Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Is Concealed Carry a Patriotic Commitment?

 

In the last two days of a three-day gun workshop, I haven’t killed anyone yet. Of course, the instructor made sure we took special precautions. But as some of you know, I posted about my dilemma of trying to decide if I should conceal carry. I have discovered through this entire experience that my own thinking was unclear about what concealed carry would mean to and for me, and this workshop has expanded my understanding of concealed carry, its benefits and limitations, and what it would mean for me as a citizen of the United States to carry a gun on my person.

I realized early on that this was a very personal and individual decision. I am a small, senior woman. For a person looking for a victim in a situation where he or she may have a few choices, I could be a primary target. Since there is nothing I can do to change any of those factors (unless someone invents the Fountain of Youth), it was sensible for me to consider those conditions.

We also learned many techniques that we had a chance to practice. Our instructor, Steve, made clear that we would learn and also gain some muscle memory, but the techniques would only serve us well if we practiced. We discussed with Steve the techniques that he thought would be most valuable to practice regularly—draw and re-holstering, point shooting and getting off the “x”, subconscious site, half hip and retention, and walking and shooting. There are other techniques included in those categories. In particular, I have had longstanding concerns about keeping my finger off the trigger and now have a “checklist” to remind me quickly to move my finger.

We also discovered early that in spite of my enjoying the Glock, a Glock 19 is too large for me—too large a grip, heavy, and a recoil that may be too much for me. I plan to try out a gun tomorrow that feels great, a Glock 42, and if they have 380 ammunition, I’ll try to shoot it. I learned the 380 recoil might affect me less due to its smaller size.

All of those opportunities have gradually lessened my resistance to conceal carry a gun. But aside from my personal vulnerability, three. other things have contributed to my decision.

The first is that I feel more competent already, and more knowledgeable. That includes taking steps to prevent a bystander from being shot and possibly killed. I realized that killing an attacker was not a concern—I believe I will be able to do that, although a person can never be certain. But I feel much better prepared to take on this serious responsibility.

Second, and as a result of my first point, I am more confident in many ways. I am more confident about my physical, mental, and emotional ability to make what could be a life and death decision.

Third, and finally, I’ve felt for a long time that I should be contributing more to dealing with the turbulence in our country. I am frustrated that I must depend on so many others to defend this country. I feel responsible for at least being able to take care of myself if events go awry (and am well aware that one strategy is to leave the situation). There are small things I do to contribute—my writing, my support of others who love this country and verbally defending the foundations of America. But by carrying concealed, I feel as if I’m doing more: I am making a patriotic decision to not only defend myself but to stand up for the Constitution.

So I will join the ranks of those who conceal carry.

It is one small patriotic commitment I can make.

(Thanks to everyone who participated in the original discussion for your suggestions, perceptions, and encouragement. You were a significant help in my decision.)

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  1. Mark Camp Member

    Susan,

    I am impressed with your commitment to this difficult, admirable project and your thoughtful observations about it.

    Mark

    • #1
    • September 24, 2020, at 6:31 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  2. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Sarah McKinley was an 18-year old widow, home alone in Oklahoma on New Years Eve 2011 when two guys tried to break into her home. She called the cops. They were on the way. They weren’t there yet.

    “I’ve got two guns in my hand. Is it OK to shoot him if he comes in this door?” McKinley asked the dispatcher.

    “Well, you have to do whatever you can do to protect yourself,” the dispatcher is heard telling McKinley. “I can’t tell you that you can do that, but you have to do what you have to do to protect your baby.”

    [Emphasis mine, because I feel like it.]

    Do what you need to do to defend yourself and your loved ones, Susan.

    • #2
    • September 24, 2020, at 6:31 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  3. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    Susan,

    I am impressed with your commitment to this difficult, admirable project and your thoughtful observations about it.

    Mark

    Thanks so much,@markcamp. That means a lot.

    • #3
    • September 24, 2020, at 6:34 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Percival (View Comment):

    Sarah McKinley was an 18-year old widow, home alone in Oklahoma on New Years Eve 2011 when two guys tried to break into her home. She called the cops. They were on the way. They weren’t there yet.

    “I’ve got two guns in my hand. Is it OK to shoot him if he comes in this door?” McKinley asked the dispatcher.

