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Old July 12, 2017, 08:14 AM   #1
Lohman446
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Carry at the beach

So my wife, children, and I often enough go to a local park right on the lake. It puts us a couple hundred yards away from the vehicle. As we both tend to swim and play in the water with the kids (who are too young to be more than a few feet away from in the water) I simply accept this is one of those places where concealed carry is out. We also tend to be some distance away from the bags we leave on the beach so off-body carry is not an option.

No big deal right?

Last night as we were walking towards the car a medium dog comes barreling towards the kids. Now a forty pound dog is probably not a disastrous threat to an adult but to a kid... different story. It should be noted this is specifically an animal free beach if it matters. I stepped between my children and the dog and the animal did stop while the owners assured me from a distance that it was friendly.

Frankly I'm not letting an unrestrained dog get close enough to my children to test that theory - especially a dog that is not responding to its owners commands. My wife informed the owners that dogs were prohibited from the beach only to have the nonsense answer "its a service dog because it makes me happy" given. Perhaps I was less than polite in informing them that service dogs were required to be leashed and under control and frankly I did not believe that "it makes me happy" was one of the acceptable reasons for a service dog (for the record it is not on the list of tasks which a registered service dog must be able to perform to count as a service dog).

Now the two owners did not drastically concern me. Quick, somewhat narcissistic calculation told me I could handle the situation should it get out of hand though the dog presented an issue if it did. I simply put myself between them (one who was attempting to restrain the dog), my wife, and the kids as we made a controlled "retreat" to the van. There was some verbal stuff tossed around in the process and one of the individuals seemed to be rather aggressive in nature.

So it got me to thinking, more than I should, about concealed carry in such an environment. How would one go about carrying a concealable pistol in light beach clothing that is likely to be exposed to and submerged in water?
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Old July 12, 2017, 09:02 AM   #2
g.willikers
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My 2 cents:
Under the circumstances you describe, it would be difficult to have a gun.
How about some other defensive tool?
Pepper spray might not be the best choice, with the wind that's usually present around lakes.
A decent sized folding knife (and the skill to use it) could serve well.
They are easily concealable, sand and water proof, and might be all that's needed.
It would be mighty difficult to even deploy a firearm at a probably crowded beach.

As for the charging dog, it's been my experience that they are only a threat in their own territory.
Out in public, it's more likely this one was headed toward your kids, 'cause that's what they do.
Maybe in the woods it might be more likely to run across a feral one, but less likely at the beach.
Other dogs and children are like a magnet, not to harm but to play.
So you might have been over reacting.
And what exactly would, could you have done with a firearm in that scenario anyway?
Stepping in front of the kids to intervene and test the dog was no doubt the best approach.
Did it actually turn out to be a threat?
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Last edited by g.willikers; July 12, 2017 at 09:10 AM.
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Old July 12, 2017, 09:48 AM   #3
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Dogs can be dangerous and we have all heard about terrible injuries that people have sustained as a result of dog bites.. that said, I think it is a little dramatic to describe a dog running around the beach like its a 900 lb lion. Granted a large dog may seem like a lion to a small child but I think there is certainly a lot of options between zero and firing a gun on a public beach. I have never carried a gun on the beach and although I have had probably half a dozen scrapes with unpleasant dogs, I have never felt the need to shoot one.
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Old July 12, 2017, 09:54 AM   #4
Lohman446
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It was not crowded enough that deploying a firearm and using it would have been an issue.. at least in regards to the threat to others in the area (I don't live in a tremendously crowded area). It would have been a legal nightmare in the follow up no question and may have very well escalated the situation at hand (which went with nothing more than concerns afterwards). A dog is one of the extreme rare cases where firing a "warning shot" is not outside of the question in my mind (though I acknowledge the legal ramifications of such)

I was prepared to physically assure the dog did not get to my children. I have no issue physically restraining a dog that the owners do not have control of though I readily acknowledge I may get bit in the process. I would rather take that chance then wait to see what the dogs intentions are when it gets to my children.

The idea of an alternate defensive tool is probably a good one. Oddly enough in Michigan while some sprays are legal and getting a concealed carry permit is relatively easy a large knife is not and does not fall under the purview of a concealed pistol permit so it is out. I think my hiking staff is likely to accompany me to the beach in the future - I have far more practice in the use of a staff then I do a knife anyways.

This is one of those situations where after the initial interaction the situation was escalating in a method I was not entirely comfortable with. Full out turn tail and run not being an option when my wife and kids are there I was not thrilled with my options and tools on hand to use those options. The hiking staff would have been a good option to have both with the dog initially (had it come to that) or the owners.

