June 18th, 2008 01:07 PM
What has it cost you?
Although all insights are welcomed, this question is primarily to those for whom full-time carry was a considered decision and not a foregone conclusion.
For me, the decision to go armed whenever possible is not one to be made lightly. Not because guns are inherently dangerous or scary or anything like that - but rather because of the changes in my life that would have to occur to support full-time carry. From simple things like clothing choices and the dressing routine all the way up through concealment discipline, how to handle places I must go where I can't carry, how to deal with family sentiments on the issue, how my awareness and mindset will have to change to that of a proactive defender versus a "do my best with what's around if something ever happens" kind of guy, etc.
My father, who taught me safety and marksmanship, usually kept a pistol in his vehicle. A single-action auto in the door pocket, in a snap holster, with the hammer at half-cock over an empty chamber. To him, that meant he "had a gun" in case something happened. That doesn't work for me - I've either got to decide that the gun and I will be together in a state of readiness whenever possible, or choose another strategy for taking care of my family.
I'm convinced that being able to defend my family is worth some inconvenience and discomfort, but in I'm not exactly (that I know of) surrounded by like-minded friends to discuss these things with. So my questions to you are: What changed in your life when you decided to full-time carry? How did you handle the changes? Do you feel like the changes were good, as in stuff about you that needed improvement anyway - or bad, as in stuff that you don't like but put up with to have an effective defense?
Yes, I over-think everything. Thanks for putting up with me.
June 18th, 2008 01:14 PM
You've probably given it more thought than I did but in no way are you overthinking. Even though many of us didn't put in as much prior thought to it as you have, we all encounter the issues you have been thinking of sooner or later.
Originally Posted by faithmyeyes
June 18th, 2008 01:15 PM
-Much more aware of my surroundings now.
-Intentionally avoid going certain places(banks, stop-n-robs, etc.)
-More safety conscious (doors always locked, assess everyone, etc.)
...knowing that I have gone over many tactical situations in my mind
...know my plans of what I'll do at most any given moment(this can be a blessing and a burden sometimes).
...have the ability to ward off zombies with my flamethrower
-I will not allow myself or my family to be helpless victims.
-Think too much about danger, this is because I'm a relative newbie I think.
-Some clothing items I am no longer comfortable wearing, they just aren't going to conceal for me.
You're 100% right, this trumps EVERYTHING.
Originally Posted by faithmyeyes
Speak softly, and carry a big stick.
June 18th, 2008 01:30 PM
In monetary terms, it has cost quite a bit, with the price of belts, holsters, guns, training and ammo it can get expensive, but I do not believe that is what you are asking.
As far as personal changes, I've noticed that I pay attention to others a lot more than I used to. The only people who know I carry is my wife and me, (aside from a few forum members that I have met) so I have not noticed an impact in that area. When friends ask if I want to go out and do something my answers have changed. While I used to go to bars and pool halls a lot, I now rarely go.
I've found that I am much less confrontational which I believe is a good thing. Where before I may have given an appropriate gesture to people who drive like idiots, I now just let it go. In verbal confrontations I am also much more likely to compromise than I was before and in my younger days I would not walk away from a fight, which I would have no problem doing now.
Some of that is just growing up, some of it I'm sure was brought upon by the mindset of having a weapon.
Dress has changed very little. I wear my cell phone on my weak side rather than strong side now, and I wear a thicker belt.
As far as awareness and mindset, this forum and just every day activities make you more likely to think about what you might do if something were to go wrong. You'll find yourself choosing a different seat in the restaurant so you can see people approaching you. You'll find yourself putting a little more room between yourself and the alley way that you used to blindly walk by. You'll find yourself noticing people who are standing around looking for a victim, and they will see you are noticing them and they will realize you are not an easy target.
Yes, it will change your mindset, your habits, and the way you view certain situations, but IMO, none of the changes are for the worst.
As far as your friends and your extended family. Only you can decide if you let them know. I have chosen not to provide people with that information. I have carried a pocket knife for more years than I can remember, and I don't recall ever feeling like I needed to let somebody know. I kind of think of a gun along the same lines. Its there if I need it, not as a conversation point.
As far as possible consequences, there are many:
You could get made and lose a friend, a job, or a customer.
You could become overly paranoid and not enjoy life as much.
You could be involved in a shooting in which you were not justified.
You could get in a physical confrontation and have your gun taken from you.
There are a thousand what-ifs, but your life, and the lives of your family could hang in the balance. I would rather any of the thousand what-ifs happen rather than having to watch helplessly as somebody hurts one of my loved-ones. No, a gun does not mean that my family or I will not be victimized, but it does mean that I won't be a willing participant.
