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Although knives are an important element of any concealed carry gear bag, they are usually relegated to back-up status and generally aren’t considered the primary weapon. However, a knife has many advantages over a handgun. It doesn’t need a special carry permit, nor does it need to be stuffed under a shirttail into the waistband. While most folding knives fit easily into a pocket, they do take a few seconds to open.knife to stab idiots with

A fixed blade knife is immediately available and perpetually loaded.  In the event of a confrontation, there is no fumbling for a pocketed folding knife or a rush to manipulate the thumb stud with one hand while facing an attacker.

Because of their size, these blades are more suitable for rural and recreational areas like the national parks or forests.

Steel Will Knives produces a line of fixed blade knives for its “Outdoor” series.  The Forest Hills, New York-based company manufactures high quality knives that aren’t only excellent for fishermen, hunters, hikers and other outdoorsmen, but are also practical defensive weapons against man or beast.

One of the best is the Gekko 1510, a deceptively named blade described by author Scott W. Wagner in his article “The Steel Will Gekko 1510 Fixed-Blade Knife: Finely Crafted for Multiple Functions” at USConcealedCarry.com:

“While the name ‘Gekko’ sounds rather harmless (which in these liability and hysteria laden times might be a better moniker than something like ‘Death Edge’), the Gekko is quite a competent combat blade as well as an outdoor tool. It comes incredibly sharp right from the box.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)

The 4.33-inch Gekko blade is made from Austrian N690Co steel and runs full tang for additional strength.  Beyond the grip, the 9.33-inch tang extends in a pointed triangular shape that provides a lanyard hole and hammer/glass breaker tip.  The grip is ergonomic in design with a reptilian pattern, hence the name.  A serrated thumb rest keeps the thumb in place on the spine of the Gekko 1510.

As is true with all Steel Will blades, the Gekko 1510 comes razor sharp right out of the box, including the tip. The tip is so sharp that care must be taken not to pierce the sheath when reholstering the knife.  The sheath is made of beautiful Italian leather, but depending on your use, may not stand up to the rigors of backcountry excursions.

When you purchase a Steel Will knife, you’re buying top-quality Italian craftsmanship. The Gekko 1510 may well be the last fixed blade knife you will ever need. It retails for about $200.00.

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In today’s era of terrorist threats, dramatic Special Forces operations, and ongoing worldwide military campaigns, the term “tactical” has become a marketing buzzword used to drive sales of firearms and related accessories. One of the basic components of tactical gear is the color black, as in black ops. The popularity of black may be due to its ability to blend with dark apparel, as well as the aura of mystery it carries.sig sauer

Now SIG Sauer is bucking the tactical trend and going old school with their P238 HD Nickel 1911-style .380 semi-auto.

Nickel was once the preferred firearm finish, but has since fallen out of favor with the trend moving towards stainless steel and tactical black finishes.

However, nickel was prized for its anti-corrosive qualities as well as its slightly golden gleam when polished.

Besides the classic look, SIG always packs their firearms ready to rock right out of the box — the P238 Nickel is no exception. Author and firearms trainer Scott W. Wagner explains why he prefers a gun that is “street ready” in his article “SIG Sauer P238 HD Nickel: Sure-Shooting Single-Action .380” at USConcealedCarry.com:

“I don’t have the patience to run a bunch of ‘break-in rounds’ through a defensive handgun to get it to run reliably. It should come that way from the factory, especially considering that a lot of folks new to the firearms world won’t read the directions and break the gun in.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)

While the SIG P238 is an exquisitely crafted work of gunsmithing, it’s an even more impressive weapon. At the range, the sight design proved invaluable. The full-size, black 3-dot Tritium sights sit atop the rail in high profile, contrasting the sheen of the nickel finish and contributing to the overall accuracy of the P238.

During range testing, the SIG Sauer P238 HD Nickel cycled like a finely oiled machine. Trigger pull is about 8 pounds; a perfect match for the 20 ounce weapon. Accuracy was quite impressive, being on par with a Walther PPK/S, achieving 3-inch groupings at 30 feet. Even at 100 yards, 60 percent of the rounds were on target with one hitting the silhouette dead center.

The P238 HD Nickel lives up to the SIG Sauer reputation for unparalleled reliability and accuracy. The same quality craftsmanship that SIG puts into its weapons used by the Navy Seals and other elite forces can be found in the P238 .380. The Nickel model retails for about $750 and includes a polymer belt holster.

