We’ve spent a couple weeks looking at different considerations when making the decision to concealed carry a firearm. There are the legal requirements, but also some moral and practical ones. But those are really just the first steps toward preparedness.
Once you’re legal, and you strap that gun on your belt (or inside your waistband), you’d better have some training in not only how to safely access it, but also how to KEEP it there. If you think I’m being overly dramatic, here are a couple of examples of how NOT to carry.
Police were recently called to a movie theater after getting some frantic 9-1-1 calls about a man with a gun. When they got there, they discovered the man had apparently dropped his firearm while watching the movie, and it went skidding away, alarming the people around him. D.U.M.B.
For whatever reason, this guy lost control of his firearm in such a way that everyone around him not only knew it, but became frightened. Not a good example of safe, effective, concealed carry.
There wasn’t really any risk of anyone being shot at, unless someone else picked it up. There wasn’t much risk of an accidental discharge either. Most handguns in recent decades have a special device built in, that keeps the firearm from going off, unless the trigger is pulled.
Now the news reports didn’t give all the details, but I can see a scenario where two things could have gone wrong. First, he likely didn’t have a proper holster, molded for that particular firearm, complete with a tensioning screw to keep it secured. So it didn’t hold it very tightly. I see this all the time.
Second, he may have been “adjusting” it, so that he’d be more comfortable in his seat. Some holsters don’t clip well to a belt. When the holster slipped off his belt, the firearm then slipped out of the holster. It could easily happen, just by leaning backward to get more comfortable.
Now if he didn’t have a holster to begin with, even more shame on him. You simply don’t keep unholstered firearms in your belt, or in your pocket, regardless what you used to see on Magnum PI.
But if you think it happens only to the untrained non-professional, think again. In another story that got media attention, a child was going to the bathroom in a restaurant, when she noticed a handgun that had been left there. Fortunately, she’d had some firearms safety training, and knew not to touch it.
Instead, she went out and told her parents, who then told the manager of the restaurant. As the manager was getting ready to call the police, a woman came running back in the restaurant. She happened to be a federal agent, who had removed her firearm while using the bathroom, but forgot to put it back on.
Don’t think this can’t happen to you. If you’ve ever carried a firearm into a public bathroom and had to “sit down,” you’ve learned you have to do something with your gun.
Uniformed officers can pull off their whole outer belt, holster and all, although it takes a little time. But if you have an inside-the-waistband (IWB) holster, it’s going to flop down with your pants around your ankles every time. As will an appendix carry holster, or your standard, FBI issue, paddle holster.
You have to put some thought into this. How you carry is important. Not just for quick access, but for retention purposes too.
Putting 30 rounds on a stationary, oversize target at 5, 7, and 10 yards is the easy part. Learning how to carry concealed, safely and effectively, is more difficult. Like everything else, details matter, and training is the antidote to doing dumb things.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to do dumb things, especially with something as serious as a firearm. I don’t want you to do dumb things either.
Next week, I’ll tell you about some accidental discharges that will make your blood run cold. Then we’re going to look at the psychology of survival. Until then, train safe, and train often.