R. Ann Parris on Daily Life


When selecting a defensive carry combo, think about when and where we’ll be carrying, and what we’re doing and wearing while we carry.
Clothing and body position can factor as hugely into how fast we retrieve a firearm as our physical capabilities. The things we’re actually doing before we grab for our tool of choice also have major impact on the speed, safety and accuracy of our presentation.
Spend some time thinking about where our hands (and elbows) are most of the time while driving and working, and during “off-duty” entertainments and chores, and the impediments around our waists, thighs, elbows, and shoulders.
Consider the common surroundings that inhibit our ability to respond with full freedom of motion — that’s vehicle interiors, the backs and arm rests of chairs, lap boards, and other office chairs or people around us, piles o’ crap behind counters, etc. that block our elbows.
Our actual physical reach and how clear our draw is isn’t the only factor when it comes to our surroundings. Just like a vehicle interior, our desk/workbench or bedroom setup or our tool shop may impede our ability to turn or move up and down quickly. That affects our presentation. While one carry or another might be faster and cleaner inside our surroundings, due to those surroundings’ other limitations, we might find that a different carry actually works better, because we can be drawing while maneuvering inside our environment, ultimately presenting our defensive weapon faster.
Wheelchair and walker users: In the section on the biggest factors, I mention considering a carry that’s near your typical hand rest (versus a body carry). It helps retain the ability to speed a draw — and replacing a firearm temporarily — while also maximizing the speed of physical relocation, versus having to reach to center mass or cross-body and then reaching back to move. Wheelchair users can — given the emergency situation and based on personal ability, training, clothing, and other factors — stick a gun under a thigh to maneuver, but that’s not a possibility for people on crutches, a cane or two canes, or a walker.
How far back we’re able to reach cleanly, and how much “twist” and in-out-back in motion is required affects our speed in presentation and how much/who gets flagged during our presentation.
Our coworkers and family, animals, and the tools we run regularly also affect our carry location and carry choice.
There’s a whole section about “normal reactions” to consider when it comes to defensive tools and our carries, and it applies hugely to that “family-friend-pet” aspect in particular.
We also want to consider our immediate reactions pretty significantly if we carry around things like… oh, small round trip-hazard objects, sharp things or glass, hot liquids, items with a bust-your-foot mass and shape, or goodies like saws of the type that disengage the engine immediately but may get another rotation or two in there off of momentum even after you take your finger off the “go” trigger.
Mostly, though, that “tools” factor applies to where our tool is in relation to our body.
I can drop my hammer and probably, in most of my shoe/boot options, no biggie, and it’s not in my way. However, most of the time I’m running a hammer, I’m kind of crouched and possibly bent, and my own body would block a couple of the strong-hand carries that are commonly prescribed for self-defense.
Likewise, whether it’s on a strap or loose, my weed eater and electric-petrol-diesel limb saws and my chainsaws are typically held in position where they either physically block my access to typical 3- and 9-o’clock waist carries and even 1- and 4-o’clock waist carries.
If I let go of the Ryobi with my strong hand, that booger will either swing down and smack my thigh holster, or swing up and smack my hand, elbow, bicep or armpit depending on what attachment and which battery is hooked up.
Not that big of a factor?
Maybe not for some-many-most. I spend 30-90 minutes every other day running either the Ryobi do-it-all or one of the weed eaters. That time goes up when I’m cutting poles for annual trellises or fencing, harvesting tree fodder or small grains, pruning, or maintaining my fencelines. Even though I mostly use electric, there’s a noise factor that increases my vulnerability and decreases my awareness, which decreases my response time. Even though I use extenders, I am sometimes up on a bucket or stool doing my cutting, further decreasing my response capabilities.
Every moment I cost myself by not considering those vulnerabilities and the impediments to my response time in getting my hands on my defensive tools are heartbeats I lose when a loose dog goes after somebody or something, my dogs find a rattler, or a person decides to take advantage of my distractions and limitations and-or goes after one of the toddling senior citizens or the little kids regularly in the adjoining yards.
Bugout Prepper/Homesteader: Also think about our wagons, sleds, and carts, especially any chest straps, etc. Bikers, backpackers, paddlers, and fishermen also have specific aspects to consider.
If we think we actually need a defensive carry, we’re in a position where the habits and needs of our daily lives really need to factor into our choices in tools. If we only practice NRA-style wear-and-carry static and square range “cop” carries without apply how well they fit into our actual lives, we may find we’ve shot ourselves in the foot.