Why We Carry Guns
Concealed carry has been growing in popularity over the past few decades. And, looking out into the world it’s easy to see why. Criminally-minded people who want your wallet, phone, jewelry, or worse your body, etc., aren't afraid to try and take those things from you, even at the cost of your life. And, the sad reality is that the fight is usually over within seconds before you even have time to respond.
What this means is that a criminal can take our valuables, stab us with his knife, and run away before we even know what happened. And, while the police do the best they can, they cannot be everywhere all at once.
To make matters even worse, let’s say you were stabbed and were able to get a call out to the police -- you now have to wait several minutes for them to show up because, as previously stated, they do the best they can but are likely miles away from you. Because you can’t carry a cop on your back or afford to have a bodyguard with you 24/7, you must do the next logical thing: Carry a firearm in the holster that’s attached to your body.
Breaking this whole thing down even further, though, are some things that some concealed gun carriers may never even think about. While certain things, like proficiency with firearms, are needed to help you win out against this attacker, it really is a numbers game. At the end of the day if you can spot that an attack is coming and get your gun out on time, your chances of coming out on top is compounded.
The Numbers Game
You’ve likely heard it said that a determined bad guy can make up a distance of about 21 feet in about 1.5 seconds. While it’s not our goal to dispute the accuracy of this statement (because some say it’s not true), we can use it as a rule of thumb. Another stat we know is that it can take about half a second to react to a threat, and that is if you see it coming. If it’s coming up from behind, or from a shadowed area, you may not even know there is a threat.
But assuming that you do know it’s coming, you're left with only one second or so to pull your gun, present to target, and pull the trigger once you’ve made the connection that your life was in danger. Then, if the bad guy started under 21 feet with determination, it’s even less time than that.
So, best case scenario, you’ve got about 1.5 seconds (maybe more, could be less) to recognize the threat and defend your life accordingly. Considering that your average gun carrier can clear their outer garment, draw their gun, present to target, and get the first shot on that target in about 1.7 seconds, many gun carriers would lose that battle.
On Stacking The Deck
What can you do to increase your odds of surviving? How do you stack the deck in your favor?
The first thing you can do is practice your draw because this is where most shooters screw up. If you’ve never pulled your gun and fired it as a part of your drawstroke, you may be in for a rude awakening. It’s not easy to do properly with speed.
The drawstroke is the part that is most critical because this is where you establish your grip. You absolutely need a solid grip on your firearm (from the draw without having to re-adjust because you may not have time) to defend yourself properly. So much can go wrong because of a bad grip that it deserves its own article.
You need a holster that allows you to get a good grip on your gun because if not, it could mess up the rest of the incident. Here is a quick example: You may be able to get the first shot off, but your chances of having a malfunction goes up exponentially with a weak grip, as it changes the way the slide reciprocates.
Once you get proficient with getting your gun out of your holster, attempt to do it with speed. The best thing you can do is practice with a shot timer to see if you can get better than the average 1.7 seconds from draw to fire without sacrificing your grip.
The next thing you should strive to do to stack the deck in your favor is something most of you are likely already doing, but it bears repeating because some do not. This thing, is to carry your gun with a round in the chamber once you’re comfortable doing so. If you’re not comfortable doing so yet, keep practicing with your gun until you get there.
There are real reasons why the experts recommend carrying with a round in the chamber that goes beyond sounding “tacticool.”
One of the reasons being, in a critical incident, you already don’t have much time to properly defend yourself. As we’ve seen, when you’ve got 1.5 seconds to make the decision and get your gun on target, it’ll take you at least 1.7 seconds to do.
Having to add an extra step to the mix that may just cause a different set of problems is just not a good idea. Then, when you take into account that you’ll have tunnel vision, an adrenaline dump, and a loss of motor skills, it just makes your life that much more difficult to save. However, if you’ve already got the round in the chamber, all you have to do is draw, present, and shoot.
Finally, we talk about having a reload -- but not for the reasons you may think. Automatically when someone thinks about having an extra magazine on their body, they think that it’s because they’ll need it against a bunch of criminals. While that may certainly be the case, chances are better that you’ll have enough ammo in your first mag, but that magazine may fail. Instead of fumbling with trying to fix one that’s broken, getting you back into the fight is much more important and swapping out mags is (usually) the best way to do that.
This is another skill that you must learn if you don’t already have it, and practicing in both dry fire and live at the range are beneficial.
You’ve made the decision to carry a gun on your person, and now it’s time to stack the deck in your favor. One thing is for sure, criminals don’t seem to be slowing down their crime much. That means it’s up to you to survive. Do all you can now, so you can be better prepared if that time ever comes.