This is why I’ve never recommended off-body carry

Published February 13, 2014 by
Filed under Carry, CCW, Clothing, Equipment, Self Defense

I was a professional advertising photographer for ten years, and to getting the shot meant I carried  a gadget bag full of expensive cameras on my shoulder in some pretty shady areas full of pretty shady people. That gadget bag drew attention to me and said to the criminal element “Look, here’s a bunch of expensive stuff you can fence quickly: STEAL IT!” 

And I never once considered carrying a self-defense weapon in my gadget bag: It’s what the crooks want, why would I just add to the stuff they get to steal by putting a weapon in there with my lights and lenses? 

Same with a purse: It’s what the crooks want and one of the things you want to defend, so keeping the means to defend yourself inside the thing you’re to defend. 

It’s like freezing your diet plan inside a tub of vanilla ice cream: You’re going to get into more trouble getting to it than you are using it. 

Video courtesy of Kathy Jackson, who recommends on-body carry, and so do I. 

Carry often, carry consistently.

Published January 9, 2014 by
Filed under Carry, CCW, Clothing, Equipment, Self Defense, Training

Stop for a moment: Do you know where your house keys are? Where your cell phone is or your wallet? Are they in the same place they normally are? Probably.

We carry our daily “must have” items in the same place all the time because we don’t want to spend a lot of time looking for them if we need them. 

The same thing is true for your defensive firearm. If (God forbid) you’ll need it, you’ll need it rightthisverysecond and not want to pause for a moment to reflect where it might be. This is why once you’ve decided on where to carry your pistol, you’ll want to carry in that position as often as possible and not move it to another location or yourself or somewhere else. 

For example, through trial and (some) error, I’ve found that I prefer to carry my CCW gun in an Inside The Waistband (IWB) holster, specifically in a hybrid Kydex/leather holster of some kind, positioned at about 3:30 on the same side as my strong hand. I usually carry either a Smith and Wesson Shield or a CZ P07 in that position, but if I can’t carry on my waist because of what I’m wearing or where I’m going, I carry a pocket .380, a Kel-Tec P3AT in a pocket holster in my pants on my strong hand side. My extra magazine (and you DO carry spare ammo, don’t you?) is either in a mag pouch on my waist or in a nifty little pocket pouch that keeps my ammo separate from the flotsam and jetsam in my pockets.  

Take a moment to think about where your carry gun is right now. If you’re not sure, or if it’s not close by, it’s not going to be much help when you’ll need it most. 

Thanks for your feedback.

Published December 12, 2013 by
Filed under Carry, CCW, Clothing, Equipment, Women

I want to thank everyone who answered last week’s poll because it really helped me (and a bunch of other people) become more informed about where to start when recommending on-body carry for women. 

Yes, no two women are exactly alike (no two men, either…), so there will always be a need for women (and men) who own guns to try things out for themselves and see what works for them. The difference is now I and a bunch of other people have a place to begin from when it comes to recommending on-body carry for women. 

Thanks again,


What being a gun owner is not

Published September 5, 2013 by
Filed under Clothing, Mindset, Self Defense

  • Being a gun owner isn’t being a gun nut 
  • Being a gun owner doesn’t mean you need to buy Mossy Oak clothing (unless you own some already)
  • Same is true of RealTree 
  • You don’t even need to know what MossyOak or RealTree is in order to own a gun
  • Being a gun owner doesn’t mean you have to watch Duck Dynasty
  • Being a gun owner doesn’t mean you start using tactical as a noun
  • Being a gun owner doesn’t mean you want to buy this
  • Or this
  • Being a gun owner doesn’t mean you vote Republican
  • Being a gun owner doesn’t mean you’ll be signed up for the NRA against your will (although joining of your own volition is a really good idea)
  • Being a gun owner doesn’t mean you’re compensating for something

Being a gun owner means you’ve realized there will not be a cop around when you need one, and that you are always going to be your own first responder. 

