Anyone who has gone through the process of obtaining a concealed carry weapons permit has heard the lecture about the importance of training. Unfortunately for many, training becomes an afterthought rather than a priority as soon as they leave the class with their freshly printed certificate of completion.
Without training, muscle memory disappears and reaction time dwindles to the point of being dangerous. There are several reasons why training is so easily put off.
The first is the time factor. In today’s busy world, very few people have the spare time to dedicate the needed hours to range training. The other big reason for procrastinating is money. The cost of ammunition isn’t cheap and range fees add up quickly as well.
The range is the ideal place to build up basic skills as a beginning shooter and learn more advanced techniques as your competency increases. But during the mundane interim training periods where you’re honing your technique, there’s another way to improve form that will save you time and money — dry training.
Dry training involves going through the routine of drawing, aiming and firing, but without the firing pin hitting the hammer. “Snap caps” are also made for this purpose, which are basically dummy cartridges designed to cushion the blow of the hammer and/or firing pin. This allows for an endless number of practice rounds without the expense of live ammo. Another advantage is that dry training can be accomplished in just about any setting so that you can actually simulate a close quarters encounter in the comfort of your own home.
Author and U.S. Concealed Carry Magazine editor Kevin Michalowski describes other advantages to dry fire training in his article “Range Time vs. Dry Fire…and Why?” at USConcealedCarry.com:
“With dry training, you can (and should) practice hundreds of perfect draws that include elements like a big step to the side to get you off the X and a verbal challenge to turn bystanders into witnesses.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)
By practicing with various scenarios, dry fire training allows you to get away from the rote routine of draw, fire, shoot, and gives you the opportunity to assess your surroundings and make better decisions before opening fire on a potentially unarmed citizen.
No amount of training will completely prepare you for a real-life attack, but through a combination of range training and dry-fire training, your odds of surviving an attack will dramatically increase.
It’s no secret that the concealed carry community is one of the hottest and fastest growing markets in the United States. Increased instability and threats from abroad combined with violent gang activity and desperate drug addicts at home are certainly part of the reason for why people are choosing to exercise their Second Amendment rights.
Naturally, all of those guns flying off the shelves need to be holstered somewhere and as a result, holster sales are following the same skyrocketing trajectory as handguns.
For many years, holsters were basically dedicated to one carry position, which depending on the type of weapon, could result in wardrobe adjustments and an increased level of discomfort especially in the appendix position.
But now, CrossBreed Holsters has introduced a product that gives concealed carry shooters more options. Author Scott W. Wagner describes the Freedom Carry in his article “CrossBreed Freedom Carry IWB Holster” at USConcealedCarry.com:
“Capable of being used in appendix, cross-draw, and strong-side carry in the 3-5 o’clock position, the Freedom Carry is basically a reduced-size SuperTuck holster with the leather backing cut away to support only one locking clip.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)
Appendix carry is one of the most efficient positions for weapon placement for a couple reasons. First, the gun’s proximity to the hand allows for a very quick draw. The closeness of the hands is also a deterrent to any “gun grabbers.” The scaled-down backing design is what gives the Freedom Carry the flexibility to be comfortable in the appendix position.
In addition to the diversity of carry positions, the CrossBreed Freedom Carry can also be canted into several different angles besides the straight draw position through the use of an adjustable clip. The bulk of the holster is shaped with Kydex to fit your specific weapon. It is held in place via friction with no retention strap, so it’s a good idea to employ the safety when using it in the appendix position.
The Freedom Carry can be worn with the shirt tucked or untucked. With the shirt in, the only visible part of the holster is the clip, which can easily be covered by a cell phone. The overall comfort of the Freedom Carry was high, especially if worn against a t-shirt. Even without the t-shirt, there is enough cowhide in the design to keep the gun from rubbing against any skin area.
CrossBreed has continued its reputation for quality with the Freedom Carry holster. When ordering, you can request your holster be molded to accept weapons with accessories such as lights, lasers, and sights. It is available in black cowhide, tan cowhide, or natural tan horsehide and comes with CrossBreed’s standard lifetime warranty. MSRP on the Freedom Carry is $64.50.
