CCW training in bad weather lessons learned, gear notes.

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SoupOrMan
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CCW training in bad weather lessons learned, gear notes.

Postby SoupOrMan » Mon Feb 09, 2015 8:04 pm

Now that Illinois is CCW-compliant I can start working on carrying my 649 on my person as opposed to just as part of a backpack get-home kit. For the purposes of backpack carry, I purchased a soft nylon CCW holster from Passport when I first bought the gun. It fits perfectly in a hard-to-see section of my day pack and with a little ingenious clip use it and the gun stay very secure.

The Passport fails as a belt holster in practice. The holster collapses faster than the Turkish lira and it's near impossible to reholster your firearm if you've got extra mass around your waist. It's not a good holster for its intended purpose unless you're skinny as a rail. Even then, I'd avoid using it for its intended purpose because it'll still be tough to put your gun back in the damn thing. As a thing to keep the crap out of your gun while you carry it in your backpack it's good. Sadly, this wasn't the intended purpose of the holster.

I wanted to remedy the crappy holster situation ASAP. Thus I went to one of the bigger tacticool shopping sites and bought a Galco IWB holster. I was hoping to have the thing in time for my CCW class. I'm a left-handed shooter and apparently left-handed IWB holsters are laced with unobtanium and tanned in the tears of virgin unicorns. The site says "One left!" so I place my order. The next day I get an email stating "Our bad! It's on backorder!"

It's on backorder until March. My CCW class ended yesterday.

Things to remember about Illinois CCW courses: you do not need to qualify with your preferred carry piece, nor do you need a fully-concealable firearm and holster. Most everyone else brought their full-size polymer-framed weapon of choice and a holster that they could cover with a jacket. With the terrible ground conditions I decided to go with my actual carry piece so I could save the brass. I'm also a believer in training with your carry piece. You have a tiny gun for CCW? Practice with it and qualify with it so you'll have that muscle memory.

Fan of adverse training that I am, I soldiered on with the crappy Passport holster for the first of two classes. We did our first qualification shoot outdoors. The weather was a lovely 35 degrees with a wind out of the northwest at 25mph and heavy wet snow falling on us. I'm actually not kidding about that, either. I'd prefer shooting in adverse conditions for a CCW class than being in a well-lit indoor range. After the first trouble with reholstering I said "to hell with it" and removed the holster. I went with a pocket draw instead. The 649 performed admirably from a pocket draw without snagging or even printing. I'd still prefer it to be a bit more accessible, but it's nice to know that if I wanted to go with a pocket holster it would fit as is. Reloading is of course a pain as firing either .357 or .38 with a short extractor means pawing at the empty cases to remove them.

I also found another problem while shooting with gloves. I have a pair of Manzella jogger's gloves. They're lightweight and warm, and supposedly the smartphone fingers work. They used to be form-fitting but have stretched out over time. I found out just how stretched out they were when shooting during our sighting-in stage. The gloves' index fingers have stretched out enough that they'd catch in the trigger, causing a FTF. The cylinder would move but the hammer would only fall partway. That's definitely a good lesson to learn in training as opposed to a real situation. I found myself losing a little traction here and there as snow built up. Most of the students wore deep-treaded hiking or tactical boots. I went with LL Bean's Maine Hunting Shoes. (I've been their demographic since 1973 so why not?) They're great for finding ice patches as you slide really well. Adding a set of Yaktrax worked just fine after that.

The next CCW session, I knew that the Passport was right out. I went with a OWB holster from Blackhawk... for an N-frame. It worked fine and reholstering was easy thanks to a reinforced front lip. Unlike the previous week's snow, we just had lots of wind. The temperature was about 50, which was just enough to make sure the snow melted quickly. Of course, this meant our outdoor shooting range was a giant mud pit that would try to steal your boots. Verdun and other Western Front jokes were made all around. While quite a few students wore their waterfowl boots I wore the same pair of LL Bean boots from the previous week. They kept traction despite the really shallow chain-link tread and the mud slid right off when I cleaned them in a small snow drift. I also didn't get quite as muddy as expected. Thank goodness for small favors. I qualified with perfect scores in both sessions despite the annoying environmental factors.

So to sum up:

Get a good holster. Do not get a round tuit. Just get a good holster and be done with it.

Gloves that may work for keeping warm during some athletic endeavors won't necessarily work for CCW shooting.

Pocket carry on a J-frame is possible even with S&W's larger rubber grip. Also, if you're used to firing .357Mag out of a J-frame you'll find that even .38 +P is pleasant to shoot afterwards. I'll likely stick with that for daily carry and just save the .357 for hiking/emergencies.

The tread on LL Bean boots looks stupid, but it works well in mud. It sucks when walking on ice, but mud is not a problem.

Training in less-than-ideal conditions is good for introducing external stress to shooters. I'd say it's as good as trying to shoot under a time limit like in IPSC or IDPA; not perfect, but still better than slow fire in an air-conditioned and well-lit indoor range.

