If you go to any shooting classes at big named schools, you will likely hear a lot of chatter about guns and gear. The instructor will usually tell the students that they need at least X caliber with Y capacity and prefer you get Z brand. They will shake their heads at you if you carry your gun in a briefcase, or use a small J-frame or autoloader in a pocket holster. Many students will take this to heart and then help spread the word all over the internet. This is how the little training cults grow and spread.
A J-frame and a speed strip reload may be the definition of an optimist in a gunfight, but it might be the only thing most people are able to carry.
The next time an instructor or internet forum member tells you you’re an idiot for carrying a snubbie or mousegun every day, consider the source.
I’ve noticed a trend in the careers of those who are most ardent about how much gun/gear you should carry and constantly spout about how easy it is to carry a full sized guns if you ‘do it right’. Here’s the list:
- Tactical/Shooting Instructor
- Police/Retired Police
- Current Military
- Youtube personality/ Gun Industry person
- IT professional/Desk jockey
- Self Employed/Work from home
- Rural Job (Farming, etc)
Do you see a trend in those careers? What similarities do you see? The answer is they work in careers where there is NO PENALTY for (or no chance to be discovered for) having “enough” gun. Most of the folks in group 1 originated in groups 2 and 3. Minimal human contact and/or no penalty for being ‘made’ carrying a gun rounds out the rest of the list.
Edit: It was pointed out to me that since IT folks have a lot more access to computers, they are more inclined to be active on forums. This makes sense. They also interact with clients often.
These guys will say that they have home lives and when they go out with their families, they carry all the stuff they suggest to you carry. Sorry, still not good enough. Getting made at Mama Mia’s Italian Bistro doesn’t hold the same penalty as getting found out at your office.
They are ignorant to the realities that normal people working 9 to 5 in office buildings in urban/suburban settings face. Even if they can imagine what it’s like and tell you to ‘make it work’ anyway, they still have no real experience of being under constant visual scrutiny at the job that pays your bills and feeds your family. If they do have that experience, they probably didn’t have to wear tucked shirts or suits at that job. Also, they have no skin in your game. They themselves face zero penalty if you get caught. It’s your choice, and your job and livelihood.
“The gun just disappears!” Discussing how concealable a gun is with a few staged photos showing lack of printing holds ZERO water against a few weeks of moving, bending, giving presentations, interacting with people, and generally doing your job.
So is it wrong to carry a tiny gun, if anything larger could get you fired and arrested? No. Are your instructors wrong to suggest that you carry a duty gun and 2 spare magazines, a blow out kit, and a 700 lumen flashlight? No, they’re not wrong, either. The instructor is setting you up for success based on their experience and if you get killed for not having enough gun, they can rest easy because they told you so. Being MIL or LEO puts you face to face with violence regularly. They know how bad it can be, and how quickly it can get that way. It benefits everyone to keep their risk profile, as well as penalty for being discovered, in mind when selecting carry guns and gear.
Don’t view this as a cop-out or an excuse to carry a small gun. I also think that most people could get away with more gun than they think they can.
While sub-service caliber guns aren’t always good enough in ballistics gelatin, they seem to work over and over in real encounters.
What does having a sub-par gun as your primary mean? It simply means you need to get really really good with your little gun. You need to attempt to be able to use it as well as you can shoot a full sized gun. Use it in classes, compete with it, and generally hold your skill-set to a high standard.
Go to ex-MIL, ex-LEO instructors to learn tactics and how to shoot well against other humans, but take gear recommendations with a tactical grain of salt and think long and hard about those things for yourself. Learn from them what works, take it home, adapt it, and make it your own. The life (and job) you save could be your own.