(sigh) Why light triggers aren’t recommended

Every time I post something suggesting that you don’t want a light trigger on your carry gun, or that you shouldn’t lighten a factory trigger on a carry gun, I get all sorts of nasty comments.  I’m puzzled why this particular advice strikes such a nasty chord in people, but this subject brings it out like nothing else I’ve written.  Let me address the objections, which are basically of two kinds.  (Note that here I’m lumping SA and DA/SA triggers with lightened ones into the same category.)

It’s a training issue.  Well, no shit.  Everything is a training issue, and almost everything can be overcome with enough training.  The people objecting thusly clearly suppose themselves to have had enough training.  To which I ask, “How do you know?”  The answer will usually be something along the lines of them having carried and shot a light trigger – maybe a SA pistol, maybe a DA/SA pistol, or maybe just a damn light striker-fired pistol – for years.  Decades, even.  I’m not impressed.  Here’s how I’d know you’re sufficiently trained: you have many – not a couple – closely observed or video-taped sessions of high-stress force-on-force scenario training.  In this environment you didn’t ND the pistol, nor did you trigger affirm* (which is an unconscious action and not remembered – hence the observation or taping).  Lotsa trigger time on a range over decades don’t count.  (Alternatively, if you have lots of time in theater with a very active SF unit, or lots of dynamic events under your belt as a (SWAT) cop – and a light triggered pistol has been your primary weapon in those environments – then that qualifies, too.) Now, you combine trigger affirmation, the tendency to forget to work the safety when under the-most-stress-you’ve-ever-faced, with the distinct possibility of an involuntary hand contraction** if you’re startled, shoved, or bumped or you trip, and you can see why a light trigger stacks the odds against you.  That’s why I don’t like them.

This also, by the way, is why I call the 1911 (and the Hi-Power) an experts gun.  The fact that there’s lots of people carrying one who’ve never had an ND isn’t relevant – anyone can carry a gun and shoot it only on a range safely for an arbitrarily long time.

There’s no data to support that they’re dangerous.  Again, no kidding.  There’s no data because no one keeps data on this kind of thing.  There’s also no data to support that they’re as safe safe.  False argument.

Also, there’s the aftermath argument.  I’ve had the good fortune to train with some of the best-known instructors in the country.  I’ve met many more, and had interesting conversations, often over dinner, with a good number of them.  Now these aren’t your Gun Culture 2.0/YouTube/Facebook/Instagram “instructors” who simply regurgitate what others have told them.  There are people who’ve been instrumental in developing the doctrine that the rest of us teach, and who have long and regular experience (not a couple of one-offs) as expert witnesses in defensive shooting cases.  They know how the system works (and you simply don’t if you haven’t been there).  They will tell you that many shootings are gray affairs, with not all the facts known.  When the DA in a criminal case, or opposing counsel in a civil case, wants to paint the defender in a bad light, they grasp at things that should be irrelevant but that will paint you as a trigger-happy irresponsible gun nut…like a modified trigger or a “hair trigger”***.  Yes, this issue can sometimes be overcome, but that’s not certain, and it requires bringing in expensive expert witnesses, who may or may not be allowed to testify, and who may or may not sway the jury if they do.

And there’s no need – you gain nothing defensively from a light trigger.  Yes, you’ll look better and feel sexier on the range, but most civilian defensive gun uses are short-range affairs – the length of a car, and you usually have the whole of the bad guy out in the open.  It’s not a marksmanship problem!  Anyone who can’t hit COM in those circumstances with the most crappy factory trigger shouldn’t carry a gun at all.

I’ll leave you with this regarding lightened triggers: Andrew Branca strongly recommends against anything but a factory trigger.  When a guy who studies this sort of thing exclusively for a living makes such a blanket statement, you’d have to be a fool not to pay heed.  The extrapolation to light SA triggers (or SA/DA) should be fairly obvious.

 

* Look it up if you want to have this argument. 

** Some people still even dispute this!  Anyway, here’s a link – one of many I could provide.

*** I know it shouldn’t be.  Yet, it is.

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Competition will get you killed on the streetz! Well, might it?

Every time someone posts a story or video of someone with some competitive shooting experience who prevails in a street attack, the comments section comes alive with the sarcastic comment above.  Well, no one with the intelligence of a pubescent chimp would argue that competitive shooting doesn’t build useful skills.  I’ve written many times that there’s few other activities that hone your marksmanship and unconscious gun-handling abilities so well.  It also induces some stress into your shooting – something that regular range practice doesn’t – and even this small amount of stress often reveals some bad habits (like trigger affirmation*) that people swear they DO NOT have…because, you know, they’re so well trained.

