Tag Archives: concealed carry responsibility

Studying is a Necessary Part of Self-Defense

15 Jan

booksMention studying to most gun owners and images of target shot groupings or the latest issue of Guns and Ammo spring to mind.

However for the serious concealed carry practitioner, intent on honing their skills, studying is more than visiting the shooting range and leisure reading.

Developing a proficiency in situational awareness and conflict avoidance, as well as learning to recognize alternative options in potentially dangerous situations, all require a certain amount of diligence.

In his article “Are You Studying Enough”, author Kevin Michalowski reiterates the importance of devoting time to the academic side of self-defense and preservation at USConcealedCarry.com:

“If things go as far as a fight, well, that’s a problem.  It is of course a problem you need to solve and a situation in which you need to prevail, but I would still call participation in a gunfight something of a failure.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)

Michalowski recommends several books that are beneficial for people who carry concealed.  The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker is high on his list.  This book concentrates on helping the reader understand personal limitations, fears, and likely reactions in order to overcome, or at least recognize said fears when a dangerous situation presents itself.

Another book on Michalowski’s recommended reading list is In the Gravest Extreme by Masaad Ayoob.  This book is a guide to legal and ethical issues that may arise from gun ownership.  For the concealed carry community, these issues are particularly relevant.

Going to the shooting range to practice is a great idea, but it becomes less productive if you don’t know which body parts and organs you should fire at in order to neutralize a threat.  Michalowski recommends purchasing an inexpensive wall chart showing the human anatomy.

By taking a few minutes now and then to study the chart, you will soon get a feel for where to aim.  In an actual firefight, the goal is to bring the subject down as quickly as possible, not to aim for a good grouping.

A little more time spent studying will result in improved confidence and preparation not only on the range, but on the street as well.

Who Killed Tamir Rice?

29 Dec

If you’re not familiar with the story about Tamir Rice, there’s enough information buzzing on the Internet to start a fire right about now. With the holiday season coming up, this unfortunateshiny toy gun situation of a 12-year-old child being killed by a policeman may even get a bit more complicated.

Due to the holiday season, there will be a lot of people giving gifts.

One thing that you know for sure is that some of these gifts will be given to children and teenagers.

Some of these gifts might be handgun replicas, very similar to the toy handgun that Tamir Rice was playing with.

Rice’s toy was replicated to look identical to a real .45. Lately, toy handgun models have been specifically marking these fake weapons to let law enforcement officers know that the replica is a toy.

These markers were created to communicate in a very strong visual way so that no one would be confused and react to a perceived threat.

The markers are there for protection purposes in order to avoid another Tamir Rice incident. By placing a loud orange color on the tip of the muzzle, the toy manufacturers are doing their part to communicate that their products aren’t real guns. However in Rice’s case, the orange part of the toy had been removed, making it harder for police to see the difference.

Author Rick Sapp goes in depth about the dangers of replica guns manufactured to look real and why they could be dangerous in his article “Who Killed Tamir Rice?” on USConcealedcarry.com:

“The audio of that call is available online. ‘There is a guy with a pistol,’ the caller says. ‘It’s probably fake, but he’s pointing it at everybody.’” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)

If you do buy a toy handgun for a family member or friend this holiday season, you should be sure to take out time and explain to the children the importance of these additional features and why they shouldn’t be removed.

You should also stress that the toy is something that kids shouldn’t go around pointing at everyone. Teach them to treat the toy as if it were not a toy, and you’re providing a great lesson, maybe one that will lead them to be responsibly armed Americans later on down the line.

Have a face-to-face conversation so that you can be absolutely sure that the child or teenager completely understands what you’re saying. Of course, if you can’t be there in person, it might be smart for you to consult the child’s parents first to see if the gift is really a wise idea in the first place. Many parents don’t want their children to have guns, toy or not.

The important issue is that of using the tragedy of Rice’s situation to make sure that no more children die. Police should never have to encounter a child with what they believe to be a handgun so that they’re forced to respond. Make sure that all safety features remain intact and that kids understand that you should NEVER point a weapon, even a toy, at an officer of the law.

Self-Defense: How to Rapidly Assess a Situation

18 Sep

The act of defending oneself with a firearm is not a skill you are born with or taught as a kid. Since it doesn’t come naturally, self-defense must be learned by conscious repetition and instruction.

hand holding gun

Drawing, aiming, and firing a handgun is a motor skill.

Like other actions requiring coordination such as bicycling or swimming, skills related to shooting can be learned and honed through repetitive practice.

Repeating the same movements over and over helps solidify the muscle-to-mind connections and partially automates the process.

With enough practice, gun handling movements can become almost unconscious. Have you ever automatically put on your seatbelt to move your car across the yard a few feet? It wasn’t necessary, but the automatic part of your brain took over from habit.

This type of automatic mind response can be dangerous if you allow it to take over your perception of self-defense situations.

Unlike motor skills, you don’t want your mental assessment of threats and self-defense situations to become inflexible. If you train as though you’ll always be approached and threatened in the same manner, you’ll seriously limit your ability to act in real time to a legitimate threat.

Any preconceived notions of how things “should be” will add several seconds to your response time. You’ll have to first realize that events aren’t going according to your preconceived model and then adjust yourself in order to respond to reality. This lag in response time can give an attacker an advantage.

Author Bruce N. Eimer, PH.D. discusses this in his article “Mental Rehearsal in Combat and Firearm Training” on USConcealedcarry.com:

“The most common delay is when a conflict develops between what one observes and one’s expectations upon orienting the information. Thus, one of Boyd’s rules was: ‘Reality’ always trumps expectation! Reality is always ‘right.’” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)

Self-defense training is mostly action, usually involving reactions to threats. Inaction can be deadly, but so can taking an incorrect action. It would be a mistake to train yourself to draw on a threat no matter what because some threats are far enough away or simply don’t warrant deadly force.
Fine-tuning your ability to quickly assess threats in real time and responding appropriate by calling on your learned motor skills is something that takes dedication and practice. Learning these skills will allow you to respond appropriately to threats without losing ground or reacting too aggressively.

Managing Your Increased Responsibility While Carrying Firearms

22 May

When you consciously make the decision to carry a concealed firearm, you are entering a new state of existence that is quite different from normal non-concealed carrying life. Image

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.