THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 595, November 14, 2010
"The secession of the individual from the state"
Concealed Carry For the Modern American, Some Thoughts
Special to The Libertarian Enterprise
My wife is forcing me, against my will, to get a CCW. I don't acknowledge the right of the state to grant this right, as the 2nd Amendment states "The Right of the People to Keep and Bear Arms Shall Not be Infringed", and being forced to buy a license IS infringing. But she's tired of my bitching about the license, and thinks I need to carry as the society deteriorates, so we're gonna get the licenses together. Her choice will be the S&W model 660 stainless Chief's Special snub nosed .38 with Federal Nyclad Hollowpoints. Mine will be a Colt Officer's ACP in .45acp, with Federal Hydrashoks jacketed Hollowpoints. Today, we're going to talk CCW choices, both the weapon and the method of carry.
First off, let me be blunt about this. The gun you carry MUST be reliable, and YOU must be competent with it. A consistant program of maintainance and practice MUST be carried out. You MUST practice removing the weapon from whatever place of concealment you choose fluidly and safely. And you MUST be able to hit the target, every time, at the common selfe defense ranges (7-21 feet is where the FBI states that most self defense shootings occur). Last but DEFINITELY not least, you MUST be willing and ready to use the weapon, knowing the person on the other end of it is intended to die, or you shouldn't be carrying. I know this sounds both harsh and very far from politically correct, but then, protecting yourself ISN'T politically correct anyway, so who cares! Also, even if you have carried for years, an occasional class in CCW, pistol handling, or any other firearms related subject is a good idea. I make it a point to take any that come along that I can afford.
I expect many people to express their assertion that (fill in the blank) is the only caliber/model/weapon) to carry, and for them, it is probably true. To me, the .22 short Beretta tip-up in your pocket is better than the Colt Super Stomper 5000 Ultra-Carry Custom Combat Mega Cannon sitting on the dresser at home. In other words, pick something that you'll carry, day in and day out, and practice with it, and it will be the right gun for the situation because it'll actually BE THERE if the situation ever arises (hopefully never!) At 6'3, 225 pounds, my carry gun is likely to be different than the gun of the 5'2, 110 pound petite woman. The ONLY gun/caliber recommendation I'll make here is for the total newbie, asking what they should try for. It is simplerevolvers are the way to go for the neophyte, and a concealed hammer type is the best choice. The long, hard trigger pull is the best safety out there for the beginner. I'm talking a .38 Snub-Nosed revolver, in the "Bodyguard" style. But once a person becomes gun-savvy, the choices are limited by only three things- reliability, preference, and legality.
As I have made clear, I am a Colt 1911 fanatic. I have the build to conceal even a full size one, but I like the compact Officer's model named above. It's accurate, powerful, and I'm comfortable with one, having carried one for years when I lived in Colorado. It will be my first purchase on the new license when I get it. But I do not intend to advocate for it as a carry gun for one and all, for two reasons. To have it ready to use quickly, it MUST be carried in Condition one, round in chamber, hammer cocked, safety set. And to carry this way you MUST be very comfortable with the gun, practice the draw every day, and have a properly designed holster that adds a layer of safety by having a hammer-block strap. These two things mean adedication of time and effort higher than to carry most weapons. Carry what fits YOUR training and comfort levels, and do not let me or anyone else convince you to go with something you aren't comfortable with.
I have taught self defense to people (never for money), and the one thing that I stress to ALL people who wish to carry for self defense is that they MUST follow the laws of the land, or accept the consequences if they don't. Cops ARE professionals, and depending on the area, they may NOT support the concept of concealed carry. IF they don't, and they spot the carry, they WILL, at the minimum, stop you and demand proof of a CCW. "Flashing" the gun (allowing the gun to show enough for the un-trained to spot it) is just cause for revocation of the CCW in many jurisdictions. Some jurisdictions have different rules on exactly WHERE you can carry concealed, even within the issuing state. An example is NYC. Here, in Steuben County, a CCW is still obtainable. But DO NOT think it will be honored in NYC, even if the law says it must be. You may win, in court, but it will be expensive, and you will have made the acquaintance of some of the NYDOCs finest occupants while awaiting bail or trial. FOLLOW THE LAW or PAY THE PRICE!
