Monday, January 17, 2011

Reply: Winter concealed carry‏

Ferfal, even people I know who carry concealed all the time for a long time don't take winter carry seriously enough. Excellent video. Having been robbed at gunpoint 3 times in Philadelphia and carrying in my winter pocket, I have a few observations on the subject. I agree with PPMazzini - walking with your hands (or at least your gun hand) in your coat pocket looks completely natural and allows you to keep a firing grip on the gun at all times. This is a big advantage. On my second robbery my assailant came up behind me and began his draw before I did. Still I drew my Glock 27 from my pocket as I had trained and put him down with one quick shot from 8 yards. At that time I only carried one gun in the winter: I transferred it from holster on hip to jacket pocket, and back. I was not so lucky on my 3rd robbery, still carrying my then favorite Glock 27 in my winter coat pocket.
I saw the first guy in front of me carrying a pipe. I missed the guy behind me with a semiauto. #2 was 8 feet away pointed at my face: too far for a disarm move and too close for him to miss. While #1 approached and prepared to club me, I considered firing through my pocket at #2, but hadn't trained on that and was sure I'd have a malfunction.

Snow was falling and had reached 12", making my ability to get away while surrounded very doubtful. I got 5 stitches in the scalp and lost $45 and my favorite gun but gained experience and new tactics/ hardware. After this experience, I went to the range and fired my new G27 in that pocket at a target 9 ft away. I got a decent (not great) torso hit. But I also got a new stoppage I've never seen before. The ejecting case stovepiped and the round feeding into the chamber got stuck on the feed ramp!! What a mess. I did not get any burns on the ruined jacket and couldn't care less if my jacket caught fire if I had to do that to save my life. As a result I made the following changes:

1. I now carry 2 guns in the winter, as you illustrated.
2. The gun I carry in my winter pocket is a S&W Model 640-1: .357 mag, stainless, 2" barrel, hammerless.
3. I train firing this gun simulating the position it would be in if fired from my jacket (I don't want to ruin anymore jackets, except in actual combat).
4. Even in winter I don't wear anything that interferes with my peripheral vision and hearing (I was wearing a hood over my head and didn't see or hear the guy with gun until it was too late). It's been 10 years since I was robbed, so I can't tell you how the revolver works. Oddly, maybe not having a hood on has been my most important upgrade. Maybe it has kept predators at bay because they can see I can see them.


Hi, Excellent letter and interesting accounts.
Yes, hands in your pocket holding your gun during winter attracts zero attention and makes for the fastest draw, BIG + for winter pocket carry.
As you saw, a semi auto fired from a pocket is a big no-no, a revolver will be more forgiving (as long as its spurless, otherwise the hammer spur may get tangled with the pocket frabic) Shooting with a semi auto inside the pocket will practically guarantee a single shot out followed by a failure. As you saw, most of the time these predators operate in groups, always expect accomplices nearby, usually attacking from the opposite direction as it happened to you.
As you put it, VERY cheap price paid for some very valuable lessons there my friend.
Other than the winter carry method, I think its important to yet again mention the huge importance of awareness. If you see these bad guys coming with enough time, they see you acknowledge them, move away while looking in their direction, cross the street to the other sidewalk while drawing getting your gun ready for the fight, more often than not they will go looking for an easier target. The key moment is detecting (and making clear you’ve detected them) before they close in, before you fall in their ambush. Do that and they play dumb while walking away looking for another victim.
Thanks for your email, take care.



DaShui said...

I'm surprised he cops in Philadelphia did not take him to jail. Most NE cities and states don't allow CCP.

Anonymous said...

DaShui Philadelphia is in Pennsylvania, which does offer concealed carry permits to its citizens. I believe it is actually easier to get them in PA than in many other states (especially Northern ones)

hsu said...


Those northeastern states above issue concealed carry permits. Yes, Massachusetts allows concealed carry.

The main thing about the northeast is that you should practice deep concealment.

Anonymous said...

You're thinking about Camden, in NJ, which is across from Philly. NJ and NY are some of the deadly (no carry) states.

Actually, upstate NY is OK, downstate is a trainwreck, though I'm not sure what NYC would be like armed. Polite? Hmm...

Anonymous said...

Very instructive post and reply. Thanks. I've read somewhere that surprise can be more important than fire power. Of course it would be best to have the best of both. Being right handed, I might train with the left in the pocket leaving the right free to go for the semi auto and to distract. a

hsu said...

Just a note, but NY is *not* okay for non-residents, even upstate NY, as NY does not issue concealed carry permits to non-residents of the state.

Of the northeastern states...

VT allows concealed carry without a license, by anyone who can legally own a firearm.

CT MA ME NH PA issue concealed carry permits to non-residents, as long as you have a concealed carry permit from your own state (in addition, NH PA honor permits from some other states).

NJ NY RI do not allow non-residents to carry.