Pocket Pistol Considerations

Rob: You are listening to the Personal Armament Podcast. This is Rob Robideau. I have with me again today Mr. Dave Spaulding. Thanks so much for coming to this show here. We really appreciate it.

Dave has been very busy this last week. We were just talking about him being on Louisiana and doing some recording with Gun Talk. He told us that he was doing some recording, talking about what your concealed carry classes doesn’t actually teach you. A very interesting subject. We started asking him his opinion on these different things and I apologize some of the recording was not up to snuff. But we’re going to jump right into it. At least where the recording did start. Here you go. Thanks for listening.

Dave: They (criminals) may not be brain surgeons but they certainly have a PhD in street smarts. They will recognize the person who is going to posture or try to fake their way through by pointing a gun at someone. They’ll take that gun and they use it against them.

Rob: The people that come to your classes are a little bit of different genres of people because they are seeking out instructions. They care about it and they want to learn more. But of the people that you see that are trying to learn and are coming into this concealed carry world, carrying about personal defense, and carrying a firearm. How many of these people do you really believe have sat down and considered the fact that because they’re carrying a firearm, they are giving themselves the opportunity to take a life essentially?

Dave: In my classes, I don’t see basic students. I see people who are already law enforcement officers, military or concealed carry permit holders. I don’t see the person that’s just learning how to use the gun right off the bat and hasn’t given us any thought. That said, I am guessing I still see 10% maybe 15% of the people who really are not prepared to use the firearm to defend their life. In their mind, they still think that this will not happen to me, the gun is a fashion statement, or I got my permit because I have the right to do it. They really do not think that it can happen to them. I do the best I can to make them understand that it can happen to them. If it does, they cannot hesitate/dither. They cannot be thinking this is happening to someone else, this cannot happen to me. They have to understand that it is happening to them and they need to do whatever it takes to be an active participant on their own rescue.

Rob: These people are there and a few of them may not have considered it. When you present this information to them, when you try to bring this to mind that “Hey, this is a serious tool that you’re carrying. This does mean life or death.” People can take it one of three ways. They can continually live in denial. One say, accept the facts and say, “Hey, this is a serious tool. I understand what this is going to do and it’s worth for me to be able to defend myself and my family.” The third option is they could say, “Hey, I’m not ready for this.”

Of the people that are out there, that has not considered this previously. Once presented with this information, once they realized how serious this is. How many people do you think actually end up coming to that conclusion and say, “Hey, this is not for me.”

Dave: A sizable number of people that conclude that it is not for them. No matter what happens they cannot take a life. I even talked to a woman once who said that even if her kids were in danger, she could not take a life. It was just something foreign to her. She could not do it.

When you got a person like that, there is not much you can do to help them. You just hope that they never happen to cross paths with that person that is going to do them serious physical harm or death. However, I can tell you from dealing with criminals my entire adult life, which is exactly the person they are looking for. They do not want the person who will fight back or who is prepared to fight back. They want the person that no matter what happens, they will continue to remain a victim, and that they will do what they want and that is quite unfortunate. I suspect that we actually raise people that way.

I have actually seen people say, “If someone’s trying to rape you, just go along, and try to enjoy it.” What kind of crazy person says that? We are just doing people serious disservice. Rob, I am going to say something that may shock some people but there are people out there that need to be killed. If they need to be killed, you should kill them because if you do not, they will harm you or someone else and it comes down to that. I was a police officer my whole life and I am very just. I believe in justice and due process but there are circumstances and there are people that need to be stopped immediately and that are what it comes down to. Unfortunately, there are people out there that under no circumstances will they do that.

Rob: There are people out there that will not offer themselves up to the process of justice, law, and court system that are going to force themselves in some violent manner or force you to make a decision. It is not really a choice that you have. I think this person should. It is a completely different decision. It is a matter of protecting your family or yourself. It is a matter of life and death in most cases on your part.

Dave: You are a religious man, a minister. You have read the bible. You know that the bible is very clear that you do have the right to your personal defense. You do not have to turn the other cheek. You have the right to pick up the sword, protect yourself, and love ones. I just do not understand why people cannot grasp that basic human standard. You do not have to go meekly into the night and capitulate to somebody who is forcing themselves on you or trying to take the most precious commodity you have which is your life and the love of your love ones. There is nothing to be ashamed of. There is nothing to feel bad about. You are doing what I believe is a God-given right.

