R. Ann Parris on Defensive Carry
Our gun needs to fit our lifestyle so that we can effectively deploy it when needed — quickly. Ideally, we already have something that serves as creak-in-the-night defense that we’re comfortable with so we can take our time finding the right platform-caliber combination that works for us not only as a shooter, but as a carry piece.
For starters, are we open carry or concealed carry?
Equally enormous: What if any physical limitations do we face?
With the latter, consider not only permanent conditions, but also chronic and recurring issues that limit our ability to reach somewhere, quickly, and how much hand-arm-finger strength and dexterity a particular firearm, holster, or position involves.
Length is usually more of a factor in IWB/OWB carry, but does factor into weight and other carries. Weight and bulk/width are typically the main issues.
If it’s uncomfortable to wear/carry, it’s more likely to get moved to a bag, drawer, center console, etc. It may still be accessible and in some cases, be more accessible. Mostly, it’s going to be further from us than a body carry, slowing our ability to respond.
*Pssst… Wheelchair and walker users and some select others: Consider a small flap-covered bag near the strong-side locomotion or hand rest points, but totally test body carries in case you get knocked off your rockers.
If we’re into loose clothes and catch ourselves hitching at loose clothes, that is only going to get worse with the weight of a gun. If we’re aiming for concealed carry, loose clothes billowing out can be a problem as well.
We also want to make sure our IWB holsters, particularly, actually fit inside our clothes with us. It’s of issue with shirts and jackets, too, but pants tend to be the break point unless we’re aiming for totally discreet carry. If we’re not actually going to lose weight and can’t afford replacements, we need to adjust our carry plan.
Just as clothing that’s loose can shift and expose our gun, for concealed carry, we may also want to consider how much tight clothing can print — and in some states and localities, “want to” is “must” due to regulations about frightening the natives.
Some tight clothing can also make actually drawing our defensive carry more difficult, as can shifting, billowing loose attire and multiple layers.
We can adjust our carry in most cases and overcome the most-likely wardrobe impediment we’re likely to face. That means either, A.) developing the awareness to changing carry positions — which can be a hindrance to developing solid muscle memory or adjusting muscle memory and takes actual active awareness, which we have to build, or, B.) finding a carry (and-or clothing choice) that works for the most common situations in our lives where we’re likely to be at risk.
When it comes to wardrobe and that “B.) Average/Best Fit Line” consideration, make sure to consider the very last clause in the conditions: “at risk”.
When during our average day would we be most likely to need our lifesaver?
That’s what we need to most focus on and to focus on first, and thus adjust our carry to the uniform/suit/ruckabouts — and body position(s) — of the most-likely times when we may need to deploy our defensive measures.
Body Shape Matters
Even in prime physical “shape”, people are not the same musculature and build. Our shape feeds into how a particular carry rides on us, how far we’re reaching, and if and how far we need to lean and-or twist around to make a clean grab and clear our own body and clothing to present a gun.
That, too, means we need to make adjustments to our carry.
And because our bodies are different, the way a particular holster material or shape and a particular carry rides on us, how and where it rubs and pokes changes. Again, if it’s not comfortable, we’re more likely to take it off and stick it somewhere, losing the immediate access we were going for in the first place when we opted to explore defensive carry.
Our daily life factors into our carry in numerous ways, and rates its own listing, and there are additional major factors that can impact our defensive carry choices. Where we are, who we are, and our various restrictions and habits all play significant roles. While we work our way through those factors evaluating the efficiency of and opinions about various carries, make sure to keep wardrobe, body shape, and the defensive tool we choose in the mix.