Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Boomsticks: CCW safety, or "Stop touching that!"

Over at TheFiringLine.com, a poster asked folks if they really carry their guns at home, and if so, why? This of course generated the usual "What if someone breaks in? I wanna be ready!" replies, which in turn triggered the expected "Are you ready for meteorite strikes too?" snarkiness.

This whole dialogue baffles me for two reasons. Firstly, I've been carrying a gun daily for long enough now that it has completely been divested of all emotional freighting. Putting the pistol in the holster in the morning is as routine as making sure my wallet, pocketknife, and store keys made the transfer from yeterday's trousers to today's; it's not strapping on a gat, it's just getting dressed. Because of this, there's an obvious disconnect in the conversation:
"Why are you carrying a gun?"

"Huh? What?"

"The gun. Why are you carrying it?"

"I dunno. I didn't want to forget it at home? What's the big deal about it, anyway? It's just a gun."

See? Same planet, different worlds. To one person it... The Gun ...is an object with some sort of totemic significance. To the other, the question is as inane as "Why are you wearing a hat?"

The second stumbling point I have is a more pragmatic one, and that's one of safety. The pistol on my hip is loaded and cocked. It will be loaded and cocked when it is set gently in its storage rack tonight, and will still be loaded and cocked when it gets holstered again tomorrow morning. Actually, the only time it is not loaded and cocked is when I've shot it dry on the range, or have it torn apart for cleaning; otherwise it is either sitting safely in a storage rack, or safely in the holster on my hip, where there is no chance that it will spontaneously go off. Contrast that with the more typical on-again-off-again gun toter. Here's how that routine seems to go:

1) Wake up in morning and decide that maybe they should carry today. Hmmm... Glock or Kimber? Maybe HK? They decide to take the Glock today. They pick up their (empty) pistol and a loaded mag, chamber the top round off the mag, top off the mag, and put the Glock in its holster.

2) Get done with running errands, get home, take Glock off, unchamber round, do some dry fire practice at the teevee.

3) Buddy calls and invites them to a movie. To pack or not to pack? Better take the Glock. The top round off the magazine gets re-chambered (maybe for the second or third time), the gun is re-holstered, and off they go.

4) After the movie they decide to stop for a beer. Gun is unholstered and put in glovebox. Gun is reholstered for trip home.

5) Nighty-nite time. Gun is unholstered, unchambered, and the chambered round is placed in the mag so it can be chambered again tomorrow (bullet setback, anyone?)

See how much unnecessary futzing around with the pistol that involves? Every time you go in and out of the house you are adding more windows for opportunity for an ND by adding more administrative weapons handling. This is when ND's occur: how many stories of police negligent discharges happened when they were putting their gun in the lockbox at the jail and fumbled it, or when they were unholstering it in the lavatory? Put it in the holster in the morning and, as best you can, leave it alone. If your daily rounds take you to a lot of victim disarmament zones, get a holster that goes on and off easily so that you are handling the holster, not the weapon.

So, long way 'round, there's my answer: yes, I carry in my home, because I'm too lazy and too safety-conscious not to. ;)


B&N said...


This is one of the reasons that you are my first or second stop of the day,

"it's not strapping on a gat, it's just getting dressed."

Big belly laugh at that one, thanks.

pax said...

Preach it, sis.

T.Stahl said...

Tam, you accurately describe what I'm missing when I see so-called professional gun-toters, this completely sober and unemotional attitude towards guns, to see them as mere tools.

PS: Did you get my Email?

Tennessee Budd said...

Tam, I'm the same way. It's just part of my clothing.

DirtCrashr said...

My cousin the Cop was like that. He came over for a visit while there was a City Council meeting and he was in charge of the bodyguard detail to the Mayor. My dithering moonbat anti-gun mom was constantly afraid the whole time that the gun would hop out of the holster and discharge itself. [sigh]
Projection is the anti's disease.

Suzy's DH said...

Tam, I too am baffled by these people. My .45 is always cocked and locked. Period, end of story. The ones that really get me are the people who freak when they hear that my wife and I keep a loaded gun in each nightstand. I prefer an auto, she has a revolver. No we don't expect to have a raging gun battle in the house, but I sure want whichever one of us may need a gun to have quick access to the gun they are most familiar with.

Sevesteen said...

I carry IWB. It's just more convienient to put the holster on before I snap my pants. If it is uncomfortable, you either need a different holster or a different attitude.

Anonymous said...

"Projection is the anti's disease."

That is a true and insightful observation. It's added to my hair covered PC as very quotable.

