Wilson Combat’s Beretta Short Reach Trigger

IMG_4569A while back, my partner in crime wrote a post on modifications he has made to his beloved Beretta 92FS. I myself am also a grand fan of Beretta’s handguns, in case you couldn’t tell by now, and have recently acquired a model 96FS Inox (Stainless Steel) for myself. I carried an M9 during my 8 years in the military and was among the apparent minority that loved it. I feel as though the M9’s reputation among service members is entirely undeserved (but that’s for another time).

After purchasing the used 96, I discovered that there were a couple issues that need to be fixed so I proceeded to get the Italian masterpiece back up to duty condition. Included in this was performing my signature trigger upgrades for Beretta handguns. This includes a lighter weight hammer spring courtesy of Wolff Springs and the INS trigger spring upgrade, also from Wolff. With these two new springs installed, the double action trigger pull on the 96 was tamed to an incredibly manageable level (Granted my Cougar still has a much nicer double action pull) and based upon my incredibly accurate trigger finger scale, is in the comfortable range of around 9lbs. The very crisp and short single action trigger pull is in the 3-4lb range with a very short and positive trigger reset.

There has however, always been a glaring issue with the 92/96 that many people just can’t get over. You need to have huge hands and an unnaturally long trigger finger in order to overcome the very long reach to be able to manipulate the trigger when in double action. I just so happen to have such oddly shaped hands so that was never a big issue for me. That’s not to say however, that it couldn’t be improved.

IMG_4567I saw recently online that Wilson Combat had gotten into the Beretta game and was very impressed at their catalog of parts. The spring sets appear to be re-packaged Wolff items but I have no way of verifying that with certainty. The item that really caught my eye was the Short Reach Trigger. Thanks to clever marketing by Wilson Combat, I didn’t have to work hard to figure out what that particular item does. The price was indeed very nice at $28.95 so I decided to make the purchase.

Around a week later the very underwhelming package arrived at my mailbox and I immediately opened the package, removed the old trigger to compare and installed the Wilson Combat trigger. I’m well versed in working on these guns so it took me all of 15 minutes from start to finish. As soon as I had everything all put back together and made that first dry fire trigger pull, my whole world changed. Angels sang, flowers bloomed, church bells rang … and I’m pretty sure my wife should have been jealous at that moment too. For the first time ever, I experienced what can only be described as true perfection in a double action trigger pull on a semi-auto. While the overall weight of the trigger pull felt the same, the change in the geometry of the trigger seems to allow more leverage on the trigger which makes the pull feel so much more smooth and controllable.

IMG_4568Later that week I was able to make it to the range to run a few rounds through the 96 for function testing and to really get a good feel for the new trigger. I must say that I think this trigger is a true winner. Follow up shots were so much faster, the reset so incredibly short into single action and  it’s nice and positive thanks to the altered geometry and upgraded plunger style trigger spring. I just can’t say enough, the trigger changes the dynamics of how the gun handles for the better. It retains all of the reliability and durability necessary in a defensive or duty gun while having a trigger that feels like it might belong on a competition gun. This is easily one of the best $30 upgrades I’ve seen for a handgun.

Alien Gear Holsters Cloak Tuck 2.0

Beretta 8040 Cougar in Cloak Tuck 2.0

Beretta 8040 Cougar in Cloak Tuck 2.0

So the idea of the hybrid holster has been around for several years now and they have been just about universally accepted as the most comfortable way to carry concealed. Generally speaking I have almost always been a fan of OWB holsters, they just have been the most comfortable way to carry for me. Around a month ago, while scoping out the Alien Gear Holsters website, I saw that there was a new model being released. They have ditched the leather backer and have gone with a neoprene/plastic/vinyl sandwich. That was very different, I hadn’t seen that before…nobody had really. I placed my order (around $45 including shipping $35.88 is just the holster cost.) and waited the obligatory lead time, which was right at 3 weeks for my holster (I was quoted 4-6 weeks). 