June 18th, 2008 01:31 PM
It will cost anyone something. I know when I get my CHL I will not be able to carry while in my Sister In-Law's house, my Wife has made that clear. If my Sister In-Law finds out I carry at home I know her kids won't be allowed to come over and play with mine, at least while I am there, she has this fear of a non LEO carrying.
As stated before, no more trips to the bank lobby, less drinking (not really a bad thing), better situational awareness (weather that be a good thing or a bad thing ).
Having to put up with when they preach about "regular citizens" carrying, and not being able to tell them that you carry and have for some time, even around them and they had no clue...
"Don't hit a man if you can possibly avoid it; but if you do hit him, put him to sleep." - Theodore Roosevelt
June 18th, 2008 01:37 PM
this sort of post has run before...
but for me it was
9/11 and becoming a father.
at first it was the need to protect myself...then it was the need to protect my children...and any inconvenience I might experience is worth it.
--people ask why I carry, and I show them this picture. I think it says it all.--
NRA Certified Instructor--many disciplines
June 18th, 2008 01:42 PM
Biggest difference is I'm more polite, and willing to let a lot of bad behavior pass. Everything else was easy, still somedays it takes everything I've got to stay quite with some peoples actions.
Get the U.N. out of the U.S.
Get the U.S. out of the U.N.
June 18th, 2008 01:43 PM
You speak as if there should be some sort of drastic, immediate change. For me personally, it was just an accumulation of what I had seen, experienced, read about in headlines and saw in the news combined with my state allowing concealed carry. I had been changing slowly all along with no lightning strike to affect an immediate change.
So my questions to you are: What changed in your life when you decided to full-time carry?
I was ready for the changes, I was progressive with all aspects leading up to my small transition to carrying 24/7. Species that adapt to their environment survive. Adapting to changes is essential. I don't mean to come off sounding like a machine, but sometimes I'd like to think I'd react like one.
How did you handle the changes?
Any of those changes have been good and to my benefit. I adapt rather quickly when necessary. Nothing about my carry practices, clothing, options, comfort, etc...... are issues that I must "put up with". They are neither a burden nor a hindrance and have not changed what or who I am other than I take every bit of my decisions seriously-I like the idea of living-I am active in pursuing my rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and refusing to be a victim.
Do you feel like the changes were good, as in stuff about you that needed improvement anyway - or bad, as in stuff that you don't like but put up with to have an effective defense?
Financially or otherwise? Financially, I could only estimate and to put things in perspective--whatever the costs I've incurred have merely been good investments. Cost me in other ways? Nothing but learning and research and those are not really costs in deficit---just more put into the investment. I want the highest return for my funds.
June 18th, 2008 01:57 PM
As I have said before when I get asked why I carry, I've invested so much in other things but up until recently I've invested nothing in me or my family's safety. So the several hundred dollars that I will have spent on security is more than worth it. Any inconvenience also is worth more than losing a family member to a criminal who thought he had a easy target.
June 18th, 2008 02:02 PM
I have always had the desire to keep some form of weapon on or near my person. Growing up in a rough part of town, being a small skinny white-boy, it seemed like I just attracted trouble. I was the easiest looking target, I guess. I've proved many people wrong about that over the years by being strong and fast, but from my life experience I've learned that you can never really know when or where someone will decide they need a victim.
I have lived in a state where I could legally carry for nearly 10 years now. Only recently have I actually done it. For the first 5 or 6 years, my temper was unstable. I finally figured out the problem was my diet and sugar intake. Once I made appropriate adjustments there, it took me a couple years to feel confident that I was in control of myself. Now, like the others above, I can walk away from a confrontation without escalating it. I can resist giving that finger in traffic (though I may mutter some expletives silently to myself).
Now that I have my CFP and carry regularly, I find that I haven't really changed my lifestyle at all. I'd already done that leading up to it. I don't drink nearly at all anymore (definately not out in public) anyway. I don't hang out in the streets with the guys, I'm not out looking for trouble.
I bought a handgun I could conceal with my typical summer dress (shorts/t-shirt) and a belt/holster to accomodate it. Nothing has changed other than my level of awareness, training, ability to defend myself and my family.
It is very empowering, yet humbling at the same time. By the tone of your post, I feel that you could do nothing better for yourself then making the choice to carry everywhere, every day.
June 18th, 2008 02:25 PM
You are not over thinking.
I lived in California for 35 years - basically my whole professional career. When I moved to PA, I went through what you are going through now trying to make a decision to carry or not. That wasn't an option where I lived in CA, it is here.
Originally Posted by faithmyeyes
I ended up with carry being my default condition but that wasn't an overnight decision. I get up in the morning, I put the gun on, I take it off and put it in the night stand drawer at night.
