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Permit-less Carry Has Come to Kentucky

If you have been in one of my classes before, you have heard me say:

“A permit is nothing more than the government renting you your rights back for a fee…”

I am very excited for the announcement that Kentucky will no longer require a permit for concealed carry.  We have joined the ranks of those states who believe in the natural right to self-defense; and government need not be the gatekeeper for concealed carry in the state.

Constitutional Carry, as it has become commonly known, and better designated as permit-less carry, simply states that within the borders of a state which subscribes to such doctrine, one does not need a permit to carry a concealed firearm.

What does this mean for Kentucky residents and CCW holders?

link:   Governor Bevin Signs Constitutional Carry

Beginning in July 1, 2019, within the state of Kentucky… you will no longer need a permit to carry a concealed handgun.  You will still need to go through the permit process if you wish to carry outside of the state.  Most states in the USA do not recognize reciprocity with states who have permit-less carry alone.  Many states do recognize a permit that has some basic training requirements met.

Kentucky, being wise about reciprocity, is maintaining its permit system.  New permits will be issued under the same system we currently have.  They will still require a training class for that permit and all of the associated fees to maintain the system.

If you wish to be able to carry a concealed firearm in many of the states which border Kentucky and travel around the United States where reciprocity is honored, you will need to apply for the full permit.

Being a Responsibly Armed Citizen

I am a huge advocate for education and training.  While you may be allowed to carry a concealed weapon without a permit, you really should seek out training.  There is a great deal more to concealed carry than strapping a gun to your belt and walking out your front door.  Permit-less carry will soon be available, but you will still be held to the same laws as a permit holder.  Therefore, you will still have the same restrictions on where you can and cannot go.  The rules surrounding reasonable use of force and deadly force still apply to you.  As a responsibly armed citizen, it is of great importance you voluntarily seek education.

Permit holders and constitutional-carriers alike need to seek out skills based training as well.  Practicing basic marksmanship at your local indoor range is insufficient to prepare you for real world defensive gun use.

Even if you have some private land or a dynamic range to practice at, do you know how to efficiently perform handgun skills?  Have you been taught the proper techniques from a professional?  Do you know how to deliberately practice and not just send lead down range?

Go take a class in defensive handgun skills.  Take a friend with you.  I promise, it will be well worth your time and money investment.  After you take a skills class, you will then have the knowledge you need to make that deliberate practice worthwhile.

Permit-less Carry as a Great Philosophy

Until the entire USA recognizes permit-less carry as completely and totally acceptable, there will be restrictions if you do not have a permit.  So what is my advice?… I think you should still seek out the full CCW permit.

With the permit, comes the minimum education you will need, not only to be armed with a weapon, but to be armed with knowledge.  If you get your permit, you will not be restricted to only carrying in Kentucky.  You will have a basic understanding of the laws which govern concealed carry.  You might even learn better fundamental techniques for shooting.

Permit-less carry is a great philosophy.  I absolutely love that Kentucky now recognizes this fundamental right to self-defense without a fee.  We still have a long way to go in the country before this is universally accepted… and all states become constitutional carry states.  Until then, we should chalk this up as a win, and keep advocating for the enhanced freedom for our brethren in less free states.

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Patch Collecting

This is a bit of a guilty hobby… morale patches are fun to collect. I have many that are simply for fun, but this article is a chance to explain some of the patches I currently have with significant meaning. These are the patches I display in my classroom when I am teaching. They are meant to be conversation pieces to help draw students into my world, my experiences and my motivations for teaching in the defensive firearms world.

Ideals and Motivation

First and foremost, I consider myself a Christian and a Patriot.  My faith, ideals and principles guide every decision I make in life.  I teach and train self-defense because I believe that innocent life is sacred and worth protecting.  I believe wholeheartedly the God instilled our rights to life, liberty, property and pursuit of happiness; as well as gave us the ability to protect those things.

I am a firm believer in the constitution of the United Sates, which serves as a governing document to protect those rights (that is, when our politicians follow the rules and limitations set down in the constitution).

The patches that make up this block espouse those principles mentioned above.  I should make a note about the two flag pins on either side of the main flag patch.  The one on the left is simply a reworking of the Gadsden flag which represents the resistance to oppression our founding fathers demonstrated with their sacred honor and treasure.  The pin on the right is the battlefield cross.  This is in honor of all of those fine soldiers who have given up their lives to protect the freedoms we have here at home.  I would be remiss without mentioning, I get these pins from a retired former Army SF/Green Beret.  This gentleman makes some very awesome items I personally gift out to my warrior friends and assistant instructors.  Find him at this link: https://www.facebook.com/specialoperationspins/

Earned and Gifted

Here are a few that I am extremely proud of…  These are all patches which I have earned through hard work, my time and my treasure; or in the case of one of these, a gift from a good friend and training/competition partner.

