Rules of EngagementGear Recommendations for New Shooters:

Been getting a lot of request for choosing the right gear for the new shooter. So here is my opinion on what gear you need to start your training. I have been doing this for 35 years and there is a lot of junk gear out there. They paint it black and call it tactical, so people assume it will work. Unfortunately, this is not the case. So, I will give you some ideas of what gear to purchase.

Just remember there are pros and cons to all gear. Everyone is built differently, we all bend differently and we all have are physical limitations.

Handguns, come in many different shapes and sizes and not all gear will work for each handgun.

With that said, I will recommend holsters first. You need to invest in a quality holster with a security system in place.

This is important for the beginner and as you progress through your training you can change to a holster with no security system. I carry a holster with a security feature.

You need to remember most deadly force encounters will occur very close, more than likely it will start out with physical contact.

If you are knocked to the ground or have to go hand to hand with a bad guy, will your handgun be secure in the holster?

If you loose your weapon during the hand to hand what good is it to you?

What if its several feet away from you or the bad guy is now holding your weapon. What if the bad guy is able to disarm you, do you think he is going to give it back!

Don’t think so, he is probably going to kill you with your own weapon!

My opinion security is your number one consideration. I carry a Safariland ALS ( Automatic Locking System), which has a lever at the top of the holster, which I pull back as I am drawing my handgun. If this lever isn’t depress then it stays secure in the holster.

This lever also prevents the handgun from falling out of the holster if you are knocked down or the bad guy is trying to disarm you.

The other added feature I like about this type of holster is it’s a one handed operation. I can place the handgun in this holster and it automatically locks in place for me if this turns into a no shoot situation.

The holster is made out of a polymer ( hard plastic) which will hold it’s shape for drawing and holstering, without clam shelling. Clam shelling is what happens to most soft cloth or leather holsters when the handgun is either removed or when you fall on it, which prevents the handgun from being secured without using both hands. If there is a snap security system on the holster it also requires the use of both hands.

Check out go to Safariland concealment holsters, punch in the make and model of your handgun and the holsters available for your handgun will appear. Safariland also has a holster called the GLS (Grip Locking System) it’s the same as the ALS, but the locking system is located on the rear of the holster. So, when you grip your handgun you disengage the safety feature allowing the weapon to be drawn.

These are the two handgun holsters I strongly recommend. They are priced in the 50-60 dollar range. They will last a life time if taken care of, It is your life so don’t cheap out on your holsters.

Other holsters, I would recommend for the more experienced shooter would be IWB (Inside Waist Band), like Bravo Concealment, Alien Gear, Kydex to mention a few.

IWB holsters do conceal nicely, but they can be uncomfortable. I mentioned before we all are made differently if you are over weight then pinching is going to be an issue for you.

The holster will become uncomfortable and you will leave the weapon at home or even worse you will stick it in your pocket and eventually shoot yourself.

Without, constant practice getting to and drawing your weapon from IWB position can be quite difficult.

I would recommend HSGI (High Speed Gear) Taco, Fobus, Safariland and Bravo Concealment, for magazine holders.

I choose a magazine holder that is open at the top, no snaps or covers to deal with, you don’t need these features. These magazines stay in place by tension, it doesn’t matter if the magazine holder comes in a paddle or belt configuration.

I will advise you of this when you wear a belt make sure its has a width of at least 1 1/2 to 2 inches. Anything less will not keep your gear in place and you will always be adjusting the handgun, because it will want to turn or sag down on your waist.

You are always adjusting your gear and anyone watching knows your carrying a handgun.

I would recommend you have a minumin of two magazines to carry concealed and at least 3 for training.

Be careful buying after market magazines for carry. Get factory magazines for your handgun.

Example, if it’s a Glock, Smith, Springfield, or any other handgun get the factory magazines.

A lot of the after market magazines don’t always work right and that usually happens at the most unforgiving time!

Now, if you want to buy those cheap aftermarket magazines for training then by all means stock up! Don’t trust your life with a 9 dollar after market magazine is all I am saying!

If you don’t have a weapons mounted light I recommend only one flashlight and its from First Light ( located in Seymour Illinois.

I carry the Tomahawk Light with a strobe. The strobe light is very effective in low light or dark conditions and with this light you can grip your handgun, clear malfunction and reload without compromising your gun handling skills.

The last piece of gear I would include would be medical kit, consisting of a CAT tourniquet, pressure bandages, sucking chest wound kit, combat gauze with a blood clotting agent.

Check, for this kit and carry it with you or have immediate access to it.

Depending on what you want you can spend anywhere between $50-200. You can go to these web sites and custom make your own med kit.

That should cover the equipment and gear list to get your started with your handgun. Now lets go to the rifle/carbine gear needs.

I would suggest two types of rigs to carry your carbine gear.

1. Battle Belts are very comfortable rigs that can carry a variety of gear. It’s a padded belt which is extremely comfortable and user friendly. You have to purchase the Molle gear to attach to the belt.

I normally run 6 AR and 6 pistol magazines, utility pouch, medical kit, knife, holster (ALS), flashlight. I also have a H-harness attachment to get the weight off by waist and lower back.

With the harness it spreads the weight across the shoulders, back and waist area. If you have a bad back even more the reason to get the harness.

I like HSGI (High Speed Gear), Condor and V-Tac battle belts. You can find these belts at their respected sites. I have a HSGI battle belt and I am very happy with it.

2. Chest rigs are another option. I am a fan of chest rigs also. They are comfortable and everything is in my work area, there is no weight on my waist and lower back which is a plus cause these things can get heavy once all the gear is loaded. I prefer Condor Recon chest rigs. You can find these rigs at .

Just keep in mind there are pros and cons to these rigs but the most important part of your gear is that it has to be comfortable.

I use Taco magazine holders for my Battle Belt. These magazine holders are adjustable so they fit most handgun and carbine/rifle magazines.

The chest rigs come with both pistol and carbine/rifle magazine holders already attached to the rig. Simple strap system which work very well. Sometimes the pistol magazine holders can either be to small or to big, you just have to shorten or lengthen the strap used to tie them down.

3. Slings are a must when using your Carbine/Rifle and I recommend V-Tac and Blue force 2 point slings. I have a V-Tac sling I have been using for years and its still operational. These slings can be found at and

This should get your firearms training started without wasting your time and money finding operational gear. This is what I recommend. I have been using this equipment for years and it works and I know there are other brands out there that are probably just as good, but if it isn’t broke why fix it!

Good luck and we will see you down range soon!

“To expect bad men not to do wrong is madness”