The only time I don't have it on me is if I'm going some place where it is illegal to carry, or the planned activities will make it impossible to conceal it.
I don't put the gun on to go someplace. I always put the gun on, and so it is just there, where ever I go, when ever I get there.
I ended up with the default condition of carry because:
First, I wanted to be able to defend myself.
Second, I simply did not want to have to decide every day if I was going some place I might need a gun - the truth of it is that I never go anyplace I would anticipate needing a gun. That said, there isn't any place one can go that it one can guarantee there won't be a need for self defense, for a gun. It can happen any time, any place, as becomes glaringly obvious reading the self defense stories posted here. I carry at home, I carry away from home, in the grocery store, at the PET store, at weddings, at birthday parties, at wedding anniversaries, riding my horse, mowing the pasture on my tractor, mowing the lawn, everyplace. Well, not in the shower, but I can always reach the gun from the shower.
I started with a gun for home defense. It lives in a 4 button programmable combination bed side safe that I can operate in the dark or with my eyes closed.
Then I got my LCTF, which in PA is easy - fill out the form. pay the fee, get the permit in about two weeks, assuming one passes the checks.
I read about everything I could get my hands on before actually buying a carry gun. I've only been carrying as a default condition for about a year. I'm still learning.
I started by carrying around the house, on the farm, at the barn while I was doing chores, watching TV, eating dinner, just to get used to it, and figure out how to conceal it, what worked, what didn't. When I had it worked out to the point where my wife couldn't tell if I was carrying or not, I figured I had it understood enough to venture out in public. My first visit wasn't Wal Mart, it was to get a hair cut. I worked into it from there.
I recently decided to add to add a Ruger LCP to the carry gun inventory for those occasions when the PPK/S or G19 in an IWB isn't concealable enough to suit me. The LCP is on order, don't know when it will show up. I already have a pocket holster for it, and an ankle holster on order. I'm not a fan of ankle holsters, but there are times it is the only way.
You are thinking about all the right things. Good on you.
For me, the decision to go armed whenever possible is not one to be made lightly. Not because guns are inherently dangerous or scary or anything like that - but rather because of the changes in my life that would have to occur to support full-time carry. From simple things like clothing choices and the dressing routine all the way up through concealment discipline, how to handle places I must go where I can't
carry, how to deal with family sentiments on the issue, how my awareness and mindset will have to change to that of a proactive defender versus a "do my best with what's around if something ever happens" kind of guy, etc.
I didn't go to bars before I started to carry (I don't drink and drunk people are not entertaining to one who is sober). It has not had much if any influence on my life style other than I tuck my shirt in a lot less than before.
I'm retired, been married to the same wonderful woman for 40 years, live in a very low crime part of PA, and lead a very low risk life style. I carry every day, all day, at home and away, anyway. The only way I can be sure I can get to my gun in time to do some good is if it is on me. Going to it with folks crashing through the front door yelling threats is not the desirable situation - having them see the muzzle of the gun I have on me as their first perception is much better.
It has taken most of a year for me to get comfortable with the gun in an IWB holster. That said, there are times I go for hours and never think about it now. You will go through several holsters before you get it worked out.
You are right to be thinking about it. It takes a significant long term commitment to put up with both the learning curve and the long term change in habits that carrying requires. I tried carrying part time, it simply doesn't work.
Reading this forum, and selectively adopting things from it that make sense and are useful to me, has pointed me in a lot of good directions. For example, I read an account by a guy who had to draw, but not fire his weapon. Immediately after the crises was over, he called 911, the police arrived and were reasonable, but they did ask to see his gun. He described how he took it out of the holster, cleared it, and handed it to the officer. After the officer gave it back, he loaded it and returned it to his holster - all done in a way that would not alarm the LEO's. That got me thinking about how to do that, so I loaded up some dummy rounds (I reload) with bullet and brass, no powder or primer, and practiced clearing and loading my weapons till I could do it flawlessly and never, ever, not even once, point the barrel at anything that it shouldn't be pointed at.
There are other skills to acquire, but that one is maybe less obvious than others, so I mention it.
[/QUOTE]My father, who taught me safety and marksmanship, usually kept a pistol in his vehicle. A single-action auto in the door pocket, in a snap holster, with the hammer at half-cock over an empty chamber. To him, that meant he "had a gun" in case something happened. That doesn't work for me - I've either got to decide that the gun and I will be together in a state of readiness whenever possible, or choose another strategy for taking care of my family.
I'm convinced that being able to defend my family is worth some inconvenience and discomfort, but in I'm not exactly (that I know of) surrounded by like-minded friends to discuss these things with. [/QUOTE]
Being able to defend your family is worth everything. The considerable effort required to transition to carrying full time is insignificant compared to the value of what you are defending. What you are investing in is a "Life Assurance" program. Not life insurance, life assurance. The difference is profound.
