The Survival Mom » Firearms & Self Defense http://thesurvivalmom.com Helping moms worry less & enjoy life! Sat, 28 Mar 2015 16:20:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 Worst Case Scenario: Taking Back Your Home From Intruders, Part 2 http://thesurvivalmom.com/worst-case-scenario-taking-back-home-intruders-part-2/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/worst-case-scenario-taking-back-home-intruders-part-2/#comments Thu, 19 Mar 2015 07:00:26 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=22258 In Part 1 of “Taking Back Your Home From Intruders” I introduced the possibility that your home or other property could be taken over by other people in a scenario such as this one: A catastrophic disaster has occurred, one Read More

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Home intruders and keeping your home base safe.In Part 1 of “Taking Back Your Home From Intruders” I introduced the possibility that your home or other property could be taken over by other people in a scenario such as this one:

A catastrophic disaster has occurred, one that destroyed hundreds or thousands of homes and businesses, and destroyed a community’s way of life. After a long journey home you notice an unfamiliar car parked in your driveway. You know your wife and kids aren’t home yet.

One or more intruders have taken over your home in your absence. Due to the disaster your cell phone can’t make a successful call, so you can’t call 9-1-1 for help. Your family’s survival is dependent on the preps stored in your home and the shelter it provides.

I’m a Certified Emergency Manager and have given a lot of thought to these types of scenarios. While your first instinct might be to drive up immediately and confront the intruders, I would recommend driving on by like nothing happened. If you were targeted in advance, chances are the intruders know what you drive, and could ambush you as you approach the house. Instead, go around the block to formulate your plan. If you can, summon law enforcement help. Do not try to resolve the situation yourself. Be a good witness and let the professionals do their thing, if there are any professionals to provide help.

Gather Intelligence

If you are on your own and law enforcement help isn’t an option, realize that the intruders are there to either grab your supplies and go or to squat in your home and comfortably live off your supplies. Time is of the essence. The longer you wait before acting, the more likely they will be able to escape with your lifeline or fortify your house for their protection. If your neighbors saw the intruder(s), get as much information from them as you can about them.

Decision Time

Now you have a choice to make: how badly do you want them to leave? This is an important personal and moral decision. If you forcefully try to take your home and preps back, you may have to hurt or kill one or more of them. If you don’t have the moral clarity to be able to do that, walk away. Don’t unnecessarily put yourself in jeopardy if you can’t pull the trigger to defend yourself.

You’ll also have to take into consideration that you or one or more of your loved ones will be injured or, perhaps, killed. This may be a quick operation in which the intruders put up a fuss and then move on, or it could become quite deadly.

Be Smart, Be Careful

For liability’s sake, I’m going to describe what I would do, based on my own experience and training. I’m not recommending anyone else do anything described here. I’m presenting this only as a thought exercise, a “what if?” scenario.

A conventional SWAT-style assault on your home is one option, but the squatters have the advantage. You are not likely to prevail if they have guns and are willing to use them. The best solution is to make the bad guys want to come out. SWAT teams use tear gas or pepper spray to temporarily create an atmosphere in which the bad guys are unable to breathe or see. I’m going to use a similar technique using items that can be improvised in a disaster. I’m also going to use other principles used by professional SWAT teams:

• Distraction
• Disorientation
• Overwhelm the senses

Remember, this game plan is just a thought exercise for a what-if? scenario. In no way am I recommending you take these actions, but instead, use these ideas as a launching pad for your own answers to, “What if invaders took over my home following a worst case scenario event?”

Assembling the Team and Supplies

The plan that I have come up with can be executed with as few as 3 (highly-capable) people, but of course the more people I can assemble to help, the better. Along with available family, friends, and any other volunteers, I will also need:

• Rope, wire or garden hose to entangle the feet of escaping bad guys
• For self-protection, as many firearms as possible, bats, axes, and other improvised weapons
• Rope, wire or other materials to secure the wrists of detained bad guys
• Motor oil or other oily material and rags
• Fire extinguishers and buckets of sand or dirt
• Flashlights
• Cigarette lighters
• Candles or other wick material

The Plan to Remove Home Intruders

The key to the plan is to create a large volume of smoke inside the house without burning it down. I want to create a temporarily unlivable environment that forces the bad guys out. I’m going to use a smoke pot, which is a metal can stuffed with cotton rags soaked in some type of oil, with a candle inserted for ease of lighting. Oily materials, particularly petroleum products create huge volumes of smoke but a relatively small amount of fire.

(Knowing how to make a smoke pot is helpful as a survival strategy if you are ever lost and need to signal for help.)

UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES USE GASOLINE FOR THE SMOKE POT.

My plan is to insert a smoke pot into first floor bathrooms and the kitchen through their windows. These are rooms that usually have a less-combustible floor than carpet-covered areas, and bathrooms often have the extra benefit of having a tub or shower pan directly below the window opening. The smoke pots can burn with less chance of fire spreading while they churn out their smoke in the dark, with smoke detectors screaming. With heavy smoke in multiple areas of the house, the bad guys are forced to escape.

For out home intruders with a smoke pot. It produces a lot of smoke with relatatively less fire.

A smoke pot improvised with an almond can, cotton t-shirt, and motor oil.

Blinded and choking in the smoke, the escaping bad guys will easily become entangled in obstacles placed at exit doors, reducing their ability to fight back. The home intruders are disarmed and detained.

Why detain them and, hopefully, turn them over to law enforcement? It will be one, or more, fewer bad guys on the streets, thus, possibly, saving others from harm and eliminates those who targeted you and your home from coming back any time soon.

