Gun clips a great accessory for the hobbyist, not the armed citizen.

Gun clips, a great accessory for the hobbyist, not the armed citizen.

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I begin this piece understanding full well that someone is going to get their feelings hurt. That being understood it has been my lot in life to be the one who tells the Emperor that he is naked. Quite often, the Emperor does not wish to be so informed and is greatly annoyed by the audacity of the reporter. Nonetheless, I did not begin this journey as a politician seeking to win a popularity contest.

Gun Clips

The topic of this piece has nothing to do with the misuse of the term “magazine” by neophytes and outsiders. When I speak of gun clips I am referring to the spring-steel device mounted to a handgun in order to allow it to be “clipped” to clothing in some fashion thus negating the use of a holster or scabbard.

Gun clips are not new. I would have thought their novelty would have going the way of the .41AE and become a quaint memory. I was recently reminded that there is still a push to so enable handguns with these cloth-ripping, paint-scratching devices.


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The following is are my Top 3 Reasons to avoid gun clips, beginning with number three.

#3 Snagging and Scratching

It is your life, live it like you wish. Spring-steel clips on firearms can and will fray and snag your clothing. While your clothing might be easy to replace, you may soon find yourself leaving the gun behind for lack want of to a nice pair of slacks or skirt.

Any spring-steel clip on your body is likely to scratch objects (your new car’s paint) and snag on seat belts. If your flashlight or pocket knife snags on the seat belt and pulls out it is annoying and inconvenient. If your handgun snags on the seat belt or arm of a chair and falls out, the situation becomes a bit more dicey, particularly in a public place.

#2 Sweating and Shifting

A naked gun placed directly against the body is going to be exposed to more perspiration than a holstered gun, there is no getting around that fact. Perhaps you are a saint and you clean and oil your carry gun weekly, congratulations. Most folks don’t have the inclination. Also, few humans can go about their daily lives comfortably with a pound of aluminum and steel pressing directly against their body.  Sure, an hour or two might not be an issue, but how about a ten to twelve-hour day?

While the clip secures the handgun from effects of gravity, it does not keep the gun from shifting forward and backward as your body moves. Are you going to avoid bending, squatting, stretching or lifting all day long in order to keep your clipped gun from moving? Or will you find yourself constantly “fixing” or “adjusting” your clipped gun?

#1 Cover the Trigger, Cover the Trigger, Cover the Trigger

For the love of all that is holy, if you going to carry a firearm on a daily basis, you need to cover the trigger. The list of negligent discharges by people carrying guns naked in their waistbands, pockets, and purses in long. Whether the culprit is an errant finger, a foreign object, clothing or fashion accessory, naked guns too often end up discharging because the trigger was not protected.

Gun clips are a prima facie indicator of someone who in not genuinely serious about being an armed citizen. The gun clip is a tempting accessory as it seems oh so convenient. If you are armed citizen you need to be committed to being an armed citizen.

Convenience or lack thereof leads to poor choices. The moment it becomes “inconvenient” people will leave their guns home. Gun clips are cool add-ons for the hobbyist or occasional gun-toter. If you are serious about being an armed citizen, part of the plan it to secure a quality holster or gun scabbard. Your carry gun should have the trigger covered until needed and be kept securely in place without shifting.

P.S. Still don’t believe me? Take your pistol with a spring-steel clip to a training class and run a day’s worth of shooting drills. I’ll have a box of band-aids standing by.

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Paul G. Markel has worn many hats during his lifetime. He has been a U.S. Marine, Police Officer, Professional Bodyguard, and Small Arms and Tactics Instructor. Mr. Markel has been writing professionally for law enforcement and firearms periodicals for nearly twenty years with hundreds and hundreds of articles in print. Paul is a regular guest on nationally syndicated radio talk shows and subject matter expert in firearms training and use of force. Mr. Markel has been teaching safe and effective firearms handling to students young and old for decades and has worked actively with the 4-H Shooting Sports program. Paul holds numerous instructor certifications in multiple disciplines and a Bachelor’s degree in conflict resolution; nonetheless, he is and will remain a dedicated Student of the Gun.

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