Upon opening the package, I was impressed with the quality of the holster. Good stitching, thick and sturdy kydex, sturdy belt clips. Inside the bag is a small bag of extra hardware to replace any of the pieces should they fall off or should you lose a screw. It also contained extra rubber spacers to permit the end user to change retention on the holster.

Wearing the holster can only be described as comfortable. The neoprene backing against the skin is just the right amount of padding on the back of the pistol to allow it to ride very comfortably. There is no jabbing or prodding from the safety on the slide of my Beretta Cougar which for some reason is hard to accomplish. It also permits the double stack .40 S&W to disappear under a light t-shirt when I wear it from the 3:00 to 5:00 positions. Retention is fantastic as I received it from the manufacturer, as is the cant and ride height but all of these things are changeable by the end user to tailor the holster to their individual needs. 

All in all I’m thoroughly impressed with the holster, in particular at it’s price point, it does everything a crossbreed does just as well if not better at half the cost. What’s not to love? It has a no questions asked lifetime warranty and they offer free replacement kydex shells should you ever decide to change your carry gun. 

Brooks Tactical Agrip REVIEW

If you are like me, you may have heard of the Agrip but have never used one. Personally I had seen a few over the last twenty or so years but had never had the chance to put one through it’s paces. That changed when I talked to Brooks and he sent one over for me to review.

 There are only a few types of wrap around grips on the market. The first is the rubber slide on types with and without finger grooves. I had tried these a few times over the years but they add a lot of bulk and never were secure enough for my taste. The second is the paper backed rubber or skateboard tape style. These have always had ill fitment in my opinion. They never stand up to abuse and I had to replace them rather often.

 Then there is the Agrip! The Agrip is a completely different grip altogether from attachment to texture. The Agrip is soft to the touch, similar to suede in texture, there is no stiff paper backing, and it actually works as advertised!

 This thing flat out works, period. Wet, dry or dirty, it increases grip and stays where you put it. I was actually considering getting some rather expensive stippling work done at around $200, but not anymore. I love the fact that I got what I wanted without permanent modification to my gun.

 So far I have 1000 rounds down range with this grip with zero complaints. Installation takes a little patience, but a sharp edge and a few minutes gets the job done. There are grips made for specific weapons and you can also get sheets that can be used for custom applications.

 Made in the USA, quality product, and works as advertised…what else can you ask for???

LaserLyte SCV 4 review

Sight SCV4

Photo Credit: Laserlyte

The good folks over at LaserLyte sent me one of their compact mount lasers to try out and review. It is definitely a quality piece and the battery lasts forever. It comes with all hardware needed to mount it as well as spare batteries. Mounting is quick and easy and there are step by step instruction inside the packaging on how to zero the laser after you get things set up

 Windage and elevation are adjusted using using the included hex wrenches at the distance 21ft. I mounted the SCV4 on my Smith and Wesson 9c and headed to the range. This laser is bright! It works well in daylight and even better at night or in low light conditions. The diameter of the beam is large enough that it is easily detected and matched up well with my 10-8 fiber optic front sight in red.

 One of the things I liked most is the size, it fits this handgun perfectly. Nothing hanging out past the muzzle, and it fits snug enough that I never lost zero. For the average shooter this is a great high quality product, but there are a couple of small grips that I do have.

 Activation of the laser is by small push buttons. My concern is that under stress they are a little difficult to actuate, and I did fail to turn on the laser once during stress drills. This is easily remedied by using your support hand thumb during initial grip engagement. Smaller hand shooters will definitely have to train this method as the firing grip would have to be broken to activate the laser otherwise.

 All things considered this is a great product that will increase speed and accuracy for just about anyone with a small frame handgun.