The bottom three patches are certifications I have achieved with the intent to enable my teaching of Concealed Carry Classes.  They have also served to improve my teaching abilities as each class provides a different method or style of teaching.  These certifications also required me to teach in front of other professional instructors and take criticism in my content and delivery of the class concepts.

The dragonfly patch I earned through taking Haley Strategic’s D5 Carbine class.  This was an intense 3 day class where I learned how to effectively deploy my AR-15 style carbine.  I even ended up running my rifle out to 600 yards on a time challenge and was able to make the hit in about 1.2 seconds from a freestanding position (click this ink to read the course review of Haley Strategic’s class.).

The Q-Series patch was given to me and others after going through an instructor development class with Gary Quesenberry hosted by an instructor association which I used to be a leading member.  Gary was the former lead firearms instructor for the Federal Air Marshals as well as a competitor on the History Channel’s “Top Shot” TV program.  His class was awesome, and I hope to train with him again one day.  (click this link for the course review of Gary’s class.)

The last patch, in the upper right corner, is quite special.  A good friend gave me this patch to celebrate the birth of my son.  While I will not name him for the sake of his anonymity, I can say he is one of the best shooters I know.  I very much enjoy getting to put practice time and competition time with him, and he always pushes to shoot better, faster and more accurate.

I wish I had patches from all of the classes/trainings I have attended.  Unfortunately not all of them had patches available.  I figure, when I start my advanced classes, I will have to have some patches made for my students.

 

Organizations I Am Involved With

I am a Life-Member of the NRA… as well as an NRA certified instructor. While the NRA has taken some flack recently for some less than optimal stances on gun-control… they are still the largest group of Pro-Second-Amendment supporters in the nation.  A little leadership shake-up may make them affective again.  The NRA also does a massive amount of education support of adult and youth shooting sports.  This helps maintain my respect and support for the organization.

I also support other pro-2A organizations, like the Firearms Policy Coalition, but I don’t have any patches for them yet.  😉

I am also a competitor in the International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA).  This is a place where I can practice skills not allowed at your basic indoor range, like drawing your firearm and shooting while moving.  Competition also provides some stress on top of your skills, as your score is time based and you have an audience.  I encourage everyone who does concealed carry to go out and compete.

Products and Gear

I only display the patches of companies’ products I use and have high levels of quality in their specific product lines.

I carry and shoot Heckler and Koch, Sig Sauer and Glock Pistols regularly.  Each of these brands have high quality and reliability.  My current choice for daily carry is the Heckler and Koch VP9.

G-Code tends to be my go-to for outside the waistband holsters.  Typically I only use OWB holsters for competition and “Tactical”/Defensive load outs and not for Concealed Carry (I use JM Custom Kydex for CCW, but I don’t have a patch by them yet).   AR-500 armor sells decent rifle rated body armor for a good price to civilians.  This is for my “Tactical”/defensive load out as well.  Only for use during training or if we have a terrible civil-unrest event which the use of body armor is merited.

Scalarworks, makes the best optic mount on the planet.  All of my rifles are outfitted with scalar works mounts.  They are light-weight, tough as could be and their ratcheting mount screws allow me to take off the optic and put it back on without losing my zero.  These are great mounts.

Lastly, the one product that is not 100% related to firearms.  The hand with the two fingers sticking out is a salute from SKILLSET magazine.  These guys are all about “Redefining the Alpha Lifestyle”.  The talking heads on TV, in our schools/universities and the political left keep pushing the nonsense of “toxic-masculinity”.  The goal is the subjugation of men into the realm of unneeded and unwanted status. The writers and contributors to this magazine produce content that celebrates positive role models with SKILLS to make a difference.  Alpha and masculinity should not be used as derogatory adjectives and thus should be held in high regard. The only ones saying different are the ones with the agenda to persecute men and diminish them.

 

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Defensive Pistol Considerations – Beyond Your Concealed Carry Permit Class

You have just received your concealed carry permit… this is a great accomplishment.  It means you have taken it upon yourself to be responsible for the safety of yourself, your family and your community. 

Carrying a concealed handgun is also a very personal choice and a lifestyle change.  Every person has a different reason for making the choice to become a responsibly armed citizen; and every person is going to have a different journey as they mature in their walk as a concealed carrier.

