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We Proudly Suport Our Police!

By Steve Mendenhall
on August 16, 2016

We Proudly Suport Our Police!

What We Can Do to Support Our Men and Women in Blue

Police officers salutes the casket of Officer Brent Thompson as it is escorted out of the memorial service in Dallas on July 13, 2016. Officer Thompson and four others were killed July 7 by a gunman during a protest in downtown Dallas.

Police officers salutes the casket of Officer Brent Thompson as it is escorted out of the memorial service in Dallas on July 13, 2016. Officer Thompson and four others were killed July 7 by a gunman during a protest in downtown Dallas. (Photo: LAURA BUCKMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

After the events of the last few weeks, it’s time to say what’s on my heart, and what our leaders are failing to say.

Earlier this week, we saw the horrific tragedy of three law enforcement officers being gunned down while doing their job. The events over the last few weeks have been the worst loss of life for our police officers since September 11, 2001. Three police officers ambushed and killed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, a police officer shot three times in Ballwin, Missouri, and five officers ambushed and killed in Dallas, Texas. And now, we have more tragic news coming out of Kansas City, Kansas. This targeting of police officers must end.

These men and women go out each day and night to do their job. They say goodbye to their families—as tens of thousands of officers do—to protect all of us. And they go to protect the Constitutional rights of others—even as many protest against them.

People in America are hurting, and right now there are no leaders who seem capable of listening.

When I trained with police officers after I came home from Iraq, I learned a great lesson from a fellow Navy SEAL, Lew, who was also training officers. Lew would ask the officers, “If I were to give you the Constitution of the United States of America—the original Constitution itself—and told you that you had to carry it across the city—how would you do it?” The officers would respond that they’d carry it with care. They’d carry it with courage. They’d be willing to give their lives to protect it. And Lew would say, “And that, of course, is how you must carry yourselves every day, because you are the Constitution in action.”

In Dallas, our officers went out to protect the constitutional rights of our citizens to assemble and protest in what should have been a peaceful way, but it became murder, an ambush, that terrorized an entire city. In Ballwin, a police officer was shot in the neck three times after stopping a vehicle for speeding. In Baton Rouge, police officers were again ambushed. Three officers have died; one is fighting for his life.

This must end. We need leaders who will support law enforcement, and leaders who will listen to those who are hurting. We need leaders who will speak the truth, and leaders who will bring people together. People in America are hurting, and right now there are no leaders who seem capable of listening. There are law enforcement officers who need to be supported, and they too often have been abandoned. There is no plan for peace.

At times like this, our common cultural habit is to bemoan the tragedy, and then to do nothing about it. But inaction in trying times is simply a way of accepting what should be unacceptable to all of us. If we want a different outcome, then we have to take different action, and that action must be rooted in understanding. Part of the confusion of the present moment has been thrust upon us by a class of journalists who traffic in images of tragedy, but offer no thoughtful analysis of what we are watching. Their reporting is almost always historically uninformed, and frequently simply false.

The misreporting of “protest” started in our home state—Missouri—during Ferguson. This is simple: assaulting police officers is not protest. When thousands of rounds of live ammunition are fired—as they were at Ferguson—it is not a peaceful protest. Throwing Molotov cocktails is not what protesters do; it is what rioters do. When shops are burned, when bricks and bottles of urine are thrown at police officers, a protest is not ‘nonviolent’.

The division in America that our leaders have created and the media has exacerbated is dangerous and reckless.

As profound as the misunderstanding of “nonviolent” protest is, there is perhaps an even deeper misunderstanding of policing. Too few journalists have spent a single night riding shotgun in a tough neighborhood with a police officer. This is something that every American should do, but it should be a requirement for any journalist writing a story on law enforcement. Most of them have a profound misunderstanding of what it means to put on body armor and to wear a sidearm. They have little sense for what it is like to walk up to a car at 2am, or to knock on a door behind which you hear the screaming of a possibly violent domestic argument. They may have never had to fear for their lives, and so cannot comprehend what it is like to deal with a dozen encounters a day that may be your last.

