What To Look For In A Good Pocket Holster.

What To Look For In A Good Pocket Holster.

I wrote a brief overview of some of the more-common pocket holsters out there for Shooting Illustrated last year, and I was kinda surprised by what I was sent by the holster makers out there. Some of them were very good, and some of them, quite frankly, sucked.

I didn’t add it to the article, but I did a quick test of all ten holsters to see how effective they were at three things:

  1. Retaining the gun in the holster.
  2. Allowing me to grab the gun on the draw
  3. Releasing the pistol from the holster when drawing the gun

I set up a two-part test to test the holsters I wrote about.

  1. I put my unloaded pocket pistol (in this case, my Ruger LCP2) in the holster, and turned it upside down, applying as little pressure to the holster as possible. This tested the grippiness of the holster itself, and if the gun dropped out of the holster, it failed.
  2. I placed the unloaded gun in the holster, put in the pocket of my cargo shorts, set up a target three yards away and set my shot timer for three seconds. I know from a previous test that this was more than enough time to draw the gun and get a shot off, so that determined the test criteria.
    I ran this test five times for each holster, and if the holster prevented me from drawing the gun in that amount of time, or worst still, came out of my pocket with the holster still attached to the gun on any one of the five draws, it failed.

Out of the ten holsters I wrote about, only six passed this test. They were:

The ones that failed this test and the reasons they failed were:

  • The Crossbreed Pocket Holster (Couldn’t grab gun).
  • Uncle Mike’s Inside The Pocket Holster (Didn’t retain gun).
  • Blackhawk Tecgrip (Didn’t retain the gun AND came out with gun on the draw).
  • Bianchi Pocket Piece (Came out with gun on the draw)

I’m almost willing to give the Bianchi holster a pass, because as a leather holster, it can mold itself into a shape that’s a little amiable to releasing the gun when needed. However, the Kramer Leather* holster released the gun when needed from the very start, so let’s leave the Bianchi on the “fail” list for now.

To demonstrate what makes a good pocket holster, let’s look at two of the holsters that didn’t make the cut.

The Crossbreed Pocket Holster is kydex/leather hybrid, just like almost everything that Crossbreed makes, and while that big leather backer completely disguises the shape of your gun in your pocket, it also makes it almost impossible to get a good grip on your pistol during the draw. Considering that the whole point of carrying a gun is knowing that you’ll have to use it at some (unfortunate) moment in your life and you’ll also need to use it rightthisverysecond, having a holster that by design doesn’t allow you draw quickly is not a good idea.

That Blackhawk! pocket holster… where to begin. First off, it’s way too deep: The muzzle of my LCP2 doesn’t come close to the bottom of the holster, and there’s no molding on it whatsoever, so there is no retention whatsoever. In addition to this, the only thing that’s keeping your gun in your pants pocket is the grippiness of the material on the outside of the holster, and if that doesn’t do it’s job, your holster is coming out of your pocket with the gun wrapped inside of it.

This has a negative effect on your draw speed.

What happens with this holster is that because it’s not fitted to your gun, your gun flops around in your pocket, and if you need to draw your gun it’s either someplace other than inside the holster, leading to longer draw times as you play a very, very dangerous game of pocket pool fishing around for your heater, or it comes out of your pocket along with the gun, leaving you pointing something at looks like a small coin purse at your assailant.

In short, a good pocket holster keeps your gun securely inside your pocket, allows you to get a good grip on your gun before the draw, and stays inside your pocket when you draw your gun. Anything less is unacceptable.


* HOLY COW do the Kramer and Bianchi holsters look good. It’s almost a shame to hide them away in a pocket.

Stop Apologizing For Carrying A Pocket Pistol.

Stop Apologizing For Carrying A Pocket Pistol.

I’m doing a little research on what’s out there as far as “how to” guides on carrying smaller guns, and all of them start off a variation of “Yes, I carry a pocket gun, but what I really like to carry is a Glock 19/1911/some other bigger gun.”

This is roughly equivalent to starting of a book on cooking hamburgers with “yes, I eat hamburgers, but what I really like to eat is reverse-seared dry-aged ribeye steaks.”

What does one have to do with the other? Yes, I like a good steak, but I like a good hamburger, too. If I want a burger, I buy a burger. If I want steak, I eat steak. I don’t apologize for eating a hamburger on a road trip, and I don’t apologize for liking to splurge on a good hunk o’ cow from time to time. Burgers have their time and place, so do steaks. You’d get p!ssed off if someone served you a Big Mac at a steak joint, and good luck trying to eat a porterhouse in your car.