Edit: I should note that the dog did turn away about five feet from us. When I stepped between the kids and it it turned to an aside and when I turned to keep that position it only made half the circle. This is not a situation where having a firearm would have changed anything other than my hand may have been on it. The dog clearly gave deference and became "not an imminent threat" when I stood in challenge to it (sorry no better wording comes to mind). Nor was this some Mastiff that I thought physically controlling was out of the question. I did not intend to paint the dog as some charging lion but I do not intend to dismiss the threat of a dog to children of roughly equal weight to it either.
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Old July 12, 2017, 10:21 AM   #5
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One of the oldest and most used weapons is a big stick. While I might not carry a baseball bat to the beach what about a heavy walking stick. Maybe something wrapped in fabric that to the casual observer looks like an umbrella. At the end of the day the best defense is to separate yourself and your family from aggressive people and animals. Remember, “speak softly and carry a big stick”.
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Old July 12, 2017, 10:35 AM   #6
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I'm a veterinarian. From a dog behavior standpoint you did well. You did the right things to back the dog down.

For future trips to that beach park, pepper spray is a good idea. The only means of firearm carry I can conceive of would be a fanny pack or a pocket pistol in a waterproof bag. Zip-lock type bags would provide some protection. Small dry bags such as kayakers use for cell phones and similarly small items would be a possibility. Access would not be very quick - the drier it is the slower it is likely to be. Examining the firearm for moisture and the need for cleaning on arriving home would be prudent, and I would thus pick a pistol that is easy to field strip and clean. You may well decide that pepper spray is the way to go.

As for the "service animal" thing: There has been a recent trend towards "emotional support" animals, and no certification or anything regarding most of them. Basically, people buy some sort of dog jacket, harness, or tag, and use them to take their pet with them wherever they choose, using service dog waivers as their excuse. The dogs so designated very often receive no additional training, and indeed, are not disciplined or well-trained dogs even in the sense of being under basic voice control. It is really for the most part just a way for people to take advantage of unclear regulation and enforcement of actual service dogs. I have my own opinion of people who are willing to proclaim themselves to be so emotionally fragile that they can't function without their dog with them, just to get their own way, as opposed to people who need the service of highly trained service dogs. Feel free to form your own.
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Old July 12, 2017, 10:57 AM   #7
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Quote:
So it got me to thinking, more than I should, about concealed carry in such an environment. How would one go about carrying a concealable pistol in light beach clothing that is likely to be exposed to and submerged in water?
I wouldn't; but bear spray will work on a dog quite nicely.....(and the owner too if he/she gets nasty about it)

A shillelagh also works well - especially one from blackthorn or hickory
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Old July 12, 2017, 11:10 AM   #8
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If you want to carry in a swimsuit, a Smart Carry would/should allow you to do so without much difficulty (unless your French Canadian and prefer a Speedo ), and with a realistic gun too.

As far as it getting wet, its not the end of the world, as long as your willing to take the effort to clean it properly later.

With something like a Glock (or anything really), its as simple as rinsing it well in clean water in the sink, shake it out, let it dry, and relube. Give it a shot of WD40 if youre really paranoid. Not a big deal really.
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Old July 12, 2017, 11:13 AM   #9
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Not many beaches allow dogs other than service dogs, period. If that one allows it, you really should go elsewhere. And wear a t-shirt.
"...exposed to and submerged in water..." Isn't going to cause any permanent damage . Use an SS revolver if you're worried about it. You'll be cleaning it every day anyway. Or you should be.
In all likelihood if you shoot any dog with anything, you'll get sued at the very least.
Ain't no real service dog who's job it is to make its owner 'happy'. A local park should have somebody who works there or there should be posted rules regarding animals.
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Old July 12, 2017, 11:14 AM   #10
g.willikers
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Ha, you probably have never tried pepper spray lake side.
I'd like a ring side seat for that, long distance with binoculars, though.
A fellow I know decided to try out his new super duper bear spray.
He decided the likely test subject should be his dog.
Not paying enough attention to the wind, he let fly and then had to run like crazy into the house to escape it.
The wind carried the spray after him, clear through the house and out the front door.
It still caught up to him, while the dog safely upwind in the back yard laughed as the house filled up with bear strength pepper spray.
I happily learned of his predicament second hand.
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Old July 12, 2017, 11:19 AM   #11
FITASC
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And shooting a gun lakeside with other folks (and their kids running around) doesn't sound like the smartest move either.......