Back to the comp guy (or gal) prevailing.  If the (presumably justified) situation called mostly for fast, accurate fire, then sure, the competitive experience was undoubtedly a big help in their win.  Good on them.

Now, what I don’t read about is a competitive habit that got someone hurt.  This might seem to argue that it never does, but that’s not a logical conclusion.  1) It’s unlikely that a  a press report or a video would indicate if the shooter was a competitor or not, unless they were a very well known one.  2) It would be in no ones interest – neither the unfortunate competitor nor their friends – to draw attention to the fact.  3) Shootings about which we have much detail are a small subset of shootings, most of which involve untrained people anyway.  (If anyone has some actual data here, I’d like to know about it.)

Because what little data we have is hardly dispositive we need to resort to logic, based on what we do know.

One thing we know is that in short-duration highly stressful events we don’t do a lot of thinking – we resort to our strongest instinct, or if we have training, our strongest training.  And what amplifies the effect of training?  Answer: repetitions, and performing an act under stress.

A competitive shooter is likely to have thousands of repetitions of a competitive   technique or tactic.  Further, these techniques and tactics will have been performed under what’s likely the most stressful thing they’ve ever done with respect to firearms: competition.**

So what’s likely to come  out when the real-world bad thing happens?  Answer: whatever they’ve been doing in competition.  Which is great if what the situation mostly calls for is a fast presentation, and fast and accurate fire.

But not so great if that ingrained response is something that is dangerous in the real world.  Techniques like not really using cover; tactics like standing and delivering rather than seeking cover; decisions like shooting rather than dis-engaging; failures like not effectively identifying the person you’re shooting.  Included here are also failures from not addressing the things that competition doesn’t even pretend to address (I’ve written about them here) but for which you might not feel the need because you’re spending all your time gaining so much shooting skill.

Now to be fair, some top-level competitors are also active SWAT cops.  I once had a conversation with one and he made it clear that his entire mind-set and mental process is different when he had his competition gear on vs. when he was kitted-up in tac gear.  Recall that neither competitive training nor tactical training are right-here-right-now events – both require preparation, so his argument that he could set his mental process on the appropriate channel ahead of time makes sense.  Also realize that these cops spend a lot of time in SWAT training, so they have a very strong set of tactically correct ingrained responses to complement their competitive ones.

All of this leaves my advice for most people, including myself, where it has been for decades.  Spend time becoming a reasonably good shooter.  Then spend time honing all the rest of the things you’ll need more than better shooting (see the hyperlink above).  And in the mean time, shoot some competition, even at just the club level, even just informally, because it really does make you a better shot.

*  Look it up if you don’t know what it is.  Not trying to be a dick, but everyone who owns a gun, let alone anyone who has an opinion what constitutes appropriate guns or firearms training, needs to understand this.  Unfortunately, few have even heard of it.  It’s real.  Seen it with well trained people, and even more often with those that thought they were.

**  The extremely rare, seriously experienced, real-world operators, some of whom do compete, excepted of course.  With regard to less experienced competitors: even if that competitor has actually engaged in some realistic force-on-force scenario training – which most haven’t – it certainly constitutes a de minimis percentage of their training, even of their training involving stress.

Why I don’t use the “best” ammo

Handguns are all pretty pathetic as one-shot, right-here-right-now manstoppers.  All of them.  Nonetheless, the gun geeks spend countless hours going through the shooting data (such as it is) and the ballistic data (which is plentiful) to arrive at the best wonder round with which to stoke their carry gun.

First, ballistic data is from gelatin blocks, which are homogeneous, non-motivated mediums, and thus very much unlike human beings.  True, if you want to see how much destruction a round is likely to do on average in many actual shootings over time, they can provide a rough correlation.

