Armed on Vacation – Practical Guns & Gear

Paul Markel © 2013

Paul Markel Armed on Vacation
Paul Markel Armed on Vacation
Student of the Gun
Student of the Gun

LUVERNE, AL –-(Ammoland.com)- We all know that crime and evil don’t take a vacation.

Bad things can and do happen anytime anywhere.

It is we, the good guys, who like to put our minds and bodies at ease and take a vacation from day to day responsibilities.

If you are serious about self preservation and if you are reading this I’m guessing that you are, you cannot take a vacation from preparing to dealing with villainy.

There is paranoid and there is prepared. My vote is for being prepared.

Armed on Vacation?
The very nature of a vacation dictates that you will be taking a break from the norm and most often traveling away from your home and comfort zone. It is easy to fall into the mental trap thinking that since you are on vacation so is any potential trouble. When you take a moment to consider the situation, it seems silly to send your ‘defensive mind’ on vacation, but people do it all the time.

If you are still with me and understand that you need to be just as prepared to deal with evil while away as you are at home, let’s take a few moments to consider some practical guns and gear. For your edification we’ll consider clothing as well.

Hardware
I know you want to read about guns, so let’s knock that out first. Unless you are taking some type of winter holiday, chances are good that wherever you choose to vacation it will be warm or downright hot. Let’s face it; we human animals gravitate toward warm and sunny for our getaways. That means minimum clothing and little opportunity for layered cover garments.

The prerequisites for firearms will be compact, light-weight, and hopefully rust-resistant. That they are fully functional and reliable should be a given.

It is arguably difficult to make blind recommendations for concealed carry because everyone out there has a different body type. Some folks can conceal a 38 ounce, solid steel M1911 on their person without any trouble. Many cannot.

Glock 19 in a Crossbreed Holster
The author’s GLOCK 19 conceals very well under light clothing in a Crossbreed Super Tuck holster.

Fighting Pistol
To my thinking, the GLOCK 19 is the benchmark. Think about it, when describing a compact pistols how often have heard “it’s just a little smaller (or larger) than a GLOCK 19”. If you can conceal a G19 while wearing shorts and a T-shirt you are doing well.

A GLOCK 19 only weighs 21 ounces (empty) and the frame is polymer which makes it lighter and inherently rust-proof. The metal finish that GLOCK applies to their slides also makes them as rust-resistant as you could ask for from a factory gun.

My personal GLOCK 19 carries extremely well in a Crossbreek SuperTuck Holster. When combined with a quality belt, I can get away with shorts and a loose fitting, dark colored T-shirt. My favorite personal defense load for a 9x19mm is any factory ammunition that launches Barnes Bullets 100 percent copper controlled expansion projectiles at greater than 1100 FPS.

Classic Wheelguns: S&W Airweight (left) and Ruger LCR (right)
Classic Wheelguns: S&W Airweight (left) and Ruger LCR (right)

Wheelguns
When the subject turns to pocket guns, it’s hard to argue against the J-framed revolver or the new Ruger LCR Revolver. The polymer framed LCR is lighter than even the “Airweight” J-frame from S&W. The LCR is 13 ounces and the Airweight Model 642 is 15 ounces. While a 5-shot, double-action revolver is a minimalist or optimist’s handgun, it certainly beats a sharp stick. The compact revolver is generally paired up with another firearm of equal or greater abilities.

In the pocket holster department, Tuff Products is absolutely doing it right. The Pocket-Roo Holster from Tuff comes in various configurations and is worth every penny of the modest price. I’ve been using a Pocket-Roo for a J-frame as well as one for a .380 acp pistol for better than two years now. They are as near to perfect as a pocket scabbard can be. As for ammunition, I would definitely load my revolver with some type of ammo that uses a nickel case (silver color) Federal, Speer, Winchester, and Hornady make worthy loads for the .38 Special.

A lifejacket gun; KelTec P3AT with Tuff Products pocket holster.
A lifejacket gun; KelTec P3AT with Tuff Products pocket holster.

The Other Pocket Guns
When it comes to pocket pistols, the .380 acp is as popular today as it ever has been. There are three primary contenders for the Pocket .380 crown; the KelTec P3AT, Ruger LCP, and the more recent Diamondback DB380. You’ll get a half a dozen 9mm short rounds from each one. Yes, you can top off on a fully loaded magazine but, decades of experience have taught me not to rely on it.

A pocket .380 is akin to a life-jacket. If I were on a sinking ship I would much rather be in a lifeboat than bobbing around like a cork with a life-jacket. However, between a life-jacket and nothing I’ll take the former. Between a pocket .380 and nothing, again I’ll go with the former, but I’d rather have the lifeboat G19 in hand, if possible.

The preferred pocket scabbard for the little .380 guns is again the Tuff Produces Pocket-Roo. In my personal .380 acp pistol I carry Hornady “Critical Defense” ammunition. Don’t expect to kill elephants with this gun, but again it’s better than a sharp stick.

Tactical Self Defense Accessoires
Never leave home without a knife. The Spyderco Tasman (left) is made of rust-proof H1 steel, the Spyderco Manix (right) is a serious cutting tool.

What to Wear
In the clothing department, if I’m going to be in shorts I’ll always lean toward a multi-pocket version such as those from Blackhawk or Woolrich Elite. The front pockets are purposely designed to accommodate a compact revolver or pistol in a pocket scabbard. Many conventional shorts and pants have restrictively tight pocket openings.

I like to secret all of my other stuff in the various accessory pockets. In addition to a firearm you should have either spare ammunition or a second gun. I also never leave home without a quality folding knife. We spend something like half of our lives in the dark, hence the reason I’m rarely without some form of compact flashlight. The SureFire Backup has been my ‘go to’ for years but the new Brite-Stike Executive Light EPLI has serious merit.

As for shirts, again Blackhawk and Woolrich Elite make loose-fitting, collared shirts that are tailored at the waste and can be left untucked without looking slovenly. As I am rarely sans holstered pistol, my shirt is not often every tucked in. If you are looking for quality concealed carry clothing that doesn’t look “tactical” the 1700 line of shirts from Blackhawk has much to offer.

Parting Thoughts
Just because you take a holiday from your everyday cares and concerns does not mean you can shelve your defensive mindset or your situational awareness. While you might spend a week or two mingling with the sheep, you don’t have act like one.

Crime and evil never take a holiday and you cannot sterilize the world. The best you can do is to be prepared to deal with whatever comes your way.

Paul G. Markel © 2013

Follow Paul Markel at Student of the Gun.com .

4 Comments
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James courson
James courson
8 years ago

Armed on vacation, excellent article, thanks.

Buck
Buck
8 years ago

I don’t take many vacations , I only travel by private auto , I have difficulty planning where to go , all because I go NOWHERE disarmed .

Frank Bussey
Frank Bussey
8 years ago

It might be a better idea when taking your gun on vacation to check into the legality of a concealed weapon there. If it is not legal, do not go there. Take your safety, time, and money to places where you are welcome and boycott places like Colorado, etc. It is an act of voluntarily abstaining from using, buying, or dealing with a person, organization, or country as an expression of protest, usually for social or political reasons. Sometimes, it can be a form of consumer activism. The NAACP recommends this all the time. In this case I concur.

Bill Baker
Bill Baker
8 years ago

It might be a good idea when taking your gun on vacation with you to check into the legality of that area of your concealed weapon. A significant point I might think to this article.