From knowing how to choose and maintain a handgun, to understanding when you are justified in drawing the gun, both beginners and longtime armed citizens alike can benefit from reviewing the basics.
The Higher Standard
Anyone who legally carries a concealed handgun or who is trained in the martial fighting arts is held to a higher standard of conduct both morally and legally. That means the legally armed citizen must think about the use of force continuum. The amount of force that you use to defend yourself must not be excessive under the circumstances. It must, rather, be proportionate to the degree of force with which you are confronted.
There must be an overt act by a person that indicates he immediately intends to carry out a threat, in order for deadly force to be justified. Verbal threats don’t begin to come close to constituting this kind of justification.
You must reasonably believe that you will be killed or suffer serious bodily harm if you do not immediately take the life of your attacker. And, when it comes to employing deadly force in the defense of another person, the circumstances must justify that person’s use of deadly force in his or her own defense. In other words, you must “stand in the shoes” of the person being threatened or attacked.
The actual use of a firearm for self-defense is the highest level on this force continuum and the last resort. When you carry a concealed firearm, you must use extra discretion.
The Gun Corollaries
The first and primary corollary is that you must know how to use and maintain your defensive emergency rescue equipment. Therefore, you should read your gun’s owner’s manual and, if you are new to guns, you should get competent hands-on instruction.
The time arising where and when you really need to use your handgun is not the time to be figuring out how to most efficiently work its manual safety or decock the hammer! You also need to keep your guns clean. Your guns, as emergency rescue equipment, should be kept in good condition. That requires regular cleaning, adequate lubrication, and periodic inspections and function checks.
A second corollary is that you should join a gun club and attempt to make like-minded friends. One of the secrets of success and happiness, as well as personal safety and security, is building a support network of human resources. This can be done by making friends with available individuals whose talents and abilities complement your own.
Not only will you have fun, you will benefit from the camaraderie. If you have a computer, check out several quality online discussion forums where you can make friends and share knowledge. A third corollary is that you need to go to the range and shoot regularly, so that you become comfortable and accurate with your defensive handguns. You must make shooting them a basic reflex. So join a gun club or range. You’ll meet nice people, and it’s cheaper than paying by the hour for range time.
Finally, you should also practice handling your unloaded defensive handguns at home. This is called dry practice, and it can build and strengthen your muscle memory for gun presentation and handling. Dry practice develops your unconscious competence in gun handling.
This article is an excerpt from Armed: Essential Guide to Concealed Carry.