0348 – Concealed Carry in Difficult Situations

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you felt it was important to have your concealed carry handgun but you weren’t able to because of challenging limitations? Maybe it was some kind of athletic endeavor that limited you. Or it could be that a required wardrobe was holding you back. Maybe it was a combination of both. The fact is that we all at some point and time face these kinds of situations and we have to find some way to deal with it. Sometimes the answer is to simply leave the gun behind as the benefits of not having the gun outweigh the risks of not having it. Other times we need to look at alternate carry methods so that we can find a way to have our defensive handgun in challenging situations.
Today we are going to take a look at how to carry concealed in challenging circumstances.

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Revolver Concealed Carry Training with Grant Cunningham

Home defense revolverDo you carry a revolver as a concealed carry handgun? Maybe a wheel gun is your back up for when you can’t access your primary. Or do you keep a reliable large frame revolver by the bedside to protect yourself and those that you love? Do you get enough training with that revolver?

I know the answer for me is no. Especially realistic training that will really help me to perform at my best when I need to most, during a violent encounter where my life is on the line.

We really need that training time with our actual defensive handgun. You know, the one you actually carry not the gun that is the most fun to shoot at the range.

When we are talking about revolvers that training time might be more important than we think. Of course we know that a revolver has some outstanding features such as reliability and the fewest steps possible to get shots on target. At the same time, we have to be realistic about the wheel gun. Revolvers have a limited capacity. Their sights that may be close to nonexistent. Revolvers almost always have a relatively long, heavy trigger pull. Don’t forget the complex reloading and malfunction remediation procedures.

It’s these complexities that make training so important. We need to learn the right skills and practice those skills under the supervision of an expert. Not just any firearms instructor has the knowledge of revolvers and the skills to convey that knowledge efficiently to students. This makes it difficult for everyday people like you and me to get the training we really need. So we settle for reading a book or watching a few YouTube videos and we risk finding information that is incorrect or missing out on the valuable feedback that only live training with a qualified instructor can provide.

Revolver CCWWhen it comes to training to protect ourselves and those that we love we can’t afford to make those kinds of mistakes. The consequences can be too great to take shortcuts.

This frustration of mine is exactly why I decided to go right to the source for revolver specific training. I read the book, Defensive Revolver Fundamentals by Grant Cunningham and you should do the same. But I wanted the feedback from live training with THE expert. I wanted the interaction to get better, faster. So I used my connections in the industry to contact the author of the most current, most comprehensive defensive revolver book on the market and bring him to me for training.

That is exactly the opportunity I’m offering to you. The chance to train in person with revolver expert, gunsmith and author of Defensive Revolver Fundamentals, Grant Cunningham. You see, Grant is a professional defensive shooting instructor, an expert with the wheel gun and it’s defensive application. This positions him as one of the top resources in the nation for practical, realistic defensive skills that pertain specifically to the revolver.

The opportunity to train in person with Grant is one that will change how you think of your revolver as a defensive tool.

Grant Cunningham revolver expertYou can expect to learn:

  • How to get your revolver into action safely from the holster so that you can stop the threat without adding risk to yourself and those you love.
  • Dealing with the long, heavy trigger pull of the revolver efficiently so you can get shots in the threat wen you need to most.
  • Reloading the revolver. When and how to keep your wheel gun fed and in the condition to help you win.
  • Dealing with malfunctions. What is the best way to solve the infrequent failures when Murphy rears his ugly head.
  • The concepts and principles of personal security that will help you to avoid using your gun in the first place and help you prevail when you find yourself in the altercation you can’t avoid.

It isn’t very often that you have the opportunity to train with someone like Grant Cunningham and get the specific training you need to improve your defensive revolver skills. Already we have had people from 5 different states registered for this course because they know that this kind of training is a rare opportunity.

If you count on a revolver as your defensive gun of choice this course should be at the top of your list. The good news is that it can be!

There are still a few spots available but they will fill quickly. If you understand how important quality training can be, click on the link, check out the details and get registered today.

SSA GHO 016 – Critical Defensive Handgun Skills

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The Safety Solutions Academy Google Hangouts is the place for everyday people to come to understand the truth about personal security, unravel the complexities of defensive training and demystify the gun.