Plan Execution

We start between 3-5 AM, when the human mind is least alert.

• A Team Member (TM) takes a final look inside to try to see persons inside.
• Looped garden hoses, rope, or wire are placed at the front and back doors.
• A TM shuts off power to the house (breaker/fuse box or generator).
• TM’s break bedroom and living room windows from a distance with big rocks, then blind anyone inside with flashlights from behind cover.
• Bathrooms and kitchen: TM’s break the window, light the smoke pot, and toss it in.
• All TM’s make noise to seem like a larger force. Barking dogs are even better.
• TM’s at the front and back door capture/disarm bad guys coming out.
• TM’s put out fires with extinguishers or buckets of sand.
• Once the fires are out, TM’s ventilate smoke from the house.
• Deliver any prisoners to law enforcement and help anyone needing medical assistance.

Assume that not everything will go according to plan — it never does! However, thinking through a plan like this, step by step, and then considering how the plan might go awry, for good or bad, will lead you to consider other options. You’ll end up with a Plan B, a Plan C, and so on.

A Last Thought

This was an interesting mental exercise, but the issues are real. Too often, the strong take from the weak. If you are into preparedness, you are already strong in many ways. Keep your preparations safe. Plan, practice, and improve!

Have you given any thought as to what you would do if your home or other property were taken over by others in the aftermath of a worst case scenario? Would you walk away and try to survive elsewhere? What would be your back-up plan?

By the way, this very scenario happens in the excellent book, Lucifer’s Hammer by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. The Survival Mom reviewed the book in this video:

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4 Things To Consider When Choosing a Dojo http://thesurvivalmom.com/how-to-choose-a-dojo/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/how-to-choose-a-dojo/#comments Wed, 18 Mar 2015 17:11:26 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=20945 My husband and I have been taking Karate from the same instructor since 2008. We started training together before we had children and would attend Karate-related events as romantic dates. We learned a lot, including how to choose a dojo. Read More

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How to choose a good dojo.My husband and I have been taking Karate from the same instructor since 2008. We started training together before we had children and would attend Karate-related events as romantic dates. We learned a lot, including how to choose a dojo.

Now that we have three kids, it’s difficult for us to train together, but we take turns attending classes at our dojo, or Karate school. We both have black belts.

In addition to it being a wholeso me activity we can do together, it is an important aspect of our overall preparedness strategy. We feel confident that, in an emergency, we would have the training and the presence of mind to come out on top.

The key word here is training. Martial arts is not something you can learn from YouTube instructional videos or helpful internet tutorials. You need a flesh and blood teacher to watch you and correct poor technique. And then you need to practice good technique over, and over, and over again.

In the heat of the moment, when your life is genuinely on the line, the only way you can be assured that you will execute a self defense technique effectively is if you have done it so many times it has become ingrained in your muscle memory.

How to find a good dojo

There are oodles of Martial Arts schools out there, and not all of them are that great. How can you know which one to choose? What should you look for? Here are four points to consider while performing your your search.

1) First, you need to do a little introspection. What is your primary motivation for taking Martial Arts classes? 

Knowing what you want will affect what you should look for. If you just want to get into shape but aren’t terribly concerned about actual self defense, it probably doesn’t matter which style you study. Some Martial Arts styles are considered more of a sport, and others are wholly practical.

2) Even though this is listed second, the most important thing to look for in any Martial Arts school is the instructor.

Your ideal Martial Arts instructor is someone with whom you will be able to form a close student/teacher relationship. Is he (or she!) knowledgeable about The Art? Does he make you feel comfortable enough to ask questions? Above all, is this a person from whom you feel you can learn? Notice the use of the word “feel.” It’s kind of like choosing your college major, or who will become your best friend in high school. You’ll know “your” instructor when you meet him, or her.

3) Critically assess any school that requires a contract.

Some schools require that you lock yourself into a contract before you begin classes – often without having so much as a single trial lesson beforehand. At times (but to be fair, not all the time) it is an indicator that the school recognizes that it offers an inferior level of instruction, and that this is the only way they can retain students for more than a week. A school that allows you to pay month-to-month is more confident that their instruction can stand up to scrutiny. Avoid ten-week programs.

4) Finally, the Martial Arts is all about excellence in body, mind, and skill. Whether you are just there for the workout, or want to learn how to actually defend yourself against an attacker, your ideal Martial Arts school will demand excellence from you, and will help you to achieve it.

A school that claims to award you a black belt within two years, regardless of skill or effort required, is not a school that will help you gain excellence. If you consistently see higher ranks punch or kick incorrectly, then you know the rank doesn’t mean anything because it required no work to attain it.

A good Martial Arts school will occasionally fail people when they test for their next rank, and will have rigorous standards for earning a black belt. (I did not earn mine until I had been studying for six years.) A good school will also typically be more expensive; it’s a case of getting what you pay for.

I know these are rather stringent guidelines; it’s just because I am picky. I spent about twelve years trying to find my “dream dojo.” On one hand, I’m glad I didn’t waste my time and money with an inferior product. On the other hand, I did waste a lot of time not doing Karate. In retrospect, it’s probably better to attend a Tae Kwon Do school that’s “just ok,” than to hold out for Wing Chun Kung Fu that is not even offered in your town.

