Discrete CCW Update

Discrete CCW Update

quietly armed

Two things happened recently that have affected my choices of gear in discrete environments. One was listening to legendary mustache lawman Chuck Haggard talk about how he would advise people to carry a spicy treat dispenser rather than a reload, and the second is reading John Correia of Active Self Protection talk about how, out of the 10,000 gunfight’s he’s analyzed on video, a civilian has never had to reload, not even once.

This is why I no longer carry a spare mag for the LCP2. When I’m in business casual, I can carry stuff in my pockets, and that’s about it, so I have to keep my gear down to the absolute minimum.

Current Discrete Carry, Clockwise from Upper Left
Sticky Holster Pocket Holster, strong side pocket
Ruger LCP2 With Crimson Trace Green Laser, in holster
Streamlight 2xAAA Stylus Pro flashlight, clipped to weak side pocket
LCP2 magazine, in gun
6+1 rounds of Hornady Critical Defense .380ACP, in magazine
CRKT Pazoda 2, clipped in weak side pocket next to flashlight
Sabre Red pepper spray, weak side pocket
Leatherman PS multitool, on keychain
Keys, weak side pocket
Wallet, weak side pocket

All of that disappears fairly easily into the pockets of my work khakis. I’m not 100% satisfied with carrying that pepper spray rattling around loose in my pocket, but it will do until I come up with something else. I had been carrying around a Photon Micro-Light II on my keychain, but I realized that I wasn’t using it, and if for some reason I needed a backup flashlight, there’s an app on my phone that will work just fine for that task.

USCCA Elite CCW Insurance Versus NRA Carry Guard Gold Plus

USCCA Elite CCW Insurance Versus NRA Carry Guard Gold Plus

USCCA Elite CCW Insurance Versus NRA Carry Guard Gold Plus

This post shows up early and often for searches on “self defense insurance.” It’s a good post, and I’m proud of how it’s helped a bunch of people find the concealed carry insurance that was right for them.

But that post covers just the lower-end of the spectrum, not the “Cadillac” plans, and so I thought a follow-up post might come in handy so people can see for themselves how things shape up at the top end of the scale, and compare USCCA Elite CCW insurance versus NRA Carry Guard Gold Plus concealed carry legal insurance.

As always, remember that I am not lawyer nor do I give legal advice. Both companies post copies of their policies on their websites, and I urge you to read them over very carefully before you sign up for anything.

NRA Carry Guard Gold Plus

Aside from all the benefits listed below, NRA Carry Guard Gold Plus comes with a one-year membership in the NRA. The NRA also recently had a “Carry Guard Expo” featuring training opportunities and a trade show, and instructors can also add NRA Carry Guard training to what they teach.

Coverage costs EITHER $550 a year OR $49 a month, and the NRA is promoting Carry Guard very heavily right now. The NRA’s coverage is “first dollar” coverage: You will have to pay for your lawyers in someway, then, if you are acquitted, the NRA will reimburse you. NRA CarryGuard also covers your spouse if they need to use a firearm to defend a life, and it covers firearms only, not the use of other means of lethal force.

USCCA Self Defense Shield Elite

USCCA membership comes with a subscription to Concealed Carry magazine (my first article for them should show up early next year), and coverage costs EITHER $497 a year or $47 a month. The USCCA puts on a “Concealed Carry Expo” each year, and has so for the past four years. The USCCA also has their own cadre of trainers with their own training program as well.

USCCA self-defense insurance covers your spouse and also covers anyone under the age of 21 in your household if they need to use lethal force to defend a life. They cover most means of lethal force (knives, pointed sticks, fresh fruit) as well as the use of a firearm. The USCCA’s coverage starts immediately, which means there is no out-of-pocket expenses incurred by you up to the limits of your policy if you are acquitted.

 NRA CarryGuard Gold+USCCA Elite
Monthy Fee OR$50$47
Yearly Fee (Not Both)$550$497
Criminal Coverage$250,000$250,000
Civil Coverage$1,500,000$2,000,000
BailYesYes
"First Dollar" CoverageNoYes
Spouse Also CoveredYesYes
Any WeaponNoYes
Wage Compensation While In CourtYesYes
Training ResourcesYesYes
Choose Your Own AttorneyYesYes
SIGN UPSIGN UP

Usual Disclaimer: I am an NRA member, though not a Carry Guard subscriber, and I am an affiliate of the USCCA. 

