Rule Three of Concealed Carry

You are a consistent follower of Rule One, so you always carry a gun.  And since you are not merely a gun owner, but instead are actually prepared to defend yourself, you also follow Rule Two, and have trained sufficiently (and have kept in training sufficiently) to have at minimum a solid grounding in the fundamentals of shooting and gun-handling while also acquiring the requisite knowledge of the law with respect to use of force, and use of lethal force.

So what’s the third Rule?

It’s quite simple, really, even though this is the situation where the largest number of people will create the most ridiculous rationalizations to defend their emotional investment in a piece of equipment.

Rule Three of Concealed Carry:  Carry the most effective tool that you can.

And with that, we’re off to the caliber wars.  And the 1911/Glock wars.  And the “my Taurus/Diamondback/Sigma is JUST as GOOD as a…” arguments.

And let’s not forget the “I carry a revolver because semi-autos aren’t reliable enough” crowd.

Rule Three is actually very straightforward:  With respect to tools for self-defense, there are poor choices and good choices.  And for any given situation, there are better and worse choices.

If there is a guy out there who, daily, is carrying a 44 Magnum Revolver with an optic and a 10″ barrel, loaded with alternating FMJ and Black Rhino Teflon-Coated Spinning-Wheels-O’-Death-brand bullets out of a SERPA OWB holster carried in a small-of-the-back position—well, he is at least following Rule One.  That makes him a LOT more prepared than the majority of people in U.S.

I’d bet he doesn’t follow Rule Two though he thinks he does (just a guess there) but very obviously, he isn’t following Rule Three.

Rule Three is SUPPOSED to be simple.  If you need a hammer, then while a wrench will sometimes do, you certainly would prefer to use a hammer.   You want to use the best tool for the job–and with respect to concealed carry, you can make all your carry choices in advance.  So…choose to carry the most effective tool that you can.

Rule Three is not a “GUN X IS THE BEST GUN” rule.  What you can carry depends on your circumstances.  Different people, with different jobs, in different places, wearing different levels of clothing, in varying levels of permissive places, means that you can’t just tell someone “Brand X in caliber Y is what everyone should carry!”  It doesn’t work that way.

However, this doesn’t mean that all guns are equal, and there ARE choices that are better or worse than others.

Here’s the criteria for measuring the scale of better/worse for Rule Three, and note that these are NOT in any priority order:

  1. The gun should use a caliber/round that gets as close to meeting the FBI Ammunition Protocol standards for that particular barrel length as possible, as that is currently our best measure of functional effectiveness in terms of stopping an attacker in a self-defense situation.  (Preferably using a round that has a historical track record of functional effectiveness, such as the 9mm Speer Gold Dot 124 +P round.)
  2. The gun should be as close to full-size as possible, as the weight, sight radius, and grip size all contribute to easier shooting at speed.  (The actual criterion here is “the gun should be as easy to shoot accurately at speed as possible,” but “fullsize” is about the easiest way to determine that.  Smaller guns are harder to shoot well, almost all of the time, no matter what people think about “how the gun feels in their hand.”)
  3. The gun should have the largest capacity possible, as we don’t know the number of rounds we will need to stop an attacker nor how many attackers there will be.
  4. The gun’s controls should be as simple to use as possible, including a trigger that is easy to shoot well under stress.  (This isn’t an argument against safeties and single-action semi-auto pistols, it is more of a “a 12-pound trigger is a worse choice than a 5-pound trigger, and if you can’t carry with a round in the chamber or need to operate awkward levers to make the gun run, it isn’t a good choice” sort of thing.)
  5. The gun must be reliable, and more accurate than you are.  “Reliable” in this case means “a proven track record of function without issue.”  “More accurate than you are” is generally not a problem until you get into REALLY poorly-made junk guns, but you should have at least tested to make sure the gun hits where it is supposed to out to the limit of your ability to make hits.

Here’s why these things are important:

The point of carrying a concealed weapon is so that you have a self-defense tool in case you are the victim of a lethal-force-level assault.  In other words:  Someone is trying to kill you, rape you, or permanently main you.  You don’t know what the situation will be or how many attackers there will be–so whatever you bring with you is IT.  As such, you want the most gun that you can shoot accurately at speed with the highest capacity that has known functional effectiveness for stopping attackers in a lethal-force situation.

