Try saying that 3 times fast. Even better try drawing your firearm from concealment while wearing your personal protection equipment (PPE). With COVID-19 being a threat for an unpredictable amount of time, possibly forever, many of us are taking preventive measures to protect us from contracting the virus. As I like to say in our Virginia Concealed Carry Course, “self-defense is not just fighting or shooting, in this case it is wearing protective clothing such as gloves and a face covering if not a mask.

Have you pondered even for a moment, the perception of carrying a firearm and being masked? January 2015, Clarence Daniels 62 years old was concealed carrying walking into a Walmart near Tampa, Florida. Another patron Michael Foster, saw Daniels holstering the firearm in the parking lot prior to entering the store. Foster shouted, “He’s got a gun!” and tackled Daniels. A few other customers join in the pile to help restrain Daniels until law enforcement arrived. Daniels had a permit to carry and was in legal possession of a firearm. Foster was later found guilty on battery charges. Fast forward to August 2019, a masked Connor Betts shot twenty-seven people outside a Dayton, Ohio night club, killing 9 before he was shot and killed by responding law enforcement.

Masks or face coverings have always been something fun to do for that one night a year on Halloween or a masquerade party, but always been frowned upon if not illegal to cover your face in public in some jurisdictions. However now it seems they are being preferred in fact strongly encouraged to be worn when engaging with other people and even more so in crowds. Think about Daniels, imagine if he had been masked that day. Imagine if Foster had a firearm of his own. Granted Daniels made a bone headed decision to holster in the parking lot as opposed to securing the firearm while still in the car or anywhere else for that matter where he would have a bit more privacy. The point being made here is concealed carrying comes with a certain level of risk. Comes with an even greater level of misperception when wearing a mask. Take caution not to expose your carry firearm.

Changing gears and looking at skills. I am often asked about shooting with gloves on. In the past the question comes from people thinking about concealed carrying in the winter, where we are more likely to wear gloves for a few fleeting moments of the day. Sometimes comes form those that are more recoil sensitive or concerned about getting lead on their hands. My answer is always the same “I don’t train with gloves.” My reasons are simple, even during the winter I do not wear gloves except for when I am clearing off my car or shoveling snow. The risk of me having to use a firearm in those moments are hardly measurable. As for managing recoil or protecting for lead, well recoil is like the monster in the closet, close the door and he is still there and you are still going to think about him. Thinking about him now, aren’t you? Lead particulates go everywhere! Wash your hands.

That last line is something we should always be doing if not even more so now. This is all to say that along with masks, wearing gloves around the clock, cold or not is the new normal. So, I may need to adjust my answers going forward to “Yes, I do train with gloves.” I am more likely to carry in a grocery store than anywhere else. In the grocery store among the masses, with their fevers, coughs, running noses and not to mention their walking petri dishes sometimes referred to as children touching literally everything! The other reason I had not trained with gloves on it that it changes your fundamentals and makes grabbing things more difficult, like concealment garment. However now is different. Now we need to practice those things. Ranges now are closed; however, recoil is the only reason we need the range. Fundamentals and firearm handling are something we all can do at home. So in between the home schooling and binge-watching episodes of Tiger King, do some dry fire drills with all your PPE on. Practice looking down the sights now that we have got this N95 mask in our face. Practice drawing that firearm from concealment and establishing a successful shooting grip. Bear in mind all these things should be practiced with an unloaded gun, because the last thing you are going to want to practice that trigger squeeze. The last thing you need is a willful negligent discharge inside a dwelling which is a class 6 felony.

See the video below for a really rough idea of how to practice at home.

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