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What can you tell me about concealed carry--not how to get permission from the state, but important stuff: what guns are best suited to it, which holsters are best, what kind of clothes to wear, etc.?
Well, Mr. Subscriber, that's a bigger topic than we can do justice here, so we'll research a full-length article on it for an upcoming issue.
In brief, you want something slender, which rules out most revolvers (unless you're planning to carry in a fanny pack and are happy with a stubby). Glock makes some excellent, slender autopistols--some of the minis can hold an amazingly capacious magazine--but some folks just don't like the way Glocks feel. The Walther "James Bond" guns are quite compact. There are tons of choices, really, and we'll see about getting some rated in the in-depth article DF! will be running on this soon. Remember, no choice is wrong if you like the gun, and can wear it comfortably and inconspicuously.
We always advocate for the biggest caliber cartridge that will suit the purpose, being a big fan of substantial stopping power. In practice, this usually translates into something from .357 magnum on up to .45 auto. However, one of us has seen a slender lady of reptilian build carry a Grizzly Win Mag with a muzzle break/compensator pretty inconspicuously under a jacket. El Neil favors .40 Liberty. You can carry a pretty big gun under your arm in a shoulder holster, but then you're stuck with not being able to take your jacket off most of the time, lest you scare the sheople.
Speaking of holsters, we don't have any favorite brands--no one brand seems to make a holster for everything you might want to carry, so you might end up with several different brands. As mentioned above, a hanging rig is about your only option for a bigger gun--that or some kind of bag, like a purse, large fanny pack, or back-pack--but there are tons of choices for smaller ones. The "pancake" style that you can tuck inside your belt works well for many people we know, and generally seems to make for about the most inconspicuous way to carry.
NOTE: in a traffic stop, sidewalk conversation, or other encounter, most cops won't think twice about flashing their magna-lites into your purse or pack while you fish out your ID. They would obviously get pretty excited if they happened to see a gun, but even the sight of black nylon cloth will excite their curiosity. But most cops won't frisk or search a person's body without pretty good cause. Carrying against your body (such as inside the belt) is the best way to minimize the chances of having an 'exciting' encounter with The Law. You'll also need to keep your cool, lest they start suspecting something and decide they have probable cause for a more invasive look at you and your belongings.
As for clothes, well, did you ever wonder why a certain anarchist author of many Science Fiction novels always wears a jacket or a vest? Vests are great cover if it's warm. Generally speaking, anything baggy will help--it depends on what you're carrying and where. Your build can help too; you can hide something under a paunch, or near your narrow waist if you're slender and curvy, but don't wear something too form-fitting. Use some common sense. A leotard isn't going to cut it, no matter what!
More on this soon, though we may have to hire it out, as we're rather prone to wearing our guns out where anyone can see them.
I hope to be attending university next year. I'm thinking about trying to go to an American university, but I'm not sure that my education will be better there or here. My question is, what country is the freest? I want to live my life as free as possible and would leave my friends and family if I have to.
P. Henry, somewhere in Europe
Your question isn't an easy one to answer, P., but we think you ought to settle the matter of where you want to go to school first, if you decide that a university education is worth the cost. If getting a degree is important to you, you ought to focus on that first (as long as doing so doesn't require you to harm others).
You're probably already familiar with the various studies that measure "economic freedom" in order to come up with rankings of countries in terms of their comparative freedom. Some of these studies look at "political freedom", but none really take a serious look into "personal freedom"--it's a harder thing for economists to quantify. However, even if a comprehensive overall study existed, what would it really tell us about living in those countries? It's one thing to be "graded" as a free place by some academic measure, and something completely different to be there and experience the freedom (or lack thereof) a country offers. As has been written in these pages before there are countries that are de juris less free than the (forcefully) united states of America, but are de facto much freer.
The United States is still seen as a free country, but if you've been following the news here (and we mean the real news, not the mainstream media shills), you know why so many freedom-lovers in the States are getting alarmed. Yes, some freedoms are still given lip-service, and in terms of general personal freedom, the US still "feels" fairly free. However, the burden of regulations and political correctness is increasingly choking to people who expect to be able to live their life peaceably and non-aggressively. And the burden of taxes continues to climb for Americans, diminishing their economic freedom all the while.
But what are the alternatives? Regulations and taxes are worse in many ways in most of Europe, though it's perhaps a little less tense for not having the same insane level of hysteria surrounding the War On (Some) Drugs as the US. Many European countries seem stuck on 19th-century notions of egalitarianism and/or collectivism. Central and South America? The Caribbean? There are some beautiful places there, and in many the people have a great measure of de facto personal freedom, but economic freedom (within the legal system) is pretty scarce in most of them. The Bahamas and some of the more peaceful islands are nice, but expensive, and too cozy with UK law enforcement, which is much too chummy with American gestapo agencies. Africa? Dangerous in most palces. Australia? I can hear the sounds of jackboots from Down Under all the way here... New Zealand is a place that may have possibilities; a previous government reformed much of the country's laws to be more market friendly, but it was a previous government.
Stashed here and there around the world are a few pockets of seemingly greater sanity (or benign neglect). Port Watson might be such a place, or Eritrea, but Costa Rica is a better bet. Some former eastern block countries could become real hotbeds of freedom, if they don't backslide into fascism. Keep in mind that as a European, you're unlikely to be able to blend in with the native population everywhere you go, and an important part of really living free is becoming invisble. If you can't make yourself invisible, you're going to have to rely on the protection of the local protection racket, and there isn't one anywhere on earth that can keep you safe from the long arm of Uncle Sam. That may not bother you much, now, being a European, but your nationality won't protect you if you do anything public that draws US ire, and the EU seems to want to make sure the US isn't the only Stupor Power for long.
P., I'd go wherever you can learn what you need to learn. Give yourself time to research the place you want to live and use what you've learned. The world itself is in a period of turmoil and rapid change; by the time you've got your degree(s), a real, honest to goodness "free country" may be emerging from the current chaos.
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