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Too often we develop a false sense of security in the simple knowledge that we have a gun and could use it if we needed to. We
become complacent during practice sessions and lazy about how and when we carry. Your defensive tool will only be as
effective as you are. You are the weapon, the gun is the tool. If you have not prepared mentally to use a weapon against
another human being, have not physically trained yourself to be safe, effective and efficient with that weapon, and DO NOT
HAVE IT ON YOU…you may not live to regret it.
There is no such thing as one tool that is right for every job. If your physical defense plan includes the use of a lethal force
multiplier such as a firearm, then you should also have at least one less-lethal tool as well, such as pepper spray or a Taser.
The firearm is not the solution for everything. It is the tool of last resort. Any time you press the trigger on a firearm there is the
potential for death or great bodily harm and therefore can only be used in justified self-defense if and ONLY IF there is an
immediate and otherwise unavoidable danger of death or great bodily harm to the innocent. Not every situation in which you
may need to use force to defend yourself will be justified in the use of deadly force. Give yourself multiple options to use given
any number of scenarios.
Ask yourself, if my environment turns hostile, what items would I want immediately on hand to use in my fight and flight to a safer
location? While on-body forms of carry may be preferable, an enormous benefit to carrying inside a purse or bag is the freedom
to carry a variety of essential items at all times! In my carry purse I have room for a double stack gun, extra magazine, flashlight,
knife, pepper spray, emergency phone charger, wallet, snacks and a water bottle. What I have is essentially a mini bug out bag,
and no one would know by looking at it!
Without a carry bag, there is the issue of where to put these other items. Are we willing to dress around so many extra
essentials or do we just pick three, or two, or one? We know we should carry a spare magazine, but adding a mag holder is just
one more thing to cover up. Is it worth it? Once again, every day we choose how and what to carry based on how we perceive
risk in our environment. Here are a few examples from my life.
Example: July 4, 2015. My environment is a public venue with crowds of people watching fireworks and celebrating. I am several
hours from home in an unfamiliar city and I am alone with my daughter. I recognize that 4th of July gatherings have recently
been announced as the target of terrorist attacks. Based on the known dangers in my environment, my risk perception is high.
On a humid, 90 degree Missouri evening I am dressed in long pants, wool socks, closed-toed shoes and a medium weight, long
sleeve shirt. I’m wearing a Kahr CM9 on my left ankle (hence the thick socks and long pants) and a Glock 43 under my shirt. In
my carry purse I have a Glock 27 along with other EDC items like a flashlight, extra Glock magazine and a knife. Why? Because
I can. I don’t ride the carnival rides and I don’t join in the celebratory drinking. My risk perception is high enough to justify
making marked compromises in my personal comfort and enjoyment of my surroundings in order to be able to defend myself
and my daughter if the absolute worst happened.
Example: My environment is my home. I’m sitting on my bed typing on my laptop. I understand that while we should be able to
feel safe in our homes no matter the time of day or night that is simply not the world we live in. Based on the known dangers in
my environment, my risk perception is lowered, but not eliminated. I have locked all windows and doors to my 2nd floor
apartment. Because I have taken these precautions, I have taken my gun off and put it in my Hornady Rapid Safe on the night
stand next to me. I wear a bracelet that opens the safe with a simple touch of the RFID chip. My gun is within arm’s length from
me while I work from home but I do not feel enough risk to wear it while I work.
While compromise is not a bad thing, we can’t pretend that we don’t do it. Every once in a while we need to take a good, hard
look at our choices and make changes where needed. We should make it a goal to expand our EDC to include less-lethal
options and other useful items. This might mean adopting a new carry method or improving the one you have. Then, we need to
learn how to fight, whether with our fists, a firearm, or any other personal protection product we choose to carry and then carry
every day. Most importantly, we need to recognize our mental preparedness for what it is….our shield. The stronger your shield,
the less likely it is that you’ll have to go for your sword.
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