The Case for a Full Size Carry Gun

1911So today I wanted to talk about the benefits of carrying a full sized fighting gun. As many of you know there is, and has for as long as handguns existed, a trend towards carrying a small compact pocket model for defensive purposes. I sincerely want to change that, at least as much as I can. CCW methods are deeply personal things for many people, what I plan on illustrating works very well for me. I am not a small man, I’m 5’10” and about 220lbs on a light day so that tends to open up some concealed carry methods to me that I wouldn’t have had if it was back at my active duty military fighting weight of 170lbs but that was a long time ago.

I know that there are many of you out there will argue with me until you’re blue in the face that I’m wrong. Well I’m sorry you feel that way. I have always preferred a full sized gun. It offers so many more advantages over smaller pocket guns such as better ballistics, higher capacity, more reliability (bear with me here) all with not but a couple detractors. Size and weight tend to be the biggest issues cited when people decide against carrying a full sized gun, perhaps that it’s uncomfortable. I agree with those but a simple shift in carry method or minor modification of wardrobe can negate many of those complaints. When you’re carrying a large handgun your options for carry methods are pretty wide open. You lose pocket carry but maintain all manner of waist mounted options and then you have shoulder holsters which I’m fond of in the right circumstances. You also can consider off body carry. I could go into a lot of details about off body carry but there is only one big concern I have with that method of carry, and that’s maintaining positive control of the receptacle in which you’re carrying your handgun. There are whole host of backpacks, book bags, laptop cases, day planners ..etc that are available and designed specifically for off body carry. If that option suits you then do your research and have at it. For on body carry, the venerable and ever popular IWB hybrid holster is a very popular and comfortable option; and with many makers on the market today you’re sure to find one to fit your budget and your gun. But the big issue that you run into when you’re carrying a full sized handgun is printing (the visible outline of the grip of your pistol through your clothing). Its hard to get around printing but there are ways to help disguise it as much as you can. Wearing a heavier or thicker cover garment (whether it’s a t-shirt or button down or a polo) will help immensely, as will wearing a patterned button down shirt which is one of my most favorite methods. It doesn’t get rid of the print but it does help to break up the outline of the grip to fool the eye a little better. Generally speaking, a tuckable IWB holster will be a little harder to pull off with a full sized double stack handgun, there is just going to be some printing with this method.

cougarIf I can avoid it, I’d never want to deal with an armed confrontation with a small pocket gun. Don’t get me wrong, My LC9 has treated me well and it’s great to shoot and reliable, and I like to carry it as a backup but it’s my last ditch gun generally. It would never be my first grab when the chips fall. The capacity just isn’t there, the barrel length isn’t there, the heft and feeling of confidence isn’t there and the way I grip, my support hand thumb tends to drag on the slide if I’m not careful. I have that problem with every small gun I’ve shot, it’s the curse of having big hands. The LC9 is about as small a gun as I can shoot comfortably. A LCP/P3AT sized gun just wouldn’t work for me. So that brings me full circle back to the full sized gun. Well in full disclosure, when I say “full sized” I’m more talking about the frame size versus the barrel length. My go to gun for quite a few years now (even when I had a Glock 23 as my department issued duty gun) has been my Beretta 8040 Cougar. I have had the opportunity to use my Cougar as a duty gun and a CCW gun for a long time. It shoots beautifully but it’s not a small gun. It has many of the same controls and some interchangeable parts with Beretta’s 92 series and was a very comfortable transition gun for me from the military to the civilian world. I’ve already done a review of it so I won’t go to far into the details but it’s a boringly reliable gun and I can conceal it well and it’s above all comfortable to carry. A gun that’s not carried comfortably will get left behind when you may need it most and that is a big deal. Am I able to carry my Beretta all the time? Of course not. There are times where my attire or the situation dictates a more discrete carry or the inability to carry a firearm at all. That being said, the Beretta is never far away, or a rifle for that matter (if that’s legal in your area). The LC9 becomes my option to fight to a bigger gun if that’s all I am able  to carry.

