What Do YOU Carry?
December 19, 2011
Wow, what a busy season of the year! With friends and family in town for the holidays, and several trips out of town on business, I've been rushing through the season like a very frantic little elf. I hope your Christmas season, like mine, is jam-packed with loved ones, laughter, and every good thing.
Because life has been so busy, it's been a few weeks since I've managed to get this newsletter out. I hope you missed me just a little bit! So let's get to it.
What Do YOU Carry?
One of the Cornered Cat Facebook fans recently asked, "Kathy, what do you carry?" After giving her a very brief answer, I suddenly realized that she'd just handed me an excellent topic for the Cat's Meow. (Thanks, Ashley!) Here's what I carry every day, and why.
The firearm I carry is a Glock 26. This is the smallest 9mm in the Glock lineup. I chose it because I wanted a gun that would be super-reliable, simple to operate, and small enough to carry. It's actually the very first gun I purchased when I got serious about learning to protect my family (though now I own more than one, because I found out they're a lot like potato chips that way). I like the Glock design because I don't have to remember any extra buttons or levers when it's time to shoot; I just point the gun and pull the trigger. Some people prefer guns with manually operated safeties, but I don't. I want simplicity of operation and I was willing to learn to behave safely with it. I also like it because it doesn't have much recoil for such a small gun. It's like a big gun in a little gun's body. On the downside, the fat doublestack magazines make these guns a bit too thick for small hands, so they don't fit well for everyone. If I had small hands but the same set of priorities, I would probably look at a Kahr P9 (not the PM9, which I find a lot less pleasant to shoot than the equally easy-to-carry P9). Or maybe an M&P subcompact from Smith & Wesson.
Because I am curvy and very hourglass-shaped, I carry my holster in the appendix position. This puts the gun in front of my hip and away from the most extreme parts of my waist curve. It also avoids disturbing my silhouette, another factor that was important to me. I've noticed that curvy women tend to be more comfortable with appendix carry, while more slender women seem to do better with the gun carried directly behind the hip in a holster that holds the gun at a steep cant.*
I've used a lot of different holsters over the years. For the past few months, I've been using a Pistol Wear belly band. It's worked well because I've lost (drumroll please!) about 60 pounds since this time last year—and the Pistol Wear brand of belly band easily adjusts to a changing waistline. Now that my weight seems to have stabilized, I'm putting the belly band back in the drawer, and am using a Galco contour cut belt to hold an inside the waistband holster. The belly band did a great job filling in when I needed it, but I prefer to carry the gun in something that holds the gun a little more securely. I also feel safest with a holster that doesn't collapse, because that allows me to practice drawing and reholstering without any chance of pointing the gun at my own left hand when I put the gun away.
One holster I'm using right now, the "Becker," is a straight-drop, tuckable holster from UBG Holsters that attaches to the belt using a metal clip. It's very solid and quite comfortable. From what I understand, you can also get the same holster design with a slight muzzle-forward cant. Nate, the "Ugly Bald Guy" who owns the company and designs the holsters, does very solid work. Quick note for newbies: clip-on holsters are designed to clip onto your belt, and don't do nearly as well when attached directly to your clothing. You'll always be most comfortable, and the gun will always stay best concealed, when you use the holster as it's designed to be used—clipped to a solid belt. Clipped to my belt and with a shirt tucked in over it, this holster rides in a very stable way and really disappears for carry.
Another holster I'm currently using, the "AIWB #6," comes from Rhome Desbiens at Desbiens Gun Leather (DGL). This, too, is a tuckable, straight drop holster that attaches to the belt with a clip—but the clip on this one is made from a long strip of Kydex. The interesting thing about this holster is that the offset clip rides on the leather above the slide rather than over the trigger area. This creates extremely comfortable carry, but I haven't yet decided if the holster is stable enough during the draw for me to trust it. I do know the design works very well for a J-frame revolver (because of course I've tested the same holster with a J-frame and had no trouble). The holsters are well-made, with excellent workmanship and attention to detail.
The third holster I'm enjoying right now is a "Looper" holster from Richard Schaefer at Custom Carry Concepts (CCC). This one is a Kydex straight-drop holster designed to be worn inside the waistband in the appendix position. It's very, very solid and I feel very secure using this holster. It's designed to hold up to a lot of abuse, so it's the one I use (along with a dummy gun) when practicing gun retention techniques and other martial arts-type work. Unfortunately, I can't tuck my shirt in over the holstered gun with this rig—it's not a tuckable holster—so it limits my clothing choices a bit more than I like. For me, it's more of a winter holster than a summer one.
