Anyone who owns a concealed carry permit is very familiar with the Second Amendment and likely has very strong views on what freedoms are guaranteed by one of the most familiar addendums to the U.S. Constitution. The Bill of Rights is an extension of the U.S. Constitution that attempted to close loopholes not covered by the Founders in the original document.
Yet the Second Amendment is not a statute that provides a legal basis for citizens of the United States to keep and bear arms.
As Beth Alcazar explains in her article “The Second Amendment Gives Nothing…” at USConcealedCarry.com, the Second Amendment is simply the medium for the message:
“The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution protects and guarantees the right of individuals to keep and bear arms. It affirms our right. And what the Second Amendment was designed to do is prohibit government from infringing upon that right.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)
One of the reasons America was colonized was because of the desire the colonists had to live in a place where they could exercise the inalienable rights that they felt had been subjugated in the countries they’d left behind. They were anxious to create a system where rights and liberties were permanent and available to all, such as the right to keep and bear arms.
In other words, the Second Amendment is basically putting the government on notice with a reminder of sorts, regarding what the Framers intended when they wrote the original Constitution.
Another key word in the Second Amendment is the term “infringed.” Although the word itself doesn’t brim with power, it certainly can invoke strong emotions when used to keep abuse of power in check. In its simplest form, infringed means to wrongfully violate or restrict the rights of another. The Founders chose this word deliberately, as a warning signal covering a wide swath of potential government intrusions, excesses, and basic human rights violations.
The colonial leaders understood the natural right to protect “life, limb and property” early on. Yet it wasn’t the Native Americans or the wild animals on the frontier that they worried most about. Jefferson wrote that “The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.”
Some things never change.
One of the basic tenets of Concealed Carry Weapons training is that the first objective should be to avoid a confrontation whenever possible. Firearms training centers on the idea that drawing and firing your handgun should always be done as a last resort and when you’re in fear for your life or that of a loved one.
Although the odds are very small that you’ll ever become involved in a gunfight, being prepared for the unexpected is the best way to increase the odds of survival.
There are many classes taught throughout the country that train students in a variety of close combat techniques involving handguns, knives, batons, and martial arts.
But in reality, the first thing you should do if you find yourself staring down the barrel of a handgun is to start moving. A moving target has several advantages as author and U.S. Concealed Carry editor Kevin Michalowski points out in his article “Are You Learning to Move?” at USConcealedCarry.com:
“Movement takes you out of the line of attack. Movement forces the attacker to react to your movement. The more you move, the more you put yourself in control of the situation by forcing the attacker to react.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)
Not only will moving make you a harder target to hit, but it may surprise your attacker enough to give you a tactical advantage. The perpetrator most likely didn’t expect you to be armed or expect to have to bring down a moving target that’s shooting back. If you’re lucky, the attacker will panic and leave. But if not, at least your actions have forced your adversary to go on the defensive and take the time to reformulate his plan of action.
Try to find a range that incorporates movement drills into their instructional programs. If none are available, then it’s a simple matter to practice movement as a part of dry fire training at home. Even a few minutes a day can build muscle memory that will significantly increase your reaction time in a confrontation.
A keen sense of situational awareness will help you identify and avoid potentially dangerous situations. But if you do find yourself in a gunfight, remember to keep moving and keep fighting.
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.
Concealed Carry permit holders seem to be the only people unsurprised by the rapid and explosive growth of the market. Not only has the number of applicants continued to grow exponentially, but the industry has also spawned a growing number of related products, ranging from holsters to dedicated magazines such as the United States Concealed Carry Association publications.
Yet one niche market that has been largely ignored by mainstream media is the “packing parent.” Very little has been written on how to carry a tyke while carrying a handgun at the same time.
While there’s some controversy regarding whether carrying a gun around small children makes one a more or less responsible parent, most concealed carry permit holders agree that having children increases the need for being armed. Marko Kloos discusses the rationale in his article “The Packing Parent: The Fine Points of Carrying a Gun While Toting a Toddler” at USConcealedCarry.com:
“Not only are you entrusted with the protection of more lives than your own, but you’re also in a position that [doesn’t usually] allow you to flee from danger easily. When you have small children in your charge, your handgun is no longer a self-defense tool, but a family-defense device.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)
Maneuvering children through a day of errands, shopping, and ice cream is a herculean task on its own. Trying to keep a firearm hidden beneath your clothes or out of sight while emptying your purse looking for lip balm or napkins only adds to the misery.
As if that weren’t enough, most parents carry their toddler on the strong side, resting the child on their hip in the exact spot where their handgun would normally rest snugly in its holster. Some even use slings or harness-type products that are great for carrying the little ones, but unfortunately limit access to the belt or front pockets. Carrying a child on the strong side also increases the risk of weapon exposure, which has a high degree of causing a major scene in places like playgrounds, picnics, or public libraries.
For those reasons, it’s vitally important that a parent toting both a child and a gun be extremely vigilant about concealment, but retain easy access to said gun at the same time. Fortunately, there are two options that will allow one to safely carry both.
The fanny pack’s day as an acceptable fashion accessory is long past, but if you’re carrying a kid on your hip all day, nobody is going to raise any eyebrows at your fanny pack. You can easily conceal a mid-sized pistol in there along with a wallet and keys as well as have easy access to your firearm in the event of an incident at the same time.