Concealed Carry in Business Casual

Published August 12, 2013 by
Filed under Carry, CCW, Clothing, Equipment, NRA

Concealed Carry In The Office

I have some thoughts about carrying a firearm in an office environment, and what holsters work better when you’re dressed up over at Shooting Illustrated.

I’ll have a review of one of the holsters on Tuesday, then a big announcement on Thursday you don’t want to miss.  

What’s coming up on Thursday? Two words: Free stuff.

This is the reason why this website exists

Published May 17, 2013 by
Filed under Carry, CCW, Clothing, Competition, Equipment, IDPA, Mindset, Practice, Self Defense, Training, USPSA

Owning a gun doesn't make you safe.

Owning a gun is just the first step on a journey. Guns are not self-protection talismans that ward off evil-doers all by themselves: You have to have it handy when you need it and you need to be ready, willing and able to defend your life and your loved one’s lives, if, God forbid, the need to do so arises. I applaud Sherri Shepard for doing what thousands of other people have also done: In order to keep her family safe, she has chosen to purchase a defensive firearm and become her own first responder.

The alarm and it’s warning terrified Shepherd, her husband Lamar Sally and their son Jeffery, despite the police arrived seven minutes later to reassure the family it was simply a false alarm.

Nonetheless, the devout Christian who has taken a more conservative stance on a number of recent hot-button political issues to make The View’s roundtable, declared they were buying a gun.

‘I’m trying to calm Jeffrey down and all I had was this wicker basket,’ Sherri said. ‘I have nothing, a bat, nothing. We’re going to get a gun.’

And that’s what this website is about.

If you’re a first time gun-owner, we’ll help you get your gun out from its box underneath the bed (or wherever) and onto the range. At TeamGunBlogger, we’re not tactical ninja SWAT types and we’re not ex-special forces with years of experience in the sandbox. We’re people like you who have chosen to purchase a gun (If I’m honest, more than one…) for self-protection and enjoy the shooting sports. We’ve gone down the road you’re about to go down, and we’re here to help guide you where needed. 

Stick around, and let’s enjoy the journey together. 

How to Carry Concealed

Published February 20, 2013 by
Filed under Carry, CCW, Clothing, Mindset, Practice, Self Defense

Or, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Concealed Carry, For People Who Aren’t Complete Idiots


You’ve decided you want to take responsibility for your personal safety and carry a firearm with you on a regular basis. This is one of the most adult decisions you can make, because you’ve realized that there WILL NOT be a cop around when you need one. In fact, criminals are really, really good at making sure there’s no cops around when their potential victims need one: That’s why they’re called “criminals” and not “felons”. 

I digress.

This isn’t going to be a post about equipment or training, it’s about getting yourself ready to carry a gun wherever and whenever it’s permitted. I’m going to assume you’re one of thousands and thousands of people out there who own a gun and have recently acquired a concealed carry permit, but you’re not sure if you want to carry your gun all the time. 

Which you do. We’ll get to why you want to do that in a minute. Let’s start off with the how. And please realize that I’m not a lawyer or someone in who’s served in the military or police. What I am, however, is a person who’s gone down the road you’re about to travel.

If you don’t have a holster for your gun, buy one. 

Many a pixel has been plotted over which kind of holster works best, but for starters, I’d suggest an Outside The Waistband (OWB) holster from a “name brand” manufacturer like Galco, Bianchi, Comp-Tac or Blade-Tech. And wear something to cover it, like an unbuttoned shirt or light jacket.

Plan on buying another after that one, because holsters are kinda like music: What works for me probably won’t work for you, and I change what I listen to depending on my surroundings and who I’m with. Same thing with how I carry a gun: I change what I carry and how I carry it depending on the circumstances I’m in. In general, though, I listen to 80’s alternative and carry inside the waist (IWB) on my right hip. I carry there consistently because I don’t want to have to think about where my gun is if I need it, and I’ve learned through buying a bunch of holsters that IWB carry is what I like best. 

