SHOT Show: Space Camp for Gun Nerds

Every January, the NSSF (National Shooting Sports Foundation) puts on a huge trade show open only to individuals in or affiliated with the gun industry (and only those over the age of 16, thank God).  It’s called SHOT Show and I’m currently working my way through my first one. New to this particular brand of firearm frivolity, I have spent the first couple of days thoroughly gob smacked.

First, Vegas—whiskey tango foxtrot?  The only adjective I can seem to summon about this town is stupid.  Or maybe retarded.  And I don’t necessarily mean it in a negative sense.  For example, yesterday I saw a light fixture that was designed to look like a three-dimensional spinning representation of a Russian hammer and sickle, made entirely of tiny crystals so it cast rainbows all over the walls of the restaurant it hung in.  My first thought was, “That is stupid cool!” There is no good reason for that totally retarded light to exist in the universe, but now that it does, I can admit that it is pretty rad.  And that doesn’t even begin to address the stupid icing on the retarded cake.  But that’s a whole other thing.

Anyway, here are a few observations on SHOT Show, thus far:

It’s actually a lot like space camp for gun kids, except the jocks were invited too and everyone mostly gets along.

Much like that Soviet lamp I mentioned before, there are great number of guns that basically serve no purpose other than being superfluously cool and SHOT Show displays pretty much every last one of them.

Casinos are extremely disorienting.  Gun shows are extremely disorienting.  Being lost in a gun show in a casino (not that it’s happened to me like every freaking time I try to go somewhere) is like a terrifying dream that you half don’t want to wake up from.

There’s a surprisingly high representation of young, clever, educated enthusiasts participating in the gun world in a productive, responsible way, including a growing number of women.  Having never been to SHOT Show before, I sense that it wasn’t always like it is now.  The internet community has posted a strong showing and seems to be taken seriously here in a way that is very encouraging.  And you thought YouTube was just for cute cat videos.

There’s a surprisingly low representation of scantily-clad women showcasing the merchandise, so to speak.  Not sure why they left the show hos behind this year, but I suspect it has something to do with the growing female market and an effort to cater to these new customers.

Despite the fact that trying to take in everything a show this big has to offer is totally exhausting and overwhelming, it’s absolutely impossible to walk past a display of custom AR-15s and short-barreled rifles and not touch them all.  It’s like not petting a box of newborn puppies.  It would make baby Jesus sad if you didn’t.

If you can imagine a kind of fun that entails getting repeatedly slapped in the face with magical rainbow unicorn tails from the time you wake up each morning until you fall exhaustedly into bed each night, that’s what SHOT Show feels like.  It hurts so good.

And now a photo that sums up the “work” I’ve been doing all week:

Just like petting puppies.
Just like petting puppies.

Girl, I got some things I wanna say to you..

Someone asked me the other day how long I’ve been into guns.  I was surprised when the words “two years” came out of my mouth.  It feels like just yesterday I was all, “Uh-uh.  No guns! Not up in here!”.  But then, you know, the times are a’changing.  Now my sweet Smith and Wesson Shield rests a mere sleepy arm’s length away from me every night and trips to the gun range are like candy for a greedy child.  I certainly don’t consider myself an expert (and truth be told, I have some qualms with that word, in the first place) but there are definitely a few things I’ve learned along the way that would have been helpful earlier in my journey.  So, I put together a little list of  things I wish I could go back and tell myself about shooting and the gun world. 

1.  You’re better at this than you think you are.  Stick with it.  Try not to get discouraged.

2.  Focus on the fun.  Gun safety is serious, but shooting guns is just plain, dumb fun.  Don’t get overwhelmed by all that tactical operator, extreme carbine, pistol manipulation,  super ninja, gun nut stuff.  You’re not going to be La Femme Nikita right off the bat.  (But seriously, some of that gun nut stuff is pretty rad and you should check it out on YouTube.  You’ll like it).

3.  Even though you don’t see many people in the gun world like you, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for you or that you aren’t providing a valuable perspective.

