Not all carry options are equal. Carrying on-body is far superior to off-body for a host of reasons. Here are 5.
Sure, having to carry a gun on your body all day, everywhere you go, in all types of weather conditions isn’t the most comfortable activity, but it’s a necessity. It’s hard to hear that there are no safe places left as we’ve seen church shootings, home invasions, and many other gunfights take place in locations we never imagined would happen. When there are only seconds to react and to save your life or another’s life, your gun better be on your body ready to be deployed.
We know the conveniences of carrying off-body, but we also know the dangers of it. Here are 5 reasons off-body carry is a bad idea.
We have all seen a movie where a lady is walking down the road and a thief runs by snatching her purse and fleeing. Where’s the gun? If it happens to you in real life, it’s now in the hands of a criminal who will either sell, toss, or use your firearm to commit another crime. You are responsible for your firearm, who shoots your firearm, and its location at all times. Storing a gun in a prime target for thieves is a guaranteed way to be an irresponsible gun owner.
By the way, if you think this is a female-only thing, guess again. A backpack or carry bag can be stolen from a guy just as easily.
You've probably heard the old saying "action is faster than reaction." Think about the message in that. In a gunfight, the attacker has the advantage because he is committing the action. You have a disadvantage because you are reacting in response. This means he already has the jump on you. Most gunfights start and end in just seconds, not minutes, certainly not hours; we’re talking seconds. If you don’t carry a gun on your body, it may be in a purse or a backpack. Have you ever timed yourself performing a task, stopping and attempting to find your gun that is in your backpack or purse, unholster it, and finally take the first shot at a dummy target? We can tell you right now that it’s not fast; plus, in practice you know it’s coming, but in real life your reaction time may be even slower as you process what’s happening before reacting. It's called the OODA loop.
An added element in a bag/purse carry situation is that the bag might be behind you, which slows down reaction time for two reasons. First, you have to swing the bag around front to get into it. Second, your attacker is probably approaching from behind, where your bag is, so you won't see him coming. Your first indication of trouble might be tugging on your bag. By that time, it's too late.
No other option of carrying a gun will be faster than on your body. This can include inside the waistband, outside the waistband, or appendix carry which all make it easy to get to your gun quickly to defend yourself. Drawing your pistol from a concealed carry holster, finding your target, and pulling the trigger, in reality, can take anywhere between one to three seconds if you train properly. When a gunfight goes down in seconds, this is the only option to be ready to deploy your firearm when you need to.
This is perhaps one of the scariest issues of why you should only carry a gun on your body and not in a bag, a purse, or even on a mount in your vehicle. There are many “accidents” that occur with firearms that are 100% avoidable just by keeping your gun on you. If you’re a parent or grandparent, children will occasionally go through your bag or purse to get a stick of gum, a snack, or a cell phone out only to find a loaded gun. There have been incidents where kids have had access to a loaded firearm, are naturally curious, and have shot and killed a family member or themselves.
Mounts onto your vehicle may seem advantageous, but so many things can go wrong. One example is when you go to grab your pistol under stressful conditions or load a round into the chamber by pushing against the mount, you could shoot yourself or your vehicle. Another example is if someone comes into your vehicle to harm you, your pistol is just as accessible to them as it is to you. Suddenly you've lost your tactical advantage.
If you were kidnapped right this second as you’re reading this, what would you have on you? If a non-firearm-related emergency occurred like an evacuation or your car is hit and falls off a bridge into the ocean, and you had only seconds to flee or escape, what tools do you have on your body to save your life? A multi-tool and a knife with a glass breaker and seatbelt cutter are two of the best tools you can have when trying to escape a car or through a building window. Having these on your person and being able to deploy them in seconds is crucial. Having your cell phone on you is just as helpful sometimes as having your firearm on you. You can make an emergency phone call or contact a friend or family member. At the end of the day, what you carry on your body, what you wear, and what shoes are on your feet could be all you have to survive.
While carrying off-body is better than not carrying at all, it's not the best solution. Dedicate some time to learning how to carry a gun on your body and train regularly on clearing your clothing, drawing from your holster, and making your shots on target. Remember that you are your own first responder.
Kenzie Fitzpatrick is a professional competitive shooter and an active blogger for many firearm websites. As an NRA-certified instructor and National Range Officer Institute Chief Range Officer, Kenzie trains new shooters on basic firearm safety, brings new shooters to competitive shooting, and works major matches across the country. She has a passion for teaching people how to concealed carry and is a positive ambassador for the Second Amendment.
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