Tag Archives: EDC

SKILLS: 5 Tips To Avoid Printing With Your Concealed Carry

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestyoutube

Tips from the pros help prevent “standing out” in a crowd. READ MORE

printing

SOURCE: Team Springfield

The word “printing” has a whole different meaning for those with a concealed carry permit… Of course, it refers to “giving away” the fact you’re carrying because of an obvious gun outline or shape glaring away. This is one of the major mistakes you want to avoid and can land you in some pretty sticky situations if you fail to follow certain practices. Instead of taking a “let’s see what happens” approach, it’s best to spend time practicing specific forms and techniques.

WHAT CONSTITUTES A CONCEALED CARRY FIREARM?
There is somewhat of a debate among firearm owners and those with concealed carry permits. What constitutes a concealed carry firearm? For example, does it have to be a small, pocket-sized firearm? Or, can it be a larger model that is still hidden from view? While concealed firearms are generally considered to be “small,” the reality is that it just has to be hidden from sight. Regardless of whether you have a small or large firearm, hiding it from plain sight requires that you avoid printing.

TIPS FOR AVOIDING PRINTING
As said, “printing” refers to the visible outline of a firearm underneath an individual’s clothing. Regardless of the size of your firearm, printing is a very real possibility. To avoid this, it’s important to consider the following solutions:

ONE: Wear the right clothing. The number one cause of printing is a poor choice of clothing. While it’s fairly easy to conceal during the winter, it is more difficult during the hot summer months. Consider buying loose shirts and tucking in when possible.

TWO: Choose the right holster. Everyone’s body type differs, so it’s difficult to claim that one holster is better than another. For best results, try out multiple types — including over the shoulder, waist, and ankle holsters — to see what works best for you.

THREE: Pay attention to movement. The way you move is just as important as what you wear. When concealing in your waistband, try bending with your knees instead of your waist. When wearing an ankle holster, avoid situations in which you are required to stretch or reach.

FOUR: Ask for advice. Before leaving the house, ask a friend, spouse, or family member whether they can spot the outline of your firearm. If they know what they are looking for and can’t immediately find it, this usually indicates that it is concealed well.

FIVE: Consider size. While there are ways to conceal large firearms, some select a smaller size. No matter what size of firearm you decide is the best fit for you, be sure to use the correct holster and clothing to conceal it.

no printing
Better!

SKILLS: The Perspective of BALANCE

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestyoutube

Choosing a gun for concealed carry is a very important decision. Here are some ideas on carefully considering all pros and cons to select the best for you. READ MORE

handgun choice

SOURCE: Team Springfield, by Jason Burton

Somewhere, some time ago I read or was told “Everything in moderation, nothing in excess.” The statement and its underlying sentiment has been something that has stuck with me for years, even if I didn’t always apply this principle in real life. The basic concept I get from that statement is balance.

Everything can and should have balance and recently I found myself once again contemplating the idea of balance as it relates to carry guns.

USER PREFERENCE
To state the obvious: I am a die-hard 1911 user. For the better part of the last 20 years I have used a full-size 1911 in a concealed carry role. To also say it has been my main shooting / range gun would be appropriate. I’ve willingly given up a high-capacity magazine in exchange for the exceptional ergonomics of the slim yet full-length grip. Regardless of events or weather or circumstances, the 1911 has remained my constant companion. If I had to choose one principal attribute that has made carrying and concealing this large gun as easy as it has been, it would be the relative slenderness of the pistol.

PRACTICE MAKES PONDERING
After a recent range session with the Springfield Armory® 9mm RO® Elite Compact, I once more was reflecting on pistol performance, ergonomics, and employment in a concealed-carry mode. I contemplated the idea of balance as it relates to carry guns and our individual responsibility of personal defense.

So in this increasingly high-capacity world, could a single-stack gun be the perfect embodiment of balance and moderation and do they actually make the most sense when used in a concealed carry role?

PROS AND CONS
Here is where we start down the road towards balance and we should be practical in acknowledging that every carry gun is a compilation of trade offs in one form or another. Whether it is caliber, capacity, size, weight, ergonomics, trigger type, or other attribute — like most things in life you may have to give something up (or at least part of something) in order to gain something else.

My personal choice of the 1911 is a good example. In exchange for carrying a gun that is powerful yet easily concealable (provided by the relative slimness of the single-stack design), I give up capacity when compared to other platforms. Same comparison can apply to the size and weight. I choose a full-size pistol due to the positive performance and shooting aspects in exchange for carrying a relatively heavy gun. We can continue with these comparisons, but you get the point.

