Concealed Carry of Firearms - Mindset

Some Background

This is the first of a series of articles that I’m going to write about self-defense and personal safety. My focus will be on legal concealed carry, open carry, and home defense with firearms, enhanced awareness and other related topics.

In 1987 Florida instituted a “shall issue” concealed carry law. Since then, 48 states have adopted some form of concealed carry system. As of this writing, only Illinois and Wisconsin prohibit concealed carry. I receive questions from co-workers and friends about concealed carry and I enjoy informing them and consider it my civic duty to help them go about it in the best way possible. My goal in these articles is to provide accurate, unbiased information to every law-abiding, responsible citizen concerned with self-defense and personal safety whether you’re a long time gun owner, just bought one, or are considering buying one.

Kimber 1911
Kimber 1911

I’ve reviewed a lot of information about personal safety and protection from news stories, magazines, and classes at community and recreation centers. Where this information usually falls short in my opinion, is in providing you with the information you’ll need if the chips are completely down and the oft recommended options such as running, whistles, car keys, hat pins, hairspray, and 911 have failed or are not available. These options only cause pain; sometimes it is necessary to injure an attacker. Injuring an attacker disables them either temporarily or permanently in some way up to and including death.


The Self-Defense Mindset

Remember, it might be your life, your spouse’s life, or your child’s life that is on the line. Playing fair should not be one of your options. Your attacker will not play fair, that’s why he chose a victim that is smaller and weaker. Giving up should not be one of your options; even if you think you can’t win. Worrying about your attacker’s condition at the end of the fight should not be in your thoughts. This sounds cold, harsh and brutal but I want to you to focus on the reality; not some drivel in a politically correct magazine.

Much of the information you’ll find elsewhere advocates the “ABC method”. The ABC method is a term that I created that can apply to many things. It goes like this. (A) You have a problem. (B) You determine an appropriate course of action. (C) Voilá! The problem is solved. The problem with that method is, many things in life are not that cut and dry. Self-defense and personal safety are certainly not like that; there are far too many variables. If you find yourself in a dangerous situation where you become a victim or potential victim you’ll find that it is a constantly changing event causing you to constantly re-evaluate your course of action. This is called the OODA loop which I’ll cover in another article.


Firearms instructor working with student.
Firearms instructor working with student.

So, Where Exactly Do You Start?

The most difficult part of starting this series is deciding where to start. If you’re considering buying a firearm for self-defense you may have the same problem. I will provide a starting point in this article and build upon that in future articles.

If you’re reading this, there is a good chance that you have asked yourself if you really need to be concerned with preparing to defend yourself. I doubt that anyone reading this article hasn’t heard someone say things like, “I live in a good neighborhood, nothing has happened here before.” or “I don’t go out at night very much and I don’t go to bad areas.” Maybe you have these same thoughts.

I am not a psychologist so I don’t know the reasoning behind these statements but I do have some theories. People like to feel safe, even if it’s a false security. Most rational people don’t like to feel unsafe, particularly in their own home and in the places that they travel through and to every day. Secondly, it is very difficult to face the cold, hard reality that you could someday be the victim of a violent crime. People like to think that violent crime only happens to other people. Most victims of violent crime thought the same way until they became a victim. Third, it is our duty to protect our self and our loved ones. This duty is not to be taken lightly; it is a HUGE responsibility. The fact that it is such a big responsibility makes it difficult to accept for some people.


Are her children in the car?
Are her children in the car?

This is Your Starting Point

So that makes a good starting point. Starting right now, recognize and accept the fact that there is no such thing as a safe neighborhood or place, some are safer than others, but no neighborhood or place is immune to crime. A completely safe place does not exist. Life has risks, that’s just how it is. You can try to convince yourself otherwise but it won’t change reality.

Crime doesn’t happen only at night in bad areas, it also occurs during daylight hours in the most unlikely of places. Some of the boldest and most heinous crimes have occurred during daylight hours and some of those in close proximity to other people. Crime can and does happen anytime, anywhere, to anybody, with little or no warning. And it will happen on its own schedule, not yours.


My Close Calls

In future articles, I will share some close calls that I’ve had. Two of those incidents occurred in a state where carrying a firearm was, and still is, illegal. One of those events was the eeriest and most frightening experience of my life. I don't know how to describe the feeling except with a couple of questions and thoughts that I had at the time. Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to have a butcher knife with a 9" blade plunged into your back? Or your throat slit open with that knife by someone that is behind you? I have.

You'll desperately want to level the playing field against this guy.
You'll desperately want to level the playing field against this guy.

During those few seconds I also wondered if I would live and whether or not I'd be able to save my wife from the same fate. I wondered how it would affect my wife to see me murdered. Cold, brutal, and harsh, isn't it? By the way, this happened during daylight in the most unlikely of places.

When I moved to a state where it is legal to carry a sidearm openly or discreetly, I vowed that I would not let something like it happen again without being prepared. I will tell you how I handled it then as an unarmed citizen and how I would deal with it now as an armed citizen.


What You Need to Do

The goal of this article is to encourage you to start developing the self-defense and personal safety mindset. It won’t happen overnight, but you need to start now. Work on improving your awareness. The goal is NOT to make you paranoid. It is not paranoia to prepare for reality. Nobody will call you paranoid if you have smoke detectors and fire extinguishers in your home. You’ve simply accepted the fact that it is possible that a fire could occur in your home and you’ve prepared for it.

What every home should have.
What every home should have.

In Conclusion

Whenever I hear of a violent crime, I always wonder if there was something the victim could have done to cause a different outcome. It’s unfair to armchair quarterback but thinking about it helps you prepare mentally if you ever face a similar situation. There is nothing that you can do to completely remove the possibility of being on the wrong end of a violent crime. Everything you do however reduces the possibility of becoming a victim and increases your odds of living through it.

I hope that this article has helped you in some way. My next article will be about improving your awareness level. See you then.

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