Thursday, August 20, 2009

Are You Carrying?

If I’m outside of the house (and not at work), then the answer to the titular question is most likely yes. A wise person once opined “Carry your gun. It’s a lighter burden than regret”, and this sage advice reverberates in my skull when I think “hey, it’s just the grocery store, I really don’t need to carry, do I?” That 8/12/24 ounces of plastic/rubber and metal doesn’t seem like such a heavy weight when placed next to the need for self-defense. With a little preparation, it’s virtually undetectable (by those who would react negatively, of course), and the knowledge that I have the best tools with which to defend myself and my family is worth the effort.

How can you tell I’m carrying? Perhaps I’m giving away “trade secrets” here, but here’s a good clue that I’m carrying a concealed firearm:

A. I’m wearing one of the following items of clothing:
  • Untucked polo shirt.
  • Hawaiian shirt
  • Mexican wedding shirt
  • Cargo shorts
  • Fleece vest
B. Watch my body language. Generally, I’ll be doing one or more of the following:
  • Avoid reaching over my head
  • Bend to pick something up using an exaggerated “golf bend”
  • Bend my knees rather than my back to get down near the ground to pick something up
  • Compulsively tug at my shirt or vest
  • Keep my hands in my pockets more than usual
And, lastly, C. Locational cues:
  • I‘m with my kids.
  • I’m going to the bank/gas station/Home Depot/WallyWorld.
  • Out for a ride on the Harley.
  • Not at a school, post office, or place of employment.
  • I’m outside of my house.
Any of the above - especially C - means there’s a better-than-average chance that I’m [legally] carrying a concealed firearm.

That is all.


Paladin said...

I agree 150% on the need to carry everywhere that it's legal to do so. I'd even go as far as saying that once you have a license to carry - it's your responsibility to carry everywhere you can.

I had a lot of the "tells" that you described as well, especially in the summer months. Last summer, though, the Texas Heat finally got to me and I found myself considering going unarmed rather than having to wear enough clothes to conceal my gun.

This summer I switched to carrying a P64 (9x18 Makarov), in a front pocket holster. Aside from having to get used to carrying my truck keys in my left front pocket instead of the right- I no longer have to make any special accomodations to carry during the summer heat.

In winter, I'll no doubt go back to carrying other guns that I prefer over the P64.. but for now this is the best choice for me.

kbergiu said...

Mexican wedding shirt?

Tam said...

An easy way to tell if I'm packing a gat: I'm not in my pyjamas. :D

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

Up until about two months ago, I was carrying everywhere I legally could, except for work. I didn't carry at work more for comfort reasons than anything else - I don't have a tuckable holster (shirt and tie environment), and my ankle holster is a $12 Bulldog brand POS that's not well designed for comfort.

That changed after an opponent who's not really very stable showed up at the office out of nowhere one day. The police were called as a precaution (this person had made threats against our client in the past, and we believe they are capable of carrying them out). Nothing bad actually happened, and the person left before the police arrived, but it was disturbing.

There had been a couple of times in the recent past when my immediate boss asked if I was carrying, due to some unruly clients. These times had convinced me that as soon as I could afford a tuckable holster I would get one and use it. Unfortunately, it's difficult to scrape together the $80 needed for a good one. This incident was the final straw to convince me that I could put up with the minor pain inflicted by the ankle holster I currently have until I can afford something better.

Something else important to my decision: the time it took for the police to arrive was also disturbing. It was a quick response time for a non-emergency call (and would have been reasonable for an emergency call), but it was still far, far too long if the person had decided to try anything. They could have killed or seriously wounded everyone in the office and still been gone by the time the police arrived. Had we called it in as an emergency, I believe that they still could have killed several people before the police got there.

Today, I carry anywhere I can do so legally. And as soon as I can, I'm going to be replacing the ankle holster with a Comp-Tac M-TAC tuckable holster for my Kel-Tec. I've found that ankle holsters have too many drawbacks to be used for a primary weapon - they're really only suitable for a backup weapon.

Mike W. said...

RE: A-1 - A polo shirt is my daily attire 80+% of time except in winter. (yes I'm preppy) The only difference is it gets tucked in for work.

I do OC on occasion, but haven't gotten to the point where I do so regularly. I should take Nike's advice and "Just do it."

When I'm somewhere where I can carry concealed though I'm pretty much always carrying. I've even found that I can tuck (Comp-Tac MTAC) and still effectively conceal, though it can be a PITA to get the tuck just right.

Anonymous said...

This made me laugh. I see myself doing similar things.

I need to work on that. It's like night and day when I carry. Anyone watching me would learn these irregularities and should be able to spot them.

I've fooled the family though. They can't seem to tell when I do. It's either a good thing (Hiding it well) or they just don't pay much attention or they know and just don't care...

Lokidude said...

Heh, one other "locational:" If I'm answering the door, you best bet I'm armed, even if I was nekkid 30 seconds before. Basically, if I'm out of the house and not at work, I've got some breed of a heater handy.

breda said...

Also? Keeping the dominant hand free at all times.

Mikael said...

Re: Jake

Ever considered a shoulder rig? Works with shirt and tie enviroment, and if carried beneath the shirt, is virtually undetectable(you may need to damage your shirt, ie have buttons flying off, to draw when needed, but at that point, do you really care about your shirt?)

aczarnowski said...

As I transition from back pocket carry to more IWB carry I have to continually tell myself:

- stop touching my shirt hem
- they don't know
- really, they don't know

Pocket carry is so convenient, but I'm becoming less enamored with a draw that's like digging around in a sack.

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

Mikael said...

Ever considered a shoulder rig? Works with shirt and tie environment, and if carried beneath the shirt, is virtually undetectable

I hadn't considered using a shoulder rig that way. It certainly sounds like a good idea. Unfortunately, it wouldn't work with all my shirts - on some of them the material is thin enough that I have to wear an undershirt (not uncommon with light colored dress shirts). The harness at least would be obvious, if not the gun itself, anywhere the material rested against it - which is most likely to happen in the chest and shoulder area.

On the other hand, most (modern) dress shirts will naturally "blouse" out near the waist, so you don't get that translucent effect, and a tucked IWB wouldn't be nearly as obvious.

I don't have either, and I assume that a good shoulder rig would cost about the same as a good tuckable IWB holster. The tuckable would have the advantage of being usable as a regular IWB holster. I really, really need to get a decent IWB holster for this particular pistol anyway, so I might as well kill two birds with one stone.

I really wish I could have scraped the funds together for a good holster at the same time as the gun, but it was a choice of one or the other. That's never a good thing for a carry gun.

On the gripping hand, the holsters I have fit the gun, hold it securely, and ,most importantly, allow me to carry it. Comfort comes in a distant fourth at my income level.

WV: twine - That won't work very well as a holster.

Dixie said...

Photographer-style vests and fanny packs on non-tourists are dead giveaways, too.

Weer'd Beard said...

Your employer has a policy against packing?

I'm lucky in that sense!

I'm with Tam, if I'm in attire that can accept a gun, I'll put the gun on, and won't take it off unless I have a good reason.

Still all last week I was unarmed because I spent a lot of time in a tent, and was often wearing clothes that won't support a gun (like a swimsuit), and I'm not securing a gun in a tent!

I DID have a Ka-Bar TDI in my pocket.