I hope I’ve given you a few things to  think about here. There are so many benefits to the full sized fighting gun that carrying anything else just seems like an unnecessary compromise to me. I firmly believe that the gun you have is better than no gun at all but at the end of the day, a full sized gun can make a significant difference in your survival in gunfight.

Gunfighter Mods Pt.2

So when I last left you I was recommending modifications for true a gunfighter, those that train with their weapons and carry them daily. Let me start with what I don’t feel you should do. Don’t spend several thousand dollars on a custom gun with extremely high tolerances. A $4500 1911 may be a sweet piece to brag about and may shoot the nuts off a gnat, but they also fail on a regular basis due to the extreme tolerance levels they are built to. Obviously not ideal for daily carry or a real shootout situation. What one needs is a weapon that will work every time no matter what, period. You don’t need a Barstow barrel installed by a gunsmith in your Glock to win a gun fight. You don’t need the latest and greatest in optic either. What you need are simple usable modifications that compliment your weapon and shooting abilities.

Credit: christiangunowner.com

Credit: christiangunowner.com

This post may explain why I carry what some consider an antiquated handgun on a daily basis. Many consider a 92 series Beretta to be less than ideal. I obviously disagree with the nay sayers. When I recommend guns to students and clients I always explain the  fact that whatever you carry it needs to be time tested and proven (none more so that the Beretta 92 series). A good example is the NC Highway Patrol. They traded from the Beretta 8000 series Cougars to S&W M&P’s in .357Sig. Guess what, they had issues from the “latest and greatest” on the market. I’m by no means bashing the M&P line, I own one and adore it! There were issues with the gun because it was new and because of the high pressure cartridge that was chosen.

The issue was the extractor in the M&P, it failed due to the abuse of the sheer pressure of the .357Sig cartridge on the weapon. Conversely, the NC Dept of Corrections also carries the M&P but in 9mm and has had zero issues. This brings us to the first recommendation when it comes to daily carry gun; Buy a solid platform that has been around the block, experienced the routine recalls and had  all the issues addressed. Smith and Wesson addressed the issues of the extractors as well as the trigger safety and have one hell of a fine weapon now! Apex also makes solid aftermarket parts for the M&P line that  up the game to a whole new level.

Speaking of APEX, these guys make several iteration of triggers for several guns. From “duty” to “smoothed”, to “competition” trigger set ups they have you covered, as do many other manufacturers. Which brings me to my first real modification, triggers! From the factory guns are similar to automobiles in that they are built from a one size fits all, let us not get sued standpoint. Trigger weight is assigned for the sake of so-called safety so that litigation doesn’t occur, and not so that the weapon is optimally primed for daily use or even reliability. I’m by no means saying that everyone needs a 3lb. trigger set up. What I am saying is that the mechanism can be tuned and smoothed, or possibly lightened to assist in the speed and accuracy of your shooting.Rogers_Glock_Gri_4fedc8daa239b

The usability of your weapon is another reason for modification. Usability can mean a lot of things to people as it is subjective to an individual. In my case I felt that the magazine release on my gun was too small to be activated under high stress and therefore replaced it with a much larger one from Beretta. For you it may mean installing an aftermarket magwell extension, or contouring the back strap of your polymer pistol. It may be as simple as installing night sights. Each person is different and the uses of their weapons are just as different.

The main goal in any modification is to make your weapon an extension of your body so that it is as accurate and reliable as possible. My recommendation is that you learn about your gun, find areas of weakness, and fix them with reliable parts. I could give you a laundry list of must have modification, but that in my opinion is cheating. Fads come and go, but a weapon built for you will fit you for a lifetime. So if you want to put a set of grips on your gun to see if its more comfortable to shoot, DO IT! If you want to install that over sized front sight on your baby Glock, by all means have it done. Parts are cheap and life is priceless. Find what works well for you and makes your gun part of your person, and keep in mind to never install a modification that could compromise your firearm’s reliability.