Rob: No and of course it is a legal right and also given to us by our government. Secondarily, after being a God-given right. While we have digress on this subject have not we.

Dave: We have. I apologize.

Rob: No. It is nothing to apologize.

Dave: People should take care of themselves. It is no different than getting a flu shot. You are taking care of yourself so you do not get the flu. When you take a firearm, train with it, and build the mindset. You are taking care of yourself so that you will not be a victim.

Rob: Let me ask you one more question about solving the world’s problems. You mentioned that maybe we are raising people like this. Without being harsh or mean, how do raise your children in a mindset where they understand that taking care of your family and yourself is not a crime? It is not something that you should be ashamed of.

Dave: That is just it. You raise them in such a way that they understand that it is not bad to defend yourself. Schools have zero tolerance policies. It does not matter if the person that is being picked on is being picked on defending themselves. They are suspended too. That is the wrong message.

I made it very clear to my kids that they do not pick fights. If they pick fights, they will answer to me. However, at the same time, I told them that you are not to allow someone to harm you or to do something to you that would cause you injury. You have the right to fight back. You fight back and if the school or whatever, I will deal with that, I will take care of that. We need to tell our kids it is ok to take care of you, to protect yourself. It is hypocritical. We tell you wash your hands, don’t get near other people, don’t let them cough on you, take care of yourself, protect yourself from illness, But then we tell the same people that it’s not ok to protect yourself from someone harming you. Back to the rape counsel, you should just layback, take it, and do not anger the person. That is just a load of crap. You raise your children and you tell them that it is ok to defend yourself, to protect yourself. I do not care what the schools, the politicians, or anybody else says.

Rob: I am sure that having a father, mother or both that are actively searching out and learning about how to use a defensive tool and what situations, going to classes, and that sort of thing. Naturally, your child is going to understand the value that you place on that. They are going to place a priority on that also. It is going to be a natural thing.

Dave: We tried to do that. I taught my kids to shoot and everything and none of my kids are really into shooting. They would go and it was kind of fun to do but they are not really into it. However, I made them understand that to use that tool to protect themselves was ok. It was ok by God and the government. The government is kind of a funny thing because you never know what type of jurisdiction you live in. You should understand. Technically, it has been ok by the government.

Rob: At least they are out there joining and protesting with the CSGV and the Mayors Against Illegal Guns, and all these other groups. I think you did something right.

Dave: Individual jurisdiction is probably a pretty good idea that you understand how your local prosecutor feels about firearms, personal security or to self-defense because we all realize that a prosecutor can dictate a turn of grand jury. You need to have that kind of understanding. That dynamic and prepare for it.

Rob: Let us jump into today’s subject. We talked a little bit about jumping into this, this week. It is funny how you go onto these gun forums. In fact, you walk into any gun shop or club and you are bound to find someone arguing over the merits of their caliber. How the 45 is the best cartridge ever invented. It would be good enough for Jesus if he were here. People are here with the 40 caliber, 10mm, even the 9mm. I personally prefer the 9mm for several reasons but its funny how all these people sit there arguing about this. They will spend hours discussing the merits. They will shoot through all their ballistics. They will run all the numbers and talk about exactly how they load it up this ammo. You are asking what do you have on your purse and what do they have? It is a pocket pistol right?

Dave: Right. It is. I am not sure who said this but I hate to not get attribution but I am not sure who exactly said it but it is true. We talk 45s. We shoot 9mms but we carry 38 or 380s.

Rob: It’s relatively recent trend moving to these little 380s. Tell us a little bit about your thoughts on these pocket pistols and where is this trend going? Is it something good?

Dave: It used to be snobby 38s. The first off duty that I got when I got out of the Academy was a snub 38. They are still very popular and they are a good choice for personal security. I think the 380 really came onto the market when Ruger introduced the LCP. The Kel-Tec was actually here before that and the other was North American Arms. There was a number of little pocket pistols or pal-size pistols but it was Ruger and their LCP that really rocketed the whole package to the forefront. People could not get enough of them. Ruger still makes those things left and right. If you go to SHOT Show or any of the large trade companies, the pocket pistol or little 380s are still one of the most sought-after, interesting items out there.

