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Archive for July, 2006

Rough Or Smooth Side Out?

Posted by Rob Longenecker on 31st July 2006

You’re ordering an IWB holster for your pea shooter and we ask you the question – “roughout or smoothout?”  The question is, do you want the outside of your holster to show the “flesh” side (rough) of the leather or the smooth side?

Traditionally, Inside the Waistband holsters were made roughout so that they “grabbed” your clothing a bit to stay in place better.  Today, that may not be necessary, especially with better belt clips and double-clip IWB holsters.

With a single clip holster like the Tucker Cover Up IWB, I personally use roughout.  To discover more about the Tucker Cover Up IWB, the Cover Up Plus and the Cover Up J-Frame, just go to http://tuckergunleather.com/ and click on the “Inside The Waistband Holsters and IWB Mag Pouches” button. It’s the third button down.

rough1a-1b.jpg Just the image to see their full-blown elegant functionality.

As I was saying, keeping it roughout helps keep it in place even though the belt clip works fine. The downside to roughout is that it gets “grody” looking over time and it’s hard to clean.  Personally, I use sandpaper on it.

It does help keep it in place even though the belt clip works fine. The downside to roughout is that it gets “grody” looking over time and it’s hard to clean.  Sandpaper is what I use on it.

With a double-clip holster, like the Tucker Texas Heritage IWB, many people order smoothout for looks.  It will look good for a long time (even though it’s hidden in your pants) and your clothing will move easily over the holster as you sit, stand and walk.

In the trio of Texas Heritage holsters below, you see the roughout version bracketed with two smoothout versions.

rough2.jpg Just click the image to see their full-blown elegant functionality.

One other question we get is about having smooth leather facing inward toward your gun. Does that protect the finish?  It does to a degree, because smooth leather is less likely to collect dust and grit over time. 

The “nap” of the leather on the rough side will compress pretty rapidly with use so having the rough side in toward your gun doesn’t wear the finish any in most cases.  If you have a concern, ask us about it.  We have a “secret” that addresses having rough side in if it’s an issue for you.

One thing that Tucker does automatically on Texas Heritage holsters is make the backside with the leather “flipped” to have the rough side toward your body and the smooth side toward the gun. 

The reason?  Over time we have learned that in hot, humid weather, smooth leather next to your skin feels sticky and tacky and uncomfortable. It’s that kind of useful, common-sense thinking that has our customers saying:

“Tucker Gunleather gives you a lifetime of elegant functionality.”

Call or click today and get a holster you deserve. Tucker makes his holsters with such craftsmanship, we guarantee them for a lifetime.

If you have further questions, we’re just a phone call or email from answering it. And if you have a comment, just post it here and let everyone else see how smart you are.

Posted in Ask The Holster Guy, Comfort & Style, Tucker News You Can Use | 1 Comment »

The Mental Side of Self Defense

Posted by Rob Longenecker on 29th July 2006

“Alpha Bravo 413, Eject! Eject! Eject!” 

How’d you like to hear the Air Boss shouting that in your headset just as you launched from the USS John F. Kennedy into the blackness of the pre-dawn? You might be on fire or have had a “cold” catapult shot and the air boss is trying to save your life.

To hell with the airplane. You’ve got 2-3 seconds to act and no second chance.

As a well-trained Naval Aviator, you wouldn’t pull out the emergency procedures manual from it’s pocket in you G-Suit to see what to do. You’d have thought this situation over ahead of time, over and over again. You’d have made your decision way in advance.  All it would take was the right “trigger” and you would take the predetermined action. You’d eject.

Have you given the same pre-planning to self-defense? Your job is tougher than mine was as a Naval Aviator because you may find yourself in a variety of situations where the threat, the environment, the safety of bystanders, legal ramifications and your desire to survive might cause indecision.  It might be easy to react too quickly – or not fast enough

But you’ve only got a split second to decide.

I talk a lot about this in my Free! special report “You Can’t Miss Fast Enough To Win A Gunfight!” There’s only one way to get it and that’s sign up for in that box in the upper right corner. And if you’ve already done that then you have the report and know all about taking the necessary precautions in advance of needing them.

