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Thread: New Member and a story

  1. #1
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    Greetings all, I have been a long time lurker, but until now never felt the need to post.

    I live in Richmond, attend VCU, and have been CCing everywhere since I got my permit about 3 years ago. I CC because its more tactically sound and most of the time easier. I never really gave much thought to OC, even though I'd swing by various forums every now and then to check out what was happening in the OC community. However, recent events in Norfolk, Henrico and Richmond, as well as some recent life experiences have caused me to rethink my attitude, and I'm ready to take the OC and firearms activist plunge.

    I recently returned from Iraq, and I would like to relate and interesting phenomenon I observed that I believe relates to the concept of Open Carry. In November 2007, my company was detached from our batallion which was operating in southern and western Baghdad. We were then attached to the 2nd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Div. (one of the "surge" brigades) which was responsible for the north-western Baghdad neighborhoods of Adhamiyah, Shaab-Ur, and Sadr City. If you follow the war in Iraq, you will know that these are the three worst neighborhoods in Iraq, at least they were in late 2007- early 2008. Adhamiyah was a Sunni neighborhood made up of Al-Qaeda and Baath party loyalists, and across the freeway you had Shaab and Sadr City, Shiite slums controlled by Muqtada Al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia. The freeway was the dividing line between these neighborhoods and it was known as a body dumping ground for the nightly death squads that ventured into the opposing faction's neighborhoods. To make matters worse it was also a Main Supply Route thru Baghdad and was littered with IEDs.

    When we were attached to 2-82nd, they had been in country approximately 5 months. At the time Iraqi's were allowed to own one rifle (AK-47) per household, and 3 magazines (90rds). Business owners were allowed another AK they could keep at their shop. No pistols, shotguns, machine guns, mortars, RPGs, etc. The laws allowing them to carry changed often, but most of the time they were allowed to carry an AK. However, if Achmed was walking down the street with an AK you better believe he was going to be stopped, detained, and questioned by any passing US forces, Iraqi Army, or Iraqi Police. One of the best moves made by Gen. Petreaus was the implementation of a nationwide volunteer militia program. The 82nd quickly approved these "neighborhood watches" in Adhamiyah. They were called a million different things, but we mostly called them SOI's or Sons of Iraq. Basically they consisted of groups of men, usually no more than a dozen, who would set up checkpoints or patrol their neighborhoods at night, heavily armed with AKs. We were extremely skeptical of this plan... after all alot of these guys were "reformed" insurgents, and night patrols are tense enough without seeing 5 armed Iraqi's in civilian clothes walking down a dark alley. The Civil Affairs types would give them baseball caps, reflective belts, polo shirts, anything to make them stand out as SOIs. Some of them even developed their own para-military type uniforms.

    Now here is the crazy part... violence in Adhamiyah all but stopped in November. It literally went from one of the most dangerous places in the world in September, then the SOIs were stood up during Ramadan, and the streets were quiet in November. These guys knew the streets, knew the neighborhoods, knew the difference between and Iraqi and a Jordanian or Syrian. And they were armed to back it up. There were some shootouts and some intimidation attacks on the SOI checkpoints, but they stood their ground. Violence continued to drop off, and when I left in July Adhamiyah was one of the safest neighborhoods in Baghdad.

    Simply the continual presence of openly armed men on the streets deterred attacks on Iraqis and coalition.

    It wasn't long before we gained more trust of the SOIs, and it wasn't at all uncommon to see an armed Iraqi or groups of Iraqis walking around the streets. If we saw one we would generally call out his presence to the rest of the patrol and keep an eye on him, but that was it. They eventually started carrying pistols and occasionally an RPK, which I don't know if it was allowed, but by then we didn't care. The program has since expanded to other neighborhoods and also made the big jump to the Shiite community as an alternative to the fundamentalist militias.

    Now the streets of Richmond aren't the streets of Baghdad, but if a handful of guys with AKs can deter motivated jihadis with machine guns and RPGs, I think a citizen with a handgun stands a good chance of deterring a cowardly criminal over here.

    I am looking forward to showing up to some OC dinners and events, which leads me to my first question... Anyone have recommendations on a good OWB retention holster for a Springfield 1911 Champion (4 inch)?

    Also I was curious about the legality of OC on VCU. I am aware of the restriction in state administrative code on possesion of a firearm at VCU. However, Attorney General McDonnell recently released an opinion (related to UVA) that state schools did not have the statutory authority to place restrictions on firearms on citizens who are not student or employees of the university. So basically if you don't go there you are fine to carry. As a student who carries, I face expulsion from the university (a risk I will take rather than be defenseless) but no criminal charges.

    Regards

    CB


    EDIT: Reasons I carry at VCU:

    2 students shot behind Seigel Center
    http://www.inrich.com/cva/ric/search...0-04-0123.html

    Student Killed
    http://www.wsls.com/sls/news/state_r..._robbery/7837/

    Student Fights Back
    http://media.http://www.commonwealth...-3002857.shtml

  2. #2
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    First off, thanks for serving. Second, I think you make a good point with your story.

