Posts Tagged ‘Revolver’

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Here lately, I have found myself repeatedly asked for recommendations on a “good purse gun.” If, after much encouragement she still won’t consider on-body carry, I whole-heartedly urge her to go with a revolver. Why? Because at some point in the not too distant past I read an article about semiautomatics jamming when shot through a purse. The article I read, which I could not rediscover tonight, indicated the fabrics of the purse entered into the slide and caused the firearm to not only jam but get stuck in the purse. Effectively this converted a 15 round 9mm to a 1 or 2 shot brick in your purse.

ruger-lcp-stove-pipe-jam

As I went back and researched this topic further, I realized the previous issue must be a worst case scenario and the most frequent malfunction with semiautomatics was actually the stove-pipe (a round not fully ejected) caused by the confined space in the purse. On a good day, a stove-pipe can be cleared very easily. On a bad day, with training, a stove-pipe can still be cleared, but it will use precious time. Of course, both problems are resolved if you simply pull the gun out of the purse before firing. However, that counts on you having ample warning and time enough to draw your gun. Time is a luxury we are not always afforded.

While not much has been written about this topic, to me, this factor is critical in deciding which gun to purchase. I would love to see more tests done. As shown in the videos below, if the purse is large enough, the semi-automatic may not jam at all. However, I would need to see some very definitive data before I would ever feel comfortable recommending a semiautomatic as a purse gun.

Desantis-Purse

How about you? Have you ever shot a gun through a purse or some other similar material? What happened?

*Disclaimer: I am not recommending or advocating for any of the products displayed in the pictures. My use of pictures is simply to illustrate a point.

Resources:

Here are the only videos I could find of people actually shooting through purses.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Concealed-Chic/585789701443556

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AAkbVRGrc5M

And the only article I could find about it:

http://www.aware.org/resources/legal-articles/8-content/197-purse-carry-do-you-what-how-by-lyn-bates

Other resources worth your read/watch:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8ramg2QaQE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DeTRTpkMH0M

http://www.thehighroad.org/archive/index.php/t-721266.html

http://www.thewellarmedwoman.com/women-and-guns/concealed-carry/the-concealed-carry-purse

http://www.corneredcat.com/?s=purse

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gun-shop

“I’m thinking of buying my wife a gun for Christmas.” is the opening statement I heard today and  expect to hear often over the next few weeks. Concerned husbands, anxious for their wife’s protection, are searching for that elusive “good gun for a lady” and see Christmas as the perfect opportunity to buy her something she may or may not be interested in. Before you lay down $400+ on her new gun, please take the following concerns under consideration. This is the mental questionnaire I run through when a customer asks for advice on choosing a firearm.

Purpose:

First and foremost, you must determine the intended purpose of the firearm. Will the gun be used for a self-defense carry gun, home protection, competitive shooting, hunting, just having fun on the range or as a collection piece? Certain features should be prioritized based on which purpose you intend to use the firearm for.

sefl-defense-at-home

Carry Gun: Typically, light-weight is the priority for a daily carry firearm.

Home Protection: When buying for home protection, weight is less relevant as the gun will only be handled for short durations. The user’s comfort and confidence with the firearm take priority. Home protection guns tend to weigh more, to make the shooting experience more pleasant.

Competitive Shooting: Accuracy, and all that affects accuracy, are what matters most to a competitive shooter. Barrel length, quality, trigger weight, overall weight, etc… are all taken into consideration.

Hunting: Type of game and style of hunting affect your choice of hunting firearm.

Fun Range gun: A gun you are just going to take to the range to have fun is probably going to be something that fits the user’s hand well, has enough weight to balance out the recoil and the user is comfortable manipulating.

Collecting: Collectors typically know exactly what they are looking for. Good luck to you if you are trying to buy for one of these.

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When buying a gun, the trick is to find the right compromise of features that works for you. For example, Smith & Wesson Airweights and Ruger LCPs are great for carrying all day, but are so light-weight the recoil is quite uncomfortable. Knowing this fact, I still decided the low-weight was a high enough priority for my carry weapon that I purchased the Smith & Wesson 442 revolver. Do I enjoy shooting it? No. But I can carry it all day with barely a second thought as to the weight, I can carry it in more locations on my body, and it is more reliable than my semi-automatic. Overall, I made an informed decision to put up with the kick in exchange for a comfortable carry gun.