And as ever, the people who suffer the most are our police officers and the people who most need their protection. St. Louis is now the murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault capital of the country. When and where police officers are supported, peace is possible. In places—such as St. Louis—where police have been systematically demonized, the people who pay the price are often the poorest and most vulnerable of our fellow citizens who most need protection. At times like this, people will inevitably call for action from the political class that will almost certainly fail. They will call for “gun control,” when the clear and compelling evidence is that such measures have no effect on crime, while active and capable policing saves lives. Look no further than Chicago, which has some of the toughest gun laws in the country, and where Chicago police officers, hounded by the ACLU for being “racist,” now have to fill out a two page, 70-field form that takes at least 30 minutes to complete and which they must turn into the ACLU every time they want to stop someone on the street. The result: fewer stops, which means that felons know that they can carry their guns with them wherever they go, which means that more children die in the crossfire. Good people can see things differently, but there are profound consequences when people who have no understanding of policing seek to impose simple solutions that have no connection to reality.

The division in America that our leaders have created and the media has exacerbated is dangerous and reckless. The ‘story’ they tell is simply that some law enforcement officers are racist or brutal, and that people “protest” against them. But of course, the idea of protest as it existed in the civil rights movement—when King and others protested the brutality of police officers who set dogs on peaceful marchers—is completely and utterly contradictory to the philosophy of many of the ‘protestors’ who fire weapons at, yell at, taunt, and threaten our police officers today.

At the heart of the civil rights movement was a very profound notion that while we are all imperfect, protesters could—by the purity of their example—call attention to injustice. At the heart of King’s philosophy, there was also a profound respect for the law. King knew that there can be just and unjust laws, and while purified protesters could call attention to unjust law, they could only do so by demonstrating profound respect for the law itself. King’s objective, after all, was not the undoing of law, but the creation of just law. King and his fellow leaders also understood that while we are all imperfect, we have a duty to love one another, including—and most importantly—loving the people we believe to be wrong.

In times like this, bad leaders often call for “dialogue.”

Today’s movement has brought nothing like that depth of understanding, nothing like that kind of compassion, and nothing like that kind of courage. Instead, in America since Ferguson, almost the exact opposite has happened. Today, the assumption at the root of many protests is simply that police are racist and brutal and must be “confronted”. Today, there is no obligation on the part of the protesters to pray for those who they think to be wrong. Today, protesters and students on college campuses are told to “speak truth to power.” The assumption behind this statement is that powerful people need to be corrected. That is often true. But the deeper, deadlier, and less examined assumption, is that the people who are “speaking truth” have no power at all. They are told to “speak truth to power,” but the point of the Civil Rights Movement, was of course that all people have power, and that power can only be fully realized through self-mastery, through faith, and through love expressed in action. Our goal should not be to speak truth to power, but to speak truth from power; and by doing so to make the world stronger and more honest.

In times like this, bad leaders often call for “dialogue.” The reason why you hear politicians and members of the media call for dialogue, is that they are professional talkers, and so they think that talk is far more important than it is. Talking together is good. Working together for good is better.

As citizens, it is our responsibility to fix this. Politicians have—and will—fail us. The media will move on. We have to do the work. So let us begin. Here are a few ways to start today:

1. Pray. Pray for the souls of the officers that gave their lives. Pray for their families. Pray for those who have been injured. Pray also for the courage and compassion to make ourselves stronger, so that we can make a difference.

2. Thank a police officer. Actually walk up to them today and in days and weeks and months and years ahead and shake their hands. Tell them that you appreciate them. The profession of policing is at its lowest point in decades. Many of my law enforcement friends have made analogies to the state of affairs when soldiers came home from Vietnam. Saying thank you matters; it matters a lot. Let them know that you understand that you and your family sleep soundly because men and women in blue are on patrol.

3. Get engaged. Volunteer. Tutor. Support. Sponsor. For all of the difficulties we face, there are still tremendous resources of courage, good sense, faith, and commitment in even our most struggling neighborhoods. Communities strengthen when people decide to strengthen them. It is true that we are failing a generation of young black children here in America. We can make progress here, not with shootings and looting, but with patient tutoring, shared service, faith, and deep friendships.

4. Donate today to one of the many law enforcement support organizations in your community or state. Our officers have given their lives. You can give some of your treasure to see that their memories live on, and that we honor them be strengthening the profession which they served.