It’s The Little Things That Make All The Difference

It’s The Little Things That Make All The Difference

Hi, my name’s Kevin, and I have a turtle draw: I hunch my shoulders up and drop my head down when I draw a pistol, and that’s affecting the speed and accuracy of my first shot. Why? To be honest, I blame the Combat Focus Shooting class I took way back in the day, where you’re taught to hunch up and hunker down as the first part of your draw stroke.

It’s affecting my speed because I’m moving more muscles than I need to in order to get my gun on-target. I don’t need to move my head, I need to move my hands and arms so my gun comes up to the level of my eyes and I have a decent enough sight picture to make the shot.

It’s affecting my accuracy because of my nearsightedness. I wear bifocals now, and part that sees close is the part at the bottom of each lens. When I turtle, because of angle of my head, I’m actually looking through the TOP of each lens, and as a result, my front sight is blurry.

Whoops.

Fortunately, a friend of mine on social media posted this video of Max Michel: Watch how his head moves during the draw.

Hint: It doesn’t.

A brief dry-fire session over the weekend with my new stance had me making consistent sub-1.5 second draws from concealment into the down zero area of an IDPA target that’s 7 yards away, including one that was darn close to one second flat.

I’ll take it.

Ruger LCP2 2000 Round Challenge: Rounds 938-1038

Ruger LCP2 2000 Round Challenge: Rounds 938-1038

Ruger LCP2 2000 Round Challenge

I’m doing a review of an accessory for the LCP2, and I took it as another opportunity to put some more rounds through this little gun. This time, rather than shoot on an improvised outdoor range, I shot in a new indoor range that’s popped up near my workplace.

The gun, as usual, was ridiculously easy to control for pocket-sized .380, and I was putting round after round after round into the center-chest area of a target 10 yards away and upper head zone of a target 7 yards away. Even those this gun is about the size of a chocolate chip cookie, based on how fast I get rounds on-target from the pocket and how accurate this little sucker is, I don’t feel underarmed when I carry it. Sure, I’d like something with a little more oomph, a few more boolits and a little more ability to reach out and touch someone at 20+ yards, but that is just not an option for me on most days of the week, so I carry a pocket gun and I learn what I can and can’t do with it.

I shot 100 rounds of Winchester White Box from Lucky Gunner on this session, and I ran into two hiccups with the LCP2: On the 37th and 56th shots on this range session, the LCP2 locked up with a Type 2 malfunction, which I was able to clear the usual way and then continued on shooting.

All in all, this was another successful range session with a gun that’s a lot of fun to shoot, and one’s that’s gone over a thousand rounds now with four malfunctions. Not bad for a gun that pushes the boundaries of both form and function.

Rounds Fired: 100 Rounds Winchester White Box .380 ACP

2000 Round Challenge Results
Total Rounds Fired: 1038
One possible failure to eject on round 116
Failures to eject: Rounds 400, 489, 974, 993
Failure to feed: Round 873

UPDATE: This was the gadget I was testing, the new green laser for the LCP2. An instant-on green laser on a gun this size really, really improves its utility as a fighting weapon.

So This Happened.

So This Happened.

I am the last person you’d describe as a “Tactical Timmy.” However, a few months ago, I wound up owning a couple of soft IIIA bullet-resistant armor plates, and rather than have them sit around on a closet shelf, I bought something to carry them in. Yes, it’s Condor gear, but it will suffice for now as this is my first plate carrier and I’m still figuring out what works for me.

This will NOT be a regular use item for me. At best, it’ll sit in my safe room until needed, or taken to the range for a class. The two smaller pouches will probably contain a handheld light and a spicy treat dispenser, and I may swap out one of the rifle pouches for a tourniquet.

AR500 plate carrier

It’s a start.

And Tam, Of Course, Is Correct.

And Tam, Of Course, Is Correct.

As someone who’s had to learn how to integrate various levels of armed self-defense into a white-collar working environment for almost a dozen years now, let me just add “HELL YES.”

