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American Handgunner Jan/Feb 2011 - Page 26
Clint Smith REALITYCHECK TM FIRST-PERSON THOUGHTS ON SURVIVING IN THE REAL WORLD Milt Sparks Summer Special and correctly fitting belt. is editorship asked me to tell him a story of sorts. We have both carried handguns most of our adult lives. Yet mine is a slightly different world, as not only do I carry one every day, personally, I watch other people carry and use handguns almost everyday. This is a story about what I use and what I know works for me — and what I see others use. Some holsters are decent, and some aren’t. Think of a catastrophic cross between the Titanic sinking and a 500-pound bomb strike. What a holster shouldn’t do is release the handgun, allowing it to fall out or be taken by unauthorized people. So retention — whether by friction, lock or strap — should keep the handgun in the holster. Sometimes at least part of the weapon’s control should come from concealment. Clothing helps to miniWhy you might want access with either hand — the ground fight scenario. Here, the Sparks Summer Special shows it works both ways. Holster Thoughts H mize the exposure until the handgun is brought to bear. For police, the strap or retention locks in conjunction with officer awareness helps to protect the handgun. Loss of a gun by the carrier yields with it a high percentage they will be shot with their own gun. What a holster should do, among many things, is hold the handgun without the trigger being exposed while holstered. The holster should fit a proper belt to keep the holster from moving during carry or the act of drawing. A holster should ideally allow access with either hand, but this point may be arguable when dealing with high-level retention holsters for uniformed police. Regular citizens or off-duty cops should use a holster allowing access with either hand in case of “full-hands” or injury. These handgun skills are a must. What I Use Inside the pocket and ankle holsters by 5 Shot Leather. M WhaT OThers Use T his can be scary, as in damn scary. I insist students have a holster for school and I prefer a strong-side rig. Uniformed cops have The students who get it, get it, those was kicking their arse, out-selling them. I have never seen different needs than the average Joe. who don’t — will. If they don’t carry a problem with a Serpa here at school, and I like the idea of the gun in a holster at home, they do the pistol being locked in place. here at school, if for no other reason I see Sparks, Galco and some Safariland and these holsters they can “clear” their hands to rest or are always solid gear. Custom high-end gear worn by the have a place to put the gun so we can knowledgeable include makers like Alessi, Rosen, 5 Shot, all be sort of safe — even if for a few Here, Milt Sparks, Rusty Sherrick and a few others, and it’s always a Ted brief moments. good stuff. Also we see lots of Kydex gear, and this varies Blocker I am hells-bells set on having the in quality, with Comp-Tac being, I think, the strongest of the Duty rig gun holstered when we leave the line to shows a bunch. You get what you pay for in this category. reload or for break, and I am adamantly good way I think the bottom line here is people, good people to do it, insistent the handgun is not taken out have been killed by having holsters that were crap, or by a level of the holster behind the line. Nothing offering not having a holster, allowing the gun to discharge at an of security but still fast will clear a range deck of students inopportune time, causing death or grievous bodily injury. access to the gun. faster than a gun out of the holster Folks, the damn gun —your gun —will kill you if you let it. being waved around behind a firing line. At least in my world. Get a good gun, then maybe, just maybe — I see a lot of BLACKHAWK! Serpas. Even though they get an even better holster? got some bad press a while back, I believe some of it was a BS-call by someone with an axe to grind — like the Serpa For more info: www.americanhandgunner.com/productindex y primary carry holster is a strong side inside the waistband Milt Sparks Summer Special, and has been since 1978. In this holster I carry a 5" 1911 .45 pistol, summer, winter and in between. As a second or third gun I carry either a 5 Shot Leather ankle holster for an 8-shot Smith & Wesson 327, .357 Mag or a Mitch Rosen ankle rig with a 5-shot Smith & Wesson Chief’s Special, on either ankle or both ankles. Now and again, based on the occasion, I use a pocket holster and 5 Shot Leather makes me one for my 4" N-frame S&W I carry in a front pocket. For my very small role as a reserve deputy supporting the local Sheriff’s office, I use a Ted Blocker duty rig and holster, still for the 1911, carrying the pistol in a muzzle-forward rake. Blocker gear is rock solid, and a great asset in this mode of carrying a gun “exposed” in law enforcement. * 26 WWW.AMERICAnhAnDGUnnER.COM • JAnUARY/FEBRUARY 2011