Carry your pocket guns. Shoot them well. Learn what they can and can’t do. And don’t make apologies for what you carry.

The Tipping Point

The Tipping Point

In response to the horror in Parkland, Florida is looking to allow public school teachers to carry a defensive firearm inside the classroom.

Good.

What’s not so good are the training requirements. I understand that a lot of this is political cover so that a bill of some form can be passed in the legislature, and that the trust icon of law enforcement training is a powerful talisman of faith, but 132 hours of training, just so you can carry a gun inside school grounds like you can outside of school grounds?

From SB 7026: Public Safety.

(5) TRAINING AND INSTRUCTION.—All training must be conducted by Criminal Justice Standards Training Commission (CJSTC)-certified instructors.
(a) Required instruction must include 132 total hours of comprehensive firearm safety and proficiency training in the following topics:
1. Firearms: 80-hour block of instruction. The firearms instruction must be based on the CJSTC Law Enforcement Academy training model and must be enhanced to include 10 percent to 20 percent more rounds fired by each program participant beyond the minimum average of approximately 1,000 training rounds associated with academy training. Program participants mustachieve an 85 percent pass rate on the firearms training.
2. Firearms precision pistol: 16-hour block of instruction.
3. Firearms discretionary shooting: 4-hour block of instruction using state-of-the-art simulator exercises.
4. Active shooter or assailant: 8-hour block of instruction.
5. Defensive tactics: 4-hour block of instruction.
6. Legal or high liability: 20-hour block of instruction.
(b) Program participants may complete an optional, 16-hour precision pistol course as additional training.
(c) Ongoing and annual proficiency retraining must be conducted by the sheriff, as specified in the agreement.

Also, they’re bypassing the civilian training market and making it a money-maker for the Sheriff’s department. Not the most optimal of outcomes, but if it gets rid of the silliness of “gun free zones”, I’m ok with this. Florida led the wave of “Shall Issue” CCW permits back in the early 90’s, and if this creates a demand for a dispersed response to all kinds of dispersed threats, not just active shooters, this is a good thing indeed.

Flash Site Pictures – Thursday Edition

Flash Site Pictures – Thursday Edition

A quick roundup of interesting stuff on the web, some of it written by me, some not.

Just how effective are tourniquets in a mass shooter situation?

Pistol, rifle or shotgun for home defense?

“Confidence is contagious.”

Getting serious about having fun at the range means you’ll have more fun at the range. Duh.

Massad Ayoob on using short-barreled pistols for personal defense at longer distances. Speaking as someone who has passed both Mas’s shooting test and the FBI Pistol Qualification Test (at the Instructor level, no less…) with the 3.1 inch barrel on an S&W Shield, shorter guns can be VERY effective at longer ranges…

Whose Lifestyle Is It Anyways?

Whose Lifestyle Is It Anyways?

Claude’s comments on Ballistic Radio this month hit me really hard. The firearms training industry is in a Catch-22 right now: People flock to trainers who flaunt their high-level military creds because such people have trust icons galore, and at the same time, having a firearms background that is pretty much all M4, all the time is bloody useless for we armed citizens.

This is one of the areas where a background in executive protection can come in handy. While how they protect people may vary from how we armed citizens protect our loved ones, the people who stand around with radio headsets know how to remain discreet while heavily armed, and they have a long history of problem-solving with command tone, soft hands and if necessary, a pistol.

Which sounds pretty much identical to what we normies need to know. We need to think more like Frank Horrigan, and less like Gunny Highway.

Ruger LCP2 2000 Round Challenge: Rounds 1261 – 1399

Ruger LCP2 2000 Round Challenge: Rounds 1261 – 1399

Another day, another 140-ish rounds of Lucky Gunner’s .380 ammo through the little LCP2. This time out, it was just a slog to put as many rounds through the pistol as fast as I could, as today was a father-son range day with my youngest son, and my priority was helping him shoot, not running a test on this gun.

The LCP2 had one of it’s worst outings ever: 3 Failure to Ejects in under 140 rounds of shooting. While not a good thing, this is not too surprising to see as we approach the conclusion of this test. Two of the FTE’s were with Magtech ammo, and the other was with Fiocchi. The 39 rounds of Winchester White Box I put through it worked just fine.

A boy and his plinkster

Helping my youngest son with his shooting was the highlight of the day, by far. He’s a decent shot with my Marlin Plinkster, and he’s starting to love my red-dotted Smith&Wesson M22A. He owns a Remington 514, but I think he needs something more robust now that he’s older.