I am your host and the owner of
, Paul Carlson.  Just like most of you I am just a regular guy that is interested in protecting myself and my loved ones from that worst case scenario.  I’m not an operator.  I’m not a SWAT cop or a Police Officer.  I’m a Dad, a husband, a teacher, a professional defensive shooting instructor and a law abiding armed citizen. I’ve spent the last decade an a half working to understand how it is that humans perform and can learn to prevail in life threatening violence.  

My background as an everyday guy, an eternal student and a professional educator has positioned me uniquely in the industry to break down and educate concerned citizens like you in the seemingly universal challenges that hold people back when they are interested in increasing their ability to protect themselves and those that they love.

As is typical Grant Cunningham is joining us as our co-host.  Grant is the owner of
, one of the top gunsmiths in the country specializing in revolvers.  Grant is an author several times over and is a respected instructor in defensive firearms circles across the nation.  We love having him on the SSA GHO’s because he brings an innovative and logical perspective to an industry rife with illogical fads.

This week we will continue our in depth discussion of Critical Defensive Handgun Skills.  We have some more general thoughts for you folks as well as an insightful email from Joe.

Grant lets first dive into the concepts that we explored earlier this week when it comes to what is critical and what isn’t critical.  In general, I see our industry approaching things from a myopic viewpoint.  More specifically, there is a tendency to look at things with regard to only one factor.  An example would be the caliber debate.  Many choose the facet they are most interested in and whatever caliber wins that facet wins over all.  Those that are interested in diameter would choose .45.  Those that are focused on capacity, 9mm.  Velocity .357 Sig.  You get the idea.  The problem is, there isn’t just one factor that matters.  Instead there are a ton of factors.  if we look at it from just one angle we are likely to miss the boat and risk making an ignorant decision. 

When it comes to making decisions about what is a critical defensive handgun skill we risk making the same mistake.  It is easy to look at how likely an event is to occur but that is only one angle.  the fact is it is unlikely that you or I will ever be required to use our firearm to defend ourselves or those that we love.  So why do we carry a gun?  because the consequences of not being able to defend ourselves are so dire that we cannot accept them.  We must look at multiple factors.  How likely is it to happen, if it does happen how bad will it be, how many resources does it consume to prepare?  All these things and more are factors in determining where a skill fits on the training continuum and whether or not it is critical.

We will deal with these issues and much more!


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The Safety Solutions Academy Google Hangouts are where everyday people come to understand what personal security really is, to unravel defensive training and to demistify the gun.

Tonight Grant Cunningham and I will be taking a look at the second part in a series about Critical Defensive Skills.  Tonight, the skills are skills that have nothing to do with the gun.  In fact these proper application of these skills might result in not needing to use the gun at all.

Tune in to see what we have to say and make sure to visit us on the web at:


Smith and Wesson beats Glock to the punch with a “No Safety” single stack 9mm

Today Smith & Wesson officially released news that they are ready to begin shipping Smith and Wesson Shield 9mm handguns that have no manual thumb safety. This is great news for folks that are interested in a compact but powerful defensive handgun that is sized for convenient concealed carry.

Read about where the news broke, Guns Holsters and Gear.


Single stack 9mm smith and Wesson

Here is the original image that Jonathan found in a forum

The History

I have been thrilled with the S&W Shield from its release except for one quality, the thumb safety.  The safety on the Shield is unnecessary.  The handgun has a trigger safety; a firing pin block and a reasonable weight trigger pull just like other Modern Striker Fired handguns.  The difference is most of those other guns that are bigger cousins to the Shield have no manual thumb safety.  In my opinion, they are built like they should be.  Simply!  Even the full size M&P pistols are available with no safety.

The safety was a deal breaker for me.  In addition to being unnecessary, it was also so stiff and so small it was all but impossible to use.  I typically advised students that owned and carried M&P Shields to carry the handgun with the safety turned off.  It seems simple enough to just go this route, but there is a worry.  What if that hard to use safety, the one you haven’t trained with because you pretend it isn’t there, somehow gets activated.  Yeah.  That is what we call a bad day.  But it seems like a farfetched possibility.