Let’s start off with the basics of what your concealed carry class should have covered.  If any one of these items were not touched upon, these are good places to continue your education in carrying a gun for self-defense.

 

  • Firearms safety
  • Proper Shooting Techniques
  • Parts and function of ammunition and common firearm models
  • Handgun malfunctions, identifying them and fixing them
  • Laws around use of force
  • Laws which govern where you can carry in your state
  • Interacting with Law Enforcement while armed and after a defensive gun use

 

If any one of these topics was not discussed in your permit class, it is a good idea to reach out to a local certified instructor to help you find the right resources.  Likely though, if your CCW instructor takes their craft seriously, they had gone above and beyond these basic minimums and you will already be in a good place to move forward.

 

Mindset – Your Greatest Tool

 

First, let’s talk about mindset.  There are hundreds of data points out there where individuals with minimal training (or no training at all) were able to successfully defend themselves from a violent encounter.  There were always 2 major benefits they had on their side: LUCK… and MINDEST.

I often discuss with new CCW holders, there are many ways to survive a violent encounter.  Paraplegic, quadriplegic, mentally and physically scarred are well within the definition of surviving.  What I want all of you to realize, is that if you have the mindset to win; to prevail over a threat to you or the ones you love, you can and will move Heaven and Earth to make it through in one piece.

When I say that mindset is your greatest tool, I wholeheartedly mean it.  We make movies of the accomplishments of great people, who against overwhelming odds prevailed over an imposing force.  This is exactly what I mean!

Now… what happens when we take this “I WILL WIN” mindset and start adding some training and practice?

 

Training – 1st steps beyond the basic Concealed Carry Class

 

Your basic CCW class should have given you a good foundation.  Though, the CCW class was
an introduction, not the full skills class. I can tell you from experience, the first class I decided to take which dealt solely with the mechanics of deploying your firearm in a defensive manner was an eye-opening experience.

Local instructors are great (and I am not afraid to say that I take great pride in my own ability to teach) … but do not be afraid to sign up with one of the big names out there either. If you are more comfortable with a female trainer, Tatiana Whitlock, Carrie Lightfoot and Melody Lauer are wonderful, nationally recognized trainers with some serious skills.  I can also recommend.   Jeff Gonzales, Travis Haley or Mike Seeklander as examples of phenomenal instructors who teach students of varying skill levels and produce great results. You may be a bit intimidated with the big names in this industry, but these guys LOVE teaching; and the earlier they can influence new shooters the better that shooter will be.

Beyond the basics, here are a few topics we all must become proficient at, in order to effectively use our defensive pistol.

 

  • Drawing your pistol from both easy non-concealment and concealment
  • Basic marksmanship (yes, I know this is repeated from your CCW class, but it is that important, every beginner level training should have some serious focus on marksmanship.
  • Balance of speed and accuracy and distance
  • Target transitions (wolves travel in packs… you may have more than one target (Wolves = Bad Guys)
  • Emergency and Proactive Reloads – this is a skill that is statistically unlikely to be needed, but when they are needed, they are important
  • Malfunction Clearance (failure to fire, failure to feed, failure to eject and double feeds)
  • Cover and concealment, the differences and how to work around them (Cover stops bullets, concealment hides your visual location)

Why Train Alone?


I may be biased, but I think shooting is fun. It challenges the mind and our ability to focus.  It challenges the body for us to control our fine and gross motor skills… and it challenges us to overcome emotional states such as fear, apprehension and nervousness. To me this is fun.  I feel a sense of accomplishment every time I go out and perform a little better than my last trip to the range.

Now… activities that are fun, are often more fun when you enjoy them with other people.  Get together with your friends.  If they are not shooters already, take them out shooting. If they shoot, go to the range together, encourage one-another and help each other improve.

I recently attended a class with Travis Haley.  Travis is one of the top firearms trainers in the nation.  I will not lie that I was a bit intimidated and nervous to go to this class.  Yet, I really wanted to learn the skills he could teach.  I had watched his YouTube videos, read articles he had written for various magazines and had a desire to learn all I could from this man. Thankfully, I had two great friends who joined me and attended Travis’s class.  I had backup.  I had emotional and moral support.

Moral support while training is important.  You are going to have highs and lows as you learn and build your shooting skills. Your friends and training partners are going to celebrate with you on your good days and they are going to encourage you on the days when things don’t work out the way you want (and we all have those days).

