Michael W. Loos writes [via Ammoland.com]
As concealed carry has come to the forefront in politics and state legislation fights, as the threat of terrorists on our home turf becomes a reality, as gang warfare expands, cutting a wider swath away from their urban haunts, I find more and more people who were anti-gun or sitting on the fence, asking more and more questions about the lifestyle. I find them to be truly interested in the whats and hows, and the dangers and the mindset of concealed carry. These are just a few of the concealed carry questions I get asked on a regular basis and the answers I give . . .
Why don’t you shoot to wound?
Because this isn’t a Hollywood movie and you don’t give the bad guy a chance to murder you. While punching holes in the ten ring at the range may be easy – slow, sighted and shooting at paper – in the gravest moment of your life, facing a criminal with a gun trained on you, with your mind and body reacting to screaming visceral inputs, adrenaline dumping into your body in the sudden expectation of a fight for your life,.
Next your auditory senses shutting down, tunnel vision turning your peripheral vision black, your heart rate explodes, fine motor movements devolve, your arteries constrict to keep blood close to your vital organs, your hands become hams on the bone making the practiced movement of unholstering your gun a chore – and attempting a shot at seven feet will seem like a 100 yard shot in a high wind.
The bulk of defensive gunfights take place in low light conditions at contact distance – under six feet and on average 2-4 shots are fired. From the time you decide to draw and fire to the time the fight is over will be around five seconds.
Let me say that again…from calm to full on defense of your life and those around you, will start and end in roughly five seconds. It will be terrifying, incredibly loud, shadowy and dark, horrifically chaotic and frighteningly fast.
You shoot until either the criminal is unable to continue the attack or your life is no longer in danger. You must stop the threat. You must shoot center mass. You don’t shoot to wound.
Keep in mind the Bad Guy – in many instances – is not going to fall over from one shot, stopped in his tracks or being blown backwards like in the movies. He will keep coming. The only shot that will stop a person immediately is a shot to the head or a shot to the spine – shoulder height at the neck on up to the head.
Attempting a shot to such small targets in the most dire of circumstances is at best a dicey play. Many people train by drawing and firing a ‘double tap‘ – two quick shots to center mass, assuring your best chances of being on target – while others train with two quick shots center mass followed by a third shot to the head.
On top of all this? Knowing your target and what’s beyond! LEO have an on target rate of 20%. Trying to hit a hand, or arm or foot will only ensure you miss and possibly hit someone behind your target.
When your life and those of your loved ones is on the line, you give no quarter. You stop the threat.
Why don’t you fire a warning shot?
Although their are instances of this, generally speaking, a warning shot is always a bad idea. Again, this isn’t some cop show on TV – this is real life.
First, you are responsible for every bullet that leaves your gun. Shooting into the air may seem like a good idea, but where did that round go? Might it kill or injure someone blocks away – something you would be arrested for?
Shooting into the ground? Ricochet’s and fragmented lead flying everywhere.
And what if the warning shot doesn’t stop the criminal? What if he doesn’t retreat? You have now shown your hand and if he has not fired a round yet, he will now. You had a concealed gun and the element of surprise and now you have a gun that is down one round of ammo and you have given away your edge.
In all honesty, if you feel you need to give the Bad Guy with a gun, who is hell bent on harming you, a “chance” by firing off a warning shot, you truly should evaluate whether you should carry at all.
The Bad Guy was 20′ away, why did they shoot?
The Tueller Drill is a self defense training exercise named after the man who did the research, Sgt Dennis Tueller of the Salt Lake City, Utah Police Department.
He found, after running tests with LEOs, that an adult male could cover 21 feet in 1.5 seconds.
Since most people who train with their sidearm can draw and fire in 1.5 seconds, it means a man with a knife at that range is lethal.
At 21 feet you are in Jeopardy. At 21 feet, the criminal has Opportunity.
At 21 feet with a knife, the criminal has the Ability to bring lethal force. JOA – Jeopardy, Opportunity, Ability. Three of the cornerstones of concealed carry self defense triggers.
Aren’t you afraid your gun might go off?
No. One of the four cardinal rules of gun safety… Finger off the trigger until your target is acquired and you have made the decision to shoot – The gun can only go off with a finger on the trigger. Modern guns are made with internal safeties – hammer blocks, firing pin blocks and transfer bar blocks (revolvers) – that prevent guns from accidentally going off from drops and bumps. Modern holsters cover the trigger and trigger guard, so nothing can get caught in the trigger and cause an accidental / negligent discharge.
Why would you need more than one magazine of ammo?
