I know, it is an odd title, but the point of this post is to remind everyone that learning and practicing with your concealed handgun is your responsibility, and you are the one that will benefit. It isn’t about the community. It isn’t about others. It is all about you. Another way to say it is: You are responsible for you.
We can’t depend on our friends and family to be there when shit hits the fan to back us up and help us. We can’t depend on them to keep up their training so they will be able to help, even if they are there at the key time. Nobody is coming to your rescue, most likely. The person that may be there to help may not be qualified to help and may be more of a hindrance. The odds are pretty good that when you need to defend yourself, and your loved ones, you will be all on your own, and it will be all about you. Remember:
- Police response times are horrible.
- Police have no duty to protect us.
- We can’t depend on others.
- There is nobody riding in on a white horse with the Calvary right behind them to save the day.
Carrying a concealed firearm is a big responsibility, and you need to prepare yourself. Of course, we hope that day never arises, but if it does, you don’t want to be “kind of” prepared. You want to be better at using violence than the evil attacker(s) that are the threat. The threat might be to you, your loved ones, or other innocents. Of course, you need to know whether you will insert yourself into situations involving innocent strangers or not, but that decision doesn’t change the need to be prepared.
“Violence is never the answer.” Every time somebody says that, I want to smack them. It is a stupid quote. I will be clear: VIOLENCE CAN BE THE ANSWER. If violence is the answer, you better be damned good at it. You should be be able to turn on the switch and deal out violence when it is the answer, or you may fail the test of life. One of my new favorite sayings is:
“You need to fight like you are the third monkey trying to get on Noah’s ark.”
Preparation isn’t easy. It takes work. It requires that you dedicate time and money to learn and practice. Nobody is a natural. Some people may have steadier hands or may be stronger, but everyone needs to prepare for the fateful day that we hope never arrives.
Learn to shoot, safely – Yes, you need to know how to shoot if you are going to carry a concealed firearm. You should take many classes. You should take the same class over and over to make sure you learn the information as well as you can. You should learn from multiple people and multiple training companies. Part of shooting, safely, is being accurate. You want to make sure you hit your target and do not hit innocent bystanders.
Train with different companies and people so you can learn from many perspectives and utilize what works for you.
Learn the law – Remember, it is up to you to understand the laws that apply to you when it comes to using deadly force. As part of learning the law, you need to understand how it would apply to many different circumstances. It is your knowledge of the law and when you can deal out violence that must be ingrained in your thought processes. The laws vary, somewhat, between states and cities, so make sure you are aware of those laws.
Choose a system – When carrying concealed, it is important that you take into account all of the pieces of the system, including:
- Your firearm – Your handgun should be reliable and fit your requirements for the size, capacity, and ease of use. You should, also, have a round chambered. When it is time to be violent, you won’t have time to prepare your gun by racking the slide.
- Holster – Your holster should cover the trigger and trigger guard, it should hold your gun in a stable position, it should have enough retention to keep the gun in the holster, and it should protect the gun from the environment.
- Holster alternatives – There are lots of options out there. Whether you use a purse to carry your gun, a belly band, or some other solution, you need to practice with it, and whatever solution you use, it should meet the same requirements of a holster.
- Belt – Your belt, assuming you are using a belt mounted holster, should be strong enough to carry the weight of your firearm and extra magazine(s) without drooping. There are many quality belts that are reinforced and will hold us to years of use.
- Extra magazine – Yes, you should carry an extra magazine whenever possible.
- Other items – You may want to include a knife, a handheld light, and maybe even a small medical kit.
Open hand skills – This is a tough one. The many martial arts schools out there just don’t teach you to use violence. They teach their forms, their kata. They don’t teach you how to do whatever you need to do to win. However, basic open hand skills can be gained from pretty much all martial arts schools. You need to learn how to gain distance so you can deploy your knife or gun and gain the advantage right away. You need to learn how to protect yourself if your attacker gets in close.
Improve your fitness – This is an area where I am working hard to improve. Losing weight, being more active, and doing what you can so you won’t be breathing heavy when you get up too fast. Physical fitness is vital when it comes to self-defense. It becomes more important when it comes to using open hand skills. Mental fitness is a completely different, and very valuable, component of your fitness levels. I include the following when it comes to mental fitness:
- Combat mind-set – This is the mindset necessary to be victorious. It is a combination of “awareness, anticipation, concentration, and coolness.” Jeff Cooper has written some great material on his perspective. I strongly suggest reading his article on The Combat Mind-Set. However, if you want to hear him explain it, go here.
- Awareness – Cooper’s color code of awareness really doesn’t have anything to do with alertness as much as it has to do with the person’s state of mind. Our awareness of our surroundings should change based on what we observe. I know it sounds confusing, but Jeff Cooper is the best person to explain it. The easies way to explain it is that your ability to change gears and turn on that “violence” or become lethal may be slower or quicker based upon what level of awareness you are practicing.
- Running scenarios – You are walking from your car in the parking lot to the grocery store door. Somebody approaches you, what are the scenarios that you have played out, before, so that you know exactly what you will do based on how that person acts? You should run those type of scenarios in your head so you will not be caught by surprise and can respond without having to evaluate the scenario at that moment.
- Being right with life – I thought about this one before putting it to paper. I have heard some people refer to it as being right with God, being spiritually right, and being prepared. I am not sure how to best communicate it, but in my life, I make sure that the people around me know how much I love them, my finances are in order to support my family in the event I am no longer around, and I have done my best to teach my children to live good lives. If I have to resort to violence, and lose, I will at least know that I did my best in my life as well as at the end.
Practice – Practice sounds like it is common sense, but we don’t really practice how we should. We should train as we will fight. That means we should train in all weather and lighting conditions. We should be using movement. We really need to up our game when it comes to proper training so that you will be ready and able to become violent when it is time. Practice your malfunctions so they are second nature. Practice your open hand skills whenever you can. Make sure you don’t wait for a friend to be free to practice with you, after all, it is all about you.
Prepare for the Aftermath – Assuming we do everything we can to survive, and we deal out violence better than our attackers and prevail, there is still the legal aftermath. Don’t forget to have a good attorney and legal plan to protect yourself. Minimize jail time, as you will most likely be arrested, and minimize the financial impact. There are several very good carry insurance companies out there. I highly recommend that you research them and understand what will work best for you.
You will have to make changes to your lifestyle. There really isn’t any way around that. You can’t decide to protect yourself and others some days and not others. You will, most likely, need to make changes to your wardrobe. You will probably need to change where you travel because of limitations to the ability to protect yourself and your loved ones. Of course, by spending money buying the best equipment for yourself, and spending money on training, it will mean that you won’t be eating out very often. Or am I the only one that spends hundreds of dollars every month on ammo?
Remember, you can’t predict the future, near or distant. If you could, you would be rich.
Your skills might be needed at any moment in time, and when the answer is violence, you need to pass the test.