Of Dogs and Plans

Recently while watching this video I concluded that at home it may be somewhat wiser to have a big dog (or a big-sounding dog) than a firearm in certain circumstances.

In the video you can hear an angry young may screaming about how he is going to kill everyone in the house, that the cops had better shoot him, and that if they didn’t shoot him, he was going to stab them all.  Insert the word “M*****-F*****” between every other word above and you’ll have a pretty fair picture of the dialog.

The police officer wisely calls for a K9 unit.

Now, I love my dog.  I would never expect my dog (a smaller breed) to protect me against a knife-wielding rectal blister like the one in the video. I would simply have tried, like this officer did, de-escalation techniques until he charged me, and then, reluctantly, I would have shot him.  Of course, before we ever got to that point, I’d urge him to leave my home. Crazy people do crazy stuff, and you just never know when the wrong word or phrase is going to send them straight into psycho-land.  The cool-headed officer here instead called for a K9.

The K9 shows up and the handler tells the dog to bark.  Sure enough, that dog starts howling, barking, giving that “I can’t wait to rip out your liver” snarl, and within seconds Mr. Big Bad & Ugly went from “give me what I want or everyone dies” to “don’t let that dog bite me.”  We have a guy with a knife who isn’t scared of cop with a gun, but is scared to death of a dog.

What makes dogs such excellent protectors and terrific partners in law enforcement?  First, they’re pack animals and for thousands of years the law of the pack has prevailed.  The alpha male leads the pack, all the other males serve the alpha.  In the event of a threat, the males respond as a team and put down that threat or fight it to give the rest of the pack time to leave. It is not uncommon for either dogs or wolves to willingly give up their lives for the pack.

Domesticated dogs do not lose that ingrained law of the pack.  They see their humans as the alpha males (even where the alpha is a female) and they have as their prime directive the protection of the pack.  That means both the human adults and especially the human children.  In our house if I speak harshly to my wife, I get that guttural eat-your-liver growl from the terrier. She is my wife’s dog, and there isn’t anyone getting to my wife but through that dog.

Knock on my door and it sounds like a pack of wild dogs is coming through it ready to eat you alive. And, indeed, if you had evil intent your ankles would be shredded.  It is amazing to me that these small dogs (one that barks louder than most shepards) put themselves in front of me, and refuse to go behind me even when I order it. Training, it seems, cannot replace instinctive behavior which is “protect the pack.” Dogs sense fear, and they sense danger, and a dog does not know how to back down when the pack is threatened. I would also point out that dogs function on loyalty. They are tremendously loyal. For a good description of what makes a dog man’s best friend, see Eulogy for a Dog, here.

Because we have cameras and can see who is at the front door I can tell any potential intruder to run or I will let the dog go.  In about 90% of cases intruders will run from dogs, even small dogs, rather than get bitten. In some cases, it’s fear, in others it is simply the desire not to harm a small animal.  Yes, most thugs are animals and wouldn’t think twice, but some out there are really just after the money and “stuff.”  They aren’t looking for a fight, and don’t thrill when one comes their way.

But here’s what having a dog does for you if you get a real animal pounding on your door or kicking it down.  If they are not scared of a dog, they are unlikely to be scared of you.  That should define your mindset. Threatening them with a gun is likely a waste of time. If you give any warning, one should be your upper limit.

Most home invasions come about as burglaries gone bad, and are carried out by multiple parties during the hours of darkness.  In our house the plan at night is for all of us humans to be in the master bedroom and all of the dogs in there with us.  If the dogs raise an alarm, or the alarm goes off, we lock the bedroom door, call the cops, and tell the bad guys they can have anything they can steal so long as they don’t come in the bedroom.  If they do that, they’re going to die.  We have multiple 9mm handguns and a pair of AR-15s to handle the situation if, in spite of being warned, the idiots attempt to come through the door.

Our plan is based on a clear desire to show any reviewing official that the exchange of gunfire was a last resort.  That we engaged in violence only when violence was coming directly for us. Yes, under Alabama law we would be entitled to shoot first in our own home.  But the law and the application of the law are not always in harmony. Better to demonstrate your reluctance through procedures than to rely on the law, especially when friends and family of the burglars will later confide to the press that the felons were really just wonderful little altar boys looking for the stolen poor box from Our Lady of Pathetic Liars and just got the wrong address.

