a bit on your right foot and allow your upper body to sort of “roll” out until you see the target. You are not actually leaning; you are keeping your weight on your forward foot and moving your torso until the target comes into view. Establish your sight picture on the target and fire two rounds. Return to cover.

We are talking about “rolling” but not really leaning; basically you are shifting your weight, bending at your waist and “rolling” out until you find the target. You may have to move your feet, and that’s fine. The goal is to expose as little of yourself as possible, enforcing that first rule, so that you, say it with me, “don’t get shot!”

Of course, there are some more rules — the next one being that you cannot emerge from cover at the same place twice. So now I want you to switch sides. This becomes a bit more difficult as you will see when you try it. Remember to move your feet, work to the left side and “roll” out there to expose only enough of yourself to get a safe shot past the barrier to the target. Fire two rounds and return to cover.

In order to give you more options, change levels: Go to a high kneeling position behind the cover. At different schools I have been taught different ways of kneeling, so I will present what works for me. If I am going to lean out to the right, I put my right knee forward and in the up position. Again, remember to keep that leg behind the cover and roll at the waist. You should also push a bit forward as this helps you to keep balance. When you move to the other side, reverse your feet.

Now you have four different positions you can use for shooting from behind cover. Remember, never emerge from cover at the same place twice. Change elevations and sides between every string of fire. Also remember that this is just training. In the real world, cover will not be a perfectly formed barrier on a range. Think tactically and ensure you conform to your cover. Any part of you sticking out could get shot off. You want to limit that.

–Kevin Michalowski

Illinois Concealed Carry Weapon (CCW) License Class

Illinois Concealed Carry Weapon (CCW/CCL) License Training Class

Get your Illinois Conceal Carry License / Permit.... Plus get 3 other CCW's licenses FREE! (Utah CCW, Arizona CCW & Florida CCW) - together safely and legally conceal carry a handgun in over 35 States...!!!

Price: $285 (NO other class fees), 
price includes;
1. Range fees ($25)
2. Illinois Livescan digital fingerprints ($70)
3. Utah & Arizona ink fingerprints ($25)
4. Florida ink prints - done by a cop ($15)
5. Passport photos ($15)
6. CCW application paperwork 
7. Assistance with CCW application paperwork 

Class Date: May 30-31st (16 hours)
Location: Oak Brook, Illinois 

331-642-8110 /

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Campus Carry is not new...and proven effective...why change it?


On April 20, The Washington Post ran a column showing that campus carry has been the law of the land in Colorado since 2003, and the results have not been anything like those currently fighting against campus carry claim it should be.

There have been no mass shootings and, apart from one incident in which a gun was accidentally discharged by a Colorado University employee, there have been no crimes by permit holders.

No one was injured in the accidental discharge, and the employee was fired.

The success of campus carry in Colorado is especially good news for women, who are able to level the playing field by being armed and better able to defend their dignity when under sexual attack.

WaPo explains:

The U.S. Census Bureau conducts in-person interviews with several thousand persons annually, for the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS). In 1992-2002, over 2,000 of the persons interviewed disclosed they had been raped or sexually assaulted. Of them, only 26 volunteered that they used a weapon to resist. In none of those 26 cases was the rape completed; in none of the cases did the victim suffer additional injury after she deployed her weapon.

So, in the 26 assaults in which a woman had access to a weapon, she was able to stop the rape and was not further assaulted.

Moreover, WaPo expounded on the NCVS results by including an in-depth study by Florida State University criminologist Gary Kleck.

Kleck “conducted a much broader examination of NCVS data. Analyzing a data set of 27,595 attempted violent crimes and 16 types of protective actions, Kleck found that resisting with a gun greatly lowered the risk of the victim being injured, or of the crime being completed.”

This is one hundred and eighty degrees from what campus carry opponents want us to believe.

For example, on February 24, MSNBC published an op-ed in which Shannon Watts of Moms Demand Action claimedpassing legislation to allow women to be armed on campus for self-defense could open the door for more people to “perpetrate sexual assault” against women on campuses. And four days later, Salon magazine published a piece in which they published figures from Everytown for Gun Safety suggesting women will be in even greater danger if the gun-free zones are eradicated.

