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Hot and Cold Carry

I have spent the majority of my carry lifetime, carrying a cold gun. Of course I always have a loaded mag, but rarely one in the pipe. And yes, a lot of gun bros will say “why carry at all!?!” which to me demonstrates a lack of training, or more frightening, a closed minded individual.


99% of all defensive classes teach you to be ready at a moment’s notice to respond in milliseconds to a threat. If they don’t, you can’t really call it an effective curriculum. But not all Carry Shooters are the same.

Think of all the situations you could experience when confronted by a threat. And this is exactly the reason Carry Trainers recommend concealing a gun in both the most accessible place on your body and in a ready, “Hot” state.

What Hot Carry allows you to do is eliminate potentially unnecessary actions like racking a slide to defend yourself or others. Imagine if you took a class where they taught you to carry your gun in a pocket, unholstered. First, it would be pretty damn boring, or exciting for a second or two before someone shoots themselves!  And second, I wouldn’t imagine the class or the trainer lasting long.


But then you get to the shooters who don’t subscribe to the rigid and sometimes just plain lazy, institutional thinking around Hot Carry. Here are some facts:

For the average shooter, in a defensive situation, 9 out of 10 times, the perp will have the drop on you. And unless you are some kind of amazing shooter, do you think you can present even a hot pistol faster than the perp can shoot you with the gun already pointed at your chest?  Rhetorical question of course.

Another fact, deploying a pistol should rarely if ever be done in the act of prevention. Of course a pistol tends to even the playing field, but threatening someone - their perspective - with a gun in most situations just steps-up the level of tension. If you think your hand cannon is gonna disperse the group of thugs or intimidate someone who wants your wallet, guess again.  At some point you are likely gonna have to fire that gun. And rest assured, there is a HUGE difference between intimidation and death.

Ignoring these very obvious facts, it’s really hard to advocate that all shooters carry a hot gun no matter what.


I do not preach Cold Carry, but I teach it. In fact, I have been amazed at the number of people who work with me on this technique that say they would never carry otherwise. And why is that?

The most common response I hear is they are afraid of a negligent or accidental discharge. And not necessarily from themselves, but from others who may have access to their pistol. And let it be stated here these people are worried about safety, they aren’t putting their guns on top of the fridge when they get home.

I also hear shooters say they are themselves worried about accidental discharge. This is a common theme. Carrying hot has a lot of additional responsibilities along with it, some that require 100% attention to detail. Some shooters simply do not want to risk it.

For me, this is a personal decision. I am shocked at times to find some people who I guessed were avid Hot Carry fans, actually carry Cold.

We also tend to laugh at the most frequent argument against it: “but racking a slide takes precious time away from your response!?!” No argument there, but if you think the risk of not carrying a Hot Gun outweighs the facts and additional risk that comes with it, you may want to spend a little more time on the other side of the argument…


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