woman_carrying_a_glock_43_in_a_vedder_holsters_iwb_rig

Do you have the mindset for concealed carry?

I had a situation happen to me recently that led me to question whether or not I had the proper mindset for concealed carry.

I was driving down a busy city street and as I approached an intersection, I accidentally cut too close in front of a white panel van.  I waved “sorry” to the guy behind me, who was clearly upset and yelling at me through his windshield.

Then, sitting there at the stoplight, I hear a loud pounding on my drivers-side window, and it’s the guy from the van who is standing next to my window screaming at me. And as I’m sitting there, with my concealed carry handgun right next to me tucked between the seat and the console, I just keep telling the guy “I’m sorry,” in the hopes he’ll just get over it.

Well unfortunately, he didn’t. He ended up following me, and all the while I’m thinking, “Is this really happening? Is this guy really following me?” When it became clear to me he was, I decided that rather than head home (which is where I was originally heading), I headed back to my office building, which has a security guard stationed at the entrance [in hindsight, I should have headed straight to the nearest police department while dialing 9-1-1, but hindsight’s great that way].

Once I got to the office, jumped out of my car and headed inside to the security desk, the guy finally sped out of there – all the while cursing me, and finally screaming out his window, “I’ll find you.”

The second guessing

Almost as soon as the incident was over, I began to second-guess my actions. First was my initial and continuing disbelief that this was really happening. That some nutjob was first getting out of his van at an intersection to scream at me through the drivers side window, and then that the nutjob actually continued to follow me.

Second was my panicked choice to drive to my place of work once I realized that he was, in fact, following me, where he could certainly find my car and possibly wait for me at some later date with who knows what intentions.

Third was my decision to not be more aggressive with him when he first approached my window, letting him “see” my handgun and forcefully telling him to “back off.”

Situational awareness is the key

The first issue, that disbelief that this was actually happening, is actually very common.

In the aftermath of public shooting incidents, survivors will often say they thought the noise they heard was fireworks or backfiring, rather than recognizing immediately that the noise was gunfire. There’s an initial disbelief that their worst nightmare could actually be happening. This to me is key to the mindset question – it’s being in the “yellow” state of situational awareness and moving rapidly to red as required.

As for my choice of driving to where I work, I think it’s related to the state of disbelief and panic I was feeling because of my lack of proper situational awareness.

I admit I was only thinking partially clearly in that moment. At least I didn’t drive to my home, I drove to somewhere where I knew there would be people, but I could have picked a less identifiable option than the place I work if I had been more calm and had been able to focus and reason.

As for the third, I still believe I did the right thing by trying to de-escalate the situation rather than escalate it by exposing my handgun. The guy was clearly enraged, and who knows if he, too was carrying and if that would have just set him off? Also, I did not at that moment fear for my life, even though I was scared.

One of the 4 Rules of Gun Safety is never let your muzzle cross anything you do not want to destroy. I felt I was in the “safety” of my locked car at a very public (and crowded) intersection. Right or wrong, it was what I believed in the moment.

In the end, I was able to learn a lesson about myself and my need to focus on improving my situational awareness and mindset. It’s one thing to talk about it, it’s another to practice and live it. I’m working on the latter.

Tell me about your experiences in the comments below.

Some additional reading:

gundemos

Personal defense drives gun ownership

Gun Demographics from NY Times
New York Times: “Handguns are the new home security”

Women in the US are buying significantly more handguns than men, and overall the shift in gun ownership is geared more toward personal protection than hunting or shooting sports, according to a recent article in The New York Times.

What hasn’t been further detailed as part of this new Harvard gun study, however, is the assertion that, “On average, the gun imperils everyone in the home more than it protects them.” Yet in every article that has previewed this study to date, there is no further analysis of under what conditions that danger occurs.