4. When your real-life friends and family give you horrified looks after you tell them you own guns, just smile sweetly and be patient.  You know you’re not crazy, they know you’re not crazy.  It will all work itself out.

5. When the cranky, old fart at the gun range tells you not to put your finger over the barrel of the gun while you’re shooting, smile sweetly and tell him to eat a bag of dicks.

6. You’re going to run into outdated thinking, bad attitudes, preconceived ideas, ignorance and outright disrespect just because you don’t fit into the “traditional gun owner” mold.  Eff that.  You’re not in it for those people anyway.  There is a community of supportive, encouraging people who are thrilled to count you among their ranks, and will  welcome you with open arms.  Be friends with them.

7.  Don’t rush into buying a gun for concealed carry.  Once you make up your mind that you’re going to carry, it’s easy to get impatient, but there are a lot of considerations and a lot of guns to choose from.  Don’t settle for something you don’t really like or isn’t comfortable to shoot.  Take your time or you’ll end up kissing a lot of frogs.

8.  You CAN carry concealed in (cute) women’s clothes! Do not despair! You don’t have to dress like a lady cop or a homeless person, and you don’t have to buy some Mickey Mouse, pink, sparkly gear just because that’s the ladies’ model.  Just put a little time and effort into it (You already like to shop.  How much of a hardship is this really going to be?) and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what you can hide under your t-shirt. (wink)

9.  Prepare to be underestimated.  Then prepare to not give a single shit.

10.  Listen to what everyone has to say about guns, but don’t believe anything as gospel.  The gun world is a rapidly evolving place filled with countless would-be experts, especially on the internet.  Many ideas that are espoused as facts are really opinions.  There’s also a lot of good information out there.  Do your own research.  Ask a lot of questions. Try things for yourself.

11. You will mostly learn by making mistakes, but that’s ok because it will still be plain, dumb fun.  Don’t let failures, mistakes or missteps spoil the pure joy of shooting.

What would you tell your former newbie self about shooting and guns?

Welcome to the Gun Show and my debut on GunSafety Pro

It looks like my September sabbatical has finally drawn to a close.  I’ve done things, gone places, talked to people, shot weapons and snuggled my cat (a lot).  Now I’ve amassed lots of fodder for posts.  First up is my take on gun shows.  I’ve attended quite a few as a customer and recently had the opportunity to participate in a couple of shows as a vendor.  It was an enlightening experience, to say the least.  You can read all about it here at Gun Safety Pro where I hope to be a contributing writer from now on.  Please share your thoughts on gun shows in the comments here or over at GSP.

In a similar vein, my friend Gabby of Armed Candy fame, posted this article a few days ago and it rang sadly true for me. No matter how much progress we make, it seems there are always these boneheads pissing on everyone’s parade.   Oh well.  I guess if we didn’t have guys like this, who would we all make fun of?

Shameless Self-Promotion and the Thunderdome

Some of you may have noticed that I can’t stop talking about Gun Nuts Media and the article that I have up on their site right now.  It’s true.  I literally Can. Not. Stop. Talking about it.  That’s because I’m currently engaged in an epic fight-to-the-death in the Gun Nuts Thunderdome with three other wildly talented writers to become the newest addition to their staff.  The winner will be determined by total number of page views, comments and social media shares on his or her post.  I’ve been training like Rocky all week and now, the gloves are coming off.

Previously, in the second stage of the contest (when there were still ten of us in these literary Hunger Games), we had to make a short video answering five questions laid out by El Presidente, Caleb Giddings.  The questions were as follows:

1) What is your favorite gun and why?

2) Why should I hire you?

3) Which is better: getting lots of attention for mediocre content with lots of flash, or getting very little attention for great content?  Why?

4) If you could change one thing about the current editorial style/publishing on Gun Nuts, what would it be?

5)Who would win in a fight, a T-Rex or a Sasquatch with an AK-47?

And here’s how I answered…

Obviously, I mean business.  Doesn’t that flag in the background just scream deposed dictator?

