If you are new the idea of using a firearm for home defense and/or daily personal defense there are several things to consider, but let’s get started with three questions to identify your mindset, goals and expectations of the gun carrying lifestyle when you are not at home.
Will you carry everyday or based on circumstance?
Everyday means you will incorporate the gun into your daily life by having it in your possession all places that are legal to do so and/or in your vehicle. Based on circumstances means you will mostly likely only take it with you when you travel outside your comfort zone (road trips, what you consider to be the bad part of town, etc).
If you raised your hand for everyday carry, you get a gold star! Carrying a handgun for self defense is a lifestyle choice and in order for it to be an effective tool in your toolbox you must have it with you at all times possible. On average it will take 21 days before the holster/gun system you chose to not feel like a foreign appendage on your body. Muscle memory will need to be developed for holstering/unholstering in safe and efficient motion. If you find yourself in crisis and need to draw your gun, that is not the time to try and think about it, it must be a “auto-pilot” so you can keep your eyes up and deal with the situation at hand.
If you raised your hand for carrying based on circumstance I need to bring it to your attention that we don’t know when the dreaded “circumstance” will occur, well unless you are psychic. We are more likely to be a victim of a crime in our comfort zone (generally within a 3 mile radius of home/work) and I bet you will agree that when you take a trip or go to that perceived “bad part of town” your situational awareness is on high alert, which helps you minimize risks of being the target of a crime. Unfortunately there is no true safe side of town. Crime happens everywhere.
Will you carry Loaded or Unloaded?
Loaded means magazine inserted in the gun and a round in the chamber, also referred to as “Hot”. Unloaded refers to magazine inserted in the gun but no round in the chamber, or “Cold”. There is no right or wrong way to answer to this question. It all comes down to training and muscle memory of the draw, taking the gun off safe if necessary and getting rounds into the intended target. If you are thinking you should carry “cold” because you don’t trust yourself from shooting your hiney on the draw, then I strongly encourage more training! This is all about a methodology and technique. Being safe with the gun is expected no matter if you choose to carry hot or cold.
Will you carry on your body or purse/bag carry?
On body carry is always the best choice. There are many options where you can holster: appendix, waist, small of back, shoulder, chest. I encourage you to look at reviews of the products you are interested in on how they performed and tested for durability. Watch youtube video reviews of people who have a similar body type as you and see what works for them. Kathy Jackson, author The Cornered Cat has a complete on-body concealment system that focuses on four things:
- a firearm of the appropriate size,
- a safe holster,
- a secure method of attaching that holster to your body, and
- a good cover garment.
Off body carry in a purse or murse (you know hand bags for guys) is the secondary choice because there is a disadvantage for drawing the gun quickly and the issue of the bag leaving your control. There are times when having a bag is necessary and for some it is the only method they use. Learn more if using a concealed carry purse/bag is an good option for you.
Making the commitment to carrying a firearm for self defense is a lifestyle
It may take you a few months to settle into it. Being confident in your gun handling skills, getting used to your holster and being aware of the areas you cannot enter into will all come with time AND PRACTICE! A turning point for me and my commitment to the gun carrying lifestyle is when I met Suzanna Hupp, survivor of the Luby’s Massacre in Killeen TX . Please take a moment and watch her story.
Whenever I have the urge to leave the gun behind because I’m just running out to the corner store I think about Suzanna Hupp and her Luby’s day. I don’t ever want to have a Luby’s day and be without my primary self defense tool. I realize it is not the solution for every crisis situation, but it circles back around that I would rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it. Concealed/Open carry is a lifestyle, a lifestyle that requires dedication to training, maintenance and mental mindset.
photo credit www.conservativeoutfitters.com