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What Are Your Fears?

DC Reed, Director

In an uncertain world with the troubles reported daily on the news, what are your fears?

Most of us fear what we cannot predict or control.

Your only recourse is to learn and train to be as adaptable, independent, and innovative as possible.

TAG, LLC does not just train weapons craft -although we are good at that – but we train critical thinkers to look for and use the tools at hand to secure and protect themselves and their families.

We teach how not to look, act, or become a victim.

Whether its rifle, carbine, shotgun, or handgun we have a defensive training class that is tailored to you. We even offer camp-out courses where you learn campfire starting, cooking, and survival heating by night while having fun shooting during the day.

If you don’t see exactly what you want here on this website -contact us to discuss what you are interested in!

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Load, Reload, Rinse, Repeat

DC Reed/Director

Let’s talk about semi-automatic pistol reload procedures. Bam! I just started a huge argument. Also, just to be ticklish, I want to propose a change to how we as a police/military/CCW shooting community train reloading our semi-automatic handguns.

To start off, there are techniques and there are procedures and by the way, they are not the same thing. Techniques are non-prescriptive ways or methods used to perform functions or tasks.

A Procedure is the physical and prescriptive “how” of doing that particular something.

For instance, my technique will be, “Keep my weapon loaded at all times. Speed load my firearm whenever it runs empty and avoid running empty by proactive thinking and action whenever possible.”

The procedure is how, exactly, to do that speed load. As in, “Step 1 is this, and then Step 2 is that,” etcetera. In fact, there are a couple of different procedures to speed loading a handgun. Which one I choose to use depends on the exact conditions I’m encountering. We adapt procedures to the specific environment, our abilities, and of course, the threat we face.

Also, there are strengths and weaknesses to all procedures. There is not one perfect procedure that solves problems 100% of the time. You evaluate them under the conditions you are in right now and you pick, frankly, what may be the lesser of two dangers. Hopefully with training you pick the right procedure for a specific environment which matches your abilities to counter the current threat – and that means you survive a little longer

Don’t get bored, I’m getting to the meat of things.

Okay there are a thousand names or labels for every procedure and I’m not married to any of them but for the sake of my TAG, LLC students I have my stock names. For instance, under the heading of Administrative Loading Procedures there is the “Range Reload.” This is a training-only or range level reload, not used under real hostile engagement type environments. Go to CCWGuardian.com and look for the training video, “Load and Reload a Semi-Auto Handgun.”

A Range Reload is where during a pause in training (and only if allowed to do so by the instructor) a student with a holstered weapon and has a chambered round, needs to top off their weapon with more ammunition before the next series of firing events. They reach around and pop their mag release and remove the magazine while the weapon remains fully in the holster. If they can’t do this safely without un-holstering (even a little bit) or disengaging their holster’s safety devices, then they are not allowed to perform this procedure.

Understanding the above, the shooter pops their mag release and removes the magazine leaving the weapon holstered. They then either insert a fully loaded mag back into the weapon, ensuring it’s fully seated, or top off the mag they just removed with more ammunition and re-insert it fully. Bingo, a safe and practical Range Reload.
Why do a Range Reload? The technique is to keep the line hot, weapons topped off, and keep the training moving along as efficiently as possible to make maximum use of limited training time. The procedure is comprised of the steps above.

I tell my students on the range all the time, “Ammunition management is a problem; it’s just not my problem!”

Now you get the idea of techniques versus procedures.

Next is the area where there was a lot of agreement for years but now, not so much. I’ve heard this stuff called ‘Combat’ reload, ‘Emergency ‘reload, ‘Slide-lock’ reload and a half dozen others. But let’s focus first on the technique. The technique is to rapidly reload the weapon whether the slide is locked to the rear or not. For here let’s call it “Speed Reload.”

Now, a Speed Reload is just how it sounds. Rapid, under dynamic or let’s say, austere conditions, you need to load. Fast. Sure, ninety-nine percent of the time this is due to an empty mag bringing the weapon to slide-lock, but I’ve also seen this used with the slide forward to quickly top off a weapon where you may have only a round or two left, but are still in an active and deadly engagement.