I hope you’ve given it a lot of thought already.  If you haven’t, then it’s time.

Remember also, your skill level will be your “performance envelope” giving you a range of alternatives in a life or death situation.  Poorly trained individuals may react poorly, shoot too soon and cause unintended consequences they’ll regret.  The better your skills, the more confident you are in your abilities, the more pre-planning you have done, the greater the likelihood you will act appropriately and effectively.

There’s no time to pull out your “emergency procedures manual,” so prepare now. Professional training would be something wise to consider as well to expand your “performance envelope.”  There’s a lot at stake.

Posted in Top Gun Life Lessons | No Comments »

How Fast Can You Go?

Posted by Rob Longenecker on 28th July 2006

If you don’t know how fast you can go, then find out. The Winners in the shooting sports have a very good idea just how fast they can go before the wheels fall off and they start missing targets and hitting “no shoots.” 

And you should, too. This is critical practice for real world defensive shooting.  You need to test your skills to be confident with them under the ultimate stress conditions.  I can’t tell you how many “good shots” have been cocky about their ability to shoot their first match only to be humbled by reality.

What’s the secret to improving your skills quickly? Put yourself to a real test in an actual range, that way should ever be in a real gunfight — you’ll know your level of competence and be confident in it.

I recented did another blog post on ways to practice this, so click here to read all about it.

What’s often missing is a place to practice drawing from the holster and shooting multiple targets quickly.  Many ranges prohibit holsters, drawing, multiple shots and fast rates of fire.

One way to get around that is to be willing to look bad and shoot in organized matches to build your skills. This will quickly let you know just how you match up in speed and accuracy.

To find matches near you, go to the IDPA or the USPSA and see what it takes to participate. Often you can receive free instruction from generous members. Just ask for what you need.

Another way to improve is finding a range that allows the kind of shooting you need to practice.

You will find good shooting exercises to practice by setting up and shooting the IDPA classifier. Also, check out the Classifier Stage Setup diagram, and read the Safety Officers instructions for the Classifier as well.

What is the most important thing you will need as a new shooter? Good safety habits.
The match director, the safety officer and fellow competitors don’t care if you have a lot to learn, just that you are safe at all times. Follow instructions and be very muzzle-conscious.
Know where you are pointing your gun at all times.

Click here to find IDPA Safety Officers/Instructors around the country.

You may feel you are well-trained as you fire accurate shots from your firing position at your local range, but you may be missing the training easily available to make you a faster, safer, and confident shooter. You’ll learn to shoot moving targets, shoot while moving, shoot under pressure and have a lot of fun doing it.  You’ll meet a lot of great people as well.

For the record, here are the 4 safety rules we all abide by:

4 Rules Of Gun Safety:

The 1st Law of Gun Safety – The Gun Is Always Loaded!

The 2nd Law of Gun Safety – Never Point A Gun At Something You’re Not Prepared To Destroy!

The 3rd Law of Gun Safety – Always Be Sure Of Your Target And What Is Behind It!

The 4th Law of Gun Safety – Keep Your Finger Off The Trigger Until Your Sights Are On The Target!

Posted in Good To Know | No Comments »

Shooting from Cover

Posted by Rob Longenecker on 27th July 2006

I thought I knew how, but I didn’t.  I used to think I knew how to use cover while shooting. I did it badly for a while, partly because I had competition in mind, not my survival.  I finally learned the lethal consequences of what I was doing and discovered a better way.

Here’s what I learned.

You can use a few props to test this out or use naturally occurring objects you might use for cover like walls, corners of buildings and automobiles.  In matches and for training at the range we used structures built with 2 X 4″s.  You don’t even need a gun to begin to test out a few concepts for yourself; you can simply extend your hands in a simulated firing grip.

It’s best to imagine you’re up against a smart, capable adversary who will show you no mercy.

“Pop out and Back”

This was the first bad method I used when shooting around a high wall or corner of a building.  I would step out sideways, seek out the target, take a shot and pop quickly back behind cover.  The problem with it was I was blind before and after shooting, and more concerned with moving and shooting than with protecting myself.  If I missed the bad guy, I lost sight of him, and he knew exactly where I was.

