In recent months, I’ve made it a point to attend every training course with only the weapons, support items and attire that I wear on a daily basis. Furthermore, I’ve dedicated myself to running all of the classes from concealment with my EDC Glock 19. When I say concealment, I mean that I wear my weapons concealed at all times. This choice means that the course work in any class has just become that much harder for me, especially if there’s ground work involved. I’m dedicated to maintaining a high level of proficiency in concealed-carry skills because this is how I now live.
Carrying every day is a lifestyle choice, and it’s one that I’ve taken one step further by being what I refer to as a “Tier One Citizen,” or T1C. This mindset is more than just being armed—it’s actually being skilled in not only the taking of human life but also in the preservation of it. Being a T1C means acquiring tactical and medical skills and maintaining them. It also means adhering to the precepts of a guardian rather than a warrior. And yes, there’s a big difference between the two. A T1C subscribes to the mindset of being Clark Kent rather than Superman. Same guy, different appearance to the general public, right?
Learning What Works
For the past year, I’ve been running classes in blue jeans and a loose shirt that covers my Glock 19 worn in an appendix inside-the-waistband (AIWB) rig. I contend that there are more people carrying in the AIWB position nowadays than ever before. Maybe I feel that way because I spend more time in the training environment than most and am seeing an overwhelming shift to this mode of carry.
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In recent years, I’ve also noticed that more folks are showing up to training in jeans and T-shirts than we’ve ever seen before. And yeah, that’s a good thing. Why? Because a citizen skilled with a pistol can be a serious force to be reckoned with when the enemy doesn’t even know he or she is there. Being as low key as possible is paramount if you’re going to hide in plain sight.
So, in the past year, I’ve completely revamped how I carry my T1C pistol. I used to carry a heavily customized Glock 17 in a concealed OWB holster. After attending combat training, I realized that it was time to transition to a Glock 19 in AIWB. It just made sense to carry it there.
Are Mods Necessary?
This is a question that only you can answer for yourself. However, here are some things to noodle over. In various conversations with guys who’ve been in firefights, it’s become painfully obvious that there’s fantasy and then there’s fact. As a cop, I’ve been in gunfights, but none of them ever progressed into firefights because I either had the luxury of being able to draw first or had showed up with the overwhelming presence of fellow officers. As civilians, we don’t have those luxuries, and we’re always on the receiving end of a would-be attacker’s actions.
The overwhelming facts I’ve picked up are that, in gunfights, sights are hard to discern and triggers get slapped, yanked and pulled hard. And you never get used to it. Meaning that gunfighting never gets easier. So, does that mean that you should just leave your pistol stock and say, “Forget it, I’ll just make do”? What that meant to me was that I needed to look closely at what’s necessary versus what’s just there for flash.
After great deliberation, I laid aside decades of habit and started over with a new style of carry and a new gun. The first choice was to go with a Glock 19 Gen3. I choose Gen3 Glocks because their track record is excellent, and they play nice with all of my Glock 17 magazines.
Glock 19 Custom Work
I do my own frame work because I’ve gotten pretty good at it, and frankly, it’s easy to do. The mods are obvious. I remove the finger grooves and contour the triggerguard. I then give it a conservative 360-degree stippling job. After the frame work is completed, I modify the weapon with four specifically chosen components. Everything else remains stock. Let’s take a look at the why behind each component.
Connector: For the past few years, I’ve checked out various connectors and have settled on one from Ghost Inc. A good connector is the one piece that’s a must to take the hiccup out of your Glock’s trigger. The Ghost CAT 4.5 connector was developed in conjunction with expert trainer Dave Spaulding. I respect the work that Dave does, and after talking with him, I decided to test one out. I poured several hundred rounds through my Glock 19 before I considered it trustworthy for T1C carry.
This connector delivers a clean 4.5-pound break, and since last fall I’ve taken it to four dedicated pistol classes and haven’t had any issues in reliability. To put it succinctly, the CAT 4.5 is a semi drop-in trigger control tab (TCT) connector that eliminates most of the overtravel that all Glock pistols tend to have. This connector shortens the action and resets faster than the stock unit.