5. Study. Read the Constitution. Read a “Letter form a Birmingham Jail.” Read a book on policing, or read one of a hundred stories about how community leaders are creatively and courageously solving problems in neighborhoods around the country. We are surrounded by stories of courage too infrequently told, too infrequently known.

6. Ride-a-long. Most police departments in the country have programs where they will take citizens out for a few hours or a night with a police officer. Do this. Your respect and appreciation for the men and women who keep us safe every night will grow immensely, and you will never again take for granted the sacrifices that our officers make for all of us.

Things can change. But they won’t change on their own. God Bless every officer and their families. God Bless every frustrated child—white, black, Asian, Hispanic—who wonders if the American Dream still applies to them. God Bless this country, and all who would work to make us better.

Eric Greitens is a candidate for Governor of Missouri. He is a NavySEAL, Rhodes Scholar, boxing champion, and humanitarian leader. The founder of The Mission Continues and the author of the New York Times best-seller The Heart and the Fist, Eric was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people.

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By Steve Mendenhall
on June 17, 2016

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Concealment Holsters 101

The Complete Guide To Concealment Holsters

By Ralph Mroz via

Experienced gun-carriers often joke among themselves about the "drawer full" of holsters that they've accumulated over the years … and don't use. There are several reasons it takes a while to find just the right holster for you; you probably need a few different kinds of holsters for a few different guns; some holsters are well made, while others aren't. Now do all the permutations of these reasons multiplied by the dozens of holster manufacturers, custom holster makers, and semi-custom makers, and you wind up with … well, a whole lot of holsters that you don't use, and a few that you regularly do.

You can save yourself a good deal of this trouble by understanding the variable characteristics of holsters to begin with. Here's a guide to them Holsters 101, if you will.

There are three and one-half objectives of any concealment holster: security, access, concealment, and the half-consideration: one-hand re-holstering ability.

Security the holster should hold the gun in place while you are running, while you're upside down, while you get in and out of cars, and so on. You don't spend your life sitting still, and in a fight you sure as heck aren't standing still.

Access the holster should provide access to the gun in a short amount of time in compromised positions, like when you are rolling around on the ground or strapped in a car seat. Further the gun should be held in a stable position, so that the draw can be consistent and reliable under stress.

Concealment the holster should not let the gun be visible or "print" through concealing garments.

One-hand re-holstering capability is useful if your hands will be tied up with other things immediately after firing or challenging a suspect with your gun, such as handcuffing him, restraining him, holding onto innocents (such as a spouse or children), and so on. This capability is absent in holsters made of thin, floppy material, and inherent in holsters made of rigid materials like Kydex. Some leather holsters use a metal band around the mouth to keep it open when the gun is out of it.

Process and trade-offs These 3½ characteristics can sometimes work against one another, so intelligent trade-offs, based on your own lifestyle and threat assessment, are sometimes necessary. For example, retention devices will usually impede draw speed, as will a deeply concealed gun. A comfortable holster may not provide access under some conditions (e.g., most hip holsters are hard to access while seat-belted in a car.) Thus, realize that finding the right holster for you is a process, much like finding the right spouse. Just as you are unlikely to marry the first man or woman you date, you may have to experiment with a few holsters before finding one that's right for you.

Main Types
The most popular holsters are hip holsters, and they ride on a belt outside the pants on the strong side. Pancake holsters are made of two pieces of material with the gun sandwiched between them, and they have two or more belt slots. "Askins" or "Avenger" type hip holsters are made of one piece of material folded around the gun, and usually have a belt slot on the rear of the holster and a belt loop sewn on the back of it. The pancake style provides more leverage on the gun to pull it close the body, and thus is a bit more concealable.

IWB or inside-the-waistband holsters are worn inside the pants and attach to the belt with loops or hooks. These are the most concealable type of holster, but require pants that are about an inch more in the waist measurement than you normally wear. Some people find them less comfortable than hip holsters, and vice versa. A Summer Special-type IWB has the rough side of the leather on the outside to help keep the holster anchored in one place (most leather holsters have the smooth side out.) Some IWBs have an extra "flange" or "tab" to the rear for the same reason. You may or not need/like them.