The Student

Jonathan Faucher has spent some time training with Safety Solutions Academy when we have courses in the NE.  On Jonathan’s second time attending an SSA Critical Defensive Handgun course he took it the way students really should.  He carried his actual carry gun instead of the larger easier to shoot range gun that most students bring.  Jon also carries in an unorthodox way.  I’ll leave that to your imagination.

In class we talked about the possibility of accidentally activating the safety.  We discussed it was a long shot but a bad deal if it happened.  It was sometime on day two when it did.  Jon took some serious steps to keep it from happening again including a holster specific for his unusual mode of carry and resolved to accept the risk.


Follow this link if you are looking for realistic training to learn how to deal with the complexities of a violent encounter and to test your concealed carry gear.


The Detective

Jon does a good job of keeping in touch like a lot of my students do and last week he let me know that during training (thank goodness) it happened again.  It was a few minutes later that he sent me an image of the M&P Shield spec sheet that he had seen in a forum.  I passed the image to my good friend Richard Johnson at Guns Holsters and Gear and he started his usual deep investigation.  At first we were convinced that it was a rumor and then Richard got a call from Smith & Wesson.

The rest is history. Or about to be.

Shield no safety

Read the rest of the scoop here at Richard’s site and if you aren’t following him you are crazy.  There is a reason I gave this info to the sleuth.

Start talking to your dealer about your new 9mm single stack Smith and Wesson M&P Shield with no manual thumb safety now.  They should be shipping immediately.

Finally the right single stack 9mm has hit the market.  I was really hoping it would be a Glock but in the end it really doesn’t matter.  My guess is they will be vying for silver in the New Year.

Another Advanced Pistol Handling Course Added to the SSA Schedule

CCW training advancedLast week I sent out an extra email letting folks know about some upcoming classes coming to NE Ohio through Safety Solutions Academy.  Obviously folks are hungry for training and the response was such that I have added an additional Advanced Pistol Handling course to the schedule.

We still have a few slots available for folks to enroll in the June 7th and 8th Critical Defensive Handgun Course which is a prerequisite to the APH class.  

You can sign up for your Critical Defensive Handgun Course here.

The Advanced Pistol Handling Course will help you to expand the circumstances under which you are able to apply the skills you learned in the CDH course.  We will take those skills to the ground and into the vehicle and add in one handed gun handling skills for reloads and malfunctions.  This is a class you don’t want to miss.  You will wrap up the weekend exhausted but invigorated at the new skills you will be able to call your own.

Register for Advanced Pistol Handling here.

Thanks to all of you for your support and I will see you on the range soon!



How to store your concealed carry handgun in your vehicle

Securing Your Concealed Carry Handgun in Your Vehicle When You Can’t Carry It

Many people in the defensive firearm world believe that you need to carry a gun every waking moment of your life. All day, every day. Individuals who are critical thinkers know that this isn’t possible or even desirable. The simple fact is there are some places where it is illegal to carry a handgun concealed. In other situations it may be against policy. I might suggest that sometimes it might be that you just don’t want to carry our handgun. Some people may find themselves in this type of situation on a regular basis. Just because you need or want to go to one of those places doesn’t mean you should relinquish your concealed carry piece on the trip to or from your destination. You could leave you gun at home. In some situations that might be the correct solution. Other times leaving your gun at home won’t be the right choice. So, “What do I do with my handgun when I arrive at my destination?” That is the question we are working to answer today.

Common Problems for Real People

There are many situations where you won’t be carrying your gun. To fully evaluate this challenge we first need to understand why you might not carry. Understanding why will help you to deal with realistic handgun storage when you find yourself in one of these common circumstances.

You might not carry concealed because: It’s Illegal

Right or wrong, there are many locations that you might go where it is illegal to carry a concealed handgun. Any person that leads any kind of a normal life will go to these places too. You might stop at the post office to mail a package. Or, you could drop off or pick up your child from school. Visit a family member in the hospital. Have dinner with a friend at a local pub. You might even shop at a store that is posted as a gun free zone. You probably frequent some places where it is against the law to carry. We all do. In these situations, the consequences can be quite severe if you ignore the law. It is your responsibility to know the law (really, you need to know your local laws.) As a law abiding armed citizen it would be expected that you would follow those laws. To follow the law, you would need to either leave your handgun at home, or make sure it is properly stored in our vehicle.

