Five Smooth Stones
By Abner Miranda
As I sit to write this, it’s been a only 12 hours since the nightclub attack in Orlando. As sad as it is to say, this is becoming more and more common, and it gets my dander up less and less as time passes. Call me calloused but active killers no longer do much of anything to get my undies in a twist. I live in Chattanooga Tennessee, and for those who have already forgotten, roughly around this time last year we were attacked by terrorists. Don’t drink the Kool-Aid, it wasn’t just one person pulling that one off. He had handlers. So listen clearly to what I'm saying. Well trained, well armed active killers are now the norm. Our way of life is over, it’s not ending…it’s OVER! The deeper we allow the politicians to shake hands with evil the more often this is going to happen. We shouldn’t become complacent with evil, but, here we are, as a nation, acting like it’s still safe to walk about in a fluffy haze of love and peace.
Hear me clearly, the fact that a gay bar versus a daycare center was hit is irrelevant. It was a public venue and it should’ve been locked down and protected by armed security. Understand that I'm a former police officer who spent time working security checkpoints at lots of concerts and sporting events so I'm speaking from a base of knowledge of what it takes to properly secure a public venue. Last night’s shooting was a flipping goat rodeo that wouldn't have occurred had we been acting like a vigilant nation. Sure, now they’re going to have armed security, if they ever open their doors again, but it’s too late, 50 people already died. Think about that, 50 living, breathing, human beings are dead, and 53 more are wounded, and I’m certain that the death toll will rise in the days to come as some of the wounded succumb to their injuries. What’s the solution? More guns! Yes, more guns is the answer. Let me state the obvious, I am fully aware that it was a bar and firearms would not have been allowed inside. However, nothing says that the place should not have had armed security working the front door and had strict policies to keep all fire exits locked from the outside with easily accessible crash bars on the inside.
This isn’t the way I wanted to start off my first article for this blog, but it needs to be said that America needs to stop acting like the politicians care about you or the constitution. At a moments notice they can throw it in the garbage by using any number of contrived "National Emergencies." Your right to protect yourself is a God given right. God made men, and men made slaves. Our collective freedom is what is in the balance here. The only reason guns are the issue is because they are what stands between us and those who would enslave us. Trust me, if today someone went on a killing spree with frozen Skittles and a high-powered slingshot they would rail against Skittles tomorrow. The weapon is your mind, the firearm is nothing but a tool that can be used for good or evil. God made it clear that he fully intended his people to protect themselves from evil. Whether it be David’s sling against Goliath or the modern day citizen shooting a firearm at a murdering sociopath on a killing spree; God is on the side of those who protect society, and don’t let anyone tell you that you need the constitution to "empower you" to carry and use a firearm for the preservation of life. I’m so tired of that parochial argument. This issue spans the ages. Far before there ever was a constitution, there was evil, and armed men met evil on its terms and slew it viciously. Why should modern man be any different…?
As a reference point, let me tell you this; I’m writing this sitting at Costco while the tires on my vehicle are being rotated, which on a Sunday is about an hour and forty-five minute wait time. There are easily 800 people walking around this store right now. In just my immediate area there are roughly 250 people. The reason I make that point is that while I may look like some ultra relaxed dude in casual wear, I’m actually concealing a fair amount of life saving firepower. I don't delude myself into thinking that I'm the only one in here with a firearm. I’ve already identified a few people who are absolutely carrying firearms. The way they are dressed tells me that they are warriors like me. Ironically, as I’m sitting here, I’ve already laid eyes on two cops I used to serve with, neither of which is carrying a gun. Do you hear me? I know this because both of them are wearing tight athletic wear that leaves no room for a pistol. Trust me, I’m looking closely. What’s my point? Really? Twelve hours ago there was a terrorist attack on US soil! That’s my point, and if I need to spell it out we’re truly done.
As I sit here I’m dressed in an old, pair of Vertx shorts, an Under Armour shirt, a short sleeved Wrangler fishing shirt, and a pair of Merrells. Look, it’s 97° here in Chattanooga. What I'm wearing is one layer too much for this weather. I should be dressed like those two cops that I pointed out to you. However, I take the safety of everyone within my sphere of influence as a personal matter of obligation. I am morally obligated to protect those citizens around me…including my two lazy brother officers who should know better.
Tightly ensconced against my body is a Glock 17 with pistol light, three 19 round spare mags, two knives, a spare handheld, and a tourniquet. I know what some of you are thinking “wow that’s a lot of stuff to carry all the time!” Well that’s the key, if you carry it all the time you no longer feel it, it just becomes part of you. Am I ever truly comfortable? Nope, never! But I am prepared.