Therefore there are two different procedures under the technique of Speed Reloading.
First let’s describe a “Slide-lock” Speed Reload. While firing in real-world conditions you will not likely be counting your rounds and can easily shoot to empty. You’re indication of this is the weapon’s slide locks open and to the rear. Cops often call this a “clue” but hey, let’s not get too technical yet. This should generally be your most practiced reloading procedure as it requires some dexterity.

SLIDE LOCK SPEED RELOAD: First, move! Don’t ever, ever, reload standing still. Be hard to hit. Next, keeping the weapon high and up in the lower edge of your line of sight, let go with your support (non-firing) hand and go for your spare mag. Simultaneously with your primary shooting hand still holding the weapon, press the mag release as you bend your elbow to snap the firing arm sharply back and vertically twist the firing hand and weapon to forcibly expel the empty magazine. Ideally it should fly 2-3 miles before hitting the ground.

This is better demonstrated than described, because you are using centrifugal force and inertia to send the empty mag flying and out of the way of your support hand bringing that reload quickly towards the magazine well. It requires some timing and practice to hit the magazine release right at the pivotal moment you are snapping the weapon back and over to take full use of the centrifugal and inertial forces. Bottom line, get the empty mag gone and out of the way.
Now the flat side of the weapon’s mag well is facing to your support side and you have correctly grabbed a spare mag with your supporting hand. Move the flat side of the magazine to the flat side of the weapon’s mag well and insert. Slam it in, don’t finesse here, making sure it’s fully seated. Again, we have videos to help illustrate this.
Next you have to get the slide back forward and chamber a round. This is where we as a defensive shooting community have evolved a bit based on competition. I used to teach to bring the support hand up and over the slide serrations and grab the slide there with the support hand thumb closest to the eyes and pinky forward. Then pull back aggressively to rack the slide back a bit and release it to allow the recoil spring inside to ‘sling-shot’ the slide forward. However, this leaves my support hand moving rearward towards my shoulder and out of place to quickly re-establish a solid two-handed grip.

Instead, I now teach a pinch-style slide grab where, after inserting the fresh mag, rotate the weapon slightly inboard to the body’s centerline, still high up at head level and still aimed towards the threat. The support hand runs up the support side of the weapon to grab the rear slide serrations with the support thumb pointing forward and the top of the slide in the palm. Now, pull back and ‘sling-shot’ the slide forward. If done right your support hand is in position to re-acquire good two-handed grip a bit faster this way. This should be your most practiced reloading procedure.

Wow, that should start some fights. Many of you are already going to CAPS LOCK to respond! All I ask is to try it first before calling me a Commie.
Some tips: Keep your head up and use only your peripheral vision to accomplish this reload. Move the whole time you’re reloading and when possible move to hard cover. Don’t stare at your gun, keep moving and watch for a threat to appear. Don’t ride the slide with your support hand during the ‘sling-shot’ forward. You can cause a stoppage. Smooth is fast and go only as fast as you can do it right the first time instead of rushing. But, well, don’t just stare at it…reload the darn thing!

Okay, so can you use these same procedures for when you want to reload but the slide’s not locked open on an empty magazine? Yes!

SLIDE FORWARD SPEED RELOAD: As I discussed above you don’t normally count rounds when in an active hostile engagement. You shoot to stop aggressive, deadly action against you. But if at some point you say to yourself, “I’m about out” you have to fix it. In other words, a fully loaded weapon is preferable to a weapon going to slide lock at the worse possible moment. If you can prevent having to do a Slide Lock Reload, why not? Remember our overarching technique from page one?

“…avoid running empty by proactive thinking and action whenever possible.”

So, follow all the procedures discussed above except you initiate a Speed Reload on your own volition, not due to a slide lock. You decide to reload because maybe the weapon starts feeling lighter. The slide’s still in battery and there’s a round still in the chamber.

