Thursday, July 15, 2010


My friend Johnny, another friend from college of Billy Ray's that I've been friends with now almost as long as Billy Ray. Johnny wasn't from a gun family, having originally hailed from the mid-west then graduated from a Texas college and he moved to Houston. He and I hung out quite often, whenever he was in town, back throughout our 20's. I was a cop back then,

Whenever we'd go out to eat or on the town, Johnny would ask me ask me if I was carrying a gun off duty but would use words and terms from movies from the 30's and 40's:

* Do you got your roscoe?
*You know, your heater, your heat, your gat...your rod, your piece, your artillary, your ordinance?
*WTF are you talking about?
*You know...your pistola, your Sam Colt, your "God made all men but Sam Colt made them equal", your firepower.
*Oh, why didn't you just say gun? It's in an ankle holster.

And so on. Johnny knew all the old timey words to refer to a pistol, and I'm only remembering about half of them. The first time he asked me if I had my heater, I said yes, my car has a heater. I know he was trying to be funny but in those way pre-internet days, he had a good memory from movies he watched about the 20's and 30's gangster era.

Which is my segue into carrying heat while it is very hot and very humid in Texas in the summer/early fall?

So when you need some heat to carry discretely, comfortably and concealed in very hot and humid Texas weather, there are some considerations as to size and thickness.

Now let me paraphrase Texas Ghost Rider here. A pistol is just for getting yourself to "the long gun". A shotgun or a hi capacity rifle is far more effective in any kind of non-close range gunfight or for multiple attackers. A shotgun is the superior weapon for home defense, even for many experienced pistol shooters. So remember the words of the wise old lawman TGR. If necessary, use the pistol to get to "the long gun".
Do like the man in the photo above and carry a long gun in your car. It can be a lever action or a Remington autoloader or pump with extended magazine or an assault rifle. A cheap AK makes a nice car gun that won't break you if it geist heisted. A shotgun is also a great long gun for self defense. Extended capacity is a plus, but one good friend has carried a short (and legal) double barrel 12 gauge under his truck seat for decades. His leather gun sling holds extra rounds like an ammo belt attached to the weapon. He put a small but powerful flashlight and mount on the gun, sighted in like a bit laser for targets at night. I prefer a Remington 870 with a wood stock and extended mag in a parkerized finish, but for years I carried the folding stock version with the 20" barrel and extended magazine, also in a parkerized finish.

Even a SKS or other older semi-auto rifle is great as a defensive weapon under the proper circumstances, that is, if a rifle is called for. This is particularly true if you live in the country or if you were carjacked or hijacked while traveling in rural areas. You might want a high power rifle with the ability to shoot through car doors in your backseat. The new electronic sights that put a diode on the target via the "open" sight make target acquisition very simple and effective, so long of course as the weapon is sighted in.

But for the small gun to enable you to get to the long gun in your house or car, summer clothing may dictate a smaller gun than the 1911 or other full size or even compact gun you prefer.

There's quite a few guns out there that qualify as ultra small and concealable in or under a t-shirt/shorts combo. In my book, the upper end of ultra small guns hovers around the venerable S&W J frame snubnose, the Colt D Frame snubnose, the Walther PPK series, the newish Walther PPS in 9mm, the Kel-Tec single stack guns from 9mm down, older Berettas and Brownings, the now discontinued Sig .380 DA/SA, and other smaller guns by other makers. Kahr may have some thin guns that fit this description. The interesting but "for me the the jury is still out" on the Rohrbaugh 9mm and .380.

Certainly, Taurus, Smith and Wesson and other makers have semi-autos that fit the thin criteria. I just don't care for them at all. I do like me some Taurus revolvers and 1911's, but unless it's copy of a Beretta M9, I'm not interested in it. Likewise, one step up from the ultra small guns I'm talking about here are the S&W autos that are derived from the orginal Model 39 series, but that falls into the compact and not ultra compact size range.

So I'm talking about guns smaller than the Glock and Sig and Beretta and other sub-compact guns. Ultra small guns.

I don't think that .22 caliber bullets and guns, at least in the ultra small sizes, are good for self defense. One could shoot any number of calibers smaller than a .38 Special and do lots better than a .22. This is not to say that .22's don't do instant kills, because many times they do. But sometimes they don't. Whereas rarely does the person shot with the .45 (or 9mm or .40 or .357 Sig or .38 Special, etc) live through it.

There are some .22's I'd consider for self defense (Ruger, Walther, S&W, Browning) and if that is the biggest gun that someone can deal with to shoot, then put a laser/flashlight combo on that rascal and have extra ammo on or with the weapon/holster in case it takes a few shots to put an intruder or predator down.

I myself prefer J frame airweight revolvers for self-defense in summer months, although the idea of a .32 or .380 that weights 6 or more ounces less than a 14 ounce Model 38 is very attractive in theory, as it the smaller size and flatter profile. The Ruger LCP and the small caliber Kel-Tecs have gotten good reviews from the friends of mine who have them. Many of my friends owning these pistols opt for pocket carry and go for an add-on laser that sort of squares the gun print. Special pocket and belt holsters are made for these laser equipped pistols and I've thought long and hard about getting a Ruger LCP.

I've owned several Rugers and every one has been a champ. Most have been designs in production for decades (or produced decades ago like the Security Six). Although my Kel-Tec toting friends like their guns and swear as to reliability of their guns, I'm not totally convinced. I think the Ruger is a few bucks more than the Kel-Tecs, but it's not much.

Any tiny gun like this is going to have some serious bite in it's recoil and will be difficult for some folks to shoot. Having shot a lot of chopped down .45's and various .44 and .357 magnums in my days, I'm no stranger to a pistol kicking like a mule. Of course, in larger guns you have more control via a much better and bigger hand grip, whereas the .32's and .380's in these ultra light pistols are rumored to be quite lively, jumpy with a bite to the kick and VERY LOUD when shot.

As evidenced by Texas Governor Rick Perry's recent elimination of a threat to his lab puppy in the form of a coyote with a Ruger LCP with a laser, these pistols are capable of defending ones self against a variety of predators.

In looking at these guns online and for holsters for them, I came across a sort of lanyard device designed to suspend the .32 Kel-Tec the neck of the wearer. I hope they have enough sense not to have a round in the chamber if they choose that rig. That rig might be good for some but I'm not sure that's a great idea for a novice.

I recommend several concealment holsters. The High Noon Bare Asset and Mr. Softy are cheap, made of cowhide and despite the near 100 degree and certainly dang near 100 percent humidity lately, I don't sweat around the holster even when I'm sweating elsewhere. It is finished very nicely and does not stick to my skin in any way, since I'm usually wearing it under a t-shirt or polo.

I also have used for nearly 30 years a Bianchi single layer suede out IWB holster with belt clip for snubnoses. Highly effective, very comfortable and very secure. Inexpensive, as far as holsters go. Stay away from the synthetic black material IWB holsters, they're just not comfortable like a good old leather holster is.

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