Carrying a firearm for personal protection is a right that many of us cherish and enjoy on a daily basis. I have been carrying my Glock 19 with me every day for almost a year now, and here are five valuable lessons that I have learned:
- The average person is clueless to their surroundings
Learning to be alert and aware of your surroundings can be the difference in you surviving a possibly violent encounter. No matter where you live, whether it be suburban or rural, threats can present themselves. I have learned the importance of taking “mental notes” about people I encounter or situations that feel abnormal. These mental notes might come to your aid when you are trying to remember details of a situation you were in. We often talk about our “gut feeling” and how sometimes things feels out of the ordinary. It is important to listen to your gut feeling when your body is telling you that something is wrong. Your heightened awareness might just save your life.
- Understanding your State’s Concealed Carry laws!
It is very important to understand your State’s Conceal Carry laws. Understanding and listening to your gut feeling will raise your awareness level, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you are warranted in deploying your defensive firearm. Being well informed of the laws and how they pertain to where you live is your duty as a conceal carry permit holder, and it will aid you in court should you ever need to use your firearm in personal defense.
- A good belt holster is extremely important
Guns are heavy. Having a belt to support the extra weight of your gun will make it more comfortable to carry. If your gun is not comfortable to wear with you all day long, then the likelihood of you choosing to carry it day in and day out is minimized. Investing in a good quality belt is an investment to your personal safety! The same principles apply to your holster. Your holster should conceal the trigger so that the trigger is inaccessible to snag on clothing and other obstructions are extremely important to ensure you do not have a negligent discharge. Comfort is also a factor to consider when choosing a holster. Some holsters such as the Kingtuk IWB holster are designed so that the part of the holster touching your body is soft and comfortable for you to wear both sitting down and standing up. Other holsters, such as those made of Kydex may provide more retention but might also lack the comfort of a leather holster. Try on multiple different holsters and find the holster you will wear on a daily basis.
- The importance of mental preparation
Something I learned in the police academy was to always have a plan of action if and when things go south. If I walk into this gas station to grab my usual Monster, a bottle of water, and snack, what am I going to do and how am I going to react if there is someone robbing the cashier at gun point? This is just one example of MANY that I have personally thought out over and over in an attempt to save my life and the lives of other people should I ever need to. While there is absolutely no possible way I could mentally prepare for every type of situation, having basic plans of action provides you with a starting point that you can work off of and amend as the situation develops. My old Sergeant used to say “I’ve never killed anyone, but I’ve killed many people”. He was referring to his mental preparation and how he knows that in many of the situations he has thought out, he has to use deadly force.
- Training will save your life
Training for life and death situations is not something that most people do. Most people believe that bad things won’t happen to them, or that the police will take care of them if they need them. Well, guess what? The average police response time in the United States, according to American Police Beat, is 10 minutes. That means for ten long minutes you will have to defend yourself. Are you prepared to do this? Training doesn’t always mean going to the range or enrolling in tactical shooting classes. While I highly recommend attending advanced classes, there are other forms of training that are free of charge and can be done in the comfort of your own home. Learning and performing dry-fire techniques, drawing your holster and acquiring your natural point-of-aim, and practicing loading and unloading procedures are all ways to train yourself for the day when the shit hits the fan, and you are left alone to defend yourself for possibly up to 10 minutes! There is a saying that I have heard from multiple different people in my police academy as well as fellow instructors that rings true to my point: “We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.” What level of training will you fall to?