Okay, time for a true confession. When I send these newsletters out, I'm always supposed to sound totally confident and upbeat and positive. Well, I am upbeat and positive, but I'm also getting a little nervous about something: we need more students for the Cornered Cat class I'll be doing at Rangemaster in Memphis on February18-19, 2012.
What happens in a Cornered Cat class? Lots of great stuff! In this two-day class for women, I work with people who are already basically familiar with their guns and help them reach a more confident skill level, so that handling the gun comes much more naturally to them. What do you do if the gun doesn't fire when you expect it to? How do you reload it efficiently? Can you stay hidden behind a doorway or a piece of furniture and still hit a bad guy? Can you hit the target while moving away from danger, or in low light? Should you even try? These are the types of questions we deal with, because they teach us how we might use the gun in the real world, not just for plinking at the range. These are tough topics, but important ones. After all, the real world includes innocent bystanders. We owe it to them to learn real-life skills, so we don't endanger others when we defend ourselves.
Speaking of the real world, my specialty is helping women find their own best carry method—the one that works with your actual lifestyle, not just something you can use on the range—so I bring a pile of holsters and other carry gear to class. We discuss the good, the bad, and the ugly of feminine concealed carry in a very no-nonsense and practical way. Cornered Cat isn't afraid to tackle the embarrassing questions you might not feel comfortable asking elsewhere, either! I know you have a life outside the range, and that you don't want to look all lumpy and bulgy, so I help you find a carry method that truly works for the way you actually live and we discuss the nitty-gritty of making that work for you.
Why am I offering a class like this? For most women, wouldn't a basic concealed carry class be enough? I sure don't think so. I think regular people truly need to learn more, and become better prepared to keep themselves safe and keep others safe. People who have known me awhile know how seriously I take my decision to carry, and how hard I worked to learn the things I felt I needed to know in order to do that safely. Without exaggerating, I can tell you that I've spent the last ten years of my life getting to a place where I could turn around and share those things with you—that's how strongly I believe that every person who owns a gun for self defense should know how to use it well. Using it well means you are less likely to endanger others and more likely to protect your own life without getting hurt.
My goal: by the end of this class, each student will be prepared to confidently, safely, and efficiently practice the techniques she is most likely to need if a criminal attacks her. After all, if a woman ever needs to use the gun for real, she should be able to think about how to solve the problem rather than fumbling around with her holster or wasting precious brain cells trying to remember how to manipulate the gun.
If this sounds like a class for you, I need you to contact Rangemaster today and let them know you're interested. Although it's a serious topic and you will learn useful skills, we're also going to have a lot of fun together, and I don't want you to miss out.
2611 S. Mendenhall Road
Gunhilda recently answered a few questions from Cornered Cat fans. Check out her freshest letters at www.Corneredcat.com/Gunhilda, or read her older work in the archive at http://www.corneredcat.com/Gunhilda/Archive.
As always, remember you can find Cornered Cat on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CorneredCatCCW or follow along on Twitter at @cornered_cat
* footnote: Cant refers to the angle the gun rides. If the muzzle points directly at the ground, that's a "straight drop" holster that has a "neutral cant." If it angles towards the back of the belt, that's a "muzzle rear" cant, while if it angles the muzzle toward the front of the belt it's a "muzzle forward" cant. The rule is, the steeper the cant, the less the gun will poke into the curvy parts. Straight-drop and muzzle-forward holsters usually ride forward of the hip, while muzzle-rear holsters ride behind the hip.
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February 29, 2012—Shooting Practice -- In Your Home?
February 17, 2012—Women Making a Difference
January 14, 2012—Preparing For 2012
December 19, 2011—What Do YOU Carry?
November 3, 2011—Best Gun for a Beginner
October 27, 2011—The Elephant In the Room
October 13, 2011—Blame the Victim
October 5, 2011—Life is a Daring Adventure
September 29, 2011—We're Winning The Battle!
September 15, 2011—6 Must-read books
September 7, 2011—Protecting Yourself IS Protecting Your Family
August 31, 2011—Purse Tactics
August 15, 2011—The Cat's Meow