As a woman who owns and carries handguns every day, this assertion seems foreign to me. I feel empowered carrying my gun, and every time I train and practice I feel I am only improving my safety, and that of my family, not endangering it. And from what I can tell of the community of women shooters and concealed carry permit holders, I don’t think I’m alone.

fort-knox-7241-black-cherry

Keeping your handguns safe – at home and on the go

The primary responsibility of any gun owner is the safe handling and storage of their guns. This is especially true in situations where the gun is not in your immediate possession (on your person) and doubly especially true if you have children or others in your house who should not be allowed to access a firearm without your supervision.

Not having a gun safe was not an option for us

I know for us that when we made the decision to purchase our first handguns, the very next decision was how we were going to properly and safely store those guns when not in use to keep them out of reach from our daughter but yet also readily accessible on a daily basis.

If you are only going to own a handgun (or two) for self protection and home defense, there are plenty of small, reliable handgun safes on the market that are designed for quick access at home.

In our bedroom we have the Fort Knox Pistol Case. It’s amazingly heavy, sturdy, and I love the fact that it uses a push-button, mechanical lock.  You don’t want to have a failure in accessing your handgun if you need it in the middle of the night under stress, and unlike this safe’s push button lock, digital and biometric locks can fail, batteries can die, keys can get misplaced or lost and you can’t dial a combo lock in the dark.

This case is big enough for 2 handguns and has drill holes to bolt it to the floor or drawer for extra security. And even though it’s very heavy steel, the lid has a pneumatic hinge that allows for one-handed access.

In my car I have a portable gun vault by Nanovault, that I tether to the frame of my car and tuck out of view.  In my state, Wisconsin, as in most states, there are areas in which you’re not allowed to carry a firearm, such as governmental buildings, school zones and college campuses.

In addition, firearms are not allowed at my office so I need to have a safe place to store my gun when I head into work. As I’ve noted before, these small safes are inexpensive, and are a bare minimum for safe storage of and quick access to your handgun, particularly in your car. I’ve also used this small portable safe when carrying while traveling and want to be sure I will always have a secure place to store my gun if I need to.

What to consider when choosing a pistol safe

It’s important to think through not only the safety features but also how accessible you want your handgun to be as you think through your gun safe options.

If you’re not going to on-body carry at home, which many people do, you need to think through where you want to keep your handgun while not on body. You don’t want a situation where you can’t get to your gun if you need it, but you also want to be sure that it’s secure from unauthorized people such as children or guests when you’re not able to carry it.

Think through in what situations you will be using the safe and where you will be keeping it – in the bedroom at night, during the day while at work, or in the car or while traveling – to determine not only the kind of safe but what features you want – in particular the kind of lock (biometric, digital, push button, combination, key) and the size and layout (open from the top, open from the side).

Once you have your gun safe, it’s important to practice accessing it regularly. This is particularly true for a bedroom safe where you may keep a home defense handgun that you’re not carrying every day. Practice opening in the dark. Practice opening from on the bed or on the floor.  Practice so it becomes second nature and you can have your gun both secure and accessible when you need it.

*The products listed here I have purchased and use. Note that some of the links in this post may generate a commission that will help support this site, although that in no way influences my opinion or review. Please see my full Disclosure Statement here.

handgun_collection

4 Things to Think About Before You Buy Your First Gun

You’ve thought about buying your first gun for protection, and maybe even considered going to a concealed carry class too. Before you take that step, here are 4 things you should think about:

  1. It’s a significant monetary commitment. Buying a gun is not like buying a new sofa or new computer. When you commit to owning a gun you also commit to keeping it safe at home or in your car, carrying it safely, and training, training, training. That means beyond the cost of the gun you need to think about a gun safe, holster, lots of ammo, range fees, training costs and possibly a second gun (more on that in future posts).
  2. It’s a significant time commitment. Training and owning a gun go hand in hand. You don’t just buy a gun and then stick it in a drawer – that’s just asking to become a bad statistic. In addition, gun handling skills are perishable, meaning that you need to practice regularly (live fire at least once a month, and dry fire at least once a week) to build up the confidence and muscle memory to safely and effectively handle your gun when you need it most.
  3. It’s a significant responsibility. Much like owning a car, owning a gun means you are responsible for a tool that could kill or injure someone or cause serious damage. That means you know like your own children’s names the 4 rules of Firearms Safety and you have committed to both safe storage, safe handling and training with your guns.
  4. It’s a significant amount of fun! You may initially start to think about a gun for self protection, but when you realize the amount of practice and training you need to get really comfortable and proficient with your gun, you hopefully will learn to enjoy it as a sport or hobby. Shooting can be really fun! I actually call it a form of “range yoga” because to challenge yourself to shoot well you really need to focus, which can in its own way be quite relaxing. There is so much to learn and the community is so diverse, it’s really a life-long adventure.

We’ll be here with you all the way.

nano_vault

1 Simple Solution to the “Problem with Leaving a Gun in Your Car”

I’d file this under the realm of the obvious, but the Atlantic recently published a story titled, “The Problem with Leaving a Gun in Your Car,” that surprisingly enough, was about the problem that guns are often stolen out of cars.

If you carry your gun, you also realize that guns are a huge target for thieves. While the Atlantic focused on the fact that the reason guns are bad is because they get stolen out of cars, I prefer to figure out how I can still carry my gun to protect myself (the whole point of having a concealed carry license) and yet still safely deal with the issue that there are “gun free zones” or other restrictions on carrying that would require me to leave my gun in my car. The solution is simple – a portable gun safe.

One of the first things I bought after I decided to carry every day is a portable gun safe. I’m not able to carry into my office, so I have a NanoVault GunVault that I use in my car. It is reasonably priced (generally less than $25-30), has a tether I can attach securely to my car (I have it hooked onto to my passenger car seat frame), uses a combination lock (faster and more secure), is roomy enough to hold my Sig P320 9mm and tucks discretely under the seat.

My NanoVault on the passenger seat
Safe  holding my S&W .380 or my Sig 9mm

There are a number of other alternative small, portable safes that are reasonably priced available on Amazon.com, your local sporting good store or gun store.

The first obligation as a gun owner is ensuring the safety of your firearm. If you are going to carry your gun with you, you have to be prepared for situations where you have to leave it in a safe location on the go. It’s an inexpensive way to ensure you don’t become one of the statistics.

*The GunVault is a product I purchased and use. Note that some of the links in this post may generate a commission that will help support this site, although that in no way influences my opinion or review. Please see my full Disclosure Statement here.

NoPolitics

Some initial thoughts on safe gun handling

There are several sets of rules regarding safe gunhandling. All the sets of rules emphasize the concerns of their originators. However, many similar things are said but stated in different ways. Which set of rules you choose to use is less important than picking a set and following it scrupulously. Firearms are instruments of ultimate […]

via Safe Gunhandling Rules — tacticalprofessor

NoPolitics

New survey on gun ownership released

The Guardian has just published the results of a new study on gun ownership in the US, and it confirms what several other recent studies have shown which is while gun ownership among men in the US is decreasing substantially, it’s steady and growing among women – increasing from 9% of the female population in 1994 to 12% today.

More guns in fewer hands – The Guardian

I found the demographic details on income level and gun ownership very interesting – there is virtually no difference whether you make $25,000 a year or $100,000 a year as to whether or not you’re a gun owner.

Perhaps most interesting finding was the data on handgun-only ownership and women who by a large margin purchase their first handgun for protection:

“It was “kind of worrying” that women who had no previous experience with guns were buying handguns for self-defense, and that he was concerned “that puts them at greater risk” for gun accidents or thefts.”

It’s the responsibility of any gun owner, and any woman gun owner, to educate themselves about the safe and responsible handling of firearms and self-defense. That’s why we’re starting this conversation now. Join in and let us know your thoughts.