Not good.

I quickly figured out that that wouldn’t work, so I tried the “Quick Peek” method, exposing only my head, not my whole body.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get a good look at the bad guy and lost sight of him when I brought my head back behind cover. Now the bad guy was ready for my next peek and could shoot me in the face. 

Scratch that method.

So what works?  First thing is stand back from your cover.

I used to get way too close to the structure I was using for cover.  Right up against it.  Though it felt safer, just the opposite was true.  I was often off balance and I was really restricted in my movements. Also, an unseen bad guy could grab my shooting arm as it extended past the cover.  Stay at least an arm’s reach away from cover.

Have your gun up at eye level with sights aligned before you expose yourself from cover. Align the sights behind cover. When you roll out, find the bad guy and place that sight picture on the bad guy. Don’t try to move out from cover, then align the sights find the suspect, and make the shot. This takes too much time and exposes you while you’re doing it. Streamline the process.

Align your sights and be ready to shoot before moving.

Roll out. John Farnam recommends this technique. Get a solid base behind cover with one or the other foot forward. Roll your upper body out from behind cover from you waist instead of stepping out. You can do it from a many different foot positions.
Shoot around, not over, cover. The exception is long low cover, like a wall where you cannot shoot around. Our eyes are positioned one third of the way down from the top of our heads. When we shoot over cover, we expose a lot of target before we are able to see and return fire. So, shoot around cover by rolling out from the side.

If you’re hidden behind a vehicle, be more than an arms length back, bring up the gun and align the sights before raising up and finding your target. This move is a little riskier than moving sideways from cover because the top of your head is exposed first as you rise.

And of course, reload from behind cover and clear any malfunctions from behind cover.

IDPA competitions often do a good job of demanding proper use of cover. Many early styles of competition did not. IDPA may be a little “gamy” still because participants want to win, but it will increase your awareness of using cover properly.  Shooting instructors or shooting academies are another good resource to learn how to use cover to survive a gunfight.

Note: these are my opinions and should not be considered the last word in how to survive an armed confrontation.  You are responsible for your own safety and that of others.

That’s what I’ve learned. Let’s hear from all of subscribers here. What are the best ways you’ve learned how to shoot from cover. Send them to me and I’ll post up here in the comments.



Posted in Good To Know | No Comments »

The Easiest Way to Shoot Yourself at the Range – Let’s Not, Huh?

Posted by Rob Longenecker on 19th July 2006

The other day I got an email from a customer asking me about how often folks accidentially shoot themselves.

People have accidentally shot themselves practicing from a holster using live ammo at the range. It is a stupid and costly mistake usually resulting from bad habits and poor training. 

You can imagine how embarassing it would be to explain to emergency room personnel, friends who visit you in the hospital or, worst case, St. Peter, just how you shot yourself.

I remember in the 1980’s while shooting IPSC matches, the same guy shot himself in the calf twice in six months.  Examples are not that infrequent today, but I’m going to show you how to easily avoid such mishaps.

It happens most often with cocked 1911’s or Browning Hi-Powers. And it usually happens the same way: by re-holstering your pistol without removing your finger from within the trigger guard and not having the safety on. 

It’s a bad habit that was formed early on of having the trigger finger in the trigger guard when not on target. 

In learning the presentation of a firearm from the holster, there’s a way of practicing that builds in the proper, safe sequence of events.  I learned it directly from Col. Jeff Cooper, the father of modern pistolcraft in 1980, and it’s a great way to learn a fast, smooth draw with minimum wasted motion and it forms a strong foundation for the future.

It begins with an unloaded firearm and is specific to the 1911-style pistol in this instance.

Make certain that your gun is unloaded.  Assume a low ready position with the gun cocked and locked (safety engaged).  You face your target. Both hands are on the gun, which points at the ground 4-5 feet ahead of you, and your trigger finger is out of the trigger guard and pointing along the bore axis, laying along the frame. 

Your strong thumb is riding atop the thumb safety, ready to disengage it.  Your stance is balanced and athletic, weight slightly toward the balls of your feet.  There are other distinctions regarding stance that I won’t cover here.