Rob: The tabloids were around before the iPad but when Apple started making that iPad, they popularized it. They put it in a package that people wanted and it is kind of, what Ruger did with the pocket pistol. Let me ask and be as diplomatic or I know you do work for Ruger. What are your opinions in general of these pocket pistols? Is this a good trend to be going that small? Is it something that people really need to consider exactly how low power these is and adapt their techniques to fit in?

Dave: Let us be honest Rob. It is going to be a matter of individual commitment. People will stick an LCP in their pocket when they will not slide a Gloc 17 into their waistband. The most diminutive pocket pistol is still far better than empty hands. I think the pocket pistol is a good trend. Do I think it is going to be an effective weapon if they are attacked by a committed assailant? Probably only if they can like shoot then in the eye sockets because I do not think several shots to the torso will be instantly incapacitated. Unless something like the heart or one of the major, blood vessels or the spinal column is severed. Even then, these bullets are fairly underpowered to be quite frank.

Rob: It is a very small cartridge. Many people look at it when they get it and say, “Man, these things are tiny.” However, the truth is nobody wants to step in front of it. It is still a firearm. It is still shooting a piece of lead or a projectile that is not fun to be hit by. People are developing better ammunition for these things all the time too.

Dave: I do not want to be shot with any of these calibers. Anything that perforates your body has the definite potential of causing you serious physical injury or death. In the 30 years, I was involved in law enforcement and all the years that I studied the topic of handgun stopping power. I even wrote my Master’s Thesis on it while I got my Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice Administration. There was a very definitive line that seems to occur right around 38 Special. That seemed to be the line. The 380 is kind of a ghost cartridge that goes both ways but definitely 380. There are just so many instances where people have been shot and do not know they have been shot versus the 38 Special on larger where people tend to notice that they have been hit.

Rob: It is no 380 in size for sure but there are plenty of good 38 revolvers out there that are getting smaller and smaller. Obviously good reliable. We are talking about Ruger LCR. We have Smith and Wesson Bodyguard and there are many more that are in development, coming out or out there that I do not know about. There are many good small 38s too.

Dave: The 380-pocket pistol, people like it because it is light and flat. However, I think if you are going to go with a pocket type pistol you are better off with the 38 snub. Getting one of those really lightweight aluminum, titanium or scandium, the material is out there and loading that with one of the more proven hollow point cartridges. I really think you are going to end up with a pocket package that is going to be far more effective when you need it than one of the little flat guns. The little 380s are very flat. You can slide them into places where even the 38 snub will not fit as well. Again, I come back to it. It is certainly better than empty hands.

Rob: I do not want to reiterate the point. However, seriously, it is better than nothing. It is good to see people at least dropping something into their pockets.

There are two issues I want to address with this. Number one, when people have the option of a pocket pistol, do you think that most people just have that as a backup? Do they slip into their pants when they do not feel like carrying their main firearm? Do you think that is something that most people commit to and say, “Hey, this is what I want to use as my primary firearm.” What do you see most people doing in that respect?

Dave: I do not know what the exact sales figures are for Ruger’s LCP. I know it is hundreds of thousands of guns. When you sold that many guns, I just find that hard to believe that many guns were sold strictly for backup purposes. There probably are people who are carrying it for a backup gun. Any of that genre, that flat 380-32 would be a good backup gun for law enforcement, armed citizens or military to escape an evasion, gun, and kit for military special operators. You do not sell that volume of guns just for backups. There are many people out there that are carrying those guns for primary.

Rob: That brings me to my main point. I see in some cases maybe or someone might say, “Hey, today I’m just not feeling like carrying a heavier gun. I’m going to go with the 380.” Whereas tomorrow when they are dressed differently, they might end up wearing their primary firearm. When I say backup, I don’t’ mean as a secondary gun on your person. I apologize. I was kind of leading you the wrong way there but what I am wondering is when someone is alternated between two firearms. We have talked about the importance of using these act same techniques and getting some of the stuff drilled into your brain. That doubles the amount of training and work that you need to do to ingrain the draw, all the other aspects of handling a defensive firearm. That doubles the work that you have to do to prepare.

Dave: We are talking human physiology here now. Primarily sports physiology, the human motions. Anytime you deviate from the norm, you are going to create what we call lag time, which is the amount of time that takes to perceive, and react to danger.

