Anyone who carries a firearm concealed for their own protection runs the risk of becoming too dependent on that gun to keep them safe. It can even get to the point where they feel helpless and unprotected without a firearm.
Let’s face it, you carry a gun for one reason — it’s the most stopping power that one person can legally and practically have on them.
A gun represents concentrated force. This is a good thing when you’re faced with having to defend your life and safety, but this concentrated force won’t always be available to you or even be the best option for your situation.
Every time a citizen has to defend him- or herself, the story is slightly different. Yes, most accounts might have the same general points. There are many slight differences in everyone’s experiences.
Sometimes a person will be totally covered by a criminal with a weapon leaving them no opportunity to access their own weapon even if they have it on them
An actual example of this is documented by author Mark Walters in his article “A Story of Abduction” on USConcealedcarry.com:
“With the male criminal driving and his loser female accomplice up in the front passenger seat, holding a handgun aimed directly at my cousin’s face, the journey to ATMs and crack-houses began. As his money began to deplete at each ATM and the crack began flowing through the loser’s veins, my cousin’s situation became more perilous by the minute.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)
In this true story, the author’s cousin realized that his primary objective was to save his own life by any means possible.
Since he wasn’t in possession of a handgun, he took an opportunity that presented itself. When he was in control of the vehicle, he chose to swerve and jump out of the moving car.
There is no such thing as “by the book” self-defense, however there are always opportunities to go on the offensive and/or defensive whether you have access to a gun or not.
Consider that if you are behind the wheel of a vehicle, you actually are armed with a 2 ton bullet. The question is how or if you can use this to your advantage. Psychological tricks such as distractions and feints can also be employed at times.
The important thing to understand is that you aren’t automatically defenseless if you don’t have your handgun. Learn to keep your eyes open and see the chances you have to survive no matter how small they may seem.
When you become involved in a gunfight, there will be the need for several split-second decisions.
So many options will be parading in front of you that it can become difficult to know what to do. As you’re considering your options, they will disappear and you’ll be confronted with new choices a few seconds later.
It can be tough to decide if you should fight or run for it. Should you reload? Should you be on our phone calling 911 or aiming at the threat nearby?
None of these questions can be fully answered beforehand, but in general, there are several rules of thumb to keep in mind.
First off, you don’t want to be in a situation where bullets are about to fly or are actually being fired. The fact you’re in such a situation means that you’ve failed to get away from the threat.
You’re now forced to deploy your weapon and this probably means you’ll have to shoot someone. The probability of you being able to render the threat inoperable is not 100%. You might miss. Your gun might malfunction. The opposing party may get rounds off first or have backup.
Again, having to use your weapon is a worst case scenario, not one that you should willingly walk into if it can be avoided. The chances of you getting killed or injured are much higher, not to mention the possibility of encountering legal trouble later on.
Opportunities may arise during the conflict where you can quickly extract yourself from the situation. If such a chance comes up, you should be ready and quickly take advantage of it. This especially holds true if you have other people with you that you’re protecting. Getting them out of harm’s way is the number one priority.
If at all possible, a phone call should be placed to the police (911) as soon as possible. Even if things haven’t escalated yet, but look like they might, a phone call made ahead of time can make all the difference. The sooner the police arrive, the better.
If you’ve already fired some rounds, any opportunity to reload should be taken. Of course, this can temporarily disable you for a few seconds, so speed is critical.
Depending on what type of firearm you carry, there are many fast ways to reload that you can include as part of your carry kit. For semiautomatic pistols, spare clips are a good way to go.
In the case of revolvers, things like moon clips can prove useful.
Author Duane A. Daiker talks about using speed strips for revolvers in his article “Bianchi Speed Strips” on USConcealedcarry.com:
“The Speed Strip is a flat piece of black, flexible plastic that securely holds 6 rounds of .38 Special or .357 Magnum ammunition. When you want to load, you insert the rounds into the cylinder one or two at a time, and peel off the strip as you go, releasing the rounds into the cylinder.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)
No matter what weapon or reloading solution you choose, make sure to practice with it so you’re familiar with how the device works before you have to use it in a stressful situation.