Intended frequency of use:

I ask our customers how often they intend to practice with their firearm in order to narrow the choices down. A revolver is renowned for its ability to sit in a drawer for years and still function flawlessly when called upon. In the same scenario, I’ve seen a semi-auto jam after the first shot. Springs can lose their tension over years of inactivity and the semi-auto design relies heavily on springs. For this reason, whenever a customer says they want a gun for “just in case” and they don’t really want to come shoot it much, I unilaterally direct them towards a revolver. Revolvers are mechanically simpler and more reliable. Buying a small semi-automatic for your wife to stick in her purse but never practice with is asking for trouble.

revsemi

Comfort:
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1911

The way the gun feels in the hand and how it feels when shooting are key components in a user’s overall satisfaction with a firearm. This is where the gun buying process becomes quite subjective. The only person who can determine if the gun fits right is the user. There are some guns that just feel good to hold and there are others that are less comfortable to hold. Determining the right fit requires the user to come in and pick up lots of different guns to get a feel for what feels good and what doesn’t feel good to them.

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Small guns = tight springs = hard to rack the slide.

In terms of recoil, weight is your friend. The heavier the gun is, the less recoil your hands have to absorb and the more fun the gun is to shoot. Guys, do me a favor, please do NOT buy your wife that “cute, little .380 ACP.” Those little things have much more recoil than you think. I, personally, would rather shoot a .45 ACP 1911 any day over one of them. Just because they are small does not mean they are good for your wife to start with. Just the opposite in fact. I find beginners do much better starting with heavy firearms and progressing down to light-weight carry guns.

Previous Knowledge/Experience:

basic-gun-safety-course-for-one-two-or-four-people-1369988450Has the potential user ever received any formal instruction in firearms? I ask this question mostly to determine the user’s level of safety awareness. Formal firearm classes are great for drilling the gun safety rules into heads and habits. In general, I recommend taking classes before the firearm purchase; not only to make sure our customers and everybody around them stays safe with the new gun but classes also makes the user a much more informed consumer. For the gift-buyer, previous experience with firearms can also give you clues as to which type of firearm the person is comfortable with and enjoys shooting.

Budget:

“You get what you pay for.” This is true for most things in life and especially firearms. That cheap pawn shop gun was cheap for a reason. I have seen such guns literally fall apart on the range. You really do get what you pay for. I understand money being tight, and seeking to find the best bang for your buck, but please save up a little longer or do something to get a little extra money to go towards the firearm purchase. It is much better to have a reliable firearm that your life can depend on than a few extra dollars in the bank.

Physical Limitations:

How_to_Rack_the_slide_03Firearms are mechanical devices and each has a series of manipulations that must be accomplished in order for the device to function properly. Hand, wrist and arm strength are vital. The user must be able to rack the slide on a semi-automatic or pull the heavy trigger of a revolver. Frequently, when a person is not able to do one they can do the other. Occasionally, they struggle with both. At that point, I may suggest, using two fingers to pull the revolver trigger, trying out a .22 caliber firearm or a semi-automatic with an easier slide. If they are still incapable of operating the firearm, I typically suggest they get OC Spray instead of a firearm.

Stopping Power:

woman_with_gunMuch is said about the acclaimed stopping power of this round or that round. As I’ve researched it and looked at the statistics, I’ve come to realize what you are carrying is less important than that you are carrying. Many, many bad guys are stopped by .22s. There is something called a psychological stop. Basically, it boils down to the fact that people don’t want to get shot.  Typically, bad guys are looking for an easy victim and shooting them suddenly converts you from “easy victim” to “more trouble than it’s worth.” Yes, there are those times when the bad guy is shot multiple times with .45 ACP rounds and keeps coming, however, the large majority of bad guys are cowards looking for easy prey. Odds are in your favor that you will not encounter that zombie-bad guy that just keeps coming, and if you do, good shot placement will help you more than missing with a larger caliber. My conclusion: carry what you can shoot well. If you can shoot a .45 ACP well, carry a .45. If you can only shoot a .22 LR well, then carry a .22.