What’s Your Major Malfunction?

Common handgun malfunctions and how to clear your weapon:

Dummy Rounds

Dummy Rounds

If you shoot a handgun, it’s only a matter of time before you experience a malfunction. It may be caused by your weapon, your ammunition or even you (the shooter). How you handle these malfunctions can mean the difference between life and death in a real gunfight.

By taking the time to buy dummy rounds and simulating malfunctions you can be prepared when the moment of truth comes. This isn’t something that is difficult to do, so go train!

Type I: Failure to fire/feed

The shooter pulls the trigger and the gun goes “click” instead of “bang”.


  • The shooter forgetting to chamber a round
  • The magazine not being fully seated
  • A bad magazine, bad round, or broken firing pin.

Malfunction drill:

  • TAP- the bottom of the magazine to ensure it is fully seated
  • RACK- the slide to extract a bad round and/or chamber a round
  • BANG- fire, if the situation still dictates use of deadly force

Type II: Stove pipe



This is the failure of the expended round to clear the ejection port before the slide comes forward. The result is a case sticking out of the ejection port looking like a stove pipe.


  • Limp wristing is one of the primary causes.
  • A worn extractor can also cause this to occur.

Malfunction drill is the same as above:

  • TAP- the bottom of the magazine to ensure it is fully seated
  • RACK- the slide to extract a bad round and/or chamber a round
  • BANG- fire, if the situation still dictates use of deadly force
Double Feed

Double Feed

Type III: Double feed

The round in the chamber is not extracted and the nose of the next round in the magazine is pressed against the rear of this chambered case.


  • A broken or worn extractor is the most common cause.
  • This can also be caused by a bad magazine.

The Type I & II malfunctions drills will not clear this.

Malfunction drill:

  • LOCK – the slide to the rear
  • RIP- the magazine out of the weapon. The magazine spring is putting pressure on the top round, which is being pressed against the chambered case by the slide. Locking the slide takes off the pressure, however the magazine will not drop free, which is why you grasp it and yank it out of the weapon.
  • RUN – the slide several times to make sure the chambered case is extracted.
  • RELOAD – a fresh magazine back into the weapon.
  • TAP- the bottom of the magazine to ensure it is fully seated.
  • RACK- the slide to extract a bad round and/or chamber a round.
  • BANG- fire, if the situation still dictates use of deadly force

All of these malfunctions take a lot of training to learn how to clear. It takes repetition to build muscle memory. We are very happy to help you learn these skills in the training we offer.


Choosing the Best Handgun for You

For the ladies, and the guys too: Deciding which gun is best for you.

How many times have you walked into a gun shop only to be greeted by a gun store Rambo with too much testosterone and not enough common sense? It’s happened more than once to my wife and I. Most of the time they have a personal agenda and try to steer you to this gun or that gun regardless of how it fits you personally. If you want a compact gun it has to be this Glock or Sig Sauer and if you want a full sized gun it has to be this 1911 or a Heckler & Koch. This may be because they have the most mark up on this weapon and get more cash when they are sold or it may be because they just prefer this brand or that the other. The truth is far too few people know or understand the basics of purchasing a weapon for a specific use.

English: A Smith & Wesson Military & Police ha...

Smith & Wesson M&P(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My wife and I recently purchased her first handgun. We looked for a very long time and to be honest, I got rather frustrated doing so (one of the reasons for our consulting service). She is tiny and wanted a tiny gun to go along with her tiny frame. The problem is that she also wanted an effective fighting sidearm that would protect her and our family. Things got difficult very quickly when she had her heart set on several guns that simply didn’t fit her. We looked at a lot of guns from sub compact Glocks to smaller caliber guns like the Walther PPK and PK 380. Nothing seemed to fit her and accomplish the end goals we both had in mind.  One of these guns was a Walther PPQ. This is a great gun, but it didn’t fit her hand well and the ergonomics of the frame didn’t disperse the recoil well through her upper body. It was actually painful for her to shoot it. She went through a few others and even shot my Beretta 92 several times. This process turned into several weekend trips and visits to almost every reputable gun shop in the Raleigh/Durham area.

