The New Shooter Bag

Published April 29, 2014 by
Filed under Equipment, Training, Women

One of the things I’ve added to my supply of shooting gear is a new shooter bag: It’s pretty common to see safety gear on the prize table of shooting matches, and I’ve been fortunate to win enough to stock a small bag with the stuff I need (besides a gun and ammo) to introduce someone to the world of the shooting sports.

The bag I use is pretty boring: It’s not some über-tactical gear bag that looks like it just got off the plane from Khandahar, it’s a plain ol’ cloth shopping bag (albeit with a 5.11 logo on it) that wouldn’t look out of place at Wal-Mart. Why that bag? If you’ve got a friend who’s nervous about guns but wants to learn, you don’t want to show up looking like you’re a member of Seal Team Six.

Inside the bag is enough stuff for at least three people (and myself) to have fun on the range:

  • Eye Protection: I like these Peltors because they fit over eyeglasses, and I try to have a smaller pair of some kind for kids and smaller-sized shooters as well.
  • Ear Protection: I have a spare set of inexpensive electronic noise-reducing earmuffs that I keep in the bag because they allow people to hear range commands but still protect your ears, and I back that up with a couple of pairs of regular earmuffs and a whole bunch of in-ear foam plugs as well.
  • Targets: Paper plates are great for new shooters because they’re non-threatening and familiar (and the fact they’re about the same size as a center-mass is a good thing, too). Reactive targets like steel plates are good becuase they give instant feedback, however, they’re hard to fit into a shopping bag… 😀
  • Miscellaneous Gear: A staple gun, extra staples, sunscreen… add and subtract from this as you see fit. I’ve also tossed in a spare NSSF First Shots book to give them something to read during downtime and some tissues and bottled water to help with thirsty days on an outdoor range.

And one more thing: Make sure you tell your friends to dress for the range before you go shooting. T-shirts and running shoes are great, but avoid scoop-neck shirts and sandals. Trust me, you do NOT want a hot piece brass fresh out of your gun falling in between your toes.

Don’t ask me how I know this. 😀

Keeping Your Gun Safe in the Home

Published March 24, 2014 by
Filed under Carry, Equipment, Practice, Self Defense, Training

A few months ago, I mentioned that I carry in my home just like I carry outside of my home. Yes, I have a quick-access gun safe and I use it at night to store my CCW gun, but day in, day out, I keep my carry gun on me except when I’m wrestling with my sons or some other activity. 

Why? Because it’s faster to engage a threat with a gun on my hip or in my pocket is faster than any off-body storage method, that’s why. 

Another gun lock test.

Published March 18, 2014 by
Filed under Equipment, Self Defense, Training

This one, to be honest, has me searching for other means to secure that shotgun, which is the gun I have in my house for when everything else has gone wrong. 

Not a big fan of how this one turned out, partly because Jaci is not familiar with a Mossie 500, and partly because I wasn’t happy with how that lock operates. GunVault doesn’t make this lock anymore, and I think I know why.. 

Which is faster: A gun in a nightstand drawer or in a gun safe

Published March 11, 2014 by
Filed under Carry, Equipment, Mindset, Practice, Self Defense

I’m not a big fan of leaving loaded guns lying around the house because it’s kinda like leaving the bleach jug in the refrigerator next to the milk jug: Something bad is going to happen, it’s not a question of IF, it’s only a question of WHEN.

So we decided to test things to find out if a gun safe safe is a better alternative to leaving your gun in a nightstand drawer, and the results really surprised us.

A few notes about this test:

  • Jaci and Robert are almost identically-skilled as shooters
  • They used guns they were familiar with
  • Robert was not familiar with how to use that gun safe because we wanted to simulate the stress of figuring out how to open it correctly under stress
  • The shots were so close together, the shot timer app on my phone couldn’t tell them apart. 

The gun safe we used was this model from Paragon safes, but if I’m honest, I prefer GunVault safes

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. 

Gearing up for an IDPA competition

Published January 28, 2014 by
Filed under Competition, Equipment, IDPA

We’re big fans of competition as a means of testing yourself and your gear in something that’s more stressful than just punching holes in paper on a shooting range.

If you’ve bought a handgun for self-protection, I recommend shooting it in some form of competition. Massad Ayoob, one of the world’s foremost experts on firearms law, says it best, 

“A shooting competition isn’t a gun fight, but a gun fight is most definitely a shooting competition.” 

And a gun fight is one shooting competition you DEFINITELY want to win. 

You don’t need a lot of special gear beyond what’s needed for everyday concealed carry because an IDPA match is designed to shot with commonly used equipment. I enjoy shooting International Defensive Pistol (IDPA) competitions with my everyday concealed carry gear to see how it works under stressful conditions. I don’t win matches when I do that, but I learn what works and doesn’t work in the real world.

To shoot IDPA an IDPA match, you’ll need: 

  • A good, serviceable holster. Avoid nylon or cheap leather holsters, as they tend to collapse when the gun’s not in them, making them harder to re-holster your gun after you’re done shooting. I recommend a Kydex outside the waistband holster for a first competition holster (or first holster of any kind) because they’re inexpensive, rugged and won’t collapse in on itself after you’ve drawn your gun.
  • Magazine pouches to hold your spare ammo. Typically, you’ll need 3 magazines to shoot an IDPA match: One in the gun loaded to either it’s full capacity or the IDPA limit for your Division, whichever is less and two more for reloads during a course of fire. I use double mag pouches from Blade-Tech and they work just fine.
  • A cover garment. As IDPA is a *defensive* pistol match, it’s designed to mimic concealed carry, and that means keeping your gun and gear concealed as you shoot a match. I prefer to cover my gear like I cover my CCW gun and shoot a match with an untucked t-shirt, but most competitors end up using a dedicated cover garment because it allows for a fast draw and is comfortable to wear during a match. 
  • Eye protection and ear protection. This is a no-brainer. If you own a gun, you need something to protect your hearing and something to protect your eyes from ricochets.
  • A desire to have fun and learn something. I love shooting IDPA, and everyone I’ve taken to a match has loved it as well. 

If you have all that gear, I strongly suggest shooting an IDPA match. You’ll learn more about yourself, your gear and how both of you react to stressful condition than hours on a square range will teach you.

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,

K

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