Having a plan, however, is no good if you do not practice the plan.  You absolutely have to practice what you’ll do, even if its run, hide, call for help, then fight.   And in that situation, where the attack comes before we have turned in for the night, my wife grabs the dogs, and I have my pistol on my body (pants on, gun on) and I move to the attack while she secures the dogs and herself in our safe room.  Once there she retrieves her pistol from the fast-action gun safe and either waits for me to give her the all clear, or shoots the first thing that comes through that door (hence that whole “all clear” part). And, yes, we have duress words.

“Duress words” are words that you say to indicate you’re okay, or you’re a hostage.  For example, a friend uses odd numbers.  “Baby, I’m 3 kinds of okay.”  Hearing the odd number, his wife knows not to come downstairs, but rather, stay upstairs with her children.  But if he says “We’re four kinds of clear down here” she knows he hasn’t been disarmed.

We have insurance, and we can get replacements for anything stolen.  We have cameras so we will have photos of the people doing the crime. Thus, even if they get something, they won’t get far.  We hope we never have to activate our plan, but having it, and practicing it, gives my wife and I a very sound feeling of security.

News Bits

First Amendment Under Attack

One of the things you frequently hear is that if the liberals take away our Second Amendment freedoms, the First Amendment will be next.  All you have to do is look north to Chicago, home of the world’s most ineffective and draconian gun control, to see this is true.

Newspapers there were investigating the drowning death of an autistic child.  They received documents from the school system, and planned to publish them.  Instead the school’s lawyer sought an injunction against the publication.  In this articlethe ABA details how the judge imposed a prior restraint on the publication.  Under the First Amendment there is never supposed to be a prior restraint.

This is a loud alarm klaxon sounding here.  First they will take away the right ot defend yourself, then they’ll take away your right to complain about it.  We can only hope that the First Amendment survives this kind of challenge.

Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish

The Supreme Court has recently allowed a muslim to be put to death without his iman present. (It is the policy of this blog not to mention, by name, convicts that seek the media to gain sympathy, hence, no name)  Here in Alabama it seems that the Department of Corrections employs a chaplain who just happens to be Christian.  Some low-life that raped and murdered a 15 year old girl in 1995 (yes, that’s 24 years ago) complained that it was unfair to let Christians die with a minister of their choice while denying him the same right.

But, wait, that’s not really the issue.  The issue is delay.  He waited until January 29, 2019 to bring this claim to the federal courts.  He had about 20 years to make this claim previously. He didn’t.  More importantly, nothing forbids the iman from coming to the prison and praying with the inmate before he gets the Kevorkian Cocktail and slips off peacefully into Hell.  It just forbids him from being in the death chamber right before the pervert’s lights go out.  I’m sure the fifteen minutes between heading in there and dying are what would have made the difference…

Harry’s Holsters

Where do I begin, to tell the story of how great an AIWB holster can be.

Wait, let me back up. First, let me say this.  For years I have subscribed to the idea that AIWB carry was dangerous and presented a serious risk of death or disability resulting from negligent discharge.  I still believe that it presents risks, although in much the same way that carrying any firearm presents a risk.  But if you watch a few videos where knuckleheads shoot themselvespracticing fast draws it’s pretty easy to take 2 and 2 and put them together and come up with 4.  And, if you wear an AIWB holster while sitting or in the car driving, and you’re male, let’s just say that Mr. Johnson should be afraid given that Mr. Smith is pointing at him.  Oh, and at your femoral artery.  Let’s not forget that.  Standing or walking the risk is minimized, but still somewhat present if you’re a big guy and have that muffin top. I have the whole damned muffin, and I have always worried that AIWB just would not work for me.

Then I met Jake.  Jake has a YouTube channel called Evolving Daily.  Along with John Lovell of the Warrior Poet Society he did a videothat demonstrated how AIWB could be safe, fast, and efficient in terms of execution, and he made me laugh a lot while demonstrating this.  Both his videosare worth watching on AIWB.

So, if I am going to do this, I need a holster that does several things.  First, it has to completely cover the trigger guard, and it has to be functionally impossible for anything to wiggle its way into that area and cause the firearm to discharge.  This is because if you have a bad holster, or a holster that is not designed for AIWB, or one that allows things to get caught in it easily, you stand the chance of having a negligent discharge that will have you singing soprano. Watch this video and see what I mean.

