CNLiveClip

On Colion Noir “CN Live” at NRA-TV

I had the pleasure of chatting with Colion Noir of NRA-TV’s “CN Live” last night about being a relatively new shooter and some of the challenges for women who carry – including purse carry. If you haven’t checked out some of Colion’s work, do so. He’s one of the more thoughtful commentators in the firearms space today.

Colion Noir  CN Live

 

Magazine at range

Are you SHOOTING your self-defense ammo?

I’m guilty. I admit it. I don’t regularly shoot my self-defense ammo.

I have done EXACTLY what a recent article on  TheFirearmsBlog titled “CCW Truths Clash with Self-Defense Ammo Solutions,” said most CCW holders do.

When I go to the range, I set aside my carry magazine loaded with Federal Ammunition 9mm HST Hollow Point self-defense ammo and shoot the magazines that I’ve loaded with American Eagle 9mm FMJ rounds. Then, at the end of my range time I dutifully load the “carry” magazine back in my trusty Sig P320 and off I go.

The problem with rechambering

I am unintentionally impacting my safety with this practice. In some cases, your carry magazine could be years old without the ammo ever having been used, and, get this, with the same exact round getting chambered every time.

“It’s common knowledge within the firearms canon that chambering and re-chambering a cartridge can potentially lead to either the bullet seating further into the case, or even light primer strikes (AR15s). Maybe not on the second time, or the third, or the fourth, but it can eventually lead to a failure to fire, or even a catastrophic malfunction.”

I get it. self-defense rounds are expensive, often almost 2x what the same caliber and grain of full metal jacket (FMJ) or ball rounds cost.

So I called Federal Ammunition to see what they had to say.

Federal confirmed that what can happen over time with chambering and rechambering the same round is “bullet setback” where the crimp that holds the bullet in the casing can break. It’s a problem they said happens often with law enforcement but that they are now seeing with concealed carry as well.

So what should you do?

Federal recommends that every time you unchamber your round from your carry gun, that you first inspect the round. If it looks fine (you don’t see “bullet setback”) then unload the magazine, and load the round you’ve just unchambered to the bottom of the magazine.

This ensures for at least a few cycles (depending on how many rounds your magazine holds) you will be chambering a fresh round.

Federal also recommends that you completely change out the ammo in your magazine every 6 months to a year, even if you don’t see bullet setback. Just use it for practice and reload with fresh ammo.

I’ve adopted a new practice where at least once a month at the range I shoot my carry magazine loaded with HST. For me it’s good just for practice, and then I’m sure my ammo is fresh.

So stay safe out there, and use fresh ammo!

woman_carrying_a_glock_43_in_a_vedder_holsters_iwb_rig

Do you have the mindset for concealed carry?

I had a situation happen to me recently that led me to question whether or not I had the proper mindset for concealed carry.

I was driving down a busy city street and as I approached an intersection, I accidentally cut too close in front of a white panel van.  I waved “sorry” to the guy behind me, who was clearly upset and yelling at me through his windshield.

Then, sitting there at the stoplight, I hear a loud pounding on my drivers-side window, and it’s the guy from the van who is standing next to my window screaming at me. And as I’m sitting there, with my concealed carry handgun right next to me tucked between the seat and the console, I just keep telling the guy “I’m sorry,” in the hopes he’ll just get over it.

Well unfortunately, he didn’t. He ended up following me, and all the while I’m thinking, “Is this really happening? Is this guy really following me?” When it became clear to me he was, I decided that rather than head home (which is where I was originally heading), I headed back to my office building, which has a security guard stationed at the entrance [in hindsight, I should have headed straight to the nearest police department while dialing 9-1-1, but hindsight’s great that way].

Once I got to the office, jumped out of my car and headed inside to the security desk, the guy finally sped out of there – all the while cursing me, and finally screaming out his window, “I’ll find you.”

The second guessing

Almost as soon as the incident was over, I began to second-guess my actions. First was my initial and continuing disbelief that this was really happening. That some nutjob was first getting out of his van at an intersection to scream at me through the drivers side window, and then that the nutjob actually continued to follow me.

Second was my panicked choice to drive to my place of work once I realized that he was, in fact, following me, where he could certainly find my car and possibly wait for me at some later date with who knows what intentions.

Third was my decision to not be more aggressive with him when he first approached my window, letting him “see” my handgun and forcefully telling him to “back off.”

Situational awareness is the key

The first issue, that disbelief that this was actually happening, is actually very common.

