Traveling Armed Part 3: Complacency Kills

“Fortunately, my inattention to detail only made me feel like an idiot,” says B-Mo. It could happen to any of us. Getting ready to head out of town for the holidays? Don’t repeat his stupid. Mad Duo

Continued from Part 1 (Know the Law) and Part 2 (Airplanes).

Traveling Armed: Complacency Kills

(So Does Laziness and Inattention to Detail)

Brian Montgomery

As mentioned previously in this series, I travel a lot and usually carry when I do. I utilize my status as a retired LEO to carry in most states I travel to, pursuant to HR 218 (The LEOSA Act). Well, this trip I decided to forgo my weapon. After all, it was a short trip, my bag was dangerously close to the 50 lb. limit and I wasn’t going to be out and about much.

All three of those “excuses” were complete bullshit. I know it as well as you do. But I digress. This isn’t a story about not being armed when the proverbial shit made its way to the fan. No, this was even dumber.

Montgomery-traveling armed 2

I had prepped my weapon, ammo and locking travel case for the trip and at the last minute stowed everything in the normal spot in my home. I went on the trip, returned home without any hitches and the next morning went through my normal routine of getting dressed and donning my usual EDC accouterments…including my firearm.

Later that evening upon returning home I sat on the couch, opened my laptop, removed my holstered weapon from my waistband and set it on the couch next to me as I began to peruse emails, etc.

That’s when I glanced over and noticed something was very wrong: there was no magazine in the magazine well.

WTF’nF?!?!

As you might recall, the magazine plays a pretty. Darned. Important. Role in the proper use of a handgun.

Montgomery-traveling armed 4

Where is my magazine? thought I, in exactly the state of shock and dismay you are no doubt imagining. I pointed my firearm in a safe direction, removed it from the holster and, yep, you guessed it.

There was no round in the chamber.

I had been walking around all day with a F’n useless tool. Not so coincidentally, I felt like one too.

I had secured the empty firearm before departing on my trip and did not put it back in to working order upon returning home.

I realized I had become a victim of my own complacency; something I swore I would never do. In my defense…no, fuck that. There is no defending this. It was inexcusable. I screwed up. Something I would never had done when I was working the road (I’d like to think so, anyway). Maybe it’s a little different when prepping for a shift and all of your compadres are function checking weapons, spark testing Tasers and making sure everyone and everything is squared away. Maybe, but it shouldn’t be.

Fact is, I don’t have that luxury anymore. It’s up to me to make sure ALL my gear is in proper working condition…including myself. Another lesson learned and another potential shitstorm averted.

The reason I decided to write about this is not to embarrass myself to the readership of B-B-C, but to remind you how easy it is to screw up with just one moment of inattention.  Constant vigilance is paramount. We carry for a reason, to protect ourselves and those we care about. I nearly failed in that endeavor. I never want to read about someone making the same mistake with a tragic outcome; maybe admitting to my humiliation will help prevent it.

Any Current or Former Action Guy (or Gal) can tell a really cool war story; we all have them. I find the real value lies in learning from one’s mistakes as well as one’s accomplishments.

Mad Duo, Breach-Bang& CLEAR!

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About the Author: A former copper from the Pacific Northwest, Brian “Breach Bang Brian” Montgomery somehow resembles the improbable bastard byblow of Sgt. Phil Esterhaus and Ulysses Everett McGill. Like all good metrotacticals, Breach-Bang-Brian would rather buy his ammunition from Morris & Sons and pay eleventy times the non-retarded price there than shop at Wal-Mart or any other plebian retailer for bullets. We accept this because we expect him to maintain certain appearances and standards. Despite his Tier One sartorial genius and apoplectic response to jean shorts, Brian Montgomery is the sort of hair-product-using fellow who is nonetheless welcome in the company of skilled face-shooters and other assorted knuckle-draggers. A child of the 80s, Montgomery was a LEO for 2 decades who secretly yearns for the return of parachute pans and pegged jeans. As a LEO he worked everything from counter-narcotics to gang enforcement, probation & parole and of course patrol. He was (and still is) a firearms instructor and skilled interrogator with an uncanny ability to suborn intel from even the most recalcitrant tweakers, homicide suspects and other savory types. He’s had a long love affair with knives, beginning when he was just a lad working for Al Mar in a town we can’t pronounce in Oregon and he’s been decorated departmentally for valor. Perhaps most strangely, after several work related journeys to the South he has become an unabashed lover of a good bowl of grits. Oh, and yes. In case you have to ask: Breach-Bang-Brian is a Dapper Dan Man. You can follow Montgomery here on Instagram (@bmo_pdx).Brian-Montgomery-BreachBangBrian

11 thoughts on “Traveling Armed Part 3: Complacency Kills

  • December 18, 2015 at 10:12 am
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    What kind of holster is that?

    Reply
  • December 14, 2015 at 6:26 am
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    My eye opening event was getting interrupted during dry fire practice and having to discontinue immediately. Next day, prepping for dry fire practice, I found my snubby full of snap caps.

    Finding mistakes like this, recognizing the gravity of them, and diligently working to avoid them is what makes us more competent.

    Reply
  • November 26, 2015 at 1:20 pm
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    There’s more than a few cops who have worked part of a shift with an empty holster after neglecting to retrieve their firearm from the jailhouse locker…

    Reply
  • November 26, 2015 at 10:52 am
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    Only two groups of us…

    Those who have…

    And those who will…

    I recall a renowned trainer telling the story of his weapon going click instead of bang during a training exercise when active duty. It only cost him a month’s salary!

    Reply
  • November 26, 2015 at 12:54 am
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    Good reason to have some sort of process or routine that you perform every time you strap on a pistol or rifle. Over the years I’ve made it a habit to check weapon status (magazine and chamber) every time I pick up any firearm, prior to holstering or slinging it, as applicable. If I take my CCW gun off at home while taking a shit, I still press check and verify the magazine is full prior to putting it back in the holster, even if the gun never left my line of sight. That doesn’t mean I’ll never make a mistake, but if for some reason I deviate from the process it should stand out as unusual enough to shake me out of whatever fog of complacency I’ve allowed myself to fall into.

    Reply
  • November 25, 2015 at 11:31 pm
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    I had a guy do that during qualification today. Fired one round and then nothing. Tap, rack didn’t work and then he noticed no magazine.

    It was a learning moment for him.

    Reply
  • November 25, 2015 at 10:10 pm
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    This is the reason I built a press check into each holstering event.

    Reply
  • November 25, 2015 at 7:48 pm
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    No worries, you are not alone.

    Reply
  • November 25, 2015 at 10:34 am
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    Good post.

    Reoccurring nightmares of my weapon going ‘click’, kept vigilant in the past.

    Reply

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