Thursday, April 11, 2013

Carry (Enough/A) Gun...

Todd G. - who I will readily admit more than likely has forgotten more about shooting that I will ever learn, makes a pretty good argument for carrying a larger firearm. His point, and there's a lot of truth to it, is that the time it takes to toss an LCP in a back pocket is only a minute or so less than the time it takes to toss a G19 or similarly sized arm in an inside-the-waistband holster. His points are that the larger guns are easier to shoot, carry more ammunition, have real sights, and are easier to reload than a smaller gun (he uses the J-frame as the standard "small" gun).

Well, Imma speak up for the smaller gun.


Smith & Wesson J-frame/Ruger LCR and a S&W Bodyguard 380/SIG SAUER P238. 5 rounds of .38 Special +P; 6+1 rounds of .380 ACP. Yes, a G19 with 15 rounds of 9mm +P and two 17 round backup magazines is a heckuva lot more firepower in a gun that's easier to aim and shoot. I can't - won't - argue that. What I will argue, though, is that for a good number of us, that blocky, heavy G19 might get carried in the fall and winter months, but as soon as it's T-shirt weather, the pocket gun makes a comeback in a big way.

The secret is for the gun to always be there.

The harder it is to use a tool, the less likely you're going to be to use it at all. Yes, with the right holster (and there are a lot of folks out there making great holsters these days) and the right wardrobe you can conceal a mid-sized gun with little effort. Or you can be constantly tugging at the shirt tail because it's not sitting right and it keeps getting caught up in the grip and why the heck didn't I wear my vest oh, yeah, that's right it's 80ยบ today. If it's a pain in the behind, you won't do it.

And it won't matter what gun you have if you leave it at home.

I've had my permit to carry for nearly 20 years. I've carried everything from a Government model 1911 to a 4" Smith & Wesson K-frame revolver and everything in between. I have found that I am most likely to slip that S&W Bodyguard into my back pocket than anything else. Yes, .380 ACP is a pretty anemic round. Yes, there are other much higher capacity options. But when all is said and done, that 380 is there. It's frickin' good neighbor State Farm, baby. It's not sitting in the safe at home because the last time I carried it it just wouldn't sit right and wound up poking my right kidney 750 times.

Todd is absolutely right - you can carry a larger gun. I don't mean to sound like I'm arguing that point - I've done it; heck, I've carried a 6" barrel revolver in a shoulder rig. With the right gear (and don't get me started on how many different holsters I've tried in my quest to find "the right one"), most compact pistols will carry with minimal effort. But that's the point, isn't it? If you've got to stop and think, okay, I'm running out to gas up the car and swing in and grab a pizza before the babysitter gets here, and yeah, stop at the ATM to get some money for the movie, and when was the last time we had the furnace cleaned out ... Oh, yeah, gotta grab the G19 out of the safe and grab the Crossbreed and darn it, change the belt, and ...

I know, I'm exaggerating. But it sure feels like that sometimes, doesn't it? If you're busy and being pulled in 20 different directions, it's a lot easier to toss a J-frame in your pocket and go than to gear up. And while, yes, no one ever got in a gunfight thinking "boy, I wish my gun held less ammo", I'll bet the same could be said that no one ever said, "boy, I really like lugging this heavy, blocky gun around all day". Let's face it, we're human. We like the path of least resistance. Todd writes it off as lazy. Guilty as charged. I'll bet there's a lot more of us lazy folk out there, though.

Now, Todd was forthcoming and upright with his biases - he is a pistol trainer living in a permissive state (VA, IIRC). I'll do the same. I'm a sales weasel who lives in one of the worst states for 2A rights in the country. The outcomes couldn't be more different if Todd got "made" while carrying vs. someone in my situation - so it is quite possible that I am overly sensitive to printing/accidental exposure. I do know, though, that even in pro-gun states like Florida and Texas it's a big no-no to expose your carry piece. Little chance of doing that in a front pocket.

I don't mean to downplay Todd's excellent essay. He makes some great points, both about the shortcomings of the micro-380s and J-frames as well as the easier operation of the larger pistols. The fundamental difference as I see it is that Todd is telling us to overcome our laziness, whereas I've long come to accept that, yes, I am a lazy bastard and I will embrace it. Chemical reactions need to reach their activation energy to happen, and they are far more likely to happen if the energy of activation (EA) is low. J-frames are low EA. G19s are high(er) EA.

The real trick, though, is to know yourself. If you are one of the smart, non-lazy people that can take the time to gear up with a mid-size handgun, power to you, that's fantastic. You will have a firearm with you that's easier to shoot, carries more ammunition, and is easier to reload than the lazy person with the J-frame. If you're like me, and don't always have the time to assemble and don the right gear, consider a pocket gun so that you obey the first rule of gunfighting - have a gun.

And the one thing that Todd and I have in common is that we will both have a gun if - G-d forbid - we ever need it.

That is all.

13 comments:

Angus McThag said...

Can't carry with the vest because it's 80˚...

