Thursday, July 9, 2009

Outdoors 9-11

This last week I had a chance to get a long walk out in the woods out past where the corn stops growing. I took a light coat in case of rain, as it's been unusually cold and wet, and of course, a trusty .45 in a Blackhawk holster. This is my "outdoors hiking, moving, fall and winter holster". It's not as sleek as many other holsters I own, but in the clothing I wear outdoors it works, and works very well for what I need it for. This particular holster is unique in that there's a locking mechanism that keeps the gun in place during other than just strolling movement, as well as acts in preventing someone else from grabbing it. Yet with a little practice, it is as easy as pie for you to draw.

Cabela's says "Thumb breaks can slow your draw and get in the way when you re-holster. But you won't experience those drawbacks with Blackhawk's patented SERPA Technology™. It engages the trigger guard as you holster your firearm and secures it until you release using the normal drawing motion with your trigger finger alongside the holster. No snaps or straps to get in the way. The textured Carbon Fiber model can be worn on a belt or used as a paddle holster."

I've had mine four years and it works without a hitch and has held up very well. The one thing I noted when I first put this on was how SECURE it was. I could pole dance with this thing and it wouldn't budge.

It's home to a .220 and draws with the finger indexed where it is supposed to be, off the trigger. Unlocks easily, re-holsters easily and locks with no insertion force. This is a holster that's NOT going to make it easy for someone to take this gun away from me.

The drawbacks? The paddle attachment that comes with it really grips my jeans when I'm carrying. That's wonderful from a retention aspect, but at the end of the long day, sometimes it's a bear to get off. The belt slot attachment works better with belts up to one and 3/4 inches (when you remove the two spacers). I would recommend practice with it as well, quick firing capability is there, but it's something you should practice with, as it might be different than what you are used to.

But it is my favorite holster for being outdoors with a vest or jacket on to conceal the bulk that's more than some holsters.
I've spent a lot of time in the back country. All of it alone. I've camped, but not in a "National Park", because frankly, until recently, as a lone female, I wasn't going in one unarmed. If you're in the outdoors and you have an encounter with a criminal or an aggressive animal, there is no 9-11 box where you can call the police. And just like in the suburbs, 9-11 isn't going to do you a lot of good if you're staring down the face of a knife in the hands of some thug and the police are not going to be there in the next 10 minutes.

There were four bear attacks in parks last year that I know of. Small risk when you consider the millions of visitors. But think again. Bears aren't the biggest danger. The last year I could find statistics on violent crime in the parks from was 2006. For some reason, they haven't posted them where they are easy to find since then. In 2006, there were 116,588 reported offenses, including 11 killings, 35 rapes or attempted rapes, 61 robberies, 16 kidnappings and 261 aggravated assaults.

Crime and violence are working their way into our rural areas and our parks. The days of mellow nights under the stars with perhaps your only fear, that of cowtippers or Yogi the Bear stealing your picnic basket, are over.
Urban problems are creeping ever outward, with alcohol or drugs being part of most violent incidents. Hideaway methamphetamine labs and marijuana fields in rural areas and forests are one reason, society degrading as unemployment skyrockets is another.

When the "guns in national parts" debate was ongoing the detractors said that guns would "ruin the outdoor experience". I don't know about you, but some whacko defending his meth lab intent on raping and killing me would certainly ruin MY park experience.

I don't fear the local four legged predators, the most common around here being coyotes. I fear the two legged animals. So I carry when I'm outdoors. Like the coyotes who share my land, I am alone even when I'm in my pack, dispossessed except for those times I am in the outdoors, for it is only the outdoors that feeds and nourishes me. I haunt the shadows of the wilderness that my own race continues to destroy. Yet, like the small field rabbits that are the coyote's prey, I just want to go about my way, unmolested, free to travel in sunlight or darkness without fear.
Some say we are safer out here in the country, in these small towns of America. Despite the country setting, and red white and blue speckled mailboxes, there is no truly safe place anymore, especially for a woman. Though there are certainly more crimes where more people live or where the the law-abiding are disarmed, the heart of evil roams equally at will through asphalt and country roads. Predators are among us, watching from a line at the corner market, waiting in the darkness of a rural parking lot or that untraveled, unbeaten path. Waiting for that sign, that manner, that tells them that you are un-toothed and un-fanged, a soft and vulnerable target.

