Your personal protection should be just as incidental. It shouldn't be complicated, and it shouldn't be some super tactical routine dreamed up by a tactard on TV or down at the local range. It should be as seamlessly integrated into your lifestyle as kissing your wife or husband on the cheek before bed, or making sure your fly is zipped when you leave the restroom.
If you're not prepared to commit to the responsibility of carrying a firearm, it's probably not the best choice for you. You might want to consider other options.
When it comes to firearms safety, everyday survival, and the basics of personal protection with a firearm, the old axiom, "keep it simple" applies. After all, all you really want to do is live out your life without interruption from vagabonds, pirates, thieves and murderers. This brings us to what I call Gunfighter Logic: 10 rules for using a handgun for personal protection.
Rule No. 1: All guns are always loaded.If we treat all guns as if they are always loaded, the less likely we are to do stupid things with them such as pointing them at ourselves, your wife or your kids.
Rule No. 2: Never let the muzzle cover anything you aren't willing to destroy.If there were only one rule of gun safety, this would be it. In fact, it's the first rule I teach and the one rule I demand absolute compliance with.
Rule No. 3: Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target. Why would you do this? To make sure you don't inadvertently pull the trigger when you are not ready.
Rule No. 4: Always be sure of your target. What does this mean? It means you only shoot at things that are OK to shoot at. Can you shoot at paper targets? Sure. But, be careful about what is beyond them.
Rule No. 5: You gotta be willing.If you're going to rely on a handgun for personal protection, you have to be willing to carry it, and you must be willing to use it. If that's a commitment you cannot make, buy pepper spray, a Rottweiler and a thick leash, or hire a bodyguard.
Rule No. 6: Have gun, will travel.To protect yourself with a handgun, you have to have it with you. If you're accosted in the parking lot of a Piggly Wiggly by some meth-fueled freak, and your handgun is at home in that expensive gun safe you purchased, it's worthless.
Simply owning a handgun provides no protection. You need a handgun that you'll have with you at all times, not just when you think bad things might happen.
Rule No. 7: Learn to run your gun—and practice. I'm confused by and opposed to the requirements placed on those seeking a concealed carry permit. I'm not opposed to mandated training, as long as you are the one mandating the type and amount of training you must have. That said; if you're going to carry a gun, you need to know how to run it. A gun is a very simple tool. But, in a life or death situation, you'll experience the loss of fine motor skills, experience tunnel vision, auditory exclusion and various other physical anomalies.
Know how to load your gun, operate your gun, clear stoppages, shoot your gun, unload your gun, draw your gun and holster your gun. Know it like you know your name.
Rule No. 8: Be justified, don't be stupid, and think! The old saying, "It's better to be judged by 12 than carried by six," is just macho bravado. How will you know if you'll be justified if you shoot someone? You won't. Reality is arguably 90 percent perception. Your perception of a situation is your reality. Perceptions can be 90 percent wrong, but your perception is what you must act on. What matters is your ability to convey your perception of a situation to the police, a prosecutor or a jury.
If you believe the only way you can survive without grave injury is to shoot your attacker, then you are negligent in your efforts to survive if you don't pull the trigger. If you thought your attacker was a werewolf, zombie or your mother in law, you might have trouble in court later—I'm just saying.
Rule No. 9: Everything looks better with light on it.Ok, maybe not everything. But, in the world of gunfighting, you cannot shoot what you cannot see. And, you cannot justifiably identify a threat if you cannot see your attacker. Light also equals control. Even if you don't carry a handgun, carry a light—and use it.
Use light to your advantage. Bad guys like the shadows for the stealth advantage and the anonymity it gives them.
Rule No. 10: Never be more than five shots away from cover, a reload or a long gun. Bad guys might not give any visual indication when you shoot them, and if you're scared bad enough to ruin your underwear, you might miss. Expect your worst shot in practice to be your best shot when a hoodlum is trying to stick a switchblade in your gut. What I'm saying is that you might run out of ammo and need more. On top of that, handguns are not all that great at stopping a fight. They aren't in the same league as a shotgun or a rifle. When you're out and about, have a reload with you. When you're at home, have a long gun where you can get to it—just in case.
"10 Rules" is an excerpt from Richard's latest book, Handgun Training for Personal Protection. It's available in paperback or Kindle format direct from Amazon.
For more info on NSSF's Project Child Safe go to ProjectChildSafe.org.