Every Day Carry (EDC)
Your holster is the key piece from where you build your EDC load out. EDC is a broad spectrum subject matter that encompasses a lot of items, but what I’m referring to here is what is on my person. Hiding in plain sight is the name of the game here. Even though I’m the originator of the Bravo Concealment SNS-R and SNS-UCR mag rigs. I’m wearing a small Bravo Concealment rig that only carries a single pistol mag and light. Why? Simple, because the Vertx shorts I’m wearing have integrated mag pockets that hold an extra mag a piece in the thigh pockets. I designed the aforementioned rigs for those people who don’t have access to clothing that’s designed to conceal mags and lights. The reason I make that point is because I want you to understood that I always lean towards pieces of equipment that are best suited for the task at hand. The two pieces that I wear almost to the exclusion of everything else are my Bravo Concealment, Level II Light Bearing Holster, and a single mag and light combo carrier molded for a G17 mag and a 1” diameter light.
My Level II Light Bearing Holster is the mainstay of my EDC gear. I find it very telling that Bravo Concealment took the lessons they’d learned in the RTT and BCA line of holsters and rolled them into the Level II Light Bearing Holster. This is a holster with a stellar service record. My mainstay for the longest time has been my RTT holster but when I saw the Level II Light Bearing Holster I said “alas old friend, I must set thee aside for a retention holster.” No seriously, when it comes to a retention holster versus a non-retention, of course I'm going to pick retention every time. My RTT is a well worn holster that has been serving me since 2012 and has gone through, a lot of very rough tactical classes without a single crack. The guys at Bravo Concealment are always telling me “give us feedback” but there's no feedback to give them. I've yet to break anything of theirs, and believe me I'm rough on their stuff. My RTT and now my Level II Light Bearing Holster have been through countless classes at Talon Defense filled with vehicle and ground fighting. Furthermore, I rolled on both holsters repeatedly while at Sentinel Concepts' Low Light Vehicle CQB with Steve Fisher and Will Petty. It was held at the Alliance Ohio Police Department range. The reason I point that out is that the gravel at that range is the size of large strawberries, and when you roll across it you hear a lot of crunching and popping. On more than one occasion I was sure I was going to get up and find a hole in the side of my Bravo Gear. To date nothing of theirs has ever broken.
To be honest with you I’m right down the middle between my RTT and my Level II Light Bearing Holster. Both feel about the same but the hood on the Level II is a nice bonus should I find myself getting embroiled in some grappling with a turd. The RTT is more comfortable and takes a bit less space on the belt, however, the Level II Light Bearing Holster has a more robust feel to it. But then again the RTT allows your pistol to slip in and out smoothly and silently, and yet the Level II Light Bearing Holster insures that when you reach for your pistol it will be there. See what I’m getting at? It doesn’t matter which Bravo Concealment holster you pick, all that matters is that you get the one that best suits your needs. Whether you carry inside the waistband, outside the waistband, appendix, side carry, belt loops, pancake loops, retention hood, non-retention, light bearing non-light bearing, Black, OD, Coyote, FDE, Grey…etc. Bravo Concealment has you covered. Everything they make has a 15 day, 100% money-back guarantee. It’s further backed by an unlimited lifetime warranty on all products…and everything is made in Texas. So Boom!
I’ve been quoted as saying “The greatest ally to our nation is the trained and armed citizen.” I believe that with all my heart. The cops are on the front lines, and we as private citizens are right there with them as a close second. Look at it this way; the legally armed, and well trained citizen is to the police officer as the Quick Reaction Force or QRF is to the front line troops. That statement is not meant to be flippant in anyway whatsoever. We are at war inside of our borders. Take this from a former cop, the uniformed officer is at a position of disadvantage in this fight. He is a walking target to the enemy. He is easily identified and easily targeted. Unfortunately he has to wear that uniform so that society knows he’s there. It’s a vicious circle. However, as a legally armed, concealed carrying citizen you are the shadow to the officer. Stop looking at yourself as less than the officer, look at yourself as less easily identified than the officer. The turds don't see you coming, and if you’ve trained, and have resolved in your heart ahead of time to do your duty to humanity then you can strike as David did with calm resolve. Read your bible, David went down to the brook and calmly chose out five smooth stones for a reason. He was prepared for what he knew would come after Goliath. Yeah, see now I have you curious, you have to go read that story now don’t you?
If you love your nation then you must live a life of sacrifice so that when death comes looking for blood you won’t have to sacrifice your life in vain wishing you’d planned ahead.
As always, God bless you all, get those guns out and practice. Have a good one!