So, if you haven’t already, please go check out the article here and leave me a comment.    When I win, I will thank you all individually in my nationally televised acceptance speech (along with  my mom, my grandma, my deity, my cats and my make-up artist).  Thanks in advance for your participation.  Also, if you’d like to weigh in on any of the above interview questions, I’d love to hear your answers.  **Attention all Sasquatch experts: this one’s for you**

If it brushed my teeth and answered my emails, then I might consider buying a Glock

Glocks and M&Ps. There can be only one.

Look, I’m just going to say it.  I don’t like Glocks.

I know I’m alienating all the fan-boys and the mall ninjas and I’m sorry, dudes.  I tried to write an extremely gentle, reassuring comparison of the Glock 19 and the Smith and Wesson M&P 9, but it was obvious even to me, that I just don’t like Glocks despite my best efforts to the contrary.  So, if you need to unfriend me on Facebook, now is the time.  It’s cool. I totally understand why we’re breaking up. It’s not me, it’s you.

Here’s the problem: I think shooting a staple gun is more fun than shooting a Glock.  I keep waiting to be proven wrong, but it’s not happening.  In fact, I recently rented some Glocks at the range in the hopes of understanding the deep love that folks have for these pistols, but all I got out of it was sore hands and more puzzlement.

I rented the Glock 26 and the 19, both Gen 4.  The 26 seemed good at first.  I liked the size, and there was still plenty of real-estate for both of my hands, especially with the grip extension magazine. I was drilling out the center of the target almost instantly. “Ok”, I thought, “Now we’re making progress”. But then the pinching began.  Apparently, the magazine shifts ever so slightly as the gun cycles, which resulted in my tender hand-meats getting trapped between the unforgiving polymer jaws of the magazine extension and mag well. (Note: I hate pinching).

No problem.  Maybe it was just the 26.  Perhaps there are other Glocks I would like.  So, I tried the 19.  I found there was appreciably less pinching.  So far, so good.  But then other problems became apparent.  The ultra aggressive grip texture on the light-weight frame, for example, is a bit like covering your aluminum baseball bat in course grit sand paper and then trying to hit 100 mph pitches.  True, you won’t drop the bat, but you won’t want to hold on to it for very long either.  Also, what’s with those weird front strap finger grooves?  They seemed like more of an impediment to a comfortable grip than a useful feature.  And then there’s the unfortunate side-effect of shooting a Glock for any prolonged period of time– it starts to feel like you’re trying to catch Chuck Norris’s foot, mid-round-house kick.  Allegedly, the Gen 4 Glocks are supposed to have a new recoil spring assembly that reduces perceived recoil, which is funny because the recoil is still really perceptible.

(A brief aside: I’m not particularly recoil-shy, in general.  I love shooting 1911s and other larger caliber handguns, as well as shotguns and rifles. My Mosin-Nagant is one of my favorite guns to take to the range, despite the large bruise on my shoulder that I inevitably come home with.  There is a difference between the giddy fun that is shooting a large caliber gun, and getting joylessly beat-up by a 9mm).

I’ve heard many Glock devotees confess that the shooting experience leaves much to be desired.  Whiskey tango foxtrot, guys?  Why are you so enthused about a gun that you don’t really like to shoot?  Especially when there are so many other lightweight, reliable polymer pistols on the market today, and more being released all the time?

I get the whole SHTF/easy to get parts and ammo/perfect for my bugout bag thing and I’m a big fan of being prepared.  I have Band-Aids in my house, but I’m not like, “Hey bro!  Wait til you see the flesh-colored, self-adhensive bandages I got!  They are so effective and reliable! You are an IDIOT for considering any other wound protection system over this obviously more awesomely superior first-responder, triage solution”. In fact, it might seem downright peculiar to be so animated about little strips of plastic.  And that’s because they are just tools I have to help me perform a specific task, in this case, staunching blood flow and preventing infections of minor cuts and abrasions.

That’s exactly what a Glock is—it’s a tool, not the end-all, be-all of striker-fired handguns.  Let’s treat it as such.