One of my favorite things about firearms and the firearms community is that race and religion don’t have a great deal of bearing on your views on guns.  I’m a Caucasian male, and if you listen to the liberal media, I supposedly hate my brown and black brothers because, well, you know.  They look different.  Or something.  I’ve never figured it out.  If you have, let me know in the comments.  At any rate, I digress.  One of my favorite channels, mainly because he is so smooth and just down right cool, is Locs n Load on YouTube.  He is an African-American male and he constantly reviews new and innovative products.  He’s fun to watch, fun to listen to, and he just generally has great content.  So a few months ago he talked about Harry’s Holsters.  He had switched to AIWB and he was wearing a Harry’s Holster.

Harry’s Holster Executive, soft loops, AIWB holster.

Using the link from his page (he gets support from Harry’s) I ordered an Executive Holster with softloops for my M&P, and a few days later, another with hard clips for my Sig P320 X-carry.  I am quite glad I did.  Both holsters have performed very well, although I like the softloops better than the hard plastic clips.  That’s just a personal opinion in terms of how the holster behaves on the belt, which I will explain later.

Harry’s Holster Executive with plastic clips, web belt

So, first, the holster is very well designed.  It’s kydex, not a hybrid.  That’s good because if Mr. Johnson is going to have visitors, he doesn’t want something pliable protecting the trigger.  Mr. Johnson doesn’t mind sharing the space, but he vehemently objects to high velocity lead poisoning.

Both firearms fit inside the holster properly and snugly, although I did have to adjust retention for the Sig X-carry.  I would also note that the Sig P320-RX with the Romeo sight does not fit insider the P320 holster because of the sight.  I am sure they could accommodate that if I chose to carry that, but obviously for carry purposes I have the X-carry.

So, the first time I carried, I carried the M&P Model 2.0 in the holster with the softloops, and I used a stiff leather belt.  Stiff leather belts and stiff plastic hooks are not a good combination on an AIWB holster. But stiff leather belts and softloops work terrific together.

Here’s the issue. When you have a little girth, you need for the weapon and holster to give a little in relation to the belt when you sit down.  The softloops allow that to happen.  The holster rides up when you sit down, and then when you stand the holster slips back down into the inguinal notch. 

The Raven Wedge

It also has a claw, to force the kydex upper portion deeper into the abdomen for better concealment, and the Raven Wedge that pushes the barrel away from the prime real estate down south.  Both of these are important features for someone who is a person of abundance, like me. 

The claw

In addition to my leather belt, I have a nylon web belt I bought from Propper (via Sportsman’s Guide). Since I carry the Sig X-carry now most of the time, I got the hard plastic clips, and they work better on the nylon belt because it’s much thinner than the leather belt.

I have found my draw time (previous best 1.75) is now down to 1.25 with the AIWB holster, and I get on target much faster.  And, assuming I get the holster placed properly on the belt (with the barrel going down into the inguinal notch and the grip sitting above the belt line I am comfortable riding or sitting with the Harry’s Holster.

I can recommend this holster.  It is reasonably priced (meaning its cheaper than any of its competition) and it meets or exceeds all my minimum standards.  I look forward to carrying with it for a long time.

Wilderness Ankle Holster

We have a theater here in Auburn that supposedly has a ban on bringing firearms in. Of course, no one actually pays any attention to it, and the theater does not enforce it, because to do so would be economic suicide in this environment. But, at least theoretically, you could be asked to leave the theater if you were carrying.

One solution I thought of was using an ankle rig to conceal under jeans. I consider the likelihood of another theater shooter slim, and the likelihood of that occurring in Auburn to be somewhere close to the odds that Vanderbilt will win the National Football Championship (ever). But, you plan for the possibility, not the probability, and so I went looking for an ankle rig.

One of the video sources I follow on YouTube is Active Self Protection, and John Correa has some praise from time to time for Wilderness Tactical in Phoenix (www.thewilderness.com). So I found their Wilderness Renegade, plunked down the $80 for the holster, and waited.