Things that changed:
So my questions to you are: What changed in your life when you decided to full-time carry? How did you handle the changes? Do you feel like the changes were good, as in stuff about you that needed improvement anyway - or bad, as in stuff that you don't like but put up with to have an effective defense?
I became calmer.
I learned to be more aware of my surroundings.
I developed the habit of running through defense scenarios where ever I am when I don't have anything else to think about. Sitting in the doctors office waiting for them to call me in for a routine checkup, instead of reading an old magazine, I just sat there and ran through scenarios in my mind of how to react if someone came through the door of the waiting room with a gun. Variations came to mind. It is in some ways like a mental video game.
As was mentioned by an earlier poster - it affected my attitude. I became less confrontational. Thinking about situations lead me to conclude there were lots of ways to avoid conflict. Carrying a gun, my concern is to avoid situations where I might have to use it.
Which reminds me, you might find this web site very useful: www.cornered.cat.
You have the good sense to think things through. You aren't buying a gun in a testosterone runs, you are considering it and working through the issues that one has to work through in order to have a sustained commitment to carrying. Carrying isn't easy. It does affect your life style, but for me at least, the changes are all good.
Yes, I over-think everything
. Thanks for putting up with me.
Read books. About anything and everything by Ayoob is a good place to start. Go on Amazon and do a search on concealed carry books, or self defense books, read the reviews, and pick some. If you haven't already, take an NRA handgun safety course.
And please don't hesitate to post more questions.
June 18th, 2008 03:13 PM
For me the cost has been and still is great, both financially and relationally. Training and practice are pursuits I am forced to do alone.
My wife hates that I carry, resents any money I spend on weapons, ammo or training and also resents any time I spend away. She is not even interested in recreational shooting and believes if I would only "trust God" I wouldn't need to carry a gun. Any friends/associates that have discovered that I carry think I'm either extreme, nuts or extremely nuts!
I have never carried at work because they prohibit weapons there but a co-worker reported that I did and I was close to having my 30+ years career ended with termination until a search of everything except my person proved the allegation to be false.
I had no idea when I started to carry that things would be this extremely difficult... but it hasn't changed my mind and I would do it all over again but sooner if I could.
ALWAYS carry! - NEVER tell!
"A superior Operator is best defined as someone who uses his superior
judgement to keep himself out of situations that would require a display of his
June 18th, 2008 03:43 PM
It took some thinking and debate on whether it would be worth the slight discomfort to carry a handgun on me at all waking hours (except when I'm working). Two years ago, I came face to face with death, and that is something I'm not willing to go through again. That one incident is what convinced me that yes it is worth the slight discomfort to be able to protect myself and the ones I care about. I'm still young, but I injured my left hip joint so I'm not willing to risk my already bad hip further by engaging in fist fights.
There are some people that don't want to fight, and there are people that just want to keep going, and they're willing to do what it takes. I am one of those people. I pray that I am able to bring my gun home in the same condition it was in when I left the house. The last thing I want to do is shoot someone, but am willing to do so if necessary.
Ladies and gentlemen, we live in a violent society, there is no debating that. The human race is a violent and destructive species, and many of us go through our entire lives without ever killing someone to save our own lives. For others, they're not so lucky. I personally refuse to become a crime statistic.
USMC rule # 23 of gunfighting: Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everyone you meet.
I am the God fearing, gun toting, flag waving conservative you were warned about!
June 18th, 2008 03:57 PM
I am not sure that I can quantify what it has cost me, but obtaining my CCW was the natural next step for me, having been raised with firearms.
I can say that it only took a few steps into the walmart to realize that there was a lot more to it than taking a class and strapping a gun to my waist.
I suddenly realized that I had to be absolutely sure about what I believed and was willing to do. One must have that line drawn in the sand way ahead of time and resolve that when it is crossed, it is time to execute whatever was previously decided upon.
That line is different for everyone, but I am glad there are forums like this so that I can be exposed to many different scenarios, however fictitious, to contemplate. It really is critical.
June 18th, 2008 04:17 PM
I am relatively new to carrying, and I am still very much in transition so to speak. The situational awareness, continuous training, research, diligence, responsibility, and of course money required to make this a part of your lifestyle can be overwhelming, especially early on. I think as we adjust to the new lifestyle changes they become second nature. The people around us who are aware of these changes also adjust to them...usually.
However, I feel that all of the above mentioned "costs" or "changes" to my lifestyle have served to make me a more improved version of me...except for all the money I spend on guns!
Long story short...outside of the monetary commitment needed...my decision to carry has made me a better person all around.
-Glock 30 SF
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