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Small of the Back Carry

I'm on vacation in Missouri in a suburb of St. Louis called St. Charles. We're visiting my oldest son and his family. All around me it's bedlam. Screaming, laser tag, crying, incessant questions about life and the pursuit of earth worms and woolly bear caterpillars. I get very little peace when I'm in the same house with 5 grand kids and three small kids of my own. The oldest of the eight is 13 and the youngest is 1. I'm getting very good at focusing to the exclusion of everything else around me. But every once in a while all the noise gets the best of me and I have to get away. I've discovered a nice gas station a few miles down the road, so when things get too tough here at my son's house, then I hop in my car and take a short respite from all the kidly activities. 

It was this morning when I needed just such a break.  So I'm at the gas station, waiting in the checkout line, when I glance down at the man in front of me. He was about 25 or so and he was carrying inside the waistband in the small of his back. Somehow his jacket had gotten tucked into his waist band and the grip of the gun was clearly displayed. It was olive drab, looked like a full frame M&P to me. Nice gun. I remember thinking. He doesn't know that his gun is showing. So I stood there in line, thinking about whether or not I should say something to him about it. What exactly is the accepted protocol? In the end, I decided to say nothing. After all, he was a total stranger, and what was I going to say. "Hey, your gun is showing." That just seems too much like "Hey buddy, your fly is open." 

So I paid for my diet Coke and left, but then I got to thinking about it. Sometimes people carry a bit too sloppy for my tastes. Chances are this guy had no idea his gun was showing. I don't carry small of the back for a few reasons:  1) It's a pretty long draw stroke. It takes much longer to reach back and get it out of the holster before presenting the gun. A few weeks ago I had a man in my advanced class who was carrying small of the back, so we timed his drawstroke. It was about a half second slower than those carrying appendix or in the 3 O'Clock position. And that's a shame because my full frame pistol in the small of my back feels pretty good against my once-ruptured L2/L3 vertebrae. For me, drawing from an inside the waistband holster takes longer no matter where you're carrying it. Except perhaps in the appendix position, but that has challenges for me as well. 2) I can't see the gun and I have less control over it. Just like in the case of this man at the gas station, the cover garment can get messed up and you'll never know about it. In general, it's just not a good tactical move to have your gun exposed in the small of your back, then lean over a counter while strangers are behind you. That just leaves the gun too vulnerable for my tastes. 3) The older I get the harder it is for me to reach around to the 6 O'Clock position to draw the gun. I can't do it as quickly and fluidly as I'd like, simply because my joints are getting older, more sore and less flexible. I had a shoulder injury a few decades back and it continues to haunt me and limit my mobility.

Now let me be clear, I'm not dissing small of the back carry. Many people do it for their own good reasons, and It's a very good choice for them. It's just not for me. So if you're one of those people who carry small of the back and it works for you, then God bless you and more power to you. After all, this is still America, and you have the right to carry any way you want. But no matter which carry method you choose, think it through ahead of time, and make a well-educated, informed decision. Because your method of carry is every bit as personal as the gun you choose. As in everything else about self-defense carry and civilian combat, your carry method should be safe, simple and strong.

 

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