In our classes, we preach to scan, then identify a threat. Then, and only then, does our gun follow. Remember the Universal Gun Safety Rule, “Never point your muzzle at anything you do not wish to kill, destroy, or buy.” Our eyes find the target, our mind assess the threat, then our muscles punch out with the gun if required.
The speed in which you look and scan should alway far outdistance the speed that you move your gun. When a threat is identified, your gun will drive out to the target, align your sights with your eyes, then press the trigger. DO NOT lead with your gun!
During reloads, it should become second nature to keep your eyes up and focused on threat or where you anticipate a threat appearing. This is why we practice mag changes (both fighting and tactical) until we can do it in the dark or with our eyes closed. You do practice your mag changes dry, right? It is imperative to keep your gun in your “workspace” close to position 3.
When shooting, we teach new and beginning shooters to focus on the front sight. This is important in order to learn form and accuracy. If you are training to become a defensive or reactionary shooter rather than a target shooter, your focus will shift to the threat as your skills progress. Let’s face it, you may not have a say on where you focus during a life or death fight. You may not be able to help but focus on the threat. We are not point shooting, we are looking through our sights to our target and producing a quick flash sight picture to confirm we are on target. (This is how you must focus when using a red dot optic) When practicing, focus on the intended point of impact, not the threat’s hands or weapon! Without practice and discipline, a newer shooter will find himself shooting at the threat’s hand or weapon because that is where their focus is aimed. Go to the range and practice on a good target. Try different area of focus. See where you shoot best! Upgrade your sights too. Makes sure your front sight pops!
Our eyes need be up and on threat during the draw. We teach a four step draw for this reason. We are under control the entire process and just because we are mid-draw does not mean we must shoot. If the threat suddenly complies, we can keep our gun on him but choose not to press the trigger. No “flyfishing” or “digging” during the draw! Position 3 of the draw is truly the most important part of the presentation. I’m sure some of my students will never forget the reps they were required to do until they truly “got it”. Position 3 or Compressed Ready is where we join hands to present a two handed pistol grip. Remember to drive the gun straight to your line of sight from the chest!
Lead with your eyes and place as many shots on threat as needed to neutralize it. Look at threat, look at your sights, but look at nothing else until there are no more threats! Including you magazine and mag changes! Keep your muzzle in a safe direction and your finger off the trigger until your eyes have confirmed there is a threat that requires engagement. When one threat is down, keep your head on a swivel and look for more threats! There is no rush to re-holster after the all clear…
Many of today's bearded tactical sensations believe they invented appendix carry (AIWB). It's funny because it's been around for years. Back in the day it was called Mexican Carry when done without a holster. Folks that lived near the Mexican border that traveled back and forth over the border did it as to not call attention to themselves. Back then, being caught with a handgun didn't necessarily land you in a Mexican prison as it does today.
Just in case you weren't sure, appendix carry is a means of carrying a holstered pistol, inside the waistband, strong side, forward of your hip, but not centered. Find the spot that works for your build from approximately 12:30 to 2:30 if you're right handed.
Appendix Carry is NOT for everyone and many consider it dangerous, particularly for new gun owners. In this brief summary we will weight the pros against the cons and you can decide what is right for you.
AIWB is first and foremost very FAST on the draw.
It conceals great on just about everyone. Typically a Tee shirt is all that is needed as a cover garment. Human nature is such that we do not typically stare at each other's privates. As a result, a gun hidden near your crotch will never be as noticeable as one on your hip. If you don't believe me, the next time you meet someone new, stare at their jimmy or hoo ha and see how that goes.
AIWB aids in the retention of your gun. It is close to your center where your core strength lies and would be extremely difficult for someone to snatch it from you. You also will not bump into door jambs and such as you may with hip carry.
AIWB can be very comfortable, particularly if your belly isn't too big, your chest is bigger than your waist, and you have a longish torso. Many women find it very comfortable too and find it conceals better than other conventional belt carry methods.
Once you have a gun with a muzzle that is not too long, find that "sweet spot" position to carry it, and adjust the cant properly, Appendix carry is very comfortable for both sitting and standing. You can actually reach it while seated unlike a kidney carry. While seated in vehicle you can also reach it (however we maintain that your carry gun be secured in your vehicle within easy reach instead).
The gun size limit for AIWB is about a Glock 19. I carry my G19 with an RMR often in a Crossbreed appendix holster. In the summer, I carry my Glock 43 in a Blackhawk ARC holster when wearing shorts.
The drawbacks have vehement detractors. The big one is that when holstered, your gun is pointing at Jimmy or your hoo ha OR your femoral artery. Remember though, your gun is holstered in an appropriate holster. Keep your finger off the bang stick and it is not dangerous. My biggest concern is re-holstering during training. Let's face it. If you need your gun in a life threatening situation, re-holstering is not a major concern. There's no rush to put it back. However, during training and doing reps from concealment is where you may get sloppy. DON'T! On re-holster, bend your knees, lean back a bit and thrust your pelvis out. This way you will not muzzle yourself during the re-holster. There is no rush!
We teach students at all levels of proficiency. We meet folks that at first do not want to carry with a round in the chamber. Good instruction and practice gets those folks comfortable to see that carrying with a round in the chamber makes good tactical sense. In a similar fashion, many folks new to concealed carry wouldn't be comfortable carrying AIWB at first. That makes sense. We encourage most new students to carry outside the waistband around 3:00 until they become proficient with their draw. It is simply safer while training and learning the draw - particular during the re-holster process. We do not permit AIWB during most of our group classes simply for safety's sake because of the need to re-holster hundreds of times during class!
AIWB, is it for you? As always, contact us with any questions or comments!
Jim Benoit's thoughts on guns, gear, & training
CAJUN ARMS & TUSCARORA TACTICAL TRAINING
WEST CHESTER, THOMPSONTOWN, PA