You’re going to raise the pistol to the target, get a sight picture and then press the trigger while maintaining a good sight picture and follow through. You will bring the sights up to your eyes, not bring your head down to view the sights.

After dry firing, a good follow through is to re-acquire your perfect sight picture after the hammer falls.  You’ll do this when live firing as well.  As you raise the pistol you will release the thumb safety by pushing it downward and keep your thumb on top of the safety. 

Your finger will then enter the trigger guard as you approach your target and it will gently take up the slack in the trigger.  At the proper moment, press the trigger.

Here comes the part in which you ingrain your safety habits:  While still on target, remove your trigger finger from the trigger guard and lay it alongside the frame once again.

Then cock the hammer with your weak thumb and flick the safety up into the safe position, keeping upward pressure on the safety with your thumb. 

At this point bring the gun back down to the ready position.  The safety is on and your trigger finger is clear. 

Do this exercise slowly and deliberately.  The objective is to build “muscle memory” because automatic muscle memory is the key firearm competency without having to think it through first. 

Now, go slow up to the target, slow back down.  Build the sequence of safety off, finger on the trigger, press, finger out, safety on and resume the ready.  Slow motion works best.

After a while you can speed it up with the intent of keeping everything flowing in proper sequence.  Especially work on removing your trigger finger from the trigger guard first on the way back to the ready position. 

Obviously, when using live ammo, your practice of this sequence will not involve thumb-cocking the hammer as the slide will cycle and do that for you.  Emphasis here is on thumb safety and trigger finger.

Next, again with an unloaded gun, practice the presentation from a holstered position.  The gun is cocked and locked, hands at your side, eyes on the target. 

Now, divide the presentation into a series of steps:

  1. Strong hand takes a full firing grip on the pistol such that no further shift of grip will be necessary during the draw.  Position your support hand simultaneously at waist height with your wrist about 3 inches in front of your belt buckle and your open hand pointing down range so as not to be in the way of the muzzle as you draw.  Your wrist is bent at 90 degrees and your arm is across the front of your body.  This positions your weak hand in a ready position to join your strong hand shortly.
  2. While using only your arm and hand, with no “body english” or other motion, simple bring the gun straight up to clear leather.
  3. Begin to bring the gun up and forward toward the target, bringing the support hand into play and beginning to form the two-handed grip.  Practice this slowly and deliberately at first.
  4. Continuing up toward the target, flick down the safety and place your trigger finger in the trigger guard as you come on to the target. 
  5. Extend your arms toward the target a little further, maintaining balance and bringing the sight picture to eye-level. Press the trigger and place your imaginary shot on target.  Follow through by re-acquiring your sight picture.  (Later, you will do the same with live ammo and fire a shot on target.)
  6. Take your finger out of the trigger guard, flick the safety up and slowly holster your gun.
  7. Emphasis remains on proper sequence of events regarding the safety and your trigger finger.

Once the sequence is second nature, safely practice with a loaded gun.  (This does not constitute proper instruction in and of itself.  You should retain competent instruction from a trained instructor at your range.)

The point of this is to give you a way to learn to be safe when re-holstering your gun and to avoid ruining your whole day at the range. And oh yes, avoiding public humiliation. Always a Good Thing.

Posted in Ask The Holster Guy | 2 Comments »

How To Sweep Away Stovepipe Jams

Posted by Rob Longenecker on 18th July 2006

A stovepipe, or a stovepipe jam, is a failure to eject the spent case which has lodged in the ejection port between the breech and the barrel. It brings everything to a dead stop but it’s easy to clear and resume shooting.

It comes from the fact that the firearm that suffers a stovepipe jam very much resembles a stovepipe.

Picture a semiauto pistol with the slide halfway forward and where the spent brass should be ejecting, there is one lodged with the open end outwards, probably smoking a bit too after just being fired, you get the picture.

The fastest method to quickly clear a stovepipe jam is to sweep the top of the slide backwards toward you with your hand palm downward, knocking the spent brass out of the ejection port. The slide will close on a fresh round and you’re ready to fire.

Just sweep the stovepipe away!

Having a stovepipe jam may be a sign that your recoil spring might be too heavy for the loads you are using or that your loads are too light for the gun you are using. Adjust accordingly.