Move and snap the weapon back as before while reaching for the spare mag and pressing the magazine release all at the same time. Keep the weapon high and at head level in the lower part of your vision. Insert the full mag and seat it fully, then run your support hand back out and into a good two handed grip. Boom, a one second reload with practice.

The technique is the same; rapidly reloading your weapon under hostile or deadly threat conditions, but the procedure is slightly modified to avoid running empty. Do you throw away a few rounds in favor of many rounds? Yes, that’s a consideration. Strengths and weakness, eh?

But wait, you say, “Isn’t this Tactical Reload” territory. And here’s where the fight will start.

TACTICAL RELOAD: I have taught so-called Tactical Reloads (also called a “Tact Load”) for years and now I rarely teach it. (Blasphemy!) For the unwashed, let me explain briefly the concept. If there is a lull or pause in the action (huh?) or the action is possibly over but you have to move into additional threat areas, you will want to top off or replenish your weapon. Sound familiar? It’s the situation I described above for Slide Forward Speed Loading; partially expended magazine, a desire to top off.

So keeping the weapon pointed at the threat, moving to cover if possible, the shooter first retrieves a full spare mag and brings it up to the side of their weapon. The weapon is brought rearward and kept high by bending the firing arm elbow to gain some dexterity and allow the shooter to retain observation of the threat area. Now, place the little finger and ring finger of the support hand (that’s holding the full spare mag) under the weapon and pop the mag release to allow the support hand to grab and retain it. Smoothly give it to the little and ring finger of the weapon hand (that’s holding the gun) and then insert the full mag up into the weapon, thus topping it off. Grab the partially expended mag from the weapon hand back with your now empty support hand and stick the mag in a pocket – but not in the mag pouch where it could be mistaken under stress for a full magazine. Ta Da.

This is essentially a “hot swap.” Like refueling a car while still driving.

The purpose is to top off the gun while retaining the depleted mag should you really, really need those couple of remaining rounds. A very common variant of this is to conduct the swap completely with the support hand. Grab the partially expended mag with the pinky and ring finger as illustrated above, but then pivot the support hand palm and insert the fresh mag. Keeps the mags all in the support hand and leaves the weapon hand alone. I can do this with 1911 magazines but not easily with double-stack mags like Glock or Sig’s. My hand is a bit too smallish to manipulate fat mags under stress like this.

The famous Gunsite training center in Arizona is the ‘World Leader of Tactical Reload Instruction’ (Capitol letters intended). They often joke that if you go to slide lock you owe the cadre a case of beer. I am a multiple course graduate of Gunsite and will go again, but I argue this with them a lot. Jeff Cooper, hear me out. I no longer believe in Tactical Reloads, unless you’re on your way to the car, the station, or the house. Fight’s 100% over, okay, now you can Tact load.

But in any kind of hostile environment, or possibility of continued engagement, I’m either shooting to slide lock or I will speed load with the slide forward when the gun feels light. To wit: I can execute a slide lock speed load in 1 to 1.5 seconds on a bad day. On a good day, three quarters of second! Tactical reloading takes me 3 to 5 seconds and with about three in ten attempts I fumble a mag under stress while moving anyway.

And I’ve been doing this for 35 years!
I’ve seen cops and CCW students take 10-15 seconds to fumble through a tact load. Crazy, right? But why? Usually it’s because some mediocre range instructor said so. So, where an agency policy is such they insist I train their members in Tactical Reloading, I teach a variant called “Reload with Retention.”

RELOAD W/ RETENTION: So start from the same premise: bad day to be you, lull in the action, ammunition mostly depleted, a desire to top off, yada-yada.
Move to cover, heads up, gun up high but rearward, and while doing this release the partially expended mag into your support hand and quickly pocket it. Grab a fresh, full mag from your pouch and seat it smartly into the gun. Pow! You’re done.

Try it and have someone clock the entire time the gun is without a mag. Now do the traditional Tactical Reload and clock the time where the gun is without a mag. With a little practice, it’s the same. Plus it’s the same skills used to Slide Forward Speed Reload except you pocket the mag instead of slinging it away. It also reduces the error rate of dropped mags and reduces the stress of trying to apply a fine motor control procedure while under stress. Boo-yah!

