Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Like a layer cake of fail...

 A puzzled hit piece on open carry in the UK's Telegraph is headed with this photo. Let's check the boxes:
  • Kimber that is uncocked (and most likely chamber empty) in a
  • Serpa with
  • 1.5" belt loops flopping around on a 1" leather belt from TJ Maxx.
The only way that picture could give me more lulz than it already does would be if that gun were some special laser-engraved Gadsden Flag edition with a magazine full of Extreme Shock Fang Faced Anti Terrorist rounds. 

I mean, I applaud the foresight to have some sort of retention device on the openly carried blaster, but if you gotta keep the Serpa and the fashion belt, could you at least adjust the Serpa's belt loops down to fit the belt? They can do that, you know.


Alien said...

Tam, you really have to start tempering your application of reality with appreciation of .......well, shucks, I really don't know what to temper it with. Unicorns, maybe.

I suspect a not-so-well-staged photo, performed by unknown (and completely gun ignorant) lefties seeking to prove some sort of random point.

Bubblehead Les. said...

Uh, why do the Brits give a Hoot about Americans OCing? I mean, do they think a Stray Round from an AD in Indy will reach the East End in London? I'm puzzled. After all, if they choose to travel overseas, I'd be more worried about my personal safety in some of the Commonwealth Countries such as Pakistan or India myself.

Tam said...


"I suspect a not-so-well-staged photo..."

Never been to a gun show or in a gun store, then? ;)

Dude, if I had a dollar for every time I've seen this or worse, I'd buy Kimber. Not a Kimber, but the whole company.

perlhaqr said...

Don't like Serpas?

May I ask why?

(I resemble this snark, in that I have one.)

Tam said...

"Don't like Serpas?

May I ask why?

I dog on Serpas and Uncle Mike's nylon sausage sacks a lot, but both are adequate gun buckets for rambling around the back forty or shooting tin cans at the quarry. I had a Serpa and gave it to a 'net friend for whom that's about what he needs a holster for.

I think the Serpa's problem is anytime you introduce speed into the equation, like you're grabbing for the gun in a hurry because you need to shoot somebody to make them stop shooting you, that trigger-finger-operated release button is an ND waiting to happen. They were especially prone to it in classes where people might be drawing their gun in a hurry hundreds of times, and for that reason a lot of gun skools have banned them.

TJIC said...

@Alien, @Tam:

Two points:

1) I suggest that as per the 80/20 rule, this guy is bringing a gun (and ammo) to a potential gunfight, so he's doing things 80% right (or, perhaps, 99% right). Better to have the gun but the wrong belt loops than no gun, no?

2) As someone who is pro-gun, has taken two self defense courses, but who has NOT spent a week at Gunsite and who does not hang out on gun boards much, let me ask: instead of snark (or, rather, in addition to), can you give some good advice? i.e. if I don't have the time or inclination to spend 400 hours getting up to speed, what's the Cliff Notes version of how he should be carrying?

RevolverRob said...

Serpa NDs are a well known thing these days. If one just has to carry in a Stupor-Dooper-Serpa-holder (damn...I was so close) they would do worse than Condition 3 carry. All that said, I just imagine that 40 point draw-stroke to get that thing out, loaded, down range, and firing...Yikes.

And yes JC Penny belts. I am with you Tam, when I was working as a Death Dealer™ I saw this all the time. Thousand dollar gat, twenty dollar holster on a ten dollar belt. If I had a dollar every time I saw it, we could be joint owners of Kimber (I'd make you a hell of a deal on the partnership).


Kristophr said...

At least she isn't holding it wrong ...

( heh )

Randy said...

That's a her, not a he. Holster aside, I thought it was noteworthy that they didn't stage the photo with the sterotypical male.

RevolverRob said...


I am not Tam, but a high quality open top holster that is friction fit to the gun on a good gun belt. Could be kydex, leather, production, semi-production, custom. Some of the best holsters out there - plastic fantastics from Comp-Tac and Bladetech, etc. These guys make belts too or do what I do - a 5-stitch Combat Shooter's Model (CSM) Instructor's Belt from Wilderness Tactical. Together a holster and belt delivered to you ~100 bucks.

