Part 2 of 3 on CCW/Off Duty Carry.
Mission and Mindset:
Most states allow CCW and LE officers are allowed to carry in all 50 US States thanks to a federal law allowing so. Carrying a gun isn’t just as easy as carrying a gun, its having the right mindset to carry a gun. While Constitutionally people have the right to carry a gun, it doesn’t mean that carrying a gun is for everyone. Its something that you must decide yourself if you want to carry and develop the mindset that revolves around carrying 24/7/365. I’m not going to go into depth on that any more but strongly recommend you study mindset before carrying a gun. (Gates of Fire and The Warrior Ethos by Steven Pressfield and On Combat and On Killing by Grossman).
If you want a quick answer without reading more, just buy yourself a Glock 19, Raven Concealment Phantom with IWB and OWB mounts and wear it as your style of dress dictates. I’d also recommend a Glock 17 mag as your reload carried in a Raven Concealment single mag OWB pouch. Also recommended is some sort of "tactical" flashlight. I prefer the single battery option from Surefire called the E1B but have seen good things for the first time with the new single battery lights from Streamlight.
The first thing to consider when carrying a gun concealed is what is your reality/mission. This is dictated by where you live, work, weather, threats and allowed to carry – by Agency Policy/State Law. No matter the mission, I would always recommend you carry the biggest gun you can within reason.
When I’m talking about where you live and work, I’m specifically focusing on fitting in. This is a moot point if you have a work uniform and you’ll just adapt your weapon carry method to your uniform. No matter where you live, 5.11 Tactical sticks out. Yes, I’m guilty of wearing their stuff mainly because its my work uniform and its still holding up after a uniform style change so why not use a perfectly good pair of pants a few more months/years? If the most common style of clothing near where you live is Carharts and Levi’s, why be super different? I do live in a town where Carharts and Levi’s are common attire and find ways to try and blend.
Weather can change how you carry. In the summer bigger loose fitting T-Shirts are great for not brining attention to yourself. In the winter remember you’ll have to move the extra layers of cold weather clothing away to get to your gun. Remember that when getting dressed – if you go somewhere your going to need to take your coat off, your gun will be exposed unless you have dressed accordingly.
Threats. What is the local environment like? Ken Hackathorn has said for a few years that most civilian shootings involve something like 1-3 badguys and are usually less than 5 feet. Add on top of that the FBI statistic of 80% of Civilian and LE shootings combined occure in Low Light to No Light conditions, you now have something to consider. The 6 shot revolver is not a primary weapon. Its okay as a backup, but even then there are better options available in my opinion. Things to consider threat wise are number’s of badguys – i.e. magazine capacity and reload speed, caliber of weapon and effectiveness in low light and no light environments.
Biggest gun you can carry. A Ruger LCP is to small both in size of the gun and in caliber to be very useful. It has its “mission” but not as a primary carry gun. On the other hand, a S&W 500 is not a CCW gun – unless your John Connor fighting Terminators. You do need to take environmental considerations I mentioned into account as well. Caliber is important, but very likely a moot point if your using JHP ammo of some sort. If so, 9mm is your best balance of cheap to shoot with high round capacity and low recoil.
Balance all the above out to decide what your going to carry, how to carry it and how many extra mags to carry with it. Next post will have a list of the various pieces of equipment I find as useful for CCW/Off Duty carry.