Shoulder holsters are another carry option for parents with small children. A shoulder holster on the weak side offers the advantage of easy access for draw while at the same time keeping the strong side hip free for tiny hitchhikers. Unfortunately, the shoulder holster cannot be worn in the open in most states, so it’s likely not a viable option during the summer.
Being a parent means being a jack of all trades, including having the ability to protect someone who cannot protect themselves. Finding a way to carry a child and gun safely increases the odds of everyone surviving an attack, which is the philosophy of the concealed carry movement in a nutshell.
Pepper spray has always had the reputation of being a highly effective, easy to use, first line of defense with virtually no learning curve. Yet for many, the most important feature is the low price that allows these self-defense tools to be in just about anyone’s budget.
So when Piexon put a $319 price tag on its JPX Jet Protector Pepper Gun, several people were asking a lot of questions, mainly “What can it do that my $20 can of Chemical Mace can’t?”
Well, the answer is…plenty.
One of the most important features on the JPX is its shape. Not only does the device look like a gun, it operates in the same fashion. The double-barrel setup encases an 11-milliliter charge of a liquid containing 10 percent Oleoresin Capsicum (OC). OC is the active ingredient in traditional pepper spray and is preferred by law enforcement because unlike tear gas, OC is generally effective against all human attackers — even those under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
On top of the handy pistol grip setup, the Piexon JPX is also pressurized to propel the OC at an astonishing velocity of 569 feet per second for distances up to 23 feet. And unlike the common aerosol canisters which simply coat the skin, the blistering speed of the JPX actually penetrates the skin pores, allowing for a deeper and longer lasting incapacitation.
In addition to penetration of the skin, the stream causes the eyes to instantly close. Author Scott W. Wagner describes the effect of being sprayed with OC in his article “Piexon JPX Jet Protector Pepper Gun: Hi-Tech Swiss OC Defensive System” at USConcealedCarry.com:
“I’ve tested the previous Kimber version of the JPX during training in my police academy. The effect of the JPX OC is instantaneous and miserable for the recipient with no cross contamination for the user.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)
Most hand-held pepper spray canisters are “one and done.” When it’s gone, it’s gone, but this isn’t true with the Piexon JPX. The unit is fully reloadable and the quick release magazine allows for a quick return to action. Another nice feature is that the double-action trigger switches automatically between each barrel while firing. There is also a small Picatinny rail housing a laser light operated by a switch under the trigger guard.
Accuracy is also not a problem for the JPX. During testing to the maximum effective range of 20 feet, the spray covered the target silhouette. The noise and smell also replicates an actual firearm, which gives the user an added psychological advantage. The high density of the liquid means it will stay where it lands with very little cross-contamination.
The Piexon JPX is an excellent firearm alternative in areas where guns are prohibited. It is also suitable as a first response. The cost is steep, with MSRP for the laser option being $319, but it provides a level of protection second only to a firearm. The weapon can also be reloaded many times. Accessories such as holsters and magazines are also available.
Throughout history, being left-handed has had a negative connotation. Left-handed people were often considered unlucky to be around and in many cases, were thought to be evil. Many of these associations became cultural norms and were passed down through the generations and are still used in the modern vernacular. For instance, the Latin word sinister translates as “left or unlucky,” and the French word gauche not only translates as “left,” but clumsy or awkward as well.
So it should come as no surprise that there are very few firearms on the market that accommodate southpaw shooters and even fewer that are designed to be totally ambidextrous.
The Slovakian-manufactured Grand Power P11 9mm Compact from Eagle Imports is the exception with equal opportunity controls on the entire weapon.
For the Grand Power P11, Slovakian engineers used a combination of manufacturing materials to allow consumers to get the most bang for their buck. For starters, the CNC-machined steel body is enclosed by a futuristic polymer frame designed for shooting comfort.
The steel slide boasts a black finish with deep serrations at front and rear. A Picatinny rail is attached to the front of the frame for mounting accessories.
One of the most interesting features of the Grand Power P11 is its rotating barrel operating system instead of the standard Browning tilt-barrel action. Author Scott W. Wagner explains the advantages of the design in his article “Eagle Imports Grand Power P11: Totally Ambidextrous 9mm Combat Pistol” at USConcealedCarry.com:
“The rotating barrel design helps to mitigate recoil in the form of reducing muzzle rise. I found this reduction to be a reality, rather than just advertising hype, which is helpful in a pistol that weighs only 22.8 ounces.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)
The firing system on the Grand Power P11 is standard Double-Action/Single-Action with an ambidextrous safety that allows the gun to be cocked with a round in the chamber. After firing the first round with its long 12-pound trigger pull, the slide will cock the hammer for the following rounds in single-action mode.
The Grand Power P11 was range-tested using a variety of ammo. The standard 3-dot sights on the gun made targeting easy by using a point of aim with 2-inch groupings easily achieved at 30 feet. At 100 yards from the two-hand standing position, the Grand Power P11 continued to exhibit precision accuracy with all rounds hitting the silhouette target and 80 percent hitting the center. Muzzle velocity averaged about 1071 fps compared to 1165 for a similar SIG model.
The Grand Power P11 is an excellent weapon for left-handed shooters, but its rotating barrel design, low recoil, light weight, contoured slide, and low profile also make it a superb concealed carry firearm option. The MSRP on the Grand Power P11 is about $530.