So here’s my TL;DR breakdown:

Things I like about Glocks

1  Accurate (Duh)

2. Reliable (Double Duh)

3. Simple controls

4. Easy take-down

5. Widely available, cheap parts

6. Angel of grip forces hands into a stable, high position

Things I hate about Glocks

1. Aggro grip texture

2. Weird front finger grooves

3. Materials feel cheap

4. Pinches pinky finger when using extended mag

5. Feels like getting nunchucked in the hands

6. Cordless drills are more fun

Final thoughts:

Would I carry this gun and brag to everyone who will listen about how amaza-increda-ballingly awesome it is, and what a tactical-ninja-eagle-strike-force pirate it makes me?  No.

Would I wrap this gun in a plastic bag and sew it into the headliner of my car in case of zombie apocolypse?  Hell, yes.

Why the Shield is an Ideal CC Gun (for Women)

Shield and sword. Ready for action.

I recently read this article by Lynne over at Female and Armed (which is a really fantastic blog, by the way) and it resonated so strongly with me that I thought I’d throw in my two cents concerning choosing a subcompact pistol for concealed carry.

Let’s be honest. How many abysmally awfully guns have you tried out in your search to find the perfect concealed carry pistol? I know I’ve shot more duds than I care to recall, and even own a few that ended up being entirely unsuitable for this application. It can be an expensive game of trial and error, not to mention extremely frustrating. Women have unique and specific requirements for purchasing a firearm to carry every day, and the Smith and Wesson M&P Shield fits those requirements better than any other subcompact, polymer pistol that I’ve tried thus far.

The Shield is a striker-fired pistol chambered in 9mm or .40 cal (I own the 9mm and have not yet tried the .40) that holds either 7+1 or 8+1 rounds, depending on which magazine you are using. Smith and Wesson developed the Shield to help meet the rising demand for a reliable pocket pistol that is easy to conceal and not a pain to shoot, literally. And they succeeded brilliantly on both counts.

Most importantly for an EDC pistol, I have found the Shield to be entirely reliable.  I’ve not yet experienced a single malfunction despite having close to 2,000 rounds through it.

Additionally, the Shield is amazingly easy to carry, especially considering its caliber and capacity. Even more remarkable when you take into account that apparently most women’s clothes are made for impractical, tiny-handed super-models who spend all day sitting around doing nothing but looking pretty. You know what I mean, ladies. Happily, the slim width (Smith clocks it at .95 of an inch)  causes it to nearly disappear even under a thin t-shirt. That, coupled with its compact size, produces an ideal pistol for inside-the-waistband carry. Even sitting down, the Shield doesn’t make you overtly aware of its presence. Which is good, because as we all know, if you have a gun that is uncomfortable to carry, or you can’t wear it with the majority of your clothes, you just won’t carry it.

There is more to an EDC pistol than just ease of carry and concealment, though. It is paramount to practice regularly with your gun, so you are familiar with the controls, grip and trigger. I very much enjoy practicing, (I’m a sucker for repetitive tasks), but shooting some of the smaller subcompact guns on the market can be frustrating and even painful, due to the reduced size and weight, heavy trigger pull and intense recoil. I’ve shot both the Smith and Wesson Bodyguard in .380 and the Ruger LCP and immediately discounted both of them as potential carry pistols due to the factors mentioned above. On the other hand, every time I go to the range, I end up buying a box of 9mm ammo because I just can’t leave without running a couple of mags through the Shield (at least that’s what I tell myself right before I blow through all 50 rounds). The Shield is tremendously accurate, the recoil is minimal for such a light gun, and the trigger reset is nothing short of sublime. Seriously, if you’re ever given the opportunity to pull the trigger on one of these little guys, do it. I’m pretty sure you’ll be reassessing your gun-buying budget post-haste.

While the Shield is a winner overall, there are definitely a few things that could be better. One of my biggest annoyances about this gun is the 7 round magazine. I find it  difficult to both load and seat into the gun. At first, I thought this might be a break-in issue, and would resolve itself over time. However, nearly 4 months later, my concerns are still present. The spring inside of the magazine is tremendously stiff making it cumbersome to load the rounds. Once it is loaded, I find that I am rarely able to seat it properly on the first try, not matter how much strength I apply. I almost always have to insert the mag and then give it another tap to push it into place. I don’t have either of these problems with the extended magazine. Mostly this is fine, since I prefer the higher capacity anyway, however sometimes it is easier to conceal with the shorter mag.

