USPSA scoring is based on something called “Hit Factor”. It tends to be a bit confusing for people new to the sport as well as some others who’ve been shooting competitive matches for years. In this video I use one of my classifier stages to explain how Hit Factor is calculated (it’s easier than you might think)!
Of the top 10 questions I get asked as a Concealed Carry instructor, one of them will be along the lines of, “Should I get concealed carry insurance, and if so, which concealed carry insurer is the best”?
The answer to the first part of the question is a hard YES! I could write an entire blog post on why, but for the sake of keeping this post on topic take my answer as gospel for now. Surviving a deadly force encounter is traumatic enough, the last thing you want to do is bare the cost of criminal or civil trial which can easy run into hundreds of thousands of dollars!
So the next logical question is which one to use? The two largest companies in this space are U.S. Concealed Carry Association (USCCA) and U.S. LawShield. The third runner up is arguably CCW Safe. There are other articles that compare these three companies (and others), but I want to take a slightly different approach. I know you simply want an instant answer to the question at hand, but it isn’t as cut & dry as you probably think. Neither of them are the “best” per say, but one of them is probably best for you and your particular situation. My goal is to figure out which one as quickly as possible. In order to do that…
Watch the above video is its entirety! There are a few nuggets of information there that may help you decide pronto!
Review the below comparison chart.
Read the Top 4 “deal breakers” for most people listed below. I explain what each point is, why it’s a possible deal breaker, and give my own personal take on that point.
Plan Comparison Chart
Retainers / Deductables / Co-Payments
Legal Defense Limit
(Civil & Criminal)
Civil Liability Limit
Spouse Add On ($220)
Loss of Pay Limit
$750 / day
(Part of Liability Limit)
$250 / day
$350 / day
Bail Bond Limit
(Part of Legal Defense Limit)
($2.95 / month)
$1M ($50 / year)
Incidental Expenses Limit
(Part of Legal Defense Limit)
Replace Cost Of Firearm
Part of Incidental Expenses
($6.95 / month)
Residental/Auto Cleaning Costs Limit
Part of Incidental Expenses
(In Home Only)
In Home & Auto
Expert Witness Limit
Part of Legal Defense Limit
Part of Bail Bond Limit
Mental Health Counseling
10 Sessions OR
40 Sessions OR
May Select Your Own Attorney
Covers Any Legally Owned Weapon
24/7/365 Emergency Hotline
($2.95 / month)
Add On (50% discount)
Inside & Outside Home
Add On ($100 / year)
Minor Children Coverage
Inside Home Only
($2.00 / month)
Inside & Outside Home
Inside Home Only
Red Flag Law Coverage
Family/Dating Violence Exclusion
Includes Invited Guests
Hunter & Angler Coverage
($2.95 / month)
(OK, Good, or Great)
Unavailable In These State
NJ, NY, WA
NY, RI, ME, AK, MA, DE, CT
NY, NJ, WA
$16 / $14
$179 / $149
Savings If Paid Annually
$13 / $19
Top 4 Possible Deal Breakers…
#1 Civil Liability Coverage
If you seriously injure of kill someone during a self-defense encounter, put it in your mind right now that you will be sued in civil court! I know, I know…you would never use force against another unnecessarily! That doesn’t matter. There are a lot of people who’ve lost their home and savings to pay off debts owed to the very people who forced their hand in the first place. Our judicial system is a lot of things, unfortunately fair is not always one of them.
Civil Liability Coverage will pay the amount owed (up to the coverage limit) in the event that you loose a civil trial. Keep in mind, this is not the cost of the trial itself! It is the amount that the judge has levied against you as compensation for your attacker.
POSSIBLE DEAL BREAKER: U.S. LawShielddoes not cover civil liability! This is part of the reason they are the cheapest of the three. They will cover the cost of your civil trial.
MY TAKE: If you are strapped for cash and the other two companies are outside of your reach financially, go with U.S. LawShield so that you at least have coverage for the costs of criminal and civil trials. However, if you can pony up the cash, got with one of the other two!
#2 Red Flag Law Coverage
Red flag laws essentially circumvent due process by removing your firearms, you, or both from your premises without anything more that the word of someone who “feels” you may be a threat, irregardless of how much or how little evidence there is to the contrary. The laws vary by state, but in general a hearing will automatically be scheduled or one must be requested by you in order to regain possession of your property. No matter how you feel about Red Flag Laws, they are here and will likely be here to stay for quite a while.
POSSIBLE DEAL BREAKER: USCCAdoes not offer Red Flag Law Coverage under any of its membership plans. They have an associated entity called the USCCA Legal Defense Foundation who offers grants for legal gun owners who have been “red flagged”. You don’t have to be a USCCA member to apply for a grant.