A good solid rap on the nose with the knob of a good stick and that dog will go away whimpering. (And if he doesn't, hit him again)
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Old July 12, 2017, 11:21 AM   #12
Lohman446
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Quote:
Not many beaches allow dogs other than service dogs, period. If that one allows it, you really should go elsewhere. And wear a t-shirt.
"...exposed to and submerged in water..." Isn't going to cause any permanent damage . Use an SS revolver if you're worried about it. You'll be cleaning it every day anyway. Or you should be.
In all likelihood if you shoot any dog with anything, you'll get sued at the very least.
Ain't no real service dog who's job it is to make its owner 'happy'. A local park should have somebody who works there or there should be posted rules regarding animals.
Around here a posted sign is about as much in regards to the rules as one is going to get and this one is posted no dogs (actually no animals). A leashed and controlled dog I really would not care in the least about. The only reason I cared about this one was the direct line it made towards my children. Really did not care what its intentions were that was just not going to happen.

When I say I live in a rural area because I don't like being around many people I really do mean it. Lots of vacationers in the area and summer cottages but on the weekdays the parks can be relatively empty. The concept of a manned park... well you would have to travel about 50 miles to find one

I think the hiking stick is a good idea in this case. It fits with the surrounding area, doesn't look out of place, and if a kid gets a hold of it he or she is not likely to do much harm to someone else. As others have pointed out it does not carry near the issues a firearm would, especially if I used it, and as we often go in the evening three or four times a week and play until sundown (or close) cleaning it every day would not be handy. Gwillikers has some very "on-point" messages in regards to sprays at the beach.

Last edited by Lohman446; July 12, 2017 at 11:28 AM.
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Old July 12, 2017, 12:18 PM   #13
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Ok if you want something you can put in a fanny pack and take into the water salt or fresh, just look at what the seals carry. Stainless steel or polymer handguns. I would not worry about a zip lock bag. Something not large or not small. You will need to rinse and clean of course when you get home. The Seals do it every day and swim in the water for their job for hours if not days at a time. You might be in the water for like 2 to 4 hours. For the dog thing. I have a certified service dog. I don't like to hurt animals if I don't have to. I'm a very hands on guy. Standing your ground between 2 targets is a good thing you show your Alpha. Show no fear they sense it. At the dog park out here I'm with my dog every where he goes while the other owners are sitting on the benches. If I have a aggressive dog that goes after my dog I will reach down and grab him by the neck. if he opens his mouth to bit I will put my open hand all the way to the back and start choking the dog. Now will I get bit probably but I am in control of the situation not the dog. I don't want to hurt him but I will escalate it depending of how long it takes the owner to get off their butt and come get their dog. I could kill a dog with my hands, the dog senses it but I would never push it that hard anymore.
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Old July 12, 2017, 12:46 PM   #14
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I'd go with pepper spray, problem is it tends to get everyone in vicinity including your self.

There are a few Pepper guns, Kimber makes one called paper blaster.
Never used one my self but from what I've seen they seem to shoot out with more force and cohesion, should be less affected by wind.
https://www.kimberamerica.com/pepper-blaster

I would not take a gun to the beach because of rampant theft, This is generally crimes of opportunity, unattended blankets.. no hiding it in your shoe won't cut it.

Only way I'd bring a gun is if a responsible adult was going to be at the blanket at all times.

As for the dog, I think you can get exceptions for comfort animals.. I believe those are usually written by therapists..

My cousin has an exception at their apartment complex for a cat.
Still I don't think such a animal qualifies as a service animal.

Heck every REAL service animal I've seen out in public is better behaved then most adults.
Maybe we should have training classes for humans.
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Old July 12, 2017, 03:02 PM   #15
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Maybe we should have training classes for humans.
We do it's called childhood. The problem is a lot of the trainers do a terrible job.
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Old July 12, 2017, 03:15 PM   #16
Lohman446
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Heck every REAL service animal I've seen out in public is better behaved then most adults.
Maybe we should have training classes for humans.
While I understand that any living creature can be unpredictable in this case I am certain the issue, and the escalation after I handled it, were a result of the humans. Dog should not have been there and, if that rule was going to be ignored, should have been under control and / or leashed. It was there, not under control, and one owner got aggressive after I called BS on his "service animal" nonsense. We can discuss the merits of a service animal for a particular reason at length but from what I have read (I checked) a service animal must be under control at all times and leashed / tethered / harnessed unless a disability prevents it.
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Old July 12, 2017, 03:29 PM   #17
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Lohman Im not criticizing your handling of the incident.
Im pretty sure the dog did not qualify as a service animal in the way we know it even if by some chance it one of those animals prescribed for comfort and stress.

