June 2nd, 2007 09:43 PM
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.
June 2nd, 2007 09:49 PM
Bravo lima - another excellent post.
It is perhaps scary considering some folks who think it's so easy - get gun, get class - CCW .. end of story! It is indeed a sea change in lifestyle and way of thinking - plus the actual mindset itself.
Your ''mood swing'' lady - has problems
Chris - P95
NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.
"To own a gun and assume that you are armed
is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."
- a portal for 2A links, articles and some videos.
June 2nd, 2007 09:56 PM
Words of wisdom, Lima. Thanks for the thought-provoking discussion.
It certainly should be. Was for me: clickie. That folks can so lightly go into the decision as a fashion statement leaves me at a loss. May such folks survive their innocence intact and without damaging another innocent in the process.
Originally Posted by P95Carry
Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
self defense (A.O.J.).
How does disarming
the number of victims?
Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos)
NRA, SAF, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.
June 2nd, 2007 09:57 PM
Congrats on handling your office manager in such a manner; many might not have.
While she might be right in some respect, she had no right to be rude. Further, that she challenged you about carrying a firearm, both of you working in a gun store and all, is strange, but then again, I think she was projecting her expections of herself to you.
USAF: Loving Our Obscene Amenities Since 1947
June 2nd, 2007 10:04 PM
Sadly enough I feel this is the problem with most of the antis who feel the streets will run red with blood, or thier neighbor is going to come shoot them in thier sleep if they're allowed to have a firearm.
Originally Posted by srfl
I think they project thier own insecurites, lack of responsibilities (it's always the guns fault, never the pesons holding it), and the lack of self control, onto the gun owning community.
I think they feel that becasue they would do something stupid with a firearm that we all will.
Sadly enough due to their traits mentioned above, it makes them incredibly hard to convert.
Last edited by JD; June 2nd, 2007 at 10:06 PM.
June 2nd, 2007 10:05 PM
USAF: Loving Our Obscene Amenities Since 1947
June 2nd, 2007 10:09 PM
Very, very true, sweety (jdlv4_0, for those of you who are new or still don't know, he's my husband ).
People like to think they are just like everyone else and their faults are the same as everyone else's. They try to excuse it, and like you said, if they don't think they are responsible enough to carry a concealed weapon they don't think that anyone is responsible enough.
It's very sad and very untrue.
June 2nd, 2007 10:10 PM
We have all seen these folks. My class was full of them as well as my wife's. Some brought their gun they know nothing about, jammed incessantly, scared the crap out of me while clearing, etc. Most folks I know who carry know about 1% of what I know and they are fine with that, nothing has changed for them. I have carried for 20 years, licensed to carry since the inception of the law here. No one knew I carried, was the way it is supposed to be. For those of us who take this seriously, we will hear about it, count on it from others who miss the point. You can only hope they change, but I shan't hold my breath.
I know, I know, you are smarter than me..just ask you..
June 2nd, 2007 10:18 PM
Great post as usual Lima. It scares me to think of the people carrying that give no thought of the proper way to do so, or that don't take the time to practice and know their weapon. I'm sure many just stick it in their pocket ( no holster ) or go mexican style. Then theres the ones that have to let everyone know they carry like its a macho thing.
The woman you spoke of that said she just wanted to shoot someone in the leg. HOW SCAREY IS THAT??
On another point, I know 3 people that have permits that only carry when they travel. Like that's the only time they feel they are in danger. One lives in Louisville and works in town. Go figure.
I'm sure you have to keep a tight lip on a daily basis. I applaud you for keeping your cool when that woman got on your case.
June 2nd, 2007 10:18 PM
ccw9mm, Good thread and good questions. While mine developed more over time the most pressing question on my mind was whether or not I believed I could take a life to save my own. All other questions, though considered and evaluated, were secondary to that one. After that hurtle is cleared, all other considerations seem more easily evaluated.
June 2nd, 2007 10:29 PM
Great post, Lima. You nailed it. For good or bad, your job exposes you to just about every angle of CCW and the "human condition."
June 2nd, 2007 10:30 PM
+1, great opening!
Originally Posted by P95Carry
June 2nd, 2007 10:32 PM
Yeah, the "experts" going into my CCW class scared me. some people got the concept of concealed carry as a lifestyle and attitude change, others had no clue what the instructor was talking about.
The people who scare me the most , consider the pistol as the best, first option in a situation, not the final option.
"In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock." Thomas Jefferson
Nemo Me Impune Lacesset
June 2nd, 2007 10:48 PM
Lima, I echo what everyone else has said; Great post! I am reminded of Chris's statement at the bottom of his posts, roughly, "To own a gun and assume that you are armed, is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician."
Assault is a behavior, not a device.
"Don't never take no shortcuts." Patty Reed, Donner Party
Lifetime NRA member
June 2nd, 2007 10:50 PM
Ahhh, the State of Michigan required NRA class, I don't know what was worse, the other students or the instructors being all tacti-cooled out and talking like they were "Delta Operators"
Originally Posted by rocky
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