MY TAKE: The cost of Red Flag hearings should be significantly cheaper than a full on trial. That said, good legal representation is never “cheap”! If you want both Civil Liability Coverage and Red Flag Law Coverage, CCW Safe‘s Ultimate plan is the only option. It should be noted, it’s cheaper to get both USCCA‘s Gold or Platinum plan and a U.S. LawShield plan (which covers Red Flag Laws) than it is to buy CCW Safe‘s Ultimate plan, at least for a single person.
#3 Family/Domestic Violence Exclusion Clause
There are a number of things that will exclude coverage. Most of them make sense, like the requirement that you use a legally obtained weapon or that you not be in the act of committing a crime. This one is extremely questionable though. It basically stipulates that if you have to defend yourself against another family member and/or someone you are dating, they will not cover you!
POSSIBLE DEAL BREAKER: USCCA is the only one of the three that does not have a Family/Domestic Violence Exclusion clause (meaning that they will cover these occurrences). Both U.S. LawShield and CCW Safe do, with CCW Safe taking it a step further and including any invited guest to your home as part of the exclusion!
MY TAKE: Roughly 60% of female murder victims are killed by an imitate partner of family member. Roughly 81% of all murder victims are killed by someone they are generally acquainted with. Similar statistics can be found across all violent crimes. My primary point is that you are statistically more likely to be violently attacked by someone you know rather than someone you don’t. From the insurer’s standpoint, this is an easy way to exclude a lot of self-defense cases! :-/
#4 Select Your Own Attorney
POSSIBLE DEAL BREAKER: U.S. LawShielddoes not allow you to select an attorney that is outside of their network.
MY TAKE: From all accounts, all three companies have aligned themselves with experienced attorneys in their respective jurisdictions. That said, it is nice to select your attorney, especially if you already have a working relationship with a good self-defense attorney.
I want to reiterate again that there is no “best” option for everyone. You really have to evaluate which plan is best for you. Are you married? If so, what options do they have for your spouse? Do you have kids? If they get into a fight at school and the school-to-prison pipeline kicks in, will they be covered? Review each bullet point in the table above and choose a plan that fits your lifestyle!
Part of being a responsible gun owner is learning to avoid defensive situations at all costs as well as preparing for those encounters if they can’t be avoided. While many responsible self-defenders purchase a quality firearm suited for the job and seek out training from competent instructors, many don’t prepare for what happens after a shooting.
Using a firearm (or any weapon for that matter) to defend you or your family’s life will likely be one of the most traumatic and stressful experiences you could ever encounter. Many different emotional and physical factors can alter your perception of the events that transpired, even immediately after the shooting. It’s important to think about what actions you should and shouldn’t take beforehand.
I’ve prepared a 4 point list of what to do…
1) Make Sure You Are Safe!!!
Though the shooting may have stopped at that moment in time, that doesn’t mean that additional threats aren’t still there. Many times attackers work in groups, some of which you may or may not know were around in the first place. Friends or relatives of the person you shot may be there at the scene, and they aren’t going to be happy with what has transpired no matter how in the wrong their loved one may have been. Be vigilant in assessing the situation immediately after the shooting. Try your very best to stay on the scene, but if you need to flee in order to be safe then DO SO!!! This can lead to a sticky situation legally in some cases. When it comes to the law you always want to be right, but you don’t want to be dead right!
If you absolutely positively have to secure or move the attacker’s weapon then do so, but exercise extreme caution! Avoid coming in close proximity to the attacker. If you can, use your feet to move the weapon rather than placing your hand (and thus, your fingerprints) on it.
Once you are 100% certain that you are safe, HOLSTER YOUR WEAPON!!! There is a good chance that other people have already called 911 and the police are on the way. You DO NOT want them to show up while you still have a firearm in your hand. Remember, they are responding to a “person with a gun” or a “shots fired” call. They don’t know who the good guys and bad guys are when they show up.
2) Call 911
Even if you know that someone else has called 911, you still want to make the call yourself. This aids in you being thought of as the complainant (victim) from the beginning. Inform them that you were required to use a firearm to defend yourself, whether or not someone is hurt and needs medical attention, and give a detailed description of yourself so that the police know what you look like when they arrive.
Again, when the police arrive on the scene you SHOULD NOT have a firearm in your hand! Place your hands in the air and follow any and all instructions that are required in order to detain you (which they will definitely do).
3) Mentally Collect Evidence
Once you are safe and the police have been called, start making mental notes of the evidence around you. Where is the attacker’s weapon (if they had one)? Are there witnesses around who can inform the police of exactly what happened? Evidence that works in your favor can quite literally walk away!!!
