The Concealed Carry Mindset
If you’re taking the time to read this blog or take any advanced firearms training, it stands to reason that you take an interest in your personal safety, and feel that carrying a concealed firearm will help keep you safe. I couldn’t agree more, but I also feel it’s as important to explore some of the things that are in our head as often as we explore the things in our holster.
The concealed carry mindset needn’t revolve around paranoia or a constant worry about potential threats. The concealed carry mindset simply involves a realistic appraisal of the facts and circumstances that make up the world around us, and the process of making adequate preparations for those possibilities.
Unfortunately many of us become far too caught up in the equipment, and let’s face it, the equipment is really cool. We read the magazines, peruse the forums and spend way too much time and money on guns, holsters, grips and other gear, and is that gear really going to get us thru the night? While I don’t think it’s nearly the most important factor, it certainly is part of the equation, though, so let’s talk briefly about equipment.
At the core we need a reasonably sized service handgun in an adequate service caliber that we can shoot well and that runs with absolute reliability. Perhaps that is too oversimplified, but the discussion of the proper handguns for concealed carry would fill an entire article. We need to carry the pistol in a comfortable, concealable holster that will allow us long term, discrete carry so that the pistol is with us when we need it. Along with the pistol we should be carrying at least one reloading device. Ancillary gear should always include a white light, perhaps an edged weapon and a cellular phone. SIG Sauer Academy Director, Adam Painchaud, is very fond of the expression “One is none and two is one.” Adam uses that expression to reinforce redundancy and it’s one I’ve taken to heart. My personal carry gear includes two of everything I talked about above, although I only carry one cellular phone.
Once we get past the gear, we can move on to the more important parts of the issue. We have to make an honest appraisal of our ability to deploy the gear we’ve chosen to use. Have we dedicated the time and energy necessary to make sure that we can do what we need to do when the ball goes up? At the very root of what we do is the mastery of three areas;
1) Manipulation – Do we understand how to operate the little machine in our hands and can we do it reliably under stress? We have to handle all the levers and buttons, reload it quickly and smoothly and do it all when the chips are down. Can we deploy our ancillary devices and do they all work for us under stress.
2) Shooting – Here’s the meat of the issue. We can buy all the top shelf kit we can want… the best pistol, get all kinds of “tactical” training but if we don’t keep the sights on the target undisturbed as we press the trigger to the rear we aren’t going to hit our intended target and we will not positively resolve the issue. There are plenty of instructors who are quick to dismiss basic marksmanship, I just don’t happen to be one of them. Have you done enough training and practiced long and hard to put yourself in the best possible position to make that tough shot when you need to?
Remember, everyone wants to be a Ninja, but you have to be a shooter first. Even a real Ninja will tell you that.
3) Fighting – Please don’t conclude from the areas above that I don’t think tactics are important, of course I do, teaching them is what I do a great deal of the time. Once we’ve equipped ourselves adequately and have learned how to put the bullets where we need them we have to seek out high quality training on the subjects that will keep us safe. There are many top-notch schools doing great work all over the country, seek them out and absorb the material like a sponge. Once you’ve gotten that specialized training, practice as if your life depends on it, because it certainly may.
The concealed carry mindset involves a great many factors, it’s much more than reading magazines and wringing our hands over whether we should carry 9mm or .45 ACP. It involves us realizing that a credible threat exists to our safety and the safety of those that we love and taking all the steps necessary to mitigate those threats. Once we’ve positively evaluated those steps we can maximize our efficiency in all areas and truly have our concealed carry heads screwed on straight.