If you wish to argue your gun choice based on different criteria than the above, ok….but that’s not why the rest of us carry a gun.  Your attacker may be a strung-out teenage junkie who can barely hold the knife in his shaking hands, and who will run the minute he sees your hand go for the gun.  Or instead you might be attacked by three people in an alley who plan on beating you with baseball bats until your arms and legs and skull are broken, raping you repeatedly, then setting you on fire to watch you burn to death.  (Neither of those situations, I note, are made-up.  They are not hypothetical.)

You don’t get to choose which situation happens to you.  That part isn’t up to you.

So your defensive tool had better be as close to an optimum “can handle anything” as possible.  (Note:  The gun itself can’t handle anything.  But….certain guns can enable YOU to handle many things.  Others won’t.)

If your circumstances are such that you can carry a Glock 34 loaded from mags with extended basepads so you have a 23-round capacity—excellent!  That’s an easy-to-shoot, reliable gun in a known-to-be-functionally-effective caliber and round, with a large capacity.  But most people can’t carry guns that size on a daily basis, so they have to start picking and choosing from a subset of smaller guns…and sometimes, that means that people start making choices that aren’t optimal for them.

Sometimes people even pick full-size guns that aren’t good choices, as least not good choices for the reason you might need a carry gun.

Do you carry a Taurus Judge*?  Do you like having lower capacity and a gun that is harder to shoot well at speed?  Do you feel a need to handicap yourself with respect to your ability to respond with lethal force in a wide variety of self-defense situations if necessary?

Do you carry a Hi-Point* pistol?  Do you prefer a firearm that at any point in time when shot, may catastrophically disassemble itself?  Yes, yes, I know—yours has “functioned flawlessly for hundreds of rounds.”  And yet…given Hi-Point’s quality control and materials choices, you literally DON’T KNOW what is going to happen when you fire the next round.  It might be fine.  It might not.  You don’t know.

Some things are poor choices.  That’s how it is.  There are plenty of guns that are the exact same size as the above that that hold significantly more ammunition and DON’T have reliability problems, durability problems, ammunition capability problems, or trigger issues.

(There is nothing about a Hi-Point that causes it to be a better choice than any other similar gun OTHER than “it is the only one I can get.”  If “it is the only one I can get” is NOT your reason, then you are making a poor choice.  If that IS your reason, then excellent job of following Rule One, and I hope your circumstances improve so that you can upgrade your self-defense tools.)

In this day and age, UNLESS you’ve been shooting one your whole life and you’ve actually practiced with it so that you are extremely accomplished, AND you are old and don’t have time before you die to train to a similar level of accomplishment with a different gun (and this describes almost no one), why would you carry a full-size revolver*?    Again, there are a significant number of firearms of similar size that score much higher on the criterion scale with respect to why you are carrying in the first place.

If you can carry (for a non-random example based on a discussion regarding the Rule One article) a S&W model 327 TRR8 8 shot .357 Magnum revolver—why aren’t you carrying a Glock 34?  Heck, you could carry a Glock 40 MOS in 10mm with an RMR on it, and STILL have it be a) an inch less in length, b) the same height, c) have a trigger pull HALF that of the revolver, d) have it weigh over a third of a pound less, and e) have 200% of the revolver capacity.

Note:  I’m not saying an RMRed G40 is a good choice for self-defense carry.  I’m just saying—if you feel the need for round with significant thump, noise, and blast and you can carry a weapon that size, why not maximize what you can get?

Unless, of course, it isn’t actually about maximizing your defensive capability.  Don’t get me wrong, the 327 TRR8 is actually a sweet revolver. I wouldn’t say no to one, and I don’t even LIKE revolvers.

But…what we carry should be based on maximizing our functional effectiveness.  If you can carry a revolver that size, and if functional effectiveness is what is important, then you probably should be carrying a Glock 34 or something else of similar size and capacity.

Some people’s reasons for carrying smaller guns that are less effective ARE reasonable.  For example, some people (for example, folks with severe arthritis) literally cannot take much recoil.  Even a 9mm is something their hands and wrists cannot handle, so for their cases, something like a .22 may be their only functional choice.  (.32s and .380s often have extremely sharp, snappy recoil, and unless you can find a larger gun in those calibers like a Sig 250, they can’t shoot them.)  If they want a gun, then a .22 is it.