Our primordial past is closer than we realize. Watching us.
So I carry something large, and black as night, in a holster that holds up to it's job. Because not every creature in the woods is some furry gentle creature seeking sustenance at my door in the night.


  1. I am sharing your post with several other women who are showing a new interest in shooting. I am an avid mountain and road cyclist, and I have had three up close and personal encounters with individuals who clearly meant to do harm but were convinced to move on down the road by my .357 I keep stowed in the middle pocket of my Camelbak. In two of the three cases I was sure that the men were illegals running drugs and/or people from down old Mexico way. The third was one of a group of three little gang banger wannabes; but adolescent boys in groups are dangerous, and I just *knew* I needed to stop the activity right then and there. All the precautions always apply; but at least here in Arizona, there really is no excuse for not getting a CCW. It may not be the perfect defense, but at least it gives you a fighting chance in the worst of circumstances.

    Thanks for your always thoughtful, insightful and lyrical posts!

  2. "Predators are among us, watching from a line at the corner market, waiting in the darkness of a rural parking lot or that untraveled, unbeaten path. Waiting for that sign, that manner, that tells them that you are un-toothed and un-fanged, a soft and vulnerable target. "

    Hmmm.... sounds like something Tennyson would write. True for this 'modern era', too.

    "And thus the land of Cameliard was waste, Thick with wet woods, and many a beast therein, And none or few to scare or chase the beast; So that wild dog, and wolf and boar and bear Came night and day, and rooted in the fields, And wallowed in the gardens of the King. And ever and anon the wolf would steal The children and devour, but now and then, Her own brood lost or dead, lent her fierce teat To human sucklings; and the children, housed In her foul den, there at their meat would growl, And mock their foster mother on four feet, Till, straightened, they grew up to wolf-like men, Worse than the wolves. "

    Others have suggested that you should write. You do seem to have the talent.

    Very nice, Brigid.

  3. That seems to me to be a lot of crime in the National Parks - I am betting that there is no breakdown of the figures by region?

    Having seen a fair number of your range targets I have little doubt of the outcome of any clash with a lowlife who comes across your path with evil intent.

  4. Great post. Is the fire arm a 45 or something else. I love the bear pole dancing.


  5. What a great post ma'am. Such an eloquent way of expressing yourself, and of such an important subject.

    I don't have a Blackhawk, but do own a similar paddle FOBUS for my G21. I have seen the video of the breakage for it, but so far, I've been pretty happy with it. I have heard many positives comments about the Blackhawk - maybe my TZ 75 needs one.

  6. Good post, and echoes my own thoughts.

    You have a talent for that.

  7. I could not agree more wholeheartedly about the need for self defense in national parks, or anywhere for that matter. Hopefully national parks are the beginning of the end of irrational exclusion of places where concealed carry is allowed.

  8. Dead on and extremely well written (again). I agree with the "Tennyson" reference.

  9. Very nice! I'm hoping to buy a hand gun in the near future. There is a park near my place that I enjoy and it would be nice to have that extra security on my hip. I need something light though, b/c I would also want to carry it in the mountains.

    Oh, and thanks for not voting me off the island! ;)

  10. Brigid pole dancing theres an image :)

    Great article, beautiful prose, thought provoking imagery and informative!

  11. Not to detract from the core message of the post, (which is dead on as usual) but the pole dancing comment was a great visual. Thanks Brigid.

  12. While many of us are drawn to desolate and remote places, others are as well. While living in the desert SW I learned that evil people also know about the advantages of desolation. I don't think a week went by that there wasn't another report of a skeleton or badly decomposed corpse found somewhere in the remote desert.

    Your chances of being struck by lightning are very, very remote. But that doesn't mean you stand on bare hilltops in a thunder storm.

    People who go into wild places unarmed are simply being foolish.