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The most famous arms manufacturer you’ve never heard of is Ceska Zbrojovka. It may be more familiar to you as CZ, the Czech firearms company that supplies more handguns to military and police units than any other company in the world.rami

CZ was founded in 1936 in the small Moravian town of Uhersky Brod, Czechoslovakia, now known as the Czech Republic. The Czechs began manufacturing high quality firearms partly as a deterrent to the widening military aspirations of Nazi Germany.  Eventually, CZ expanded worldwide and formed a U.S. subsidiary in Kansas City, Kansas in 1997.

CZ has a reputation for being at the leading edge of technological innovation with its products and has spearheaded several important innovations through the years, but CZ had been falling behind the curve in the hot sub-compact market.  In 2004, the higher-ups at CZ recognized the tremendous potential of the burgeoning concealed carry demographic and went to work. The result was the 2075 RAMI.

One of the advantages the RAMI has over other sub-compacts is its magazine versatility. Author Duane A. Daiker explains in his article “RAMI: A New CZ for Concealed Carry” at USConcealedCarry.com:

“Magazine capacity with the standard flush-fit magazines is 10 rounds in 9mm and 8 rounds in .40. However, one of the great features of the RAMI is magazine compatibility with the rest of the CZ line. That means ready availability of high capacity magazines from a variety of sources.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)

When compared to other sub-compacts, the RAMI is about the same dimensions. It is 6.5 inches long with a 3 inch barrel.  The RAMI, with its steel slide and alloy frame, is slightly heavier than its polymer-framed counterparts. This isn’t a bad thing when you are firing .40 S&W or 9mm rounds because the extra weight helps to mitigate the recoil. The CZ RAMI is equipped with standard snag-free fixed sights.

The operating system on the 2075 RAMI also gives the shooter options. It is designed as a double-action weapon, but also has a manual safety that can only be employed to secure a fully-cocked hammer, eliminating the double-action trigger pull. If that isn’t your preferred carry position, the hammer can be manually decocked to the double-action setting.

During range testing, the CZ 2075 RAMI proved its worthiness as a primary concealed carry weapon. Two-inch groupings were easily achieved at 20 feet.  Although there was no testing at longer distances, is safe to assume that silhouette targets at 25 yards would be easy prey for the RAMI by extrapolating results.

CZ provides a nice accessory package with the 2075 RAMI as well. Straight out of the box, you will get two magazines, a loading tool, cleaning rod, cable lock, and bore brush; all packed neatly into a durable blue plastic case. With the RAMI, CZ has produced an exceptional weapon. CZ has a long tradition of staying ahead of the game. With the 2075 RAMI, you will be too.

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The Glock 30S .45 semi-automatic compact is a perennial favorite firearm choice for members of the concealed carry community. It is lightweight and powerful, backed up with a 10+1 magazine capacity. Although many may consider the 30S to be the ultimate concealed carry firearm, no carry weapon is effective without a proper holster.desantis

DeSantis Gunhide makes holsters that are custom fit for a large variety of concealed carry weapons. The Desantis story is one where the American dream came true.

Gene DeSantis started making holsters at his kitchen table in 1972.

Today, the company uses state-of-the-art computer-aided design (CAD) to provide superior holsters to law enforcement, military, and private citizens from their newest facility on Long Island.

While there are a host of holsters available for the Glock 30S, the Desantis Speed Scabbard combines tradition with modern technology to provide simple, but effective security for your carry weapon.  The Speed Scabbard is available in either black or tan unlined leather. The exterior leather is smooth to the touch and the unlined interior helps keep the 30S in place.

As it does with most of its holsters, DeSantis tweaked the Speed Scabbard to the Glock 30S specifications. This included a molding impression for the Glock trigger guard on the outside and indentations on the inside for various Glock 30S frame features.

Another important quality that DeSantis holsters are known for is strength of material and ease of use.  Author Mark Kakkuri describes the fit and function of the Speed Scabbard in his article “DeSantis Speed Scabbard” at USConcealedCarry.com:

“Thankfully, because the Speed Scabbard is a belt slide with strong belt loops sewn in, it goes on and stays in place. Because it is an outside the waistband holster, it’s not a gut buster.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)

Although the Speed Scabbard has a simple design, it has several features that allow a degree of user customization. An adjustable tension screw lets the shooter determine the amount of force used to hold the gun in place. The Speed Scabbard also has a two-position carry option; either a straight drop or slightly forward cant.

