Improve Your Gun Handling Skills for Concealed Carry

If you have a CCW permit, you probably already know what we’re going to say. The difference between theory and reality is huge. Carrying your weapon on a daily basis offers you more safety. In a crisis, though, you have to know how to draw your gun properly. While your CCW training probably included shooting drills, how much time have you spent learning how to draw your weapon from your holster, pocket, or waistband? Probably not enough. Since many gun ranges don’t allow you to practice drawing your weapon, here are some tips to help you train effectively in your own surroundings.

#1 Invest in a Blue Gun – If that term is new to you, blue guns are simply plastic or rubber models that are designed to feel exactly like your weapon of choice. You can’t fire them; you can’t hurt yourself or anyone else, and they’re made just so you can practice drawing without using your own weapon.

#2 Always Practice Ammo-Free – When you’re ready to practice with your own gun (or if you opt not to buy a blue gun), it’s essential not to use a loaded weapon. Be sure to empty the chamber and the magazine. Don’t just look at it. Physically examine it completely to make sure it’s empty, and then check and double-check it. Never take shortcuts when it comes to safety. Triple checking beforehand becomes natural with extra practice and will ensure you never harm anyone, including yourself or your family.

#3 Get Familiar with Your Clothing and Holster Choices – Practicing in the same clothes you’ll normally wear when carrying makes good sense. It means your weapon will always be in the right place when you need it. Follow these additional steps when practicing:

  • Remember to clear your clothing. In a crisis, you won’t have time to unbutton your pocket, so don’t build this into your practice. You have to be able to draw on instinct without thinking about it.
  • Practice acquiring your gun properly, pointing it toward your target, and getting your sight placed properly. If you have trouble retrieving your weapon, it’s time to rethink your choice of clothing. A custom concealed carry jacket or blazer can give you better control and access when drawing your gun.

#4 Eliminate Mistakes in Advance – You’ve heard us say this before, but it’s worth repeating. Practice makes perfect … or as close to perfect as is possible. You’ll never know if your clothing or holster interferes with your ability to access your weapon unless you practice. Learning those downsides in advance is vital.

  • Frequent practice will help you spot weaknesses that may make it harder to draw your weapon correctly. If you’re using a holster, make sure you’re able to keep your trigger finger aligned with the frame of the weapon. Anything that gets in the way or forces you to grip your gun improperly can lead to disastrous results.
  • Make sure you can bring the muzzle out without brushing it against your body. Adrenaline runs high in a crisis, and you don’t want to make a mistake.

Once you’ve mastered these techniques, increase your skills by setting your smartphone’s alarm to randomly go off during your practice session. This will force you to think on the fly while using the best form possible. Ultimately, precision and preparedness will give you the advantage in a crisis.

Armed at School—The Changing Landscape of Guns on K-12 Campus

For many students and teachers, summer vacation is now just a fond memory. Getting ready to go back to school has always included buying supplies and new clothes, but the campus environment that most of us remember has changed over time, and today’s educators and administrators face a challenging and difficult question:

Should weapons be allowed on campus?

For many people, the answer comes easily. There are advocates for both sides, but they also share a common belief: students and teachers should not be afraid in the classroom. Since the issue is arising on a daily basis in schools across the country, we felt you deserved a more in-depth look at what you may or may not be hearing on the daily news.

Armed School Marshals on the Rise

In 2013, just six months after 20 children and 6 adults lost their lives in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, the governor of Texas enacted HB 1009, the Protection of Texas Children Law, creating school marshals, a broad “new category of law enforcement officer[s].” Since then, two additional laws permitting school marshals in public two-year junior colleges as well as private schools have been enacted. Even with these changes, which are intended to make Texas schools safer, the number of schools utilizing the program is surprisingly small. In fact, Texas school districts employ 700,000 people statewide, but “only 71 [people] were certified as school marshals between the law’s inception [and August 10, 2018],” not even 1% of the Texas school employee population.

School Marshal Training Far Exceeds CCW Required Training

While obtaining a CCW permit in Texas requires only a few hours of firearms instruction plus online or classroom study, the marshal program training can only be described as extensive. Most training programs require 80 hours of training conducted by law enforcement officers, yearly multi-day refresher courses, target practice, hands-on weapons training, practice scenarios for active shooter engagement, and instruction regarding the use of lethal force as well as safeguarding possible victims. Many potential marshals have already undergone the requisite background check, written exam, and shooting tests that are required in order to get a handgun license in the state. These programs go above and beyond to ensure that armed individuals are able to engage appropriately without harming others.

Identity Unknown

As other school districts grapple with making similar decisions, the Texas school marshals have one key thing in common – their identity is unknown but often clearly announced via signs on school property warning that employees are armed. While parents and even other teachers are dissatisfied with such anonymity, this approach affords the marshals a level of safety and protects them in cases where a shooter does his or her homework and targets a specific environment. For marshals, the element of surprise is vital.

On- or Off-Body Carry

For school marshals, weapons must either be kept in a locked safe or carried on-body. There are no other options. Many campuses have biometric (fingerprint scanning) safes containing a weapon, bulletproof vest, and ammunition, but on-body carry continues to offer the quickest response, so choosing appropriate work apparel that safely holsters a weapon and keeps it at the ready can mean the difference between defusing a situation quickly or losing time attempting to retrieve a weapon. For marshals in educational or administration roles, a customizable concealed carry suit coat, blazer, or sport jacket is a worthwhile investment. It ensures the weapon is not only one you’re familiar with and shoot regularly, but that it is instantly available.

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As the rest of the country grapples with whether or not to arm teachers, it’s easy to see that the school employees in Texas are not flocking in droves to take up arms. Rather, they are proceeding cautiously on an individual basis. But Texas is far from alone in adopting such measures. Most people would be surprised to learn that there are currently 19 U.S. states that allow “anyone with permission from [a] school authority” to carry a weapon on a K-12 campus. Lawmakers and citizens may continue to butt heads on this issue, but America is quietly changing legislation to protect its own.