Credit: LampostCCW

Credit: LampostCCW

One thing that most first time buyers don’t consider is that the smaller the gun the more recoil it has, even in a smaller caliber. It’s simple physics, and a compact .380 will have as much or more recoil than a larger 9mm on a full sized frame. The smaller the gun, the less ammunition it will also carry. So think about the purpose of your handgun. My wife is of the same mind as I am. If either of us has resorted to using a gun, then the situation has gone terribly wrong and we want as much firepower as possible. So after shooting many guns and having several long discussions with both myself and the owner, Rob, at Clayton Guns, she ended her search with a Smith and Wesson M&P Pro in 9mm. Yes this is a full sized gun, but with careful consideration it can be concealed easily.  Fortunately, after dealing with the general bravado from many gun shops, we met Rob who is a wealth of information and had no agenda other than to get my wife the right gun for her.

This brings me to my first point; find a shop you can trust and have someone with you that really knows  their stuff when it comes to the basics of handgun manipulation and control . Just because a gun looks cool and comes highly recommended by a magazine article doesn’t mean it will fit you and be the best gun for you.  Shoot or at the very least hold as many guns as you can to test fitment to your hand. Many of the newer polymer guns have interchangeable back strap panels. Try them out and get a feel for the guns.

Then decide on the purpose of the gun. Are you carrying it in a holster, purse or pocket? Do you open carry or do you always carry concealed? Will this be your only gun or will you have multiple guns for multiple situations. Only after you decide how you will use the gun can you purchase a weapon that will fulfill its main purpose.  You then need to make sure it isn’t what I call an orphan gun. Orphan guns are more unusual or unpopular guns that don’t have huge aftermarket support. If you buy one of these guns then accessories will be difficult or impossible to find. In the best case scenario you will pay top dollar from a custom holster maker so that you have equipment that fills your needs. The only other option is to build your own holster system with Kydex or use a one size fits all nylon holster that isn’t what you really want or need.

9mm-357sig-40sw-10mm-45acp-45gapThe caliber of your gun is the next thing that you really need to decide on. For the guys, buying the largest caliber possible to compensate is just plain silly and really dangerous. Male or female you need to choose a caliber that you can easily control, especially if you are not an experienced shooter. If you can’t make quick follow up shots or you need to adjust your grip after shooting several rounds, then it isn’t the gun for you. I’ve said this before and I will say it again, there is no magic caliber. The “one shot stopping power” of a particular round is somewhat a fallacy that causes people to make decisions that hinder their ability to learn the basics and become competent marksmen. I’m a really big guy and can handle anything you put in my hand, but I choose to carry a 9mm due to the fact that I am at my best when shooting this round. I can cut the 10 ring out of a target and transition between multiple targets quickly and it has more than adequate stopping power when using modern ammunition.

So now you have a gun that fits you, you know how you intend to use it, and you’ve decided on caliber; what’s next? Now it’s time to train, try different holsters and modes of carry. Make your weapon an extension of your body. Your life depends on your ability to be proficient with your new purchase, so get to work!

Holsters on a Budget 101


If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it…my gear, my way.

It’s kind of humorous if you ask me, but people want the “right” gear so they look cool at the range, while carrying concealed or during training. While I can absolutely understand this feeling, this isn’t high school people! This is real life and what works well for one person may not work well for you. Body types, personal styles and budget vary and you have to do what is right for you. Mr. Ingersoll touched on this a few posts ago and pretty much said that what you can afford and works for you is what you should buy. I’m just expanding upon his observations in this post and sharing my personal set up. I’ll share links for the makers of my gear and let you look around for yourself.

