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The Concealed Carry Balancing Act

The Concealed Carry Balancing Act

I’m meeting with a new student in a few hours to talk about her options for personal defense and look over some possible guns for her. She’s a 65 year old widower and has a niece who is a trainer and is recommending guns like the M&P Shield EZ 380. Nothing wrong with that gun (ok, I’ve had students with issues with the grip safety), it’s just that, well, will the client carry that all the time? Would she be better off with something that is even less optimal, but is more portable? We know that 81.9% of the time, the bad guy runs off when a firearm is presented. The cost of that transaction just went through the roof, so he skedaddles. 

For years, I’ve used the graphic at the beginning of this post as a way to explain how there is not one “ideal” concealed carry pistol. Every pistol out there is a compromise, and it is up to us to decide what we want to compromise and how. The circles on that diagram are all equal, as that is what I thought at the time. However, now, I’m thinking that the “portability” circle needs to be FAR bigger than the others, because the other two factors don’t come into play if you don’t have a gun with you when you need it. In fact, it should be a list, a list like this: 

  1. Carryability
  2. Reliability
  3. Everything else.

Consider this. You’re an instructor, and you meet up with two former students. One says they carry everyday in a decent, easy-to-access holster (and in fact does), but carries (in your opinion) a less-than-optimal, yet still reliable firearm. The other says they carry occasionally, but has it in their vehicle if they’re not carrying it. However, the gun they chose is, (in your opinion) the ideal pistol for self-defense, with all the bells and whistle you recommend.

Which of them did the better job applying what you taught them, and why?

Which student correctly applied my teaching? The first one. I would much rather see my students get a Ruger LCP into play in under two seconds than have them leave the latest and greatest super-blaster in their vehicle. 

Concealed carry isn’t like karate or kung-fu: It’s a weapons-based martial art, more like kendo or HEMA. Actually, it’s probably most like kali, which is both weapons-based and empty-handed. Yes, concealed carry works best when we carry, but unlike practically every other martial art out there, there is a big element of “don’t get into a fight” built into the system which applies if we are carrying or not. Carry what you can, but make sure you carry every day.