NOTE: USCCA Customer Engagement team members get a lot of questions, and they pass a good number of them along to Concealed Carry Magazine Senior Editor Ed Combs. If you have a question, you can either ask it below or email it to editor@usconcealedcarry.com. We, of course, cannot guarantee answers to all questions — Ed’s a pretty busy guy — but we’d love to help you out with whatever’s stumping you.

Jared Blohm
Managing Editor
Concealed Carry Magazine

Any thoughts on trick-or-treat safety?

Although plenty of municipalities will not be allowing traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating this year, the basics will still apply even if you take the kids or grandkids to a “trunk or treat” event in your church parking lot.

At least two responsible adults with quality flashlights will escort and supervise trick-or-treaters. (You’ll want that second adult in case one of the participants requires a restroom break in an accommodating neighbor’s home or business; no kid goes into an unfamiliar place alone.) Kids never eat candy that does not have a sealed wrapper. Kids carry activated flashlights and, if possible, have light sticks attached to the backs of their costumes. Most of all though, remember that the biggest threat to a child’s safety on Halloween is motor vehicle traffic.

And be ready to be surprised. Goofs of all ages love to sneak up on and frighten people on Halloween. Unfortunately, this cannot be avoided other than by just staying home. Slapping leather every time a kid jumps out from behind a bush isn’t going to be a good time for anyone. If you know, deep down, that you do not deal well with people intentionally startling you, it might be best to sit this one out and let someone else facilitate the fun.

What are the concealed carry laws while hunting?

This is going to vary widely from state to state and from season to season. The USCCA’s gun laws page will do wonders in getting you up to speed, but you’ll have to take another few steps to cover your bases.

The key here will be to also contact your state’s Department of Natural Resources (or whatever it is called where you live or intend to hunt). Ask them to either send you an email you can print out describing the exact laws you need to follow or direct you to a website that will have the same information. Next, contact the sheriff’s department of wherever you intend to carry and do the same. It is not, technically, the duty of every law enforcement officer to know every law — especially when it comes to cops, deputies and troopers knowing game-law regulations. It always pays to spend half an hour sipping coffee and doing some online legwork to avoid legal trouble. Keeping pertinent printouts on your person while hunting is free insurance.

Are Polymer80 firearms a good idea?

I think they’re an excellent idea if you are legally eligible to own firearms and if the specific model in question is legal in your area. What a do-it-yourself build like that does is give you a far deeper mechanical understanding of firearms, and there aren’t any downsides to that.

As for whether they’re a “good idea” in the context of self-defense, I would say not in my particular case. I prefer to use nothing but factory-made guns, ammunition, components and holsters, but that is because I came up in the era of Massad Ayoob’s Redundant System of Redundant Redundancy (by Massad Ayoob). Under his instruction, other than night sights, you never used anything that wasn’t box-stock unless it was an NYPD trigger spring in your Glock to make the trigger weight even heavier to show everyone how careful you were. You photo- or hand-copied all of your notes from his class and then sent those copies via certified mail to your attorney or other trusted individual (for later use in court) to show how diligently you’d paid attention and how seriously you took self-defense. No, I am not making that up.

There is nothing wrong with that approach, and I have nothing but good things to say about Ayoob’s instruction and curriculum. The times I’ve taken classes from or run into him, he’s been nothing but a sweetheart. But the world has changed in the years since he basically invented what most would consider “modern comprehensive professional self-defense firearms instruction” 35 years ago. When he was developing his curriculum, competent training was hard to come by and the aftermarket gun-component industry was a tadpole compared to what it is now. The closest thing to online training were correspondence courses, VHS tapes and phone calls. It was just a different time, and defensive gun owners had to act differently.

So bearing all of that in mind…

From a courtroom standpoint, if you can demonstrate that the firearm you manufactured at home is just as exactly and consistently assembled as a Glock from the factory, then I’d say you’re 100 percent safe to use it as a carry gun. From a practical standpoint, if you can demonstrate that your pistol is afflicted with no more tolerance-stacking issues than the average factory Glock, then it is reliable enough for emergency lifesaving duty.

But you can’t demonstrate either of those things, can you?

I would say that unless you have absolutely no other choice — and I’d bet you do — your homebrew pistol should probably remain a range toy. You no longer “need” to install a NYPD trigger on your EDC sidearm, but let’s not push the envelope off the other side of the table either.


About Ed Combs

Ed Combs is senior editor of Concealed Carry Magazine and a former educator and law enforcement officer.