What to Bring—Pistol 209 (Defensive Pistol)

The most common question we are asked is “what to bring?” This page provides some guidelines that will ensure you have the best experience at one of our events. The specific products and vendors below are just suggestions or examples of a type of product that may work well for you. There are many other similar gear options.

All Events

  • Our volunteers are neither gunsmiths nor armorers; please ensure your firearm is safe and functional!
  • Eye and ear protection is required at all events.  We highly suggest electronic ear protection as it makes it easier to hear instruction and line commands.
  • Use only the correct ammunition for your gun. Most guns have the proper ammunition type stamped on the barrel. Do not shoot without the proper ammunition. Revere’s Riders strongly suggests the use of factory ammunition. Handloads are generally not necessary at our service-rifle and pistol inspired events—originally these events were intended to be fired with bulk issue “ball” ammunition!
  • Dress appropriately for a day outside at a firing range (closed-toe shoes, high neck shirts, long sleeves if weather allows, etc). Our events occur rain or shine. Dress for the weather!
  • Avoid loose-fitting clothing, especially around the neck line. You don’t want hot brass going down your shirt!
  • A hat with brim will keep the sun out of your eyes and deflect any hot brass headed towards your face.
  • Bring a pad and paper for taking notes.
  • Bring a pen or marker for taking notes and marking your targets.
  • You may want to bring gloves. They protect your hands in inclement weather and also keep your hands from getting torn up working through drills.
  • A towel or mat is useful for using in the prone position as well as covering your firearm in inclement or hot weather during breaks.
  • A folding chair is nice to have during lunch and history presentations.
  • For full day events, pack a lunch (note that a few events will provide lunch; the event listing will specify if lunch will be provided).
  • Bring snacks and water. Proper hydration is essential—in the summer plan on one quart per hour as a rule of thumb and supplement your water with sports drinks, salty snacks, etc.

We have a selection of recommended general safety equipment on the What to Bring–All Events page.

Pistol 209 (Defensive Pistol)

Most important is to bring a safe and functional pistol. If you haven’t cleaned your pistol, setting aside time before the event to clean it would be a good idea. If you have doubts about the safety of your pistol, now would be a good time to have it looked over by a qualified gunsmith or armorer. Please note that you should leave any pistol that is not “drop safe” at home (see below).

  • Pistol Type: We suggest you bring the pistol you intend to conceal carry.
  • Caliber: Since this course is geared towards those that will conceal carry their pistol, a pistol chambered in a center-fire caliber is highly recommended. Generally, this means 9x19mm, .40 S&W, .45 ACP or similar; you can get by with .380 ACP but many consider this caliber to be borderline effective.
  • Magazines: A minimum of THREE magazines are necessary to participate in our defensive pistol courses without having to resort to reloading of magazines during a drill. More magazines are better; especially if you have a “low capacity” pistol that utilizes magazines that hold less than 10 rounds.
  • Holsters: You will need a quality holster (either IWB or OWB; appendix, small-of-the-back, shoulder and other holsters are not permitted) that FITS YOUR PISTOL. Your holster should completely cover the trigger guard to prevent an unintentional discharge while your pistol is holstered. Retention holsters are not recommended as they add extra complexity to the draw stroke that is really more appropriate in more advanced courses.
  • Magazine Carriers: You will want a comfortable method of carrying extra magazines on your person. Generally, this means a carrier designed for 1-2 magazines that is positioned on your weak side opposite your holster. In a pinch, you can get by with carrying extra magazines in a pocket.
  • Drop safe pistol: Older single-action pistols manufactured before the 1980s and lacking a transfer bar safety are the most common type of pistol that lack drop safe design features, as do some military surplus imports from Eastern bloc countries, Taurus PT-series pistols not fixed during an international safety recall in 2015, Walther CCP series pistols not fixed during a safety recall in 2017, Sig P320 pistols not fixed during a safety upgrade in 2017, and Canik pistols not fixed during a Severe Duty Upgrade in 2017. These pistols may discharge if dropped and pose a potential safety hazard to our volunteers and students and are not permitted. If you have concerns about the safety features of your pistol you should have it inspected by an armorer or gunsmith before the event.

Recommended Pistol 209 Equipment

Below is a list of equipment that our instructors have found to be functional, durable and useful: