A Comparison Of Affordable Concealed Carry Insurance Plans

A Comparison of Affordable Concealed Carry Insurance Plans

I’ve done some other round-ups of self-defense legal plans on the blog, but things have changed in this industry to the point where an update is probably needed.

First off, it looks like the Self Defense Association is no more. Their website has nothing but a parked domain and their social media hasn’t been updated in over a year.

Secondly, the USCCA isn’t advertising their Silver introductory-level plan anymore, but it is available if you ask for it.

Thirdly, Texas Law Shield has increased their nation-wide coverage to the point where they’re available in 19 states, and have re-branded themselves as “U.S. Law Shield”.

Finally, the NRA has toned down their marketing of Carry Guard insurance quite a bit. It’s still out there, three levels down on the Carry Guard website, but the current push for Carry Guard seems to be more about the training they offer than it is about their CCW legal insurance plans.

CCW InsuranceAlso, I came across a nice little breakdown of what to look for in a concealed carry legal plan, written by an actual attorney**. His list of things to look for in self-defense insurance are:

  1. Attorneys’ Fees Coverage
  2. Bail Bond Coverage
  3. Access To An Attorney
  4. Freedom To Choose An Attorney
  5. Civil Judgement Coverage

Which is, all in all, a good list. The only thing that non-attorney me might add to that list is the importance of “First Dollar” coverage that kicks in from Day One, versus coverage where you have to pay and then you get re-imbursed by your plan.

Do you have easy access to a half-million dollars or more in loans to cover your upfront costs? I don’t.

If you carry a firearm, I heartily suggest you spend a few dollars and sign up for a self-defense legal coverage plan of some sort. It just makes too much sense. I’ve had a number of friends get in serious legal trouble due to their defensive use of a firearm, and you don’t want to go in front of a judge with a public defender whose legal knowledge is probably limited to defending actual crooks in a court of law. Instead, you want someone who knows how to the defend the truly innocent, and that is going to cost money. Lots and lots of money.

You carry a gun because you planned ahead for a lethal force encounter. Get a legal plan to prepare for a battle inside the courtroom.

CCW Insurance Plans

 NRA Carry Guard
Silver
USCCA
Gold
Second Call
Full Coverage
Armed Citizens
Legal Defense
US Law
Shield
CCW Safe
Bail$100,000$5,000 / $50,000$5,000 / $50,000$25,000 + Merits$2,500 / $25,000$1,000,000*
Your Own AttorneyYYYYNY
Criminal Defense$100,000$100,000$50,000$25,000 + MeritsCovered$1,000,000*
Civil Defense$500,000$500,000$50,000Based On MeritsCovered$1,000,000*
Civil Damages$500,000$500,000$50,000Based On MeritsNot Covered$1,000,000*
Any WeaponYYNYYN
Expert WitnessesYYYYYY
“First Dollar” CoverageNYNYYY
Cost$22/mo
$264/yr
$22/mo
$264/yr
$14.95/mo
$170/yr
$135/yr$16.85/mo
$202/yr
$41/mo
$499/yr
Online SignupOnline SignupOnline SignupOnline SignupOnline SignupOnline Signup

 

* Coverage for CCW Safe includes bail, criminal and civil trial attorneys’ fees and civil damages.
** Do I really need to say that I am not an attorney and that this is not legal advice I’m giving out here? If so, I am. Figure it out for yourselves, and go talk to a lawyer about this stuff, because it’s a good idea. I, personally, have ACLDN and am a USCCA Affiliate.

Optimizing Your Murse-anary Game

Optimizing Your Murse-anary Game

Speaking of gear bags, my family made a trip up to Orlando a few weekends ago to do our usual round of theme park visits. We did something a little different this time, though, and went to the Florida Mall to visit the M&M’s store, because my wife loves those candies*. I like ’em too, but not as much as she does, so I sat outside the store on the bench for 15 or so minutes today, waiting for my wife to complete her pillaging of the store. I took that break as an opportunity to do some people watching and see how many guys passed wearing backpacks, sling bags or man purses.

Now granted, this is a tourist area so men will probably be carrying around a lot more stuff with them than if they were at home, but in that 15 minutes, I counted 12 guys of all shapes sizes and colors carrying some form of pack or bag. Bags ranged from school backpacks (8 guys) to a full-on purse (not that there’s anything wrong with that…) to three guys wearing sling bags, one of which was your typical tactical gear bag.

It’s interesting to note that the guy with the tactical bag looked hipster-ish rather than Hayley-ish, with glasses and hoodie and the whole hipster uniform.