 

Equipment – Different Strokes for Different Folks

 


Equipment really does come after training in the priority of defensive pistol topics… within reason. Many people effectively defend themselves and their families with inexpensive gear that is not considered up to the same robustness required of military or police use.  There typically needs to be some minimum standard of quality in equipment in order to train effectively and not allow your equipment to limit your learning.  But, the gun you have will be the tool you use to defend yourself with when it is necessary.

I highly recommend investing in quality equipment though.  It will last longer, shoot better and enable you to learn/train more efficiently. Handguns from Glock, Sig Sauer, Heckler and Koch and Smith & Wesson tend to be the guns I recommend.  Guns though, are only a small part of the equipment you will need.  So, do not get focused on buying the most expensive, fancy or pretty gun you can afford. Most of these guns can shoot faster and more accurate than the person behind the trigger.  Find the gun that feels good to you, that also leaves some of your budget for practice/training, a good holster and proper safety equipment.

The minimum safety equipment you need, is good eye and ear protection.  Again, I recommend giving a moderate investment in this area.  The old saying is, “buy once, cry once”.

Go to your local gun/sporting goods store and try out the eyewear.  Find something comfortable you can see wearing for an hour or two at a time.  I am a huge fan of Smith Optics Elite line of eyewear, but there are several other options out there that may meet your needs.  SSP and Wiley X come to mind.  There are also good offerings from Smith & Wesson, Butler Creek and others on the budget friendly end.

Electronic ear protection is also a good idea. These hearing protectors (some are earmuffs which are cheaper and some are in-ear buds which tend to be more expensive) help to keep out loud noises, but have little microphones/amplifiers in them so that when someone is talking to you, you can still communicate.  These are most helpful when training/practicing in a class or group environment.  Howard Leight, Walker’s Razor and 3M Peltor are the leading earmuff designs in this category.  Sport Ear and Walker’s tend to be the leaders in the earbud designs.

And Then There Were Holsters…

Holsters and methods of carry is a contentious subject.  Everyone has their favorite, and that favorite is not likely to be the favorite of even a tenth of their concealed carrying friends.  We all have different physiologies which impact our comfort while carrying and our access to that firearm in a time of need.

 

The sad truth is… you are likely to try and buy several holsters over your concealed carrying life. Some will work for you and some will not.  I personally have a box full of holsters I do not use anymore.  Normally I would sell these and recoup some of my cash, but I keep them around as demonstration pieces when I teach concealed carry and handgun skills classes.  If you aren’t teaching a group of new shooters, I see no major need to hoard holsters like I do.  Selling them off and moving on to new and better holsters is not a bad proposition.

Many holsters were designed for male physiology and clothing. Female physiology and fashion often REQUIRES different needs/designs.   The location of women’s hips and their center of gravity often shift the positions a holster would be located from places which men generally find to be comfortable.

Strong-side carry (at the 3 o’clock position for right handed persons) may require shifting slightly to the rear (4 o’clock or more) for women to get past the pressure placed on the hip bone.  Appendix carry (around 1 o’clock) is often a preferred carry location for women for comfort.  Appendix carry comes with some new concerns about safety and trigger finger placement while drawing the firearm due to the muzzle direction around the femoral artery.

There are also many other concealment options for women with belly bands, bra-attached holsters and off-body carry like purses (though I warn against such methods of carry due to ease of theft and the inability to have the handgun under your control 100% of the time).

One secret to carrying a concealed pistol comfortably is a belt specifically designed as a gun belt. Companies are even making belts for women that are a little lighter and more flexible than the belts marketed to men.

Clothing… It is a Really Bad Idea to Ask Me About Fashion

Concealing a firearm on your body, and not making it obvious is a bit of an art-form.  The general idea is to carry your gun in a fashion that is both easily accessible to you in an emergency and yet obscured from any observer’s view.

This is typically done with clothes that hang more loosely off the body.  I often advocate for dark colors or patterned clothing; which help obscure the outline of the gun from the human ability to visually see patterns.

 

My wife can tell you, I generally have poor fashion sense.  I usually dress in a pair of jeans or khakis with a button up shirt or polo shirt.  But this is boring attire for a man.  It is really meant for me to blend in and not draw attention to myself.  I do tend to avoid the stereotypical Hawaiian shirt, unless I am trying to be ironic.  Nothing says “look at me, I’m carrying a gun”, more than dressing up as Magnum P.I.

Also, I recommend avoiding any articles of clothing which blatantly display a gun brand, the NRA or other iconography which may betray you are carrying a concealed pistol.  I can see a time and place for those fun shirts, like the NRA convention, or a trip to the shooting range.  Generally, though, I advise against it walking around in the general public.