But…there are choices they can make around that.  There are full-size and compact versions of .22 pistols that are extremely easy to shoot well and have decent capacity with good triggers.  Even if (due to their environment) they have to go with a compact gun, they don’t have to choose a tiny .22 revolver with vestigial sights and a horrible trigger.  Even a Beretta Bobcat is better than that!  (And a Bobcat is actually a handy little gun.  Claude Werner, for example, makes a point to show how smaller pistols really CAN be useful for self-defense purposes.  He isn’t saying they are “better” than larger pistols in larger calibers–but his writings and demonstrations show pretty clearly that if you follow Rule One and Rule Two, a Bobcat can often be sufficient for Rule Three under many circumstances.)

Maybe because of the movement requirements of your job (and the clothing limits) you can’t carry a full-size gun.  Maybe it is an extremely non-permissive (though legal) area, so you can’t afford to print at all, or potentially flash the gun.  So you need a deep concealment holster that doesn’t restrict movement, and a smaller, flatter gun.

There ARE sometimes valid reasons why people don’t carry full-size semi-autos in effective calibers.  However…that doesn’t mean that there still aren’t better or worse choices within the limits of the gun you can carry.  You want to attempt to meet as many of the criteria above as you can, within the range allowed by your situational limits.

If you read any Internet gun forum, it won’t take long to run into MANY MANY EXAMPLES of people making non-optimal choices.  And that’s fine.  If you are one of them, you can do that.  It is your choice.  But….the argumentative rationalization of your choice based on your emotional investment isn’t going to be convincing to anyone else.  Should anyone yell at you for your choice?  Of course not.  But it is certainly true that you might be told that there are better choices, particularly if you are trying to argue that your particular choice was fantastic and flawless, and definitely if you are telling other people to make the same choice you did when they are interested in making a better one.  Just because you are emotionally invested in your choice doesn’t mean you made a good one, and it also doesn’t mean that anyone else has to agree with you–which means they are free to point out the flaws in your decision-making process.

Are there actual valid reasons why you aren’t carrying a full-size, full-capacity handgun that shoots a round that passes the FBI Ammunition Protocols?  If you can’t come up with valid reasons….then you are making a poor choice.  You should switch to a better choice.

If there ARE actual valid reasons, are you coming as close to the criteria as you possibly can, given your circumstances?

Hint:  If you are carrying a Ruger LCP in an Fobus OWB holster, the answer is “No.”  And you should probably think about it.

In case you haven’t read them in order:


*Cue the Judge/Hi-Point/Revolver defenders going ballistic.  Remember, we don’t use crescent wrenches as hammers either, given a choice.  You can, but it isn’t an optimal choice.  (Though using a Judge as a defense gun is more like using a frozen banana as a hammer.)  It might get the job done…but even if it does, it’ll take longer, it’ll be a lot more painful, and sometimes it just won’t work.  Perfectly good wrench, should be used for wrench things, not hammer things.


Rule Two of Concealed Carry

So, you are following Rule One.  You have a gun, concealed, on your person.  So, what’s the next rule?  What’s the next most important thing?

Have the basic knowledge and skill to use it properly.  That’s Rule Two.

Some people are probably scratching their heads and saying “why was ‘Have A Gun’ Rule one when you aren’t requiring anyone to know how to use it?”  Simple—if you don’t have one, what skills you have with it won’t matter.  And more importantly, plenty of people who have no formal training or practice with firearms have nonetheless competently defended themselves using firearms.

So while I’m sure we’d all prefer that everyone was trained to a high level with firearms, oddly enough, for self-defense purposes with a firearm, that’s actually less important than having a firearm in the first place.

But it is true that having at least basic skill and knowledge is the next thing.  Once you are following Rule One religiously, then Rule Two is what you should be making sure you have down solidly.

Note:  In this series of articles, I’m talking about concealed carry of a handgun for self-defense, not self-defense in general.  For a discussion of self-defense in general, we’d be talking about significantly different topics, like awareness, de-escalation, self-discipline, the use of force continuum, etc—in other words, the physical equipment we’d be using for self-defense would actually be pretty low on the priority list.  But that’s not the topic here—this is limited specifically to concealed carry of a lethal-force-level tool for self-defense purposes.