Guns are supposed to be comforting, not designed for comfortable. Apologies to Jeff Cooper..

Al T.
Cola SC

Trebor said...

I use my carry gun as my home defense gun and reccomend that my students consider doing the same thing. I agree that the constant "administrative" loading and unloading can easily lead to an accident. Ever had a chance to count the bullet holes in a police locker room?

When I first got my carry permit I decided to be serious about it. I always carry the same gun (or a functionally identical version) in the same place, every time.

The only time I carry a different gun is when I'm "auditioning" a completey new carry gun. That's few and far between now that I've found what works for me.

My first carry gun was EG Makarov carried IWB in the appendix carry position. I used that for about two years before I found a gun that worked better for me.

My current choice is a S&W M 65 with a 3" barrel, also carried IWB in the appendix carry position. I have a 3" Model 13 that I use as a spare if the 65 is down for some reason.

Anonymous said...

Here in the People's Rebulic of Illinois, no one can carry.

different state, different world.

Art Eatman said...

I've messed with firearms all my life. I've never had one go off by accident or by negligence. I gotta admit, though, that some 25 years back I wilfully and deliberately dropped the hammer on my LW Commander in the mistaken belief that there was no round in the chamber.

I pretty-much centered the bullseye of the target.

Yeah, a gun's a tool. What I do with a rifle or shotgun is more enjoyable than what I do with other tools--like yesterday's use of a very-heavy sledgehammer to straighten the front lip of the loader bucket of my backhoe.

Tool. Insurance, if you will, against unlikely events.

"Inanimate objects do not enhance sexuality."

:), Art

shooter said...

Better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it. That's how I roll. The wifey and I differ on my choice to carry almost all the time, but she is slowly coming around to a better way of thinking.

Unix-Jedi said...

I'm going to disagree slightly for the block.

Not that your position doesn't have merit (unloading/loading does have some risks - the reason the Army is leery of the 1911 is the 60+ years of ND's they had while "unloaded" guns had the hammer dropped).

I don't know of anybody who'd ND'ed while loading/unloading, but I know a fair number who have, who always carry loaded, but "thought they'd unloaded".

(This is an issue pdb and I have gone over many, many, many times, by the way... as well as carrying N, or N+1. :) (Personally, I carry N, rather than unload and have loose rounds wandering around))

It's a safety issue to me, as well - when at home, the gun cannot fire due to mechanical failure. Chamber empty, hammer down, magazine loaded. To me, makes far more sense, and it's just How I Do It.

I load it going out, I unload it coming back in, and I don't dryfire. (Talking about a autopistol (especially a Glock) I'd be less wary of a revolver.)

Anonymous said...

Yea some of my friends go is that real, when they see the gun on top of my big scren when I am home, I go out it goes on, however, here in OHIO we have a little more complication, the gun law we have makes us have to 'handle' our tool a little more often, can't keep concealed in the car so we developed the "buckeye tuck", (just untuck yur shirt tail behind it in your hip...) Then we have all the no gun signs, if a store put a little piece of paper with no guns or the red slash guns, or no weapons, (non standardized sign any thing can be made even in crayola), you wind up having to unholster de charge an secure it in yur car..... So much for decreasing AD's Yes we get tired of Touching it....it's very frustrating... It's just part of what i wear right next to the nextel, the pocket flashlight, and the cell phone.
Cableguy Joe In Cincinnati

JR said...

This was an interesting take on an often discussed topic. It is the "Blog of the Week" on my blog.


Anonymous said...

I am always armed, except when sleeping, when it is readily available, and when I am showering. I haven't figured that one out yet. And the reason? It comforts me.

Oran Woody said...

Why does one carry? it is fair to Why does one lock the door when at home? The reason for doing one or the other or both is similar. It's just prevention before the fact.

I don't carry because I'm just too dumb to be trusted. And, may one day pay the price for being so stupid.


orwoody said...

Just a little add-on to the last comment that I made.
If you get a revolver, don't worry about carrying with a round under the hammer. Modern revolvers have an impact stop that prevents a discharge whenever the trigger is not "pulled."

The habit sounds good, but just cuts your available protection back by almost twenty percent.

I suspect that the entire thing started back in the single action black powder days when everything was more likely to go off by accident than by intent.

Good luck,


staghounds said...

I believe it was Elmer Keith who made a practice of keeping ALL guns loaded ALWAYS, even in storage, unless being actively cleaned or handed to others. His explanation was that he didn't want his last thought to be, "Click? I thought it was loaded..."

But actually this promotes very safe gun handling. It's much easier to treat them as loaded if they are.