Often when I’ve spoken to friends and acquaintances about the martial arts, they assume it’s not for them, that they are not strong enough or fast enough to be effective against a physical attack. I say, all the more reason to study karate! Karate is for everyone. My instructor has said on multiple occasions that women make the best martial artists, because our smaller body size and slighter builds force us to use superior technique. Good technique will win over brute strength every time. I’m only 5’4″ and I have been known to throw guys twice my size. Children, too, can be effective martial artists.

This short list is by no means all-inclusive. Are any of you currently training? How did you choose where to study, and which style do you practice? What criteria did you use to choose your school?

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Worst Case Scenario: Taking Back Your Home From Intruders, Part 1 http://thesurvivalmom.com/home-intruders-part-1/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/home-intruders-part-1/#comments Thu, 12 Mar 2015 07:00:40 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=21934 Those of us in the preparedness game spend lots of hours and lots of dollars preparing for any likely disaster. Food, water, power, communications, and many other topics fill our minds and fuel our plans. We all consider our well-prepared Read More

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Dealing with home intruders in a worst case scenario.  www.TheSurvivalMom.comThose of us in the preparedness game spend lots of hours and lots of dollars preparing for any likely disaster. Food, water, power, communications, and many other topics fill our minds and fuel our plans. We all consider our well-prepared homes as our castles, but what do you do if someone has taken your castle…and your preparedness lifeline? Are you prepared to watch your family go hungry and become vulnerable because home intruders picked you as a victim?

This issue has a lot of factors, and I have a lot to say about it so I’ve divided this article into two parts: In Part 1, I will discuss the overall problem, and Part 2 will be devoted to practical steps you can take if the only option is to take back your home by force.

Your Neighbors Know

Let’s talk honestly. There’s a very good chance your neighbors know that you’re a prepper, whether they heard it from you or from another neighbor. They know you’ve stocked up on food and other supplies, or perhaps they know you raise chickens or have a flourishing garden.

Well, who else knows? The Gardener? Your babysitter? The Postal Carrier? The UPS guy? People notice, and people talk. Some of those people may not have your best interests at heart. You have your plans, but taking your preps may be someone else’s plan.

Consider this typical comment, left just yesterday on this blog. “John” said:

I have plenty of guns and ammunition and thus can take anything I want from my unarmed, effete, and liberal neighbors.

It’s unlikely that someone with this attitude and lack of integrity will stop at taking things from the people on his hit list. If he believes that “Might makes right,” you can bet he won’t have a problem taking from you if he thinks he can. And there are many, many people out there just like “John.”

It’s much easier for people like this, home intruders, to take someone else’s preps than to spend their own money and time to become prepared themselves.

You should be prepared to defend, or in some cases, take back your family’s life-sustaining supplies and shelter from those who will be intent on taking them.

Let’s Get a Grip

Now, realize that I’m not talking about your run-of-the-mill wildfire, minor flood or any other event that is an inconvenience for a few days. Even though those can be stressful situations, they don’t tend to change most people’s behavior.

I’m talking about a disaster that is catastrophic, one that destroys hundreds of homes and businesses, and crushes a community’s way of life. It could be a major earthquake, a widespread  and long-lasting power outage, or a Katrina-level storm. It’s a situation where it is obvious to everyone that serious help is needed, and yet help could be days or weeks away.

That’s the time when it’s likely that morally compromised individuals and groups start looking for supplies that they can take to solve their own immediate needs, or to make a buck at your expense. They may make the choice to take your food and supplies, and your home.

Anticipate the Risk of Home Intruders

Is this scenario unlikely? You bet. But not impossible; you only need to read the weekly stories of people who have had to confront an intruder in their home, or have their business robbed to realize that predators are present throughout our society. The only thing that holds many of them back from going full-on marauder is knowing there is a protective layer of law enforcement that, usually, protects their potential victims.

That protective layer will become scattered, at best, in a true worst case scenario and the possibility of having your home and preparedness supplies plundered is a real threat. But just as with other natural and man-made hazards we can anticipate, you can plan for this home intruders hazard as well.

Analyze Your Vulnerabilities

Start with an assessment of how intruders could make their way into your home by force. Ever get locked out of your home? Did you have to jump a fence, pry open a window or force open a door? This is a great place to start your planning; bad guys may try to get in the same way.

Windows and doors are of course the most vulnerable openings, but also consider walls shared with others, such as in a townhouse or duplex. Also, consider shared basement or attic areas, where an intruder could gain access to your neighbor as a prelude to victimizing you.

Once inside, they have gained the upper hand. It will be far more difficult to take back your home and belongings from an individual or group of people who have claimed it for themselves.

Plan Ahead to Take It Back

The advantage you have over an interloper is knowledge of your home. You know the layout, where things are kept, and any vulnerability that can’t be fixed. Realize that taking back your home will not be easy…but if your and your family’s survival is at stake, it would be worth it.

If you have law enforcement or military talent in your family, take advantage of their knowledge and skills as you make your plan. Factors to consider are your health and physical ability, skills and experience, and the amount of help you could expect from family, friends and neighbors.

That plan can include an attempt at negotiating with the intruders, or not. Negotiating in this context is high risk, but also potentially has a high reward. You would alert the intruders of your presence, making a subsequent physical entry of your home a much higher risk to you. However, if the intruders agreed to leave peacefully, you would alleviate the physical danger of an assault.

You may decide that a stealthy approach and quick assault stacks the odds in your favor. But first and foremost, if you can summon law enforcement help, do not try to resolve the situation yourself. Be a good witness and let the professionals do their thing.