The DeSantis Speed Scabbard, whether for the Glock 30S or other weapon, is a safe, secure, and easily accessible holster. The traditional design means it is ready when you are; its modern leading-edge fitting and molding technology means security and comfort. The Speed Scabbard can be found online for about $50.

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Just about everyone has been called occasionally to serve on jury duty. It’s a hassle, but is recognized as a civic duty that people accept as part of life. Most of the time, it’s nothing more than a minor disruption to your normal routine. myah myah 2

But imagine if the unfathomable happens and you have to use your weapon to defend yourself.

As harrowing an experience as that may be, the nightmare really begins afterwards, which is why most self-defense experts recommend having an attorney on retainer.

Or at the very least, it’s important to know a good attorney to call.

No matter how much your incident screams self-defense, the police are still going to handcuff you and take you in for interrogation. On top of that, your mental state is going to be confused at best, completely shut down at worst.

Police interrogators are keenly aware of these effects and will use them to their advantage during the investigation.  As author John Caile explains in his article “You STILL Don’t Have a Lawyer?” at USConcealedCarry.com, trying to outsmart the police without a lawyer is never a good idea:

“Because no matter how smart you think you are, in your emotional condition you will be no match for them. Remember, for you this will likely be an once-in-a-lifetime experience. For them, it’s what they do for a living every day.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)

Reflecting on whether or not you need a lawyer directly after an incident is a terrible time to do so. Most likely, you won’t have access to your cell phone and the yellow-pages probably aren’t going to be available in the police holding area.  If you don’t know your attorney’s number, call a family member or friend who can contact him/her for you.

If you’re someone who owns a gun, but has never thought about having a lawyer, you will most likely end up with a public defender.  Public defenders are government employees with widely ranging degrees of experience.  Much like Forrest Gump and his box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get.  Public defenders have huge caseloads and you may not actually meet with yours until you are heading into court where he/she will likely encourage you to take a plea deal.

None of these scenarios will take place if you already have an attorney.  If you don’t, now is the time to find one.  Check online for pro-gun-rights legal referral services — that will put you on the path to finding a good criminal defense attorney. The United States Concealed Carry Association is another excellent resource.

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The .357 Magnum ammunition cartridge has weathered the test of time and after 80 years, it retains the distinction of being the premier “stopping power” round. Most gun manufacturers have jumped on the .357 Magnum bandwagon over the years, producing mostly full-framed models such as the ones used by Clint Eastwood in ”The Gauntlet” and Chuck Norris in early seasons of TV’s “Walker, Texas Ranger.”coonan compact

Yet with the growing popularity of concealed carry permits, more gun makers are scaling their .357 Magnums down to manageable pocket or waist carry specifications.

One of the best examples of this trend is the Coonan Compact .357 Magnum 1911, a down-sized version of the Coonan Classic.

While the Compact still features stainless steel construction,  Coonan engineers reconfigured the Classic by shortening the barrel and frame in order to make carrying concealed less cumbersome.

Controls on the Coonan Compact will be familiar to anyone who has handled a 1911. The hammer is the popular “skeletonized” version that helps reduce lock time. The sights are the standard Novak three-dot and the grips are smooth, imprinted with a walnut finish and carries the dark Coonan logo.

A valuable lesson was learned during range testing with the Compact — read the directions. Failing to do so resulted in several jams on the first few shots. This was quickly remedied by referring back to the manual and its clearly stated directive stating that the “firearm must be lubricated prior to use.” After adding several drops of lubricant, the mixed ammo test batch ran flawlessly through the Coonan Compact .357 Magnum 1911.

The Compact is a hefty 39 ounces, which helps with the gun’s considerable recoil.  Two magazines are supplied with the gun.  No matter what ammo, the Compact produced an impressive average of about 1250 FPS velocity.

Even more impressive was the FPE (Foot Pounds of Energy). This is the power a round delivers at a specific distance from the muzzle. The Coonan Compact produced up to 593 FPE during testing and for reference, an FPE of about 6 is needed to kill small game. The Compact was on the mark with accuracy as well, consistently delivering 1.5 inch groupings from 30 feet.