If you followed Rule One, then you have a gun.  If you follow Rule Two, then you’ve practiced sufficiently such that you have a safe, efficient draw, and can put accurate shots on target.  Preferably quickly. AND you know the law sufficiently to realize when the situation merits a lethal-force response, and the constraints on you with respect to that response.

Sure, there is a TON more with respect to knowledge and skills that you can work on developing and learning—but at the very least (again, we are going in priority order here), once you have a gun, Rule Two is that you need to have the ability to 1) recognize when you need to use it to save your life, 2) clearly understand the legal requirements that need to be met prior to using it to save your life, and 3) have the ability to quickly and safely get it out and put accurate shots on target to safe your life.

How quick is “quickly”?  What do we mean by “accurate”?

No one agrees on that, really.  There are all sorts of standards, drills, and tests, written by all sorts of people, with all sorts of different points of view.  And worse yet, there is a HUGE difference between a “minimum standard,” what is considered “basic competency,” and what is considered “good solid skills.”  (Much less “highly skilled” or “advanced.”)  Those terms all mean different things to different people.

How good is “good enough”?  Truthfully, you are going to have to make your own decision on that, because what you hear as “good enough” is completely going to depend on who you are talking to, and what their background is…which may not match your situation or needs at all.

Here’s a place to start, though:  Can you, cold (no warmup, no dryfire), shoot a 100% on your state’s CCW shooting qualification?  (If your state doesn’t have one, use ones from the states around yours.  Someone in there has a state qualification.  If they don’t, use your state’s police firearms qualification.)

That qualification isn’t going to be rating “highly skilled” or necessarily even “competent” level with respect to gun skills.  However, 1) it will give you a place to start, if you can’t do that yet, and 2) if you have someone credible officially witness it and keep track of the target and scores, you ALSO now have a verified demonstration that you meet the basic skill requirements for CCW (or the same standards required of police officers) in your state, in case your skill ever comes into question in court.  (And I was just reminded that this idea originally came from Massad Ayoob, and I think it is a good one–particular if using the state LEO qualification course.)

You don’t want to stop there in your skill development, though.  For example, Nebraska’s CCW firearms qualification is laughably easy.  BUT…again, it gives you a place to start.  Nebraska’s police firearms qualification is also extremely easy (at least to pass it, though a 100% requires decent fundamentals) but it is a step up.  Can you do those?  Then you have a good start on the gun-handling skills.

Should you stop there?  In my opinion, no….but that really isn’t the point of Rule Two.  Rule Two says that you should know enough (and be practiced enough with your carry weapon and gear) to be able to get the gun out safely and efficiently and get accurate shots on target to at least a minimum standard.

Many people can’t.  For example:  If, using your CCW gear, you can’t get a passing score on the Nebraska Law Enforcement Firearms Qualification course of fire, then you aren’t following Rule Two yet.  The NE LEO Qual is straightforward, and if you have decent basic fundamentals, passing is simple.  Matter of fact, scoring a 100% isn’t hard.

(Example:  Ardena Shooting the Nebraska LEO Firearms Qualification  )

For the legal side—take a CCW class that does a GOOD job of covering the laws.  Take Chris Zeeb’s Legal Aspects of Lethal Force class.  Learn about Use of Force laws.

You’ve got to know when you can and cannot defend yourself with lethal force.  Going to prison for the rest of your life is NOT effective self-defense–you’ve got to know the law.

To follow Rule Two, you need to:

  • Have knowledge sufficient to recognize when you need to defend yourself with lethal force
  • Have knowledge sufficient to understand the requirements and constraints of legal use of lethal force
  • Have sufficient skill to safely and efficient draw and put accurate shots on target at speed.

If you don’t, then you still might be able to defend yourself.  But….you aren’t really prepared to do so, and may get yourself into deep legal trouble.  The ability to meet the basic requirements of Rule Two is what makes the separation between “gun owners” and “people prepared to defend themselves.”


Next time:  Rule Three: Choose the appropriate tools for the job.

Rule One of Concealed Carry…

I know that if you read articles or forums posts written by me, you will see phrases like “any caliber from 9mm through .45acp will work equally well” and “at least shoot a 9mm” crop up often.  There is a large, robust set of of research data showing those calibers, through handguns, will be functionally effective in the same manner to the same degree and can, in general, be relied upon to cause self-defense “stops” given adequate accuracy on the part of the shooter.