I did this for my dad a few years ago, for some reason he just never would get a good belt. Finally, I bought him a Wilderness belt and it changed his life. A plastic fantastic holster for his fancy new gat (Dale Fricke holster, M&P with red dot on top for gat) came last year for father's day.

He's no high-speed operator (try construction worker for the last 50 years). But the gear works, he can get the gun out in a hurry, get the bullets down range. It does make a big difference after that, it's just a matter of getting ammo down range and keeping your skills at a decent level.

In short you don't have to have 80 million hours of training to get things that work. Trouble is there is plethora of information out there and it conflicts a lot. What works for one doesn't necessarily work for all. That said, a good holster (kydex or leather) that is friction fit to your specific gun model, combined with a thick and heavy duty belt helps a ton.


global village idiot said...

TJIC, I can only speak for myself but when I do carry, it's IWB under a shirt/sweater/sportcoat.

It's not merely good manners but also good sense. Keeps the busybodies AND the goblins guessing, which is healthy for both of 'em.


wizardpc said...

At least the woman in the photo didn't just leave it in her purse.

Caleb said...

I'm pretty sure that's not a dude.

Scott J said...

There's actually a few YouTube videos of folks out there NDing doing fast draw from a SERPA (too lazy to search for one to link).

Because of those and other reported incidents my local IDPA club (along with many others across the country) have banned them from matches.

I have one for my now sold Sigama (think it fits M&P too) I keep meaning to put on eBay for $10 shipped. I hadn't actually used the holster for almost 2 years prior to selling the Sigma.

It turned out not to be nearly as good as I thought it would be looking at it in store and online.

Anonymous said...

@TJIC: 1) Get a good, solid GUN belt. (These feature stiffer leather than regular belts. 2) Get a holster that will fit the belt width exactly (or a belt that fits your holster). 3) If you open carry, get a holster with some sort of retention that doesn't involve sticking your finger in the trigger guard (or mimics that motion). 4) Practice drawing with an EMPTY gun - repeatedly. 5) Repeat #4 - often.

- Drifter

CarlosT said...

1) cocked and locked
2) with a round in the chamber
3) in a good retention holster you've practiced with heavily
4) on a very sturdy belt to which that holster has been fitted.

Hotel1_Actual said...

Me love Serpa drop holster for military carry.
The freaking thing stays in under challenging conditions but is still relatively easy to pull.
Even sitting.

abnormalist said...

Is it just me, or are they also lacking a magazine in that gat?

How can you stand your ground without a hi-capacity clip full of shoulder things that go up?

That and the hammer down condition leads me to think staged.

gus said...

I was glad uncle Sam upgraded me to the serpa from the M12 Bianchi, and as long as we had to carry decocked and on safe it didn't matter. Just had to learn to say "wait a second and I'll be right with you" in Pashtu.

Unknownsailor said...

Like others have said, a Serpa is an ND waiting to happen. Just google Grebner, and watch as he shoots himself with a Kimber, from a Serpa.

As to what one should be doing if open carrying, you need:
1. A holster that will not release the blaster unless you intentionally deactivate the retention. Safariland ALS/SLS holsters are good for this. This holster needs to be attached to item #2.
2. A belt that will not break if someone tries to pick you up via your holster, because they can't get your blaster out of the holster in a gun grab.
3. Last but not least, you need training on how to defend against a gun grab. Not easy or cheap to obtain, but remember, as a Good Guy™, one must cede the initiative to the bad guys, and they don't fight fair. Your first sign that the fight is on is someone trying to relieve you of your pistol from Bad Breath distance.

Sport Pilot said...

There are a lot of things going on with this excellent essay of Tam’s all of which distill into a net worth of knowing the best tools and skill set for your own needs. I’ve my own opinions regarding OC and in some respects attention grabbing but still condone such where it is legal to do so. Ones rights are exactly that, rights.
As to holsters and belts observed in use amongst the handgun carrying populace I full agree with Tam, you’d be amazed and dismayed. Why someone would invest upwards of a thousand dollars in a handgun only to stuff it in a $20.00 to $30.00 holster and cheap thin belt defies me. Then look at the minimal, if that, training most undertake in defensive pistol carry/use…well.

Tam said...


"the hammer down condition leads me to think staged"

Based on almost a decade and a half's observation from behind gun store counters plus other anecdotal evidence from interacting with the general shooting and carrying public, I would feel comfortable wagering actual folding money that a majority of 1911s get carried in either Condition 3 or with the hammer down on a live round.