M22A and a young boy

Another highlight happened when we were loading mags: Bambi showed up to munch a bit on the sweet, sweet clover that was all over the ground of the backyard range we were shooting in, and offered up some suggestions about stance and trigger pull as we were shooting.

Everyone’s a critic.

Bambi and guns

And chill out: That Plinkster was empty, and there is a chamber flag in it. We were safe to load mags at that table.

Ruger LCP2 2000 Round Challenge Results

Rounds Fired
50 Rounds Fiocchi 95 gr .380 ACP
50 Rounds MagTech .380 ACP
39 Rounds Winchester .380 ACP

Total Rounds Fired: 1399
One possible failure to eject on round 116
Failures to eject: Rounds 400, 489, 974, 993, 1277, 1323, 1359
Failure to feed: Round 873

Flash Site Pictures, Tuesday Edition.

Flash Site Pictures, Tuesday Edition.

A quick roundup of stuff on the web.

  • Smith & Wesson has a new pistol out, the M&P380 Shield EZ. Apart from the word salad of a name, it looks like a really good little gun for people who want a gun to “feel safe” but aren’t going to get much training beyond a CCW class.
    Which doesn’t mean that a heavier, flat-shooting .380 is a bad option for a defensive pistol: It’ll do the job. Are the better options? Yes. Are those options worth the effort for 80% of the gun owners out there? Probably not. Really looking forward to seeing how S&W rolls out this gun, because how they marketed the Shield rollout was terrific.
  • My first article for the Beretta Blog is up, on what to look for in a firearms trainer.
  • And I’ve got an article on setting up a safe room inside your house over at NRA Family.
  • David Yamane was on Ballistic Radio, and it’s a great interview. Listen to it here.
  • Step By Step Gun Training is bringing John Farnam to Naples for a vehicle defense class. We spend hours and hours inside our cars each week, and carjacking is very real thing. Therefore, it’d be good to know what to do if you’re attacked inside your car because the rules change when the workspace shrinks.

Upcoming Training: Rangemaster Tactical Conference

Upcoming Training: Rangemaster Tactical Conference

Boy howdy, am I looking forward to this one. Not only because I’ll get to meet a whole lot of people in-person who I know only from the Internet, but also because of the training. Caleb Causey on trauma care! Ernest Langdon on DA/SA guns! Claude Werner on pocket snubbies! Mas Ayoob! Chuck Haggard! John Farnam! Craig Douglas! John Hearne! William Aprill! Greg Ellifritz!

Hang on a minute, all that awesome gave me the vapors. I need to sit down…

So yeah, really, really looking forward to meeting great people and taking some great classes. This is the training highlight of the year for me, bar none.

First Comes Motivation. Then Comes Action.

First Comes Motivation. Then Comes Action.

Claude Werner lists out some of the reasons why people don’t get firearms training.

  • Time
  • Expense
  • Accessibility
  • Scheduling
  • Lack of motivation
  • Lack of incentive
  • Lack of understanding

The thing is, though, people are willing to overcome the obstacles of time, motivation, accessibility, money and scheduling if they think that what they’re getting is worth the effort they put into getting it.

And if you don’t think this is true, ask yourself, when was the last time you drove the extra mile (or ten, or twenty) for really good pizza/Mexican/pasta/beer/whatever, versus stopping to eat at the first place you found?

I thought so.

If an experience, ANY experience, has been proven to be of value, you will do it again. How many people get CCW training? How many people then go beyond that CCW class and get more training in how to use their firearm effectively?

Answer: Not many. Very few.

The CCW Class is the top of the funnel: Enrolling in such a class is a tacit admission that a) threats exist and b) you’re aware of the need to do something about it. However, people who take a concealed carry class are not seeing the value in taking more training.

Why is this happening?

The answer, I think, lies in that word “effectively”. I don’t have the answer for this just yet, but the problem is clear: The value proposition for post-CCW firearms training is not apparent enough to gun owners, and that needs to change.

 

And As It Turns Out, I Have Done Just That.

And As It Turns Out, I Have Done Just That.

Me, five years ago:

According to the commenters (some of which are combat medics), I needed to start with a pressure and a tourniquet rather than the QuikClot.

Which exposes a big gaping hole (no pun intended…) in my training: Aside from CPR and some basic first aid, I’ve had no training in dealing with the effects of a negligent discharge.

Today, I’ve had a day-long course in first-aid trauma med, and I carry either an improvised tourniquet or a full-on SOF-T everywhere I go.

Cool.