October 19, 2021

This edition of Deadly Force will finish up this chapter on personal protection options. We will discuss holsters, ammunition and sights.

There are a few things to consider when selecting a holster. Deciding how and where you will carry your firearm will be the first thing to consider. Once you know that, you will need to decide what material the holster will be made. The variety of holsters on the market today is staggering. Everyone thinks they can reinvent the wheel and think they can introduce something entirely new. Sorting through all those holsters seems to be a rite of passage for new gun owners. You should be surprised if you buy less than four or five holsters before you find one you like, and then, you will probably buy at least one or two after that. The pistol that works perfect for your friend might be horrible for you. If you don’t believe me, go to a gun show and look at the hundreds of used holsters for sale.

So, what should you look for while choosing a holster? First thing you will need to ask yourself is, how will you carry your firearm?

If you are going to carry your firearm in the “open carry” method, you will probably want to look at OWB (Outside Waist Band) holster. These holsters attach to you gun belt and hang on the outside of your pants. There is also thigh carry which is probably the best method for open carrying. These holsters are usually called drop leg holsters and are similar to what tactical police and military use.

If you are going to carry your firearm in the “Concealed carry” method, there are several options to choose from to suit your needs. The most popular conceal holster is the IWB or (In Waist Band) Holster.  These holsters attach to you gun belt and hang on the inside of your pants. Some models also allow you to tuck your shirt in your pants around the firearm.  Other options are ankle and shoulder holsters which are self explanatory. Sometimes, people prefer tactical purses or fanny packs to conceal their firearms. Both these items work well to conceal your firearm, but deployment is typically slower than a conventional holster. There are is also pocket carry. These holsters have a “sticky” outer covering to keep the holster in your pocket when you need to deploy your firearm.

This cannot be stressed enough, Always wear a holster that is properly fitted for your firearm. There are 2 main objectives to choosing a holster. Safety – your holster must completely cover the trigger guard and trigger. The must be no way for an object to accidentally get inside the trigger guard and engage the trigger. The second objective is retention. Retention keeps your firearm in your possession until you are ready to deploy the firearm.  You may find yourself running from an attacker or scene of an attack to escape. You do not want your firearm to flop onto the ground where you could lose control of your firearm. You also do not want someone to easily disarm you by simply pulling your firearm out of the holster.

As a responsible gun owner, you should never ever “Mexican Carry.” Now, before everyone calls that a racist statement, let me explain where that description came from.

Once you go back to the roots of this term, you will find there is neither racism nor anything else derogatory in the term “Mexican Carry.” The lore of the gun tells us that back in the 1800s, the Mexican vaqueros, who were much like the American cowboy, were an independent, self-reliant sort who often carried a handgun. Nineteenth century Mexico was ruled by one despot rising after another. The day eventually came when the average citizen was stripped of his right to go armed when he wished. This did not sit well with the fiercely freedom-loving caballeros. They grudgingly took off their gun belts and holsters, because possession of such would be seen as evidence that they had violated the draconian new laws that disarmed them. However, they defiantly kept their handguns by simply stuffing them into the waistband behind their ordinary belt.

So, as we now understand the history of the phrase, there’s nothing culturally negative about “Mexican Carry.” When we use the term, let us remember our current environment of gun control and pay homage to generations of men south of the border that refused to give up the right to protect themselves and their families because petty tyrants attempted to make them helpless.

Holsters come in several materials. Originally, holsters were made of leather. Leather holsters are nice as they will “break in” and become very comfortable. Never oil your leather holster as you would with a baseball glove. That will cause the leather to soften too much. The leather could fold and accidentally cause a ND (negligent discharge.) Some holsters are made of a rigid plastic called Kydex. This product is heated and becomes very pliable within seconds. The Kydex blank is then wrapped around the gun and as an even pressure is applied, it forms a perfect shape of the gun. Typically, screws and rubber rings are used to adjust the retention. Some inexpensive holsters are made with a Nylon mesh material. Typically, retention is made by attached strips of Velcro.

Remember, firearm retention prevents your firearm from falling into unauthorized hands. Always effectively conceal and retain your firearm. Keep in mind, if you conceal carry you may need to buy clothing that is the next size larger to accommodate the extra thickness of your firearm. Gun safes and gun locks should be considered for safe storage of your firearms when you are not carrying. Ammunition comes in many different calibers. You should only use ammunition specified for your firearm.

Acronyms for ammunition, each box of ammo should be designated with one of these acronyms to help you understand what you are buying. I will not get into detail on these, but not them here so that you know there are many different bullets available.

  • JHP = Jacketed Hollow Point
  • FMJ = Full Metal Jacket MC = Metal Case
  • HP = Hollow Point
  • BJHP = Brass Jacketed Hollow Point
  • TMJ = Total Metal Jacket or Encased-Core Full Jacket
  • WC = Wad Cutter
  • WFN = Wide Flat Nose
  • WFNGC = Wide Flat Nose Gas Checked
  • LWC = Lead Wad Cutter
  • SWC = Semi Wad Cutter
  • LSWC = Lead Semi Wad Cutter
  • LSWCHP = Lead Semi Wad Cutter Hollow Point
  • EMJ = Enclosed Metal Jacket
  • LRN = Lead Round Nose
  • STHP = Silver Tip Hollow Point
  • TFSP = Total Fragmenting Soft Point
  • SJSP = Semi Jacketed Soft Point
  • SJHP = Semi Jacketed Hollow Point
  • LHP = Lead Hollow Point
  • CLL = Cowboy Lead Load
  • JSP = Jacketed Soft Point
  • FN = Flat Nosed
  • FNEB = Flat Nose Enclosed Base
  • PTHP = Platnium Tip Hollow Point
  • PG = Partitioned Gold
  • HSP = Hollow Soft Point
  • PSP = Pointed Soft Point
  • BT = Boat Tail
  • BTHP = Boat Tail Hollow Point
  • CT = Copper Tip

One of the last things to consider is your choice of sights. There are scopes which can be a fixed length or a telescopic or variable scope that has a range of magnification. A popular scope is a 3-9 power but magnification up to 80X is available.


Iron sights which are also called open sights are the standard types of sights that come mounted on all firearms.

Using a peep sight is similar to the iron sight but looks a little different. Usually found on rifles but can be used on other firearms. Peep sights use a front sight and the rear sight is a circular hole that you look through. The circular hole is called a peep sight, which looks like a door peep hole.

Reflex sights are used for short to middle range targets. They usually have a red dot in the center. Red dot sights and holographic sights are considered reflex sights. Reflex sights are often used by law enforcement and the military. These sights help to quickly gain a target to achieve a relatively accurate shot.

Laser sights are mounted underneath the muzzle of the firearm. Used like a laser pointer a red or green dot is positioned on the spot where the bullet will go.

Next Chapter: Castle Doctrine & Stand Your Ground

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