Well Armed Woman: Concealed Carry Holsters

As I mentioned in an article last week, I am interested in joining my local Well Armed Woman chapter.

I contacted the chapter leader and was immediately excited. Why? Because this particular meeting was going to be about picking a concealed carry holster. Since I have reached a point in my training that I feel comfortable enough to carry concealed, I am all about learning more about holsters. There are so many options out there and honestly, I didn’t know where to start. I was concerned about spending lots of money only to find that the holster I selected is not what I want. After going to this meeting, that concern was validated and I am very glad that I waited.

When I arrived, I was immediately greeted by the chapter leader. I signed in and went straight into the room. A brief introduction was made by a female range instructor, followed by some Q&A time. We were then set free in the room to try on all of the different types of holsters.

IMG_1200

IMG_1190

There were 4 tables set up with different sizes and shapes of holsters. The instructors were there to offer advice/information regarding material, which belts to use, and where to place a weapon you’re trying to conceal.

As we all know, concealing a weapon on a woman is significantly harder for women then it is for men. We have tighter clothes, smaller pockets, and items of clothing with thinner material. One of the very first things we can rule out is pocket holsters. I can hardly fit my car keys in my pocket, let alone a 9mm handgun.

Next, we determined that any holster that does not fully cover the trigger/trigger guard on your weapon is not exactly a safe choice. Not only can clothing zippers and strings get caught on it and pull, but it also gets the shooter in a bad habit of immediately placing their finger on the trigger before removing the gun.

We also discussed the pros and cons of having a ‘snap’ over of your gun to hold it in your holster. This not only makes it hard for someone to take your gun, but it also provides an extra step for you to take when you’re already in a bad situation. The instructor showed 2 alternative options. One holster was specifically made for her gun which allowed it to lock in tightly. The second option had a latch that you can to push forward in order to release the gun from the holster. This, in my opinion, was a great holster.

IMG_1198

As I made my rounds from table to table, I tried on both leather holsters, Kydex holsters, and a combination of Kydex and leather. The fully leather holsters were a little unsturdy when faced with the weight of the handgun. Part of this could have been blamed on the belt I was wearing, but it was just falling forward. The Kydex holsters were surprisingly comfortable, although I felt it was a tad too bulky. My favorite was a Kydex/leather holster called Galco King Tuck. It fit inside of my jeans and clipped over my belt to help keep it in place. It fit nicely in the small of my back and would easily conceal a 9mm handgun.

TIP: To help break in a leather holster, add leather conditioner to the inside of the holster. Wrap your UNLOADED handgun in saran wrap and work in and out over and over again.

IMG_1193

This Kydex holster is held up by my belt. Didn’t fall forward like the fully leather holsters, but did sag a little bit.

IMG_1199

This was one of the leather holsters that I did like. It clipped to the inside of my jeans. It was extremely comfortable and laid close on my abdomen.

Below are photos of the Galco King Tuk (my favorite holster of the night). I took photos of the holster with and without a gun, just to give a better idea of how it fits into the back of my jeans.IMG_1207 IMG_1206 IMG_1204 IMG_1202I then went over to the shoulder holsters that were laid out. I had thought about purchasing a shoulder holster in the past for when I want to carry during winter months. However, once it was held up and we put it on, I noticed that the gun in the holster points backwards. At first, this wouldn’t seem like too much of a big deal, except this means that you’re gun is pointing at people behind you. One of the first rules you learn when shooting is to always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
IMG_1196

The next holster I tried on was an ankle holster. I wouldn’t necessarily use this as my primary weapon, but it would definitely be a good back-up. The instructor also brought up the point that this would be easier to access in the event that you’re sitting in a car or laying on the ground during an attack.

IMG_1201

The next couple of holsters I tried on were different style ‘belly belts’. They kind of reminded me of an ace bandage. Although they were extremely comfortable, having velcro hold my handgun up makes me a little uneasy.

Next, I looked over a table of purses made for concealed carry. Built-in holsters and removable holsters were both options. I’ve always been hesitant about purses because people can easily take them from you. If an attacker demands your purse, you are left either unarmed and/or having to call the police to inform them that a criminal now has your handgun (that’s assuming you didn’t have your phone in your purse).

In the event that you would prefer to carry in your purse, the instructor recommended using a revolver because the slide won’t catch on any fabric and you can continue to shoot.