When I get some more money saved up I am going to get the 649's cylinder modified to take moon clips. (Well, they're more like star clips in the case of a 5-shot revolver, but semantics schmemantics.) Reloading in a hurry will be much simpler that way. I may also replace the original barrel with a 3" just for a little more accuracy. It was fine enough for 10 yards but I want finer accuracy at 10 yards.

Anyway, that's what I learned about my firearm carry preferences from 2 days of CCW training.
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Re: CCW training in bad weather lessons learned, gear notes.

Postby PawPaw » Mon Feb 09, 2015 8:16 pm

Get a good holster. Do not get a round tuit. Just get a good holster and be done with it.
Absolutely. I have wasted more money buying crappy holsters than I've ever spent on good holsters. Buy the good holster the first time. Only experience can tell you what is a good holster.

Pocket carry on a J-frame is possible even with S&W's larger rubber grip. Also, if you're used to firing .357Mag out of a J-frame you'll find that even .38 +P is pleasant to shoot afterwards. I'll likely stick with that for daily carry and just save the .357 for hiking/emergencies.
Again, good advise. I carry a J-frame as my EDC and pocket carry has suited me just fine for almost 12 years. I've got good holsters for it, but pocket carry is VERY concealable.

The tread on LL Bean boots looks stupid, but it works well in mud. It sucks when walking on ice, but mud is not a problem.
Good boots are like a good holster. Spend your money on good boots.

Training in less-than-ideal conditions is good for introducing external stress to shooters.
You don't get to pick the weather when you're in a gunfight, either. It's a come-as-you-are proposition.
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Re: CCW training in bad weather lessons learned, gear notes.

Postby randy » Mon Feb 09, 2015 8:35 pm

For pocket carry, I use this with my J Frame Protects the trigger, keeps gunk out of the weapon, and gives a quick smooth draw and (usually) stays in the pocket on draw. Re-holsters well (it is pretty rigid) and if nothing else I can just pull the holster out of the pocket to replace the gun.

I couldn't tell, but are you using speed loaders to reload? You might try them before going to the expense of modifying the gun (although going to clips would help with fast extraction). I've been happy with HKS for my K frame during combat pistol competition and security carry qualifications.

My concern with moon clips is having the clip get bent while carrying in a pocket and not functioning correctly, so I when using them I always have them in belt pouch, even if the pouch is being carried in a pocket..
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Re: CCW training in bad weather lessons learned, gear notes.

Postby SoupOrMan » Mon Feb 09, 2015 9:09 pm

Yes, I'm using HKS speed loaders to reload. Using a moonclip will make it easier to remove spent cases once I'm done firing. I can't change the loading speed much as it's a revolver. I can, however, remove the fumbling around when trying to remove empties. Even if I drop the clipped cases on the ground they'll be easier to remove as one unit than having two slide out easily and three staying stuck.

I've found that my old cellphone case works great for speed loaders. Has a big Samsung logo on the front, tough to see that there's only ammo in there.
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Re: CCW training in bad weather lessons learned, gear notes.

Postby Weetabix » Mon Feb 09, 2015 10:01 pm

I love my CrossBreed Holster. Easy to draw. Easy to reholster.

Now that I'm used to it, I can almost always get it off and back on in the locker room without anyone noticing. If someone's really close I'll take it off elsewhere, put it in the gym bag, then the locker. If they're too close when I need to put it back on, I just do it in the parking lot.
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Re: CCW training in bad weather lessons learned, gear notes.

Postby evan price » Mon Feb 09, 2015 10:41 pm

On the subject of reloads, why are you "pawing" at your brass? The best reload method is still muzzle up, thumb through the frame to hold the cylinder open, mash the eject rod with your off hand and let gravity assist the cases to the ground. While I like not stooping to crawl in the mud collecting brass, it's best to train for action as you would actually ned to really perform. Back in the day there would be dead cops, killed during reloading, with empty brass in their pockets and the revolver not yet ready, because thats what they did on the range. I reload so I understand, but brass recovered is a luxury.
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Re: CCW training in bad weather lessons learned, gear notes.

Postby SoupOrMan » Mon Feb 09, 2015 11:10 pm

evan price wrote:On the subject of reloads, why are you "pawing" at your brass? The best reload method is still muzzle up, thumb through the frame to hold the cylinder open, mash the eject rod with your off hand and let gravity assist the cases to the ground. While I like not stooping to crawl in the mud collecting brass, it's best to train for action as you would actually ned to really perform. Back in the day there would be dead cops, killed during reloading, with empty brass in their pockets and the revolver not yet ready, because thats what they did on the range. I reload so I understand, but brass recovered is a luxury.


Cases get stuck in J-frame cylinders. The extractor on the smaller barrels don't often push the cases completely out.
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Re: CCW training in bad weather lessons learned, gear notes.

Postby BDK » Tue Feb 10, 2015 1:09 am

I find HKS too hard to use once my dexterity gets impaired (like at the end of an IDPA match w full 44 mag hunting loads and an air weight snubbie...)