Holsters aren’t an option. You want a holster because it’s just about the only way to carry a gun safely: Not only is sticking a gun into your waistband unsafe for others, you can also lose some things that are very dear to you if an accident occurs. As added bonus, having a holster for your gun is one way cops know you’re on their side if they have to stop and frisk you

Don’t carry just your gun. 

How will you call the cops if don’t have your phone? How will know if what you’re facing is a mugger or grandma on a dark night if you don’t have flashlight? There’s four things you need to carry with you besides your gun and holster and I’ve listed them over here

Learn the laws of your state first. 

It’s up to you to know the circumstances and consequences of carrying a concealed weapon in your state. Can you carry in schools? Churches? What happens if you walk into a business with a “No Guns Allowed” sign? Is there such a thing as businesses that can ban guns in your state? Can you carry a gun into a nuclear power station or military base? (Short answer: No you don’t, that’s a VERY bad idea.). 

Alan Korwin is a leading author on gun laws, and he has several books on the gun laws of America that are “must haves” for anyone who owns a gun, much less wants to carry one with them. 

Also, I recommend getting to know a lawyer in your area who deals with firearms, and signing up for one of the self-defense insurance programs out there BEFORE you need their services. 

Get to know your gun and use it safely.

Chances are, you had to pass a shooting qualification to get your concealed carry permit, but if you can’t remember the last time you practiced, it’s probably time to head to the range. And learn the rules of gun safety as if your life depends on it, because, well, it does. 

Think about what you’re getting, and what you’re giving up.

As my friend Caleb said, carrying a firearm means giving up the luxury to be angry. If you carry a sidearm, you have to consider the results of your actions and reactions a whole lot more carefully than if you don’t. 

What are you getting in return? You’re getting the ability to defend your life and the lives of your loved ones on the worst day of your lives. If being angry means more to you than that, please, for love of God and everyone around you, don’t carry a gun. 

Why carry a gun all the time.

Now we come down to the crux of the matter. The simple fact of the matter is, you don’t get to choose when you’ll need it. If you think you’re going somewhere where you might need a gun, DON”T GO THERE. Cops have SWAT teams to go places where they don’t feel safe, you don’t have that luxury. 

Criminals don’t play by your rules. Once you accept that, and learn to see the world how they might see it, you’ll be safer. We call that sort of thing “situational awareness” and it means the difference between having to use your gun and not having to use it. 

Think of it this way: Have you been in a car accident? Did that accident happen when you expected it? Do you wear a seat belt only when you expect an accident to happen? 

So why carry a gun only when you think there’s danger around? 

How to carry a gun all the time. 

Step One: Carry a gun with you all the time. 

Step Two: There is no Step Two. 

I know that’s kinda silly, but that’s about all there is to it. Start by wearing your gun around the house, and carry it loaded, because an unloaded gun is kinda useless, isn’t it? It’s going to feel a bit weird at first to have a gun hanging off your hip. Relax, you’ll get used to it. Then wear it outside the house on something you do everyday. 

We call it The WalMart Walk, but what it is doing something you’re used to doing in a way you’re not used to doing it. And don’t worry, your gun isn’t showing and no, no one else besides you is freaking out because you’re carrying a gun. In fact, I can predict right now what will happen the first time you walk outside the store with a concealed handgun on you. 

Absolutely nothing at all. So again, relax. 

Just be confident that you are now your own first responder. And stay safe. And have fun. 

Womens 5.11 Tactical Taclite Pro Pants Review

Published January 16, 2012 by
Filed under Clothing, Equipment, USPSA

I’ve previously established that I’m not tacticool, but I don’t mind admitting that there are some gadgets and widgets in the tactical gear world that I would be happy to own. I now have another item to add to this list: 5.11 Tactical’s Taclite Pro pants for women.

tac lite pro womens tactical pants image

I’ve looked at purchasing tactical pants in the past, but the options for women have always been extremely limited. While there are a few companies that make women’s outdoor clothing, the vast majority of tactical and outdoor sports pants are made only for men. Another issue that has prevented me from finding a pair of pants that are suitable for competition shooting is that I’m a bit vertically challenged, and pretty much all the tactical-ish pants for ladies I’ve looked at are ridiculously high-waisted. I don’t enjoy wearing pants that go up to my armpits in my daily life, and that would be a serious no-go when I’m shooting.