Gun owners in general and concealed carry permit holders in particular are generally vigilant people when it comes to personal and home defense planning, but those plans change radically when you decide that a family vacation in the back country is a good idea.
Any trip off the beaten path requires a different mindset than taking the family to the movies.
Although situational awareness is still paramount, the focal points are different. The likelihood of being confronted and robbed while in the great outdoors is slim.
An attack by any number of large animals that roam the more remote areas of national parks, forests, and Bureau of Land Management properties is more likely.
Unfortunately, firearm regulations in these areas can be tricky. A 2010 federal law makes it legal to carry firearms in national parks as long as it doesn’t infringe on local or state laws and although it may be legal to carry the weapon, likely isn’t legal to discharge it.
National park websites now have links to the applicable state firearm laws for their respective states. International borders such as the Boundary Waters area on the U.S.-Canada border create even more confusion as regulations can vary at different entry points.
The same is true to a lesser extent on U.S. federal lands, as author Tom Watson explains in his article “Backcountry Backup: Defending Your Life and Property” at USConcealedCarry.com:
“In the case where a portion of two or more states [lie] within a park boundary, it is up to each individual to check the status of laws in each of those particular states.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)
Although the passing of the 2010 law has generated considerable debate, there has been no indication of consequences in either direction. Between 2012 and 2013, minor criminal incidents in federal lands dropped from 113,000 to 105,000. Firearm use or lack thereof was not indicated in the reports.
There has been at least one incident of isolated campers being terrorized by gun-toting marauders. The incident occurred in 2007 before the federal law was passed and is still a topic of debate today whether the outcome would have been different if the campers had been armed.
Large carnivorous animals are a legitimate concern anytime you venture into their territory, but the chances of being killed by one are remote. For instance, in a 25-year period in Alaska, a total of 90 bears were killed either in self-defense or to protect property, amounting to less than 4 bears per year. However, 6 people were killed by bears from 1985 to 1996. Alaska regulations now require people to remain at least 50 yards from bears, although the bears are probably not familiar with the law.
For those who feel more comfortable carrying a firearm as a large animal deterrent, the recommended calibers are .40 handguns and .44 Magnum revolvers or shotguns. Bear spray is also extremely effective. Before you head to the outback with a weapon, make sure you are comfortable and skilled enough with it to potentially face off with a large man-eater looking for food or defending his territory.
One of the most significant and effective tools introduced to law enforcement around the turn of the century has been the Taser. The Taser is an electroshock weapon that fires two small dart-like electrodes into the attacker with the intended purpose of disabling him through “neuromuscular incapacitation.”
The original Taser used gunpowder to fire the darts and was declared to be a firearm by the ATF bureau. Current models use compressed nitrogen cartridges to fire electrically charged darts into the attacker from a distance of up to 15 feet.
Despite its success as a firearm alternative, the Taser does have several limitations with one being the steep learning curve, especially if you aren’t in law enforcement where training is ongoing. Author Dan Stahlnecker explains some of the issues with Tasers in his article “Taser Tactics: Four Simple Rules” at USConcealedCarry.com:
“The Taser isn’t an end -all bodyguard. It won’t do all the work for you. You still have a part to play in the action. To this end, I offer you four rules of effective Taser usage.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)
Many people who are newly armed with a Taser suddenly feel a false sense of bravado. They know that they possess the power to incapacitate someone without killing them. Unfortunately, these same people often fail to realize that while their attacker may be down, they definitely aren’t out.
The Taser is a temporary stop-gap that gives you precious time to get away, not time to observe how long it takes the thug to recover and renew the attack. Some late model Tasers are now equipped with up to three charges, but even with the backup bolts, the first rule and main objective should still be to get far away from your attacker as quickly as possible.
If someone threatens you, using a Taser to protect yourself shouldn’t be a defensive move expected by the attacker. It should come as a complete surprise, which gives you a significant tactical advantage in the ensuing melee. Achieving the advantage of surprise also means that it shouldn’t be public knowledge that you carry a Taser.