But we don’t care about damage; we care about causing the bad guy not hurting us.  And here we are dealing with actual, motivated human beings.  We want them to break contact (to quote Claude Werner), not die.  I believe that most of the serious researchers have come to the conclusion that there’s almost no difference in handgun calibers towards this end (breaking contact), which means that there’s almost no difference in the particular round you carry in a particular gun.  See the articles here (by Claude), and here (by Greg Ellifritz) which have influenced me on this matter.*

So I don’t obsess over the particular round in my .38 snubby or my 9mm pistol.  In fact, I don’t really want what the data would tell me is the “best” – which usually means the most destructive – round, because this round is likely to be one that’s either exotic or not in widespread use.  Instead I want a round that is in widespread use, particularly by law enforcement agencies, and issued by my state’s state police if possible. I don’t want an unusual round in my gun for the same reason I don’t want handloads.  This just opens the door to a slimy prosecutor arguing, “The rounds that our state police carry weren’t deadly enough for Mr. Mroz – he had to manufacture his own super-deadly rounds in his basement [or seek out exotic super-deadly rounds from the merchants of death that sell such things].”**  If I’m in court, it’s because either the facts of the shooting weren’t clear (as they often aren’t) or because the prosecutor is out to get me (as they often are, either to make some bones or because they hate guns).  In either case I don’t need to give them extra ammunition (pun intended) by my choice of it.

Every justified self-defense shooting involves survival of two kinds: during the fact of the attack, and after in court.  If there’s almost no  difference in round effectiveness in the former (breaking contact), why stack the deck against myself in the latter?

 

*If I’m misrepresenting these gentlemen, I apologize and will remove the references.

**Thanks to Mas Ayoob for pointing this out to so many of us.

 

“Traditional” double-action pistols are neither traditional, nor double-action…

…nor useful, or even smart.  They are at best an unfortunate design that can be worked around.  More likely — not even in the worst case — they are clunky, undesirable, unnecessary, stupid designs that are downright dangerous.  And yet, like polyester bell-bottoms, they are making a comeback, for no reason that I can discern other than people are tired of writing about useful, workable, practical handguns.

They are not traditional – actual DA handguns had been around for nearly a century prior.  They aren’t even DA – they are DA/SA.  The only reason that they are called “traditional DA” is because the manufacturers needed to call them something other than “obsolete” once the striker-fired polymer-framed pistols started kicking their butts.  “Traditional DA” is a stupid term – “DA/SA” is the original and accurate term – and you look stupid if you use the stupid term.

Yeah, I know the SEALs used them for a while – the SIG P2XX stuff.  My understanding is that their selection had nothing to do with the DA/SA operation and all to do with reliability.  Which brings me to the fact that while the DA/SA transition is, in Jeff Cooper’s words, “a brilliant solution to a non-existent problem”, it can certainly be mastered to the point where it doesn’t matter.  No question.  Got it.  But that last time I discussed pistol training with an ex-SEAL, he casually mentioned that they’d fire thousands of rounds before lunch on training days.  Ernie Langdon has made a career out of shooting DA/DA pistols.  Both he and SEALs shoot way more than I do, than you do, and that probably either of us could afford to even if we had the time and wanted to.  I mean, I gotta a dog to feed and tofu to buy.

In the hands of someone that, literally, doesn’t train exclusively with them to the tune of, oh, say 10,000 rounds a year (mo’ less), DA/SA pistols are, by design, meant to screw up your shooting and cause you NDs.  Every instructor that I know reports the same sequence when students use DA/SA pistols (Ernie Langdon and SEALs aside): Up! Miss-Hit-Hit-Hit.  Decock/holster! Up! Miss-Hit-Hit-Hit.  And so on.  That first long hard first shot goes into the dirt (or 5-zone), while the remaining easy SA shots go where they’re aimed.  To the surprise of absolutely no one.

Now, that’s on the range on a nice sunny day with no one trying to kill you.  What’s going to happen to Johnny Citizen or Mary Q. Public when they have to use that DA/DA pistol for real?  Here’s what: they will miss the first shot, just like they do on the range.  But they will also likely ND the subsequent SA shots.  You know: stress.  And adrenaline.  Plus they never trained under stress before (1% of the 1% of serious gun owners have).  So at best they fail to defend themselves; at worst they shoot someone innocent.

And all this risk…for what?  To own a pistol that’s more difficult to shoot well than a striker-fired one?  “Let’s make training much harder, let’s make it less likely that we’ll be able to defend ourself, and at the same time dramatically increase our chances of shooting some innocent person.”  There’s a winning strategy!  I’d say it’s Darwin at work except for the shooting innocent people bit.