You might not carry concealed because: It’s Against the Rules

Another situation that is common for many CCW holders like you is to frequent places where it might be legal to carry, but it is against the rules. Workplace policies that prohibit concealed carry aren’t a threat to your freedom if broken. Most people probably need their job. You might even like yours. When you engage in legal activities that break your employers rules you still face risk. Disciplinary action up to and including firing can result when you ignore the rules at work.
I’m lucky. I am self-employed and that means I write my own policy. I carry at work. You may not be in the same kind of position. You might work for an employer that doesn’t understand the truth about carrying concealed weapons. As a result you face a tough choice. It is easy for someone in my position to say something snarky like, “Find a new job,” or, “The risk of not having a gun when you need it is worse than losing your job.” Frankly, the only person that can make those kinds of judgments is you. Where it is legal, storing your handgun securely in your vehicle while you are at work might be a more palatable option than re-entering the job market.

You might not carry concealed when: It Doesn’t Make Sense to Carry

The final situation that real people like you and me run into is times when our own choices make it unpleasant, difficult, or even impossible to carry a handgun. Let me give you an example. I’m a SCUBA diver and although it would be “super 007” cool if I did, I don’t carry a gun when I dive. When I jump on a great lakes charter boat I face threats to my safety. I’m more concerned with hypothermia, bad weather or getting bent than piracy or boat jacking… as a result, my gun stays in the truck.
I’m sure you can think of some situation where you can’t or don’t want to carry your gun. You might be hitting the ski slopes. Jumping on the treadmill at the gym. Better yet you could be going for a swim with the kids. It may be safer, easier and more reasonable to secure your handgun properly in your vehicle. Why try to figure out how you can safely and securely carry a handgun in these particularly awkward situations?

It is pretty clear that there are some very reasonable situations where we might want to carry our handgun to and from where we are going but then choose to secure it when we arrive. So let’s take a look at how you can do that safely.

Securing your concealed carry handgun: The Concept

When you are prohibited or choose not to carry your concealed handgun, secure your concealed carry handgun in your vehicle in a way that prevents access from unauthorized users and doesn’t pose unnecessary risk to yourself or others.

It is important to understand that I’m not exploring this topic from a quick access stand point. We are not talking about how you carry a gun in the car so that you can access it if you need to defend yourself. Instead, we are looking at the scenario where you are going to make your handgun relatively inaccessible and secure because you are NOT going to use it for a period of time.

Responsible gun owners understand that with our rights come responsibilities. An important responsibility that accompanies your right to carry a concealed handgun is its proper storage. Most people who carry concealed do so because they are interested in increasing their personal safety. Something that I dread (you probably do too,) is the idea of my handgun falling into the wrong hands. It doesn’t matter who that wrong person is. Maybe someone that is ignorant of firearm safety rules who could accidentally injure themselves or someone else. It could be someone that has deliberate, evil intentions of hurting other people. It is your responsibility to take the necessary steps to make sure your handgun is secured from unauthorized users when it is not in your direct control.

Important Considerations

When we need to or choose to leave our defensive handgun in a vehicle there are some important principles that we should consider to make sure that our firearm is and remains relatively secure. Understand, other than not having a handgun in your vehicle at all there is no way to guarantee its security. Leaving it at home isn’t a guarantee either. Regardless, you need to take reasonable measures to keep your gun out of unauthorized hands. You may find the following suggestions helpful. Don’t hesitate to take additional precautions if they increase the security of your handgun and don’t increase risk to yourself or others. Also, make sure you understand and follow all laws about the safe storage of your defensive handgun.

