Changing how you carry

No matter how or where you carry a gun, I’m sure you know how important it is to train with it and be comfortable with it there. I carried several different guns openly, in a belt holster, for many years, but after I started teaching concealed carry, I knew I needed to carry that way myself enough to work out the kinks and understand completely how it worked and become comfortable with it myself. You can’t really teach what you don’t know.

I’ve gone through the CC training myself several times over the years, trying out many different holsters and carry locations, and discovered that I just couldn’t get comfortable with anything under my clothing, or having to partially undress to draw a gun. None of that was going to work for me.

So, about a year ago, I bought my first nylon “fanny pack,” made especially to carry a gun. The semi-automatic wouldn’t fit into it, so the Ruger Sp101 revolver wound up as my carry gun. I wore it, trained with it, and worked hard to get good with it, but the five round limitation of the revolver always bothered me. I carried two “speed loaders,” but reloading a revolver is anything but speedy, and I couldn’t imagine being happy with it in an emergency.

I haunted the gun shows and tried out any number of “gun purses” and fanny packs, but they all had more problems or limits than what I already had, not to mention the fact that most were seriously expensive. And then I found the ONE I’d been looking for. My Springfield XD compact 9mm fits in it like a hand in a custom made glove, and the spare magazine fits into a front pouch perfectly – leaving plenty of room for wallet, lip balm and a pack of tissues. I have not carried a purse for many years, and I discovered it was nice to get all that stuff out of my pockets.

DTOM Concealed Carry Fanny Pack BUFFALO / BISON LEATHER-Tan
by DON’T TREAD ON ME CONCEAL AND CARRY HOLSTERS

Training with it came next, and it took me a little while to change a few things I’d been doing with the previous fanny pack. Then it was ready to take out into public. So far so good. The concealment is far superior to any holster under clothing, as far as I’m concerned. There is no possibility of “printing” or accidental exposure. If I avoid the “tell” of patting or adjusting it constantly, nobody will know the gun is there. And, unlike a purse, I likely won’t ever walk off and leave it.

I much prefer to carry openly, and my belt holster hasn’t changed in seven years, but I’m still interested in looking at and talking about the different ways people find to carry concealed, especially other women.

How do you carry? If you’ve tried using a “fanny pack” or purse for CC and didn’t like it, or still have problems with it, why not drop a line here and tell us about it? If we put our heads together, we can probably come up with something.

Children and Safety

This is apt to be a “hot button” topic because people have such a wide variety of opinions, experiences and ideas about it, but that’s pretty much exactly why few “top down” regulations or “laws” will ever be relevant for everyone. Just too many variables.

By what process do “children” become adults? How do people become responsible for themselves, rather than dependent on others for their lives and safety? What part does chronological age have to do with it?

We would all likely say that a two or three year old is incapable of exercising sufficient judgment to be trusted to hold or use a sharp object, let alone a gun – no matter how much one might attempt to teach them. To start with, most don’t have enough control of their muscles, but then there are the three year olds who play classical piano… Of course, that is the exception. I never met a prodigy like that myself, but my experience with three year olds tells me no. Can I then assume that this is true for everyone, everywhere?

How about a five year old? Ten? Seventeen and a half?

Again, it depends on the child. My two boys were taught to shoot when they were six or so. They were allowed to shoot pretty much whenever they wanted, as long as they had supervision. The older boy demonstrated good understanding and compliance with safety rules, along with general reliability taking responsibility for himself, and was given a .22 bolt action rifle for his 12th birthday. He’d had several BB and pellet guns before that, and did well with them. The younger brother, however, didn’t do so well in either the following rules or accountability departments, and he didn’t get his first .22 until he was nearly 14 – despite the expected moans about how it “wasn’t fair.”

Our job, as parents, is to demonstrate both adherence to the safety rules (integrity), and comprehensive personal responsibility for our choices and actions. Without that consistent example, it’s very difficult for children to understand the concepts or develop the necessary self discipline. That it actually happens sometimes anyway is a wonderful mystery.

But more than just a good example is required. The child must be given the opportunity… the necessity, to make age/cognition appropriate choices AND to live with the real consequences of those choices. We would, of course, prevent them from actually harming themselves if possible, but the consequences must be very real and very immediate – both for good AND bad choices. Just telling them about it, or “warning” or yelling our heads off when they’ve messed up won’t do the job, though praise for good choices is important too. Giving them all kinds of choices, but then immediately rescuing them from the bad ones is a terribly destructive thing – even something like cleaning up after children who are perfectly able to take care of that themselves.