    “Well, you have to do whatever you can do to protect yourself,” the dispatcher is heard telling McKinley. “I can’t tell you that you can do that, but you have to do what you have to do to protect your baby.”

    [Emphasis mine, because I feel like it.]

    Do what you need to do to defend yourself and your loved ones, Susan.

    Thanks for your support, @percival

    • #4
    • September 24, 2020, at 6:35 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  5. iWe Reagan
    iWeJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Excellent!

    • #5
    • September 24, 2020, at 6:42 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  6. Kay of MT Member

    I carried for a long time, but now my hands are too arthritic to handle a gun properly.

    • #6
    • September 24, 2020, at 7:10 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  7. Rodin Member

    If California made conceal carry permits available I would join you in your patriotic duty. But the local sheriff is not inclined to issue them and the county prosecutor is one of the Soros darlings. Not the place for CCP, well not the conceal carry permit (but maybe the Chinese Communist Party). (sigh)

    • #7
    • September 24, 2020, at 7:12 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  8. Clifford A. Brown Contributor

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Sarah McKinley was an 18-year old widow, home alone in Oklahoma on New Years Eve 2011 when two guys tried to break into her home. She called the cops. They were on the way. They weren’t there yet.

    “I’ve got two guns in my hand. Is it OK to shoot him if he comes in this door?” McKinley asked the dispatcher.

    “Well, you have to do whatever you can do to protect yourself,” the dispatcher is heard telling McKinley. “I can’t tell you that you can do that, but you have to do what you have to do to protect your baby.”

    [Emphasis mine, because I feel like it.]

    Do what you need to do to defend yourself and your loved ones, Susan.

    Thanks for your support, @percival

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Sarah McKinley was an 18-year old widow, home alone in Oklahoma on New Years Eve 2011 when two guys tried to break into her home. She called the cops. They were on the way. They weren’t there yet.

    “I’ve got two guns in my hand. Is it OK to shoot him if he comes in this door?” McKinley asked the dispatcher.

    “Well, you have to do whatever you can do to protect yourself,” the dispatcher is heard telling McKinley. “I can’t tell you that you can do that, but you have to do what you have to do to protect your baby.”

    [Emphasis mine, because I feel like it.]

    Do what you need to do to defend yourself and your loved ones, Susan.

    Thanks for your support, @percival

    Love the 2 minute ABC video. A young mom, her baby, and a great big German Shepherd in the frame:

    https://youtu.be/z0R_eAYsdfM

    • #8
    • September 24, 2020, at 7:27 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  9. Wiscosotan Member
    WiscosotanJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Carrying concealed is not a decision to be taken lightly. I’ve appreciated your posts on the topic and the many helpful comments. It’s something my wife has been working through as well. 

    • #9
    • September 24, 2020, at 7:52 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  10. Quietpi Member

    That’s fantastic, @susanquinn! I encourage you to carry, and practice.

    But don’t just practice handling the firearm. I reckon your instructor also talked about the decision – making process, situational awareness, not looking like a victim, etc. Those things are at least as important in keeping you safe as carrying a firearm.

    I hope he introduced you to the “OODA Loop” approach to decision – making and acting, Col. Jeff Cooper’s Color Codes, and how to be constantly aware of your surroundings. Those things make the need to use a firearm at all much, much smaller. I find that the knowledge gained by carrying concealed does more to keep you safe than the firearm.

    And if he didn’t mention it, never forget that the point of applying deadly force is never to kill, but to stop. And once the threat to you ends, then the justification for deadly force also ends.

    I have two great articles for you to read. One is LTC (Ret.) David Grossman. Not sure if this will work as a link, but with the title, “On Sheep, Wolves and Sheepdogs,” will make it easy to find: http://learntocarry.com/files/On-Sheep-Wolves-And-Sheepdogs.pdf

    Also a great essay, “How to have the Situational Awareness of Jason Bourne.” I’ll have to work on that one. It may not be available on a website.

    • #10
    • September 24, 2020, at 8:56 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  11. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas PrattJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Your increased confidence has already made you less likely to become a victim. Massad Ayoob has written extensively about what he describes as the Victim Selection Process, getting into the head of someone who is a potential attacker. The way you carry yourself makes a big difference in those early moments when someone is looking for an easy mark.

    (Also, it still makes me smile when Ayoob describes the cause of death of a perp as being Sudden Acute Failure of the Victim Selection Process.)

