Switching focus: Situational awareness and weapon access

For most of the last year I’ve shot one of my guns at least once a week. I bought a gold membership at PDHSC and while that was in effect, it was an easy decision to go to the range and shoot. I’d limit myself to 100 rounds most visits and I’d be there about an hour.For some months I had a shooting partner and we would discuss drills and ideas, but most of those trips were solo.

During that time I’ve come along way with my gun handling skills and safety awareness. I remember early on when I’d pick up a magazine and I’d have to puzzle out which direction it should face when I put it in the gun. That is now something I don’t question.

I’ve shot competitions and I’m past the point of nerves and adrenaline. I’m reasonably competent but I’m not a competitive shooter. But that isn’t improving.

With the expiration of my gold membership, I’ve decided to rethink how I’m spending my “gun time”. Continuing to put lead downrange is fun, but I’m not convinced I’m structuring my range time to be productive.

Also, with the purchase of the XDS, I want to get comfortable with carrying a gun other than at the range and at a competition. That is what prompted the last post in carrying in the car — and I appreciate all the feedback on why I should not leave the gun in the car permanently.


I bought a Remora Concealment Holster and intend to start carrying it around the house with the gun unloaded at first just to see how this works. It has a rigid opening and doesn’t collapse when the gun is drawn, it has a flap to make it “tuckable”, there is a clip but it can be removed (it snaps on), and it’s a “sticky” holster. I tried it on in the store at 9Forward and it felt comfortable.

However, I’ve drawn from it and it’s very different from the dropped, offset holsters I’ve been using for competition. It was at this point that I realized that I might want to switch my focus from “getting better at competition” to “getting better at self-defense”. I’m not going to be able to conceal a dropped offset holster unless it’s a very cold day and I have no plans to remove my coat, so I think I need to suck it up and start working with the equipment that is practical for everyday carry — even if it’s not designed with the easy access of a competition holster.


10 thoughts on “Switching focus: Situational awareness and weapon access

  1. Pingback: Switching focus: Situational awareness and weapon access - Old Gunhand News - Gun news and resources for senior citizens | Old Gunhand News

  2. Now.. these are just my thoughts about myself. How much or how little translates to you is your call. 🙂

    I know I’ll never be as good a marksman as I want to be.. then again, I recognize I set unreasonable goals for myself. When I was looking to improve my marksmanship, I planned to hit the range nearly every day, 50-100 rounds each time. It becomes your life. I imagine the people who do well in the competitions have this level of training regimen. I found out quickly there was absolutely no way I could support this level of training.. if for nothing else, the time required.

    What I decided to focus on instead was what you mentioned.. situational awareness. Be aware of what’s going on around you; carrying concealed don’t mean nothing if you’ve got the headphones plugged in and daydreaming. This was just one of the first links I’ve found, but you can find plenty of information on Jeff Cooper’s Color Code.


    For me it means being aware of what’s going on around me.. in addition to self defense situations, it’s a help even at work. Walk into a mechanical room and something doesn’t sound right, investigate. I’ve used this for years.. to the point where I could look at a testing station from across the room and tell where the system was in the test cycle based on the blinking light sequences on the equipment.

    It’s really no different than hearing your car make a funny sound. You’re aware of what it normally sounds like, now something different shows up. You’re instantly alert and trying to determine what the noise was.

    Another thing is learning how to act.. at the breakfast place, did you ever notice that the local LEOs always sat at that big table in the back corner.. the one my friends and I sit at as well? Back to the wall, watching the entrance. Last time I saw you there you weren’t at the big table, but you were still sitting near it and facing the entrance. Was that planned on your part? 🙂 (As an aside, my friends are out on the road, and I don’t make it to the breakfast place most weekends.. just FYI)

    Getting late, so let me wrap this up. I think it’s good that you did the competitions.. enough can’t be said for keeping the adrenaline under control in high stress situations. I don’t conceal carry as much as I should, and I’m more than happy to go out with ya on your baby steps. But to me, it’s just as important to be aware of our surroundings as it is to be carrying. And being aware is something we can do at all times, even when we may be in areas where we can’t carry.

    • It is always great to hear from you! I’ll review the link you sent and see what else I can find to help spark awareness. I’m mostly gone through life pretty happy go lucky – and oblivious. I did read a book I hear recommended over and over “The Gift Of Fear” by Gavin de Becker. I makes great points about what you should pay attention to. I have to think of other ways to force myself to pay more attention to what is going on around me.

      • I mentioned a post elsewhere here about someone traveling with firearms.. here’s the post.


        There’s a picture of the case he uses with an explanation. Lots of stuff to think about in the post.. the gentleman writes about being an instructor for one of Massad Ayoob’s classes.

        As I mentioned, haven’t shot much lately.. right now spending some time looking into tactical flashlights. Lots to choose from; at least it’s cheaper than looking at firearms. Narrowed the choices down to an LED Lithium based unit, but probably with rechargeable battery pack. They make some stupid bright ones these days..


        Also looking at ‘less than lethal’ stuff.. for when the situation doesn’t call for use of lethal force.

        ok.. as with you, work comes early. Time to wrap up and head to bed. Take care and we’ll talk again soon.

  3. Advice from a former LEO, to LEOs, about CCW citizens..


    Of particular interest to me was his discussion about the ‘tells’ of who may be carrying concealed, be it citizens or off duty LEO. Not just dress, but mannerisms.

    I know we’re both head down at work.. be safe and we’ll talk again soon.

    • Thanks for posting this link. I used to date a police officer and I called him to talk about how he perceives people he stops that have a CCW. He honestly said it wasn’t a big deal.

      OK, now I have to admit that I’m still not carrying on a regular basis, but I’m making baby steps in that direction. Thanks for reinforcing that intent.

  4. Great Article. My wife and I both just got our CCW’s and we’ve been practicing our own situational awareness to make sure we are prepared no matter what.

    • I think it’s great you are working on this as a team. I’d highly recommend shooting a few IDPA matches. That’s about the closest thing I’m aware of to simulate real life defensive scenarios.

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