USCCA member Jon Angell might live in a tiny town, but he takes a large view of the world.
“When you have children,” he says, “you have to think about protecting yourself and your family. You can’t worry about the people who have that world view that says there’s a stigma about owning guns. Be willing to protect your family, whether it’s frowned upon by other people or not. It’s certainly a God-given right that we should be able to defend ourselves by any means possible. If that means using deadly force, that’s just the way it goes.”
Growing up, Jon remembers spending time with his father and other adults on the range. Like many youngsters, he was fascinated with his father’s rifles and enjoyed spending time shooting with his family.
Although that interest wasn’t what guided him into the Navy as a young man, it certainly made his time in uniform more enjoyable. “I worked base security,” he explains, adding that as a member of the security team he needed to qualify regularly with his weapons and was encouraged to practice as often as possible. During Jon’s Navy days he primarily worked as an aircraft electronics technician, but got involved in base security in Norfolk, Virginia, in the days after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Remembering his military days, Jon says, “That’s where I kind of got attached to Berettas.” Of the service Beretta (model 92F), he says, “I liked it a lot because of the way it felt in my hand. It just fit.” It was that experience that led him to choose the Beretta PX4 in .40 S&W for his carry weapon.
After six years in uniform, Jon returned to civilian life. These days, although he lives in eastern Oregon, he works for a company based in Florida, writing computer programs that test electronic cards out of airplanes, trains, and helicopters, as well as components from a wide variety of other industries. “We have many military contracts, as well as civilian,” he notes.
Jon and his fiancée, Janice, are planning a March wedding. “Janice is great,” Jon says. “We’ve been out to the range together a few times now, sometimes with family, and she’s thinking about getting her carry permit too.”
Jon’s two children from a previous marriage, a six-year-old boy and a five-year-old girl, live with their mother in a neighboring state. Jon arranges visits with them as often as he is able. His son recently fired a .22-caliber rifle for the first time, under the watchful eye of his future stepdad. “He learned about keeping the gun pointed downrange in a safe direction, turning on and off the safety, doing all that kind of stuff safely and correctly,” says Jon. “I’m glad it’s being done and that he’s learning what he needs to learn about gun safety, but I wish it had been me taking him to the range.”
Other than working with electronics, Jon also enjoys fixing things and working around the house. “I’m a very hands-on individual,” he says of himself. “I’ve been referred to as Mr. Gadget or Mr. Fixit or even MacGyver for that matter.” He especially enjoys stretching his creativity to fix “just about anything” with limited resources, and has also recently picked up reloading his own ammunition as a hobby, finding the process of preparing his own ammunition both relaxing and enjoyable.
Talk to your kids about firearms.
How long have you been carrying a firearm?
Apart from my time in the military, I’ve had my concealed weapons permit since July 2008, so about a year and a half.
Was there a specific incident that prompted you to carry?
No, nothing in particular. Mostly it’s just an awareness of the hazardous world we live in. There are crimes that happen all over the place all the time, and I could be next. In my very small, very secluded, very quiet little town, things do happen from time to time, even though they’re rare. There was actually a drug bust about a block away from my house not long ago, so that was interesting.
My pastor recently came to me to talk about concealed carry. He was wanting to know what he needs to do to get his carry permit, and was asking whether or not I thought he should carry, that kind of thing. What happened was that he has his own pistol at the house where he lives with two kids and his wife. Obviously he’s open to the idea of protecting himself with a firearm. He had to get his home firearm out just last month when in the middle of the night, somebody came by his house and tried to beat his door down. That’s what it sounded like, he said. So he went to the door with his pistol, but nobody was there and thankfully he did not have to use it. So he’s become open to the idea of carry and I don’t have to worry about ridicule or disapproval from him anyway.
Have you ever needed to use your firearm in a defensive situation?
I have not, no. And that’s just fine with me. I’d rather carry it forever and not use it once, than to not have it when I really need it.
What training have you had in the past, and what are you currently doing for training?
Well, obviously when I did base security I had to do some police-type training. That was mostly standard silhouette shooting, and also moving and shooting from one station to the next. Unfortunately, I’ve never been able to get any civilian training since I got out of the military. That’s mostly because of where I live, but partially also because I can’t afford it. I wouldn’t be able to go even if I could afford it, because there just aren’t any training facilities out this way.
But whenever I can get out, I like to get up to the range. There are a couple of abandoned quarry type mining places out here that make great private shooting ranges. It allows you to practice however you want and do whatever you want. I like to practice moving, and shooting while I am moving, because obviously stationary targets are a lot easier to hit than moving ones and I don’t want to get shot—or stabbed or anything else for that matter. Because I can’t get to a school, I’ve had to rely on reading about training, finding out what is good, and then just trying to duplicate it as best I can.
What type of handgun and carry ammunition do you use?
I use the Beretta PX4 in .40 S&W caliber. For my carry ammunition, I use Federal HydraShoks, but for plinking and practice I just use whatever is cheapest. I’m starting to pick up reloading as a hobby, and find it’s a heck of a lot cheaper for training ammunition than buying over the counter.
What do you use for holsters?
I’ve got a DeSantis outside the waistband belt holster. For my inside the waistband holster, I use a Minotaur from Comp-Tac. That is an amazingly comfortable holster and it conceals very well.
What’s your holster box look like? Did you go through a bunch before you settled on those?
I did. Just like the article in the magazine an issue or two back, I spent a lot of time and wasted a lot of money trying to buy the cheap holsters. I’d look at them and think, “Oh, those will probably work,” but I found out the hard way, they don’t. So now I have the two. They’re both good quality holsters that really do the job. I sure wouldn’t trade them away. It certainly helps a lot in the area of carrying, makes it so much easier to carry and conceal when you’ve got a better holster.
What kind of advice do you have for other USCCA members?
Well, first of all, try not to waste a ton of money on holsters that might not work in the first place. They might be cheap, but you end up spending a lot more in the long run just to get what you need.
Another good suggestion for new people is to read—read a lot. And read up on the laws, too. I purchased a book that specifically covers all of Oregon’s laws related to concealed carry. It lets me read the laws for myself and not just get someone else’s interpretation of it. Obviously, it is also good to hear what other people have to say, but there’s no substitute for reading the actual laws. The title of the book is Understanding Oregon’s Gun Laws by Kevin Starrett. [Editor note: Similar books are available in nearly all states, and it is worthwhile to seek them out.]
Finally, I think it’s critical to talk to your kids about firearms, and especially about safety and the dangers of guns. Kids need to know that guns are not toys and that they’re very dangerous. Exposing kids to firearms, especially if you will have firearms in the house all the time, is a good idea. Anybody with kids will tell you their curiosity will get the best of them and they will find your guns whether you want them to or not. It could be one time, just one curious time, that could be deadly and is certainly nothing anyone would
want to go through. So I think kids should be exposed to firearms, trained and educated as early as they can understand.