If you are normally carrying your Gloc pistol in a strong side, hit holster and now you go to an LCP, an appendix carry, or hit pocket carry. You will create a certain amount of lag time because if you practice and practice with your primary gun and your belt holster when crisis hits, when a threat presents itself, you will automatically default to going to that position. You will realize that it is not there “Oh wait a minute. I’ve got it here.” and you are going to have to divert that muscle memory, ability, or familiar task transference to the new location and now you are talking about seconds in a situation that only lasts seconds. Not having that particular firearm in your primary mode of carry. Not having adjusted your brain to doing that is a very serious problem. The only thing that I can tell people is if they are going to vary their location because it maybe they are going to the beach or it is just a darn hot day. All they can do is a tank top and a pair of shorts is before they head out that day, unload that gun, put it in that carry location, and do five minutes of draws. Try to temporarily anchor that into their motor skills for that day and maybe that will be enough to get him through. Just add a little bit of repetition and if it pops up, they will go there. It certainly not guaranteed Rob.

Rob: The fact of the matter is you are stepping down a little bit in effectiveness of the cartridge and you do not want to lose even more in your skill. It really puts you at not necessarily a disadvantage but it does not give you as much of an advantage as with a primary firearm of a larger caliber.

Dave: You are absolutely correct. You could have said it better.

Rob: The way that we are going to sought the world’s problems again. The advice that I would give here then is if you are going to carry a pocket pistol, give yourself a lesser advantage with a smaller caliber. At least make sure that you are practicing with it and that you are not going to have that lag because you have not practice with it. Spend some time and make sure you get in there. I do not want to delay the point with that.

My other question to you was about pocket pistols. Once you get down to these smaller firearms and I know that these companies are coming out with some great designs but some of these smaller guns, they are harder to shoot right?

Dave: I am sorry. They are harder to what?

Rob: Harder to shoot because of the way that your hand grips them.

Dave: Absolutely. You have a smaller gun. There is more diminutive grip on it. You do not have the larger grip surface of a 1911 or Gloc. You have this little tiny bit of grip that your shooting hand has probably totally encased, totally wrapped around it. You have no exposed grip surface to really get a supporting. You are really supporting is gripping your shooting hand. That will help some but when you got these little tiny guns, you got a one-handed pistol. If they malfunction or you need to do a clearance on them, there is less surface to manipulate. Somebody told me once that you really cannot manipulate these little guns and that is just not the case. You can manipulate these little guns. You can tap rack, you may have to adjust your grip, and do a few things. They can be done. You should know how to do that. Whenever you have got a smaller package, you are going to have less to grab a hold of, and that is going to be a potential problem. It is nothing that cannot be overcome in a solid training program.

Rob: On the flip side of this, you are shooting a small package when you shoot a 38 revolver, also a very small and light package. You do have less recoil. Do you think that gives you a little bit of an extra advantage? Do you think it is negligible when you are shooting that small pocket pistol and it is a 380 versus a 38 Special? Do you think that is going to allow you to get more shots off? What is your opinion on that?

Dave: You really do not have less recoil. You are shooting a 380, it is a small, and light as an LCP. It has got some recoil. If you were shooting a 380 and a wolf 33k which is all steel. That is a little bit different but some of these small guns have some unnoticeable recoil, nothing that cannot be overcome. I think the chief advantage of these small guns, which are more than likely going to be used in very close quarters is that there is no leverage advantage to your opponent. What I mean by that is if you are a double arm’s length, your opponent grabs hold of the barrel and the slide; they actually have the greater leverage to strip that gun out of your hand. Something small like a snobby or an LCP, they do not have that leverage advantage so the small gun will actually be easier for you to retain in a scuffle than a larger more powerful pistol. If you want to look at the advantage of these smaller guns, it would probably be their ability to be used very well in close confines.

Rob: An interesting concept. I really did not think of that but you are right. Your hand will be covering more that is available to them to grab and leverage against you.

Dave: If you are using these guns at what we call bad-breath distances, the power factor is not going to be as great or the power disadvantage is not going to be as great because you are probably going to be pushing it up against their chest cavity or sticking it up against their neck. In those close confines, these little guns can give a very good accounting of themselves. If we are looking for advantage that the advantage would be that, these would be good little guns to have in close confrontation.

Rob: Let me move slightly off the whole pocket pistol unless there is anything you need to go back to and ask you when it comes to pocket pistols, what are your thoughts on lasers?