Winter or summer, I like the FAG Bag. NO, it isn't a sexual slur. Fast Action Gun bag. A small belt mounted fanny pack. Mounted in front, and slightly off center to the weak side, it is a very good place to carry. It has a slit in the side to access the gun, and the normal top-opening to keep the wallet and some change. It doesn't look like a holster, and can be bought with different holsters in it to accommodate a wide assortment on different gun styles. It requires no extra layers of clothing, and it is VERY hard to "flash" a gun. Larger people, such as myself, can easily conceal a weapon in a shoulder holster. The dis-advantage of this method is the necessity for several layers of clothing, and the inability to remove the concealing layer during weather changes. Winter in the southern tier of NY is favorable to the shoulder holster and a bomber jacket, but the stores are hot enough that keeping the jacket on is not always an option. Inside the pants belt holsters are great under an un-tucked Hawaiian shirt (my favorite summer-time wear, anyway), but they can be un-comfortable if your pants are a snug fit BEFORE the gun goes in. I don't like pocket carry, but if you DO pocket carry, get a holster designed for it to keep lint and other things OUT of the action!
You will notice that I haven't been spending much time on guns and leather styles, other than an overview of styles. This is for a good reason. Since moving to this intelligence-lacking liberal hellhole (New York State is beautiful, but politically the only worse state is California), I haven't been carrying guns. To be honest, reading a whole lot on the latest and greatest has been painful. But now, with finances about to ease up, and my wife insisting that I buy the @#$%@ license, I'm starting to do some research into the subject. I own a few accessories from the good old days, and I own several guns that I haven't moved into the state because I don't choose to store them with the state police until I receive my license. My self defense needs have been fulfilled by alternate methods. A shotgun at home, and Knife and cane on the street. But this means that I cannot make brand recommendations on leather goods, and my hands-on experience with the newest and best guns is rather limited to what I've been lucky enough to shoot at the range with others. I realize that I've said some disparaging things about cops here and elsewhere, so I also want to make a few things clear. I haven't met a NY State Police officer (with one exception) I consider to be a decent person. I'd never invite them in, nor would I expect decent treatment from one on ANY firearms related subject. The county sheriffs, on the other hand, other than the guards at the courthouse, have been polite, professional courteous, and pro-2nd Amendment people. My point is that cops differ. Be careful what you say, and how you act, around cops you do not know well. MANY of the pistols I have shot over the past few years have been the personal and issue weapons of local and county police who use my range for practice. NOT ONE state cop has ever acted like a decent human being there. If you are a curent or retired cop, I hope that you can, by example, convince your co-workers to lighten up. We, the shooting public, can be your biggest ally in the fight against a criminal element. I resent that the fond regards I have held cops in over my lifetime has been severely damaged by the siege mentality of the state police in my area. Just one statie with a pleasant personality and a polite demeanor would do wonders fro their image. There was one, and Pat retired.
Now. a few more thoughts on legality and the carry of firearms. 38 states have passed "Must Issue" laws, meaning that a clean record means they MUST issue a CCW license. THere may be training requirements, but they must give the CCW if you have met those requirements. This is a good thing, but you must keep one thing in mind- EVEN STATES WITH MUST ISSUE LAWS DO NOT ALL RECOGNIZE THE CCWS OF OTHER STATES!! You, and you alone, are responsible for learning the laws in any state you visit before carrying there. Some states will honor any permit from any state, others only honor them from certain states, and other states won't honor ANY CCW from any state. Some states require you to present your CCW for confirmation before carrying, others don't. The NRA has an online resource to aid you, but NEVER rely totally on any one resource. Every state has their laws available on line. Use the computer before travelling armed. Copy the requirements for each state and bring it with you. Not all cops even know the rules of their own state. And if staying in larger cities, keep in mind that larger cities often have different rules than the state.
Well, I've given you all some food for thought. Let me know how well you digested it, your thoughts on CCW in general OR state specific, and your choices for CCW (from experience OR what you'd like to use). We can have fun talking things out.