Coming in Part 2:  Specific tips for taking back your home by force

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Self Defense for Women & Kids: Practical tips, smart strategies http://thesurvivalmom.com/self-defense-for-women/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/self-defense-for-women/#comments Tue, 10 Mar 2015 07:00:31 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=21611 No one wants to live in fear. Being prepared for any situation doesn’t mean we live in fear. It means we fear less because we are ready for whatever may come. This includes situations when self defense for women and Read More

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Self defense for women: tactics, strategy.

No one wants to live in fear. Being prepared for any situation doesn’t mean we live in fear. It means we fear less because we are ready for whatever may come. This includes situations when self defense for women and children is needed.

Awareness

The best way to deal with a dangerous situation is to:

  • Spot it
  • Avoid it
  • Report it

Put away your phone and be looking around. Keep your head up and make eye contact with those around you. Smile and say hello, making it clear that you have seen them. This will show you are confident, unafraid, and possibly able to identify those who might intend you harm.

If you are out and about at night, or planning to be in a store until after dark, try to park close to the entrance and in a well lit area. Before approaching your car take a step back and see if anything or anyone is under your car. Approach your car from the back and check your backseat before getting in.


Best way to deal with a dangerous situation: spot it, avoid it, report it. Read more here.
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If something does appear to be out of the ordinary, keep walking, phone the police or ask the store manager to walk back out with you. The worst that can happen is it’s nothing and you were cautious.

This is called situational awareness and is a critical skill to learn. It even supersedes martial art skills or firearm training when it comes to self defense for women.

Here’s an easy-to-remember color code to define your own situational awareness and any possible dangers. For a full explanation of each level, refer to pp. 169-171 in the book, Survival Mom: How to Prepare Your Family for Everyday Disasters and Worst Case Scenarios:

Level White

You’re oblivious and only slightly aware of surroundings, people, or events.

Level Yellow

Relaxed but alert. Your eyes and ears are at DEFCON 3. You’re aware that danger could be lurking anywhere.

Level Orange

Alert and focused on a specific person or event. There’s a specific threat you’re aware of. Maybe someone or something is making you feel uneasy…you know you’ll take action if you have to.

Level Red

A very real, present danger is happening now. You’ve hoped this moment would never come, but it has arrived. Your finger is on the trigger, you’re gripping the handle of a knife, a hammer, or some other lethal (you hope) weapon. You’re ready.

Teaching Children Awareness

It’s extremely important to teach children about situational awareness. When you’re with them, make a game out of building awareness. Ask questions about people’s behavior that make your children think. They don’t have to be scary questions. They just need to make your children think of the reason for other peoples actions and about appearance.

Ask questions such as:

  • How would describe a character in a story based on a certain shopper or passerby?
  • Why do you think that person is acting that way?
  • What do you think that person is shopping for and why?
  • How many people in this room are wearing jeans? How many have their hands in their pockets?
  • What do you think is the relationship between the people sitting on that bench or at that table?

Questions like these will teach kids to be aware of their surroundings and it’s a fun way to keep their attention diverted during a shopping trip.

If your child expresses misgivings about going to a certain place or being with certain people, take those concerns seriously, and above all, don’t contradict or dismiss them. I believe kids pick up on warning signs more quickly than adults, sometimes.

 

Makeshift Weapons

Many household items and office supplies can be used as or create a makeshift weapon. Walk into any room and you will find that almost anything can be used to cause harm, if that is your intent. People with that intent know this already. People who don’t, only tend to consider it when child proofing an area of their home or when a moment of extreme danger is upon them.

Occasionally ask yourself, “If my life were suddenly in danger right this minute, what objects could I use to defend myself?”

You may be thinking that you own a gun and therefore have no need for this line of thought. However, there are many, many reasons why a firearm shouldn’t fill you with false security. The gun could be locked up in a different room of your home. Bullets may be stored in a different area of your home. You may simply not have a concealed carry license. Whatever the reason, it is good to consider what you have on hand that could be used as a weapon other than a gun.

On 9/11, at least one flight attendant filled coffee pots with boiling water to use as a weapon. That’s a great example of finding something, anything, to use against an aggressor. With all these, there’s an element of surprise if you act quickly and decisively.

Beauty Supplies

A metal nail file is the obvious choice when trying to pull something out of your purse for a self defense purpose, but there are other weapons that are easier to find. You could use an alcohol based body spray or hair spray as you would pepper spray (aerosol bottles work better than pump bottles) or mace. A brush with sharp bristles is ideal for raking across a person’s eyes.

Sharpened Plastic Card

For those of us that don’t carry a purse, there is an item that can be used as a weapon in your wallet. An old credit card can be sharpened on one side to cause severe damage when slashed across the skin. Ouch! Just pull it out of your wallet when walking out to or from your car, and keep it in your hand.

Office Supplies

Pens, pencils, scissors, even a stapler could be used as a weapon. Many murder mysteries have shown us that even the lowly paper weight, when made of a dense enough material can be a formidable weapon. Some employees who are not allowed to have any type of self defense weapon while at work, keep a tactical pen in their pocket.

Mother Nature

When you aren’t carrying anything helpful, turn to Mother Nature for your weapon alternative. Sand is great for throwing in an assailant’s eyes. Rocks or fallen branches are good for knocking them over the head. Smaller sticks are ideal for gouging softer tissue areas such as the eyes or the throat.

