There has been a lot of talk recently about whether or not crime victims should fight back against their attackers. Some folks say your wallet, your credit cards or your car keys are simply not worth your life. This is true. But how do you know where the attack will stop?
You know where I stand on this topic. I believe the only way to stop crime is to fight back immediately as crime is happening. But this is not a blanket statement. You should still consider all your options and try to avoid conflict when you can. Every self-defense situation is different, and it is up to you to determine what you should do and when you should do it.
Even though each situation is unique, there are some universal truths. One of these is that you should never try to draw your gun against someone who already has his gun drawn. In such a situation, you are likely much better off pretending to comply while you look for an opportunity to counter-attack. If that opportunity never comes, well, then, your compliance will likely help you get out alive. If the situation appears to be going from bad to worse, keeping a clear head and waiting for the opportune moment gives you a great tactical advantage. Use it.
Carrying concealed helps you maintain that advantage. Keep your gun hidden until you decide to bring it into action. At that point, the gun becomes a very unpleasant surprise for your attacker and can tip the balance of power in your favor. This is just another of the many reasons I favor concealed carry over open carry. Keeping your weapon concealed offers the criminal, in the words of Massad Ayoob, “the ultimate opportunity to make a fatal error in the victim-selection process.”
Choosing to fight is incredibly personal and no one should ever second-guess your decision. By choosing to carry a concealed handgun, you have already made the decision that, given the opportunity, you will be able to fight. But when it comes time to actually pull that gun, everything is up to you. This is where your training is so important.
Punching holes in paper is target practice. Yes, marksmanship is important. Learning the basic skills of handling your defensive firearm should be done on a static range and should be repeated often enough that the mechanical aspects of operating your gun become automatic. But your training should include dynamic shooting and, if possible, scenario-based training that requires you to shoot on the move and make decisions during the fight. You will almost never get to stand still during a gunfight. Don’t train yourself to stand still while shooting.
Defending yourself is a choice. You have taken the first step by choosing to carry a gun. Get training. Get more training than you think you need. Then, when the time comes, you get to make the choice as to whether or not you engage.