BEING YOUR OWN FIRST RESPONDER
By now, I’m sure someone is reading this and thinking, “No way a full-size 1911 is a balanced or moderate choice,” and in fairness, the commitment to carry an all-steel, full-sized 1911 may not be for everyone. However, if you consider what one truly needs in a personal defense gun, you may find that a single-stack gun of some type fits the bill.

Before you can define your needs you should begin with the understanding that you will likely be required to be your own first responder. What you bring with you as your own first responder will help give you options. Since you can’t save anyone if you don’t save yourself first, your equipment can become an important factor. The aforementioned balance of “pros and cons” comes into play here.

EVALUATE YOUR REALITY AND YOUR NEEDS
So what is needed in a personal defense pistol? All else being equal (reliability, accuracy standards, etc.), the gun should fulfill some basic requirements:

The gun needs to be easy to conceal, not just easy to carry. By that I mean the gun can’t just be small and light, although those things may help. I fully understand the ideas of proper holster selection and dressing around the gun, but the point is that the overall bulk and size element of the pistol should help to make it easy to dress around. The same principle applies to spare magazines as well.

The gun needs to be ergonomic. The “grip” and how the gun interfaces with the shooter is of tremendous importance and should be especially considered when using the pistol as a reactionary self-defense tool. This can be a pretty wide field because so much depends on shooter’s hand size and potentially overall physical size. There is such a thing as a gun that is too big or too small. I have found that when a gun doesn’t physically fit a shooter, it typically becomes less shootable for them and much worse when it is fired under stress.

The gun needs to hold enough ammo to solve your problem. Capacity is important primarily because it gives a shooter the ability to manipulate the pistol less. However, care should be taken not to over emphasize capacity in lieu of other basic requirements. Something to keep in mind is that in many fights, the last shot fired is the one that wins the fight. If the gun works well and is easy to shoot in a reaction mode, the first shot and the last shot might be the same, negating any remaining capacity. Even still I would strongly advocate carrying a spare magazine, if for no other reason than the magazine in the gun could malfunction. Along those lines, being easy to carry and conceal said spare magazine might make one more apt to bring it with them.

BE WARY OF EXCESS
There are extremes that can be born out of all of these factors, so try not to get bogged down in excesses of one direction or the other. What I mean is this, while a derringer is slim, easily carried and concealed, its inherent capacity limitations and required manual of arms don’t make it a viable option for personal defense. Keeping the aforementioned factors in mind and remembering moderation, an ergonomic and concealable gun that has a minimum capacity of 7 rounds — while being readily reloadable — is probably a choice that one can stake their life on.

RO Elite

For me, single-stack guns of all types have always embodied an ideal balance of moderation. My recent test drive with the Springfield Armory® RO® Elite Compact 9mm reminded me once more of the practical benefits of a slim, compact gun that is easy to handle and shoot.

With the continued popularity of the 1911 platform in general, as well as newer offerings such as the XD-S®, and XD-E™, and 911 .380, it would appear that slim is in!

So when it comes time for an honest evaluation of what you need for personal defense, ask yourself if a slim or single-stack gun fits that role? You might be surprised by the answer.

SKILLS: Dry-Fire Practice With Lasers

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestyoutube

Not everyone agrees on laser sights for handgun defensive use, but Kyle Schmidt thinks it’s a great training tool. READ WHY AND HOW

SOURCE: Team Springfield,  by Kyle Schmidtlaser sightAlthough some people seem to disagree on whether or not a laser on a pistol is a “good” aiming device for self-defense shooting. One thing about them is undeniable: lasers are a great training tool.

Occasionally, when I am training friends, clients, or co-workers how to shoot, I will attach a laser to their gun to help them better understand some basic shooting concepts.

Before using the laser though, I like to make a target that has multiple areas to aim at with some level of contrast so it is easier to identify exactly where the laser is aimed.

LASER TARGET TIME
I make a dry practice target out of 2 USPSA targets. I use USPSA targets because they are different colors on each side. USPSA targets have an upper head with an A and B-zone and a body with A, C, and D-Zones. You will need a razor or a pair of scissors. You will only cut one of the targets, the other will remain intact. For simplification, we will refer to the target that we are cutting as Target 1 and the target which will remain intact as Target 2.

TARGET 1 CUTS:
Cut out the A-zone of the head (upper target zone).
Cut the C-zone out of the target. The body A-zone is included in this cut. Be careful to leave the head attached (don’t cut off the head); You need to razor / cut under the perforations while trimming near the head.