Dave: Lasers probably are a great deal sense on some of these small guns because the sight is you probably see Rob, are not very big. At close confines or maybe you’ve been knocked down and you’re trying to get the gun up, it may be sideways in orientation, coming right out of your pocket, you’ve just knock the guy’s arm out of the way, and your snap shooting him. That laser, that little gun can be very valuable. Not that they could not be valuable on larger guns. But when you’ve got a gun that you’ve got one one-hand grip onto, maybe using it at very close distances, very fast shooting, and it also has very diminutive sights on it. I think the laser can be a really good tool on that gun.

Rob: It looks like there are a lot of companies but people are working together with manufacturers to make sure that these things are coming out of the factory. In some cases with lasers or at least there are aftermarket lasers that fit these things well with holsters. It seems like people are really recognizing that a laser compliments these small platforms very well.

Dave: But I will make the caution and maybe on a limb here. If the laser is not intuitive to operate and what I mean by that, if you cannot wrap your hand around the gun and you cannot activate it in a traditional shooting grip or shooting manipulation. If you have got a supporting and reach, out near the switch or the trigger finger has to do something that, my experience is it will probably will not come into play. If the laser is not engaged and operated as you wrap your hand around the gun in a traditional shooting rip but doing it normal deployment then the laser probably will not be a factor in the fight.

Rob: Are you saying most of these newer lasers that are out for these things have been deployed in practical and effective ways.

Dave: Some of the lasers are pretty good. As soon as you wrap your hand around them, you engage them, which can be a problem because it could be on when you do not want it to be. Some of the lasers require your support hand thumb up and pop a button. A situation like that it probably will not come into play because you may not have the ability to reach up and hit that switch. The point of making is if the lasers cannot be activated in a normal wrapping of your hand around the gun, it probably will not be a factor in a close pandemonium filled fight. By the same token, if it is that easy to turn it on then you can also probably turn it on at times when you do not want it to be on. Like anything else Rob, there is bitter in the sweet.

Rob: There you go people. We are not even helping. You make the decision. You are absolutely right.

Dave: Each person has to decide what is important to them and what is not.

Rob: Are there any other aspects of the pocket pistol that you wanted to address today?

Dave: Just do not ___ because you drop a pistol in your pocket, you are ready to go. “Ok. I am armed. I’m good.” There are a lot of people that think that. I had a person that said “I’ve got my pistol right here in my front pants pocket. I am ready to go. All I got to do is reach in here and get it.” I said “Ok. Sit down.” He sat down. I said “How do you get it out?” “Well, I never thought about that.” See? You got to think about those kinds of things. You have got to practice so your pocket pistol in your real world of work and play. If you are sitting down a lot in your car, your trousers have tightened up across the pockets. Probably above where the pocket pistol is. How do you get your hand in there without doing some kind of spastic-looking motion while you straighten your leg out so you can wiggle your hand into your pockets?

Pocket pistols can be convenient and easy to carry but they can also be hard to access. When you are doing this kind of stuff, think about your real world of work and play and practice in that fashion, and find out if it is really the mode of carry for you.

Rob: Sounds like some good advice. Thanks again for coming on here and talking with us. I am sure we appreciate it. I am sure that our listeners appreciate you giving them advice on this subject.

Dave: I do not mind coming on here and talking to your listeners but I am not going to guarantee that they are always going to agree with what I say.

Rob: We love to hear you go out on a limb and tell us that people need to kill and all that stuff.

Dave: I will never lie to people, at least not about this stuff. It is too important.

Rob: No, we appreciate that Dave. Again, if you want to check out Dave’s work, his classes, and the things that he does. Head on over to HandGunCombatives.com or DaveSpaulding.com. Those are the correct addresses right?

Dave: That is correct sir.

Rob: You can check out his blog at DaveSpaulding or you can learn about the classes and what he’s doing at the HandGunCombatives course. Also, if you want to help support the podcast and the show here, you can check out our book that on Amazon.com or on our website is The Practical Guide to Everyday Carry Gear. You got two chapters in there from Dave talking about the defensive use of a flashlight and also some of the questions surrounding the defensive use of a knife which we’re going to cover more of here on the podcast later about whether that’s a fantasy or fiction that’s a good effective self-defense tool but you could also read about his thoughts on that in The Practical Guide to Everyday Carry Gear.

Thanks again Dave. I’ll talk to you again next week.

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