by Tim Giblin
(GunsSaveLife) – There is always a new and improved tool (or toy) to make us “better”. The reality is, no one has time for that type of constant experimentation. This article is an attempt to present a very simple concept: consistency trumps potential any day of the week.
Something may be better, but if you don’t practice and have experience with it, most of the time, it’s simply not going to be better for you. Sure, you might get under a one-second draw every eighth try. However, without a subconscious understanding of the new holster because you got it yesterday, you’re going to miss the grip when you’re not in that textbook shooting stance.
So many are talking about carrying a “BUG” (back-up gun) for every day carry, and three spare magazines. Well, as someone that has legally carried for years, I can tell you that such a set up will last about three weeks.
I’m not saying that I don’t know people that are willing to accept the discomfort of such a set up until it becomes fairly normal, but they are few and far between.
When people load up for the end of the world, they start looking at their every day carry list and go “Hmm… which item can I get by without today ‘cause I’m only doing X, Y, and Z.” So on Tuesday, they leave their spare mags at home. On Thursday, they leave their primary at home because they are wearing a suit and the J frame is “good enough for the office”. Then Sunday they leave the J frame at home because only real threat at church is a mass shooter so instead of the Glock 19 they take a 5” 1911 with target sights instead of the night sights they carry the rest of the week.
Do you know what happens to these people when yelling starts on the range? They go for the wrong gun. What happens in competition? They flip the safety of their 1911 up because they are used to carrying a Beretta. Changing things on the fly is a disaster waiting to happen. The outcome in a self-defense shooting situation will be even more cataclysmic.
The real result of frequently changing your set-up is that your automatic responses are so mixed-up that you reach for equipment that is unavailable to you and then have to think about which mag carrier you are actually carrying when your whole world is falling apart amidst gunfire behind the gas station.
As I tell all of my students—firearms and otherwise, consistency is what matters. Carry the best gun you can comfortably carry 90% of the time and get over yourself — be a little uncomfortable 10% of the time.
As one of my favorite instructors, Clint Smith, says, “A gun is supposed to be comforting not comfortable” Most people can handle discomfort for short amounts of time. However being uncomfortable most of the time just leads to equipment staying at home.
There is no “best” carry set-up for any situation. There is the gun and set-up that is on you that you’re familiar with, and then there is the gun and set-up that you are not familiar with. Carrying appendix (in front of the hip) and carrying 4 o’clock (behind the hip) require totally different social habits in order to keep little kids from smacking their faces on the pistol. Mixing those up can be disastrous. Each thing that you change requires hours of dry firing to be sure your set-up is safe, then many rounds down range to get comfortable with it, and finally, days to get used to moving with it. Every change that you make, while not exactly putting you back to square one, does indeed cost you a lot of knowledge and capability.
If you simply cannot be comfortable carrying a small size gun outside of work but a smaller gun is your only option in the work place. Make them as consistent as you can. Don’t be running safeties that work in opposite directions, don’t have pistols with vastly different firing systems. For example, Glocks, M&Ps, and XDs all have full size and compact pistols, get both if you feel the need and run the same sights, if you get an aftermarket trigger get the same in both guns. If you want to carry a J-frame much of the time, there is nothing wrong with carrying a full size revolver if you don’t feel comfortable with the J-frame in certain situations. Carry the same position if at all possible. Carry your reloads in the same location all the time.
I have been advising my students for the past seven years to take a dot torture target (Google “dot torture target” to download the target), get a buddy, and try to dry fire from concealment, wearing what you actually wore that day. Your buddy is there to give you feedback about safety and ideas to improve.
Figure out what works now and do it safely, the same way every time. Speed will come from comfort and consistency. If you’re in Illinois start now, because your carry permits will be here shortly.
About the author: Tim Giblin is a 7 year Veteran of the USMC, a Machine gun Squad leader and OEF veteran. He has 9 years teaching civilian pistol classes, 7 years as a NRA concealed carry instructor in Michigan, with over 3,000 hours of combined military and civilian instruction both concealed carry and carbine focused. USMC trained combat life saver training. He’s also the founder of Train Illinois.