Appendix carry perfection. The Shield in a PHLster Skeleton holster.

Other perplexing issues: why is the safety minuscule and impossible to operate? And why even put a safety on it if you’re going to give it a six-and-a-half pound trigger? I have totally abandoned any hope of ever using the safety on this gun because I can’t actuate the darned thing without squinting and struggling. I am also seriously considering doing a trigger job on it to lighten the pull. While I love the crispness and reset, I find the weight to be a bit of nuisance. I very much like the Apex Tactical five-and-a-half pound trigger for M&Ps, so I think that might be next on my to-do list.

Final verdict—if you want to carry, but would prefer to not lug around a full-size firearm, choose the M&P Shield. The price is right, so you will definitely feel like you got a bargain when you realize how awesome it is. Also, it is really manageable to operate and take down, which means it’s a good gun to learn the basics with. You won’t find a lot of confusing controls or extraneous features, and taking it apart to clean it is almost as easy as taking apart a Glock. Unlike a Glock, however you will actually want to take your Shield to the range and shoot it.

In the interest of fairness and full disclosure, Brandon over at Monderno did experience a problem with his Shield that rendered it unusable and required a trip back to Smith and Wesson for repair.  Read more on that here.

The Concealed Carry Holster Fashion Show

A couple of weeks ago, after a long day in the PHLster workshop, I hurriedly packed a bag and made some final travel arrangements.  I went to sleep that night with the kind of anticipation that children have on the night before Christmas.  But it wasn’t visions of saccharine sprites dancing in my head.  I dreamt of skillfully concealed pistols and empowered women exercising their rights.  (Ok, I might have also dreamt of fighting off a malicious invasion of angry cyborg cats, but that’s for another article).

Recycled brass centerpieces at the CC Fashion Show

The 1st Annual Women’s Concealed Carry Holster Fashion Show was held at the Churchtown Firehouse Banquet Hall in rural Hudson, New York (or thereabouts. My navigation couldn’t accurately locate the spot within 5 miles) on July 21st.  By all accounts, the sold-out event, put on by Trish Cutler with help from Kitty Richards, Gracie McKee and Annette Evans, was an overwhelming success, and an example that is sure to be emulated across the country.  A packed room of women, and quite a few men, listened to speakers give talks on a wide range of gun and self-defense related topics, browsed merchants’ tables, and watched women of various shapes, sizes and ages demonstrate some of the most popular holsters on the market today.

A packed house in upstate New York.

The fashion show itself started with a demonstration on proper drawing and re-holstering techniques including from-the-hip, cross draw and sitting.  Gracie McKee gave excellent commentary and stressed the importance of becoming proficient with these techniques.

Annette Evans demonstrates proper draw and stance.

Then the fun part started.  The models, including Gabby Franco of Top Shot fame, sashayed up the improvised runway and onto a small stage to an eclectic mix of gun-themed music including NAS’s “Got Yourself at Gun” (which cause an embarrassing out-burst of laughter on my part).   Most did a quick twirl before revealing where the holster holding a replica gun was concealed.  Meanwhile Gracie provided info on the make and model of each holster.

Master of Ceremonies, Gracie McKee

The enthusiasm and camaraderie in the audience was palpable, and as each new model came out a flurry of whispers erupted around me, excitedly trying to guess where the gun was.  It was an exercise in futility though, since the guns were all so well-hidden that I don’t think anyone was able to identify them through the models’ clothing.  Some of my favorites were the shoulder holster– a Galco I believe, one of Looper Brand’s newer offerings, the Marilyn and the various holster purses (since I have a special interest in lady gun bags).

A model displaying a concealed carry purse.

Seeing how these holsters look and operate on a real woman, in real life was tremendously helpful to me, and I’m sure, many of the other women at the show, as well.  I saw many taking notes on their napkins and conferring with each other about the pros and cons of the various offerings.