Secure Your Vehicle

One of the most important steps you can take to secure your valuables inside of a vehicle is to make sure the vehicle itself is secure. The saying,”Locks keep honest people honest” might be a bit trite but has some truth to it. It is sound advice. You see, honest people don’t steal. At all. Some crooks don’t quite have the determination, the knowledge or the tools to access a locked vehicle. Reaching through an open window or opening an unlocked door is a different ball game than smashing a window or using tools to open a lock. It is easy to protect your valuables and more importantly your handgun. Simply close the windows and lock the doors. Less dedicated thieves, and others who shouldn’t be interacting with our concealed carry handgun are unlikely to gain access to your handgun if you take this simple step.

Lock Car CCW

Take simple to keep your handgun secure from the curious or the opportunity thief. Lock your doors and close your windows.

Take some simple steps to make sure you secure your vehicle before you leave it. Visually inspect the locks. Are they in the locked position? Activate the door handle. Is the door secure? Double check to make sure that all the windows are in the fully up position. A locked door is useless if a dirt bag can easily defeat the lock by reaching through an open window. Securing your car is the first step.

Use a Locked Container Designed for Handgun Storage
Securing your vehicle can certainly help to deter unauthorized access to your concealed carry handgun. Alone, it may not do the trick. Secure your handgun in a container designed for handgun storage. These containers are relatively inexpensive. When we compare them to the monetary cost of your concealed carry handgun the cost is nothing. When we consider the additional consequences that could accompany the theft or unauthorized access of your pistol – A bargain. Do you need me to elaborate here? Probably not. I’m sure your imagination is doing a great job of helping you to understand the importance of this issue.

Since quick access is not one of our goals, a key or rotating combination lock is just fine for this application. Remember, we are not staging our handgun for defensive use and quick access. Keeping the gun out of the wrong hands is our purpose. Avoid the use of you glove box or center counsel. They may be one of the first places criminals look for valuables. Also the locks associated with compartments in a vehicle are easily defeated. These locks are only mildly secure and the thief expects to encounter them. Crooks expect to find the good stuff in the glove box or the center console. Don’t make it so easy.

A lock box has other advantages as well. Having a dedicated lock box gives you a dedicated place for storing your handgun and ammunition. Maybe you are more orderly than most. My glove box and center counsel are fairly full of items that are completely unrelated to my handgun. You are much better off having a dedicated location for your concealed carry handgun so there is room for it when you need it.

Secure the Container to the Vehicle

CCW cable

A lock box with a cable can be easily installed and removed from a vehicle by using a simple girth hitch. The cable also provides flexibility when storing or retrieving your handgun.

Another advantage of a dedicated pistol box is that you can easily physically attach the box to your vehicle. This makes theft of the box with your firearm in it much more difficult. You can achieve attachment in one of two ways depending on the lock box you select. The easiest method usually entails the use of a cable system. First, you secure the cable around the seat frame or another part of the vehicle with a simple knot called a girth hitch. Then you lock the free end of the cable inside the box so that the girth hitch cannot be undone. This method is secure so that a typical crook isn’t going to remove the box without special tools and extra time. It also allows for you to remove the box and relocate it in another vehicle easily when needed. The length of cable can also come in handy when it comes time to place your handgun into the box. It provides some mobility to the case so you can bring the case to the gun instead of the gun to the case.


Most lock boxes also allow for a more permanent installation option. With some simple tools you mark the hole pattern from the box or template on a solid surface and then drill. Then, drive screws through the box and into the surface. Once you close and lock the box the screws are inaccessible. This method has the advantage of being more secure. It may be more challenging to access the box when you need to use it if you install it in an area such as under a seat. This method may be better suited to mounting a storage box in an area like the trunk where it is easily concealed by closing the trunk itself.

Whichever method you choose, you decrease the chances of your handgun being taken from your vehicle by attaching the box to the vehicle. We have to understand that neither method is perfect. All it takes is time and tools and the dedicated thief will have your case and your gun. Remember, every bit of time and effort required makes your handgun less attractive to steal.

Keep Your Locked Secure Container Out of Sight

Under seat concealed carry

The thin profile and cable make under seat storage a great option for your lock box.

