I make an effort to read the comments on every article I write or video I post on YouTube. I want to know if there is something that a reader or viewer is left asking themselves that I can answer. I also appreciate that it offers you a chance to disagree with me or take me to task about what I have put out there. Some of the time I am left scratching my head, not knowing what to say or do. I get my share of trolls and I think this quote sums up my response to them really well.
“When I was a Cop I was taught if I build a WEAK case the defense team will attack the case. But, if I build a STRONG case, they will attack me. The internet is the same. I make a good case with the info in my videos so the haters attack me on a personal level. I would let this upset me but I get distracted living my f**king awesome life. That is how I know I win”. -James Yeager
Sometimes a comment on an article or video inspires another one. This article is in direct response to a comment left by Nick Shoup JULY 6, 2015, 9:44 AM on the post Shooting Revolvers and Autos From the Pocket here on GunsAmerica.com, “I look forward to this study being done with a man purse.”
My editor, David Higginbotham, and I both agreed this comment was worthy of more than just a reply.
The test was designed to replicate what has been seen in the wild: a gun in man purse. I wanted to follow the same protocol we used when shooting from the pocket. Two guns: a pistol and a revolver, and two rounds. Next, we selected a man purse from inventory (aka what we had lying around.) On a side note…does anyone know if there is 12-step program for gear addicts?
Editor’s Note: The bag was an early version of this Optics Planet OPMOD bag. The bag would not be my first choice for daily carry, and I didn’t mind shooting it. Not that I had judged it too harshly–that was to come later.
We chose the Taurus Millennium G2 in 9mm to test shooting from the bag. The plan was to fire 2 rounds to establish if the gun would fire and repeat.
We predicted the slide would stall, leaving us with a single shot pistol. The test was prepared and we began. Then…nothing. The gun would not fire from inside the bag! Upon careful inspection, we determined that the bag had caused the Taurus slide to move out of battery. This had rendered the G2 useless. Yes, we could have drawn the gun and cycled the slide, but that was not the test. And the OPMOD bag was a bit tight for a reliable draw.
What caused the slide to move out of battery? Higginbotham shoots a lot of guns. He has habits (some bad, some good). When he gripped the gun in the bag, his first inclination was to push out as he does when shoots normally. That push wasn’t enough to push a slide out of battery inside a coat, but the bag was stiff enough to cause trouble.
Could he have simply pulled back a bit and fired? Possibly. But when you are working on a drill like this, your brain is focused on all of the new and unknown elements, and your old habits take control of motor function. This closely mirrors what could happen under the duress of a self defense situation.
We did experiment with the gun in different positions, but only the most relaxed position allowed for the gun to fire. And then, like we had originally guessed, the slide stalled.
The S&W 642 hammerless in .38 Special was selected to perform the next test. We staged the gun in the untouched bag and began.
The gun was accessed and two shots were sent down range. The performance was unimpaired by the bag as evidenced by the sudden opening on the bottom of it! The one notable caveat was the tester’s hand was scorched by the blast from the 1.87” barrel. In other words, don’t try this at home. We’re talking burn-the-hair-off-your-knuckles scorch.
Did it work? Yes. Would it be an adequate way to shoot in a last-ditch self defense scenario? Possibly. But there are a couple of things we need to establish before we can say it was a success.
Variables Not Tested
The test was conducted with an empty bag (except for the loaded gun). I feel sure if we had added the usual load found in most mag bags or purses it would have created several problems. First would be accessing the firearm with the added weight and volume of the gear. Second, the bullet could be deflected by items in the bag. This could be problematic for accuracy, the safety of the tester and any bystanders. What was that I said? Oh yes, don’t try this at home.
Objects in the bag could also have an even more deleterious effect on accuracy. Shooting from the pocket was hard enough–but then the bullet only had to pass through layers of cloth or leather. If you can point shoot well, you can connect from the pocket. But the bag is different.
The bag is built of a heavier nylon. the edges and seams are bound or taped, which creates more of an obstacle for the bullet. Accuracy from the bag, even with the revolver, was not what I’d consider good. At contact distances, the method could be reliable. Beyond that? I’d say no.
If you are going to carry in a bag, you need to plan on using a draw stroke. I will freely admit that shooting from the bag can be made to work with all the right conditions, but I would not bet my life on the stars aligning when I am in a violent encounter.
And what did we learn about the bag itself?
And now a post script, of sorts. We shot the old OPMOD because we had it around. It wasn’t anyone’s go-to bag for EDC. Both Higginbotham and I carry bags of one sort or another, and we’re both fond of the Maxpedition bags. While we’re not here to shit on the OPMOD, I have to make two observations. The first has to do with the sting pulls that guide zipper movement. They broke before we’d gotten to the live fire testing. As soon as we pulled the zipper with any force, we were dead-in-the-water, so to speak.
The second was less deadly. The hook-and-loop panels that hold the holster in the bag were not bound or taped. The edges are not as sharp as they are serrated. When you reach into the bag, you find the wall with the backside of your fingers. As you reach around the grip of the gun, your fingernails slide behind the hook-and-loop material. It is painful. Not as painful as getting shot, or stabbed, or bludgeoned, but it makes practice hell.