For example, I think I was probably four years old when I found a pot handle sticking out over the edge of the stove. I was able to reach it, and pulled on it enough to tip it. I was drenched in ice cold water!! And then, to add insult to injury, I was given a cloth and expected to wipe up the water! Mean old mommy.

My mother told me, years later, that she did that on purpose after seeing me attempt to reach for things on the counter above my head. She figured that an ice cold shower would cure me of the tendency and didn’t want to wait for me to learn the hard way with something hot.  She was right! I never tried it again. And my own children learned about pot handles (and lots of other things) in much the same way.

So, the age of the child, and the amount of protection they need is relative – whether we’re talking about sharp objects, guns or stoves. How terribly sad to see children increasingly isolated from every conceivable risk and experience, given all “choice” and no responsibility, only to be told at the ripe age of 18 that they are suddenly “adults!” How many of those newly minted adults are truly ready to be responsible for themselves and whatever children they produce? How many of them can honestly teach what they have never learned?

What is your experience, and what are your strategies?

MamaLiberty – An Introduction

If you’ve been reading Mom With A Gun long, you probably already have a fair idea who I am, but just in case… it seemed like a good idea to write some sort of bio so you’d know better where I’m coming from.

For thirty years I worked in So. Calif. as an RN, the last 14 years in hospice as an advanced practice nurse. I drove and walked the mean streets of San Bernardino, Riverside, and large parts of Los Angeles counties visiting patients in their homes, as well as in skilled nursing facilities. All those years I had nothing to defend myself with except situational awareness and whatever good will my profession generated among the residents of those areas. I got into more than a few really scary situations, but good luck and the good Lord managed to keep me alive all through it.

Would I have been better off if I had been able to carry a gun? What might have happened to me and my career if I’d carried one without “permission” and had needed to use it? Who knows? I couldn’t and I didn’t then. If I’d known then what I know now… I might well do things differently, of course, but even the way it was I learned many very valuable lessons that I’ve put to good use. And I’d like to share them.

Those who have not yet seen it might like to read the story of the man I had to shoot to save my life. That is the dedication, first part of the booklet I wrote to supplement my NRA handgun and self defense classes. If you read the story, you’ll see how to write to me to request the book. I hope everyone, and especially every woman, will take the time to read and learn about how I came to understand self defense and the things I do to develop my skills and maintain my survivor’s mindset.

I’d love to explore that with you, and hope you will leave your questions, suggestions or critique in the comments here. What shall we talk about?

Adding Voices

I’m still battling my way through the mountain of “overwhelmed-ness” that has temporarily overtaken my life, but the end is in sight (I hope). For everyone who’s left me comments or emails of support, THANK YOU! I’m behind on answering your notes, but they ARE appreciated.

I’m also pleased to announce that a wonderful blogger and dear friend will be joining me here and adding her voice more directly to the discussion. MamaLiberty, who’s a regular commenter here, is a firearms instructor who knows firsthand about the reality of armed self-defense. (I featured an offer for a free copy of her e-book here a while back). I’m delighted that she’s agreed to join me here and to share what she knows with my readers.

I also want to reiterate something I’ve said before: I’d love to include more voices than just my own here, and especially now during my own period of personal chaos, I’d love to feature YOUR voice here too. If you’d like to write a guest post or become a regular contributor, please drop me a note!

Still Alive…

No, I’m not dead, and I haven’t abandoned my blog. Or rather, I don’t intend to abandon my blog. But I’ve definitely been scarce here, and expect to continue to be for the next month or two.

The short version of what’s going on is that I have a number of pretty huge transitions brewing in my personal life — an impending divorce, a move to another (nearby) city, a new job. Add to those the ordinary challenges of raising a teenager and…well, I don’t have a lot of spare bandwidth right now.

So, to all of my loyal readers, I wanted to say something: This too shall pass, but probably not right away. I’ll try to get back to semi-regular posting, but tending to these other priorities has to be my focus right now. Thank you for bearing with me.

What’s happening with you all? Anything you’d like to see me talk about in the next little while? Personal transition can be a lonely business, and I’d love to hear from you in the comments.