Target 1 should now have two big holes in it; one where the A-zone head was and one where the body C and A-zones were.

Cut the body A-zone out of the C-zone piece you previously removed (Step 2). Keep the body A-zone, but discard the left over C-zone piece.

COMBINE TARGETS:

target 1

Stage Target 2 with the shoot side (tan side) facing up.
Stage Target 1 with the no-shoot side (white side) facing up.
Place what remains of Target 1 on top of Target 2.

This should make a white colored target in the D and B-zones, with the tan colored target in the C and head A-zones. Use small pieces of white tape to tape the top, bottom and sides of the two targets together.

This is your new Laser Target 1.

ALMOST DONE:

target 2

Flip the targets over so Target 2 (white side) is facing up. Place the tan colored side of the body A-zone (that you cut from Target 1, step 4) on top of Target 2 A-zone. If you have trouble lining up the A-zones, you can push a small push pin through the diagonal corners of the A-zone on Target 2. Use the push pin holes to align the corners of the body A-zone.

To finish the dry practice target off, I add a one-inch black square piece of tape to the center of the corresponding scoring zone. I like to measure the center of the C-zone’s height, as the perforated “A” is NOT the center of the A-zone.

This is your new Laser Target 2.

Now you should have one practice target that has 5 distinctly noticeable scoring zones; A-zone body, A-zone head, entire head, C-zone body, and the entire target. Additionally, you have a one-inch black piece of tape on each side of the target.

ATTACH AND ZERO LASER
Before you begin your laser dry practice, attach and zero the laser at the distance you plan to practice. This is critical for some of the drills we are going do with the laser. (Check out sights HERE.)

Here is how I zero the laser for dry practice:

Choose your distance and target.
Point / aim gun at specific spot on target.
Line up the fixed notch and post sights on target.
Adjust the dot (from the laser) so it is 1) centered (left and right) on the front sight and 2) the front sight covers half of the dot (up and down). Only the top half of the dot will be visible.

Because the laser is mounted so far below the fixed sights, the laser will need to be realigned with the sights if you want to try a drill at a different distance.

HOLDING / AIMING LASER DRILL
When I was writing this, I had just returned from Camp Perry where I was learning about shooting the sport of Bullseye. This is the ultimate challenge in fundamental pistol accuracy. It requires execution of some of the most fundamental techniques required for extreme accurate pistol shooting. If you are not familiar, all of the strings of fire are shot with your strong hand only, at 25 yards and 50 yards, on a target with the 10-ring measuring just under 2.5 inches. Bullseye, in short, is a very difficult shooting discipline.

One of the things I noticed as I am trying to shoot the 50-yard line strings is how much my gun is moving (or appears to be moving) compared to the center of the target. This is not only a problem in bullseye shooting, it is just greatly magnified due to the distances.

A shooter must know what their ability to “hold” on a target is, with varying degrees of difficulty. One of the best ways to test this is with a laser, and generally, it is easiest to see the laser in reduced lighting. Try this “holding” drill:
Get your Laser Target 1 — with the C-zone side visible.
Set the target up at the distance of your choice, let’s say 15 yards for this example.

With the laser turned off, use the iron sights to aim in the center of the C-zone. Make note of how stable the gun is while you are aiming in the middle. We are not pressing the trigger yet, only aiming the gun.

Now turn on the laser and shift your focus to the laser’s dot on the target. Make note of how stable the dot is on the target while you are aiming. It’s probably moving around more than you would think or like.

Try to keep the dot inside the C-zone — hopefully this is fairly easy. It should be readily apparent when the dot leaves the C-zone and enters the white background of the D-zone on the dry practice target.

When you can easily do this, flip the target over to use Laser Target 2, and repeat the drill.

First steady the dot in the body’s A-zone.

Once you are able to keep the dot in the A-zone of the body, move up to the head and see if you can “hold” the dot in the head reliably. This may not be as easy as it seems.

Once you have mastered the entire head, move to the head’s A-zone (on Laser Target 1).

Finally, test your hold on the 1-in. black square of tape.

target 3

You can continue to experiment at different distances to see how well you can hold in the different scoring zones.

WHY DOES HOLDING MATTER?
Quite simply, if you can’t “hold” or keep the gun aimed in a particular target zone, it is unlikely that your bullet will impact the desired scoring zone reliably.

You can use this dry practice tip to determine if you are improving your ability to keep the gun steadily aimed in the intended target area.

HERE is a great laser sight!