What to carry – that is the old age question. And how much ammunition do you need in a fight? What type of fight do you expect? Do you anticipate having to draw while pumping gas or to get out of a flash riot? These questions are some of the scenarios we look at when I carry concealed. These are some of the things to consider before you grab the keys and head out.
What do you expect:
I went out for Black Friday (not intentionally. We were short on some foodstuff), so knowing that things get crazy, I decided to carry. I am usually ok in crowds, and usually, I can navigate around developing situations. Still, we have all seen those videos of fistfights, arguments, and general craziness, so I carried not only my primary handgun but also a backup magazine. Why? All it takes is one thing to happen these days, and it quickly gets out of control. Also, I am a little leery about some crowded events as it makes a pretty sweet target for bad actors. Do I think it will happen, not really in my small town, but we never really know anymore, do we? I usually carry one backup magazine of the max I can carry concealed, without being cumbersome or noticeable. When I carried a 1911, I carried two magazines, like seven rounds for the sub-compact I was shooting I felt needed to cover my basis. That and in a stressful situation I am likely to miss, especially with that shorter barrel.
The type of fight:
I was in some more unsavory places during last year’s riots, and unfortunately, I could not carry in that state. These restrictions created a lot of anxiety as I traveled through with my family in a vehicle in a place with riots blocking the interstate. The last thing I wanted was to make the five o’clock news for brandishing a firearm to get passed; God forbid, use it. I instead opted for mace/bear spray as it gave me standoff distance but also got the message across to disperse. I also had some other nonlethal weapons like a conveniently placed blunt object, as I figured I might not get the whole book thrown at me.
I have had an active shooter on my property years ago that I chose not to fire at, mainly due to fear of prosecution, as well as I know what being shot at sounds like. He was shooting indiscriminately, and I knew that might be something I would have to defend. Had a round hit my house, it would have been a different story. That was a single person versus many for a riot type scenario, and we can’t guarantee what fight we will face, so always try and hedge your bets.
There are many places where a potential fight might happen, but I think there are a few that are most likely. I usually feel the most uncomfortable in transition places, like from a store to the car, car to the gas station, home to the car, as that is usually when we are focused on the task at hand, not our surroundings. While someone coming to shoot up a restaurant happens, like Lubbys in 1991, they are usually not expected. I also look at places where it is most likely that people are unarmed. These places are everything from schools, churches, certain malls, or movie theatres where people are most likely unarmed. I am not saying that you should break the law and carry concealed there but having the means to defend yourself is all I will say. That and I would rather be judged by 12 than carried by six. We have seen an uptick in major events like parades, music festivals, protests, and other large gatherings being a place needed for self-defense.
In all but a few of those instances, carrying will not help (Las Vegas, for example, or the recent parade SUV rampage). Try to limit your exposure to such targets, but don’t let it control your life. Shootings are still sporadic; despite the constant media attention they get. Be safe and if something feels off, offer to get hot cocoa, ice cream, or something else to safely get everyone out of there. It could be nothing, but if you are right, you are safe, and if wrong, you get a sundae.
Also be sure to check out JM4 Tactical for your holster needs!
Author: Ian Bolser