How do you carry?
If you’ve ever spent any time on social media sites related to concealed carry or prepping, you’ve probably seen countless arguments for and against carrying a handgun with a round ready to fire. Most of the arguments against the practice claim it’s a safer way to carry for people new to firearms or it can’t accidently fire if there isn’t a loaded round. On the surface these are valid points, but they have some very critical flaws.
You can’t possess a firearm without tremendous responsibility. I’m not saying everyone that possesses a firearm is responsible and therein lies the heart of the problem. You are legally and morally responsible for every single round fired from your weapon, whether in your possession or not. Every single round has the capability of ending a life, intentionally or otherwise.
From this point forward, in this article, so as not to create confusion a firearm will mean a handgun or pistol.
People should carry a firearm for the defense of themselves and people around them. Period. But it’s not that simple. Let’s say you’re walking down the street in the middle of the night and someone starts following you. You hear them, you see them, they’re gaining ground on you. Your heart starts to race. You get shaky. You get scared. You get tunnel vision because of the adrenaline coursing through your veins. Maybe their talking smack, yelling profanities, yelling threats. What do you do? Do you walk faster? Do you run? Do you duck into a crowded business? Do you turn on them and yell back? Do you fire a warning shot? Do you shoot at them? What do you do?
There is no one correct answer because every situation is different, fluid, dynamic. In every case, regardless of the laws in your community you have a moral responsibility to escape the conflict. Many places, but not all give you the legal authority to stand your ground in defense of life and property, but not every place is the same. Not every encounter is the same. Do you know the difference? Castle Laws don’t give you the right to kill. They simply don’t generally require you to run away.
What does this have to do with how you carry? Loaded or not? By loaded I’m mean ready to fire. You draw, you pull the trigger, a life is changed. Some people say they are not comfortable carrying loaded. They are afraid the firearm will “go-off” on its own. It won’t. And if it does, you as a responsible person are not doing your part. You should never carry a firearm that doesn’t work the way it is supposed to.
You see, when you carry, like I said before, it’s for the protection of yourself and those around you. When you decide you need to draw a firearm in public you have decided you must stop an attack immediately. You must be ready to pull the trigger. Note I said be ready, not simply pull the trigger. The sole intent is to stop the encounter. To stop your life from being ended. To stop another person’s life from being ended. The threat may stop when they see your weapon. You can’t shoot. Maybe they continue to attack, you shoot, they stop or retreat. You must stop shooting. The attack is stopped. If you continue to shoot, you have now become the threat, the aggressor, the felon. Everything you do from this point forward will be held against you.
When you draw your firearm, it must be ready to shoot. You don’t have the luxury of time to make the weapon ready. In the time it takes to make the weapon ready you are either killed, disabled, disarmed, or at the very least give the prosecuting attorney an argument for intent which is the basis of a felony conviction of attempted murder. Why? Because the time it took you to make the weapon ready was time you could have used to do something else.
Do yourself, your family and anybody that may ever encounter you right. If you choose to carry a firearm for protection. Learn how to use it. Practice with it. Learn how to carry it, how to draw and re-holster. Obtain quality gear. Don’t go for the fashion show or what’s trendy. Gun stores often have ranges where you can rent different models and see what fits. Find something that works for you and get a holster appropriate for the weapon and how you’re going to carry it. Get a holster that doesn’t interfere with the trigger when re-holstering but stays in place when you’re drawing. Practice, practice, practice. You can dry fire most modern pistols without damage or you can get snap caps to protect the firing pins. Learn how to draw without your finger hitting the trigger. Always carry in a holster of some sort. Don’t just jam it in your pants or in your purse. You need to prevent the trigger from being activated before you are ready to take a life. That’s what a good holster does. It keeps the firearm where it’s supposed to be and protects it from the “junk” that may be around it. When you carry, carry the same way, in the same position all the time. Carry the same firearm all the time. If you do change firearms, make certain they function the exact same as the others you carry, and their holsters work the same way too. In the heat of the moment you don’t have the luxury to try to remember if you have your 1911 with it’s slide lock safety or your Glock with just a trigger safety or which holster you’re using. Is it your Alien Gear kydex or is it your Blackhawk Serpa? Consider how you’ll react if you’re attacked in your car. Can you get to your firearm as quickly while belted in as you can while standing? You need to be able to.
Responsible carry calibers range from .38 to .45. Anything less can be troublesome in reliability. Anything more is unnecessary. 9mm’s can over penetrate and have unintentional consequences, .45s make recoil too hard for some and stovepipe. Practice with your gear. If it isn’t 100% reliable, find something that is. If your gear ever misfires, figure out why and fix the issue. Get professional instruction. Go to a class and get your concealed permit. The instructors share a wealth of knowledge about local regulations at these classes. Eliminate the excuse that you’re not comfortable carrying with a round ready to fire. Eliminate the excuse that it is safer to carry without a round ready to fire. You are the safety. You are the reason it fires. If you don’t think it’s safe to carry loaded, then you’re the reason it isn’t safe. You can fix that reason. It’s your responsibility.
It’s your responsibility. How are you going to carry?
Cpt. Will Sweatfield