In closing, there are, oh, seventy thousand or so more potential variations of defensive reloading, each one with its own name. I have students and colleagues come up to me and say, “Have you heard about the new ‘Monkey-Flip Snag’ procedure? It’s taught by Special Forces in Antarctica!”

Or, “Joe Bigrep is a former Elite Lean Six Sigma team leader and he says on TV that this stuff sucks!”

Yeah, yeah. Look, I try to teach simple, workable, life-saving skills and while open to evolutionary thinking, I do not jump on fads quickly. If I teach it I want to know I’m teaching something that is already proven to work and solves a critical problem.

So I answer politely, “No, I haven’t seen a Monkey-Flip Snag reload. And neither should you.”

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The Right CCW Weapon!

DC Reed/Director

How To Determine If You’ve Got The Right CCW Weapon!

How do you effectively evaluate a defensive handgun to see if it’s right for you? One of the principal issues I see is people who “buy poorly” and have too little or too much gun. Interestingly the smarter some people are when it comes to purchasingTVs, cameras, clothes, or cars…the dumber they act when buying a gun.

I’m particularly talking about first time buyers who often just follow the advice of the dude in the gunstore or a local cop.

That’s why we developed the Reed Ergo-Power Ration tool. It fairly assesses your ability to adequately utilize the gun you are considering for CCW or defensive carry and gives equal standing to capacity as it does to caliber.

It’s subjective of course because it’s YOU assessing YOU.

The tool has four Sections or paragraphs each with a potential of 5 points for a total of 20. Once you select a defensive carry (CCW) handgun you like, ensuring it fits your hand, has a good trigger and set of sights, and of course is ergonomically (to you) conducive to a proper draw stroke and presentation, see if you can manage it by the test below. You’ll quickly see how small caliber, low capacity, bump-sighted guns may conceal well but are not the most practical defensive concealment weapon.

Start with Sections A. and B. scoring your firearm objectively. Then with seven rounds, (ideally of your chosen defensive carry ammunition), head out to a safe shooting area and fire Sections C. and D. Here’s how it works

  • A. Power Factor: Identify the power factor from the caliber. 357, 45 and up are a ‘5’, 40 is ‘4’, 9mm/38 Specialis a ‘3’, 380 is a ‘2’, 32 caliber and under are ‘1’. This favors major calibers.
  • B. Capacity: Identify the capacity including a chambered round. Over 14 is a ‘5’, 9 to 13 is a ‘4’, 6 to8 is a ‘3’, under 6 rounds is a ‘2’, derringers and single shots are a ‘1’. This favors higher capacity and somewhat balances the formula for smaller calibers.
  • C. Recoil Management: Assess the manageable recoil by time and accuracy, firing 2 shots into a 3X5” index card at 7 yards. Both shots must be fully in (no cutters) to count. Within 2 seconds is a ‘5’, within 3 is a ‘4’, within 4 is a ‘3’, and within 5 is a ‘2’. Over 5: stop! Go get training. If you miss one immediately fire again but count the total time to get two in. This favors shooters with good recoil management ability.
  • D. Practical Accuracy. Assess the practical accuracy by shot group and time, 5 shots slow aimed fire with not more than 3 seconds each and also not more than 15 seconds altogether into a 3X5″ index card at 7 yards. All 5 shots fully in (no cutters) are a ‘5’, 4 is a ‘4’ and so on. No additional shots like above, if you miss one you miss one. Shots fired over the time limit count as out. This factors your sight focus, your trigger control, and thus accuracy.

Are you a Pro? Divide the card vertically in half with a pen. If you can fire all 5 shots into the remaining 2 1/2″ X 3″ target: add 2 points!

Scoring: It’s really up to you. If you score a 15 or higher you may be on to something. A 13 is my personal cutoff for any serious defensive carry. But that’s up to you. What is your risk analysis or tolerance given this weapon and ammo will be used to save your own life or the life of a loved one?

