Intervention with a Concealed Handgun in situations not involving you!
I teach in all my classes that you are risking your Life, Freedom, and Financial Loss when you step outside of your family circle and close friends to protect someone with yourconcealed handgun. There are many ways this kind of activity can go bad for you. It doesn’t take much to understand that many criminal actors have associates that are standing by just in case the need arises to step in and help. It takes a very alert individual to spot these associates and recognize the risk involved. It is very common for this scenario to exist in armed robberies. In some cases maybe an undercover police officer is involved or is close by. Remember that when you pull your concealed handgun in public no one knows you from the criminals.
The story that always sticks in my mind is the man who is in Walmart when a gunman starts shooting people and the armed citizen thinks he is in a position to take the criminal out and save the day. Unfortunately for our armed hero, he does not understand that the criminal’s girlfriend is standing behind him and when he accesses his concealed handgun she shoots him in the back and kills the good Samaritan.
There are many examples of this kind of situation in personal defense. I did not realize until recently that this topic was even discussed in the bible. He that passeth by, and meddleth with strife belonging not to him, is like one that taketh a dog by the ears. (Proverbs 26:17) apparently, this has been true for thousands of years and still is today.
I’m hearing it again from my students who are uneasy about carrying a live round in the chamber of their EDC (Every Day Carry) pistol.
First, the only way to ever change this situation is to become more comfortable with your EDC firearm. Some people find that carrying a gun with a manual safety can help. Others find that carrying their concealed carry pistol loaded at home at all times can help get them comfortable with it. Shooting your handgun more often will help tremendously and of course, we need to shoot more anyway. Over time you become more comfortable with your gun and at some point, you should be able to rationalize that your firearm cannot discharge unless your finger touches the trigger (rule #3) and of course as long as it’s in a proper holster that covers the trigger and trigger guard.
The other problem with this “Concealed Carry Without A Chambered Round ” mindset is that because you are not comfortable with your everyday carry (EDC) gun you are more likely to fumble and break safety rules during a high-pressure situation and possibly hurt yourself or someone else by accident in the process.
Recently in the local King Soopers shopping center a (local grocery store), there was a negligent discharge in the parking lot which of course management of the store denied, but I had a student in the parking lot when it happened. People who aren’t comfortable with their loaded concealed carry gun sometimes check it to see if it’s loaded. Sometimes they either load or unload the gun depending on their situation and apparently, this person did it with their finger on the trigger discharging their firearm in an unsafe manner. This gun might have been one of those small Kel-Tec Pistols or Ruger LCPs that we see all the time in class and they are hard to handle. Most people handle them improperly and sometimes put their finger on the trigger. We also see the holes in the bench tops of our local indoor range where people have racked their firearms with their finger on the trigger and discharged a round into the bench top (OOPS).
I know of another case in Colorado Springs where it happened in a movie theater. These people are so nervous with the loaded gun that they can’t remember if it’s loaded or not so they keep checking it and in this case the index finger was on the trigger and the gun went bang. This person was arrested of course and was charged with several infractions of the law.
When I put my gun on in the morning I know it is loaded. I don’t take it out in public and check it. Playing with your gun at any time in public is a bad idea. Administrative handling of your handgun should be done when you put it on and when you take it off. Administrative handling would be the manipulation of the firearm that isn’t specifically shooting. This would include weapon disassemble, holstering, chambering a round or removing a round.
Remember the FBI stats that the industry quotes for concealed carry (3-3-3). Most self-defense incidents happen within three yards (10ft) are over in three seconds or less and with less than three fired being rounds. We all understand the basic concept of the Tueller Drill where Dennis Tueller studied in 1983 that a person can travel 21 feet with the contact weapon in their hand and do it in approximately 1.5 seconds. If most self-defense incidents happen within 3 yards that’s half the time and distance. I don’t know about you but I would be willing to bet that most of you can’t draw and rack your gun in .75 seconds. That sub-one-second draw is a once-in-a-while proposition for most let alone having to rack a gun so it’s ready to fire.
Let’s remember why we carry a concealed carry weapon. We carry a concealed carry weapon to be prepared. How are you going to be prepared if most incidents happening in close quarters and are over before you could possibly rack a round into your gun. Concealed Carry Without A Chambered Round should be considered very dangerous.
Greg Ellifritz (Active Response Training) told a story in a recent post of a man who had all the lingo of a good gun handler, had all the top equipment, but in an actual self-defense moment when he had to perform he became a basket case. The Concealed Carry Podcast also recently talked about the eighty-twentyhandgun training principaland gave some indication of what they felt were important and not so important training issues. It has been shown that 80% of what we worry about or focus on does not help us achieve the 20% that’s important. This concept is known as the Pareto Rule.
Many people in the Concealed Carry community spend 80% of their time worrying about their equipment (Guns, Lights, Lasers, and toys). Gear matters a lot less than you might think. If we develop skills, gear becomes even less important. It’s funny how we tend to worry about the things that are not important. We need to focus on the things that count. I remember a saying my dad use to tell my youngest daughter. He would say worry in sequence. I wonder if this isn’t the same concept.
So I’m going to put four items or skills in the 20% column and let’s look at them.
GRIP– a grip needs to be consistent, putting a lot of flesh on the gun. This will also mitigate recoil and its obvious problems.
TRIGGER CONTROL-trigger control is different for different types of triggers. Single action triggers get the pad of the index finger only. Double action triggers use more of the finger normally all the way to the power crease or the crease in the first joint of the index finger.
AIMING-aiming relates to sighted fire and unsighted fire. Knowing how to use both and when to use each is an important skill.
DRAW FROM THE HOLSTER– draw from the holster is a book all by itself. Most people believe that you must learn the strong side belt holster technique and then move to other types of holsters and carry positions. Proper holster technique is essential both for safety and for the ability to smoothly access your handgun in adverse situations.
Some skills will not be listed in the 20% because they are considered to be secondary skills. Not necessarily advanced but not as important as the four primary skills.
STANCE– one of the reasons this is not a 20% skill is that a proper stance is stable and comfortable. You do not know how or where you will be standing in a self-defense situation. You need to learn to shoot from many positions.
MAGAZINE DRILLS-loading and unloading under stress is important for several reasons but stats show that most self-defense situations end in 3 rounds or less. Most altercations happen at a distance of fewer than 3 yards, are over in approximately 3 seconds or less, and have 3 or fewer shots fired. (3-3-3)
Eighty-Twenty Handgun Training Principal
Other skills that may be important after the 20% is mastered.
MALFUNCTION DRILLS-while you may think of this as a primary skill it is really an advanced skill. Sure you need to know how to get your gun back into the fight if it isn’t working, but all the other skills have to be in place before this is important.
STRONG SIDE and WEAK HAND SHOOTING– while this skill is obviously important it is way down the list of things you should be training for.
You should have a baseline for your shooting ability. In other words a measurement of where your skills are today. Then thru out your training, you should go back and see that your baseline has moved, hopefully for the better. Here is a good baseline drill provided by Claude Werner (The Tactical Professor).
This is what it comes down to. You have to learn to effectively and efficiently handle your firearm. From the holster and presentation to shots on target. To do that your 20% skills have to be mastered. As you become more experienced you can start to throw additional skills into the mix (i.e. week hand shooting and malfunction drills). Find a gun that fits you. Learn to function the gun safely and efficiently. Learn to draw your firearm smoothly from the holster and put shots on target at respectable self-defense distances. That’s the eighty-twenty handgun training principal in a nutshell.