Scott J said...

Speaking of good belts I snagged one of these when it was on sale last week because a couple of local IDPA masters were praising it.

I saw a video of myself carrying my 1911 in a leather pancake on my 1.5" double thick leather belt I've had since early 2011 and it was looking a bit saggy so I thought maybe it was time to upgrade.

Boat Guy said...

As an unapologetic OC'er I firmly maintain you should carry a nice-looklng piece in a high quality holster on a proper belt. Some of my old Bianchi (and newer Frontier Leather) stuff features thumb-breaks (and I'm of an age that dealing with those as part of the draw-stroke is second nature) but I've been known to use other rigs that don't have retention - except for the "One Gee" fit of the holster. I DO pay attention to my surroundings and have had some - ahem - "weapons retention training".
Putting a steel pistol - even a Kimber - into plastic (and especially OMIGODALLCAPSEXCLAMATIONMARK plastic is one of those things one "just doesn't do.
Serpas suck in drop-leg rigs and on a plate carrier - in both instances the dust in-theater quickly rendered them into sandblasting booths for pistols with inoperative "safety" latches.

Anonymous said...

One thing a good belt/holster does is make it more comfortable to carry pistol all day long. A off side spare magazine also helps.


Geodkyt said...

If I recall correctly, this photo is not staged, per se, because I remember seeing it from an American article on the Open Carry "movement" several years back, with interviews of every single person photographed OC'ing.

IOW, yes, technically, the photo was "staged", in that they planned to go to a specific place and take that photo. But it was a person being photgraphed in a place they would reasonably be, doing what they normally do when going to that place.

It stuck in my mind because "Serpa holster + Kimber + crappy belt + hammer down" annoyed me. (Four Lulz for the price of one.)

And yes, I've met a BUNCH of folks who carry 1911s hammer down, because they think it's safer. And will argue with you vehemently. Today. In the 21st Century.

Anonymous said...

I put Dragon Leatherworks holsters on all of my pistols and they've worked fine. Galco holsters would be my next choice.


staghounds said...

The piece didn't strike me as hitty, it was pretty straight reporting.

Especially from, and for, a country where even the Queen can't legally buy a pistol.

Drang said...

At least it's not a Judge.

Robert Fowler said...

I use a custom made belt and holster made by a guy right here in Des Moines. He charged me 40 for the holster and 35 for the belt. They are starting to show a little age and I'm thinking I need to call him.

He's going to make me a mag pouch that holds one mag and my light.

Ed said...

"“The best time to open carry,” he said, “is on the anniversary of one of those mass shootings.""

April 19 is a good date, the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, when British regulars attempted to confiscate town militia arms, ammunition and supplies from the area northwest of Boston. How do the British view this? As a loss:

"The British Regiments suffered 19 officers and 250 soldiers killed and wounded. The American losses did not exceed 90 men."

The British 3,000 soldier garrison occupied the island city of Boston. Weapons owned by residents of Boston would soon be seized by General Gage acting as the King George appointed military governor of the Massachusetts Colony. Those who refused to surrender their weapons under this decree would be considered treasonous, with the usual consequences.'s-fascination-with-firearms.htm

Yeah, I do not expect any British understanding of the right to keep and bear arms in the United States, especially the open carrying of arms.

Drang said...

I was about to accuse you of being all "Tells Jokes To Aspies" in missing that most folks who make a habit of toting invest in what to tote, but not how, but then I recalled you relating how you used to use a 3/4" belt from TJ Maxx...

And now you have me paranoid about my DTOM Rattlesnake grips...
(In my defense, I am currently researching options. Ergo or VZ? My inner cheapskate favors the Ergos...)

Drang said...

Oh, and why do the Poms think the supermarket is somehow different than anywhere else?

Joe in Reno said...

Ya know, I keep looking at that picture real hard & I don't think there is a mag in the gun.

Bob said...

Give the nice older lady a break on her JC Pennys belt. She's carrying a 1911 like God and JMB intended.

Firehand said...

When son decided to get his carry permit and asked for advice, one of the first things that popped to mind was "Get a GOOD belt for the purpose."

Definitely makes a difference.