Yet Another "Perfect" System

Back in January, I wrote a piece on  A Perfect Combination which extolled the virtues of the Dave Bullard leather OWB cross draw holster and the Ruger LCP. As such things will do, my thinking has changed a bit, improved I hope, about the nature of 'perfect' carry for people.

Perfect is too strong of a word for a concept that is highly variable, depending on factors such as individual build, sex, geographical restraints and considerations, and experience with handguns in general. I will have to say that my little sister taught me a lesson here.

One night a few weeks ago my sister called from her home in Arizona. She and her husband, who is often away for extended periods due to  his work, live in a metropolitan city there, in what I would term a "sketchy" neighborhood. She, having grown up in Texas like me, wanted my advice on what kind of gun she should get to protect herself in her home and when she was outside going to and from, or walking her dogs. So much for theoretical considerations. This is family stuff.

My sister is not going to be packing a big Glock or 1911 when she is outside her home. She could handle that type of handgun at home, but the big consideration in my mind was to recommend something that she would regularly carry on her person and not be tempted to leave behind because it was too big, too heavy, too inconvenient. Naturally, I settled quickly on a small frame semi-automatic. These include guns like the Kahr, S&W Bodyguard, Ruger LC9, KelTec, LCP, etc. Knowing my sister and how she dresses and that she lives in a predominantly hot climate, I felt that the gun must be a mite smaller than the usual "compact". My Ruger SR9c is "compact", but I wouldn't recommend it in these circumstances.

She also needed a gun that is reliable and easy to operate. I don't mean easy to shoot – that comes with practice, practice and more practice. Being a semi-auto, it needed to be easy for an older female to handle and rack. This is not a trivial point. Many older people have diminished strength in their hands and fingers, perhaps even suffer from arthritis in those joints. Short of using a revolver, an easy to operate semi-auto is a requirement.

Knowing that cost is a consideration and quality is imperative, I recommended she buy a new-model Ruger LCP with the better trigger. Yes, it has marginally better sights, but with that kind of weapon at the ranges where is is most likely to be used, sights are not really a consideration. She did so, and reported back that indeed she did have some difficulty racking the slide. I recommended she get a small roll of skateboard tape and cover both sides of the serrations on the slide with it. This is a great aid for people with weak hands.

Knowing that holsters are a big part of the package, I ordered a Galco Stow-n-Go IWB for her. It's a very nice holster to start with. After she gets used to carrying and shooting the LCP, I will likely recommend she move to a kydex or injection molded holster so that it will always retain its shape and be capable of one handed re-holstering.

So, is this the "perfect" system? No. And, really, neither was my LCP/Bullard Crossdraw the "perfect" setup. It depends. As a person gets used to concealed carry and gains more training and experience, it will become more clear what that system should be for him or her. Perhaps some basic requirements can be formulated, subject to change, of course. I'd begin with:

  • Buy a quality gun you will carry as often as possible.
  • Learn to shoot it effectively and safely and practice often.
  • Buy a holster made for that gun and the place on your body where you will carry it.
  • Carry it whenever possible.
  • Practice regularly drawing and dry firing your UNLOADED gun. Do this in privacy or with a professional trainer.
  • Carry at least one extra magazine or reload.
  • Don't worry about how powerful your gun is. Any gun is capable of stopping the threat. Any gun is capable of not stopping the threat. Again, it depends on circumstances and your training.
In addition to all of this, it is your responsibility to know the laws governing concealed carry and the use of deadly force in self defense. I would also recommend that you review my post on the aftermath of a defensive shooting The Legal Aftermath of a Defensive Shooting