For instance, I scored my 5 shot S&W Model 442 in .38 special like this: A=3, B=2, C=5, D=5. (C & D are high because I shoot a lot.) So my Snubbie scored a 15. Pretty good.

You could shoot the same gun and ammo and only get a 12. So yes, this is subjective. I could also change ammo and not shoot as high a score.

But it has to be because it’s YOU assessing a defensive handgun for you. Obviously training and familiarization will mean you can move up, change calibers or ammo, or move downward as skills diminish.

Remember, this is a practical test to determine if you’ve selected a gun that will work for you right now.

Try it and let me know what you think!

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1911 Customization

DC Reed/Director

1911 Customization, Carry Cuts and Slide Stop Beveling

As to carry cuts and slide stop hole beveling on 1911s.

I am by default against going too far off John Moses Browning’s design. I can be wrong but seem to be still alive having heeded this principle and having defended myself with a Colt on more than one occasion.

Relieving the slide that way reduces mass, meaning the recoil spring to gas to slide speed to firing pin spring weight must be all be in perfect balance or when something gets slightly off you have stoppages. Will a stock replacement recoil spring work or does it take a certain weight spring? Is this another cosmetic touch or a design to “aid” concealment? More on this later.

As to slide stop hole beveling, generally done on the right side of the frame. I agree it looks cool. Looks “custom”. My issue is that this is a very critical stress point on the frame and a critical element in the cycle of operation of the 1911. Don’t screw with it. The slide stop is a frequently encountered problem as they break. Slide stop breaks, gun stops. “Bullets go no more” type of break.

The slide stop goes from left to right through the frame, through the barrel link (locking the barrel against the top of the slide) and out the right side. Disassembly of the gun requires the operator to push it out from right to left. The beveling is supposed to make it easier to push the stop out and as it is scalloped out ‘prevent’ the stop from being accidentally pushed out of place.

Bull. It just looks cool. Cutting the frame in this critical area potentially adds to the metal stress here, as there is less metal. Especially with aluminum. “But If they sell it it must be okay, right?” Ha!

By the way, when people tell me their 1911 needs to have the slide to frame fit ‘tightened’ I wince. Generally it’s the barrel link that needs be adjusted or replaced with a larger link. See how important? Keep an extra slide stop in your bag.

Oh, back to slide carry cuts. If you have a a holster that requires you to have slide cuts to open the holster to get the gun in…. Get another holster!

Tactics are driven and developed by the real world problems they counter. I can adapt my tactics to solve new problems but I use the simplest tactics possible to counter the greatest number of problems.

Let’s not add our own equipment to that mix! I refuse to adapt tactics just for a piece of gear that forces a certain method or order of drill to operate.

In short, if my equipment doesn’t facilitate my being able to put bullets on target rapidly, then, “fling!” is the sound of it whizzing away from me towards a dumpster.

Last note. In reference to carry cuts being used to help open IWB holsters that close up after drawing my gun, I actually hate most IWB holsters and I only have them for deep concealment use. I’m too fat. But…This is an example to me of what Clint Smith said about carrying guns. That they are supposed to be ‘comforting’ not ‘comfortable.’

The Milt Sparks/ Bruce Nelson Summer Special or the new breed of wide, long tuck ambles are notable exceptions. General use, I wear a hip holster such a DeSantis scabbard or a Galco JAK (inside the belt but outside the pants). It all depends on your body type as discussed in earlier blog posts.

But, I can be and am frequently wrong. Ask the wife.

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Why Train With A CCW Permit?

DC Reed/Director

I had a reader comment on a post asking, “Why is it important to document training and why pay for the CCW App?”

That’s actually a great question and this was my response.

Military and law enforcement train with their tools and weapons regularly to hone their skills, learn new ones, test their abilities under realistic conditions, and demonstrate proficiency to an established standard. Some do it better than others, but they all scrupulously document their training.

This is a hedge against liability, as in a court of law your testimony may not be enough. In other words in some courts if it wasn’t recorded (in writing) then it “didn’t happen.”