Or it could be that you’re “limp-wristing” (not holding it tightly enough) to the weapon and not allowing for full rearward slide travel.

If it happens more than very occasionally, I would have the extractor looked at.

You can also install an extended ejector, if it is possible for the model of your firearm, to ensure positive ejection of spent brass.

Posted in Ask The Holster Guy, Good To Know | No Comments »

Carry a Spare Magazine – Why?

Posted by Rob Longenecker on 17th July 2006

Do you carry a spare magazine while legally carrying a concealed pistol?  Should you?

What are the odds you’ll need it?  Do you have people saying things like, “What are you, some kind of Rambo guy?”  “A “Mall Ninja?”

Mentally or out-loud my response goes something like this, “No, Chucklehead. I’m just a guy who likes being prepared. That way you won’t see me on the evening news whining about being a victim.” 

Sure, you can overdo anything, but carrying one spare magazine is just common sense.

You may need extra rounds if the “flit hits the shan.” Many say, “You never know, so be prepared for the worst.”  And that’s a reasonable point of view.

Another reason to carry a spare is in the event of certain gun malfunctions, particularly the nasty “double feed” jam.  Here’s the procedure for clearing one:

  1. Lock the slide back
  2. Release the magazine (you may have to grip and pull from the bottom)
  3. Cycle the slide to clear the empty case (hoping the extractor does it’s job this time)
  4. Load a fresh magazine (slamming it home decisively)
  5. Cycle the slide once more to load a fresh round

Note this action calls for having a spare magazine close at hand on your body for easy access.

Ok, so I’ve given you two good reasons to carry a spare.  What’s the counter argument you’re likely to hear?

Statistics, if you trust them.

“They” say that the average gunfight on the street happens quickly, lasting less than three seconds, at close quarters – less than three feet, and takes 3 rounds or less. It’s over in a flash.

I think that’s probably accurate. Maybe one magazine is enough, especially with modern high-capacity pistols.

I think I’d still like a spare magazine handy.  How ’bout you?

Posted in Ask The Holster Guy, Good To Know | 3 Comments »

Double Feed Jams – How Do You Clear Them?

Posted by Rob Longenecker on 16th July 2006

Have you been practicing how to clear pistol malfunctions?

You are? Great! If you’re not, then why not? Because they’re going to happen, you know that. If you’ve been shooting for any length of time you’ve already experienced a couple or so.

The two most common “jams” are the “stovepipe” and the “double feed.” Now, the worst of the lot is the double-feed jam because it puts an immediate stop to your ability to shoot and it takes time to clear it.

Pistols have become more reliable during recent years and because of that, we have fewer malfunctions. That’s a Good Thing.

The downside of that good fortune is we may not be practicing how to quickly clear those jams. Bad Thing.

If you’re a competitor you’re more likely to have this skill than if you’re a twice-a-year paper-puncher who carries for self defense.  Competitive shooters know how critical lost time is during a match. 

But defensive shooters, in a real life-saving situation, can least afford to lose time to a double-feed malfunction.  Thank goodness a real need to defend oneself is rare and that a well-maintained pistol rarely jams, but put the two “rare events” together and you’re in it and in deep.

What cause jams? Usually the extractor fails to pull the empty case and throw it clear as the slide cycles to feed a new round from the magazine.  The fresh round slams into the back of the empty case instead of into an open chamber.  The slide stops well short of battery and simply cycling the slide again will do nothing to solve the situation.

If you’re in danger, this is the time to seek cover if you haven’t already. 

Then lock the slide back, release the magazine (you may have to grip and pull from the bottom), cycle the slide to clear the empty case (hoping the extractor does it’s job this time), load a fresh magazine (slamming it home decisively) and cycle the slide once more to load a fresh round.

The whole evolution takes several seconds even if you’re good at it.  Imagine how long it will take if you forget the steps and take improper actions that produce no result.  You’re toast!

Notice the above sequence includes loading a fresh magazine – now some of you may be asking ‘where’s that coming from?’

Experience, namely and common sense. Because you have to carry a spare or be very good at calling “kings x” on your attacker so you can run to the car/house to get a spare.