Does this mean I believe anyone who carries a smaller caliber than that isn’t going to be able to defend themselves?

Not at all.

Plenty of attackers in self-defense situations have been stopped by people with .22s.  And in the majority of self-defense situations involving defensive gun uses (DGUs) the attackers have been stopped without a shot being fired.  As such, the first rule of concealed carry is simply:  HAVE A GUN.

It you don’t….then you’ve failed the “concealed carry” portion of your test.  Hopefully, you’ll manage to pass the “unarmed defense” section, when you are attacked.  (I’ll note that section of the test is normally a LOT harder.)

So if what you carry is a two-shot .22 derringer, I’m not going to say you are wrong.  Do you carry it every day, everywhere?  Good, then you are obeying the first rule of concealed carry.

Does that mean I think you are making good choices regarding your concealed carry?  Well, that’s a separate issue.  While it is true that the vast majority of defensive gun uses end in either no shots fired or one shot fired, it is ALSO true that sometimes more is required.

That’s a different topic, though.  First Rule:  HAVE A GUN.  Carrying it doesn’t mean that magically you will be protected from harm, but having it means that you have the tool that most often ends self-defense situations without harm to you if used properly.*

Have a gun.

(Note:  the “if used properly” part is also important.  Again, that’s a different topic though.)

Next Rule:  Rule Two of Concealed Carry

Ralph Mroz liked my article!

Ralph Mroz liked my article about expertise, where I discussed some of the things Tom Givens said about who is qualified to have an opinion in a technical field.

…and he and Tom Givens made some interesting comments as followups, too.    In particular the important question: “What constitutes “experience” in a civilian context?”

This is one of the things that I’ve talked about before, regarding military or law enforcement “experience” when talking about people who are qualified to teach citizen CCW courses–which Tom Givens discussed also, and I mentioned in my original article.

Mr. Mroz brings up an important point also, which is:
“No one has had enough statically valid experience, accounting for all the variables, in lots of different kinds of environments.  Therefore, no one’s experience is universally extrapolateable.”

…in other words, if your instructor is telling you “this is how it is, because it happened to me like this” then he’d better be talking to you ONLY about a situation that matches exactly what happened to him.  Chances are, if he is talking that way, he’s actually trying to generalize based on his experience—and that may not be germane to your situation.

There’s a reason why paying attention to the current research in the field is incredibly important—it is the only way to get a large enough dataset to actually draw supported conclusions.  (Put it this way:  If your self-defense instructor has been in enough self-defense situations to create a large dataset, do you WANT to do what he’s doing?  Why in the world has he been in so many self-defense situations?!)   This doesn’t make it EASY to draw conclusions (sometimes the research doesn’t cover what you need it to cover, so their conclusions aren’t valid for what you want), but conclusions drawn from large datasets are simply more robust in terms of removing the “we succeeded due to luck or incompetence on the part of the criminal, but we think it is because our technique was so good” responses.

I’ll note the “this worked for me once, so it is the right answer, and it’ll work for you” occurs a lot in unarmed self-defense classes, too.  Unfortunately, sometimes concepts taught for that reason can also catch on and become well-known, because most people will never NEED to find out if it’ll really work.

I personally hope that none of my students ever have to test whether or not what I’ve taught them is going to work.  At the same time, though, I try to make VERY sure that what I’m teaching them is as effective, realistic, and as practical as I can make it–because if they need it, it is going to be IMPORTANT.

Why don’t you charge more?

I posted a depressed comment on Facebook yesterday:
“I need to start charging over a hundred dollars for a half-day seminar. Apparently.
This explains why I’m poor!”

A couple of my friends replied:
Why don’t you charge more?
Do you think aren’t worth more? Or do prefer to be the better value?

My reply:

Truth? I think that my combination of training, experience, and practice in armed and unarmed self-defense plus the fact that I’ve actually been researching this topic (instead of depending on anecdotal evidence) means that my training is worth quite a lot (especially in self-defense classes)—and not only more than I’ve been charging, but much more than a lot of the crap that is taught around here by people who are teaching based on their background and experience, which doesn’t actually match the topics that they are teaching.*

…but if I charged that, it would price my courses out of the range of many people, some of whom REALLY NEED to learn some things. But…many people don’t really understand what they need, and instead spend things on what they want. (I’m all for fun adventure-camp weekends, too.) But people often will not spend much on what they need, though they’ll dump tons of money into what they want.