“‘Dressing around the gun’ is the single dumbest godd*** concept the industry has ever come up with. Espoused principally by two groups; those who carry under color of law and those who don’t have real jobs. That is to say, not on the same planet as the rest of us.” –Claude Werner
There are people who work daily in non-permissive environments with dress codes, where a gun may be legal to carry, but would be a firing offense. Telling a 5’4″ woman in a skirt with no belt loops to “dress around” a Glock 19 in an IWB holster makes one sound a little dense.
There are people who have social lives who like to dress normally around their friends and peers at dinners or cocktail parties. There is a place for a gun that can be carried very discreetly.

IDPA knew this from the very start, which is why they came up with the Back Up Gun division, a division that’s now officially a part of that sport.

Firearms trainers? They’re still working on it. There are precious few pocket-gun specific classes out there, even though the LCP and its successor have been selling like hotcakes for the last ten years.

To me, “Reality-based” firearms training for new gun owners has to start by training beginners to use the guns they own, not the guns the trainer thinks they should own. You want more students in your class? Teach them how to shoot, not how to buy a gun you like.

How Do You Change The World?

How Do You Change The World?

I dunno, let’s ask Steve Jobs how he changed the world. Maybe there’s answers here for us as well.

Playboy: How about some concrete reasons to buy a computer today? An executive in your industry recently said, “We’ve given people computers, but we haven’t shown them what to do with them. I can balance my checkbook faster by hand than on my computer.” Why should a person buy a computer?

Jobs: There are different answers for different people. In business, that question is easy to answer: You really can prepare documents much faster and at a higher quality level, and you can do many things to increase office productivity. A computer frees people from much of the menial work.

Playboy: Those are arguments for computers in business and in schools, but what about the home?

Jobs: So far, that’s more of a conceptual market than a real market. The primary reasons to buy a computer for your home now are that you want to do some business work at home or you want to run educational software for yourself or your children. If you can’t justify buying a computer for one of those two reasons, the only other possible reason is that you just want to be computer literate. You know there’s something going on, you don’t exactly know what it is, so you want to learn. This will change: Computers will be essential in most homes.

Playboy: Was the initial market hobbyists?

Jobs: The difference was that you didn’t have to be a hardware hobbyist with the Apple II. You could be a software hobbyist. That was one of the key breakthroughs with the Apple II: realizing that there were a whole lot more people who wanted to play with a computer, just like Woz and me, than there were people who could build their own.

Let’s pause for a second and re-write those paragraphs a bit.

Playboy: How about some concrete reasons to buy a gun today? An executive in your industry recently said, “We’ve given people guns, but we haven’t shown them what to do with them.

Jobs: There are different answers for different people. In law enforcement, that question is easy to answer. You defend your life and the lives of the innocent much faster and at a longer ranges than just your fists, and you can reduce the danger to yourself. A gun frees people from much of the fist and nightstick work.

Playboy: Those are arguments for guns in law enforcement and the military, but what about the home?

Jobs: So far, that’s more of a conceptual market than a real market. The primary reasons to buy a gun for your home now are that you want to do some recreational shooting or you want you to protect you and your children from a real and specific threat. If you can’t justify buying a gun for one of those two reasons, the only other possible reason is that you just want to be feel safe. You know there’s something going on, you don’t exactly know what it is, so you want to learn.

Playboy: Was the initial market hobbyists?

Jobs: The difference was that you didn’t have to be a hardware hobbyist with the Glock 17. You could be a training hobbyist. That was one of the key breakthroughs with the (product that hasn’t been developed yet… or has it?): realizing that there were a whole lot more people who wanted to enjoy guns, just like Woz and me, than there were people who could build their own.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Guns have the same place in society right now as computers did in back in 1985. Most of us know we should have a gun around, but we struggle to come up with a reason why.

And this part is interesting as well: Jobs was predicting the home internet in 1985, back when the Internet was Arpanet and the .com had just been rolled out.

Jobs: The most compelling reason for most people to buy a computer for the home will be to link it into a nationwide communications network. We’re just in the beginning stages of what will be a truly remarkable breakthrough for most people—as remarkable as the telephone.

Playboy: Specifically, what kind of breakthrough are you talking about?

