Answer this question: why do you carry a concealed handgun?

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A while back the blog When The Balloon Goes Up had an interesting article: “Why do you concealed carry?” That’s actually a more involved question than you might think, as the article showed, and I think I’ve identified one reason why that’s so.

I’ve asked many students (and prospective students) why they carry or want to carry (CCW) a concealed handgun, and the most common answer I hear is that they do so to “be safer”. While I understand the sentiment, I don’t think that’s really a good answer.

Why? Because the gun, in and of itself, doesn’t make you safer. It can’t, because it’s just a tool, one that is legally usable only in a very small percentage (and very narrow range) of incidents. It doesn’t prevent a criminal attack, and it doesn’t prevent any of the other threats to your health and safety, so how can it make you safer?

For instance, the gun doesn’t doesn’t protect you against fire; against an accident where severe bleeding threatens your life; against bombs in a public building; against a heart attack brought on by obesity. It doesn’t protect you against risks that don’t justify a lethal response, such as aggressive panhandlers, the guy at the bar with the roving hands, or so many other daily brushes with the dark side of life.

What the gun does do is give you a means to save your life, or the life of a loved one, when faced with a grave threat to those lives. It’s the most efficient way for a petite woman to defend herself against the 200 pound serial killer, or the elderly gentleman from the group of punks bent on a “fun” killing. It’s just the ultimate survival tool, which can be used in cases where you face death or grave bodily harm through the intentional actions of another person. It excels in that job.

But it does something else that can make you safer, at least if you’re a conscientious gun carrier: it opens your eyes to the very idea that there are threats all around you, even if those threats don’t require the use of the gun. Thinking through the ramifications of carrying and using your defensive firearm changes your outlook and provokes you into a safety mentality, one in which you think about things other than just the criminal attack as your major threat.

Carrying a concealed weapon like your handgun puts you into the mindset to look at all those things which could impact your well being: accidents, fires, medical emergencies, natural disasters, and man-made catastrophes. I’ve found that people who’ve made the decision to seriously train to become competent with their defensive firearm are very often interested in reducing risk in all areas of their lives, because they’ve finally accepted the hard-to-stomach idea that they in fact face risk!

I’m not saying that the concealed handgun is some sort of mystical totem, but the immense responsibilities which surround your carry and use of a deadly force implement should lead you to looking at all the other ways you can protect your life and limb. Training in defensive shooting often leads to a curiosity about training in other aspects of self-reliance, and the result is a person who is better prepared to face major challenges in his or her life.

It’s the training, and the resulting attitude of careful evaluation and response to all threats, that actually keeps you safe. Your concealed handgun can be the catalyst for that attitude!

-=[ Grant ]=-



About the Author:

Grant Cunningham is a renowned author and teacher in the fields of self defense, defensive shooting education and personal safety. He’s written several popular books on handguns and defensive shooting, including "The Book of the Revolver", "Shooter’s Guide To Handguns", "Defensive Revolver Fundamentals", "Defensive Pistol Fundamentals", and "Practice Strategies for Defensive Shooting" (Fall 2015.) Grant has also written articles on shooting, self defense, training and teaching for many magazines and shooting websites, including Concealed Carry Magazine, Gun Digest Magazine, the Association of Defensive Shooting Instructors ADSI) and the popular Personal Defense Network training website. He’s produced a DVD in the National Rifle Association’s Personal Firearm Defense series titled "Defensive Revolver Fundamentals" and teaches defensive shooting and personal safety courses all over the United States.
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