I have no compunction against carrying around an extra bag to hold all my extra stuff, probably because I carried around either a laptop bag or a camera bag** for over twenty years. Whether or not a gear bag/camera bag/tactical man-purse is appropriate to carry around with you depends on the context of where you are. For instance, I have never seen a murse in a grocery store, but I see them all the time in tourist-y areas. I don’t see them in movie theaters, but I do see them in coffee shops. Also, keep in mind that the increasing use of iPads, Kindles and other small tablets means that more and more guys are carrying those gadgets around with them to use them outside of the house, so you’ll see man-purses in places you normally wouldn’t like in church or in restaurants.

Your first option should always be to carry your essential gear on your person, but if that’s not an option, or you feel like you need a little more gear than normal, a man-purse might not be a bad option.

Just leave the leather purse with the chrome clasp to your wife, okay? 🙂

 

 

* I don’t know why she has to obsess about those and not obsess about guns like normal people do.
** Domke or GTFO. Seriously, if you shoulder-carry your camera gear, they are the best, bar none.

A Deeper Shade Of Grey.

A Deeper Shade Of Grey.

I spotted a guy in church this week carrying a black sling bag covered in MOLLE straps, (probably something like Mapedition or similar). The guy carrying it stood out not only because he was carrying a bag, (here are other guys in the crowd doing that) but by the fact that he was 6′ 1″. 210-220 pounds, ridiculously fit and had a short, military-style haircut.

In other words, he looked like a cop or something similar. He was DEFINITELY not fitting in with the rest of the crowd.

There are people who can get away with carrying a military sling bag and not look like they were setting up to invade Fallujah: He wasn’t one of them.

Now I have no doubt that the Maxpedition bag was useful and handy and probably had enough gear in it to stop a small army in its tracks. However, if his intent was to look like just another worshipper in church, he failed. Maybe a little less Tier One and a little more Pier One might be in order when walking around in civvies.

The Cognitive Dissonance O’erwhelms Me.

The Cognitive Dissonance O’erwhelms Me.

Gun instructors: We’re teaching you how to defend your life with a gun, any gun. It’s not the arrow, it’s the Indian. There is no such thing as a dangerous weapon, there are only dangerous men*.

Also gun instructors: You are a fool if you recommend that your students carry a pistol in .380 or a smaller caliber.

So which is it? Are the basic skills of marksmanship and accurate fire under stressful situations applicable to any handgun, or should you skip all that folderol and just get a Glock 19?

Me? I say, if you train with a pocket .380 and you know what it can and can’t do because of your training, go ahead and carry it with confidence.

That statement assumes a bunch of things, though:

  1. That people who own pocket guns don’t treat them as a talisman of self-protection, but rather have the desire to seek out training.
  2. That trainers are capable of teaching how to properly use pocket guns.
  3. That people are aware of drills and quals specifically set up for backup guns (Chuck Haggard ran us through the Atlanta PD Backup Gun qual at TacCon, and there’s one for Georgia State Troopers as well).
  4. Mostly importantly, that trainers realize they are not training student to be exactly like themselves, but rather, they are training students who can adapt their techniques to their own lifestyle. If your methods work only for you, you are not training students, your are raising up disciples.

How many of the assumptions we make about what makes an “effective” carry pistol are based on what is actually effective, and how many of those assumptions are based on what we ourselves are comfortable with and designate as being a minimum requirement for our classes?

Now, to be fair, there is a BIG logistical element at play here. Speaking as someone who regularly takes a 9mm Shield to training classes, it kinda sucks having to swap out mags twice as often as a Glock 17 user, and it only gets worse when I train with my LCP. Also, having just put 1600+ rounds through an LCP and watching its reliability FLY downhill after round 500 or so, they’re just not meant for, say, a Gunsite 250.

But that doesn’t meant that people who own them can’t be trained to a point where they can draw and hit a target at self-defense distances in a reasonable amount of time.

It just means ain’t nobody going to Rogers with an LCP.

 

* Or women. Or whatever.

Fully Koala-fied

Fully Koala-fied

We are constantly being judged by standards. We’ve had the idea that we need to achieve passing grades or better drilled into us since at least our first day of school, and that idea continues through our adult lives. My bonus at work is based in part on how much new business I bring in, and that number is a set amount known to me and my boss. Standardized drills and qualifications are important in firearms training because if you (God forbid) have to defend a life and go to court, pistol qualifications are admissible as evidence and are not subject to cross examination (how do you cross-examine a piece of paper?).

Also, even before it gets to court, if you can bamboozle the D.A. with a list of certifications and qualifications that prove that you know how to shoot (and shoot as well as an FBI Pistol Instructor), your chances of going to court get smaller and smaller.

Shoot a qual, and shoot it either on video or with a witness. Create a foundation for your ability to defend your life with your pistol, and see how you improve on that foundation.

Slick On The Draw.

Slick On The Draw.