As a CCW permit carrier you will have none of the protective presumptions courts give government employees and their training records. The wrong prosecutor or a civil trial lawyer will attempt to paint you as reckless or negligent. By dedicating your time and effort (and ammo) to practice and study – and using our system to professionally document your training- you are building a record of responsibility. A history that shows you take the awesome responsibility of carrying a firearm seriously and maturely.

That’s our purpose and our mission statement. It’s why we built CCW Guardian.

Check it out at The App Store
Check out CCW Guardian
Check out this promotional CCW Guardian video

And why does it cost money? Well. Hey, we gotta pay the bills.

– DC Reed

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Choosing A CCW Trainer

DC Reed/Director

The decision to carry a concealed weapon (CCW) is an important and life-altering event. It can be based on an epiphany, perhaps that you and your family are not as prepared or protected as you thought. Conceivably you or someone you know has been the victim of a crime. Perhaps while watching the news you see that sudden violence can happen anywhere. Regardless, from this day forward your life will forever follow a new path, so the decision to seek out training and carry a concealed weapon should not be made casually.

There are ramifications to making a poor choice in your training. These consequences can be criminal and civil problems but also, in the gravest extreme, you could be forced to live with the knowledge that you failed to protect someone you love. Or, you could be killed yourself.

So, how do you choose wisely? What should you look for a CCW trainer? First, look for someone certified by the state and county where you live and find someone with a good reputation. Searching for an NRA certified instructor is also a good idea. Finding a reputable CCW trainer can reduce your personal liability and meet the standards set by the state. So the more stable, experienced, and more broadly certified an instructor is, the better.

Next choose someone who will be there for you when you need them in court. Fly-by-night CCW trainers are everywhere, and disreputable ones even offer to “expedite” the process for a price. Check references and ask to see certifications. Do they have a web presence, is the local Sheriff familiar with them, have they been in business for a reasonable amount of time? And most importantly, have they successfully testified in criminal and civil court on use of force issues?

In other words, don’t bargain shop. You may save $25 off your class, but in one week or ten years when you need them to defend you in court will they be there for you? Would their testimony on your behalf actually help? Does the person you choose to train you bring a credible, responsible, professional, and knowledgeable presence to your defense?

You must also consider the quality of your training. Realize that law enforcement, competition, and military trainers are probably proficient, but most are more familiar teaching students with a known background and a shared level of experience. Cops in most states typically get 400-800 hours of academy training, of which at least 40 is dedicated strictly to shooting and a great deal of the rest is on critical thinking, crisis management, and use of force decision making. Military and “Special Forces” trainers have often not worked in a non-permissive CONUS environment of strict legal liability. They don’t generally operate or train with those who live in the more restrictive and legally/politically scrutinized civilian world. Competition shooters may be basing their instruction on competitive techniques designed to be fast and accurate, but off the range are tactically unsound.

There are exceptions in each of the categories above and many of the very best instructors have this type of background, but you must be sure they understand the uniqueness to training civilian CCW students–students with considerably different past training and different legal authority/constraints than the audience to which they are accustomed.

Remember that often the exact curriculum is probably set by the state, so a reputable instructor will follow this agenda. Someone who “goes off the reservation” so to speak may actually increase your liability. Typically, a CCW class is to shooting what a Hunter Safety course is to hunting. If you want more detailed and advanced shooting instruction, you will likely have to attend a separate class.

Once you have obtained basic CCW certification you will likely seek out more self-defense education. How good is good enough when it comes to protecting your life? How can you benchmark your skills to a known standard of self-defense to be sure in yourself?

Beyond the basics of shooting is the ever-expanding world of critical thinking, dynamic movement, and proxemics. In the next article we’ll discuss more progressive training and what to look for in an advanced firearms instructor.

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Safe Training

DC Reed/Director

When you seek out training, do you look for safe, familiar courses? Or something harder?

The only way to really know how you will do in a critical incident (other than surviving a real world experience) is through challenging training.

You have to test yourself against a known standard of performance, then push yourself to improve. If you always “train down” and stay comfortable you will always have a false sense of your ability.