In the aftermath of public shooting incidents, survivors will often say they thought the noise they heard was fireworks or backfiring, rather than recognizing immediately that the noise was gunfire. There’s an initial disbelief that their worst nightmare could actually be happening. This to me is key to the mindset question – it’s being in the “yellow” state of situational awareness and moving rapidly to red as required.

As for my choice of driving to where I work, I think it’s related to the state of disbelief and panic I was feeling because of my lack of proper situational awareness.

I admit I was only thinking partially clearly in that moment. At least I didn’t drive to my home, I drove to somewhere where I knew there would be people, but I could have picked a less identifiable option than the place I work if I had been more calm and had been able to focus and reason.

As for the third, I still believe I did the right thing by trying to de-escalate the situation rather than escalate it by exposing my handgun. The guy was clearly enraged, and who knows if he, too was carrying and if that would have just set him off? Also, I did not at that moment fear for my life, even though I was scared.

One of the 4 Rules of Gun Safety is never let your muzzle cross anything you do not want to destroy. I felt I was in the “safety” of my locked car at a very public (and crowded) intersection. Right or wrong, it was what I believed in the moment.

In the end, I was able to learn a lesson about myself and my need to focus on improving my situational awareness and mindset. It’s one thing to talk about it, it’s another to practice and live it. I’m working on the latter.

Tell me about your experiences in the comments below.

Some additional reading:

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Concealed/Revealed: Flowy top and jeans with IWB Holster

In this series, we show different styles of women’s clothing with different holsters for concealed carry. One of the biggest challenges faced by women who concealed carry is how to effectively carry our handguns while not giving up the clothes we want to wear. Here we’ll present different approaches and options that work with our actual, everyday clothes.

For your consideration today, jeans with a flowy top and an in-the-waistband holster:

Jeans with a flowy top
Jeans with a flowy top

 

IWB Holster in jeans
Revealed in-the-waistband holster

 

IWB Holster
IWB Holster from the Well Armed Woman

 

I don’t normally carry my Sig Sauer P320 9mm on body as I find it difficult to conceal with most of my clothing choices. However, when I have the opportunity to wear a loose and flowy top like the Eileen Fisher silk tank and open front cardigan like I have here, it’s great to have the option to carry my larger handgun on-body. Jeans are NYDJ skinny leg jeans. Heels are old and no longer available. Similar here.

Holster is the Well Armed Woman IWB holster ($50). There are several things I like about this holster. First, it’s molded Kydex with great retention. Second, the hook is set higher on the holster, which allows the handgun to sit lower on the waistband, providing a low-profile. Third, the hook is adjustable so you can readily adjust the position or cant of the handgun grip. What I don’t like about it is the Kydex can be a bit irritating on bare skin if worn for a long time, and I’m not one who typically layers her clothing, so my bad.

*Note that some of the links in this post may generate a commission that will help support this site, although that in no way influences my opinion or review. Please see my full Disclosure Statement here.

ConcealedRevealedPurseHolster

Tips for Concealed Carry in a Purse

There may be times when your choice for concealed carry of your handgun is either carry in a purse or don’t carry at all. For example, where I work firearms are not allowed. It’s much easier for me on a day-to-day basis to carry in my purse and transfer the handgun to a portable gun safe in my car before heading into the office, than struggling with un-holstering and then re-holstering an on-body carry option in my car.

Purse Carry Considerations

However, if you choose to purse carry, there are a number of additional considerations you should be fully aware of and prepared for.

