Consistency is the foundation of any skill and absolutely vital when it comes to carrying a firearm for personal protection. Obviously, training is a key area in which consistency is crucial, but training applies to more than just shooting.
A perfect example — one that too many people neglect — is practicing to rapidly draw the gun from concealment. Remember, being a superb shot will matter little if you are too slow in getting your gun out.
Practice at home (unloaded and safety-checked gun only, please). We recommend that, man or woman, you dress as you normally would while out in public. Then develop the exact sequence of movements you will need to follow. Repeat that sequence over and over, slowly at first, increasing speed as your skill develops. Do it weekly, if not daily.
Even if your local shooting range doesn’t allow you to draw and fire, we still suggest following this same wardrobe principle. (Too often, I see people at indoor ranges wearing T-shirts or tank-tops. Meanwhile, the weather is cold or wet, and their outdoor clothing is entirely different.)
Practicing while wearing your regular street clothes will accustom you to how certain types of clothing feel while shooting. You may discover that some of your clothes restrict your movements and hinder your ability to shoot well. Better to find out in advance than in the middle of a violent encounter.
Another consistency issue came up during a recent class. One of the attendees mentioned that he has two different guns for carry, depending on the circumstances. His every day carry (EDC) gun is a Glock 19, and his smaller, more-concealable gun is a SIG P238.
The potential problem here is that these two guns operate entirely differently. The Glock is a modern, striker-fired pistol, with no manually engaged safeties. This is the reason the term “point-and-shoot” is applied to this and other similar firearms (Smith & Wesson M&Ps, H&K VP series, SIG 365, etc.).
The P238, on the other hand, is basically a “baby” 1911-style, hammer-fired gun, which is typically carried “cocked and locked” — round in the chamber, manual safety engaged. The safety must be manually clicked off before the pistol can be fired, an operation very different from the Glock.
Just to be clear, if you regularly carry a full-sized 1911-style gun and have something like the P238 as your alternate firearm, things are less problematic. If you practice religiously with both guns, switching between the two should be simple. Their operational procedures are virtually identical.
This principle is exactly why I suggested to our friend with the G19 that he might want to consider something smaller yet still striker-fired for his more-concealable option: a G42 (.380) or G43 (9mm). Transitioning would be simple. Bonus: with the G43, you get 9mm — more power and same ammo as the G19. Consistency wins again!
Note that I’m not advocating one style of gun over the other. That’s your choice. I’m simply suggesting that whether you opt for two 1911-style guns or two striker-fired models, it’s a good idea to keep your guns “all in the family” as much as possible.
Finally, while it’s not always practical, do your best to ensure that your method of carry is also consistent. When I occasionally carry my Kahr MK9 instead of my full-sized EDC gun, I carry it in the same 3 to 4 o’clock position in a smaller-but-still-outside-the-waistband holster.
Consistency is critical.