But neither the NCVS, nor Kleck’s scholarly work, nor Colorado’s 12-year example support these claims. Instead, the NCVS and Kleck show that guns in the hands of law-abiding women allow those women to stop a sexual assault in its tracks, and Colorado’s campus carry experience shows concealed carry permit holders simply aren’t those committing crimes on campuses.

Illinois Concealed Carry Weapon (CCW) Class

Illinois Concealed Carry Weapon (CCW/CCL) License Training Class

Get your Illinois Conceal Carry License / Permit.... Plus get 3 other CCW's licenses FREE! (Utah CCW, Arizona CCW & Florida CCW) - together safely and legally conceal carry a handgun in over 35 States...!!!

Price: $285 (NO other class fees), 
price includes;
1. Range fees ($25)
2. Illinois Livescan digital fingerprints ($70)
3. Utah & Arizona ink fingerprints ($25)
4. Florida ink prints - done by a cop ($15)
5. Passport photos ($15)
6. CCW application paperwork 
7. Assistance with CCW application paperwork 

Class Date: May 30-31st (16 hours)
Location: Oak Brook, Illinois 

331-642-8110 /

Friday, April 24, 2015

CCW products...the big picture...

Personal-Protection Products and the Big Picture

If a holster doesn’t do everything it needs to, choose another one. Photo: author

The process of personal protection usually involves several steps. Sometimes products, while clever at solving one part of the equation, don’t fit into the Big Picture very well. If a product doesn’t facilitate all the necessary steps, then the Big Picture rule isn’t met. Equipment has to be workable for all phases. Two holsters that missed the Big Picture were seen at the 2015 NRA Annual Meeting. 

In both cases, these products attempted to address part of the process of carrying a pistol for personal protection but didn’t facilitate the entire process. At a minimum, carrying a pistol requires the holster to: 

  • 1. Securely and safely hold the pistol.
  • 2. Carry it in at least an unobtrusive, if not necessarily discreet, manner.
  • 3. Be reasonably comfortable for everyday usage.
  • 4. Allow the user to safely and rapidly deploy the pistol.
  • 5. Easily re-secure the pistol when it is no longer needed.

The VersaCarry and Phalanx Condition 3 holsters on display are examples of holsters that don’t handle the entire process well. The VersaCarry is a minimalist Inside the Waistband (IWB) holster. The Phalanx Condition 3 is a holster designed specifically for chamber-empty carry, with the ability to chamber it one-handed.

While both try to address parts of the carry process, other parts are not handled well or are ignored. The ability to re-secure the pistol after deploying it is compromised in both. The Phalanx also doesn’t work well as an unobtrusive carry method.

According to the manufacturer, the VersaCarry has to be re-holstered in an “area of safety.” The reason is because the holster requires two hands to place the pistol in the holster and then secure in the waistband. The Phalanx Condition 3 requires the round to be removed from the chamber before re-holstering. While this theoretically could be done one-handed, doing so is hazardous and requires a potential loss of one’s magazine, which would have to be ejected, and armed capability.

Consider the issue if the pistol had to be drawn while carrying a child in a parking lot en route to one’s vehicle. For an armed citizen, this is not an unlikely possibility. Several post-confrontation prospects exist, even if no shots are fired.

  • 1. Remain in place and call the police.
  • 2. Rapidly move to one’s vehicle, enter, and leave if the entire area is unsafe.
  • 3. Return to whatever building one came from.
  • 4. Or move on foot to a nearby area that seems safe.

Any of these options is problematic if the pistol cannot be re-holstered with one hand. The first two require the child to be put down before other necessary implements, such as cell phone or keys, can be accessed. The third and fourth would necessitate moving through the parking lot with pistol in hand to the building or area. Then going into an occupied building with pistol in hand would probably draw unwanted attention and create concern. 

Should the police happen to arrive quickly, the situation becomes even worse. The armed citizen is placed in the position of holding both a child and a pistol while being confronted by police officers, who may have their guns drawn too. Nothing good is likely to come of this.