Concluding Thoughts

Before you buy that gun you think will be perfect for your loved one, make sure its designed purpose lines up with its intended use. Do your best to accurately estimate how often they will be using the gun. Try to avoid buying a complicated gun for a novice. Keep it Simple. Be sure to consider any physical limitations they may have. Balance the pro’s and con’s of each firearm to ensure a good match of user and firearm is made. A mismatch may make the user uncomfortable, insecure, and mistrustful of guns in general.

A little tip for all you gift-buyers out there, we see a much higher rate of success when the intended user is involved in the decision-making process. If you can successfully buy her a pair of shoes then you stand a pretty good chance with buying her a gun. If not, please bring the intended user in with you. Only she will know what feels right to her.

woman_examiner_2

stuck-in-a-rut

Ever get stuck in a rut? Do you ever do the same thing over and over, simply because that is how you have always done it? Not good. What’s worse than being in a rut? Being in a rut and not knowing it. I didn’t realize until I read this article last night that I was in a carry rut. I always carry my gun in the same place without consideration of which type of gun I am carrying and if my chosen placement is the best concealment for that particular firearm. As my first daily carry firearm was an XD-40, I quickly determined the best place on my body to conceal a firearm was inside the waistband, behind the hip. Fast forward multiple years, I am 40 lbs less and I recently added a J frame revolver to my short list of possible carry guns. Out of habit, I stuck the revolver behind my back.

face palm

A thinking person would have realized a reevaluation of carry positions was in order. A thinking person would have recognized the size and form difference between an XD-9 subcompact comfortably carried behind the hip and a S&W 442 theoretically capable of being carried in more locations. A reevaluation was absolutely imperative upon finding the revolver was not secure or stable behind the hip. Unfortunately, I did not behave as a thinking person and I simply relegated the revolver to a back-up position in my work bag. I neglected to even attempt problem solving. I was in a deep, deep rut and did not even realize it.

Wake UP!

The smack-upside-the-head came as I read Active Response Training’s blog. Carrying the revolver in front of the hip (appendix carry inside the waistband or AIWB) solves most of my problems (minus holster issues) and others I had not thought about. The AIWB method has several advantages over my preferred behind the hip carry.

Advantages:
  1. summer-conceal-shortsConcealment: Shirts, especially for women, tend to be looser in the front than the sides or back. This provides a perfect place to hide a gun. Many blog writers and forum participants claim they are able to conceal medium to large sized firearms in this position. For me personally, I saw today that my revolver printed very little under a tight T-shirt, and what little it did print, I was able to disguise by putting on a belt. The belt buckle added just enough texture and shape to the area that the butt was no longer noticeable. The revolver printed horribly when carried behind the hip.
  2. Drawstroke: In the same way that IPSC and USPSA competitors position their gun in front of the hip to gain a faster draw, so AIWB carriers gain a slight advantage in draw time. Draws from in front of the hip generally test faster than draws from the side or behind the hip.
  3. Accessibility: By being in front of my body, the firearm is much more accessible to my non-dominant hand in case my dominant hand or arm is injured. Reaching around and behind my body to draw with my left hand is a very challenging maneuver I hope to never have to perform in a hurry. Carrying in front makes it drastically easier. It may also be easier to access if I am grappling with an opponent.
  4. gun-grab-coverFirearm Retention: It is much easier to protect the firearm in a crowded environment with it in front of you than on your side. It is the same reason ladies pull their purses in front of them when they get on a crowded bus. It is easier to control an object in front of you (with both hands if necessary) than on your side with only one hand. Our strength tends to be focused more towards the centers of our bodies than our sides. Have you ever noticed how we pull a jar in to our centers when we struggle to open the lid? The gun on your side or behind you is in a weaker position should you have to protect it. Only one hand will be able to reach it and the strength you will be able to apply to keep the gun in the holster is less than what you could apply to a gun in front of you. (Of course, you will likely only have one hand on the AIWB gun too. The second hand will probably be doing something to your opponent.) It is also much easier to maintain awareness in a crowded environment of anyone making a motion towards your gun if the gun is in front of you (for the simple fact that your eyes are also in front of you).
  5. Encourages good posture: On a personal note, I also found it encourages good posture. As I am rather short-waisted I quickly found bad posture resulted in the butt of the gun digging into or getting under my ribs.
Disadvantages:
  1. D0UgkMuzzle Direction: This is the number one concern for most people. As the firearm sits in the holster, the gun is typically pointed either at the groin or the femoral artery. Most men have a visceral reaction to the very idea of having a loaded gun pointed in that direction, but the femoral artery is actually the worst option. You will likely bleed out if that is shot. Either way, messing up is a very, very bad thing if you carry AIWB. For this reason, careful holstering is absolutely imperative! Many of the links below share techniques and tips you can use to keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction while holstering.