5.11 Tactical decided to tackle the ill-fitting women’s tactical pants issues, and they have recently updated their line of pants for women with a more friendly fit. I got the chance to see their new styling during Media Day at SHOT Show earlier this year, and they caught my eye right away. One of the ladies in the 5.11 Tactical booth was sporting a pair, and they not only looked sharp, the waist looked to be at just about the perfect height (just under the natural waistline).

Thanks to 5.11 Tactical, I now have a pair of Women’s Taclite Pro Pants of my very own. I selected my most often worn pants size, and I was very pleased to find that they fit great through the hip, seat and legs – not loose enough to be called “relaxed”, but still plenty of room to move around in. The top of the pants fall just below my natural waist; I could not have asked for better placement. I was surprised to find that the waistband was on the loose side (hey, maybe I lost some weight. More cake!), but the little areas of elastic on each side of the waist seems to help keep the waist from drooping. I’m almost always going to wear them with one of my competition shooting belts, so this is a non-issue for me. I’m considering that a plus, as the slight looseness will allow me to throw a pair of long underwear on underneath without them being too tight.

The only fit issue I had to deal with was the overall length – a good two inches too long for me. I knew this before I received them because they are only available in regular and long. I managed to hem them myself with no problem (and I didn’t even cheat with hem tape this time), but I really wish 5.11 would add a “petite” length to their line of tactical pants. After all, I’m perfectly average, according to the Government.

The Taclite Pro’s are made with poly-cotton ripstop, which is why I chose them over 5.11’s standard, cotton canvas tactical pants. I figured I would get more use out of a lighter weight pant, and since they are treated with Teflon for a stain resistant finish, I have a chance of keeping them snazzy looking for a decent amount of time. I have a habit of wiping my dirty, grimy magazines off on whatever I’m wearing, so having some stain resistance is a nice bonus.

To put these pants through their paces, I decided to wear them at the two big matches I shot in November: The IDPA South Mountain Showdown and the USPSA Area 2 Championship Match. The IDPA match was an all-day, 8 stage match, and temperatures were unseasonably low with dark rain clouds looming almost all day. I was concerned the fabric would be too light for the weather (anything under 75 degrees=cold), but my legs never felt cold, and they were so comfortable that unlike everything else I was wearing, I didn’t want to rip them off after wearing them for over 11 hours.

For the Area 2 match, I wore them on Saturday, our second full day of shooting. The weather was, again, unseasonably cool with the threat of rain. Once again, the pants felt great all day. I’m really glad I chose these pants for Saturday because it turned out to be the day with some of the most physically challenging stages. The reinforced knees came in very handy while going prone and the deep front pockets allowed me pick up after myself quickly after pulling a couple of yard sales with my magazines. In addition to feeling really comfortable in these pants all day, I also received an inquiry and complement on them from one of my fellow female squad mates, who is of similar stature and has the same problems finding pants to wear while shooting.

To see the pants in action, here’s a video of me shooting stage 7 of the Area 2 match. Yes, the popper on the far right was supposed to go down. (Note to self: the *ding* of the steel does not always mean it went down) Might I suggest focusing on my mag changes instead?

I really like these pants. So much so, I’ve already purchased another pair in black. I decided to purchase a size smaller then the original pair, and that might have not been the best idea. The waist fits better, but the seat, hip and upper leg area are a little too tight (So much for more cake). If you are a skinny-mini, you should be able to get away with purchasing a size smaller than normal, but if you’ve got some shape going on, I’d recommend sticking with your regular pants size.

The tactical pants reviewed above were supplied to me by the fine folks at 5.11 Tactical in exchange for my unbiased review. The 2nd (and soon to be 3rd and 4th) pair I own was purchased with my own monies. Reprinted with permission from