Teaching Children Without Scaring Them

There are many schools of thought when it comes to teaching children any aspect of self defense. We don’t want our children to be afraid of people. In fact, we want them to make friends. On the other hand, we don’t want them to lack a sense of caution. It is important for children to have a proper balance between these two extremes

Instructions And Schedules

A child needs to be instructed with a very precise set of rules when it comes to safety. Don’t just tell them that they can’t leave with a stranger — make sure they understand exactly who a “stranger” is and isn’t. Just because someone introduces himself or herself or your child has seen this person around school, church, or the neighborhood doesn’t mean they are a trusted individual.

Don’t tell them you need to know somebody for them to go somewhere with that person. It would be all too easy for a predator to assure an innocent child, “I’m a friend of your mommy’s. We work together.” Believe me, predators have developed sly ways to gain a child’s trust.

Instead, instruct your child or grandchild that they must come to you before leaving a park or neighborhood area every single time. It does not matter who they are with. Have a family secret password. This helps in cases where you have sent someone for your child but were unable to communicate that to your child prior to pick up.

Also, know your child’s schedule. Know when they are staying late for school and when the bus should arrive each day. Know which friend’s home they are at, how long they will be there, and have phone numbers for the parents of all their friends. Call ahead to ensure there will be adult supervision.

Defense for Kids That Is Not Strength Based

Most of the time children are taught to be good and that violent behavior is not acceptable. It’s important to teach children that there are rare instances when it is very acceptable to respond with violence. In fact, in these rare situations biting, kicking, and slamming the back of their head into somebody’s nose is the right response.

Teach children not to flail about or try to scratch. These acts of defense rarely cause enough damage to an assailant to do them harm. Do teach children to go for soft spots such as the throat, eyes and groin.

It is also important to teach children to use their voice in a kidnapping situation. I have heard various things that could be yelled, but the most direct is that they are being kidnapped. I have also heard of yelling,  “Fire!” to get people outside their homes.

There are many martial arts and self defense classes that are available that teach self defense that is not strength based.

Main Goal Of Defense

Last but not least, women and children should know that the main goal of defense is not to fight. It is to get away. As soon as there is an opportunity, run (while still shouting for help) and don’t look back. Run to the nearest place with lots of people and, at night, lots of lights, and get help.

Resources mentioned in this article

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How Do You Carry? http://thesurvivalmom.com/concealed-carry/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/concealed-carry/#comments Tue, 13 Jan 2015 08:14:32 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=20599 I ran an informal online survey about concealed carry of firearms to gather information for this article. I asked about favorite holstering positions, pros and cons for each position, how often the person carried concealed, and more. After reading the Read More

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How Do You Carry Your Firearm? Choosing the Right Holster for Concealed Carry- The Survival Mom

I ran an informal online survey about concealed carry of firearms to gather information for this article. I asked about favorite holstering positions, pros and cons for each position, how often the person carried concealed, and more. After reading the responses from almost 100 men and women I came to one very obvious conclusion.

There is no general consensus on anything when it comes to carrying concealed.

Everyone has (or will discover) their own “best practices” for what works for them. What one person sees as a pro, someone else sees as a con. What fits one gun doesn’t fit another, especially if it’s been modified at all, including common mods like adding crimson sights. For that matter, your theoretically-preferred carry position may not be available for your preferred firearm. 

So let’s talk just in general about some of the most popular carry positions.

Most Popular Concealed Carry Positions

Image courtesy of Phisesit at FreeDigitalPhotos.netThe majority of people choose to carry at the waist. Not only do you have to choose where at the waist to carry, but also whether your handgun will be inside or outside the waistband.

Inside the Waistband (IWB) – Better conceals the handgun, but can be less comfortable. Some people adjust the size pants they buy in order to accommodate their concealed handgun.

Outside the Waistband (OWB) – Harder to avoid printing, but more comfortable to wear.

Hip – This is the most popular and traditional position to carry a handgun. For men. Hip holsters tend to be “by males, for males” in design. Men are more likely to be able to effectively conceal a weapon in this position. Drawing is quick and natural. You can carry strong side or cross draw.

Appendix -A popular on body carry position for women. While safety is important in all carry positions, an accidental discharge while holster in this position will result in shooting yourself in an, ahem, vital area. On the plus side, drawing and firing tends to be quicker because you do not have to reach behind your hip line.

Kidney – The second most popular carry position for men. A concern is the tendency to sweep your body as you draw.

Center of Back – Many people like this position for comfort while standing but there are quite a few downsides to carrying this way. Sitting is very uncomfortable. There is also concern about injury to the spine and lack of access to the firearm if you are knocked down on your back.

Under the Arm – Many women like this carry position as pointy hips, shorter torsos, and fashion often get in the way of waist carrying in any position. Cross drawing from a shoulder holster is more technical. This position can be achieved by using a shoulder holster or a shirt with a built in pocket. 

Pocket  – Not compatible with most women’s fashions, even for “pocket pistols.” Most commonly worn by men wearing more loosely fitting pants. One benefit is that you can have your hand on your firearm without those around you knowing, unlike putting your hand on your hip holster.

Bra Holster – Many women swear by a bra holster such as the Flashbang.  (Read a review here.) Properly worn and adjusted, the handgun is completely concealed. There is a steep learning curve to draw and fire from a bra holster, but once you figure it out, it can become a favorite. 

Purse or Bag – Also called “off body carry” this is the way many women carry their handguns. You should look for one with a lock. Men or women can also carry in fanny packs, organizers, or briefcases. The firearm is completely concealed and, with some wardrobe choices, might be the only practical way to have a firearm close by. The downside is that bags can be stolen, forgotten, or left behind, and drawing can be very slow, especially when it is locked.

