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Posted on January 7, 2019 by in Training

Where Is My Pistol?

Where Is My Pistol?

“With power comes great responsibility”. The concealed carrier literally has the power of life or death over everyone that he or she encounters.  Great care must be given to keeping that power in check that goes beyond situational awareness, conflict de-escalation, threat assessment, decision making under stressful circumstances, gunhandling skills, and ability to make good hits at appropriate speed if a lethal force response is absolutely required.  I am talking about doing nothing more than keeping up with the location of your handgun 24/7.

CCW Safe co-founder and CEO Mike Darter recently brought to my attention that he had been advised that an average of 12 handguns a day were found in carry-on luggage by the TSA in American airports.  In most instances, the owner of the handgun probably had zero intent of boarding a commercial airplane with an unchecked handgun, but lack of intent was not enough to necessarily exempt them from criminal charges. In Texas, such action can easily end up in arrest and charges that range from Class Misdemeanor (0-365 days in county jail and fine) to 3rd Degree Felony (2-10 years in prison and fine). 

What if forget my handgun is in my luggage, but don’t fly? I am probably OK if my luggage never leaves my hand. Otherwise, I am no longer in control of a handgun that might very well end up in the hands of unauthorized persons, whether adult or child, friend or stranger.

Some concealed carriers keep their handguns in purses. Others stow their handguns under the car seat and in car consoles and glove compartments. More than a few leave their handgun on the top of the nightstand, fireplace mantle, a shelf in a bookcase, or even the top of the refrigerator. The common thread here is that at any given time the owner is not in control and possession of a tool that can cause great harm, and sometimes inconceivable and totally unplanned things can and do happen.

I am somewhat at a loss to offer “one size fits all” advice simply because I know that people must operate within the world in which they live, work, sleep, and play, and those worlds vary from person to person and day by day. I obviously can’t (shouldn’t is probably more accurate) wear a handgun while showering or sleeping. I travel to places where I am lawfully prohibited from having a handgun on my person, but don’t want to leave my pistol at home while moving through transitional areas. There certainly must be an easy fix. If so, I don’t know it. Personally, I try to keep any handgun that is not then in my possession locked up in a gun safe. If it is out of the safe, I do my upmost to keep it on my person. Does that mean that I walk around my house wearing a handgun? Most days, yes. It is not a big deal to put a small-framed Glock 43 in a pocket holster or into a Keepers Concealment Errand holster that can be clipped to the waistband of a pair of gym shortsa I have been doing it for so long that I just looked down while typing this to confirm that I had it my possession, which I did. If I am going to travel on a commercial airplane with a handgun, which I do a fair amount, I carefully prepare my handgun for travel, and remove any magazines and lock the slide back before placing it in a lockable hard case. Upon arrival at the airport parking lot, I open my suitcase and re-check it one more time before walking to the airline counter. I declare my handgun as soon as I am greeted by the attendant. On the very few occasions that I travel with carry-on luggage only, I make sure that I first place my handgun in the gun safe and secure it, then I pack my bag. I check the bag in the same way in the airport parking lot. I then do a personal inspection/self-frisk (I am sure it looks odd to bystanders) before proceeding to TSA check-in. Embarrassing as this sounds, I find myself checking my pockets and running my fingers around the entire circumference of my waistband while in line sometimes.

I treat my handgun like it is one-half toddler that will get itself in trouble if I don’t keep an eye on it, and one-half timber rattlesnake that has ability to harm others that do not know how to handle it. I don’t think the average concealed carrier needs to necessarily adopt the same viewpoint as me, but I do recommend that some time be given to developing some sort of procedure that prevents the handgun from falling into the wrong hands.

Steve Moses

Steve is a long-time defensive weapons and instructor based out of Texas who has trained hundreds of men and women of all ages for more than two decades on how to better prepare to defend themselves and their loved ones. Steve has completed over 80 private-sector and law enforcement-only defensive weapons and tactics classes, and has trained civilian and law-enforcement officers in six states. Moses is a reserve deputy, former member of a multi-precinct Special Response Team, competitive shooter, and martial artist. Steve has written numerous articles for SWAT Magazine and other publications. Steve is a licensed Texas Level 4 Personal Security Officer and Instructor who was Shift Lead on a mega-church security detail for seven years, and has provided close protection for several former foreign Heads of State. He is currently an instructor at Relson Gracie Jiu Jitsu/Krav Maga in Tyler, Texas and Director of Training for Palisade Training Group (