    As far as a holster goes, I have a 5" Springfield Armory 1911 and I'm a fan of the Serpa holster I purchased for it. Its sturdy, doesn't scratch up the weapon and has a nice solid *click* when I holster it. I like it because your finger will naturally line up with the release button if you draw in a way to keep your finger out of the trigger well. If you are looking for something leather I would recommend a Milt Sparks holster.

    If it were me, and I were attending school...I would conceal using one of the Maxpedition type packs. If you are a student and are "caught" OC'ing you'll be expelled from school and your transcript will probably indicate that you were expelled for "misconduct" or something equally tarnishing. You don't want something like that to turn up later in a background check, etc... Sometimes discretion is the better part of valor.

    Hope this helps!

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    Thanks for the suggestions.

    Just to clarify, I have no intention of OCing at VCU. Under the VA administrative code and the VCU code of conduct they would be perfectly justified in expelling me, something which I have no wish to happen.

    However, a group of non-students/faculty, or even students at other universities would be perfectly legal OCing on VCU as it is state-owned public property. They could regulate access to the buildings themselves, but other than that the VCU policy only applies to students and employees of VCU. I think the timing is right, especially after all of the recent robberies and shootings that have occurred.

    EDIT: Also, if you sterile carry, law enforcement would not be able to determine who is a student anyway.

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    That's a great story, essayons, and welcome to OCDO.

    I have heard lots of good things about Serpas, and I think I may get one for my 1911 at some point. I would suggest you go to the next nearby gunshow, bring your pistol, and walk around trying on different ones. If the vendor doesn't let you try it out, move to the next. Somebody there should have a Serpa for you to try out. I use a beltslide holster for mine, it holds it tight against my body for CC and comfortable OC, but it has no special retention devices other than the fact that it's very tight-fitting.

    I hope you write down your story about the SoI and relate to some other folks, it's a great story about a militia system and how it actually helped you restore order and public safety. Americans need to hear about things like that; they'll certainly never get it from Fox or CBS or the NY Times.

  5. #5
    Regular Member ProShooter's Avatar
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    CB-

    Greetings and Welcome! Thank you for your service to your country.

    Having spent my time in law enforcement, I also come from the CC environment. I still do mostly CC, but have come to enjoy OC as well. It takes some getting used to.


    As faras VCU goes, I subscribe to the same theory that you do. My reading of the Va. administrative statute is that the firearms prohibition relates to "members of the University community" and that would mean students, employees and teachers. That's what I teach my students and how I conduct myself when I'm in that area and I have never had an issue. There are those that would disagree with thatinterpretation, both here and elsewhere, and that is their perogative. I dont have a lawdegree and only read the statute from a LEO point of view. Whatever manner you choose to carry in, I wish you luck.

    As far as holsters go, the best advice is "dont skimp"....buying a $10 holster will treat your gun like a $10 holster will. If you stick with a Goulds and Goodrich, Bianchi, DeSantis, et al - you should be fine.

    Jim
    James Reynolds

    NRA Certified Firearms Instructor - Pistol, Shotgun, Home Firearms Safety, Refuse To Be A Victim
    Concealed Firearms Instructor for Virginia, Florida & Utah permits.
    NRA Certified Chief Range Safety Officer
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    Regular Member richarcm's Avatar
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    I along with probably everyone here would also like to thank you for fighting for us. You guys and girls have probably the toughest job in the world and then you come back home and are politicized and disrespected. I love this country but there are so many things about it that disgust me.

    I agree that you have a good story. No offense to the people who spend time on this website or the people who run it but I think this story is larger than this website. It might be worth copying and pasting it to larger outlets. There may be a lot of national interest in your story and how it relates to our right to bear arms which has come back into the national spotlight.

    I am still new to OC. At first I thought it was stupid as the average Joe or Jane does at first. And there are a lot of fine lines involved in it for us, the criminals and law enforcement. You really have to walk a very tight rope and remain completely aware of people around you. But it is a good fight that must be fought. Virginia is a great state where we still have a lot of freedoms other states have abolished. It's worth fighting for.......but i'm telling that to someone who has fought for much more so i'm sure it goes without explanation.

    Chris


  7. #7
    Lone Star Veteran DrMark's Avatar
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    Welcome, essayons (CB).

    Thanks for your service.

    Do you post with the same screen name at ar15.com, or is that someone else?

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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Welcome essayons and thank you for your service + the excellant posting.

    My holster vote for my favorite (1911) is definitely a Serpa.

    BTW - we have a monthly OC dinner coming up soon. We'd be pleased to have you join us and check us out. Lots of really good down to earth people.
    http://opencarry.mywowbb.com/forum54/16949.html

    Yata hey
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training. Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

  9. #9
    Campaign Veteran deepdiver's Avatar
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    Thank you for your service and for your story!