When you purchase a firearm and obtain a concealed carry permit, it is assumed that you’ll spend time at the range honing your skills, yet new Taser owners often follow a completely different track. They either assume there’s nothing to learn, or worse, they assume operating the Taser will be self-explanatory when needed.
Both of these mindsets will get you into deep trouble and possibly killed. Read the instructions, watch the DVD, and measure out the 15 feet so you have some type of mental baseline. You may want to waste one cartridge by firing a test shot just to see the effect.
And like your firearm, if you don’t have it when you need it, it’s worthless. Obviously, some areas are more crime-ridden than others, but criminals are smart enough to figure out that so-called “safe havens” are often easy soft targets. In neighborhoods more prone to crime, keep the Taser in hand. For other settings, keep it easily accessible. Remember, the ultimate goal is to get back to Rule 1.
If you aren’t comfortable carrying a firearm or prefer to exhaust other options first, a Taser could be a solid option for you. For those who carry daily, it makes a potent backup. If you’re serious about packing a Taser, prices range from about $400 for the compact Taser Pulse to $1,400 for the double-barrel X2-Defender.
Twenty years ago, the notion that someone would carefully devise a plan to enter a church fully armed with intent to gun down the innocents within would have been practically unthinkable. It’s only in the post-911 age of terrorism that places of worship have become fair game.
Historically, the church has been viewed as a safe place or sanctuary dating back to ancient times.
By the 4th century, the right to sanctuary had been formalized by the early Christians. The churches offered sanctuary mostly to criminals for hundreds of years until being abolished during 1540 as part of the Reformation. The Catholic Church was the lone exception, keeping the sanctuary option as part of its Code of Canon Law until 1983.
It’s a sad commentary on modern times when churches can no longer be considered a safe haven, but it doesn’t mean that pastors and their congregations are powerless to protect themselves. Author and United States Concealed Carry Association Magazine editor Kevin Michalowski explains the mentality that is taking hold in the nation’s churches in his article “Carry Your Gun in Church? Hell Yes!” at USConcealedCarry.com:
“I cannot tell you the number of church groups that have reached out to the USCCA for help and guidance defending their congregations and ensuring those who would defend the flock are also protected from the legal system.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)
By its very nature, carrying concealed in church requires due diligence beyond what permit holders practice every day. The pistol must remain absolutely concealed at all times. Becoming the center of attention for all the wrong reasons at church will undoubtedly bring down more restrictions for everyone, but may make for a different kind of sermon the following Sunday.
As most permit holders are aware, having a home defense plan is an integral part of anyone’s overall defensive preparations. Your expertise and training could prove invaluable to your congregation. If you are comfortable enough to talk to any of the congregation members or clergy, you can approach them about discussing some security options.
Even without the assistance of the congregation or clergy, there are steps you can take to better protect yourself and your family. Do not sit near the rear of the church, as this is most likely where any attacker would enter, and stay away from the seats closest to the center aisle to give yourself time to react. Be aware of other entrances/exits that could be used as an escape route.
Whatever action you decide to take, remember that the shooter will most likely be dead or gone by the time first responders arrive.
The U.S. government system has worked well for more than 200 years and one of the reasons for this success is that the Founding Fathers, and those who followed them didn’t hesitate to borrow bits and pieces of what was working best for governments in other countries around the world.
However, there is one government institution that’s almost solely American. In fact, the United States shares this legal entity with only one other country — Liberia, which likely adopted it from the United States, and that entity is the grand jury.
The legal procedure known as the “grand jury” is a term that just about everyone has heard, but very few people actually understand. Many assume it’s just a regular jury for more important cases. Yet the term actually comes from the number of jurors involved, usually ranging from 16-23 citizens. A standard jury is technically called a petit (French for small) jury.
Although the grand jury system is part of the judicial process, its purpose is completely different from the standard jury’s. The members of a grand jury are empowered to investigate whether a crime has occurred and if there’s enough evidence to bring a case to trial.