How many rounds of ammo to carry is a very personal choice. I carry only the 6+1 in my Kahr CW45 when I’m in and around the general area where I live. That being said, going on a car trip or to other towns or cities, I always carry two extra seven round mags on my offhand side. This gives me a total of 21 rounds of defense. Some people, like those who might carry a Glock 19, feel comfortable with the 15+1 that gun holds. Others will carry a couple extra mags, bringing their on hand total to 46 rounds.
To each their own. But two things to keep in mind;
- One famous gunfight happened in Illinois where a Police officer hit the bad guy 17 times with Speer Gold Dot JHP 45 ACP, including hits to the liver, lungs and heart.. and still the assailant kept coming. He was finally stopped at close range with three shots to the head. The officer fired 33 rounds and reloaded twice…You never know how much ammo you may require.
- No one ever survived a gunfight and said, “Damn, I carried too much ammo!”
Why bother carrying a gun where it’s safe?
Because when it becomes unexpectedly unsafe, you will need your gun and you won’t have it. And hell, if you know where a violent crime is going to take place, you could make a mint off an app that told the populace where and when…
“Don’t go to the Dunkin Doughnut’s on 5th avenue this morning! Around 8:27 am, there will be an robbery at gun point! On the other hand, the block that intersects Elm and Main will be clear all day! Feel free to enjoy!”
If you carry, then carry all the time. I carry from the moment I get dressed, until I go to bed.
Aren’t you afraid a child would find your gun?
No. A responsible gun owner keeps his weapons out of the reach of children. Any gun not on my hip is in my safe. Although the fear driven media would have you believe that children die in gun accidents by the thousands, the reality is – according to the Center for Disease Control – Less than 1.5 percent of all accidental deaths under the age of 14 are due to the use of a gun.
Accidental drownings? 17 times more often, yet we never hear about a crusade against pool owners.
You Carry Cocked and Locked?
The term “Cocked and Locked” pertains to the standard Condition One carry of a 1911 style handgun.
One round in the chamber, hammer cocked, safety on. Although the thought and the picture of a gun sitting in a holster in that carry condition seems dangerous, the truth is certainly counter intuitive.
The 1911 has three safety’s… One is the grip safety… the gun must be in your hand to disarm the safety. The second safety is the thumb safety, which must be in the down (fire) position. The third safety is your finger off the trigger until your target is acquired and you are ready to shoot.
The gun cannot go off with your finger on the trigger and the thumb safety off but your hand not pressing the grip safety. The gun cannot fire with your hand on the grip safety, your finger on the trigger but the thumb safety on. The gun cannot fire with your hand on the grip safety, the thumb safety in the “fire” position and your finger off the trigger.
Truly, one of the safest guns ever made. Thank you, John Moses Browning.
No safety on your gun?
My 1911 and my Walther P22 both have manual safeties, the 1911 includes a grip safety and the Walther includes a magazine disconnect safety, though I don’t carry the Walther and rarely the 1911.
My Kahr CW45 and my Taurus TCP 380 are without safeties. Both the the latter are carried with one in the pipe. There is no danger of the gun going off unless I have placed my finger on the trigger, and if my gun is unholstered and my finger is on the trigger, then the situation is dire and with the hi-stress, physically debilitating flight or fight response taking over, dumping adrenaline into my system, I will be glad I don’t have to attempt disengaging the thumb safety before firing.
Why don’t you use safety locks?
If my gun isn’t on my hip, it’s in my safe. If an intruder comes into my home, I can open my safe and I’m ready to go. Having to take the extra time to remove a safety lock, in that situation, isn’t the smart thing to do. If the gun is kept safe and out of the reach of others, there isn’t any need for safety locks. It’s an unnecessary redundancy.
Why a .45? Why not a .22?
I prefer stopping power over quantity. The .22 is a small, high speed projectile that makes a very small wound channel. The .45 is slower, heavier and the wound channel – using the correct ammo – is devastating. That being said, caliber is a personal choice. Although the .380 is considered the smallest effective carry caliber, it is often said that a .22 in your holster is better than the .45 you left at home.
Most who carry, choose their weapons for a variety of reasons…
Comfort – my Taurus TCP .380 is about 15 oz loaded, my Kahr CW 45 is 27 oz loaded and my 1911 is 2.75 lbs loaded. So some days the weather and clothing dictate what I carry. I carry the Kahr most often, followed by the Taurus, while the 1911 is my overnight, home defense pistol.