I want people to get trained. And I want them to get trained in things that they need. So unfortunately for my business, I don’t use Magpul-style marketing, don’t play to the adventure crowd, say flat-out that I’m not teaching military or law enforcement tactics because they aren’t applicable, and don’t make up some sooper-sekret black ops past (or LEO past, or make up stories about my time in corrections when during this one escape attempt I…) which means that I don’t pull the people that others do.

BUT, it also means that after a class, I can sit back and think to myself that what I taught actually will do what I say it will, and it is relevant to what I say it is, and the students in my classes will have better chances at defending themselves afterward because of what they learned.

It DOES get amazingly @*#$&%^$ing irritating to see lots of people extolling the virtues of “Class X” in which they learned “really cool stuff!” (based on incorrect information poorly applied, with a misunderstanding of percentages and absolutes, using situations and experiences that don’t apply and techniques that are detrimental to good practice) …where they paid three times my class fee for something where the ONLY plus for the class really is the fact that they got more trigger time and had fun shooting.

Rant, rant, complain, complain.

If I didn’t care about whether or not my students really learned to defend themselves better, I’d change my marketing, up my prices, and pull in a different class of students and teach them crap that made them think they were amazing, so they’d tell everyone how much they learned and how much fun it was.

But—-I can’t do it.

Here’s a thing: I’ve got a seminar coming up in February, which is all about the fact that you probably won’t be alone when you have to defend yourself, called Partner Defense. You probably won’t be a lone gunman, you probably will care about the person you are with, it will probably be someone you spend a lot of time with—and you probably have not ever actually discussed and practiced with them anything useful regarding self-defense. (And contrary to popular belief, being individually any good does NOT mean that you will work well together.) The seminar is only $60 per pair of people, an evening seminar, guns needed but no live fire (practice and scenarios all in the classroom with guns with barrel blockers and such)—this really IS something that is important if you actually have a spouse, significant other, or child that you spend time with in public.

Anyone want to guess how many people have signed up?”


Apparently it was my day to rant.

I’ve made the study of self-defense (unarmed or armed, reading the actual research, delving into social versus asocial violence and process versus procedural predators, finding the best techniques and practice for perception, awareness, and avoidance, etc) for the last 25 years (more, actually).  This is something that has been important to me for a long time.  I’ve spent a lot of time finding out what is REALLY HAPPENING in terms of citizen self-defense situations.

So it sets me off when someone makes up random nonsense based on things they read about but didn’t understand, added to it their unrelated experiences, and then passes it off as “advanced technique.”

Most people don’t know what they need.  And they tend to only pay for what they want.  Which often doesn’t give them ANYTHING that they need. (Other than trigger time.)

I strongly suggest, for people interested in learning self-defense, that you actually attempt to learn what you NEED before giving yourself an weekend adventure taking a class on what you merely want.

No, you don’t need to take those classes from me.  (Sure, that would be great, but it isn’t necessary.)  But you SHOULD take classes that actually teach you what will actually work in the self-defense situations that apply to your life.



*If you don’t believe me about curriculum, teaching, experience-as-related-to-topic, and technique, you don’t have to take my word for it.  Take a look at what national-level trainers like Tom Givens, Claude Werner, Chuck Haggard, and others are teaching. Compare that to the marketing you read, and what you are going to be taught in your “advanced self-defense course.”  DON’T take my word for it–research best practices and what is actually known about citizen self-defense requirements.  Look at what the people who look at research say about what you need to learn.

Why are you so mean?

Periodically, someone asks me why I’m so direct with my replies regarding civil rights such as self-defense.  They get angry because I say what I mean, without cushioning it for their feelings.  I’m not impolite, I just (quite some time ago) lost patience with caring about certain people’s feelings if I tell the truth, back it with facts, and state my conclusions from it, and they get all angry because their defense is purely emotional, with no rational basis.

“Why are you so mean?” I hear.

Well, it gets old being demonized by groups of people who preach caring and love and “no violence” and tolerance while simultaneously saying:

Bill justin laura mermer merner michael Willie-Warren-WalkerNow, some people will say “Well, there are fringe crazies on all sides, you should just ignore them!”  I’d like to—but these aren’t the fringe crazies.  They may be crazy—but they aren’t fringe.  For example, here’s a post from the anti-self-defense, anti-civil rights individual that Obama specifically invited to attend his speech in Omaha:

Screen Shot 2016-01-14 at 1.44.18 PM“Fringe crazies” aren’t normally treated as honored guests.  So apparently this particular individual, with type of social behavior, is considered someone that people should listen to—so don’t ask me why I’m so mean.