The Phalanx is also a large holster that projects from the body. The ability to conceal the holster is minimal. This isn’t an issue in open-carry states, but it projects so far from the body that wearing it would be like wearing a police duty holster. No doubt it would involve quite a bit of bumping into things. Seated, the discomfort factor would likely be high.

Both holsters fall victim to the common fallacy of considering the issue of carrying a pistol just up to the point of the confrontation. When considering a holster purchase, armed citizens need to consider the entire process from start to finish, not only up to the point of confrontation. If the holster fails any part of the process, a different choice should be made.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Survive a terror attack

Concealed Carry: Survive a Terror Attack

If escape is not an option, fall back on your concealed carry sidearm and training.

Recent terror attacks in France, Canada and Australia underscore our reasons to be more vigilant, more aware and as prepared as possible should mayhem break out. For many Americans, a key component of that vigilance translates into practicing concealed carry (CC).

At a cafe in Sydney, Australia, a gunman recently held 17 customers and staff hostage for more than 16 hours. Two people were killed during the incident after police stormed the business in an effort to rescue the hostages. The horrific rampage at Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris, France, this January by two men armed with AK rifles resulted in the slaughter of 12 people and the wounding of 20 others—all for publishing satirical cartoons of Allah.

In Ottawa, Canada, Parliament’s sergeant-at-arms retrieved a pistol from a locked box and killed a threat in the form of a lone gunman.

For a CC holder caught up in an active shooter situation, training experts like Adam Painchaud, senior director at SIG Academy, suggest you look for a way to escape, rather than engage, in order to live to see another day.

“If you are with family and friends, mission number one is to get them and yourself to safety,” Painchaud says. Breaking contact and getting to safety may not be an option, however.
“Only if you are boxed in,” Painchaud says, “then you need to deal with it accordingly.”
A CC holder with a Ruger LCP or J-frame going up against a shooter or shooters with a rifle or shotgun can get themselves in grave danger quickly. In an active shooter situation more than likely you have little time to take cover, let alone time to gear up.

“More than likely the tool you will have on you,” explained Painchaud, “will be a personal protection gun designed for close encounters.” A compact or subcompact with limited ammunition capacity is perfect for self-defense, but is not a match for an assailant or assailants with long arms. Even law enforcement (LE) must often operate in defense mode, responding to situations as they arise.

Get Out Of The Situation

The author believes citizens, quite simply, lack the training to effectively handle active shooter situations like police. David Bahde Photo

The author believes citizens, quite simply, lack the training to effectively handle active shooter situations like police. David Bahde Photo

Like Painchaud, all of the trainers interviewed for this story recommend the first course of action be to get out of the situation. There are factors against a CC holder fighting back. Two key issues stand out: lack of training and inadequate tools.

“The important thing is to get training so you are prepared,” says Ken Campbell, a retired 35-year deputy sheriff, Special Response Team Commander and two-term county sheriff, as well as a 20-plus-year Gunsite Instructor. “Thinking ‘this won’t happen to me’ is tantamount to putting your head in the proverbial sand.”

You have a spare tire, a flashlight in the house in case the power goes, so prepare for a lethal encounter because bad things can and will happen to you. “Plan for a lethal event,” added Campbell. “How you respond depends on how you train.”

The second thing all trainers agree on is for a CC holder to know their state’s gun laws on self-defense and to have an attorney lined up. Having an attorney is like having insurance. Just like homeowner’s insurance is used in case of flood, fire or wind damage, an attorney will guide and represent you as any situation is legally sorted out.

Law enforcement is trained to deal with high stress situations—the noise, screams, blood and confusion. Regular Joe Citizen with a concealed carry permit, who has perhaps taken a concealed carry course and maybe a beginner pistol shooting course, does not have the level of training to thwart a situation where there is an active shooter.

In an active shooter situation, nothing is black and white. Good guys can easily look like bad guys and vice-versa. A situation could evolve in, say, a shopping mall, where you are boxed in with no avenue to escape. How do you know if that person with a gun is an off duty police officer caught up in the situation just like you? If you engage a threat in a crowded area, how do you ensure a missed shot does not hit an innocent bystander?