Don’t assume that your situation will be a clear cut case of self-defense! There are MANY people serving time in jail after being violently attacked simply because they weren’t able to “prove” that they justifiably used a weapon to defend themselves.
4) SHUT UP & Call Your Attorney!!!
Once the police have arrived and detained you, you will be questioned about the shooting. There is a good chance you will also be taken to the police station and you may even be read your rights. No matter what happens, be polite!!! Inform the officer that you were required to use your firearm in self-defense and that you want to fully cooperate with their investigation, but that you need to consult legal representation before giving a full statement. At that point, stop talking! I CAN NOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH!!! Seemingly benign statements can be the fuel that a prosecutor needs to turn what otherwise would have been a self-defense case into a criminal charge against you.
Call an attorney as soon as they allow you to. Don’t wait until you are in the moment to try and find representation! This is something that you should have already secured. Be sure to select someone who specializes in self-defense cases. Also, know what their retainer fee is before hand as they won’t represent you until that retainer has been paid.
Self-defense insurance is an excellent idea, as you will be provided with an attorney who specializes in self-defense shootings (on call 24 hours a day depending on the insurance), includes funds for bail, covers judgements for civil suits, and is relatively inexpensive. There are a handful of companies that provide self-defense insurance. I’ve reviewed all of them (a post of the results is in the works) and can only recommend two companies…US Concealed Carry Association and US Law Shield.
Handguns are poor people killers (regardless of what you hear on the news). On average, only 1 out of every 7 people die from a single handgun shot. Take Chicago for example…last year there were 762 murders here. However, 4,331 people were shot! As disproportionate as that ratio is, many of those murders were not committed with a firearm so the ratio is even smaller.
More importantly, from a self-defense aspect, handguns are poor people STOPPERS. It really doesn’t matter if a person dies as a result of you defending yourself. A mortally wounded person can still kill you before they themselves die!!! No, you want to stop the individual from attacking you, not kill!
All that said, some handgun calibers have proven themselves to be better or worse choices than others. I was asked what my stance is on the .380 ACP, and what .380 round to recommend to those who choose to carry it. I’ll start by answering the first question right away…
I don’t recommend .380 ACP as a defensive round! There are a number of reasons why, but below are the primary ones:
It has less mass than a 9mm but moves at slower velocities like a .45 ACP. This equates to much lower levels of energy available to it. Energy allows the bullet to do two things…penetrate and expand. Penetration is the more important of the two, but both are desirable. The .380 is right on the cusp of being able to both expand greatly in order to dump all of it’s energy into an attacker AND get the penetration required to be effective.
It’s marginally OK in the summer, but a poor choice in the winter. People wear light clothing in the summer time. There is less chance of the bullet having to go through multiple layers of clothing, which in turn, means less chance of the hollow point becoming clogged to the point where it doesn’t expand (not to mention loose energy passing through the clothes). All this equates the the .380 ACP being able to reach it’s maximum potential more often…which, due to #1 above, is just marginally OK. Winter time is a different story. Add a coat, sweater, and additional shirt, and now the bullet has a greater chance of dropping below that threshold of having the required energy for expansion & penetration.
You can’t hide a firearm chambered in .380 ACP anywhere that you can’t hide a similarly sized 9mm. The 9mm is a significantly greater performer (as far as expansion and penetration) because it has significantly more energy to play around with.
The recoil of the .380 ACP is not that much less than a 9mm, especially out of a small pistol. The recoil of a 9mm, even in small pistols, is still well within the realm of manageable for the average shooter.
.380 ACP is more expensive to shoot than 9mm. That translates to less time live fire training!!!
I can’t imagine too many experienced shooters, even those that love the .380 ACP, denying that any of the above is true. That being the case, why purposely select a round that barely meets the cusp (and costs more to train with)? Instead, step up to a caliber that gives you the maximum chance of stopping an attacker with the fewest number of shots to do so. 9mm, .40 S&W, .357 Magnum, .45 ACP, ect. all have more than enough energy to perform under any of the mentioned conditions and are all available options. Do you want the cheaper, less durable seat belts in your car? How about a smoke detector that’s only sensitive enough to only give you a 1 minute advanced warning rather than 5 minutes??? When it comes to things that you may need to save your live, make the smartest decision possible.
…but it’s better than nothing, right?
Yes, it’s better than nothing. So is a BB gun. That doesn’t mean a BB gun is a good choice! Again, we are talking about something that you may use to save your life one day. Choose wisely!
What if I want to carry it anyway?