Thigh – Worn by women in skirts or dresses. (Or by men in kilts, I suppose!) Completely concealed and definitely sexy, but somewhat difficult to access and draw.

Ankle – Usually this is the “back up gun” position and not a place to carry your primary defensive weapon. Can be ideal for someone who is seated most of the time (professional drivers, for instance).  Easier to draw from a kneeling position or if you are knocked on the ground. Difficult to get to when just standing still or in a standing confrontation. It can also affect your gait, or how you walk, making it easier for those “in the know” to guess that you are ankle carrying.

Here is the bottom line about carry positions: Explore a lot of options! Go to a local gun store and ask to try on some of the holsters. Ask friends and family to try on their holsters. As my survey showed, opinions are all over the map, and what works perfectly for one person might be the worst option for another. The only way you’ll know what works for you is to experiment.

Practice, practice, practice

Remember, concealed carrying a firearm is about far more than simply having a weapon on your body. You absolutely MUST practice drawing and firing from your chosen carry position. Practice drawing at home with an unloaded and cleared weapon, or a blue gun.

Basically, a “blue” gun is a detailed blue rubber replica of a real gun. If you tend to go to “gun free zones” like school on a regular basis and are afraid you’ll forget and carry there (felony conviction, anyone?) OR if you have a small child and need to be beyond certain they can’t access it when you carry, this can be a good option to practice the simple act of carrying.

When you are comfortable with your ability to safely and quickly draw the firearm, go to the range and practice both drawing and firing with a loaded weapon. (Be sure to ask the rules at your range. Some ranges do not allow drawing and firing.)

When you practice drawing, you may find that the holster you chose as the most comfortable turns out not to be practicable for you. I prefer, for comfort and lowest printing on my body, to kidney carry. But try as I might, I can’t yet get a smooth and quick draw from that position. While there are times I still choose to carry that way, the better carry position for me is appendix. It is the best mix of smooth draw and low printing, even though it is a bit less comfortable for me overall.

If you want an amazing amount of detailed information on this subject, download a free copy of Gun Digest’s 84-page ebook excerpt “Concealed Carry Methods – Concealed Carry Holsters and Clothing.” It is chock full of detailed information, tips and photos that can help you make the best choice for you.

My Favorite Holsters

Can Can Concealment Classic Hip Hugger Holster – Perfect for appendix or kidney carry, I love this one! (Read my review here!)

Fobus OWB Compact Paddle Holster – This doesn’t conceal my Springfield XD9 on my hip, but does for my husband.

Outbags Holster – I carry my Ruger SR22 on my belt or in my purse with this.

Glossary

Appendix Carry – If your belly button is “12 o’clock” appendix carry for a right-handed person is located at between 1 and 2 o’clock. Left-handed appendix carry is located between 10 and 11 o’clock.

Cross Draw – Carrying your handgun on the opposite side of the body from the drawing hand.

Hip Carry – Traditionally carried at the 3:30 to 4 o’clock position for right handers and 8 o’clock to 8:30 position for left handers.

Kidney Carry – Right-handed kidney concealed carry is located between 4 and 5 o’clock. Left-handed kidney carry is located between 7 and 8 o’clock.

Printing – A handgun is printing when it is visible underneath the clothing being used to conceal it. Check your state regulations, some have laws that prohibit printing.

Strong Side Draw – Carrying your handgun on the same side as your drawing hand.

Muzzle Sweep – Unintentionally pointing your handgun at yourself or someone else.

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My Opinion: Why I Feel Survival Moms Should Carry http://thesurvivalmom.com/opinion-feel-survival-moms-carry/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/opinion-feel-survival-moms-carry/#comments Sun, 28 Dec 2014 17:17:03 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=19559 I feel very strongly that women should not only carry a firearm, but be very knowledgeable on the gun they carry, know gun safety and know how to very accurately use their gun. Women and children are vulnerable and I Read More

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Why Every Woman Should Carry

I feel very strongly that women should not only carry a firearm, but be very knowledgeable on the gun they carry, know gun safety and know how to very accurately use their gun.

Women and children are vulnerable and I feel today, more than ever that women should be knowledgeable on the varying ways they can protect themselves and their families from two and even four legged predators.   Not to mention, it is our RIGHT!

Ladies, if you are unfamiliar with a firearm, you can get assistance with AGirlAndAGun website.  I highly recommend them and know that you will be well taken care of.  I had the privilege to interview Julianna Crowder who established A Girl and A Gun.  They are spread out all over the United States and I am sure there will be a chapter near you.

As a woman that regularly carries a firearm, I’d like to also recommend the FlashBang holsters because they are designed for women by women and therefore they are light in weight and are available in varying styles to accommodate your attire and carrying preferences.  I also had the privilege to interview Lisa Looper owner of FlashBang Holsters.   I had a hard time finding a comfortable holster and one that did not leave my hips sore after a long trek until I found the FlashBang holsters.

Another for-women-only holster that has been reviewed on this blog is the Can Can Concealment Holster.

Once I became a mother, my whole world changed.  It was no longer just about me, it was about how I could protect my children no matter what the circumstance.   The only thing more important than my family is God and their livelihood is always my first concern.  Being sure that I am capable of protecting them became of utmost importance to me.

Ladies, I’d like to leave you with one last thought regarding firearms.  We were out adventuring one day and we left in a rush.  I forgot my pistol and my husband said to me “GREAT, so who is going to have my back?“.  That is all I needed to hear and I have never gone anywhere else without it.  It is just as much a part of my attire as are my shoes.

Original image care of:  MontanaHomesteader.com

 

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Product Review – The GNS Knife by LT Wright Knives http://thesurvivalmom.com/product-review-gns-knife-lt-wright-knives/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/product-review-gns-knife-lt-wright-knives/#comments Wed, 10 Dec 2014 08:00:41 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=19621 I will admit I can be something of a blade snob. The way I look at it, any gear I buy for the purpose of keeping me alive had better be of the highest quality I can afford. Therefore, I Read More

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GNS REVIEW 800 800I will admit I can be something of a blade snob. The way I look at it, any gear I buy for the purpose of keeping me alive had better be of the highest quality I can afford. Therefore, I tend to shy away from dollar stores and the like when it comes to purchasing most of my survival supplies. Sure, a can of beans is a can of beans, whether you pay a quarter or a buck for it. But, for tools in particular, I don’t want cheaply made Chinese lookalikes that are just as apt to fall apart in my hands as they are to do even a mediocre job.

The GNS Knife is a production knife made by LT Wright Knives. A production knife is one that isn’t truly custom, yet is typically handmade or hand assembled rather than built on some sort of automated assembly line. Yes, a production knife is typically more expensive than something you’d buy in a blister pack at Walmart. But, you usually get what you pay for, whether we’re talking a blue light special or a high end blade.

GNS stands for “Go, No Show.” In other words, this is a knife made to be used and abused rather than just looking pretty on a shelf or in a display cabinet. From the moment you pick it up, you’ll be looking to put it to work.

The blade is fashioned from 01 tool steel. It runs 4.5″ in length and is a robust 1/8″ thick. As with most high quality knives, it has a full tang. This means the steel runs from the tip of the blade all the way through to the butt end of the handle, all in one piece. The edge of the GNS blade is a Scandi grind, which makes for a very sharp edge that is easily maintained.

The handle scales are attached both mechanically via rivets as well as chemically with an adhesive. I have little doubt the scales are going to last just as long as the blade. At the butt end is a hole for attaching a lanyard, should you desire one.

The handle is thick, filling my hand completely. The knife is very comfortable to hold in any number of positions, whether you’re batoning firewood or carving a bow drill.

Something I really appreciate about the GNS is the leather sheath. In my experience, sometimes the sheath is seen as an afterthought. You can buy a truly excellent knife and the sheath turns out to be very thin. That’s not the case here. The GNS sheath is fashioned from thick leather, complete with a loop on the side to carry a ferro rod (not included).   The stitching is strong and well done, making the sheath as good looking as it is functional.

knife 1It also has a sheath dangler attached, which is great. Personally, I prefer to carry my belt knives using a dangler as then the knife doesn’t ride up against my waist when I sit or crouch. The sheath also has a standard belt loop, should you not want to use the dangler.

I have owned my GNS Knife for several months now. I have used it for all manner of typical camp tasks and it has never failed to meet the job head on. The GNS sells for about $155.00 here on the LT Wright website. Yes, that’s a lot of money for a knife. But, I’ll tell you something. It just may be the last knife you need to buy.

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Common Sense Strategies for Teaching Gun Safety: Take Advantage of Experts & Their Resources http://thesurvivalmom.com/teaching-gun-safety/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/teaching-gun-safety/#comments Wed, 03 Dec 2014 09:00:35 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=18382 #5 Take advantage of experts and their resources The NRA offers gun safety training as do many shooting ranges, Fish and Game departments, sporting goods stores, and even firearm manufacturers. Often, this training is free. There’s no need to reinvent Read More

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shooting safety part 5#5 Take advantage of experts and their resources

The NRA offers gun safety training as do many shooting ranges, Fish and Game departments, sporting goods stores, and even firearm manufacturers. Often, this training is free. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel or wonder which rules are best for which ages.

NRA’s Eddie Eagle Gun Safe program is available to individuals, schools, and groups and priced affordably.  Eddie Eagle’s four basic rules for kids to remember if they ever see a gun are:

Stop!

Don’t touch!

Leave the area.

Tell an adult!

These four rules are perfect for the young set and a good place to begin.

When kids are old enough to learn how to safely handle a run, these rules need to be hammered home each and every time a discussion about guns comes up:

1. ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.

2. ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to shoot.

3. ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.

4. ALWAYS know what is behind your target.

One advantage to using experts, especially when kids get older, is that their message often has more impact than a parent’s. My son will never again step across the firing line at the shooting range. Why? Because the Range Master snapped at him once, and he’s never made that mistake again. A couple of years later, both my kids went through a summer camp at the local indoor range. They were under extremely close supervision and learned, not only shooting skills, but respect for firearms as well.

It’s important to remember that training of any kind, not just firearm safety, has to be backed up with common sense safety strategies (no leaving a loaded gun on the kitchen table, please!) as well as reminders. Refer back to my earlier posts about kids and firearms for suggestions.