Crossdraw holsters are worn on the off side of the body. They are practical, particularly for people who spend a lot of "threat time" in cars, but they are less concealable than hip holsters because they have to be worn in front of the hip bone.

Shoulder holsters are essentially uncomfortable crossdraw holsters. They have a place when the gun can't be worn on the hip, but they are specialty items, and are much less popular in the real world than they are on TV. They require a an open-front jacket, while most hip holsters can be concealed by an un-tucked shirt. Vertical-carry shoulder holsters are best for very large guns. Horizontal-carry shoulder holsters are best for normal carry guns, and they are worn high near the armpit-not low near the floating rib like so many catalog pictures show.


Galco Holster

Galco's Miami Classic is a classic shoulder holster


Fanny packs (worn in front) are useful in hot weather when clothing is thin, but they make sitting and driving uncomfortable, and too many of them look like gun packs. If you can, choose a bright color. I even sewed an "LL Bean" tag onto mine!

Paddle holsters are held in place with a paddle attached to the holster that slides inside the pants and is held in place by belt tension on the it. Their main virtue is their "quick-on, quick-off" capability. Most, but not all, are less secure than hip holsters.



Fobus' line of inexpensive holsters incluse this popular paddle rig


Ankle holsters are not appropriate for carrying your primary gun since you can't move while drawing from them. They do have a place for back-up guns, though.

Pocket holsters are an under-looked option. They are a convenient way to carry a smaller gun, and require no concealing garment. But they cannot be drawn from while seated, which is a serious consideration.

Small-of-the-back holsters carry the gun severely canted (see below) at the center of the back and are not recommended! If you fall (a very likely occurrence in daily life, let alone in a fight) you will be crushing your spine between the anvil of the floor and the hammer of the 1 to 2 pounds of ordinance steel that compose your gun and the 150+ pounds that make up you. And then consider sitting for any period of time with them…not a good idea!

Holsters either have something holding the gun in them other than friction or they don't. Speed scabbards, or open-top holsters, have none, and these are generally preferred for concealed carry. A simple-and the oldest-retention device is the thumb-break, in which a strap of material over the top of the gun is un-snapped with the thumb as the gun is drawn. These are reasonable devices as they slow down the draw-stroke only a bit, but they do make it more complicated, which is the real concern. There are now many kinds of retention devices available on concealment holsters (and more still on police duty holsters), and they usually involve one or more digits of the drawing hand releasing one or more levers as the gun is drawn. Some are more intuitive than others.


Blackhawk's line of SERPA retention holsters are perhaps the most intuitive security holsters on the market


The need for retention devices is very real for exposed guns, such as on a uniformed police duty belt-they help prevent bad guys from simply yanking a cop's own gun out of his/her holster. But the need for such devices is less in concealment holsters, particularly for non-sworn citizens since the gun is (or should be) concealed, and no one should know it's there. Plain clothes police, on the other hand, usually make no secret of the fact that they're cops, so retention devices on their plain-clothes holsters can make sense.

Synthetic materials like Kydex holsters (either formed from sheets or injection-molded) or other injection-molded polymer holsters have taken the market by storm in the last decade. Usually rigid, polymer holsters don't lose their shape nor do they get soft and rot in humid conditions (including perspiration), and they are slightly faster than leather on the draw. Synthetics are generally preferred by armed professionals (traditionalists excluded) who never know what conditions their holster will be exposed to (e.g., I had to walk waist-deep through a swamp recently.)

Leather is the traditional material for holsters and is an excellent choice for armed citizens. It can "give" a bit and conform to the shape of your body a little more than synthetics. The fact that leather will "bind" the gun a little if your draw is not perfectly straight up can be an advantage if you are concerned about retention and don't want to complicate things with a retention strap. If retention in an open-top holster is your preference, the trick is to go with a deep-seated leather IWB, which should be reasonably difficult for a bad guy to get your gun out of.

Custom vs. Manufactured
Manufactured holsters from the top companies, are generally of good to excellent quality. What they may lack is availability for unusual guns, and they tend to come in only one or at most two belt widths (see below.)

Custom-made holsters are generally of superb quality, and there are many good holster makers out there. You can specify the custom touches you want, get them made in exotic leathers, and you can get the holster mated to precisely the correct belt width. You can usually get them modified to suit any specific fit issues you have. You can also get holsters with features that would be too expensive to manufacture in quantity.

