A brief reminder that concealed carry is a lifestyle, not a fad
It seems that every day I work at the gun shop I am either amazed, reminded of some fundamental principles (stance, grip, safety, etc.), or learn something entirely new.
Today, I learned that more people than I thought (or ever hoped were out there) make flippant choices about concealed carry, and I was reminded that the choice to carry a weapon for self defense is more than just a passing fad or whim, it's a change in one's lifestyle.
It started out when I was alerted by a fellow employee to help a woman choose a self-defense gun.
Because I was coming into the middle of a conversation I did not entirely know what she was looking for, though they were standing in front of the revolver case with at least two lady smiths sitting on the counter.
The coworker who had alerted me was talking about stopping power and the benefits of the revolver for people who were not avid shooters.
I jumped into the conversation after a .357 was brought out of the case and mentioned the possibility of practicing with .38s and loading up defensive rounds in .357 for the stopping power and wound trauma to an attacker.
The woman surprised me by saying, "Oh, I don't want to kill anyone. I just want to scare them or shoot them in the leg maybe."
Both my colleague and myself exchanged worried looks.
What gun do you recommend for a person who wants only to intimidate or scare and not actually use for its intended purpose?
Much to our relief, she left the shop without a weapon.
A few hours later, a gentleman entered the shop and started browsing past the cases.
I asked him if I could help him.
He said, "Yes, I've never fired a gun in my life and I'm looking at getting a lesson in firearms and my permit to carry and also buying a good carry gun. What would you recommend?"
That's kind of like asking someone to help them pick their favorite color.
I tried the best I knew how, leading him through the benefits of the revolver versus semi automatic, the difference in defensive rounds and which had the optimum stopping power at different ranges. We talked holster and carry options and even got into the traditional safety versus no traditional safety for a carry gun; even trigger pulls.
I have to say after getting bombarded with so much information, he looked rather lost, confused and overwhelmed. He looked at me and said, "Isn't there something I can just throw in my pocket and not worry about so that I don't have to change anything?"
The saleswoman in me wanted to just say, "This Kel Tec .380 will disappear in your pocket."
The concealed carrier in me (which usually dominates the saleswoman) wanted to say, "Well, sir, some things in your life are going to change once you make that decision to carry a gun."
I settled for a happy medium between the two by reiterating stopping power and accuracy and the difference between a good primary carry weapon and a backup gun.
His eyebrows rose a half an inch and he said, "Wow, I had no idea there was so much consideration to be put into buying a carry gun."
I've done my job, I've given him a glimpse into our world.
He didn't buy anything, but he assured me he'd be back for that lesson and to try out as many guns as he could before he made the final decision.
The reason most of us are here, in this forum, is because we have not only accepted that change in lifestyle but we have embraced it and we are actively seeking ways to be the best at the lifestyle we have chosen.
Those who aren't as dedicated as we don't stick around very long. They find us to be paranoid and a bit too "over-the-top."
While I am encouraged to see more people seeking the means to defend themselves, I feel they think they can just tack that on to their existing lifestyle and continue to live the exact same life. They don't understand that now they have to think about where they go and their beverage choice at a restaurant. Now they have to be especially vigilant and hone their reasoning skills so they can judge whether to get involved in a confrontation or not. They have to be a aware that the presence of a gun changes a situation. They have to seek practice and training and proficiency in their weapon, its accessories, its applications and its limits. They have to learn patience like they never knew it before, and they have to learn that there is no taking a bullet back.
I was vacuuming the rugs in front of our cases this morning and one of our office managers--an elderly woman who has mood swings like a pendulum--happened to get a glimpse of my gun while I was bending over to plug in the extension cord.
She proceeded to cuss me out for thinking I was some hot-shot who carried a gun for absolutely no good reason and that if a real threat were ever to present itself I'd be on the floor cowering like everyone else and my gun would do me no good and I was a fool for thinking that having a gun would make any difference.
Why she works at a gun shop, where almost the entire staff carries, with that kind of stance on guns is beyond me, but I guess stranger things have happened.
I didn't really protest. I just stood there, politely listening to her argument.
She said, "I don't see why anyone would need a gun."
I smiled and said, "Well, my husband has already needed to pull his in self defense and while I don't know what I would do if presented by a real threat, I've tried to get the right training and the right mindset to insure I act if I have to, even if that includes using my gun or not."
She shook her head and spat a few more obscenities at me before she walked away.
The sad part is (while she went about arguing it in a less than upstanding format), for the most part, she's right. A lot of concealed carriers wouldn't know what to do with their gun if someone was standing next to them instructing them the entire time. To some, the gun on their hip is more useless than the one sitting at home and they don't know it because they haven't started living the lifestyle their choice demands.
For those who live that lifestyle, BRAVO; and continue on.
For those who may be new and just starting, don't let your choice to carry a concealed weapon become a fad.
For those who are working on others, trying to get them to see the light, don't let them think it's cool, a game, a fad, or anything other than what it really is: a lifestyle.