Shooting In Progress

When first responders arrive, they may have little-to-no information about the situation. All they know is there is a shooting in progress.

“If you have the ability to talk to 911 or if someone in your group can be on the phone with 911, relay all the information you can to the authorities,” explains Painchaud. The more information law enforcement has, the better they can handle the situation. Tell them details: “I am a white, bald guy wearing a blue hoodie and sneakers near the pretzel stand.” SIG Academy actually offers a training course called Active Shooter Response that teaches tactics for a first responder or a CC holder caught in the crossfire.

“No one ever knows what the police know or don’t know when they arrive,” says Sara Ahrens, former patrol sergeant, SWAT team supervisor and firearms instructor. When LE does arrive, their mindset is hard to predict. “Did the police happen upon the situation, did the concealed carry holder request somebody call the police or did a passerby call it in?” she asks. Ahrens’ best advice to a CC holder is to remain cognizant of their surroundings. “Tunnel vision and auditory exclusion easily happen in high-stress situations. Watch for the police to arrive and immediately identify yourself as a concealed carry holder,” she advises. LE will then tell you what to do and how to do it.

Massad Ayoob states it plainly: “Obey the commands of the officer. Expect to be disarmed. The cop doesn’t know who’s who.” Ayoob is director of the Massad Ayoob Group, a former LE officer, firearms expert and has written numerous books on armed encounters, including his recently released, Deadly Force: Understanding Your Right to Self Defense, published by Gun Digest books.
Shootrite Firearms Academy Director Tiger McKee recommends, if possible, to have your weapon holstered when LE arrives.

“If that’s not a good option, then you need to comply with their demands immediately. No trying to explain. When law enforcement says to drop the weapon, you drop it. No setting it down gently. Keep your mouth shut, do what they tell you,” McKee advises.

In many instances, the only thing LE knows upon arrival is that there are shots fired, adds McKee, and will tend to treat everyone as a threat until things are sorted out.

Firearms training should be part of every gun owner’s plan to protect themselves and their families. Any reputable gun training course should not only teach safe firearms handling and shooting techniques, but also what you as an armed citizen can expect after an incident where you are forced to unholster your firearm. When the dust has settled, and law enforcement officials have sorted out the situation, then it comes to answering questions.

“That’s a whole ’nother subject,” quipped Mckee. This is the point when your lawyer can be most helpful. When the situation ends, and it will, the nightmare may continue. Retain a good lawyer.

Terrorism in the United States

The fact is: terrorists have already attacked the United States. The aftermath of 9/11 spawned a new type of terrorist, the homegrown kind. These groups of individuals or loners who might or might not commit Jihad in the strictest sense, are people looking for a cause. It’s not surprising that concealed carry permit applications and firearms purchases are at historic levels. Even the District of Columbia is issuing concealed carry permits. Eased restrictions on gun laws are now the norm, and though this rally to arms is a right, it comes with responsibility.

Our nation’s law enforcement officers are selfless and courageous, but there is that time—seconds, minutes, hours—before they are able to respond to a situation. Caught up in that moment between a terrorist or criminal starting their rampage and when the cavalry arrives, you the CC holder have the opportunity to turn the tables and help yourself and others by moving into action and, in essence, self-rescue. But with self-rescue comes risks and responsibilities. Be prepared.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Does competitive shooting help you shoot better?

Does Competition Shooting Produce the Best Shooters?

#> I’d be willing to bet their are more than some shooters that know something you don’t. Or even are better shots that you are, whether they know some trick, or are simply better than you are.

Of course! Firearm User Network isn’t about “John Buol is best.” Notice my title is “Director”, not “Best Shooter.” I think I have a few good ideas, but I’m confident somebody else has even better ideas and I want to find them. Then we’ll promote their name to the masses. Some guy who throws a football gets national attention. Skilled shooters deserve the same.

#> The true experts may be all around you … – you have to look for them somewhere outside of a range competition.

