This blog is a collaboration with a fellow student and peer of mine, Mr Johnny Turner.
I am sure you have heard a comment similar to this during a discussion of crime, a mugging, or carjacking and it often comes out. The individual touts the concept of “having a gun” like it is a cross and they are warding off Dracula. I hate to break it to you, carrying a firearm is not a magic charm that wards off evil. That isn’t coming from anti gun people, it is coming from two men who carry daily.
Confused? I get it, we carry daily for self protection but am I telling you it doesn’t work?
Well, not exactly. What we are going to attempt to explain is that a firearm is just a piece of the puzzle. Think of self defense as a three legged stool. First are the tools, second are the skills, and third is the mindset.
Let’s start with the mindset. If you are going to be defending yourself or any innocent party, the most important aspect is your mindset. Self defense starts with avoiding trouble, staying out of conflicts, avoiding bad locations, being aware of your surroundings, and keeping ego in check. If that doesn’t work, and it doesn’t always, you must be willing to act quickly with appropriate force. Using a lethal weapon is a last resort that only comes into play if you have no other choice to prevent death or grave bodily harm. If you aren’t willing to kill someone in that situation, do not carry a firearm. That is not any easy decision. It can come with serious legal, moral, financial, and spiritual consequences.
A firearm isn’t always the right choice, but, when it is, you must act decisively.
John Wayne’s character in The Shootist said “It isn't always being fast or even accurate that counts. It's being willing. I found out early that most men, regardless of cause or need, aren't willing. They blink an eye or draw a breath before they pull the trigger. I won't.”
If you are not willing, do not carry a firearm. It will likely make matters worse.
The second leg is skill, which can only come from training. Most people who own a firearm think they can shoot. They envision themselves performing like characters in a movie, rising to the occasion when a threat appears. Those people are deluded.
Jeff Cooper said, “Owning a handgun doesn't make you armed any more than owning a guitar makes you a musician.”
Can you draw your firearm in less than two seconds and hit a paper plate at 10 yards? Can you do it at 10 feet? Have you tried it? Most firearm owners haven’t. If you can’t, your chances of surviving a gunfight are small. That ability isn’t hard to achieve but it takes training and practice. If you can’t do it there is no shame it just means you need to improve. Find a quality instructor who can teach you those fundamentals as well as the legal aspects of self defense. Then practice regularly, as one class is just merely a bare minimum that will fade with time.
The last leg of the stool are your tools. As stated above, a firearm isn’t always the answer, sometimes it is a non lethal tool like pepper spray, or even good verbal skills to deescalate the situation. But there are times that a firearm is the only thing between you and death. So what firearm do you need? Man, that is a question with lots of nuances. First, it must be one that you can accurately shoot. Good shot placement is the single most important issue. Second, we would suggest it be one you can carry concealed on your body. A “better gun” in the truck won’t do you much good. Third, carry the biggest gun with the most capacity that fits the first two criteria. Lastly, buy a gun from a reputable manufacturer. All of them are man made and will fail at some point, some sooner that others because of poor quality control.
What is right for me might not be right for you. Go to a range that rents pistols and try several. Make sure you can get a quality holster for it. KSG armory is a great place to start your search for a quality holster, especially their Lexington model. (here's a helpful hint, if you can't get a quality holster for a certain gun, that's a clue that the gun in question is not quality) Then make your choice.
No one else can make the decision for you, you have to decide if you should carry a firearm. If you do, make sure you have three solid legs to support you. A two or one legged stool will soon put you on your rear end.