Here are a few online resources for some great firearms education:

Eddie Eagle GunSafe education

A Gun Safety Course for Kids (pdf — better used by parents in an ongoing conversation about firearms)

Firearm safety videos (online, some have accompanying brochure for parents)

National 4-H Shooting Sports homepage

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Safe, Sexy, Secure Concealed Carry Women’s Holster http://thesurvivalmom.com/sexy-concealed-carry-womens-holster/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/sexy-concealed-carry-womens-holster/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 15:25:29 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=19380 I own multiple holsters to use when carrying my handgun concealed: inside-the-waistband paddle holster, soft-sided hip holster, and a plastic hip holster. None of them are “bad” but I dislike all of them because they way they sit on my Read More

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AVR CanCan Review TitleI own multiple holsters to use when carrying my handgun concealed: inside-the-waistband paddle holster, soft-sided hip holster, and a plastic hip holster. None of them are “bad” but I dislike all of them because they way they sit on my body. With each holster, the firearm is noticeable under my clothes. This is called “printing.” In fall and winter months when a sweater or jacket can be worn, it isn’t quite as noticeable, but summertime (or even fall in Florida) meant not carrying on my body at all.

Enter the Can Can Concealment Holster Company!

Can Can Concealment offers several different styles of “safe, sexy holstering” including those worn around the hips, a full corset style, and two leg garter styles. You can also choose from several accent colors. I ordered the original Hip Hugger Holster with purple accent.

Classic Hip Hugger with purple trim and an Extender holding a Ruger SR22 handgun.

Classic Hip Hugger with purple trim and an Extender holding a Ruger SR22 handgun.

Carrying concealed on the body can cause issues for women. Using a public restroom or trying on clothes in a store can create a safety problem when wearing traditional holsters. Do you unholster? Remove the holster? Just let it dangle? Good  women’s holsters can be tough to find.

Women who wear yoga pants also have difficulties carrying at the hip since the pants are often not sturdy enough to support the firearm and holster. But with the Hip Hugger Holster, the firearm can stay securely in place in each of these situations.

Choosing and Sizing

Be sure to follow the instructions on how to measure and choose the size that would best fit you.  I opted to choose a size smaller than suggested but add a “cell pocket extender.” This allowed me to have an extra pocket that fits my iPhone perfectly while being just the right size, and also allowing the holster to fit without the extender as I continue with some weight loss. Multiple rows of hook and eye closures make the holster very adjustable.

There are also options depending on the size of your handgun. The Classic Hip Hugger is made for smaller handguns, while the Big Shebang model will support larger handguns.

Multiple handgun pockets allow for kidney or appendix carry for right or left handers… or the option to carry up to four handguns at once! There are also more pockets to hold extra magazines, pepper spray, a knife or lipstick.

A friend asked a very important question: What about the muffin top?

Definitely something I was a bit concerned about when I purchased the Hip Hugger Holster, because I am not thin and smooth like the woman in the above linked video. But as it turns out that wearing this holster gives me LESS of a muffin top than wearing jeans alone. It’s actually slimming!

Note that these are not just women’s holsters. The Stealth Sport Belt, in particular, is perfect for men who want to carry concealed.

women's holsterThe Bottom Line…

The Can Can Concealment Classic Hip Hugger Holster…

  • Is comfortable to wear
  • Keeps the handgun secure against my body even when wearing yoga pants
  • Has the ability to also carry other items
  • Is pretty and has color options
  • Has very little “printing” even with slimmer fit clothing
  • Is made in the USA!
  • It’s slimming!

It’s a total winner for me! Buy this for yourself, as a gift for a friend, or put it on your Christmas list! 

**Can Can Concealment has offered a discount just for Survival Mom readers! Enter code RIPERMOM15 for 15% off your order! (Expires December 31,2014)**

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Sensible Strategies for Teaching Gun Safety: Guns and fire are a lot alike http://thesurvivalmom.com/gun-safety-for-kids/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/gun-safety-for-kids/#comments Wed, 05 Nov 2014 07:00:04 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=18380 Continuing with my series on the topic of gun safety for kids, here is my next tip. Tip #4:  Guns and fire are a lot alike. One of the earliest safety rules I ever taught my kids was to never Read More

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gun safety for kids

Continuing with my series on the topic of gun safety for kids, here is my next tip.

Tip #4:  Guns and fire are a lot alike.

One of the earliest safety rules I ever taught my kids was to never touch fire. You would think it was obvious, with the heat and all, but there’s something alluring about a beautiful flickering, orange and gold flame that draws kids like, well, a moth. Those brightly colored flames can be just as alluring as the handguns and rifles we have in our homes.

It only takes a single close encounter with a flame to make a memorable impression. An encounter with a 12-gauge shotgun does the same.

Several years ago, my husband purchased a shotgun while I was away on a business trip. When I returned, my son couldn’t wait to show me the new gun in the closet. He was completely entranced with this new firearm and asked to see it over and over again.

A few days later we were at the range, and he was practically giddy over finally having the chance to fire this cool, new gun. Well, he fired it exactly once. With my husband crouched down behind him and supporting him, the recoil still scared him silly. Three years later, and much taller and stronger, he again fired the shotgun at the range. He hated the recoil, it left a bruise on his shoulder, and he’s not crazy about shooting it again, any time soon.

The gun did, indeed, look very cool, but a close encounter can change a young mind pretty quickly.

In many ways, a gun is a lot like fire. They can both be used to save lives and both play important roles in our homes and communities, but we need to learn now how to use them safely. We manage to teach fire safety to kids just fine. Why not apply those same rules to teaching gun safety?

  • Both fire and guns are tools and not toys.
  • Fire can save lives but can also be deadly. This holds true for guns.
  • Equipment used to start fires should be kept out of the reach of children. Guns and ammunition should be stored safely as well.
  • ‘Don’t touch!’ is a good, basic rule for young ones.
  • Supervision is a key component to good safety training.
  • Both a fire and a gun can quickly cause a dangerous scene that can get out of control.

 

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