You are a consistent follower of Rule One, so you always carry a gun. And since you are not merely a gun owner, but instead are actually prepared to defend yourself, you also follow Rule Two, and have trained sufficiently (and have kept in training sufficiently) to have at minimum a solid grounding in the fundamentals of shooting and gun-handling while also acquiring the requisite knowledge of the law with respect to use of force, and use of lethal force.
So what’s the third Rule?
It’s quite simple, really, even though this is the situation where the largest number of people will create the most ridiculous rationalizations to defend their emotional investment in a piece of equipment.
Rule Three of Concealed Carry: Carry the most effective tool that you can.
At the start of 2016, I posted an article about one of the things I was going to try to do to get better at shooting throughout the year, which was attempt to dryfire every day. While I didn’t manage to meet my goal of dryfiring every day, I did certainly dryfire much more often than I had in the past, and it made a difference to my shooting. (I made excuses for myself on some days later in the year, rationalizing not putting in the work. The excuses weren’t valid, and it isn’t like the extra 3 minutes I got instead of practicing ended up being useful to me. One of my goals this year is to not make excuses for not doing the work.)
It is December in Nebraska–30 degrees (Fahrenheit) out, with nice gusty winds so that the weather folks say it actually feels like 20 degrees out. Obviously, it is a good day to shoot the FBI Firearms Qualification outdoors!
I decided to do this for a couple of reasons:
- I haven’t shot this in awhile, and I’ve never shot it on camera while freezing, so I thought it might be interesting to see how I’d do, and how much the cold would affect me.
- In my last article, I talked about how this is a good qualification to run for “court value,” which is something that Greg Ellifritz mentions in his article, linked above. As such, it seemed like a good idea to show what it looks like for those who don’t know the course of fire.
It was so cold I couldn’t talk correctly. My face was numb, and I was having problems forming words correctly. No, I don’t have a speech impediment, but you couldn’t tell that from how I was talking….
So, you are following Rule One. You have a gun, concealed, on your person. So, what’s the next rule? What’s the next most important thing?
Have the basic knowledge and skill to use it properly. That’s Rule Two.
Some people are probably scratching their heads and saying “why was ‘Have A Gun’ Rule one when you aren’t requiring anyone to know how to use it?” Simple—if you don’t have one, what skills you have with it won’t matter. And more importantly, plenty of people who have no formal training or practice with firearms have nonetheless competently defended themselves using firearms.
I know that if you read articles or forums posts written by me, you will see phrases like “any caliber from 9mm through .45acp will work equally well” and “at least shoot a 9mm” crop up often. There is a large, robust set of of research data showing those calibers, through handguns, will be functionally effective in the same manner to the same degree and can, in general, be relied upon to cause self-defense “stops” given adequate accuracy on the part of the shooter.
Does this mean I believe anyone who carries a smaller caliber than that isn’t going to be able to defend themselves? Continue reading
With the recent addition of various pistol-caliber carbine divisions to the USPSA and Steel Challenge shooting sports, there is an increased interest in PCCs. While there has always been a small group of proponents of PCC (for home defense or whatever), the addition of PCC divisions in well-known shooting sports (among shooters, at least) has caused a definite increase in both the availability of various-brand PCCs, and the number of buyers. Continue reading
People who actually want to get better at shooting, AND have the self-discipline to put in the work, find pretty quickly that if they never shoot any diagnostic drills then they have no idea what they are good or bad at, which means they don’t really know what they should be working on.
It is really temping to just work on the things that you think are “fun” — but chances are, those things are both easy and also are things you are already good at. Sure, doing that (and getting even better) isn’t a bad thing–but if that is all you do, you simply aren’t going to get much better overall. Continue reading