Most concealed carry permit holders take their 2nd Amendment rights very seriously and live their lives accordingly. In other words, they train regularly, own several firearms, and have most likely put together some type of personal defense kit. Although all of these items are personal preferences, the amount of gear you carry becomes more of a hazard than a deterrent at some point.
At first, new members of the concealed carry community are usually comfortable simply carrying one firearm and possibly an extra magazine.
Over time, shooters that are serious about personal defense realize the benefit of having a plan that includes more than a firearm by spending time at the range, talking to other members of the community, and reading about the CCW lifestyle.
One of the most basic essentials that is easiest to carry is a flashlight. Flashlights have become very sophisticated and can run into the price range of hundreds of dollars.
Yet for most purposes, a simple light with a beam that can project 30 feet should be sufficient.
A flashlight should also be lightweight and fit in a pocket somewhere. While flashlights can be a blinding deterrent in a volatile environment, they are useful in non-combative situations as well, such as when you’re looking under the hood of a car, fumbling for a keyhole, or as an emergency signaling device.
Another excellent choice for personal carry gear is some type of knife. There is a huge assortment of knives on the market, ranging from small folding knives to large, fixed blade survival knives. As a pistol backup, a folding knife that can be opened easily with one hand is paramount. An automatic knife or switchblade are even better options, but these aren’t allowed in every state.
Other devices that could be potentially beneficial in a close encounter of the worst kind are chemical sprays such as pepper spray or batons. One particularly effective pocket baton is the Persuader. With a basic knowledge of pressure points and anatomy, any person of average strength can use this little baton to inflict highly effective pinpoint injuries to any would-be assailant.
Yet for many, the biggest decision about what to carry centers around a backup gun. Is it really necessary? Well, yes and no. Author Steve Collins addresses the controversy in his article “How Much Gear Is Too Much?” at USConcealedCarry.com:
“However if you don’t train with the backup gun and don’t have it somewhere you can instantly get to it when you need it, it just becomes an extra three pounds you’re toting around every day. If your situation is such that you can honestly see yourself needing one, the best thing you can do is not tell anyone.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)
Like all gear, it is a matter of personal preference in the end. Your ultimate goal should be to have a plan in place so that there is a purpose for carrying whatever equipment you decide upon. If the latest tactical gadget doesn’t have a place in your carry lifestyle, leave it on the shelf.
On the other hand, if you can envision a scenario where it will increase your chances of survival, then by all means, find a place to pack it. The end result should be a delicate balance where you are meeting your personal defense requirements without telegraphing to the world that you are armed to the teeth.
In actuality, a successful home defense system needs three essential ingredients in order to keep the plan from ending up a half-baked recipe.
These ingredients are legality, safety, and effectiveness. They should be mixed together in varying amounts according to individual circumstances.
Each of these ingredients should be carefully considered while developing your plan, as author George Harris explains in his article “Concealing the Home Defense Weapon” at USConcealedCarry.com:
“You and you alone are responsible for your choices, which make it imperative that you think through your individual situation before making your decisions. Be flexible and open to change simply because the world around us is in a perpetual state of change.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)
Obviously, it makes sense to do a little background research to make sure your home defense plan doesn’t fall outside of local, state, or federal statutes. Regulations vary widely; permits may be required or you could be prohibited from leaving a loaded weapon unattended. A little groundwork beforehand can save mountains of problems down the road. Also, check with your local Concealed Carry Association; it may already have done much of the work for you.
Safety is an abstract concept and can be fairly objective in general, but as a cog in the gears of home defense, it is of paramount importance. Your plan has to take into consideration not only the obvious household members like spouses and children, but other visitors who may have access to various areas of your home. These include repairmen, utility workers, exterminators, and others. Firearms should not be accessible to any of these people unless they’ve been specifically trained in their use and are familiar with your home defense protocols.
On the other hand, in order for a home defense plan to be effective, firearms must be available when needed. To make this seeming contradiction work, several companies make biometric fingerprint sensing lock boxes that can be placed in appropriate locations around the home. Cabinets with electronic locks are another option.
There are as many home defense plans as there are gun owners with homes; each one has to determine what parameters work best for his/her situation and plan accordingly. Ultimately, the best home defense plan is the simplest one: keep your legally permitted firearm on your person at all times.
California has some of the most zealous anti-gun activists and the state also happens to be a lucrative market for firearms manufacturer North American Arms.
Unfortunately, North American Arms’ Sidewinder .22 Magnum Mini Revolver was one of the casualties of the state’s “California Compliant” gun control legislation because the gun didn’t measure up to the barrel length requirement as author Scott W. Wagner points out in his article “NAA Sidewinder: California-Compliant .22 Magnum Mini-Revolver” at USConcealedCarry.com:
“In fact, the NAA Sidewinder that I previously tested is illegal for new sale in California because even though it’s a single- action revolver, its barrel is too short. All single-action handguns must have at least a 4-inch barrel in order to pass muster.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)
Luckily, North American was able to make the adjustment fairly quickly at their production facility in Provo, Utah and the result is an impressive modern firearm with the look and feel of the Old West. Standard features of the street legal California Sidewinder include a stainless steel frame, laminated rosewood grips, and an updated cylinder shroud.
The newly refurbished single-action Sidewinder has a few other modifications as well. It’s slightly heavier, up to 8 ounces from the original 6.7 and with the longer barrel, the sight radius naturally increased. This feature makes the modern Sidewinder easier to use than the short-barrel version. When the ejector rod is pulled slightly forward, the cylinder swings out, utilizing a crane action. This affords access to an ejector rod and ejector star, which will push the empty cartridges out all at once; a definite improvement in the reloading process.
During range testing, the Sidewinder .22 Magnum easily produced tight groupings from 30 feet. However, recoil on this gun does get your attention. Even with the extra weight of the longer barrel, the Sidewinder still produced a very noticeable kickback when firing with .22 LR Hyper Velocity Yellow Jacket 33-grain hollow point ammo.
The revamped North American Arms Sidewinder .22 Magnum makes an excellent concealed carry firearm for California residents. For revolver fans, this gun can be a primary carry, backup, or home defense option. The Sidewinder sells for about $400 online, but get yours soon; they are quickly becoming a high-demand collectible gun.