John Corriea of Active Self Protection recently mentioned a couple of things that have been rattling around in my head for awhile*. First off is the ubiquity of reloading your gun when it comes to pistol drills and qualifications. Thanks to security camera footage and after-action reports, we know that the number of times an armed citizen has had to reload during a gunfight is pretty darn close to zero, and yet reloading on the clock is an element of oh so many drills and qualifications.

Maybe it’s time for that to change.

Secondly is the value of the sneaky draw. After watching 10,000 gunfights on video, John has seen a number of them that started when the armed civilian (who is usually in charge of if and when the violence will begin in an encounter with a bad guy) drew his gun surreptitiously from the concealment and used the advantage to surprise to come out ahead.

We spend oh so many hours on the range practicing our draw from concealment, shaving off bits of seconds so we can go from a 1.7 second draw to a 1.5 second draw.

But you know what’s faster than that? Having the gun in your hand when you need it, not in your holster. To the best of my knowledge (and correct me in the comments if I’m wrong), there is no one out there teaching how to do a sneaky draw from a holster as part of their pistol curriculum.

And maybe there should be.

 

* Heaven knows there’s a lot of room up there for them to rattle around in…

Ruger LCP2 2000 Round Challenge: Rounds 1751-1850.

Ruger LCP2 2000 Round Challenge: Rounds 1751-1850.

I took the gun up to Shoot Center to do some indoor range work with the Crimson Trace green laser I have on the gun. I can see the dot during the day, but it’s indoors where it really shines.

Yes, I meant to write that.

The MagTech and Fiocchi ammo I had been using in this test caused this gun no end of troubles, so I loaded up my mags with Federal Premium .380 from Lucky Gunner, and I headed off to the range, where something interesting happened: I couldn’t hit crap with the laser, but did ok with the minimal iron sights on that little gun. Here’s the same target, shot at 10 yards with irons vs. laser.

While neither target is a shining example of marksmanship, something happened when I saw that green dot show up on the target, and BLAMMO, I jerked the trigger. However, when I lined up the sights, I took my time and pressed the trigger and managed to deliver acceptable results for a .380 pistol that’s slightly bigger than an index card. I’m *used* to the lousy sights on this gun, what I’m not used to is the green dot. More work on this is needed, but at a later date because I’m calling an end to the test.

Yep, that’s right, the 2000 round test of the LCP2 is ending 250 rounds short of the goal. On the 87th shot of my session, the pistol threw a Failure To Eject malfunction at me, and I’ve had enough. The gun was reasonably reliable through the first 500 rounds, but boy howdy did things go downhill from there.

Ammunition-wise, this was the tale of the tape. From what I’ve seen, if you get a change to shoot MagTech in an LCP2, don’t.

RoundQuan. ShotFTEFTF
Hornady Critical Defense 90 Grain JHP24
Tula Ammo 91 Grain FMJ12
Speer Gold Dot 90 Grain JHP6
Winchester White Box 95 Grain FMJ5062
Hornady Custom XTP 90 Grain JHP2
PMC Bronze 90 Grain FMJ85021
Magtech 95 Grain FMJ1004
Fiocchi 95 Grain FMJ1002
Federal American Eagle 95 Grain FMJ1001
Blazer Brass FMJ95 Grain 50

The LCP2 is a pocket pistol, not a service pistol. It’s not built to the same standards as, say, an S&W M+P or a Glock, and it turns out there’s a reason why they’re called “service” pistols… they’re meant to stay in service and not barf up ammo after 500 rounds.

Now, does this mean that the LCP2 is a bad choice for a defensive gun? No, not at all. Pocket guns just are not designed to take the same abuse as a service pistol and are rarely have even 500 rounds put through them over the course of their lifetime (although I was kinda hoping this one would go further into the test than it did).

Bottom line is if you have an LCP2 is that unless you’re as dumb as I was and took things to the extreme, you little gun will serve you well. Put 100 or so rounds through it a year to maintain competency, and save the torture tests for the guns that can take the abuse.

Ruger LCP2 2000 Round Challenge Results

Rounds Fired
100 Rounds Federal Premium FMJ 

Total Rounds Fired: 1750
One possible failure to eject on round 116
Failures to eject: Rounds 400, 489, 974, 993, 1277, 1323, 1359, 1737
Failure to feed: Round 873, 1526, 1534, 1556, 1583

Product Review: Mag Guts +1 Magazine Springs And SSA MagFix Baseplates

Product Review: Mag Guts +1 Magazine Springs And SSA MagFix Baseplates

I’ve pretty much settled on the Smith&Wesson Shield in 9mm as my “go-to” carry gun for more-casual occasions.

I can hear the teeth gnashing as I type this, but the fact is, I’ve trained with this gun, I know what it is capable of, and I am absolutely confident in my ability to perform with it on-demand. However, with 8+1 rounds it’s not the highest capacity gun on the market right now, and it means that carrying a spare magazine is usually a good idea.

