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Appropriate gear as a point of firearms safety

Eric Loden

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Appropriate gear as a point of firearms safety.
Continuing our discussion on firearms safety we want to touch on how the appropriate selection, use, and training methods effect our level of safety and proficiency.
First we must begin this discussion with asking WHY? Why do you want to own a firearm? We have already covered this topic in some detail in our article on "Gun and gear selection for home defense and concealed carry."
Firearm selection:

  • Self defense (Home, daily carry)
  • Occupation
  • Recreation
  • Sporting
  • Hunting
  • Collector

After you determine what firearm is best for your needs, then we have to consider things like Ammunition and Accessories.
The use of appropriate defensive ammunition such as "Hollow Point Ammo" can help reduce the risk of innocent individuals being injured by rounds that may over-penetrate the intended aggressor or if they miss and continue through the walls of a structure.
If you are hunting, or involved in recreation or sporting activities, there are many guides to help you select the right ammunition for your intended target, and even some rules and regulations that prohibit specific ammunition from being used at ranges, or sporting events. Some prohibited ammunition examples are: incendiary, steel core/steel jacketed, or tracer rounds. Some ranges are also requiring lead-free, or frangible ammunition. Be sure to check ahead of time what type of ammunition the location you plan on shooting at allows.
Accessory gear selection:
One of the first accessories that comes up in discussions is holsters, because it is probably the most important part of daily carry. All other reasons for owning a firearm (recreation, sporting, hunting, and being a collector) usually do not require a daily carry holster.
A link that we have had up since we started our courses is our Course Gear Page which features some advice about holster selection for course attendance and beyond.
We have also gone a bit further in discussing one holster in particular, after some individuals wanted to debate the safety of the Blackhawk Serpa holster, we wanted to discuss the use and training practices of this particular piece of equipment.

The article gives additional insight into how to evaluate your choice of gear depending on other variables beyond your reason to own and carry, such as: (safety, cost/value, versatility, functionality, method of carry, operational environment, reliability, durability, and availability)  We encourage you to read the full article to help make a more informed decision on your gear selection.


Use of a cheap, or inappropriate holster can be a danger to you if it hinders your ability to get it out when you need it, or the fit, form, or function can be dangerous if it is for a different weapon, your weapons has had modifications to its trigger or external safeties, or you modify the holster beyond the manufactures original design, or simply do not know how to use the gear appropriately. Know your gear, stay safe, train hard.
 Magazines/Speed loaders
Another accessory that is a necessity is high quality magazines and speed loaders. Firearms run out of ammunition and whether you are in a competition, or in a confrontation when you need to reload your weapon seconds count. The act of performing an Emergency Reload is a point of training that should be drilled to a point that it is a reflexive action. The type of firearm you carry, proper instruction in the method of reloading, the placement of your additional ammunition and it's accessibility are all determining factors in your ability to perform this action safely, efficiently, and while under stress.
Selecting your magazine accessories you should consider the same standards as your holster selection.
If you are looking for clothing to conceal a firearm on your person you may want to consider straying from the shirts that advertise that you are wearing a weapon, such as your favorite firearms manufacturer, NRA, 2nd Amendment related, or shirts that simply appear "tactical" in design or popularity of use such as covert style 5.11 shirts that most educated individuals can spot sticking out like a sore thumb. Don't advertise a product if your not prepared to demonstrate it's use.
Instead you may want to consider a low-profile look, and make sure of appropriate fit to effectively conceal the firearm without it "printing", or accidentally displaying the firearm as you move about your daily activities (bending over, reaching above your head, etc...) This goes back to knowing your gear and your operational environment.  
Transportation: Gear bags, Cases, Vehicle carry
If you are going to and from the range, from your home to your car and back again, the use of an obvious gun case may not be an issue.
However if you are walking through a casino, on a public transit system, or other place of public resort having a 1000d Cordura Nylon pack kinda sticks out.
A very safe, and low profile option is a simple case that could contain anything from photography equipment, to sporting goods. A simple way to make the casual observer who might be curious as to what is in that case is to slap a couple of stickers on it labeling it as something else (again.. not your favorite gun site, firearms manufacturer, or pro-gun organization)
Security: Safes, lock boxes, hidden compartments
When dealing with the storage of firearms and ammunition there is a balance between "security and accessibility" if you can't get to it when you need it most... you don't "own" a firearm, however if others can access it without your permission you then also don't "own" a firearm... To own a firearm requires responsibility and due diligence.
In selecting your method of storage there are many options to consider.

  • Size
  • Placement
  • Security features
  • Accessibility
  • Operational security

Size is a fairly simple choice and is based upon your needs. If you only own one firearm then you have more flexibility in your placement and access options, however if you own quite the collection, then you might be limited in placement, and it certainly effects your needs for security features to match.


When considering placement, you have to think about accessibility. Where do you spend the most time in your home? Or where are you most likely to be when at attack occurs? Is that answer your bedroom while you are sleeping, or perhaps in the home office where you toil from 6am-9pm? Lounging on the couch watching T.V. after a long day at the office?

Are you looking to have your safe hidden or on display?
Placement determines how quickly to can reach your safe when you need to, and the security features determine how fast you can get it open vs. those you don't want opening it.
To read the past articles in this series and what comes next be sure to check back in, more coming soon! Future topics will include: (Click on the text to read the associated article.)

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