The service animals I've seen in public usually have a harness but rarely leashed.
They really don't need to be, they've been trained to suppress impulse.. hence my statement they behave better then most Adult humans.

They're incredibly obedient and not easily rattled, confused, or distracted.
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Old July 12, 2017, 04:05 PM   #18
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Pepper spray is an option but not 100% reliable. Have another backup plan. Perhaps an expandable baton?

Carrying at the beach is good if you keep getting sand kicked in your face by jocks showing off to their cheerleader girlfriend.

When we make the choice to carry, we also have to choose which places we decide to go when we cannot carry. If you are comfortable being unarmed at the beach like the rest of the beachgoers, great. If you are not comfortable because sometimes people get aggressive or there are other circumstances out of your control (such as dogs), maybe you should reconsider going to the beach in the first place?
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Old July 12, 2017, 04:11 PM   #19
g.willikers
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Yeah, there's no comparison between a regular pet and a service dog.
We were recently at a restaurant and a service dog was laying quietly on the floor next to the owner.
Can't imagine a pet doing that with all that food and potential begging available.
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Old July 12, 2017, 05:04 PM   #20
Lohman446
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Oh there is enough to be critical of in handling it. For one I was virtually unarmed in an area that made arming myself inconvenient at best. I doubt my kids plastic shovel would have been of much use. Secondly I allowed the situation to escalate by calling BS when I should have simply gone to the van and ignored it.

Still good advise in this thread. While I had considered the knife route and rejected it and tried to come up with ways to be armed that did not take too much time to get to I had never really, for some reason, simply considered alternate defensive tools like a hiking stick or pepper spray which would have been better tools in the situation at hand anyways - the caveat of not liking the idea of pepper spray on the beach standing still.
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Old July 12, 2017, 05:07 PM   #21
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Lohman;

In respect to how you handled the situation, you seemed to do just fine.

As for carrying because of dogs, well, I just don't think that's necessary.

Many eons ago I worked for a marketing firm, and my job was to go out 'in the field,' ask people a few questions to collect data and give away promotional merchandise. 'In the field,' for the most part meant going door-to-door. I was required to keep a log, in case someone else needed to go through the territory again in the future. I tracked a lot of data points, including whether those people had a dog, large or small, and friendly or not. In the time I had that job, I spoke to over 100,000 people, and almost 50,000 had dogs. Only once did a dog try to bite me, and that was due to the owner giving the dog an attack command.

During that time, I developed a simple mantra: head up, tail up=thumb's up. Head down, tail down/tucked=thumb's down. Many dogs will rush up to 'meet' you, but if their heads and tails are up/wagging, they're just curious or want to make a new friend, regardless if they're barking. If their heads are lowered and their tails are either lowered or tucked under, that dog probably is going to defend his space or otherwise be physically aggressive.

Of course, dog body language is more complicated than just that, but "head up, tail up" is so universal among dogs that it can probably be considered almost a scientific fact.

Anyway, I think a gun, and probably even pepper spray is overkill for dogs. A loud shout and/or a big clap or stomp of the foot is probably all you need for 99% the dogs you run into. For the 1% or so that require more persuasion, maybe pepper gel spray? At least it wouldn't fly with the wind as much. Probably.
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Old July 12, 2017, 05:14 PM   #22
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Lohman;

Also, if you're looking for a hiking stick, you might look into a trekking pole, which is essentially a collapsible snow ski pole/hiking staff. Usually they collapse down to under 18". Pretty sure you can get a cheap one for under $15.
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Old July 12, 2017, 05:21 PM   #23
FITASC
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Those aren't that strong to fend off a big dog though; a good stout hickory or oak walking stick will be.
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Old July 12, 2017, 05:26 PM   #24
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Good point.
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Old July 13, 2017, 11:26 AM   #25
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If I have a aggressive dog that goes after my dog I will reach down and grab him by the neck. if he opens his mouth to bit I will put my open hand all the way to the back and start choking the dog. Now will I get bit probably but I am in control of the situation not the dog. I don't want to hurt him but I will escalate it depending of how long it takes the owner to get off their butt and come get their dog. I could kill a dog with my hands, the dog senses it but I would never push it that hard anymore.
Why does this remind me of the character Drax from the Guardians of the Galaxy movies?

"Nothing goes over my head. My reflexes are too fast. I would catch it."
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