Thursday, August 27, 2015

Concealed Carry in a Crowd

Carrying concealed is not always convenient. Finding yourself in a crowd of people where lots of people are close or touching you could be a problem. One, you’d like the fact that you carry to remain your business and two, you don’t want a gun grab. Of course this all depends on how you carry. If you happen to carry outside the waistband with a cover garment this might be felt by others or worse, the garment is swept back and reveals your “little friend”. Being aware can stop most of this. And some other tips.
First of all, avoid these kinds of crowds all together because of the opportunities for someone to discern that you are armed. Being legally armed is always your responsibility. Avoidance is not always an option I know.
As you see yourself going into a large crowd putting your hand on the outside of your clothing where your gun is located may be a give away, but it will protect anyone feeling anything other than your hand. It also will help in weapon retention if someone sees and wants to grab your weapon.
There is no single answer for protecting your carrying in a crowd but trying to keep body parts between your gun and others is a good idea. This does work, but if you’re in a crowd sometimes one or both hands are occupied carrying things—holding the hand of a child or two and/or your spouse, or using your arms and hands to maintain your space just to move in the crowd. You want to avoid this if at all possible.
You should keep your gun-side arm free to protect your gun (when you’re wearing it at waist level) by both covering and pressing inward on the gun. The downside is you are now moving awkwardly and perhaps drawing attention to yourself. Be aware of this at all times.
A security holster is a good choice, but only if you practice with the safety features until your draw is reflexive. However, don’t depend on those features completely, because there’s simply no one “best” security holster, for a few reasons.
Hand size, arm length, mobility of your limbs and manual dexterity vary. The actions needed to release the single or multiple retention devices are more “natural” for some than are others.
The overall holster design and material—be it leather, polymer or a combination of the two—may not be to your liking or particular needs. Some handguns are not good fits for some retention systems.
Modes of dress can cause changes in concealment needs. No holster system provides absolute security, and no holster makes such a claim, for if you can draw the gun, so can someone else. A security holster simply buys time for you to respond as required.
The primary gun retention defense is keeping it concealed. In crowds, you also need to step up your game. Some easy-to-do steps include buttoning or zipping up your outer garment. Pulling your shirt out and over your gun also helps if your first concealment efforts have been disrupted for whatever reason. I’ve done this two ways: Just pull my shirt out enough to cover an IWB-carried gun or pull the entire shirt.
The two choices are, of course, based on the size of the gun and if the holster is inside or outside the waistband. I go with whatever appears to look more natural. Should I look slightly sloppy with only part of my shirt pulled out or all of it out? The cut of the shirt often dictates this. This works well with an inside-the-pants holster and is a quick, standalone concealing action if you have to—or want to—remove your coat.
There’s no one good answer to how to protect your gun in a crowd, other than not being there. These are some suggestions that have worked for me and others. I think anyone legally armed has a moral, if not legal, responsibility to make every effort to prevent a gun grab.
However, I am specifically not suggesting any formal method or technique for defeating a gun grab. What I do suggest is getting formal training from a certified instructor whose curriculum covers the concealment needs of non-sworn citizens. That is, without a doubt, the best answer as to how to protect your handgun in a crowd.
Protecting your weapon is a primary responsibility for retention and safety. As a concealed carry participant you must have better situational awareness than average and be aware of everything going on around you.
Semper Paratus
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