    I also often carry in a SERPA (although not a 1911) and very much like it for OWB carry whether OC or CC.

    The story is indeed informative. "Way back in the day" when citizens protected their own communities in the US, we didn't have these entrenched gangs and criminal enterprises. Certainly there were criminal gangs and bad guys, but they did not last intact for multiple decades in most populated areas (NYC being a notable exception to the rule as it bred long lasting gangs for nearly 2 centuries). This seems to have been true for many places in the world. There was even recognition of this phenomena in the modern US under the auspices of "neighborhood watch" and "community policing" and other policies involving the public more directly in law enforcement, albeit at an arm's length. It is a far cry from the days of citizen militias and deputized posses, but perhaps one day we citizens will once again re-assert our right to protect ourselves, our families and our communities from those who would prey upon us for gain or sport.
    Bob Owens @ Bearing Arms (paraphrased): "These people aren't against violence; they're very much in favor of violence. They're against armed resistance."

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    Welcome, essayons. Glad you made it back OK!

  11. #11
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    Thanks for all the replies and advice.I will be trying out a SERPA shortly. As far as sharing the story, its nothing special, if you would like to post it elsewhere feel free.

    DrMark wrote:
    Do you post with the same screen name at ar15.com, or is that someone else?
    I post under essayons or essayons21 on multiple firearms forums. I don't post at arfcom very much though, so its probably someone else. Essayons is French for "Let us try" and is the motto of US Army Engineers, so there are probably quite a few others out there that use it as an internet monicker.

    Grapeshot,

    I will try to be there although I may be a bit late b/c of class. Hopefully I can track down a holster by next week and break my OC cherry. I'm a little unsure about OCing with my IWB holsters because of the lack of retention.

  12. #12
    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    essayons wrote:
    Grapeshot,

    I will try to be there although I may be a bit late b/c of class. Hopefully I can track down a holster by next week and break my OC cherry. I'm a little unsure about OCing with my IWB holsters because of the lack of retention.
    We'll save you a seat - look forward to meeting you.

    BTW - IWB is fine as long as it is recognizable as gun. Plenty will have your back!

    Yata hey
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training. Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

  13. #13
    Regular Member ProShooter's Avatar
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    essayons - check out the holsters from Rocketman Holster Works. He's got good stuff. I love my IWB from there.
    James Reynolds

    NRA Certified Firearms Instructor - Pistol, Shotgun, Home Firearms Safety, Refuse To Be A Victim
    Concealed Firearms Instructor for Virginia, Florida & Utah permits.
    NRA Certified Chief Range Safety Officer
    Sabre Red Pepper Spray Instructor
    Glock Certified Armorer
    Instructor Bio - http://proactiveshooters.com/about-us/

  14. #14
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    Thanks for the tip. My CC duties are handled by a Galco Skyops and a Milt Sparks holster, depending on what I'm wearing. I am very happy with both, but I'm always on the lookout for the perfect holster.

  15. #15
    Founder's Club Member Tess's Avatar
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    An good, solid, but relatively inexpensive holster is the Sleeping Dog Dual Use holster from JBP Holsterama. Engin (Drat -- the card I have doesn't have his last name) is at most Chantilly, Fredericksburg, and (maybe Richmond) gun shows. He's based in Richmond (sales@holsterama.com). This holster can be used both IWB and OWB. I own them for all my firearms.
    Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every man present his views without penalty there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population. -Albert Einstein

  16. #16
    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    Firstly, thank you for your service to our nation and welcome back to the Old Dominion.

    My carry stable consists of three manufacturer's products: 4 Glocks, 4 Kahrs, and one Kel-Tec. I vary among them depending upon my specific needs and wants at the time. Mostly, I tend to carry a Glock 23.

    For my Glocks, I have two holsters which I have found to be nearly ideal for my particular use: a Blackhawk Serpa and a DeSantis Mini-Slide. I almost always go for the Mini-Slide because of two negatives with the Serpa. One is the fact that the Serpa tends to interfere a little with my seat belt latch in my car and on entry and egress, I really have to be careful not to let it rub against my leather steering wheel. And two is the fact that about one out of five times, I fail to fully depress the release button on a draw, thereby coming up with an empty hand.. not something I want to see occur in a real situation.

    The problem I have with drawing from the Serpa is me, not the holster. I simply need to spend the time practicing my draw until I find that I have moved beyond this problem. However, the problem with the Serpa and my car is something else. Incidently, when I OC'd yesterday, I did use my Serpa because I had on a pair of Levi's and the pant rivots will not rub up against the front of the barrel of my G23 as they can when using the Mini-Slide (I wear Lee jeans when using that holster).

    Little things to consider but they become annoyances once you put the holster into service.

    Nothing wrong with the Serpa and it makes a great OC holster.

    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

    America First!

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