The Compact was also pitted against a clay block.  The result was no contest as author Scott W. Wagner points out in his article” Coonan Compact .357 Magnum 1911: Carry-Friendly Fight Stopper” at USConcealedCarry.com:

“The Personal Defense Load penetrated 7 inches into the block and the bullet broke into at least 8 pieces, blowing a rounded-out cavity that didn’t need to be sectioned and [measured] some 10 inches in diameter at its widest point.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)

The Coonan Compact is a reliable, powerful pistol that is also a legitimate concealed carry firearm. It is pricey at $1535, but it brings a great deal of peace of mind which is invaluable.

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Obtaining a Concealed Carry Permit is a major step in the right direction to augment personal defense for yourself and your loved ones. If you haven’t already done so, the next step is choosing a suitable firearm. However, many shooters go out and buy the most powerful gun with the most accessories that their budget will allow, only to find out later that they are in over their head at the range.pathfinder

That’s why many experts recommend a double action revolver as a first gun, especially if it’s to be used as a concealed carry personal defense firearm.

Charter Arms produces a line of snub nose revolvers that are made in the USA and offer a combination of concealability, ease of operation, and durability.

The Pathfinder .22 is one of the viable conceal carry models from this line and is available in either .22LR or .22 Magnum.

The Pathfinder is a six-round revolver made of solid stainless steel with a blue-collar matte finish and is roughly the same size as the legendary Smith & Wesson J-frame pistols. The .22LR is recommended for newer shooters because the recoil is negligible when compared to hand-jarring kickback of the Magnum.  Author Scott W. Wagner points out the difference in his article “Charter Arms Pathfinder .22 Snubbie: An Affordable and Reliable Revolver” at USConcealedCarry.com:

“Not everyone can handle harder kicking rounds in revolvers this size. I would much rather have somebody learn quickly to be extremely accurate and comfortable with a .22, than to be apprehensive and marginally accurate (or worse) with a .38.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)

As with all .22 handguns, accuracy was a function of ammo type. At 25 yards, groupings ranged from 3.25 inches using Winchester Dynapoint 40 grain to 1 inch using Federal Bulk Hollowpoint.  Interestingly, the normally reliable Remington Yellow Jacket semi-wadcutter hollow point loads did not work well with the Charter Arms Pathfinder with more than half the rounds striking the target sideways.

A fully loaded Pathfinder chambers 6 rounds of either .22LR or .22 Magnum ammunition.  A .22 is not known for its stopping power, so it’ probably a good idea to stow some backup rounds somewhere on your person.  Speedloaders are available for the Pathfinder, but the ammo is usually lubricated and easily picks up pocket debris, making for a less than optimal reloading scenario, especially under duress.

Quickstrips, manufactured by Tuff Products, might be a better option.  These are narrow strips of bullets that resemble miniature bandoleros. For the Pathfinder 22LR, the ammo comes in strips of 10, making it easy to conceal 10 or 20 backup rounds in a pocket or purse.

The Pathfinder is a durable, reliable, and accurate revolver that is also a superb concealed carry weapon. The small caliber also makes it an excellent choice for beginning shooters and with an MSRP of $369, it is hard to not like this little pistol.

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Subcompacts and minis are all the rage right now in the concealed carry community and rightly so. The guns generally cover the basic elements needed for an efficient carry weapon – they’re lightweight, accurate, reliable, can take a punishment, and have enough stopping power to get the job done. sig sauer

Sig Sauer’s entry into the micro market emphasizes the final requirement on the list with its powerful P290 9mm pistol; a step up in firepower from the traditional .380 ACP micro loads.

The P290 measures about six inches long and four inches high and Sig Sauer puts the larger dimensions to good use.

The magazine is a 6+1 and the chamber can handle +P ammunition.

The P290 weighs 20 ounces unloaded, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as author Duane Daiker explains in his article “Sig Sauer P290: A Small Gun That Delivers Big” at USConcealedCarry.com:

“Consider that one of the traditional concealed carry favorites, a 5-shot stainless steel snubnose revolver, weighs several ounces more and packs less firepower.  In a strange way, the relative bulk of the P290 actually inspires some confidence in the gun and makes for a very comfortable feel in the hand.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)

The slightly heavier weight of the Sig Sauer P290 is the result of a durable polymer frame construction combined with a stainless steel slide.  The Sig Sauer signature tritium SIGLITE full-sized night sights are also standard issue, which is a nice feature on a smaller gun. Sig also offers interchangeable side plates for the P290 grips. If you don’t like the textured black grips that come with the gun, Sig offers alternatives in aluminum, wood, or colored polymers.

