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 [email protected]. 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.
Concealed Carry Magazine
What should your draw speed be, and how should you practice?
Fast, secure draws are one of the principal goals of defensive handgunning, but speeds are entirely person-specific.
Plenty of shooting schools have declared what is a “good” or a “masterful” time for drawing a pistol from concealment. Such arbitrary numbers are a lot more important in the competitive world than they are in the real world. Don’t get me wrong. I firmly believe that if you can get your firearm from concealment out to a shooting position in some fraction of a second, you are way out ahead of an individual who takes all of 2 seconds to get his or her pistol into play. But between daily clothing choices and physical limitations, sub-second draws just aren’t in the cards for everyone.
The most important part of your draw is that you are in total control of it. If you rush as fast as you can and end up alley-ooping your pistol to your attacker, you’re in trouble. If you rush as fast as you can and negligently put a bullet through your own thigh, you’re in even more trouble.
The best way to improve your drawstroke is to start slowly — as in more slowly than you think you should. And only begin to increase your speed when you are certain you are consistently drawing with proper technique. (This is, of course, best done through working with an experienced concealed carry-specific instructor.) It is far more important that your draw be safe and effective than it be fast. Not only can you never miss fast enough to catch up to a competitor, you can’t flub a draw quickly enough to get ahead of a situation.
Does a gun belt help with concealing a firearm?
Yes and no.
A good, solid gun belt is essential for safe, secure concealed carry because it will keep your firearm (and whatever else you’re carrying on your belt) where you last placed it. Unlike a thin, limp belt, a wider, stiffer belt will keep your holster properly anchored to your waistline and will prevent firearms and magazines from sagging out away from your body. This will help you conceal your daily loadout, sure. But mostly because none of that loadout’s components will be flopping around or otherwise drawing unnecessary attention. You will still have to conceal the firearm in question with the proper clothing choices.
If, however, that proper clothing is trying to conceal a pistol in a holster that does not have sufficient belt to hold onto, everything gets a lot more difficult and even more unsafe. Look at your gun belt the same way you’d look at the tires on a vehicle. No matter how great the vehicle is, if it isn’t wearing quality tires, look out.
How can I best handle lead exposure while shooting?
Outdoor ranges always used to be better than indoor ranges when it came to limiting airborne lead exposure. But the modern indoor range is so well designed and aerated that outdoor ranges’ advantage isn’t what it used to be.
The first and best step in limiting your exposure to lead oxide is to pick up a bottle of lead-removing soap and a few packets of the hand wipes that are impregnated with said lead-removal agent. I’m a big fan of LeadOff, but you can go with whichever product you prefer. You’re after a detergent specifically engineered for removing lead and other heavy metals from human skin.
If this is the route you’d like to take, when you finish shooting, put all your gear away. Then head to a sink for a scrub-up with your lead-removal soap. Follow the directions and thoroughly wash your hands and forearms, including any rings, bracelets and watches you’re wearing. (If practical, also wash your face and prescription glasses if you were wearing any.) This will do what I would estimate to be 90some percent of what you’re looking to get done, which is for you to not ingest any stray lead or introduce any more of it than necessary into your residence.
If you would like to go a little further, or if you will be doing a lot of shooting, I would advise you designate a light, comfortable long-sleeved shirt as your shooting shirt and select a pair of gloves that you will only wear while shooting. These can be washed in a normal washing machine with other clothing without any risk of cross-contamination. The next step up in protective measures is to designate range-only footwear, as there will be plenty of lead on the deck wherever you’re shooting. But ensuring you’ve gotten all of the lead off of your hands, face and clothing will be your highest priority.