We have established that you need to keep your vehicle secure. You agree that you should select a handgun specific lock box and attach it to your vehicle. Even these steps aren’t fool proof. We have to accept that a dedicated professional or curious child can gain access to your handgun with time and tools. The good news is, you can increase your security further by not letting folks know there is a gun in the car in the first place. If you keep a locked box in sight, it indicates that there is something worth locking up. Something that you lock up is something worth stealing. At least to the criminal mind. This isn’t a reason to avoid a lock box. Instead it is motivation for you to keep the lock box out of sight. Under a seat, in the trunk or secured inside your center counsel (you can see how this is different than just leaving the gun alone in the center counsel, right?) are all possible locations for your lock box.

 No single measure will ensure the security of your concealed carry piece from unauthorized users. However, taking multiple steps to secure your handgun increases the security far more than the individual measures themselves.


Minimize Administrative Gun Handling

When you consider storing your handgun in your vehicle you need to consider multiple issues. We have taken a good look at dealing with unauthorized access. Now we need to take a look at our own safety when storing our concealed handgun. Handling a firearm inside your vehicle can pose multiple challenges. The inside of your vehicle, combined with your method of carry and location of your lock box, can restrict your movement. This makes generally safe procedures more risky.

Concealed carry safety

Manipulating your loaded handgun can be a challenge in a vehicle and should be avoided.

You should make sure you receive the training you need to be able to safely handle your defensive handgun inside your car. Understand that even with the proper training you can’t eliminate all risk. Reserve gun handling skills inside a vehicle for when you NEED them, in a defensive situation. There is no reason to manipulate your handgun in your car. You can minimize the amount of administrative gun handling by taking two simple steps. First, leave your defensive handgun in the holster when securing it and retrieving it from your lock box. Your holster is an important safety device. If properly designed and selected, your holster will completely cover the trigger guard.

The trigger is the mechanism that fires you gun. If you or something else cannot activate the trigger it is very unlikely that your gun will fire. Keep your gun in the holster and you will prevent your finger, clothing and just about anything else from accidentally entering the trigger guard, activating the trigger and firing your gun.


Common Problems with Simple Solutions

As with many things in life, carrying a concealed handgun can present its challenges. At the same time there is a reason why we chose to carry. We carry a gun so that we have the tools we need to respond appropriately to a violent, lethal threat. Having strategies to secure our handgun safely and securely in our vehicle helps to make us safer. It increases the number of circumstances in which we are able to carry a concealed handgun responsibly. In addition, it fulfills our responsibility to store our firearms properly. Please use the above strategies to make sure that you secure your firearm in a manner that prevents access from unauthorized users and at the same time doesn’t endanger yourself or others.

CCW holster

With the trigger guard completely covered by a properly designed holster it is relatively safe to secure and retrieve your handgun from your lock box.


GHO 014 – Critical Defensive Skills: What are they and are you training whats important?

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Welcome to the Safety Solutions Academy Google Hangout where everyday people come to learn the truth about Personal Security, unravel the complexities of defensive training and demystify the gun.

Today will be the first in a series of Hangouts with Grant Cunningham of
 It is our plan to spend the next several weeks talking about CRITICAL defensive skills.  What we think they are, how to identify them and how to make sure you are training what is critical to you.

SSA GHO 013 – Motorcycle Concealed Carry with Deryck Poole of Echo 5 Training Group

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The SSA Google Hangout is where everyday people come to understand personal security, unravel the complexities of defensive training and demistyfy the gun.  Tonight, Deryck Poole will spend some time helping us to understand the special circumstances that surround concealed carry while on a motorcycle.  Join me at 9:15pm for some pre-show chatter and at 9:30 for Deryck and his insights.

Happy Memorial Day?

Memorial DayI’m hanging out at a Memorial Day BBQ, spending time with friends, eating food and drinking drinks and wondering what to post about Memorial Day. It has become quite a contentious holiday.

A decade ago, anything was good to go. But today is different. We have reached a critical mass of people that really understand Memorial Day. I’m not in that group. I mean, I get it. I understand. But I don’t weep on Memorial Day. There are good men that do. For good reason. And that makes saying, “Happy Memorial Day!” a mixed bag. Really.


Read this. And remember what Memorial Day is all about.


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