My personal preference is to have a holster for each specific purpose when carrying my Beretta 92FS. To this end I have two outside the waistband holsters (OWB), one inside the waistband holster (IWB), and one trigger guard style holster. Mr. Ingersoll has at least that many holsters for his Beretta 8040 to include a Safariland duty holster and a few others. I personally prefer a paddle style holster over belt holsters as they are easily removed when needed and are very stable on my frame. Speaking of frames, I’m over 6ft and pushing 300lbs. I am a very big guy, so my set ups may not be the perfect set up for you.

blackhawkYou may ask why I have two different OWB style holsters. That’s a good question and I will explain my logic and how it came to be. The first holster is an Uncle Mike’s paddle set up with no retention of any kind other than friction. I have had it for years and it was cheap. I have used this holster for concealed carry and training only because it has no retention level protection in case of a gun grab situation or fight. The second OWB holster I have is a Blackhawk! SERPA.  I carry in this holster in situations when it’s appropriate to open carry. The SERPA is an affordable holster with lots of options. It comes with both a paddle and belt attachment when purchased and it’s designed to work with both a shoulder rig and tactical thigh rig with no modifications, just a few screws. There is a lot of bang for your buck with this holster. Is it the end all, be all holster that some say it is? Not by a long shot, I would definitely prefer several others but just can’t justify spending the money. It ‘s a level 2 retention holster where a button must be depressed to release the handgun and the tension is adjustable so it meets my need for open carry. It’s minimal protection, but it is protection from someone walking up and pulling your gun out of the holster or it falling out during a struggle.

OldFaithful-Empty2When it comes to inside the waist band (IWB) carry I carry an Old Faithful that I built from a kit. This is a hybrid style holster that has a leather backing against the skin and one side of the gun combined with a Kydex shell on the other side. It makes for a very durable and comfortable holster. There are quite a few of different companies that are making this style of holster these days since it gained so much popularity in the CCW crowd. I’m not sure who started the design but certainly the first one I heard about was the CrossBreed Supertuck however, this is a far more expensive and their lead time is fairly long. So by buying this easy to assemble kit form Old Faithful, I saved a ton of cash and now have an intimate understanding of my gear. Without a doubt I recommend trying the kits on the market.

Now I may have failed to mention this, I carry every holster in the appendix or modified appendix position. So make note of that if you plan to order a similar holster. This particular holster is cut for that positioning and is very comfortable for all day wear with only slight adjustments when sitting or getting in and out of a vehicle. Some people may ask why I carry in this position when so many other positions work well and  are more comfortable. The answer is simple, I don’t want people to see my gun (if it is printing) when I can’t see them. In other words if you know I have a gun, I want to know that you know! Secondly I have much more control over the weapon in this position during a struggle or just in general.  I even carried in this position while on duty as a police officer and kept the duty holster tension screws on my belt loose enough to adjust the location as needed.

Credit: Aegis Armory

Credit: Aegis Armory

The final holster I have for my Beretta is a trigger guard style holster from Aegis Armory. This an absolute minimalist style holster that only covers the trigger so that it isn’t engaged accidentally.  This is my T-shirt, shorts, and flip flop gear. You basically stick it in your waistband and go, another word for this is “Mexican carry” but with this holster there is some retention on the firearm. It comes with a lanyard that you attach to a belt or belt loop. When drawn the holster just pulls away because it is only held on with a small amount of tension. On a smaller weapon this would be a great pocket holster or even a neck holster. This also makes a great “car carry” holster. Wrap the lanyard around your emergency brake handle or whatever you have available and tuck the pistol between the seats.

So there you have it, my gear for my needs and on my budget. Would I love to have several Raven or G-code holsters? Oh yes I would, but I just can’t justify buying the high dollar gear when what I have fits my needs rather well. I’ll upgrade one day but for now I definitely don’t care what others think about my choice of holsters or even my beat up old Beretta. The guy wearing all the latest gear and shooting the H&K SOCOM 45 at the range the other day couldn’t hit the ten ring to save his life. I on the hand tore one big ragged hole with 50 rounds in the target.  Buy what works for you and save the money for ammo and training!