9mm rounds can produce quite a kick on a pocket gun, but the extra ounces on the P290 do a good job of mitigating the recoil and muzzle blast, especially when using +P ammo.  And although the gun is small, it has oversized sights and controls as well as a larger slide for ease of operation.

During range testing, the Sig P290 proved its mettle. At standard self-defense distances of about 15-20 feet, the pistol easily produced one-inch groups time after time.  At thirty feet, the groupings were about 3 inches, which is still highly effective in a gunfight. At longer distances, the P290 continued to put all rounds into the torso area of a silhouette target.

The trigger pull on this double-action-only firearm is somewhat heavy at 10 pounds and takes some getting used to, but as a concealed carry weapon, the heavier trigger provides an added measure of safety.

Another accessory that Sig Sauer offers for the P290 is a laser sight, which slides into a slot on the bottom of the dust cover and cannot be distinguished from the rest of the gun when attached.  It has activation buttons on either side and emits the familiar red dot.

The Sig Sauer P290 is a little larger than most micros, but gives an extra sense of security with the 9mm boost in firepower. The gun easily fits into a pocket or can be carried in most holstered positions. If you want to kick your personal defense arsenal up a notch, the P290 may be what you are looking for.

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Concealed Carry permit holders are generally fans of one type of gun or another based on their lifestyle and self-defense needs, but when a gun comes along that calls itself the “Super Carry Ultra,” it’s going to turn the heads of a lot of people looking for new methods to reduce printing, increase comfort without giving up power, or to improve accuracy.kimber

Kimber’s version of the 1911 .45 ACP goes beyond trimming specs and ammo capacity for their version of the iconic handgun.

With its Super Carry Ultra, Kimber has come as close to a melt-job as you can get without dropping your firearm at your favorite gunsmith for a custom (read: expensive) retooling.

In her article “Kimber’s Super Carry Ultra” at USConcealedCarry.com, author and firearms trainer Diane Walls describes some of the carry-friendly features that are creating a rapidly growing demand for the Super Carry Ultra:

“All of the edges have been given the carry melt treatment to take away the sharp angles. This means the safety, grip safety, magazine release, take-down pin, and hammer spur have been smoothed just enough to make them comfortable without being difficult to use.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)

In addition, Kimber has beveled the grip’s back edge and the serrations on the slide and the grip are scaled rather than checkered, giving a sturdier, yet comfortable grip and easier draw.  Kimber’s own KimPro coating makes the Super Carry Ultra self-lubricating and less likely to show the effects of weather, perspiration, and range training that are the by-products of daily carry.

The aluminum frame of the Super Carry Ultra is another benefit for concealed carry as the gun is considerably lighter than a standard 1911, tipping the scales at 25 ounces unloaded.  However, the light weight combined with the .45 ACP caliber caused some problems on the range.

During field testing, the recoil on the Super Carry Ultra was described as “snappy.”  Despite its appeal as the ultimate carry gun, it is difficult to control and should be used by experienced shooters.  The light trigger pull at about 4.5 pounds could also affect accuracy for newer shooters. Fortunately, the tritium night sights are a nice feature on this firearm that will improve the accuracy of all shooters, regardless of experience.

Experienced shooters on the other hand, should have no problems getting good groupings of the 7-round magazine out to 10 yards, even with the non-dominant hand.  The learning curve for the Kimber Super Carry Ultra is a long one and Kimber recommends a break-in period of about 500 rounds before the shooter will begin to get a feel for it and also allows the gun’s mechanisms to pass muster.  The Super Carry Ultra did experience some minor feeding issues with ball rounds and conical 185 gr. +P jacketed hollow points during field testing.

The Kimber Super Carry Ultra is an excellent carry gun. Its trimmed down 1911 styling makes up for what it lacks in capacity with power. Kimber made its reputation on the 1911 pistol. The scaled down Super Carry Ultra incorporates the years of design and engineering excellence seen in all Kimber firearms and has the same custom options available. The Super Carry Ultra lists for about $1200.

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