If you are enjoying yourself and performing easily in training, excelling – hearing and doing nothing unfamiliar – you are in the wrong class.

Training that’s difficult, complex, and a little over your head is what you should seek out. A course that bases its teaching off known standards that are proven to work. You should like what you’re doing of course, but always be a little concerned that without your best, most serious and concerned effort, you won’t pass.

The consequences of failure in a hard training course are a better awareness of your true abilities under stress. You may not like it, but you now know what you have to work on to improve. You still go home.

The decision to brush yourself off, check your ego, and then dedicate time and effort to do the work to increase your ability, to be better prepared than you were …

That’s up to you.

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CCW Tips And Tactics, Part III

DC Reed/Director

Part III of III

State Gun Laws

State gun laws vary considerably. Some states have many more firearms restrictions than others. Some gun owners who visit other states will be granted reciprocity and recognition for any “right to carry” gun laws they had in their home state. Not all states grant such rights. “Right to carry” laws are federal and state constitution provisions that recognize a gun owner’s right to use her or his gun for defensive purposes.

Some states give gun owners more rights than others. For example, twelve states currently prohibit employers from firing employees who leave guns locked in their personal vehicles on company property. That means 38 other states do allow companies to restrict employees from having weapons in their cars or trucks on company property.

States also have laws that either allow or prohibit you from openly carrying a gun in public. These are called “open carry” laws. Generally, states fall into one of four categories:

  • a) Permissive Open Carry States – Allow you to carry a gun without a permit or license.
  • b) Licensed Open Carry States – Allow gun owners to carry firearms openly only after they are issued a permit or license.
  • c) Anomalous Open Carry States – Carrying a gun openly may be generally lawful under state law, but local governments may pass their own gun laws that are more restrictive than the state’s laws.
  • d) Non-Permissive Open Carry States – Carrying a gun openly is against state law, or is legal only in limited circumstances (e.g., while hunting) or when legally used for self-defense.

If you just moved to a state with an open carry law, there is often a waiting period before you can apply for an open carry permit. Open carry restrictions are often the subject of lawsuits filed by gun owners against states where they reside.

Go to Findlaw’s site (http://statelaws.findlaw.com/criminal-laws/gun-control/ ) for a directory of gun laws in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. If you have additional questions, be sure to contact a gun rights attorney near you.


The key to successful carry and effective use of a firearm is training and of course, practice. Find a professional firearms instructor and check their references before investing in a training course. Reputable trainers should have a website or brochure that describes their training and background to teach. The NRA is a good place to start. Talk with your local law enforcement agencies. Many of the trainers who train them will train cleared civilians as well.

Look for trainers with a broad range of shooting/training experience. For instance a trainer who has just a police training background may not be as good a choice for civilians. A pure competition shooter may not give the best Use of Force legal advice. Military specialist may not be up on state laws.

Train to the threat you are likely to encounter. To give you an idea:

  • a. 55% of gunfights take place 0-5 feet.
  • b. 20% of gunfights take place in 5-10 feet.
  • c. 20% of gunfights take place in 10-21 feet.
  • d. 95% of gunfights take place in 0-21 feet. (Source- FBI)


  • a. The average man can cover 21 feet of ground in 1.5 seconds.
  • b. The average man cannot draw a gun from concealment in under 2 seconds.
  • c. The average gunfight is over in 3-5 seconds.
  • d. 3 to 4 shots are usually fired.
  • e. Most gunfights take place in low light conditions.
  • f. In most gunfights the aggressor does not stand still.
  • g. On average one shot in four actually strikes someone.

You need to know your abilities and benchmark yourself against known standards.

In conclusion, this path to carrying a CCW firearm for personal and family protection is an epiphany; that is, a permanent alteration of your life and your thinking and actions. From the day you obtain your permit and every day after that you are now different, and will be measured by the law differently.

It is an awesome responsibility to have; to know others close to you may now depend on you for their life. This heavy mantle is only mitigated by maturity, professional training, continued education, proper practice, and heavy doses of common sense.

God Speed and Good Shooting!

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