The last one we spoke over was a thigh holster. We were advised to always place the holster on the inside of your non-dominant leg. This makes it easy to grab and easier to conceal. (If gun was placed on the outside on your dominant leg, you will have a gun print showing through your dress).

An important thing to remember when you’re considering to carry a concealed handgun is to keep it with you 100% of the time. Practice how to draw from your holster and get comfortable wearing it. The meeting was extremely informative and I really enjoyed looking into all of the different options. To end the evening, we grabbed our guns and filled the lanes. It never hurts to get a couple rounds of target practice in!

Taking Your First Trip To The Gun Range: What Do You Need To Do?

After I posted on Twitter about heading to the NRA Range and “showing these boys up”, I had several of my fellow tweeters PM me asking what they need to do to go to the range. What better way to answer than doing a post!?

First, just because you’ve purchased a gun DOES NOT mean you should just head on down to the range and go crazy. This is how a lot of people can get hurt. There are a lot of things that play into having a safe and successful trip. In order to make sure there are no accidents, take a safety course. I took NRA’s First Steps Pistol and it was great. It is 4 hours total (3 hours in class and 1 hour at the range). I HIGHLY recommend this because then you’ll have an experienced instructor guiding you the whole time.

With or without an instructor, your first trip to the range can be quite intimidating, especially if you have a competitive edge like me. But also because most people aren’t used to hearing repetitive gun shots going off 5 feet from them. When you’re trying to focus on your target and you hear another shot fired, it’s a bit distracting. Don’t worry though, you’ll get used to it. 

Before I get started, ladies, this tip is for you. Dress normally. You may want to go to the range and impress your significant other with short shorts or a low cut top, well I’m telling you right now that is a bad idea. That cute little v-neck that we all love to wear can turn into a torture device really quick. Having that scorching hot brass casing fly out of your gun and down your shirt doesn’t sound like much fun to me. So, that being said, wear a t-shirt, jeans, and closed-toed shoes.

Now to the main points of this post. What do you need to do to go to a gun range?

1. Bring your gun, ammo, and protective gear (eye and ear). Remember that your gun must be UNLOADED when walking into any range. Most ranges even prefer that the ammo is in a separate casing than the gun (I’ve only been to 1 that didn’t and it struck me as odd). If you don’t have a gun, some ranges have rentals that you can use. This is also a good tool if you’re looking to purchase a gun and would like to shoot before you buy.

2. Walk up to the counter and let them know you would like to sign in. At each range, they will have a list of rules that you must read through and sign off that you will obey. If you go to an NRA range, you will have to take a test with about 30 questions to make sure you understand these rules. If you don’t pass, you don’t get to shoot. These rules are in place for your safety as well as other’s. If you don’t want to follow them, then shooting isn’t for you. It’s YOUR responsibility to learn and abide by the rules. It is not the range officer’s job to remind you and they are very intolerant of people who don’t follow them. If you don’t want to be banned or possibly arrested/fined, then follow the rules. If you have any questions, ask them! Preferably ask them before you line up to shoot. 

Here is a copy of the NRA range rules just in case you wanted an example. Some are more picky and some are less, either way you have to follow the rules of the range that you are at. 

3- Keep your gun UNLOADED and in it’s case until you reach your lane. If you don’t have a gun case, then don’t go. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy either. The case that came with your gun when you purchased it is just fine, but do not BY ANY MEANS, just walk in with a gun in your hand. And just to re-emphasize, DO NOT BRING A LOADED GUN INTO THE RANGE. Check, then check again, and then check it once more. 

4. Once you passed the test/signed your waiver, BEFORE you walk through the doors, put on your ear and eye protection. If you don’t have any then ask they front desk if you can rent some. Although, I would recommend purchasing your own. The loaners aren’t that great and they’re uncomfortable from being stretched and squished by other shooters. Purchase your own pair. You really should anyways. And please don’t be THAT person who doesn’t want to wear protective gear (most ranges won’t let you through without it anyways). 

5. Now it is time to walk through the doors. Most ranges will have a door specifically for entrance and one for exit. If you try to exit using a door that is specifically labeled for entry, you will most likely get in quite a bit of trouble. So lesson here, just use the right door. This isn’t Wal-Mart people! 😉

REMEMBER THE “COMMANDMENTS”.