Now, for those who are going to carry it anyway, and there are plenty of you, below are the top three choices I’d go with. There were selected purely based on my own opinion. Let me know in the comments if you have other rounds you’d recommend…
Lehigh Defense 65gr Xtreme Defense – You will get penetration, don’t have to worry about having a hollow point clog (there isn’t one), and has the possibility to dump enough energy and damage tissue at a rate similar to a traditional hollow point.
Sig Sauer 90gr V-Crown JHP – This is one of the few .380 ACP hollow point rounds that I’ve seen give consistent expansion and OK penetration in gel tests. Those tests are more for comparison with other bullets than to demonstrate actual results though.
Plain Ball Rounds – You will get zero expansion but you’ll have plenty of penetration. The bad part is that there is a high likelihood that it will over penetrate and pass through the attacker with more than enough energy to still be lethal.
Yes, you can take the Illinois Concealed Carry Class absolutely free! No catches, no gimmicks, just do two simple things…
Host the class at a location of your choosing. As long as attendees can sit comfortably and you have internet and a TV or projector, you’re good to go!
Have at least 5 friends or family members (not including yourself) attend the class. As an added bonus, they will receive discounted pricing on the class!
That’s it! If you can do this then you can attend the class for free! You’ll also receive a special coupon code just for your guests to sign up (which includes the discounted price). We’ll handle everything else from there.
The vast majority of the population has no understanding of why the 2nd Amendment REALLY exists. In my personal experience, not even many pro-gun supporters do. They wield it frequently, but don’t truly understand the concepts behind it. In order to do just that, there are two primary concepts that must be acknowledged…
1) Every living thing has a natural right to defend itself against any other living thing that is trying to destroy it. Again, that is a NATURAL right…one you have simply because you are alive. If a dog chases you down in the street, you can beat it with a stick. If a lion chases a zebra, the zebra can run or attempt to fight. This concept is pretty straight forward.
2) Governments have the power to destroy lives directly as well as alter its citizens’ way of life to a degree that prevents them from truly “living” (North Korea is an outstanding example of this). Again, this concept is pretty straight forward.
The 2nd Amendment simply extends concept #1 by concept #2. It recognizes that even though the government isn’t a living being, it has the power of such that the rules of a natural right to defend one’s self against it still apply. This is the primary check and balance that is drawn into the constitution. It is the one that all other checks and balances rest on.
So why was this necessary to add back then?
The Bill of Rights was drafted by a group of men who’d recently won their independence from England. They’d already formed a democracy, but felt that in order to keep their newly formed government from ever becoming tyrannical, they should instead operate as a republic.
Feel free to do your own research on a democracy vs a republic, but the best way I can convey it is this: A democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. A republic is two wolves and a lamb doing the same, but with an un-revocable rule that they can’t each other. For us, those un-revocable rules are the Bill of Rights.
In order to be certain that this was enforceable, they also added language that allows the people to form and maintain their own army, otherwise know as militias. This way, the people would always be as ready to stand and fight as the government was.
How does this apply in modern times?
When the Bill of Rights was drafted, the primary weapon of the time, for both the common everyday citizens and the US infantry soldier, was the the musket. They weren’t extremely accurate (by today’s standards), only held a single projectile, and required a considerable amount of time to reload. However, it still provided a balance. The common citizen was as similarly equipped as the infantry soldier. If the government overstepped the bounds of the Bill of Rights, the people were physically capable of restoring the government as it previously was.
Fast forward to modern times. The advancement of weapon systems is considerable to say the least. So the question is often raised that since they couldn’t fully comprehend the weapons of today’s infantry soldier when they wrote the 2nd Amendment, is the 2nd Amendment now outdated?
The 2nd Amendment was not written with the musket in mind, or any particular weapon for that matter. As stated previously, it exists in order to be sure the the common citizen, if so inclined, may acquire and maintain weaponry equivalent to whatever the infantry soldier had. This way, the people would always have the ability to physically restore the government should it become tyrannical.
The primary weapon of today’s infantry soldier is the M4/M16. It is a fully-automatic rifle, meaning that you can pull the trigger a single time and the rifle will continue firing until it is empty.
Common citizens can not legally own the M4/M16, at least not in the sense that they can walk into a gun shop and simply purchase it. They may, however, purchase the civilan version of the M16, known as the AR-15.
The civilian version is NOT fully-automatic. It is semi-automatic, meaning if you pull the trigger one time only a single bullet will be fired. In order to fire another round, you must release the trigger until it resets, then pull the trigger again.
Considering that the common citizens are not allowed to readily own the M4 or M16, it can be argued that laws preventing such are a breach of the 2nd Amendment. However, the AR-15 still keeps the common citizen within the realm of similarly armed, especially when you take into account the shear number of citizens vs the number of soldiers.
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