Renegade Holster

The holster was thoughtfully designed with some sheepskin to pad the area near the ankle bone so as not to be uncomfortable. Sadly, the padding is inadequate (at least for me) and this is the least comfortable holster I own. I bought it for my Glock 26 and the holster fits the gun, but just barely. It fit around my ankle just fine. I had to wear crew socks, however, to get some additional padding, and this is not a “wear it all day” holster. I took it off the moment we got back from the movies.

My experience leads me to believe that an ankle holster is somewhere behind the belly band holster in usefulness, particularly if you’re like me, over 60, and you don’t like bending down that much. It is not a workable solution for me. That doesn’t mean it wouldn’t work for you. The company is a good company and they shipped promptly. Sadly, their product did not work for me.

Concealment Express

So, last year I bought a Sig P320 RX with the Romeo Express. I was delighted with the pistol but found trying to get a holster for it maddening. The problem was that the optics prevented a standard P320 holster from working. I was able to remedy the problem through Concealment Express. They have a holster that actually fits the P320RX.

Concealment Express holster for Sig P320RX

The holster is marvelous, but the problem with the RX pistol is that it is very difficult to conceal with that hulking Romeo sight on there.

The sight works reasonably well and was zeroed from the factory. However, after several months of carrying it, and several range sessions I found that the sight had drifted left and had to be brought back to the right. Fortunately the adjustments on the sight are very easy.

It’s hard to see, but the red dot is not right on the iron sights.

After a great deal of thought I’ve decided not to carry the Sig. For quite a while I reverted back to the M&P because it was a great pistol and served me needs quite well. But the trigger on the M&P was not as crisp as I like.

So, earlier this month I purchased a Sig P320 X-carry from the Armories in Orlando, FL. This will be the subject of a future post.

The Sticky Holster

Every now and again something comes around that appears to be too good to be true.  Okay, you known darn well you shouldn’t buy it, because you know the darn thing is not going to live up to the hype, but, you cast caution to the wind and pull the trigger (figuratively speaking).  So it went with the Sticky Holster for me.

The Sticky Holster

On the video the demonstrator put the holster in place in a pair of jogging shorts and then jumped up and down and ran and then drew flawlessly from the holster.  The holster, on the video, stayed put.

“Sure it did,” you’re saying.  Well, videos don’t lie.  So I bought it.

So, here’s the theory of operation of the Sticky Holster.  It has some sticky foam on the outside (like those things that hold your iPhone in the car) and it’s supposed to hold it up next to your body and your pants at belt level.  As long as something like stiff elastic or a belt goes around your midsection, the Sticky is supposed to work.

Color me skeptical. But I ordered the holsters.

So, I got the holsters (1 for my Glock 19 and one for my S&W M&P 9) and loaded both weapons and put them in the holsters.  I tried the M&P first.  I used a standard gun belt at 3 o’clock, and bent over, jogged, twisted, turned, kicked my legs, you name it, I could not get that holster to displace.  Every time I drew from it, it worked flawlessly.

The Sticky Holster with a Glock 22

I did the same thing with the Glock 19.  It worked flawlessly for staying in place and drawing.  And it is absolutely the most comfortable concealed carry holster on the market, especially when seated or riding in a car.

“So, what’s the downside?”

You knew there was going to be a downside, didn’t you?

The downside is that it is almost impossible to re-holster without using both hands.  Thus, training with the holster in a class is probably out. You are not going to be able to do it. That’s especially true when you’re concealing in a pair of running shorts or jogging pants where the holster is held in place using the drawstring.  The drawstring collapses the holster at the top making reholstering an Olympic Challenge event.

But ignoring, for the moment, the fact that it is difficult to reholster, I am absolutely amazed at how good the holster really is.  And it gets better.

The Sticky Holster is available on Amazon for $26.95.  You read that right.  Here’s a link: https://www.amazon.com/Sticky-Holster-LG-6S-Semi-Auto-Handguns/dp/B007MQC6O8/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1548357592&sr=8-6&keywords=sticky+holster+lg-6

Try it; you’re sure to like it.

A New Range

Can life get any sweeter?  Auburn Alabama has a new firing range with programmable targets.  You can do charging drills, shoot-no-shoot drills, and a bunch of other stuff.  I hope to upload something to YouTube in the near future, but for now let me just say that the Firing Pin Shooting Sports range is awesome!