So, as 2016 approaches, it will mark 7 years that I have had my concealed weapons permit, so I thought about the change in me as a person, from age 21, to 28, and how my outlook has changed since day 1.
I took my concealed weapons class when I was 20, about 2 weeks before my 21st birthday. Here in Florida, you have to be 21 to get the permit. So, I arrived early for the class, since you are late if you are on time, good piece of advice I learned early on. We all sat down in the class room, in the upstairs room of a local gun shop, and the first thing the instructor asked “who here is a member of the NRA?” and he proceeded to talk more about the NRA than state laws for about 20 minutes. Then he got into the laws, said you can do this, but not this, can carry here but not here. He took a 5 minute speech and turned it into 2 hours of fluffy, mixed in with some photos being taken, and shooting 2 rounds out of a 22lr. revolver into a bullet trap, and proceeded to say congrats and hand me a certificate. That day I ran down to my local police substation (I live in a weird city, where our sheriffs office and city police department are the same agency), got my fingerprints taken, and then I waited to submit my application so that I was 21 when I sent it. 4 months later, I got the permit in the male, and I got my first pistol that day, a Smith and Wesson sigma 9mm in an Uncle Mikes cloth holster. As you can tell, I didn’t know what the hell I was doing, and of course this CCW phase hadn’t hit the manufactures yet, so you either spent a ton of money on a gun, or you went cheap, and well, my college budget said I went cheap.
My first night carrying the gun, I had an empty chamber, carried appendix (not nice for us “fluffy” guys) , and I went downtown, to do a class project (I studied photography for a while). I felt like I was superman, I had a legally concealed gun, I was in downtown Jacksonville Florida…..at night…..WTF was I thinking!!!! little did I know, I was setting myself up for failure, specially with me still using the teacup and saucer grip. Also, when I went out in public, I felt like I had a huge neon sign above my head with an arrow pointing to where my gun was. This was what made my stop carrying for a while, until I bought a Taurus PT111 (I know, give me crap bout it later). Well, about 6 months later, that PT111 was stolen, and I didn’t get it back for 6 years.
Fast forward to 2011, I took my Florida Security Officer class, and that is when I heard about Magpul Dynamics for the first time, and I was hooked. I finally found out where all of my flaws were, and set out to change them, however, still being on a college budget, I was unable to go to these classes like those offered by Travis Haley, and well still am unable to really afford a class, since they never come within a hundred miles of my house. That aside, I started watching the Dynamic Handgun videos, over and over, and slowly I started to improve myself, but still never trained like I carried. Well that changed as soon as I went for my Armed Security license, and I was introduced to an Instructor from Front Sight in Nevada. Because of him, he drilled train like you carry, into my head, and for months after, I would be at home each day, and the first and last thing I did was practice my draw from how I carried. And since then, I have changed my carry guns from the Sigma, to the PT111, Glock 17 Gen 2, Gen 3, and Gen4, Glock 19, 26, 27, even my step grandfathers WW2 1911 that he carried in the war. Yet I still could not find a decent holster that I could truly conceal carry, without feeling like I printed and had that neon sign flashing. And that is when the Kydex industry blew up.
So, present day, I still go a couple days without conceal carrying, which is changing fast with current events. I still carry my trusty Glock 17 Gen 4, with an Inforce APL (changing soon). This is also the gun I use at work on duty in the armed security field. I have found the hard way that simple is the best way to go, meaning simple holster, simple gun mechanics, and simple clothing really play a factor. Now I will say, being from Florida, I still wear flip flops and shorts about 98% of the year, and yes, as of December 11, 2015, I still am wearing the flip flops and shorts, but I still carry the Glock 17, in a Galco King Tuck for a more formal setting, and a Survivor Creek Tactical Kydex holster, with spare mag holder, and yes I do wear a handcuffs holder from Black point Tactical, but wont get into the details as to why I carry handcuffs right now, I will save that for the future.
You could say that my life has changed in the past seven years in the firearms industry, and I have decided to do what was needed to teach the concealed weapons classes, and pass on my lessons to my students, including things that I was never told about in my class, such as what happens after you pull the trigger, the legal and mental battle, the scrutiny from attorneys, etc. Looking back, it was a great experience in the last 7 years, to see how the industry changed, and how I changed, and wouldn’t trade it for the world.