The DA/SA design was introduced because manufacturers were trying to get around the real disadvantages of the SA 1911…which truly is an experts-only gun.  But instead of designing pistols with a reasonable DA trigger (which I concede may have been difficult with a hammer-fired pistol)  they came out with the DA/SA abortion.  Striker-fired pistols were already in production, to good reviews, in Europe.  Instead of doing the smart thing and putting design resources on that track, they cheaped out, and a generation or two of shooters (and cops) suffered as a result.  Glock changed all that for the better, and then the manufacturers had to get off their butts and compete.

But because writers and internet training “gurus” need something fresh to peddle every new year, we now have a resurgence of interest in this putrid design.  “Hey, take my new course on the ‘fighting traditional DA pistol’ “.  Just make sure to wear your polyester bell-bottoms.

In light of the above, it may be surprising that a few years ago I actually considered buying one of the then-new CZ polymer-framed 9mm pistols because I loved the feel in the hand.  They were only available in DA/SA then, and I seriously contemplated putting in the hours and rounds necessary to get competent with it (under stress).  But I wisely decided against it because I realized that despite the fair amount of training that I was willing to do with it I still didn’t believe I’d get to a level of comfort with the risk it represented.

Instead I bought another DA/SA pistol that has an even better feel in the hand: the S&W 3913.

But I had it converted to DAO.

 

 

Loud noises don’t end fights. Except they often do.

I didn’t start this blog to be the guy arguing against every macho trope out the in the gun world.  But since I’m exclusively focused on what’s a practical and efficient use of my training time, I seem to be.  Because…data.  Also logic.  If I was based in a more dangerous place (outside the United States), I’d certainly be coming to some other conclusions.

“I carry a .45 because they don’t make a .46”; “Bigger holes are better than small holes”; No one ever stopped attacking because of a loud noise”.  These last two are not true if you believe in the scientific method (and to be clear, only idiots and barbarians don’t).

What got me started on all this is Claude Werner’s latest post on the far greater popularity of the .380 over the .38 snubby.  Claude: “.380 production for 2017, 376,304 units, was 80 percent greater than all their other centerfire autoloaders combined.”  Wow!

So obviously the gun-buying public doesn’t care much about the silly stopping-power arguments that so titillate the rest of us gun nerds.  And in fact, despite their general ignorance about such things, they are right.  I don’t get paid to write this blog so I’m too lazy to track down and link the data sources that I’ve been reading for years, but it turns out that among good-guy victors in gun fights here in the U.S., there is no statistically significant correlation between caliber and outcome.  (If someone wants to provide links to data sources , please do so in the comments.  Thanks in advance.)

So Marcus Wynne naturally had some great perspective on all this.  (Note that Marcus used to run with some of the top CT pros – he wasn’t always the Clark Kent-like gentleman author that he is today.)  Marcus:

I’m reminded of what my late friend Rich Smith said when I asked him what he thought of the whole American (he was Rhodesian) obsession with caliber, like the 9mm vs .45 debate.  “Well, in the Commonwealth, Marcus,” he said, “we never really had time for that debate.  We were too busy killing people with 9mm.”

Also:

Not to malign our troops [and cops], because we do have some excellent ones, but talk to anybody in training about their overall caliber, and the lack of “fight experience” in terms of even schoolyard scuffles let alone serious bar fights or whatever, is a much overlooked and very serious deficit in the mental platform. And some think they can make up for it with gear, or a bigger pistol.

Now to be sure, if the bad thing happens tomorrow, I’d like to have a .308 pistol that I’m bringing up on target, but I won’t really be worried if it’s a .380 Bodyguard in my hand.  Because I might just actually have that .380 with me.

Flock protection or personal protection?

If you’re capable and armed – note the order of the words – you need to decide if you are so for the purposes of flock protection or personal protection.

Personal protection means that you are prepared to protect yourself, and any loved ones with you.  Flock protection means that you are prepared to protect the public, or a swath thereof. The extent to which you arm-up depends on which mission you choose.  Everything you do in fact – from how you brush your teeth to the career you choose to the most important decisions in your life – depend on what you’re trying to accomplish; this is simply the “how gunned up do I leave the house?” instantiation of that principle.

Police, of course are in the flock protection business, which is why they need standard capacity pistols, extra standard capacity magazines, and a long gun or two not far away, with standard capacity loadings.  After all, these are the people that have to intervene in mass shooting events, armed gang violence, and so on – events that potentially require lots of ammo and firepower.