For me, while I found the event to be very informative and interesting, it was equally gratifying getting to meet and talk with so many other gun advocates in the community.  The ladies behind popular gun blogs Packing Pretty, Armed Candy , new kid on the block, Walther and Me and the lovely [armedinstilettos] whose t-shirt you might recognize from my video, were all in attendance, as well as two other alumni of The History Channel’s Top Shot.  Among other things, we all bonded over the discomfort of having to leave our guns at home. (Note to the state of New York: your gun laws are bogus).

Lady gun bloggers unite.

As we saw earlier in the summer with the much-Tweeted-about Girls Gun Getaway, any gathering of pro-gun females both boosts morale among lady shooters, and garners good publicity for the gun world.  On a personal level also, it’s tremendously energizing to meet others who are working passionately towards the same goal of empowering women to exercise their Second Amendment rights.

The lovely Gabby of Armed Candy.

I had a number of enlightening and thought-provoking conversations during the brief time I spent in Hudson that I know will stick with me, and inform both my writing and my shooting.  I can’t wait to share some of these new insights that are percolating in my over-caffeinated brain with you guys.  I sincerely hope that events like this catch on across the country, in the wake of the success in New York.  There is already talk of this becoming an annual event in Hudson, and I am delighted at the possibility.  I can’t wait to see more holster options and hopefully, to meet more of you guys at next year’s Concealed Carry Fashion Show.

For  more info on the show, check out Gracie’s post on Packing Pretty and Gabby’s slide show of the holsters that were featured.

Women, Guns and Sexual Assault

I think it might finally be time to address the R- word.

I have tiptoed around it since I entered the gun owning population, partially because it is an attention-grabbing taboo that comes with its own laundry list of connotations and associations, but mostly because it is something that I have very strong feelings about.  I didn’t want to slap together some off-the-cuff rant about how I think guns will put an end to rape.  This topic deserves a more nuanced treatment.  I planned on waiting and gathering data and doing research.  But today I was reading this article and I felt like my brain was going to explode at the absurdity of the assertions the author makes.  Then I ran a quick Google search on guns and sexual violence and found this  and this and I just can’t keep quiet on the subject any longer.

Whether or not you believe guns will prevent sexual assault, the language and tone of these articles is infuriating and demeaning.  It implies that while the threat of sexual violence is very real and entirely reprehensible, if we’ve gotten ourselves into the situation that results in rape, there’s nothing to be done about it.   We should just close our eyes and wait for it to be over.  They claim that we have no viable chance of defending ourselves against a rapist and even if we do, no one will believe our sad story anyway. The fact that these articles are all written by women, for women makes them all the more galling.  This line especially made smoke come out of my ears  would a judge and jury really believe a woman who says she shot her husband in self-defense because he was trying to rape her? Furthermore, a gun won’t protect you if someone takes advantage of you while you’re too drunk to consent to sex, nor will it stop someone from slipping a date rape drug in your drink.” (Hodrick,, July 25, 2012)   It sounds an awful lot like premptive victim blaming to me. Why bother learning to defend yourself?  It’s not going to work and everyone is going to think you are a lying, boozing slut anyway.

Then there’s this neat, little package of condescending problem-solving: “Guns are not the solution. Education is. There are ways to protect yourself: don’t walk at night alone on campus, don’t run at night on campus with earbuds in, when going to a party or bar only accept drinks that you have seen made with your own eyes, try to stay in well-lit, people-filled areas, don’t wear your hair in a ponytail because it is easier to grab, be observant of your environment to see if you’re being followed in any way, always listen to your gut if your instinct is telling you something is wrong, and if given the chance, take a self-defense class”  (Alvarez,, August 4, 2011) Oh! Just don’t wear a ponytail! Perfect!  We will all be so educated and happy, in well-lit, people-filled areas sipping drinks that we have meticulous observed the production of, listening to our guts (but not our earbuds! Dear no!) with our hair down.  It will be utopian.  There will be no guns there, for they are not for us ladyfolks.  Maybe we can have mace, or a bat or a knife.   We definitely should take a self-defense class.  But a gun won’t do us a lick of good.  In fact, Alvarez goes on to say, guns can only create more problems.”  Well, I’m so glad she told me.  I’ve had my gun for almost two years now.  When should I expect the problems to begin?