    .380 is a very good defensive round with modern ammunition. It’s my personal favorite because the Beretta Model 80 series, the Cheetahs, fit my hand so well. Some Cheetahs have been showing up on the online auction sites at good prices because of various European agencies rotating them out of service. The Model 84 is still manufactured, and as a 13-round double stack is a good choice for carry. My favorites are the single stack versions, the Model 85 and 86, just because of the way they fit my hand. My 86 has always made me look like a much better shot than I am. I use my handloads with 90 grain round nose bullets for practice, and Speer Gold Dots for carry.

    You know what to do, go with what feels right for you. And save your brass!

    • #11
    • September 25, 2020, at 5:11 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  12. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):

    Your increased confidence has already made you less likely to become a victim. Massad Ayoob has written extensively about what he describes as the Victim Selection Process, getting into the head of someone who is a potential attacker. The way you carry yourself makes a big difference in those early moments when someone is looking for an easy mark.

    (Also, it still makes me smile when Ayoob describes the cause of death of a perp as being Sudden Acute Failure of the Victim Selection Process.)

    .380 is a very good defensive round with modern ammunition. It’s my personal favorite because the Beretta Model 80 series, the Cheetahs, fit my hand so well. Some Cheetahs have been showing up on the online auction sites at good prices because of various European agencies rotating them out of service. The Model 84 is still manufactured, and as a 13-round double stack is a good choice for carry. My favorites are the single stack versions, the Model 85 and 86, just because of the way they fit my hand. My 86 has always made me look like a much better shot than I am. I use my handloads with 90 grain round nose bullets for practice, and Speer Gold Dots for carry.

    You know what to do, go with what feels right for you. And save your brass!

    Thanks so much @douglaspratt! You’ve been such a big help to us!

    • #12
    • September 25, 2020, at 5:30 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  13. Quietpi Member

    Well well! I just found a link to the original Jason Bourne article. I found the article years ago, and use it in a course I’ve taught in situational awareness:

    https://www.artofmanliness.com/articles/how-to-develop-the-situational-awareness-of-jason-bourne/

    The writer has enlarged (unnecessarily in my view) on Jeff Cooper’s color code. But it’s still a very useful tool for thinking about the situations you find yourself in. It takes practice to make “situation yellow” your normal state of being, and it takes periodic reminders. But it’s worth it. And rather than keeping you on edge, it actually permits you to relax in a new way, as you learn that you’re in a safe environment at that moment.

    • #13
    • September 25, 2020, at 6:10 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  14. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas PrattJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Thanks so much @douglaspratt! You’ve been such a big help to us!

    I’m proud of you. Folks like you and your husband are why I became an instructor.

    • #14
    • September 25, 2020, at 6:57 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  15. Headedwest Coolidge

    I have a S&W EZ 380. It is large enough that it is comfortable to shoot and does not have the snappy recoil of a tiny pocket gun, but its main advantages are for people who don’t have strong hands. Racking the slide is much easier than any other semi-auto I own. Also, the magazine is designed with a light spring so that it is also very easy to load. If you can get your hands on one to try, you might like it.

    I bought it for the future me who has lost some strength in my hands.

    • #15
    • September 25, 2020, at 7:55 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  16. Stad Thatcher

    I wouldn’t say legally carrying concealed is patriotic as much as it is a commitment, a commitment to provide for your own protection and those around you if the police aren’t there to stop violence from taking place. I think people have a duty to protect themselves and their families, but they’re also free to decide on how best to do it. As for my family, we go by that oft-repeated adage, “When seconds count, the police will be there in minutes.”

    God bless our law enforcement officers, but they cannot teleport to the location of every 911 call . . .

    • #16
    • September 25, 2020, at 8:03 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  17. MichaelKennedy Coolidge

    Kay of MT (View Comment):

    I carried for a long time, but now my hands are too arthritic to handle a gun properly.

    My wife has the same issue. I have thought of getting a shotgun for home but concealed carry is obviously not an issue.

    • #17
    • September 25, 2020, at 8:09 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  18. MichaelKennedy Coolidge

    I have a Browning 380 1911 that I like. Like all 1911s, it has only 7 rounds but the mag release is very convenient, more so than other hand guns I have.

    • #18
    • September 25, 2020, at 8:12 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  19. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas PrattJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    While you’re trying .380s on for size, see if you can fondle a Walther PPK, or a Bersa Thunder, which is the PPK with samba music playing in the factory.