Yet as author John Caile explains in his article “What is a Grand Jury?” at USConcealedCarry.com, many states do not use the grand jury prerogative:
“Interestingly, while every state has provisions to empanel grand juries, approximately half don’t use them. Instead, they have a ‘preliminary hearing’ to determine if a trial is warranted. However, there are significant differences.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)
One of the reasons many states forego grand juries is cost. A preliminary hearing is presided over only by a judge, who hears both sides and determines the viability of going to trial. A grand jury on the other hand, involves the outlay of taxpayers’ money for weeks or potentially even months to compensate a large number of jury members for their time.
Another difference is that the grand jury isn’t required to have all members in agreement in order to make a recommendation. Depending on the jurisdiction, a 2/3 or ¾ of the majority is all that is needed.
If the grand jury does return an indictment, the prosecutor can proceed immediately to the trial stage. Even if an indictment isn’t returned, the prosecution can still move forward, but the burden of proof is higher since the DA’s office must now provide convincing evidence to a judge before a trial date can be set.
In some jurisdictions, there may be cases where both options are on the table and the prosecution will have to weigh the odds. One factor is that the defendant must choose to have a preliminary hearing. This happens when the defense attorney believes the judge will be sympathetic to their case. In other instances, high profile cases such as those involving police officers are often sent to a grand jury to relieve the onus of creating a possible adversarial relationship between the District Attorney and local law enforcement.
For those members of the concealed carry community, a little legal knowledge can be dangerous. It is important to learn as much as possible about the areas of law that may directly affect your life should you ever have to use your weapon. The grand jury is a somewhat obscure process that could significantly alter your future. Learn what to expect now and you will be prepared for the unexpected.
In simple terms, it would seem that infantry combat could be divided into two main categories — long-range and short-range. Naturally, the best weapons for these scenarios would be the long-range rifle and the short-range pistol. These beliefs were the foundation for decades of modern warfare and were basically the only options up until World War I.
Since war is neither black nor white, it was soon discovered that mid-range weapons were useful for troops that weren’t necessarily engaged on the front lines. These included artillery units and certain other support personnel.
The Winchester M1 Carbine was developed to fill this void and it did so in a spectacular manner. Its combat prowess soon earned it a legendary status as possibly the best handling short rifle ever made. Even in the modern world, there is still a place for a specialized weapon like the M1 Carbine, as author Scott W. Wagner points out in his article “Inland Manufacturing M1 1945 Carbine: Handy Property Defender” at USConcealedCarry.com:
“I know it is an AR world, but there is still room for competing designs that offer some advantages over an M4 AR-15 in terms of weight and controllability. The 1945 M1 Carbine from Inland offers those advantages.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)
Getting your hands on one of the original M1 Carbines will cost you a pretty penny, probably upwards of $2,000. Luckily, Inland Manufacturing Company in Dayton, Ohio is now producing excellent replicas of the historic M1; their 1945 M1 Carbine. Inland Manufacturing was a subsidiary of General Motors during the war and was actually part of the home front effort, producing the original M1’s up until 1945. The replica is modeled after the last rifles shipped overseas as the war was ending.
Inland’s version of the M1 is so realistic that the front of the barrel behind the sight is stamped with the company name to avoid confusing it with an original. It features a walnut “GI-style” stock, a high-quality Parkerized finish, and a fully adjustable rear sight that accommodates tweaks in both windage and elevation. A blued 15-round magazine is also included.
During range testing with two types of .30 caliber ammo, results were mixed. Using Hornady 110-grain FMJ ball ammo, the 1945 M1 would only allow about 10 percent of the bullets to feed. Further examination revealed that the rounds were longer than the length needed for proper feeding. However, the similar Remington FMJ ammo cycled without a hitch. Accuracy was superb with 4-inch groupings attained at 100 yards.
The Inland Manufacturing 1945 M1 Carbine is an outstanding mid-range rifle that can still compete with automatic weapons because of its weight and maneuverability. If you want to accessorize the rifle with modern conventions, Inland now markets a Scout model with a Picatinny rail for mounting scopes, lights, and other add-ons. If you are interested in picking up a replica of a historic rifle at a price significantly lower than the original, Inland can set you up for about $1079.