I’ve tried other connectors that were better suited for speed, but they yielded a trigger pull that was a little too loose. I didn’t want an easy pull—I wanted a consistent pull with just a bit of forgiveness in it. I want a consistent pull with a definite stop, and that’s what you get with the CAT 4.5.
Slide Stop: As with other components for this pistol, I also tested slide catches. To date, my favorite is the Vickers Tactical Slide Stop available through TangoDown. If I were a right-handed, I’d probably go with something different because righties suffer from constantly thumbing the slide catch down and keeping their pistol from locking open. As a leftie, this isn’t a problem for me, which is why I went with the Vickers stop. It offers the best grip I’ve found to date and helps me in loading and clearing malfunctions.
Grip Plug: Grip plugs are available in dozens of flavors. Are they fluff pieces? I used to think so. But if you’ve ever fumbled a speed reload, you’ll feel differently about grip plugs like those from Lone Wolf Distributors. I’d never really noticed the occasional sticking issues that occurred when loading mags under stress. That’s because I hadn’t recognized grip plugs as being the fix to the problem. If you’re loading in a hurry, you could inadvertently catch the rim of the casing at the back of the mag well and find yourself pushing hopelessly to seat your mag. The grip plug completes the funnel shape of a Glock’s mag well and helps you seat your mag.
Sights: In recent years, I’ve had great success with fiber-optic sights—until I attended night training with them! The instant that you realize you’ve sacrificed visibility for speed is the moment that you must go back to the drawing board. These are the things we only learn when we attend courses where we’re pushed past our comfort zones. Once again, I reached out to Dave Spaulding and asked to check out a set of his AmeriGlo Spaulding Sights.
I chose these sights because, in training drills where we’re physically stressed, I’ve found that I only get an occasional flash image of the sights. If that’s the reality in which I have to operate, I want that image to be big and bold. That’s why I went with these sights. The large square front post is neon green and really hard to miss. The rear sight is blacked out and serrated with a square notch. The two pieces work in concert for a fast flash sight picture for CQC work, but they also offer just enough accuracy for more precise shots at extended ranges.
That covers the weapon, but let’s not forget an equally important facet of preparation: the holster. When an attack comes, it’s most often surprising and lightning fast. In such an instance, you don’t want to find yourself struggling to get at a weapon that’s on your side where the bad guy can get at it, too. Nor do you want to find yourself flat on your back with your weapon underneath you while you’re being pounded on from above.
In a surprise attack, your wisest response is to protect your head and bend at the waist to protect your vital organs. In this case, the one drawstroke that makes the most sense is from an AIWB position. This carry position has been proven, time and again, to be the most efficient at getting your blaster up and on target. One of the reasons is that, no matter how skilled your attacker is at controlling your movements, there’s little they can do to hamper you from doubling over and drawing from an AIWB holster.
Training proves how fast AIWB carry is at getting multiple shots on an adversary before they can even think about reacting. In the past few months, I’ve been testing various holsters and have really come to like the work of RUT Kydex. Rutger Hyche is the owner of RUT Kydex, which is based out of Addison, Alabama. And he makes it a point to regularly attend training. He runs the drills and takes the bruises, cuts, and scrapes with the rest of us. What he learns from those experiences goes into his gear.
Rutger loaned me some rigs for testing. My favorite is a holster and mag combo that can either be warn as one piece or separated and worn with the holster in an AIWB position and the mag carrier off center or even off to the side. He covers both lefties and righties with a wide assortment of custom Kydex offerings. His holsters are clean and properly finished with comfortably rounded edges for all-day carry.
This Glock 19 is now ideal for my needs. Because I’ve kept this Glock pistol as close to stock as possible, I don’t worry about failures like I would on a heavily customized piece. Remember that heavily modifying a dedicated self-defense pistol is a precarious one-way street that should be entered carefully.
In closing, I’ll leave you with this: In a gunfight, you’ll seldom look at your sights, you’ll slap the trigger hard, and you will fumble the simplest tasks. So what does that mean for you and me? Keep it simple!
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