Friday, July 8, 2011

Reflections on Concealed Carry

I took my 1911 with me twice yesterday.  Somehow, I managed to resist the orbiting NRA Mind Control Ray.  Here is a more or less stream of consciousness set of impressions.

1. The holster (Dragon Leather Works Quantum) is really, really good.  Specifically, it's rock solid, and holds the pistol absolutely immobile.  Sitting down, standing up, leaning on the railing of the Congress Street Bridge (to see the bats, natch) - the pistol didn't change its position at all.  This is in great contrast to the first time I CCW'ed - my crummy holster that time ended up slipping down inside my britches, so I was always worrying about it.

I was also always messing with it, and as Tam likes to say, stop messing with your gat.  This holster meant I didn't want to.  More on the holster itself in a later post, but if you're new to carrying, run don't walk and get a good, stiff holster with strong belt clips.  Srlsy.

2. I changed a couple times before I left Forward Operating Base Borepatch.  Some of my favorite Hawaiian shirts print pretty badly when I bend over - the shirt catches a bit on the grip and it becomes obvious that I'm carrying.  Heavier fabrics seem to work better - either they resist getting snagged, or the fabric is heavy enough to drop off the grip.

3. I didn't have a round in the chamber.  I was a bit nervous, it being really the first real time and all.  Obviously, you carry a pistol for the unexpected, and so this was way suboptimal.  Once I'm more used to this, I expect that cocked and locked will be the norm.

4. The laws in Texas are seemingly subtly different from those in Georgia.  My guess is that the first rule is "Don't cause a problem for someone else", but I actually asked a couple guys in the office what I should know.  The two answers were "don't drink if you go into a bar" and "Don't go places where there are the '30-06' signs posted" (this is the state law that lets private businesses ban firearms).  This bit was where the solidity of the Quantum holster came in handy - since I wasn't worried about the piece itself shifting, I could devote all my attention to keeping myself as much out of legal trouble as possible.

5. It seems that "Common Sense Gun Control" consists of a lot of strange and unexpected additional prohibitions that most people are unlikely to know, especially if you are - like me - from out of state on a reciprocal permit.  Probably I'm being nasty and suspicious here.

More impressions later, but today was a thousand times better than the first.

UPDATE 8 July 2011 17:22: Weer'd Beard and Newbie Shooter have important things to say about this.


Alan said...

Printing isn't really something I worry about in Texas. It has to be obviously a gun and intentional and a cop has to see you doing it before you're in trouble.

The "obviously a gun" thing is useful because that could be ANYTHING under your shirt and unless the outline is unmistakably a gun, you're ok.

bluesun said...

It seems that "Common Sense Gun Control" consists of a lot of strange and unexpected additional prohibitions that most people are unlikely to know, especially if you are - like me - from out of state on a reciprocal permit.

Yes. I'm still all discombobulated from the time I spent in Montana on a Colorado permit.

George said...

Good for you, BP. Pretty soon not only will you carry cocked and locked, you will feel uncomfortable when you don't carry!

Marty said...

A good holster AND a good heavy belt is the key. Wear it all the time at home. Get use to it. Try several holsters and clothes combinations. Don't be reluctant to change your style of dress a bit.

Tam said...

What Marty said. The right belt is very important.

Guffaw in AZ said...

I recommend belts from 'The Wilderness'Tactical Products.
(I get nothing from them, I just like their stuff)

SiGraybeard said...

Like everyone else, I'll say "belt GOOD". But here's a little more: if you're pondering a belt to buy, grab it and try to squeeze it so that top and bottom edges touch. This should be somewhere between really damned difficult and impossible.

There's a guy on our local gun show circuit who sells custom made gun belts for $25. They're either plain smooth leather, or imprinted with a basket weave pattern that looks like all the police leather I've seen. I have two in different colors, and my wife has one.

Google said...

Borepatch - Have you considered just getting a snubby .38 ultralight and putting it in a pocket holster? You seem pretty nervous about carrying, and to me, carrying in a pocket holster is about as simple as it gets. Put gun in holster. Put holster and gun in pocket. Unless you're wearing skin-tight wranglers, it won't even be noticeable, and you hardly ever know it is even there.

As for the reduction in firepower, I carry a speed loader in my other pocket and also understand that something like 95% of gun confrintations occur at ranges less than 4 feet and involve less than 4 shots fired. At those ranges and capacities, you can't beat a snub nose. No safety to screw with. Your malfunction drill consists of "pull the trigger again" and there is no chance of the gun's workings and actions getting tied up in clothing and such (assuming you do as I did and get a hammerless model). It is really handy, and in my opinion, the best way to carry because if it is too obtrusive, too uncomfortable, and too much of a hassle, you won't do it. How hard is it to put a few ounces of gun in your pocket and forget it is even there until you need it?

I've spoken with a lot of people that think that my snub nose is a joke, but I carry pretty much everywhere and they don't, because, as they put it, it is too much of a hassle. Their 15 shot magazine and .45 caliber ammunition left in the safe at home will do them far less good than my 5 shots of +P 38 since I actually have mine. My .02

Goober said...

Damned auto-complete. My name should have read GOOBER, not GOOGLE. Sorry.

aczarnowski said...

The first times out with a gun I felt like the entire world was staring at me. The feeling goes away pretty quickly.

Yes, knowing the rules, in both their technical and practical forms, and in each place you find yourself, is a PITA. But keep carrying anyway.

dsmith512 said...

Just a note about Texas law 30.06. Most business signs fail to meet the specifications. Wording must be exact and in Spanish and must be a certain size.


Bob S. said...


There is also the 51% sign to worry about.

If an establishment receives 51% of its income from alcohol sold to be consumed on site; it is illegal to carry in that establishment.

However, here is where the screwy rules come into play. The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission requires those such places to post at the entrance a 51% sign.

If the sign is not there, you aren't penalized for carrying in that establishment.

I understand and support not carrying a round in the chamber when you are first starting.

There are many times you will be an unaccustomed movement or reaction. Until you've learned how to react with a firearm on your person, it makes sense to take an extra precaution.

I encourage you to continue carrying at home. It is great practice and you can work through those situations without embarrassment.

If you have any questions about Texas CHL laws, don't hesitate to email or contact me. I

Rick C said...

"It has to be obviously a gun and intentional and a cop has to see you doing it before you're in trouble."

This is true *for getting arrested.* Bear in mind--and these circumstances won't apply to Borepatch--that that doesn't cover all situations. Printing got Chris Byrne fired--or at least it was a pretext used.

Mark Horning said...

I SO hate anti-gun states like Texas and FL. So much simpler here in Arizona where open carry is legal and always has been.

Skip said...

Been carrying in Kali for awhile. A 5" Kimber in one of Dennis's Fuglys.
Works great and with cheap Wally oversized shirts I think I'm the only one who notices.
I too have not put one in the pipe on regular jaunts, but L.A. or Oakland, loked and loaded.

BornLib said...

I had someone give me the same advice as Weerd did about the snap-caps, and it was very effective. For the first few hours I just carried it around loaded with snap-caps getting used to it.

The next step was actively trying to get it to "snap" while I was wearing it. Then I took it off and tried to find a way to make it "snap" by poking and prodding at the holster. With a properly designed holster, there is no way to make the gun go off while it is still in it short of cutting it open.

When you cannot get it to fail on purpose you feel much less anxious. I was carrying with a round in the chamber the very next day.

Anonymous said...

There are several inexpensive iPhone/iPad/Touch apps that have the state by state gun laws. Extremely handy.