I hope that by now we all know that guns don’t do anything on their own.  They don’t prevent or cause anything to happen.  Yet a palpable fear of firearms exists in our collective subconscious.  We demonize guns even as we fetishize them as an icon of violence.  There is a perception that a gun will turn a sane man, or woman, into a crazed, trigger-happy criminal, or that a gun is a gross over-reaction to the threat of rape.  I contend that the gun is a great equalizer.  Why do only criminals, police and nut-cases get to have guns?  Do we, the potential victims, not get access to these same implements, so that we might properly defend ourselves?  In fact, might we have these tools so we no longer have to be victims?  Maybe we can take some action in preserving our own safety instead of just staying in well-lit areas and hoping for the best.

Most importantly, the act of shooting and owning a gun has a profound impact on the way most women see themselves and the world around them.   Shooting a gun is empowering, energizing, stress-relieving and confidence-building.  In my experience, women who shoot walk taller and apologize less.  They are also sensitive, caring and protective of their loved ones.  Women who carry guns have already decided that their lives and their bodies are valuable enough to protect.  Carrying a gun, and training to defend oneself with it, is a huge responsibility, not to be taken lightly.  It requires a vast amount of situational awareness, mental fortitude, education and commitment. In fact, gun ownership fosters just the kind of attitude and awareness that Ms. Alvarez suggests is the solution for preventing sexual assaults.  And that might be enough.  You might not ever need to pull the gun out.  But at least you have it and you know how to use it, if you do.

I’ve never been under the illusion that a gun is some kind of magical talisman that can be carried to ward off menacing attackers.  No amount of training, nor tools, nor mindset can deter all violence, all of the time.  The best we can hope for is a chance—an opportunity to run, a chance to call out for help, a moment to draw our weapon and fire a shot.  Why not employ all the tools at our disposal, and acquire as many skills, and as much knowledge as is available in order to improve that chance?

Get educated.  Investigate all of the resources you have access to.  And PLEASE don’t believe anyone who tells you that you don’t have a chance of defending yourself.

I’ve read a lot of articles and posts this past week about the recent shooting in Aurora, but couldn’t get his one our of my head. It is such a simple, concise defense of concealed carry without playing on sympathies or blame. It also underscores the point that the vast majority of the legal gun owning population is primarily concerned with the protection of innocent lives, not the extermination of them.
If you enjoy this piece as much as I did, please check out Greg’s blog.

Greg Camp's Weblog

The recent shooting incident in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado raises a question of basic rights. According to the reports that I’ve seen, the theater in question bars the carrying of firearms. Of course, we see how well a sign declaring a “gun-free zone” worked, but that’s another matter. I want to consider the broader point about the boundaries of rights.

Take my home as an example. It’s generally agreed that I have a large measure of a right to privacy within its walls. Under our laws, if the government wants to come in, there must be a warrant issued by a judge to allow that, minus a small number of exigent circumstances. Our government violates that all too often, but many of us recognize that to be a violation. In addition to privacy, I have the right to say who gets to come in and what my guests…

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Concealed Carry (even when it’s like a billion degrees)

I’ve been talking a lot lately about concealed carry options, so I thought I would share with you guys another method that I use frequently, wardrobe permitting.  It’s a PHLster skeleton holster for my M&P Shield, that I appendix carry IWB.   This is the same holster that I showed off in my EDC Pistol Options video.

As you can see from the photos, it basically disappears even in summer clothes.  The shirt I am wearing is a bit roomy in the front, but the cut doesn’t feel unflattering to me.  I also like the layered tank-tops for warmer weather.  You can tuck one tank-top in and wear a larger one over top, so that your gun isn’t pressed right up against your (likely sweaty) abdomen.  Carrying this way is secure, comfortable and provides a quick and easy draw.  It’s also nearly invisible, even if you know what you’re looking for.

How do you guys carry in the summer months?