Slot/Loop Width
It's important to match the slot/loop width of the holster to the belt you will wear with it. A minority of holsters come with adjustable slots/loops, and that's a good feature. But many holsters come with belt slots or loops that are a fixed width-usually 1¾-inches. Such holsters are advertised as "fitting belts up to 1¾-inches wide." That's wrong; in fact such holsters will fit only 1¾-inch belts properly! It should be obvious that a holster with slots wider than the belt they are worn on will cause the holster to slip and slide around. A good gun belt should be between 1¼-inch wide to 1¾-inches. Wide belts may be OK for casual wear and out West, but for business attire 1¼ -inch unit may be more appropriate. While some manufacturers may offer selected models with 1½-inch slots/loops, if you want to wear a 1¼-inch belt, you'll have to look for adjustable manufactured models, or go the custom route.

It is critical wear a proper gun belt with your hip-holstered gun such as . Gun belts come in widths of 1¼-, 1½-, and 1¾ -inches. Some are tapered in the front to a thinner width. They are usually double-thick leather or leather reinforced with a synthetic material. There are also some all-synthetic belts available. A proper gun belt will support the weight of the gun (which ordinary belts won't), and they provide enough vertical leverage on the holster to prevent it from flopping away from the body. Repeat: it's critical to use a real gun belt with a hip-holstered gun!

The "ride" of a holster refers to the vertical height at which the gun is carried relative to the belt line. A normal-ride holster will have the trigger near the belt line. A high-ride holster will have the trigger above the belt. A deep-riding holster will have the trigger below the belt. High-ride holsters are harder to draw from, and unless correctly designed and executed, can allow the grip end of the gun to flop out away from the body. Short-barreled guns will have this tendency even with a normal-ride holsters, so good a quality holster is critical with them. The ride of the gun, combined with the holster's cant (see below) will largely determine how comfortably a holster carries a particular gun for you.

The "cant" of a holster refers to how tilted forward from vertical the gun rides when carried in the holster. A straight-drop holster has 0-degrees of cant and carries the gun vertically. An FBI-cant holster has a cant of between 10- and 20-degrees. Some holsters are severely canted to 30-degrees or even more. While more cant aids concealability a bit, the main reason for it is to make the gun 1) comfortable to carry and 2) easy to draw from. The preference of cant and ride is individual. I prefer a cant and ride such that the back-strap of the gun's grip lies in line with and just below my floating rib. Other people have different preferences. Likewise, you may find that you prefer a different cant and ride for different guns, due to their differing grip angles and shapes.

Women have a very difficult time with concealment holsters. Women tend to be shorter-waisted than men, making their draw stroke more difficult, and they tent to have greater hip flare, resulting in the grip of the gun being severely angled into their rib cage, which in turn results in discomfort and difficulty in drawing. Many manufacturers turn a man's holster into a "woman's holster" by either adding a wedge between the body and gun to compensate for the hip flare, or by lowering the ride of the holster considerably. Both "solutions" severely compromise concealability. Obviously, the slimmer and longer-waisted a woman is, the more likely it is that she can use a man's holster satisfactorily-but almost all women find them unsatisfactory to some degree. Some custom makers make belt holsters designed around a woman's anatomy, but they generally work only for smaller guns.

All of this assumes that a woman will carry her gun on her hip on a belt. But women often don't dress in ways that will accommodate that mode of carry. For them, off-body carry, such as in a purse with all of it's serious inherent disadvantages, may be the best (but not a good) option. On the belt, if her attire so allows, most women find that a cross draw holster is the best option.

The bottom line for women's concealed carry is usually to go either with a cross draw hip holster, off body carry, or a smaller gun concealed where her mode of dress will allow. Of course, the smaller the gun, the more difficult it is to shoot. Women just plain have a harder time of it!

Bottom line
If you are just starting out in concealed carry, the best bet is to go with a normal-ride, FBI-cant (or straight-drop), pancake-style speed scabbard and a proper gun belt that mates to it properly. This set-up will work acceptably well, if not perfectly, for most men. From then on you can experiment with other holsters if you feel the need to tweak a characteristic. Remember, it's a process!

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