Women have different needs and expressions of fashion.  I would recommend searching out different videos on YouTube and reading some of the articles by leading women authors.  Julie Golob, Tatiana Whitlock and Gabby Franco come to mind as good resources.  The Well Armed Woman website should be a definite visit as you are learning about women’s specific concealed carry needs (https://thewellarmedwoman.com)

 

If You Had to, Can You Pull the Trigger

 

Jumping back into more serious topics…

 

A question all of us who carry a defensive pistol must answer is, “If we are forced into a situation where the lives of ourselves, our children or other family and friends are in immediate and imminent danger, can we take another human life?”  This is no small question.  It is a very personal and introspective question every responsibly armed citizen needs to answer for themselves.

 

Concealed carriers wield an enormous amount of power.  These tools (our pistols) we carry have the potential to kill.  They also have the ability to prevent innocent lives being lost without the ability to defend themselves.

 

It should also be said… your firearm is a tool to defend innocent human life.  Material objects are not worth killing another human being. If a criminal wants to break into your home and steal your television, let them have your television.  This is why we have homeowner’s insurance.

 

If you take a human life, even in self-defense, there will be consequences.  There will be moral and spiritual consequences as you come to grips with your actions; and depending on the circumstances surrounding your use of deadly force, there may be legal consequences.

 

Small Steps to Prevent Being a Victim

 

We live in a very peaceful country.  For the most part, we do not have to worry about the violence and crime witnessed in many other parts of the world.  Even Europe is experiencing massive increases in violent crime in the past decade.

I think part of the reason the United States is so peaceful, is our Second Amendment rights and risk imposed to the bad guys should they choose the wrong victim. 

While we live in relative peace, this also places us into a position of complacency.  Unfortunately, criminals, when profiling potential victims, look for those who appear to be complacent and aloof.  We have all seen the aloof individual out in public. Those who walk around staring at their cellphone screen or those paying no attention to the world with earbuds in their ears show the rest of the world they are an easy target.

As we go out into the world, it is our responsibility to take extra steps to avoid being the target of evildoers.  Simply keeping your head up, not looking at your phone and allowing all of your senses to be used to observe your surroundings (keep those earbuds out of your ears), goes a long way to outwardly communicate you will not be an easy victim.

 

Be Observant

 

An often overused and highly misunderstood concept in the defensive training world is situational awareness.  It has become a catch all term for looking around and being aware of your surroundings. This catch-all phrase has lost the meaning of its first word, “situational”.

Situational should suggest you already know what is normal for this particular situation (or similar situations) and you can readily observe when something changes and plan accordingly.

I strongly recommend reading the book “Left of Bang” by Patrick Van Horne and Jason A. Riley. This book lays out the different categories one would observe both as “normal” in a situation and things which might change or be out of place, and suggest that you may have to act (hopefully preventatively) in a manner which removes you from any threat or danger.

 

Those categories are:

 

  • Kinesics – Body Language – You should focus on postures and gestures which express a person’s emotional state and possible future intentions.
  • Biometrics – Uncontrollable and automatic biological responses to stress.  Is someone sweating when they shouldn’t?  Is a person avoiding eye contact?
  • Proxemics – Interpersonal Space – peoples’ behavior as it relates to surrounding people – Do you see someone keeping distance from people in a more intimate environment?  Are they getting close to others when the environment is keeping larger distances?
  • Geographics – People’s relationships with their environment –Do you observe individuals who are familiar or unfamiliar with the areas they are in?
  • Iconography – Symbols, Clothing, markings, or other imagery which communicates beliefs or affiliations – Do you see people whose dress/tattoos indicate a dangerous affiliation?
  • Atmospherics – Collective attitudes, moods, emotions or behaviors of groups of people in a given situation or place.  Does the environment see a sudden shift in behaviors?

And the Journey Continues

This is far from everything you need to know as an individual who has just received their concealed carry permit.  This is a journey.  Every day you will learn more.  You may experiment with a new holster and discover a new or better carry method (or a method that did not work at all).  You may take a training class and learn a shooting technique or concept that elevates your speed and accuracy.  You may even find a great group of friends who love to go shooting like you do.

As is the case with many things in life, it pays to become a lifelong learner.  The more you know, the better prepared you are going to be if bad things happen.

I want to give a heartfelt thanks to all those who have chosen to take the steps to become a responsibly armed citizen.  You will make yourselves, your families and your communities safer. 

Simply by reading this article, you have invested the time into thinking a little more about what being a defensive minded person entails.  To me, this is no small thing.

Good luck in your journey as a defensive firearms owner and concealed carrier.

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