Stopping Power – The most popular caliber is probably the 9mm. Versatile in that it is lighter for carry, allowing a double stack mag that doesn’t break your back, has good stopping power and is relatively inexpensive to buy and shoot. Basically stopping power is as follows .45, .40, 9mm, .380 – for semi autos. Wheel gun users (revolvers) have the added choice of .44 magnum, .357 magnum, and all others in between – 38 special, 10mm and some I’m forgetting. For a backup gun, some still use a .32, .25 and or .22. Do your research, weigh the pros and cons and decide for yourself what your carry needs are.
Ease of Use – Racking the slide on a .45 can be difficult even for men. Many people prefer a gun that doesn’t kick (recoil) so hard, allowing a quicker target acquisition. Men, women, older people, people with health issues (arthritis, gout) may find the lighter weight .380s to be easiest to rack, while others may prefer the simple yet just as effective revolver.
So, in the end, it all comes down to what is most important for you, what works for you, what you are comfortable with. Rent and test guns available at your LGS before buying, or ask a friend to try his guns.
Why do you use hollow points?
There are many kinds of ammo – Lead ball, full metal jackets, frangible and hollow points, just to name a few. But for defensive use, Jacketed Hollow Points are the preferred ammo. To explain it simply – the end of the bullet, instead of being tapered, is hollowed out. The bullet, in most instances, is covered in a Full Metal Jacket made of copper. When the round is fired, the bullet, upon impact with the bad guy, expands, making a larger wound channel, yet stopping before exiting the body – keeping anyone behind the bad guy safer.
The idea is two-fold. More damage is done with hollow points, meaning the fight should be over quicker and with fewer rounds expended, while due to their expansion, the round will stop in 12-15 inches on impact on the human body, so it won’t over penetrate.
FMJ – full metal jacket – ammo, will make a smaller wound channel and tends to over penetrate, putting bystanders at risk.
Most, if not all police departments use hollow point ammo. If it’s good enough for LE, it’s good enough for those of us who carry for defense.
Why a semi auto instead of a revolver?
I prefer the semi auto handgun over the revolver for three reasons. First, I don’t like the balance of the revolver – it feels odd in my hand. Second, I find it easier (for me) to reload a semi auto with a magazine over trying to reload a revolver (though those practiced in reloading their revolver are amazingly fast).
And third, the width of a semi auto is about 1″ making it easier for me to conceal.
Others like the feel of the revolver and the fact there is no racking of a slide or any of the reliability issues that some semi autos have – though you should never carry a gun that hasn’t had several hundred rounds thrown down range. Going ‘click bang’ every time is paramount.
Stopping power or one shot stop?
The one shot stop is television / movie fiction. With rare exceptions – head shot, spinal shot – the majority of criminals are not stopped by one shot and they certainly don’t go flying ass over tea kettle backwards.
Even after being shot multiple times, many can still turn and run, going a block or miles before either succumbing to their wounds or getting to an Emergency Room, where they are promptly arrested. And many keep right on coming.
All we can do as part of the concealed carry lifestyle, is train hard and practice, practice practice.
What are snap caps?
Snap caps are fake ammo rounds used for practice. Usually colored (blue and red seem to be the most common) they allow for safe practice with your carry gun. You can practice loading and reloading, clearing stovepipes, failure to feed (FTF), failure to eject (FTE) and jams. Side note… when practicing, all live ammo should be out of the room while triple clearing your weapon for safety.
Holsters are another area of personal choice. Many will tell you they have a box or a drawer filled with holsters they use, have used, will use again and don’t use at all. After hearing the tales of holster mania, I feel lucky I’ve found holsters that are comfortable right off the bat. Most all holsters cover the trigger and trigger guard.
My 1911 goes in a Crossbreed SuperTuck – an in-waist-band (IWB) hybrid holster (Leather and Kydex) that is of high quality and comfortable. My Taurus TCP goes into a DeSantis PocketTuk reversible holster – IWB or pocket carry. For pocket carry it is critical you use a holster that covers the trigger and nothing else goes in that pocket.
My Kahr CW45 has an Alien 1.0 hybrid IWB holster that I do not like – its cheaply made and uncomfortable – and a Clinger “Stingray” kydex holster that I absolutely love. I also have a cheap shoulder holster for my 45’s that I do not like. The crossover in back sits too high on my neck for comfort. I would love to get an Andrews Leather shoulder holster or a Galco rig, but with prices for a quality shoulder rig running between $150 and $250 dollars, it’s a little steep to pay out that money and find out it isn’t comfortable.
Holsters often come with adjustments for ride height, cant (tilt) and retention, but in the end, they must be comfortable enough that you carry every day.
Can I really carry a loaded gun into the mall or other public area with one of these permits? – See more at: http://www.youcancarry.com/faq/#faq8