Tactical Tips


Welcome to Tactical Tips – a regular Friday feature.

I have a tactical life. I have a tactical knife. I have a tactical pen, a tactical light, a tactical vest, a tactical site. I even have a tactical wife!

When I get home tonight, we plan to decant a few ounces of our favorite tactical whiskey, curl up on the sofa and watch Tac TV.

What is tactical?

I did a story a while back that examines the incredible tactical shooting phenomenon – the biggest thing to hit the firearms industry since the invention of smokeless powder.

For some, tactical shooting is a clever marketing ploy; Take something shiny, paint it black, write “tactical” on it, charge double what it’s worth. Repeat.

My friend John Sigler, a former NRA president, defined tactical shooting as 3-Gun competition – the sport involving military-style rifles, pistols and combat shotguns.

Legendary Army Special Operations veteran Larry A. Vickers defined tactical shooting as a mindset, something definitely not a sport.

Others defined it as a lifestyle – a way of looking at the world.

While I lean a bit more toward the ‘mindset’ definition, truth is, they are all right.

Tactical shooting is specific style of firearms and accessories. It’s also a sport, a mindset and a lifestyle. It is what it is.

It’s almost easier to say what is not tactical than what is.

This is not tactical:

 This is:


Being tactical is more than wearing BDU pants and a para-cord bracelet. It is a realization that while it is better to be judged by 12 than carried by six, it is best not to be judged or carried by anybody. That’s why tactical shooters are such training junkies.

I’m off the soap box, for now.

On with the tips!

Cover vs. concealment – Cover stops bullets. Concealment hides you from an assailant.  My wife and I live in a typical Florida home – one level concrete block construction with interior sheet rock walls, standard furniture and appliances.  Contrary to most popular television shows, there is nothing inside our home that will stop even a small caliber handgun round. There is plenty of concealment – sofas, walls and doors to hide behind, but there is no cover. Ballistic testing shows most appliances and furniture will slow but not stop even a .380 round. The best way to think of your home tactically is like a large, rectangular box full of concealment, but no cover between you and an armed intruder. Plan accordingly.

Concealed carry for women – Women are the fastest growing demographic within the firearms industry. As the popularity of concealed carry increases, more and more retailers are catering to women. Several gun shops I’ve visited recently offer purses with built-in holsters. These should be avoided at all costs. The first thing a robber will grab from a female victim is a handbag, effectively disarming the shooter. The best way to carry a concealed pistol, regardless of the sex of the operator, is on the strong side hip, in a secure holster made by a reputable manufacturer.

Chinese tactical accessories – Every time I go to a gun show there are more vendors offering lasers, white lights, red-dots and other gear made by NC-Star and similar brands. The price is right – $50 for a laser/light combo or a red-dot. It looks cool but it’s junk – something to be avoided at all costs. It will fail, probably when you need it most. Spend the extra money and buy accessories made by a reputable manufacturer. Buy American.

The best handgun for concealed carry –  I am occasionally asked to recommend “the best” pistol for concealed carry. It’s like trying to recommend a car or a bottle of wine. The easy answer is this – carry the biggest caliber, largest capacity pistol you can conceal and shoot effectively. I’m 6-Feet 3-inches, 275 pounds. I can control and conceal a .45 XD. Depending upon my clothing and whether I’ve had a large lunch, I could probably conceal two or three.  Smaller shooters need smaller caliber firearms that are easier to conceal, but don’t rely on anything smaller than .380.

Your feedback is appreciated. Please email your tips, techniques and training scares and scars and I’ll include them in next Friday’s Tactical Tips.







About Author

Lee Williams can’t remember a time in his life when he wasn’t shooting. Before becoming a journalist, Lee served in the Army and worked as a police officer. He’s earned more than a dozen journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. He is an NRA-certified law enforcement firearms instructor, an avid tactical shooter and a training junkie. When he’s not busy as a senior investigative reporter, he is usually shooting his AKs, XDs and CZs. If you don’t run into him at a local gun range, you can reach him at 941.284.8553, by email, or by regular mail to 1777 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. You can follow him on Twitter: @HT_GunWriter and on Facebook @The Gun Writer.

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