    1. You have to treat your purse or bag like a newborn baby. That means you can’t do the usual of dropping your purse on the floor or over the back of a chair while at a restaurant or coffee shop (I KNOW you do that, don’t try to deny it!). You can’t leave your bag in the basket of the shopping cart when at the store. You can’t shove it on the floor by your desk when you’re at work. You have to keep your purse on you AT ALL TIMES if you are carrying a handgun. If you think of your bag like a newborn baby, which must be with you and secure at all times, it’s a good mindset to have if you’re carrying in a purse.
    2. You have to have a proper holster and dedicated spot in your purse for your handgun. DO NOT under any circumstances just tuck your handgun into your well-worn pocket holster and toss in the bottom of that pit that’s your hobo bag. That’s a negligent discharge waiting to happen. If you have a good-quality, dedicated concealed carry purse, there is usually a zipper or other compartment that a holster attaches to (usually with Velcro). If you choose one of the purse holster options you can use with your regular purse, it ideally should be in a separate compartment of your bag with NOTHING ELSE IN IT.  The bits and bobs that float around all of our purses can get caught up in trigger guards that are not properly secured and cause a discharge. Your gun needs to have a secure holster with proper trigger guard protection and the gun needs to be in a separate location in your bag without anything else around it.
    3. Reconsider purse carry if you have or are around small children. There are numerous recent stories about women who were carrying in their purses and small children (some as young as 2 years old) were able to access a gun with tragic and deadly consequences. This goes with tip #1 above, but think of situations like in a car, where your purse is either next to you on the seat or behind you – NOT ON YOUR PERSON. Or when you’re at a friends’ house and you set down your bag on the floor and a curious toddler decides to check it out while you’re engaged in conversation. There are just too many opportunities for children to gain access when a gun is off-body that it deserves serious reconsideration.
    4. Be prepared that your purse (and gun) could be stolen in an attack. This, along with the sometimes careless inattention we give to our purses (see #1 above), is one of the biggest risks to purse carry. If you aren’t carrying your purse cross-body (most recommended) and you get mugged or attacked, not only could you lose your wallet and keys but you could lose your gun as well, and/or the gun could be used against you.
    5. Train, train train and then train some more. Most ranges will not allow you to draw from a purse, so that means regular, consistent dry-fire practice at home with your chosen purse holster and handgun. You need to practice your draw from both your dominant side and your non-dominant side (assuming you’re like most of us and sometimes switch the shoulder you carry your purse on). Be forewarned that drawing from a purse of other off-body holster is ALWAYS going to be much slower than a good on-body carry option.  A recent article on LuckyGunner.com actually put the purse draw to the test on the range and in most cases it took more than twice as long to purse draw.
Purse Carry Resources

Here’s a good video from DressedToCarry.com that demonstrates how to draw from one of the more typical side-zipper concealed carry purses.

One of my current purse holster options is the CrossBreed Purse Defender. As I noted in a recent post, I have a few issues with this option but given what else is currently available in the marketplace it’s the best that I’ve found available right now, especially since it uses a molded Kydex holstering system to allow for good trigger coverage.

One of my favorite dedicated concealed carry purse options on the market today is the Been and Badge Olivia Tote. It’s made in the US of very high quality leather, and I like the holstering option with the quick-release Velco pocket rather than the more common side zipper holster seen with most dedicated concealed carry purses (because it’s easy to muzzle someone in those). But as with any holster option, you have to go with what works best for you and your handgun.

I hope this has given you some things to think about if you choose to carry in a your purse. As with any issue around the great responsibility you’ve taken on if you conceal carry a handgun, be smart and be safe.

concealed-revealed-top-skirt

Concealed/Revealed: Top and Skirt with Thigh Holster

In this new series, we’ll show different styles of women’s clothing with different holsters for concealed carry. One of the biggest challenges faced by women who concealed carry is how to effectively carry our handguns while not giving up the clothes we want to wear. Here we’ll present different approaches and options that work with our actual, everyday clothes.

For your consideration today, a work-appropriate long-sleeve top and pencil skirt, with a thigh holster:

concealed-revealed-top-skirt
Concealed: Long Sleeve top and pencil skirt with pumps

Concealed Revealed Concealed Carry Thigh Holster

Revealed: Thigh Holster

This holster is one of my favorites for concealed carry when wearing skirts and dresses: the CanCan Concealment Thigh Holster. I had originally planned on wearing the top untucked and using a belly band, but it looked better tucked into the skirt so I had to regroup and go with the thigh holster.

The top is the Winfrey top in Boysenberry by MM.LaFleur. The skirt is Armani Collezioni in a pink and grey tweed, similar here. The shoes are a Manolo Blahnik t-strap pump in Bordeaux leather, similar here. The handgun is my easily-concealable Smith & Wesson Bodyguard .380.

*Note that some of the links in this post may generate a commission that will help support this site, although that in no way influences my opinion or review. Please see my full Disclosure Statement here.

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Concealed/Revealed: Fitted dress with thigh holster

In this new series, we’ll show different styles of clothing with different holsters for concealed carry. One of the biggest challenges faced by women who concealed carry is how to effectively carry our handguns while not giving up the clothes we want to wear.  Here we’ll present different approaches and options that work with our actual, everyday clothes.

For your consideration today, a fitted, office-appropriate dress with thigh holster:

Concealed fitted dress
Concealed – work-ready dress and pumps
Revealed thigh holster
Revealed – Thigh Holster

The holster is the CanCan Concealment Thigh Holster. Today it was worn on it’s own (no hosiery), but it also has a separate matching garter belt. The dress is the Etsuko in Crackle by MM LaFleur. Shoes are Donald Pliner, similar here. The handgun is my trusty Smith & Wesson Bodyguard .380,

*Note that some of the links in this post may generate a commission that will help support this site, although that in no way influences my opinion or review. Please see my full Disclosure Statement here.