You, on the other hand, usually have the option to run away from or not get involved in these things.  See my piece here on intervening in situations not your own where I argue that you need a damn good reason to.  Unfortunately too many armed people, who probably aren’t actually  capable, have the Walter Mitty notion that saving the day and being a public hero is the reason they carry.

Personal protection – defending yourself and those you care about that are with you – is the more appropriate mission for almost everyone not sworn and on duty.  We know from the data that this requires a minimal loadout, black swans notwithstanding.  It does require, however, a significant set of skills that have nothing to do with loadout, or even shooting – see here.

So before you fall for the Kool-Aid argument of “I might need it” as you don that G19, b/u LCP, reloads for each, centerline-carried fixed blade and God knows what else, ask yourself “What’s my objective – flock protection or personal protection?”

 

CCW for non-sissies

One of the things that has always irked me is that most concealed carry gear, clothing, and training, as well as articles you read on the subject, is based on the assumption that we all live in a sissy climate like California.  By contrast, I live where there’s real weather – I recall a few recent years where it was minus 20 during the day for a couple weeks at a time (colder at night). Now that’s not pleasant, and I’m absolutely green with envy at those Californians (at least weather-wise), but it’s reality for most of us.  (OTOH, we get 95-degrees/95% humidity here for a couple weeks, too, which I probably hate more.)

Friend Marcus Wynne lives in Minneapolis now.  Look at the screen shot of his local weather from a few days ago, and then look at his selfie from that morning below that.

Snap_Fotor

Marcus_Fotor

This is reality.  In an effort to un-metrosexual, un-Californicate and generally go all Dr. Phil (“Let’s get real!) on this concealed carry thing, I asked Marcus for his thoughts on carrying concealed in such dystopian climes. I’ve edited his response (in italics) below.  My own comments follow in plain text.

Selection of weapon.  Given that any weapon you carry is going to have to either be staged in an outer layer or got to from beneath several layers, consider carefully your choice of weapon and holster.  If you have to dig through multiple layers of clothing, or conceal in an outer pocket, and present while wearing gloves the advantages of a double-action snub nosed revolver, or a DA/SA semi-auto with a heavy first pull will become apparent.  A single action weapon or a striker fired weapon is exponentially more likely to experience a ND if you are a) drawing under stress or duress (like after being slugged) b) from beneath multiple layers that can foul or catch a trigger c) being fired from, through or beneath multiple layers d) while wearing gloves.  If you do choose to carry your striker fired or lighter trigger pull weapon, do so in a holster, and stage a smaller weapons like a snub nosed revolver in an outer pocket or on your outer layer.

Holsters, etc:   Extreme cold and bulky layers is where the much maligned shoulder holster shines for keeping your striker fired pistol or cool dude 1911 handy and safe.  A quality shoulder holster can be worn beneath an outer layer jacket, and accessed more easily by zipping down, or staging down, the front zipper, than doing a tug up and clearing of your waistband when wearing multiple layers.  You can keep your coat on in some places, or you could stage your gun underneath your second layer as well (like under a blazer, worn beneath an overcoat).  Yes, that’s two layers to dive down through, but if you’re smart you’ll have a little snub nose in your outer layer pocket, and a small holster in your pants pocket to stage it into if you take your coat off (visit the restroom, stage your weapon, then go check your coat).

Clothing considerations:  if you’re outside in this kind of cold, you’re likely wearing gloves.  Practice shooting with your cold weather gloves.  In very serious cold, I wear “lobster mitts” designed for cross country skiers — keeps your index finger and thumb free from your other fingers.  Consider how you stage your weapons.  The utility and flexibility of two j-frames, with a waistband holster, pocket holster, and/or ankle holster shines in these circumstances:  you can have one in each outer coat pocket; when you go inside a restaurant or theater where you need to shed your outer layer, go first into the restroom and put one j-frame in your pocket, the other in your waistband or ankle or other pants pocket.  When you leave, get your coat, visit the bathroom, stage your guns back into your outer pockets.  Now, before somebody starts bleating BAD!! GUN HANDLING IN PUBLIC!!! BAD!! — if you can’t be trusted you safely stage two double action snub nosed revolvers from your holsters into capacious pockets while in a toilet stall, you shouldn’t be carrying weapons.  If you go with your main belt gun, conceal it under your second layer and have an accessible outer layer gun to be staged as above.  Remember to have a pocket holster or ankle holster to stash your second outer layer gun in; leaving a gun in your coat in the coat-check or hanging on a peg is irresponsible.