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Caliber Considerations for CCW

Beretta 92FS

Beretta 92FS (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today’s post comes to you from Dave Windham again. Dave’s knowledge and experience with concealed carry, firearms implementation and associated equipment is a valuable asset.

What’s in your pants???

Did that get your attention? Good, now please read on so that you understand the question.  I’m really exhausted of (primarily men) purchasing the largest caliber gun possible because it’s the manly thing to do while ignoring the basics of firearm handling and simple logic. They ignore the simple fact that despite their manliness, they may not be able to effectively control a large bore handgun. I’ve seen people purchase guns that don’t even fit their hand so that they have a “45” as opposed to any other caliber handgun.

Let me start by saying I don’t advocate or consider mouse guns an option. I don’t even like these mini guns as back up weapons. Personally a .38 +p or .380 is about as small as I feel is an effective caliber in any gun fight and many folks in the industry agree. What I am addressing is 9mm, through 45ACP. Many novice or inexperienced shooters just don’t consider 9mm as being a good round in a gun fight and think that bigger is always better. Let’s look at the evidence, and you make up your mind.

The chart above shows the penetration of the handgun rounds that we are discussing, while the page linked to next shows the expansion of the said rounds upon penetration.  Please note that manufacture and bullet type, weight, etc. do cause dramatic changes in these findings.  Do your own research or study the research of professionals to make your own choice and reach your own conclusions.

As you can see, there isn’t a clear and simple “best round” or “magic bullet”.  With different manufacturers or slightly different bullet styles the results are almost identical from 9mm all the way up to 45 ACP.  With this knowledge there are several other factors that you need to consider.

The first factor is what really happens in a gun fight. A real life gun fight isn’t anywhere close to static marksmanship practice on a range or even competition shooting. Your body goes through all sorts of changes when lead starts flying in your direction. Your heart rate rises, your motor skills are significantly decreased, and your vision is greatly affected.  Now ask yourself, do you want a smaller amount of ammunition and all the recoil you can handle or do you want something easily controlled that you are a very good marksman with?

To get the feeling of what it feels like to be in a critical incident, try this. Run around the block twice in all your gear, fully clothed in the middle of summer, then drop and do 25 push-ups and then 25 sit ups. Now stand, draw your weapon and engage multiple targets at multiple ranges running between cover and concealment points. Make sure you have to reload so that you make a magazine change and experience all aspects of your loss of motor skills. If you can, even induce a feeding malfunction during this drill.

Ok, so now that you know that your 3 inch groups at 10yrds on the range don’t amount to a hill of beans in real life you now have to consider what really ends a gunfight. Almost all accounts of these incidents and personal accounts from police and military personnel, as well as personal experience I know that hydraulic failure is what normally ends the fight. That’s just a nice way of saying the aggressor has bled out and can no longer function.  Do you really think that .12 of an inch in expansionor a fraction of an inch in penetration is going to make a huge difference?  The truth is that it really doesn’t. What’s far more important is shot placement.

In my opinion having a gun that I can make extremely quick follow up shots with, and that carries several more rounds only makes sense. Both I and my wife carry full sized duty style weapons in 9mm. She carries a bone stock M&P Pro with a 4.25in barrel and I carry a slightly customized Beretta 92fs that was once my duty weapon with two police departments. I have 20 rounds on tap while she has 17 rounds at the ready if needed. Now you may ask, is it concealable? The answer is hell yes. It’s all about holster choice and clothing choice. I’ll discuss some of my holsters in a post at a later date.

The point of this is to make you think. Why do you carry what you carry? Is it the best choice or a compromise? Could you be more effective with a different gun? Your life truly depends on your choices for your ccw defensive firearm, so take the time to do some research and make solid decisions.   Happy training and be safe!

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