I was a professional advertising photographer for ten years, and to getting the shot meant I carried a gadget bag full of expensive cameras on my shoulder in some pretty shady areas full of pretty shady people. That gadget bag drew attention to me and said to the criminal element “Look, here’s a bunch of expensive stuff you can fence quickly: STEAL IT!”
And I never once considered carrying a self-defense weapon in my gadget bag: It’s what the crooks want, why would I just add to the stuff they get to steal by putting a weapon in there with my lights and lenses?
Same with a purse: It’s what the crooks want and one of the things you want to defend, so keeping the means to defend yourself inside the thing you’re to defend.
It’s like freezing your diet plan inside a tub of vanilla ice cream: You’re going to get into more trouble getting to it than you are using it.
Video courtesy of Kathy Jackson, who recommends on-body carry, and so do I.
Stop for a moment: Do you know where your house keys are? Where your cell phone is or your wallet? Are they in the same place they normally are? Probably.
We carry our daily “must have” items in the same place all the time because we don’t want to spend a lot of time looking for them if we need them.
The same thing is true for your defensive firearm. If (God forbid) you’ll need it, you’ll need it rightthisverysecond and not want to pause for a moment to reflect where it might be. This is why once you’ve decided on where to carry your pistol, you’ll want to carry in that position as often as possible and not move it to another location or yourself or somewhere else.
For example, through trial and (some) error, I’ve found that I prefer to carry my CCW gun in an Inside The Waistband (IWB) holster, specifically in a hybrid Kydex/leather holster of some kind, positioned at about 3:30 on the same side as my strong hand. I usually carry either a Smith and Wesson Shield or a CZ P07 in that position, but if I can’t carry on my waist because of what I’m wearing or where I’m going, I carry a pocket .380, a Kel-Tec P3AT in a pocket holster in my pants on my strong hand side. My extra magazine (and you DO carry spare ammo, don’t you?) is either in a mag pouch on my waist or in a nifty little pocket pouch that keeps my ammo separate from the flotsam and jetsam in my pockets.
Take a moment to think about where your carry gun is right now. If you’re not sure, or if it’s not close by, it’s not going to be much help when you’ll need it most.
This video from a successful carjacking in Johannesburg is downright frightening.
Welcome to Worst-Case-Scenario-Land, population: You.
What could you do in this scenario? Well, not a lot, even if you’re armed because the crooks are on their prey in mere seconds. They’re professional, they’ve done it before and it shows.They have the car blocked in and a gun on the driver on the right side from the start of things, and then seconds later another car comes in to seal off the exit.
This is another extension of the problems of training with just one tool. Sometimes, there’s not a gun solution or a non-lethal solution: There’s no solution: You’ve lost even before the fight started.
We can train, we can practice, we can carry every day, but sometimes, the bad guys win.
The trick is to reduce the number of times they win.
That’s a fair question to ask. Let’s assume, first off, that you CAN carry a gun with you on a regular basis. There are lots of people (my wife included) who, because of their work environment, can’t carry a concealed firearm around with them on a regular basis. If that’s the case, this discussion is moot.
But if you can carry, should you carry? Consider this recent post on Reddit.com.
I live in a small town in Iowa. A couple years ago I applied for and received my concealed carry permit. I have a G26 with a crossbreed supertuck to go with it, and I have a Ruger LCP. I would carry one of these every day, everywhere I went, religiously, for quite a while.
This past summer, I decided to stop carrying. I decided it’s just not worth it for me. It’s not worth the pain in the ass to put it on, it’s not worth the weight and discomfort, it’s not worth introducing a firearm into every single encounter in my daily life. It’s not worth it to me, for the one in a million chance that I might ever maybe possibly need to use it.
Is that person right? Is carrying a firearm not worth the trouble, given the “one-in-a-million” chance you’ll need to use it?
Depends. I carry a first aid kit in my car: Am I expecting to be first on the scene at a major traffic accident? No. Have I needed it to patch up the scrapes and cuts of my pre-teen sons? Oh yeah.
The knowledge and assurance that you are ready and able to deal with what life throws at you can be a powerful, powerful thing, and when you need a gun, there aren’t a whole lot of things you can use as a substitute.
Should you carry a gun? Can you think of something in your life worth dying for? Would rather die for it or live for it?
We’re not done yet!
Tom McHale from MyGunCulture.com has graciously anted up two more prizes, so now we have a Second Prize and a Third Prize.
And because of all this extra added awesomeness, we’re adding on another week to the contest: Now we’re shutting the whole thing down at midnight on September 8th.
This is it, though. No more added prizes. No more dates with supermodels. You’ve got until September 8th, and that’s it, this is over with, so enter now. Kate Upton is waiting for you.
*Note: Kate Upton not included
So you’ve gone out and purchased a gun for home self-defense.