Other miscelleneous weapons:  small short bladed knives are the cool kids choice for going with pistols/revolvers.  I like them too, been carrying and using them for over 57 years.  However, trying to stab/slash your way through multiple layers of clothing is pretty damn hard especially if you never have tried or tested your blade live.  If you’re going with a small blade, a) test it on layers (there’s a reason homeless people and other street types wear layers and its not just for warmth, it’s also poor man’s body armor in an environment where stabbing via screwdriver, nail, knife, spike, shiv is common), b) train your targeting — most exposed targets for a knife at close quarters in cold are the face, eyes, the space above and below where most scarfs cover, groin, inner leg.  That’s where the “armor” is thinnest.  Make sure you got enough blade to make it work.  The very short knives of 2-3 inches you have to really work to get through in an effective fashion those kind of layers, so go where the layers ain’t, or test and see how little effect “pressure cuts” have with short blades in those contexts.  A four-inch blade is only slightly larger but really helps penetration but only if you square up and drive it home. 

Environmental/awareness considerations:  Multiple head layers with ski goggles, multiple body layers, gloves, etc. — these affect your situational awareness significantly.

  1. Extreme cold inhibits blood flow; if you get cold you get less smart. You notice less as well.  In general you have less efficient cognitive processing the colder you get.
  2. You just can’t see as much if you are bundled up around your eyes and/or you wear goggles. Peripheral vision suffers
  3. You can’t hear as well if you’ve got multiple layers over your ears, which you need or they will freeze.
  4. General mobility is hindered by heavy clothes and often heavy boots/shoes
  5. The environment itself will cause you problems — ice and snow covered sidewalks are unstable platforms for grappling, punching, any kind of fast evasive or counter-attack movement. Bad guys who are out in the cold are aware of this, and one tactic I’ve seen is to follow people till they slow down on icy patches — they’re focused on their feet.  The BGs come up on their blind side and just push them down – don’t even need to hit them, just push or tug them and down they go.

Criminal patterns:  Oh the bad guys are out.  Recent things in our weather:  people being jacked for warm coats, especially designer ones.  Homeless or drug users breaking into homes, exterior porches, garages for temporary shelter in cold or to shoot up and nod for awhile.  The push down on ice.  Hitting people at bus stops when everyone is huddled up and looking straight ahead and not behind them.  All the classic team tactics of separating and distracting.  So having an outer pocket with one hand on a weapon in cold weather is a fine practice and deterrent.

My comments now.

First, everything’s a compromise.  Really bad weather significantly disadvantages you – you simply aren’t as aware or capable as those pretty dudes in California in their tight  muscle shirts.  Your job is to do a reasonable job of compensating, not to make things perfect.

Second, reduced awareness is your main enemy.  Not much to say here except recognize this and ramp up your vigilance, especially around ice, crowds, etc.

Third – pocket carry shines here, as Marcus indicates.  This is why God gave us snubbys.  Marcus and I disagree about gloved shooting, though. Mainly I simply can’t shoot with gloves. If the gloves are so thin that I can get my finger inside the trigger guard, then they are too thin to provide any warmth. Further, even if I could manage to get my gloved finger in the trigger guard, I’d have so little trigger time with them on that it wouldn’t be safe or reliable. Also, I just don’t feel the gun well with gloves.  So, I simply either have my ungloved hand on the gun in my pocket, or alternately, as part of my drawstroke, I simple grasp the glove finger ends of my right glove with my gloved left hand while I withdraw my right hand from the glove – it adds maybe .20 seconds to an already slow pocket-draw. Or if I need to unglove in order to get my hand on a pocketed gun, that’s not hard to do discreetly.  Marcus responds that I simply don’t train enough with gloved shooting, which is certainly true, but frankly few people do and my workarounds seem prudent to me.

Fourth – knives.  Like Marcus, I like knives.  But they are extremely, extremely unlikely to be needed.  The reason I kinda approve of the current craze for carrying one center-line on your belt is that a) it recognizes the possibility of a physical encounter, and b) it encourages you to train for one, but not because I see any real possibility of needing one.  Plus, accessing one from the belt center line while bundled up is…unlikely.  Pocket carry with a tether-line?  Sure, if you want.  But I’d rather see you carry OC in a pocket – for legal defenseability, and it’s much more likely to be needed.

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