I hear carrying a spare is a lot easier than depending on cooperation from someone bent on harming you — but your actual mileage may vary.  😉

But seriously, practice, carry a spare magazine and keep your pistol clean.  If you experience any failures to extract while practicing, get to the source of it and have it fixed before you carry that gun for self defense.

Posted in Ask The Holster Guy, Good To Know | No Comments »

Proper Grip From The “Git Go”

Posted by Rob Longenecker on 15th July 2006

Pistol shooting has evolved greatly thanks to those like Jeff Cooper, Rob Leatham, Brian Enos, Chip McCormick, Jerry Barnhart, Todd Jarrett and many others who have contributed so much to the sport.

If you are training for self defense then you must learn and practice these 3 key elements:

  1. Grip
  2. Stance
  3. “Index”

The first of these is the grip.  Now, several things have changed about proper gripping since I learned to shoot a 1911 with Jeff Cooper almost 30 years ago. But the one thing that hasn’t is getting a proper full firing grip with your strong hand while the gun is still holstered.

That means you won’t need to re-grip between the time the gun clears your holster and it’s brought on target.

Can you imagine trying to pull your gun from the holster with your thumb and just two fingers, then re-gripping it under stress as you bring it to bear on your target?

Some holsters don’t have the necessary clearance and some IWB’s ride too low. Some who carry IWB mistakenly re-engineer a well designed holster to have it ride lower in their pants for “better concealment.” 

But in doing that, they sacrifice having clearance for a full firing grip. Not good.

When asked, they will tell you that they’ve practiced grabbing with fingers and thumb and then re-gripping while drawing.  And they’lll probably claim to have mastered it. 

But do you think when their heart is pounding and they’re in fear for their life they’ll do as well? 

Fine motor control is lost under stress.  And besides, a two-stage re-gripping draw will slow you down and we all know what happens to the slowest guy in a gun fight, don’t we?

We’ll discuss the elements of a proper grip in another post another day.

Watch this great video clip of 1996 IPSC World Champion Todd Jarrett on how to properly hold a handgun.

Your holster must allow for a full firing grip.  There are some that don’t. In the pictures below you can see there is complete clearance for your hand to grip your handgun fully.



Whether under the stress of shooting competitively or the ultimate stress of defending your life, you must have the ability to grip your gun properly the same way every time with confidence and with no conscious thought. 

It’s the first step to winning or surviving.

Posted in Ask The Holster Guy, Good To Know | No Comments »

Do You Need A Thumb Break Retention Strap?

Posted by Rob Longenecker on 14th July 2006

Do you need a thumb break on your new holster? Most of the time I don’t think you do.

Here are pictures to illustrate what we’re talking about. First an HF1 without the thumb break, then one with the thumb break:

HF1_ no_thumb.jpg


The reason I don’t recommend a thumb break retention strap for most people, is because of the way Tucker fits a holster — you almost magically have both good retention and a smooth, easy draw.

Talk to the folks who own one of his holsters. They’ll all tell you the same thing.

Now, if you’re a police officer or federal agent then a thumb-break or another style of strap may be required by your department. Of course, we’re not talking about level II and level III retention holsters often used by street cops, we’re talking about plain clothes or off-duty requirements. 
Because when you’re around crowds with an unconcealed carry gun, u can see how it makes more sense to have one than not.

If you carry a 1911-style pistol cocked and locked, and feel a thumb break will save you from an accidental discharge by blocking the hammer fall, then consider this:

The chances of the gun firing, after it’s safely holstered, is remote in the extreme.
Even if your thumb safety is disengaged, the gun is designed to be safe and has survived high-impact motor vehicle and motorcycle accidents without firing.

Civilians who plan on doing trapeze work or hanging upside down from tree limbs may also need a thumb break. Sometimes farm or ranch work may require one.

My personal preference is to have none, and most people share that preference. If you’re more comfortable with one, then that’s the way you should go and to hell with all other opinions. My job is to give you all the information and you make the call from there on.
Bottom line: If you want one, you can have one, and it’ll cost you extra.

Posted in Ask The Holster Guy, Comfort & Style | 1 Comment »