Jobs: I can only begin to speculate. We see that a lot in our industry: You don’t know exactly what’s going to result, but you know it’s something very big and very good.

What will happen when the personal safety empowerment that a gun provides (and the skills, attitude and courage to use it wisely) gets connected?

Can it get connected? Will connecting gun owners like we connect computers change society, or will it be something else?

Prep Work.

Prep Work.

I picked up an assignment, many years ago, to take pictures of Magic Johnson right after he gave a speech at a luxury Phoenix resort. I knew his time would be limited, so I arrived early, scouted a good location, and my assistant and I set up four high-powered strobe lights to properly expose him and wonderful Arizona sunset that would happen just as the shot was scheduled to happen.

But what DID happen was that the resort’s circuits weren’t up to the task of handling my strobes and their outdoor lighting at the same time, so my first test shoot blew a breaker and everything went dark.

I had to take a picture of Magic Johnson, and I had to take it NOW, no matter if my primary light source just went into the crapper.

Fortunately for me, I knew that resort pretty well and I knew the outside breezeways looked pretty good and went east-west so there was still light in them even as the sun was going down. I grabbed my assistant, my tripod and a flex fill, and away we all went for an impromptu available light shoot as the light slowly faded in the west.

And the chromes turned out pretty good. Good enough that I picked up two more assignments from the agency who assigned me.

Now think about it… if I hadn’t been familiar with the environment around me and I didn’t have that reflector and/or assistant with me and was inexperienced at slow shutter speed photography, I’d be completely out of luck and would have p!ssed off a basketball legend and not gotten paid by my client for the job.

Familiarity with your surroundings… having a backup plan and backup gear… recognizing what the issue is and working around it on the spot… why does that all seem so familiar? 😉

Oh, and if you get a chance to take photos of Mr. Johnson, do so. He was, BY FAR, the most approachable and laid-back celebrity I’ve ever photographed. It’s not an act with him.

Know When To Say When.

Know When To Say When.

Say when.

John Correia of Active Self Protection brought up an interesting idea in the midst of a recent interview on the Safety Solutions Academy podcast: For the armed citizen, it’s usually going to be us who initiates the fight, not the bad guy.

“In a law enforcement setting, the cop initiates contact with the bad guy. The fight starts when the bad guy decides to start fighting, and the fight ends with either the bad guy in cuffs or the cop is dead. In a CCW gunfight, it’s almost the exact opposite. The gunfight in the middle is almost the same, but as a CCW holder, it’s your actions, in a territorial violence situation, that initiates the fight, and the fight ends when you break contact with the bad guy.”

It took me awhile to figure it out, but I can see his point. The bad guy is going to want something from us that, unless we run into an asocial predator who wants nothing more from us than our death, is NOT going to be our life and limbs. They are using the threat of violence to get our money or car or something else from us, and they don’t expect us to fight back. As such, while the bad guy initiates the threat, the fact of the matter is, it is US that initiates the violence.

Is that empowering? You better believe it is.

You are no longer the victim in this scenario: YOU get to decide how the scenario will play out, and by being patient and then willing and able to counter the threat of physical violence with an overwhelming amount of actual violence if needed, we take away his (or her) power in one swell foop.

Waiting your turn for violence fits in well with a de-escalation strategery which should be (and is) our preferred method of dealing with “monkey dance” violence, but it also adds in another fear-reducing element: WE are the ones who are in charge of how violent an encounter will get. The crook is NOT expecting violence: He’s expecting that the threat alone will be sufficient to produce the desired reward, and the minute that doesn’t happen, WE have the upper hand.

That’s hellaciously empowering.

Disarming Smile

Disarming Smile

The Colonel

Michael Bane posted this great quote from Jeff Cooper on Facebook:

“You will probably finish a fight with what you have in your pistol, but carry at least one spare magazine with you at all times. Reload after the fight, because it is just unseemly to walk around with a half empty gun”

Which is part of the reason why I carry a reload, even when I carry a higher-capacity gun like my P07. Do I expect to get into a running gun battle that will require a dozen round or more? No. I don’t expect to get into ANY sort of gun battle at all. However, it’s nice to know that I can reset back to “normal” when the shooting is over.

EDC Pistol Training has more thoughts on this subject, and they’re quite good. Go check them out.