I’m not the one saying “Fuck you” nor am I the one advocating killing people who don’t agree with my beliefs.

The next time you want to have a conversation (an actual conversation or discussion) about self-defense rights, start by being polite, and we’ll talk.

Is the New York Reload faster?

I was recently in a firearms class when the instructor, in the middle of demonstrating a drill involving reloads, suddenly dropped his gun, dropped to a knee, pulled a j-frame revolver out of an ankle holster, and engaged the target.  When he stood up he grinned and said “And when you want a REALLY FAST reload, you simply grab another gun.”

That got me thinking, because up until that point in time I had simply gone along with the assumption:  New Gun = Faster.   Don’t have to drop the mag and find a new one and insert the new one and then shoot–just hit that New York Reload (for those new to firearms, a “New York Reload” is simply pulling another gun) and life is good.

Of course, it could be better.

BostonReloadBut….is that really true?  Are New York reloads (NYR) actually faster?

Watching the instructor pull his backup gun (BUG), I really wondered—because here was a skilled, experienced instructor whom I respected, and it took probably a little over 2 seconds from shot to shot between the old gun and the new gun–and he knew when the old gun was going to go dry so it wasn’t a surprise.  Sure, plenty of people don’t have 2-second reloads.  But…most people don’t have 2-second draws from BUG positions, either…

So are NYRs normally faster than standard reloads?

I thought I’d find out, or at least get one comparative data set.  In my case, instead of drawing a small backup gun from a ankle holster or some other place equally difficult to reach, I used a G19 from an IWB holster carried strong side behind the hip as the BUG.  My normal carry is a G17 in an AIWB holster, so I went from my normal carry gun as the primary, to a “BUG” that was a common primary carry pistol using a normal primary draw type for most people who carry.

In other words, I’m giving the NYR the maximum chance to be fast, by making it an easy gun to draw and shoot, and doing so from the place where most people carry their primary.

Contrasting this, I’ll be performing a normal reload-to-shot from my standard extra magazine carry position.

Here’s what happened:

There just doesn’t seem to be that much difference in time.  If I was drawing a j-frame from an ankle holster, it would have been even slower.

…I’m just not seeing much in the way of saved time here, using a New York reload.

Now, no matter what else is true, there are some useful things specific to each type of “reload”:

New York Reload Advantages:

  • If your primary has an unfixable malfunction (at least, unfixable within a useful time frame) the NYR is obviously going to work best.
  • If your primary is taken, lost, or unavailable due to position, then the NYR is obviously going to work best.

Standard Reload Advantages:

  • You aren’t reloading to a smaller gun that is harder to shoot well.
  • You are reloading to another full magazine of ammunition, instead of a 5-shot snubbie or something similar.  (If you shot so much that the gun went empty once, the idea of now only having 5 rounds doesn’t sound good…)
  • You don’t have to reach to draw from a non-primary position.  Example:  You can’t draw from an ankle holster if you are trying to run for cover.  Or run anywhere.  Many backup guns are holstered in unobtrusive (meaning:  slower to draw from and harder to get to) positions, making them harder (and slower) to access.

So ignoring the time differences, there are some potential cases when the New York Reload is the only one that will get you a working gun.  In others, the standard reload is the only one that will make it happen.

Best choice?  Obviously having both an extra magazine and a backup gun to cover all the bases.

That being said–there just doesn’t seem to be much of a time difference between the two “reloads” when going from shot to shot.  And in my case, my standard reloads are actually probably going to be faster than any backup gun that I’d actually carry.*




*Obviously this sample is one case, based on one set of guns/holsters, done by one person.  If your reloads suck worse than mine, maybe the BUG will be faster.  If you can’t hit anything at speed with a tiny gun past 3 yards, maybe the standard reload will be best for you.  But….that difference isn’t a function of the method, that’s a function of shooter skill.  From the viewpoint of method, there just doesn’t seem to be as much of a time difference as many people might think—especially if someone is drawing a tiny BUG from deep cover.