My first full day of conceal carry is complete. And it was an eye-opening experience, in more ways than one. Let me explain…
First of all, I was curious to compare the Kimber Crimson Pro Carry II to my “reference gun,” the Springfield Loaded. Wow. The Springfield feels like a steel ingot in the palm of my hand, compared to the relatively feather-light Kimber. That’s no nock against Springfield, mind you. It’s the difference in a steel versus aluminum frame and an extra inch of barrel.
Bringing each gun to bear was interesting too. Even without firing them, I can see how the heavier Springfield will have significantly less recoil than the Kimber. That weight thing will be a trade-off. Still the aphorism holds true – it matters not how great, accurate, or awesome your gun is, if it’s not comfortable to carry (and you leave it at home). If it’s not there when you need it, you’re screwed any way you look at it.
As I mentioned, it’s been over a year and a half since I’ve carried on a daily basis. In that time, I’ve gotten divorced, taken care of a dying parent, and shipped a bunch of stuff to various locations around the country. Apparently, this included my CrossBreed Super Tuck holster, which has (temporarily, I hope) gone AWOL. No worries…I have a perfectly serviceable OWB paddle holster that came with my Springfield. Since Fall/Winter is upon us, there’s no reason I can’t carry outside the waistband, given my preference for wearing sweatshirts or untucked dress shirts.
First concern…my untucked shirt just barely covers the gun’s muzzle. That’s fine for walking, but bending over is going to require some careful attention to detail. That might not be a problem, concealment-wise, but it will be a dead giveaway to anybody who is observing people to see if they are concealing a handgun. Not good. But I decide to press on, anyway.
I decide to head out for dinner. I’m visiting Louisiana (trying to wrap up my late father’s estate), so I’m a little apprehensive. My Texas CHL is valid here, but that still puts me in an out-of-state resident status. I forge ahead. I get in the car to head over to my local pizzeria for a ‘dine-in’ experience. First problem…getting in the car with a gun on my right hip is…a little uncomfortable.
Now I’m a big guy – 6’4″ and at least 245 lbs. Most car seats don’t even start to go back far enough for me to drive comfortably. Not even in a Jeep. But adding a hunk of aluminum and steel pressing into my kidney and it takes the uncomfort up a notch. Gonna have to think about stowing the gun in a car holster.
Arriving at the restaurant is relatively uneventful. I take care to keep the pistol concealed as I exit the vehicle. Not a big deal, but not as natural a bunch of moves as I’d like. I’m a little self-conscious and somewhat paranoid about it to begin with, so I’m probably over-compensating.
The pizza joint is a favorite hangout of a deputy sheriff that I’ve chatted with several times. Nice guy. We’ve talked guns before. I’m wondering if he’s gonna be there, and if he’ll notice I’m carrying. Nope. He’s not. I then discover that getting in and out of a booth without revealing the gun is gonna be tricky. The booths are stacked pretty closely together, making getting in and out a challenge without a gun. WITH the gun, it’s an exercise in acrobatics.
No chance that even a casual observer would overlook me tugging at my shirttail. “That guy’s hiding something,” would be going through my head, if I were watching someone do what I’m doing. Still, if I don’t conceal the gun, I’m violating the law. The OWB thing is NOT working out. It’s certainly more comfortable to carry this way than how I recall the IWB carry, but still.
At the counter, I discover another problem with OWB. I can’t get to my wallet (in my right hip pocket). I can reach it, but the gun barrel is making it all but impossible to fish it out from my pants. I don’t see shifting my wallet to my left side as a viable option, nor will carrying on my left work for me. So I’m a little stymied here. I’m hoping that IWB will alleviate this problem.
When I return to my car, I remove the pistol from the holster and place on the passenger seat. Now realize I carry cocked and locked. Eight plus one in the pipe, safety on. I know that 1911s will not fire without the thumb safety off, the grip safety depressed, and the trigger pulled. I’m still worried about what might happen if I have to hit the brakes. That car holster is now a priority.
And I’m a little apprehensive, too, about removing/holstering the weapon at my car. It’s dark, and I’m fairly certain nobody saw me, but I’m still thinking about it. I’ve yet to be pulled over and had to deal with explaining I’m licensed to carry. And I’m not eager to pop my CHL cherry on that one. Nope, I’d rather stay legal and avoid the necessity to haul out the CHL with my driver’s license and explain everything. Just because I’m not breaking the law doesn’t mean I won’t have to undergo the same kind of scrutiny some law breaker might.
I get home, holster the gun and head inside. On my property, I don’t have the worries that I would off-site, but I’m still careful. Don’t want any neighbors freaking out. Again, I’m obeying every law, but I’m not sure that my neighbors are all aware of my 2nd Amendment rights on my own property.
I end the day searching for that bloody holster. I’m not sure how one piece of cowhide with a couple of pieces of Kydex can vex me so much, but it’s doin’ a bang-up job. Tomorrow, it’s time to head to the range.