    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

    It works great for some people.

  2. May or may not work well for overweight people. Many people on the forums reported that appendix carry was not comfortable for those with “large bellies.” But each person is different and what does not work for some may work for you.
  3. May or may not be comfortable while sitting: While I have not had much chance to investigate this personally, I read many conflicting reports of how comfortable sitting is while appendix carrying. Some say flat-out it is uncomfortable, others say it is fine if you get a good holster that is specifically designed for AIWB.
  4. Unconcealed reach for the gun: Again there were conflicting reports. Some blogs argue that it is easier to cover up a draw from AIWB than from the hip by using a magazine or a bag to cover your hand motions. The movement of drawing from an AIWB holster may be minimized to the forearm and hand. However, the full arm is engaged in a draw from the hip or behind the hip, thus revealing to the opponent that an item is being drawn. However, a person may also pretend they are reaching for a wallet in their back pocket when in reality they are going for their gun. That subterfuge would hardly work for AIWB. So each has their pros and cons.

Overall, AIWB is the preferred method of carry for many well-renowned instructors, has been around for decades, is used by thugs worldwide, competitors have used it successfully in the past, and is the most comfortable position I’ve tried yet. While there is a lot more for me to research and really dig into, before I begin daily carrying this way, mentally getting out of the “behind the hip” rut and exploring possibilities is exciting and refreshing. Please share in the comments below your thoughts, experiences, and beliefs regarding AIWB carry. This is a whole new world to me and I would love to hear from those of you who have adventured forth into this brave new world.

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As a side note, many years ago I developed the habit of keeping the gun in the holster as I put the holster on or take it off. I always figured everything was safer that way… no chance of a negligent discharge if the trigger was always covered. Basically, the only time my guns are ever out of a holster is at the range or dry-firing. Seeing as how holstering is one of the major concerns with appendix carry, it seems like that would be a recommended manner of putting your gun on for the day; yet only one of the sites I went to mentioned it as a possibility. Anybody know of a potential safety hazard I am not aware of when I do this? Thanks!

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http://www.activeresponsetraining.net/appendix-carry-thousands-of-thugs-cant-be-wrong

https://www.usconcealedcarry.com/ccm-columns/features/learning-to-love-appendix-carry/

http://www.calccw.com/Forums/holsters-carry-methods/13521-benefits-appendix-carry.html

http://theprepperproject.com/top-5-reasons-i-carry-in-the-appendix-position/

http://www.corneredcat.com/article/holsters/holster-safety-the-four-rules/

http://www.corneredcat.com/article/holsters/straight-talk-about-curves/

http://www.warriortalknews.com/2010/05/appendix-carry-comfortable-concealable-and-quickest.html

http://pistol-training.com/archives/7768

http://pistol-forum.com/showthread.php?120-AIWB-%28Appendix-Carry%29&p=87911&viewfull=1#post87911

http://pistol-training.com/archives/7234

http://www.handgunworld.com/episode-63-continued-appendix-carry-benefits-fanny-pack-and-purse-carry/

http://churchsecuritymember.com/appendix-carry-church-security-safety-gun/

http://monderno.com/monderno/getting-started-with-appendix-carry/