When are you ready to carry a gun?
Self-defense advocates spend a lot of time talking about laws and rules and how to make it easier for people to defend themselves. Yet, we forget to discuss a possibly more important question – When is someone actually ready to begin carrying a firearm?
Many people think (and argue) that legally owning a firearm and having a permit is enough to prepare you to carry a gun. Rationally, this just simply isn’t true. Inadequate training, or improper training, with a firearm could be considered “negligence” in a criminal or civil trial resulting from a self-defense shooting.
When you decide to conceal carry, you do so to increase your level of preparedness for self-defense. Carrying without practicing does not count as preparedness. Carrying around a firearm that you’ve never shot does not count as being prepared.
Here’s Why You Should Know Your Firearm Before Carrying
You need to be proficient using a firearm, and specifically, using your firearm, so that you’re not a danger to yourself and innocent others. You also need to be able to aim your weapon properly.
Not all firearms operate the same way. Safeties work differently and are positioned differently from gun to gun. You will need to make sure you’re taking the safety off and not accidentally dropping your magazine when you press a lever or button. Trigger travel lengths are longer or shorter from manufacturer to manufacturer. Double-action revolvers are different than single-action, and double-action automatics are very different from single-actions. You need to be intimately aware of all features of your gun so you can use them without looking – many attacks happen in the dark.
If you’ve never shot your gun before or don’t shoot it often, you won’t know whether the gun consistently performs as it should. Aside from possibly being defective, some firearms have a ‘break-in’ period where parts are getting smoother and accuracy is improving. A good rule of thumb is to not carry a firearm that has fired less than 500 rounds without any issues. Yes, 500 is a large number, but you can take care of this by some proper time out at the range. While you’re breaking in your gun, you’ll also be improving your skills and gaining confidence in your operation of the controls on the gun.
It Can’t Be That Bad, At Least I’m Carrying a Firearm, Right?
Here’s why this logic is flawed. What if you don’t even know how to disengage the safety? You gun is essentially a brick then. What if you can’t aim properly and accurately? You’ll end up endangering everyone in the vicinity. If you end up actually needing to use your firearm for self-defense and have to pull the trigger to survive, you’ll be in serious trouble if the firearm malfunctions. Yes, your firearm could malfunction at any time, regardless of age, but the chances increase when you haven’t tested it beforehand or used it recently.
This whole issue can be summed up in one word – responsibility. A responsible concealed carrier shouldn’t carry a firearm if they’re not proficient in its use.
Gun owners should keep the same oath in mind that doctors take – Do no harm. The chances that we ever have to use a firearm in self-defense are rare, but you will put yourself and others in danger by not taking the time to practice on the range beforehand and understand how your firearm works. If you are not prepared, you are not carrying responsibly.
Always be confident with yourself and your firearm if you choose to carry. If you’re not at that point yet, keep practicing until you are.