  13. I use a Bianchi Carry-Lok holster at work, primarily because it really hugs my side & creates a minimum of bulk under a jacket or long-tailed shirt.

    Thank you for once again highlighting this important issue. Both of my daughters now read your blog daily; this will be a good one to catch their attention.

  14. Brigid,
    Great write, and I agree. When I fish anywhere but openly public waters, I carry the .357. I'm thinking that a smaller, more easily concealed version will be joining Snuffy Sr. in the very near future.

    Dead on...Its not the bears or lions, its the two legged goblins who pose the greatest threat.

  15. Would the same style of holster be suitable for a full sized 1911? If not, do you have any good suggestions please? Keep doing what you do, I find something interesting here almost every day.

  16. I have found myself packing a small revolver in a Fobus paddle holster quite a bit. It's a bit thinner than the Blackhawk, but still nice and secure. And it does have the advantage of easy-on, easy off. Seems to work well. The Blackhawk gets a lot of love from guys here in the office.

    The pole dancing comment was certainly an attention-getter. Unrelated, but apparently a CCH holder was using the facilities and her weapon fell from the "waist holster" that she was carrying it in. It discharged and struck the neighbor in the next stall....Perhaps she should have invested in a Blackhawk....,2933,531376,00.html?test=latestnews

  17. Just got back from my second trip out to National Parks this summer, includidng near the border, and there is NO WAY we would have done it without bringing our handguns with us. There are so many travel and outdoors scenarios necessitating their presence, I wouldn't even know where to begin... Oh yeah, and you get through the airline check-in faster, too. ; )

    Remember people, much of law enforcement job is CLEAN-UP, not prevention. Be a prepared, responsible citizen, and let's create deterrence ourselves!

  18. Oh, dear one, you're so right, so expressive without exaggeration or hysteria, so factual, so logical.

    Darn it. Grumble. You know why.

  19. I owned a paddle holster once. Think they are just about the least useful or needed piece of holster technology out there. If you are wearing pants with a tight waistband these will work without a belt but I basically had to drop trow to put the thing on. Also despite their best efforts there was no curve on my body that fit the angle of the paddle. Mine was replaced with a much superior kydex belt holster.

    Heard good things about the Serpa holsters. Will pick one up for the Glock 19 at some point.

  20. I've always carried a handgun outdoors, and depending on the activity a shotgun or rifle to back it up. Having spent a lot of time in the AZ desert I have needed those arms on occaision. Yes, I will carry in a National Park, Monument, etc if I believe the threat level so dictates. That is what deep concealment is for. I won't let thugs dictate where I can go.

  21. I like that holster a lot and want to get one for my P220 too. It's on my Midway wish-list but it's not a big priority because I don't (can't/aren't allowed-to) carry.

  22. Hello Lass,

    Playing catch up again. Thanks for posting my long post, although I know you didn't have to.

    Excellent post, and your conclusions are correct. You do have to be more afraid/careful with the two legged critters, than the four legged ones. I can state that with certainty after 19 + years working with police, as a Prosecuting Attorney. When I tell you to stay safe, that is what I mean. Saying that makes me feel better. From what I know about you, your mind set is better than mine. You probably function in Condition Yellow, almost as a natural response. That is a hard state for me to maintain. I too often get lost in thought, or try to two track, but I keep trying.

    Jefiner, or Jennifer? Good for you! The two, you thought were illegals probably were, but they were probably not drug runners, if they were approaching you in a hostile manner. Drug runners are taught to stay as low key, and under the radar as possible. That is better for the success of their mission, as well as their profit margin. That is not to say that you didn't run into two low lifes, who were not heeding their training.

    My concentration was also frizzed, by the mention of you pole dancing. Ahhh! What a pleasant distraction, and trip down fantasy lane. But then some Rudnick came, and shoved a file in my face. The nerve...

    Stay safe, and a pat for your faithful companion, Sir Barkley.

  23. I used a Serpa on my last job. I was the only person in weapon retention training that was actually able to retain their weapon.

    I still have that holster so anyone needing a Serpa for a Glock 17, let me know. It served me well and it won't fit the new .45 XD.

    Pole dancing? WOW


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