6. Now for the fun part! Set your stuff down on an empty bay and begin to unpack. Remember to keep your gun pointed down-range the entire time, EVEN when it is in it’s case. If you don’t know what “down-range” means, it means the far side of the lane in which everyone is shooting. Somewhere around the lanes, you will find a table with cardboard and staple guns for your targets. Don’t worry about leaving your personal belongings on your bay. It’s amazing how trustworthy people are in a room full of gun owners. For hanging your target, always pin/staple it to where your bulls-eye (or wherever you are aiming) is at eye level. This is so that if you shoot “low”, your bullet won’t hit the floor and possibly ricochet. Once you have put up your target, select the distance you would like to start at. I would recommend starting at 5 yards (if you’re a beginner). Don’t worry, you can always push it back further once you’ve acclimated yourself to the range and your gun. 

7. Once you’ve set up, notice the red line in front of your table. Always assume that line is “HOT”. DO NOT step over that line. EVER. If you drop your gun or your phone or $1,000,000, I don’t care. Call the range officer over and he/she will take care of it. If you pass over this line, there is a very high chance that you will get shot. And while we are on the subject of dropping things, NEVER try to catch anything that you’ve dropped. Just LET IT FALL. I have heard horrific stories of people trying to catch their gun and grabbing the trigger by mistake. If you need to pick something up, unload your gun, place it on it’s side pointing down-range, check to make sure your item is not over the firing line (“HOT” line), and THEN you can pick it up. Once again, DO NOT try to catch something as it falls and DO NOT bend down to pick something up with a loaded gun (or unloaded gun) in hand. 

8. Always, always, ALWAYS listen to the Range Officer. If they say you’re doing something wrong, then it doesn’t matter if you disagree. Their job is to keep everyone in that range safe. If they make a mistake or don’t watch someone closely enough, it is possible that someone could die, so swallow your pride and just do what they say. If they yell CEASE FIRE, stop shooting IMMEDIATELY, take your finger off the trigger, and DO NOT SHOOT. Wait for further instructions from the range officer. Some ranges even insist that you drop your mag, pull back your slide, and lay your firearm on the table pointing down-range. Like I said earlier, it all depends on the range and what rules they have in place. 

9. Once you have finished, clean up after yourself. It is extremely rude to leave your targets, trash, and brass casings everywhere and very inconvenient for the next shooter. Most ranges have this listed as a rule and will have brooms for you to use. 

Recent Gun Laws Push Gun Makers To The South

Big name gun makers like Beretta, Remington, Ruger, Kahr, and more have about had  it with the anti-second amendment gun laws passing is states in which their headquarters are located. These firearm industries are looking to move to more ‘Constitution friendly’ states, taking their guns, jobs, and money with them.

Remington announced this past February that they would be building a new firearms production plant in Huntsville, AL. This plant is foreseen to create 2,000 jobs within the next decade.

We considered numerous factors in our decision-making process. These factors included, among others, labor quality, pro-business environment, strong existing infrastructure and pro-Second Amendment policies.

-Teddy Novine, director of public affairs for Freedom Group Inc., the parent company of Remington

One of the major reasons for Remington’s relocation is due to New York’s recent passing of the Safe Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act in wake of the shootings in Newton, CT. The SAFE Act bans the ownership of AR-15 style rifles in the state, which would be unfortunate for Remington. You’d think that in light of Remington creating 1300+ jobs in NY, they would be looking to promote the industry, but instead they’re doing the exact opposite.

Beretta USA is another company that has decided to expand into gun friendly states. Their headquarters is currently located in Maryland. They have announced that they will be building a $45 million production plant in Tennessee. This will create 300 more jobs.

Finding a state that supported the Second Amendment did play a sizable role in our search. There were several factors, one of which was a strong level of support for constitutional rights.”

Ryan Muety, spokesman for Beretta USA. 

Private Sector Businesses are what is driving economic growth in Maryland. Beretta USA has created over 36,000 jobs since December of 2012.

PTR is another. However, unlike Beretta USA and Remington, they will not be keeping their headquarters in the same place. PTR Industries announced last June that they would be uprooting all operations from Bristol, CT and moving to Aynor, SC. This move was completed in January of this year and is estimated to employ over 120 people by July 2017.

Ruger announced this past July that they will be building a production plant in Mayodan, NC.

Kahr is currently headquarted in Pearl River, NY. This is about to change very soon as well. With the purchase of more than 600 acres in Blooming Grove Township, PA, Kahr Arms plans on moving its corporate headquarters and research and development arm to Pennsylvania in the first phase of expansion.