Moon clips work well, if they match the brass - check the Enos forum to find the best ones for your preferred carry load.

I like the... Name forgotten loader which you just push to get to release, but I have a problem with Getting them to release on a J frame.

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Re: CCW training in bad weather lessons learned, gear notes.

Postby randy » Tue Feb 10, 2015 1:23 am

You might (if you haven't already) try the method I was taught for ejecting shells during a reload. Referred to (probably because I was in Hawaii at the time) the Shaka grip as in "Shaka Bra!"

Shaka.jpeg


Assuming you are using a 2 handed combat grip with a S&W revolver (I'm right handed so YMMV), when firing the last round

Use your shooting hand thumb to hit the cylinder release while

Rotating your weak hand so that the 3 middle fingers wrap around the frame, push the cylinder out while rotating the gun muzzle straight up

Use the thumb of the weak hand to hit the ejector rod sharply as the gun comes to the vertical, a sharp shake if necessary to get brass to clear the chambers

While doing this your shooting hand is extracting a speed loader from a strong side pouch

Once brass extracted, rotate as much as possible 180 degrees so that the muzzle is a far down as possible (depending on the flexibility of your wrist I'm lucky to make 30-45 degrees))

Insert rounds with speed loader, twist to release (if using HKS) and drop the speed loader, fuggedabout it. Pick it up when you police your brass. It no longer exists in your universe

Once you've dropped the speed loader, resume a firing grip on the gun with your shooting hand (trigger finger indexed along the side, natch)

Rotate your weak hand fingers out of the cylinder space, following along with the palm of your weak hand to click the cylinder into place and reposition for 2 handed grip as you bring your weapon back onto target

Front sight, press

MUCH longer to type (and read) than to do. I practiced for months on the range and at home with dummy rounds until it became smooth and automatic.

Might help, might not, but something to look at.
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Re: CCW training in bad weather lessons learned, gear notes.

Postby randy » Tue Feb 10, 2015 1:28 am

BDK wrote:I like the... Name forgotten loader which you just push to get to release, but I have a problem with Getting them to release on a J frame.


Safariland? Never played with them much, more expensive than HKS and harder to get in Hawaii when I was there, and never had any issues with the HKS. But I know lots of folks that like/prefer them
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Re: CCW training in bad weather lessons learned, gear notes.

Postby BDK » Tue Feb 10, 2015 1:34 am

Maybe... Not sure. Can check when I get home.

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Re: CCW training in bad weather lessons learned, gear notes.

Postby Jered » Tue Feb 10, 2015 3:31 am

PawPaw wrote:
Get a good holster. Do not get a round tuit. Just get a good holster and be done with it.
Absolutely. I have wasted more money buying crappy holsters than I've ever spent on good holsters. Buy the good holster the first time. Only experience can tell you what is a good holster.


This. And get a good Belt.

Comp-Tac makes a good belt.

Have you considered a shoulder holster?
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Re: CCW training in bad weather lessons learned, gear notes.

Postby Netpackrat » Tue Feb 10, 2015 4:43 am

I liked the Safariland speedloaders a lot more than the HKS when I was shooting revolvers.
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Re: CCW training in bad weather lessons learned, gear notes.

Postby evan price » Tue Feb 10, 2015 10:42 am

SoupOrMan wrote:
evan price wrote:On the subject of reloads, why are you "pawing" at your brass? The best reload method is still muzzle up, thumb through the frame to hold the cylinder open,

Cases get stuck in J-frame cylinders. The extractor on the smaller barrels don't often push the cases completely out.

I own, carry and shoot J-frames. Even with the short ejector rod, muzzle up & mash the ejector gets gravity to continue the ejection process once you get the brass moving.
I push the cylinder release with my left thumb, put right thumb through the frame window to hold the cylinder open and let the muzzle swing up. Left hand mashes down andthe ejector, then goes for the speedloader while the right hand swings the muzzle down. Insert speedloader, twist, drop speedloader, swing cylinder shut with left hand, get right fingers gripped, get on target.
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Re: CCW training in bad weather lessons learned, gear notes.

Postby SoupOrMan » Wed Feb 11, 2015 10:52 pm

Yep. I've done that. I still get one or two stuck cases. Sometimes they'll get hung up on the grip. It's the grip that came with the gun, so I could change it if needed. Sometimes they'll be stuck in the chamber farthest away from the grip. Even when I smack the ejector rod down there's always at least one that sticks. That results in me having to pull a case or two out by hand.
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Re: CCW training in bad weather lessons learned, gear notes.

Postby Termite » Thu Feb 19, 2015 10:01 am

Netpackrat wrote:I liked the Safariland speedloaders a lot more than the HKS when I was shooting revolvers.

This.

With my M13 and 2 speedloaders(either Federal 125gr JHP Classic, or W-W whitebox 110gr JHP-the Treasury load-), I consider myself well armed for CCW.
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