But who are they and how will we know if they’re the real deal, or just full of it? The only way I know how to establish if someone is truly skilled with a firearm is to have them demonstrate. Set up a challenge and let anyone who wishes try it. The people consistently earning the best results are your best shooters.

Can you think of a way to test shooting without going to the range to measure skill?

 #> Organizing shooting events brings together those who are [only] interested in competition. Real expert shooters may not be interested in competition.

Maybe. But if these “real expert shooters” never step forward the world will never know. What a waste.

If Einstein kept his theories to himself, would we have benefited from them? Not unless someone else performed the same work and then made this information available to public scrutiny.

#> What you are telling me is that every time I go to the range, I will gain no benefit unless I’m competing?

Effective practice means training up to a standard. Establish a standard (a certain target with so many rounds at a specific range in a given amount of time) and measure skills with it. The benefit comes by purposefully trying to improve your result, and thus, improving your skill.

Without measurement you can’t determine a result and can’t determine improvement.For some folks, all they want is to hit a tin can or get their deer. One fellow I’ve corresponded with literally hunts from a bench rest and his furthest shot is 100 yards. An occasional sighting-in session is adequate to maintain his needed skill. That’s fine! But this hardly constitutes the pinnacle of excellence in field marksmanship skill.

I want to find out what is best, not just “good enough.” What kind of performance can we consistently expect from a top-notch shooter? How do we know how far we can improve to? The problem is finding a realistic, but challenging standard.

Bench Rest events have established mechanical accuracy standards. Position shooting events have established human accuracy standards. There are still more factors in “real” or practical/field shooting. Take hunting as an example. Hunters can’t use certain trinkets, must use “regular” firearms and have time factors.

You’ve heard of Roger Bannister? Everyone thought running a mile in under 4 minutes was impossible, until he did it. We need to find the “4 minute mile” barriers in shooting and break them. That’s what competition does. Then, by showing what is possible we know what standards are realistic on the practice range. Alot of gun owners hold themselves back because they don’t know what’s possible.

#> Now, I have a challenge for you. I’ll find a range, and pick a distance, from 1 – 500 yards. I’ll put a photocopy of a $100 bill on a target. If you can get the first two announced shots (I’ll give you 3 practice shots at a similarly sized and distanced target, once you announce the first “for real” shot, no more practice) into the oval face of the photocopied bill (I count the whole of the hole, not tears that may extend. If there is a debate over whether a shot counts or not, a disinterested third party will be asked to judge.), I’ll give you the original. Use any gun you want. Any stance you want (a bench might be there, but it may not. Come prepared accordingly.). If you fail, You don’t owe any money. Instead you have to publicly announce one rec.guns, and any other shooting-related newsgroup that the moderators will allow the post through, that you lost the bet (competition), and that competition isn’t the only way to improve one’s shooting skills, and I get to include any links to that I think are related (I’ll keep it to within 20 or 30).

This is an interesting competition. (I thought you said competition doesn’t prove anything?)

You could set the bill up at 500 yards, place a screen so the only shot available is Standing. I’ll tell you right now I can’t do that and neither could any normal human. Hell, I couldn’t do it prone with a sling! But how many non-competition shooters could?

If I fail your test, but you shoot it successfully, it proves that you are better than me (for that contest on that day). I would be proud to publicly announce the winner of any event, especially if they beat me. But besting my mediocre skills doesn’t prove that competition shooting is bad.

You are challenging the notion that competition shooting doesn’t produce a better shooter, that “good old boys” who plink tin cans can routinely out-shoot champions.

A better contest would be to round up five champion-level shooters in a given locale and five local non-competition shooters. Give them identical firearms and ammo and have them shoot your target at some distance for a prescribed number of shots. Ideally, repeat the contest two more times to get an average spaced over more than one session. Anyone can have a bad or unusually good day, but we’re interested in consistent performance.

When the smoke cleared, if the good-old boys averaged a higher score I would be very interested. They just may know something the rest of us need to learn!

I believe that the champs with formal competition experience will win the day. You contend that the non-competition folks will win. We will never know until someone organizes this competition.

Of course, that only proves my point. You can’t determine the best shooters until you organize some event that tests relevant skills and finds the consistent winners.