I don’t think I have to say it when taking into account the information I provided above, but just in case you need to look at it from a different angle. This industry helps provide WELL PAYING jobs to American citizens. What do you think is going to happen if your crazy gun-control laws get passed in every state? It will leave thousands of people without a job and it will severely damage the US economy.

Not only is gun ownership beneficial to US citizens in a protection stand point, but it also substantially helps our economy. The firearms industry was responsible for almost $38 billion total economic activity in the United States just last year. That is a 97% increase from 2008.

Let’s also take a look at the impact this industry has had on a national level as well as within your own state:

Looking specifically in the states I mentioned above, can you imagine what their economy will look like within the next 10 years after this companies have up and moved away? Here is the economic impact of the firearms industry in 2013. These states have passed stricter gun control laws, resulting in major firearm production companies

• New York: $2.1 billion

• Connecticut: $1.9 billion

• Massachusetts: $1.6 billion

• Colorado: $825 million

• Maryland: $511 million

So before you go spouting off non-sense on why you think we should have gun control, my past two posts show why that’s a HORRIBLE idea.

1) Ruins the economy

2) Takes well-paying jobs away from hard-working American citizens

3) Increases violent crime and gun homicide

More Women Seeking Florida Concealed Carry Licenses

Due to the recent and upcoming changes in gun laws, more Florida women are seeking to get their concealed carry licenses. According to The Florida Times Union, numbers have nearly doubled in the past decade. 

More and more women are choosing to get their concealed carry permits each year. New data from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services shows that 1,240,430 people held valid state Concealed Weapon/Firearms Licenses as of March 31, 2014. Out of that total, 276,386 women now have their concealed carry license in the state. Just 10 years ago, only 48,316 out of 324,236 had their license to carry. That means in 2004, only 14.9% of women had their permits. Now, 22.2% of women in the state have their license to carry and the number is still increasing.

People are in fear that they will one day lose their 2nd amendment right and the government will make it harder for them to purchase or legally carry a gun. Not to mention, the constant bickering that goes on about gun-control ultimately gets people interested. When someone doesn’t have an opinion, in most cases they want to learn. Also look at NRAWomen.TV, a website that features shows such as Armed and Fabulous and Love at First Shot. 

All in all, I believe women are finally getting motivated by self-defense. 

About 79 percent of firearms retailers nationwide reported an increase in female customers in 2012 over 2011, the most recent NSSF data shows. Meanwhile, the number of women participating in target shooting increased 67 percent, while those participating in hunting went up 43 percent from 2003 to 2012, according to the National Sporting Goods Association’s most recent statistics.

-Teresa Stepzinski with Florida Times Union

Basics: Range and Gun in Orange Park, FL has recently dedicated Thursday nights to ladies after seeing that nearly 50% of their shooters were women. Needless to say, it has been a huge success!

PHOTOS OF LADIES NIGHT

More women are taking a stand each day towards executing their right to bear arms. Will you?

Colorado Students Go On Field Trip To A Gun Range

School officials in Pueblo County Colorado went against the grain with the ever so popular anti-gun trend and took their middle school students on a field trip to a local shooting range.

Project Appleseed was brought in to interact with the students and instruct them on the importance of gun safety and proper handling. All of the middle school students who attended the field trip were able to take a shot at a target with live ammunition. After all, hands-on learning has proven to be most effective right?

After getting permission from the county sheriff’s office and the parents, the field trip was scheduled a week after the students learned about the Revolutionary War. Jonah Statezny was interviewed by the area’s local news channel, KRDO-13 where he expressed his enthusiasm for the ‘not-so-ordinary’ school trip.

I’m very excited, today we’re going to come out here on the gun range and shoot a little bit. The past week we’ve learned about the revolutionary war… I think everyone should learn how to use a gun but learn how to use it properly, and the precautions you’re supposed to take and how serious a gun really is.

Let me just say, I think this is an AMAZING step forward for gun owners. Incorporating gun safety into school curriculum can help kids understand a gun’s full potential. So many teens think that guns are a toy and don’t realize the damage they can do if not handled properly. Accidents can and will be prevented as long as people continue to take a stand and educate everyone in gun safety and proper firearm use.

I applaud you Pueblo County. You have my full support. Heck, I wish I would have gotten this opportunity as a kid!