Fantastic. Understanding that you’ll be your own first responder and doing something to protect yourself is the most adult decision you’ll make in your life.
Having a gun in your home is great first step, but a gun isn’t a magical self-defense charm. Owning a gun doesn’t protect you: Owning a gun, knowing how to use it and having it available for use if, God forbid, you need to use it protects you and your loved once. If you keep your gun unloaded and in the box it came in, it’s going to be hard to get out and load if it’s needed. This is why quick-access gun safes have become a popular way to keep a gun safe in the home, and it’s something I use myself in my home to keep my self-defense firearm accessible and secure.
There’s a bunch of people who don’t like this option, though, because they worry about how long it’ll take to access their gun in a safe if they need it, and prefer to keep the gun loaded in a nearby dresser or nightstand drawer. I can understand it, but such concerns leave out an important fact: Things get moved around inside your drawer.
It’s 3:30 in the morning. You’ve heard a noise downstairs. You’re afraid. You want your gun. It’s in your nightstand drawer.
Compare this to a quick-access safe. The gun and only the gun is in it and I know the gun will be there when I need it. No searching, no fumbling around and hoping I don’t grab the trigger by accident, just beepbeepbeepbeep and I’ve got my gun ready to go.
That’s just one of the reasons why I prefer keeping my gun in a quick-access safe rather than an unlocked drawer. These are two more reasons why I use a safe: My sons. They’re great kids and they’ve been through the Eddie The Eagle gun safety program, I know they know how to be safe around guns because I’ve trained them and watched them do it for myself.
However, the consequences of them forgetting to leave a gun alone just once are just too great for me to not lock up my guns. Yes, I trust my sons. Yes, I know they know how to stay safe around guns. No, I am not relying 100% on those two facts: I keep my guns in a locked container because I know where they are and I know they are safe, and I recommend a quick access safe to everyone who has a gun and has kids or is concerned about the safety of their guns in their home.
Simple question, isn’t it? Why did you decide to join thousands and thousands of other people like yourself and purchase a firearm for self-defense?
If you’re like me (and I know I am), it was because of a real threat (a psychotic relative) and a perceived threat (a rise in violent crime in the Phoenix area). Either threat is a very valid reason to arm yourself and your family against the threat of grievous bodily harm, and if you’ve done so already, congratulations, you’ve made the most adult decision you’ll ever make in your life.
But what are you willing to defend with your gun? Your life? You family’s lives? Your co-worker’s lives? The life of a random stranger on the street? Your car? Your stuff? Someone else’s stuff? These are all questions you need to answer before your gun is in your hand, because there will NOT be time to answer them when the shooting starts.
Let’s look at a recent VERY high profile court case, the trial of George Zimmerman. I’m not going to try to break down what happened that night and how it might apply to you: Massad Ayoob (who literally wrote the book on armed personal defense) already has done that for us. Instead, let’s look at the decisions made by Mr. Zimmerman before that fateful night. By volunteering to be a Neighbor Watch patrolman, Mr. Zimmerman made the decision that he was willing to intervene in the affairs of others (his neighbors), and by carrying a pistol while doing so, he decided he was willing to use lethal force to defend his life if needed.
Were those the right decisions? Not for me to say: I wasn’t in his position, and a jury of his peers has exonerated him of any wrongdoing that night. I do know that I decided what is and is not worth my involvement when I started down the journey of concealed carry, and I heartily suggest everyone else do that as well.
Get a book on the firearms laws of your area and read it cover to cover. Consult with a lawyer. Get training. Consider buying self-defense insurance. Talk with your spouse or significant other about what they consider is worth defending with your lives. Ultimately, you should consider what is important and irreplaceable in your life and what is not. For me, I can always by another TV set or car, but I can’t replace my wife and children.
Your gun is not a talisman of self-protection and the more you know now about when and if you’ll need to use it, the quicker and more effective you’ll be, if, God forbid, you need it to save your life or the life of someone else.
All of us here at TeamGunblogger support practical pistol shooting as part of a balanced approach to self-defense, and one of the reasons why I shoot competitions on a regular basis it to test my shooting skills in stressful situations. In other words, can I make the shot when it’s needed, and what are the limits of my shooting ability?
Case in point, Stage 10 from the 2012 USPSA Area 2 Championships, specifically the 1:07 mark in this video where I drop a round into a no-shoot as it covered up the “shoot” target.
I was confident I could make the shot and put two rounds into the shoot target before the no-shoot covered it up, except I couldn’t. My shooting skill couldn’t cash the check my mind was writing for it. The good news is, I gained this knowledge in the context of competition and not out on the street, where the consequences of not hitting your target (or hitting the wrong target) is a LOT more severe than just a few penalty points in a shooting match.