You’ll shoot your junk off – an unscientific look at gun safety

The internet has been telling me for years that I’ll shoot my junk off if I persist in the foolish fad known as appendix carry.  I finally went looking for some data on appendix carry accidents, and while it’s a fairly small sample size, I think it’s enough to shed some light on who is most at risk for shooting themselves.

AIWB accidents

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Open carry vs. concealed carry; being a hard target

As open carry of pistols is about to become a reality here in Texas, the debate continues to rage about whether or not that is a smart idea.  Open carry advocates claim that it deters crime, while concealed carry diehards say that it makes you a target; so which is it?


The first claim seems obvious, as a hard target deters crime.  As Heinlein so famously observed, “an armed society is a polite society…”.  However, it’s absolutely impossible to put hard numbers to this claim, as you can’t prove the nonexistence of something; you can only point to the numbers which show that as gun ownership goes up, crime goes down.

The CC only group says that you lose the advantage of surprise if you open carry.  True enough, admits the OC’ers, but “you wouldn’t need surprise if you had OC’d and deterred them in the first place”.  That sounds great, but how well does the claim hold up?

He knew she had a gun, in fact, that’s why he attacked!  Here’s another.

The attacker swung full force for his head.  The gun was carried “Open Carry”.  It was a 357 Sig. We think this person was trying to get the handgun by knockout hitting him in the head with an aluminum bat.

So we can’t prove the numbers, but we know conclusively that OC does not work as a deterrent every time.  But CC still has to overcome the problems of a slower draw and by default appear to be a softer target, right?  Maybe, maybe not.

To get the right answer, you first have to ask the right question.  The more I look at it, the more I think that the question is not OC or CC.  Each has an appropriate place.  I really want OC to be a big thing, because when that is accepted it will mean that society has returned to a time of sanity, one when people are expected to provide for their own safety.

But back to the first point about OC, the part where it makes you a hard target.  If you haven’t yet figured out where I’m going with this… it doesn’t make you a hard target.  Sure, it discourages petty thieves in much the same way that a lock stops some burglars, but not a home invasion crew.  Sorry y’all, but watching youtube videos and scrolling through #gunstagram doesn’t make you an operator.


What will lessen the odds that you’re attacked is:

  • Follow the 3 stupid rules.  Don’t go stupid places, with stupid people, to do stupid things.  If you avoid those three, that will protect you from the vast majority of problems.  For the very small percentage of trouble that comes looking for you, employ –
  • The Principles of Personal Defense.  As Cooper wrote in the foreword of a later edition, nothing in the book needed to change because the principles are about software, not hardware.

If you’ve ever watched nature documentaries, you know that predators go for the sick, weak, injured prey.  If you look like food, you will be eaten.  Don’t worry, you don’t need to shave your head, get tattoos and scowl all the time to avoid looking like food.  You do need to be alert and confident.  It also helps if you’re fit.

Learn Verbal Judo.  Become a student of body language.  Take a class  on self defense and the skills you learn will give you something that cannot be faked: confidence.

As the old joke about the two men preparing to run from a bear goes – “I don’t have to outrun the bear, I just have to outrun you”.  Likewise, you don’t have to be a high speed, low drag operator for thugs to look elsewhere; you just have to be more work than it’s worth.

Lest you think I’m bashing open carry, I’m not.  I’m simply recommending that you train until you are proficient, rather than simply donning the accoutrements.


OC is not a talisman.  If you’re not willing to train, please, leave the gun at home.  That goes for concealed carry as well; if you don’t have the mindset and skills, you’re better off looking for an alternative.

Certainly there is a lot more to the subject than I have written here.  Rebuttals or additions are appreciated, as iron sharpens iron.


How I built a VTAC shooting barricade

Viking Tactics came up with this great barricade to shoot through and around quite some time back, and I finally took the time to build one for my own range.  It took me about 4 hours to make a pair, and I’m not an accomplished carpenter, by any stretch of the imagination.  It’s pretty simple once you get going, here’s how I did it. Read more

How to holster your pistol, should you look or not?

Due to some people having negligent discharges, Larry Vickers of Vicker’s Tactical has banned AIWB from his classes.  On a personal level I think it’s something to be improved, rather than banned, but his logic makes perfect sense from the perspective of running classes with students of unknown skill levels.    There is always a danger when holstering a loaded pistol and appendix carry has higher risks than the other positions.


That’s what led to this discussion about the proper technique of holstering.  Look at your holster while you do it, or not?  Avoid pistols without external safeties and stick with long, heavy trigger pulls?  Read more

Why gun people should learn martial arts

I carry a gun so I don’t have to fight.”  This excuse, or variations thereof, have been around for as long as I can remember.

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How important is a pistol’s grip angle to it’s ergonomics?

What is the best grip angle for a pistol?  Is it different for every person, or does it even matter?  Some claim that you should use a pistol that matches your natural point of aim and that it is different for everyone, others say that it is a learned skill.

Let’s look at the grip angles of several different pistols.  Read more