On one hand, being in possession of a firearm leaves you better prepared to successfully defend your own life.
On the flipside, you are not even close to having military or police levels of backup, training, and engagement.
Soldiers and officers are trained and carry weapons for their jobs and as a result, the jobs come with all sorts of protection. They are allowed to do things that civilians are not.
Police are paid to engage, chase, and apprehend dangerous people. They are trained to do these things and hardly ever operate alone. As concealed carrying civilians, it is rarely if ever legal or even a good idea for you to pursue someone.
In the course of their jobs, police officers are sometimes required to shoot people. There are reports on the news every week about a police shooting somewhere and details about the resulting investigation.
In the event of an investigation, officers involved are usually put on paid leave pending the outcome, given access to mental health counseling, and have legal representation courtesy of their police union.
They have far more assistance after a shooting than the common civilian, who can quickly find themselves paying thousands upon thousands of dollars in legal fees. This is before they even have to potentially post a sizable bail.
You cannot operate as a vigilante. Your primary reason to carry a gun in the first place is to stay alive. Focus on doing what keeps you alive and out of prison. Most of the time, this means running or getting away in some form or another.
It is also important to pay close attention to how being in possession of a firearm changes your attitude and perception of your place in the world. Author Cope Reynolds talks about this in his article “Ross Sporting Goods” on USConcealedcarry.com:
“… just because you’re carrying a gun, [it] doesn’t mean that you somehow have new-found powers or that you are any braver or tougher than you were before. If anything, it should probably make you a little more humble.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)
This is an oft-mentioned point that bears repeating. Being in possession of a lethal weapon puts you into a much higher tier of responsibility. You must hold your ego in check and abandon all ideas of machismo and tough guy behavior.
Missing this critical step is nothing short of courting disaster.