Enter the MagGuts +1 Follower. At $22.95, it costs around what eight round Shield mags are going for these days, but it works as advertised. I popped the baseplate off of a S&W 9mm +1 mag, dropped out the existing spring and follower, and slid the new base plate right back on. I did have to do some spring-wrangling to get the follower to line up, and unlike the stock spring, the edges on the MagGuts spring are sharp and pointy. No blood was shed in the alteration of the magazine interior, but I did get the point, and I got it often.

I also received a couple of MagFix baseplates for the 8 round Shield magazine, and these are terrific. I had been using pre-production aluminum MagFixs on my Shield mags, and I was curious to see how the plastic ones would compare. The good news is, they’re easy to install and work well with the MagGuts +1 follower. The only change I had to make was to use the standard S&W baseplate instead of the thinner MagGuts plate, but it was an easy fix to make.

The MagFix is a great addition to the Shield: Besides solving the sliding insert problem, there’s a little lip on the bottom of the sucker that adds stability to my firing grip and makes the gun feel more secure in my hand. Also, it’s a low-profile solution to the 8 round mag baseplate issue. Other magazine baseplates for this gun, like the ones from ProMag or Taran Tactical, add bulk to the butt of your gun, making them harder to conceal. The MagFix, though, is essentially the same size as the S&W magazine and prints much less than other options.

All of this is moot, however, if the combination doesn’t work, so I shot 50 rounds through the MagGuts / MagFix combo over the weekend, and there were no issues to report. I would have liked to do more, and I will, but my initial impression is that this is a great way to get one more round out of your Smith and Wesson Shield, and if Nigel Tufnel taught us anything, it’s that one more is ALWAYS better.

The bottom line is, if you have a 9mm Shield, these would definitely be two additions I’d add to your gun to make it a more effective fighting tool

Slide, Hammer, Holster.

Slide, Hammer, Holster.

One thing I like about Step By Step Gun Training’s Shoot N Scoot events is that they give the average gun owner an opportunity to safely draw a loaded gun from a holster, shoot it, then re-holster. The gun industry assumes that such things are common skills that everybody knows how to do, but the reality is quite different, both inside the industry and with regular gun owners as well. Not everybody does gun games or has access to a pistol bay or backyard range, and very few indoor ranges allow for drawing from a holster. As a result, the only opportunity a student receives to draw and shoot a loaded gun from a holster is at a training class.

This is not a good thing.

A couple of observations from TacCon this year:

  1. There was a shooter in Lee Weems’ class shooting a SIG Sauer 938 from a wildly inappropriate holster, a Nate Squared tuckable hybrid holster carried at the appendix position. We can debate the utility of hybrid holsters at a later date, but the holster this student was using was definitely NOT set up for AIWB and they were struggling. A few minutes on a range with an instructor could have solved a bunch of problems there.
  2. I shot almost all the pistol classes at TacCon with my CZ P07 in a Comp-Tac CTAC carried on my strong-side hip. One thing I learned in MAG40 was to side-step left and push my right hip out towards the holster, giving me a clear path to the holster which didn’t put any body parts in mortal danger as I was re-holstering. And, as best I could tell, I was the only one doing that. AIWB carriers at TacCon were, for the most part, leaning forward and making sure their wedding tackle wasn’t in the way of their muzzle, but I didn’t see any extra-special care with re-holstering done by strong side hip carriers. This is not good.

I can’t help but wonder if practical shooting has an influence on this somehow. Don’t get me wrong, I think competition is fantastic and every serious shooter needs to do it, but the “…and holster” command is done with an empty gun in USPSA and IDPA. This gets people used to holstering quickly and moving on to scoring, and that’s not a good habit to have if you’re doing it on a hot range. 

Bottom line is, the more venues we have to normalize the idea of carrying a gun on your hip, the faster the culture of concealed carry AND practical pistol will grow.

Flash Site Pictures – Monday Edition

Flash Site Pictures – Monday Edition

Some of this is my stuff, some is not.

Six terrible reasons not to carry concealed.

Getting ready for your first practical pistol match.

LCP vs. J-Frame, and the winner is

We are losing the cultural war against guns, and that needs to change. (I wrote this based on an email conversation I had with Michael Bane, and he talks about that conversation on his podcast this week.

This is how we’ll win, with more of this (and other stuff too).

Building an urban bug out bag. I like the idea of prepping for dust and smoke… we forget that fires tend to happen in a social unrest situation.

Tamara Has a Patreon Page. It’d be a good idea to chip In. I did.

Speaking of Gunblogging, if you’re not reading Grant Cunningham’s Hump Day Reading List and Greg Ellifritz’s Weekend Knowledge Dump, you really should.