Like in December? :)

I'm something of an advocate for carrying a bigger gun, but sometimes (like you say) it's just so impractical as to be nearly impossible.

A couple of summers in FL tends to cure one of the illusion that a Glock 19 in an IWB will work.

bluesun said...

I work in a building with no air conditioning, where in the summers inside it pushes 90 degrees. Sometimes pocket carry is too hot and sweaty...

Love my J-frame.

LC Scotty said...

Of course now in NY, even the G26 is only allowed 7 rounds in the magazine...

Anonymous said...

And if you work in an area where you are frequently required to disarm (for example, when I worked off-base, I could carry to and from work, but not into work), a pocket holster and a car safe are ever so much more practical than an IWB service piece.

Especially in "business casual" with a tucked in shirt. (Note to Michael Bane -- we all cannot wear large untucked Aloha shirts everywhere we aren't wearing "Western" get up. {snicker})

Geodkyt

harp1034 said...

I live in Texas. You better not get made. If you are lucky the cops will give you a stern rear end chewing and make you put it in the trunk of your car. They can make you take the ride downtown. Then you are out bail, lawyer fees, etc even if you beat the rap.

John said...

Find and read Mark Moritz's column/essay on the Rules of Gunfighting. Rule One is: Have a gun.(But RTWT, it's worth it.)

Anonymous said...

I find I shoot my G-26 as well as I shoot my G-19. So its either one and an un tucked shirt in a IWB holster. But I would be lying if I didn't admit to putting the S&W 642 the front pocket when wearing short and a t-shirt on a sticky southern summer day.

Michael Bane fights about 5 weight classes above me but finding shirts that will cover a pistol with out printing is no big deal.

Gerry

Reese said...

I have to echo "Anonymous" above. In slacks and a button up shirt, in an office, it's tough if not nearly impossible to keep a midsized gun on me all day. My Sig P238 sits unobtrusively in my pocket all day.

Jason in MN said...

I still periodically carry my Glock 23 in a CrossBreed SuperTuck Deluxe with a CrossBreed 1 1/2" belt. I can easily conceal, even with just a t-shirt. But, living in Minnesota, where the weather tends to fluctuate wildly throughout the course of the year (it is currently snowing madly), my Ruger K-LCR is just, simply, easier to deal with, and I find myself going to it more often than not. I have a pocket holster, which I used as needed, but I much prefer my OWB SideGuard "The Slide" leather pancake. It is my favorite holster of all that I own. Prior to owning my K-LCR, I would carry the Glock perhaps 10% of the time when I was out. Now, if you see me, there's an almost certain probability that I'm carrying. Thankfully, in MN, open carry is perfectly legal (at least for now). While I don't typically do this, it's nice to know that if I print or if my gun is exposed, I haven't violated any laws. Larger guns are wonderful, but I'm thrilled to have one that I actually use, rather than the larger one that stays locked up most of the time.

Gay_Cynic said...

During the winter a vest covers a number of sins - something stylish or something basic, either works fine in a normal business environment - call it a fashion statement. During the summer a camp/aloha shirt over a t-shirt or tank does the job nicely...

And my primary carry is a Glock 21 w/ two spare magazines. For more subtle moments I'll fall back on a NAA .22 Mag or a Keltec P3AT...

TOTWTYTR said...

I like to carry either a S&W CS9 or 3913, but sometimes they are a bit much to conceal, small as they are.

If I'm just running out to do a couple of errands, I'll drop my 642 into a pocket holster. Light, easy to conceal, doesn't print in the pocket holster. I can carry 6 more rounds in a Speed Strip, but I hope it won't come to that.

I've also carried that 642 in places where people would freak out if they knew I was carrying. Which just reinforces what Reese and Anonymous said.

Finally, as you say, any gun is likely to be better than no gun.

I really don't want my last thought to be "If only I'd decided to carry today..."

Adam said...

Great blog! I'm 5'8", 170 pounds, and in honestly very good shape. If I wear clothes that fit me remotely well a G19 would print like the New York Times. Pocket carry, and/or an LC9 in a Crossbreed mini tuck, are just about my only options in warmer months. Like you, I need to be in front of customers and can't wear ridiculous fitting clothes or open front Hawaiian shirts. I have been debating an ankle rig but haven't pulled the trigger, no pun intended but totally intended.

Ed and Jackie said...

I believe I have achieved laziness and superior firepower. I have one good belt, one good holster (plus a remora for when I have to go to court and leave my gun), one magazine holder (made myself for my own particular needs). I get up in the morning, put on pants (belt and attachments already in place), put gun in holster (resides in box at night due to child) and go about my day. When changing clothes belt and all are moved to clean pants.

Even my shorts all have belt loops, but that was true before I carried because I always put lots of crap in my pockets.

Basically, since I never really take it off, there is no "get it from the safe" or "put on holster". It's there once I get out of bed and just stays there.

Because I'm so freaking lazy I don't even take it off until I have to.