    The Colt Mustang has a reputation for beating up your wrist. The Sig P238 is almost the same gun, but through some violation of the laws of physics, the recoil is substantially less. Both use a 1911 style safety and can be carried cocked-and-locked, but that is a different manual of arms from what you are trained for with the Glock. Unless the P238 just feels right to you I would recommend against it.

    My current pocket carry is a Beretta Pico, which is probably the thinnest and lightest .380 on the market. I like the way it feels and shoots, and the way it tucks into an underarm pocket, but the convenience has a price in harder recoil and trickier grip. I wouldn’t recommend it as your only pistol.

    • #19
    • September 25, 2020, at 8:45 AM PDT
    • Like
  20. Quietpi Member

    For loading magazines, the Uplula device is a treasure. All of us have, at one time or other, experienced, “magazine thumb.” I know there are other versions, but my Uplula loads all handgun magazines, as far as I know.

    • #20
    • September 25, 2020, at 9:42 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  21. Kevin Schulte Member

    Quietpi (View Comment):

    For loading magazines, the Uplula device is a treasure. All of us have, at one time or other, experienced, “magazine thumb.” I know there are other versions, but my Uplula loads all handgun magazines, as far as I know.

    I have one each for my 9mm one for my 32 and one for my AR. Worth every penny. 

    • #21
    • September 25, 2020, at 10:52 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  22. Quietpi Member

    Kevin Schulte (View Comment):
    I have one each for my 9mm one for my 32 and one for my AR. Worth every penny. 

    I thank you. Your thumbs thank you.

    • #22
    • September 25, 2020, at 1:12 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  23. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas PrattJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Kevin Schulte (View Comment):

    Quietpi (View Comment):

    For loading magazines, the Uplula device is a treasure. All of us have, at one time or other, experienced, “magazine thumb.” I know there are other versions, but my Uplula loads all handgun magazines, as far as I know.

    I have one each for my 9mm one for my 32 and one for my AR. Worth every penny.

    One place where they really make life easier is on 22LR automatics. Those narrow magazines are tough on thumbnails.

    • #23
    • September 25, 2020, at 1:42 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  24. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Headedwest (View Comment):

    I have a S&W EZ 380. It is large enough that it is comfortable to shoot and does not have the snappy recoil of a tiny pocket gun, but its main advantages are for people who don’t have strong hands. Racking the slide is much easier than any other semi-auto I own. Also, the magazine is designed with a light spring so that it is also very easy to load. If you can get your hands on one to try, you might like it.

    I bought it for the future me who has lost some strength in my hands.

    Our trainer said exactly what you said about that S&W. It’s probably in my future, too.

     

    • #24
    • September 25, 2020, at 2:22 PM PDT
    • Like
  25. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Stad (View Comment):
    how

    Just to be clear, I’m not saying you’re unpatriotic if you don’t carry. That’s just how I feel about my decision.

    • #25
    • September 25, 2020, at 2:26 PM PDT
    • Like
  26. Mark Camp Member

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):

    Kay of MT (View Comment):

    I carried for a long time, but now my hands are too arthritic to handle a gun properly.

    My wife has the same issue. I have thought of getting a shotgun for home but concealed carry is obviously not an issue.

    How peculiar that semi-automatic handguns that don’t require much hand strength to use are not readily available. It seems:

    • it would be a trivial engineering challenge
    • it would not add more than 15% to the cost of goods sold
    • there would be a big enough market at a competitive ROI for the first-to-market to justify the investment

    If all three of these guesses are true, what is stopping the innovations? There has to be an explanation.

    I suspect it might be perverse gun regulations. A gun that could be racked by CO2 from a cartridge might remind an ignorant politician of an automatic weapon, for example. The other obvious engineering approach would be to keep the idea of manual racking, but allow “X” strokes of low force (from an arthritic, weak hand), instead of the current approach of a single stroke with very high (too high, for many potential customers) force.

    Battery-powered electro-mechanical racking could take either the high force/fast racking approach, or the philosophy of the car power seat adjustment: low force, low power, long wait. Waiting a long time for a low power, low force motor to rack the gun is not as unreasonable as it seems. If your wife is home alone at night and hears a sound that warrants getting ready to shoot, she has many seconds to wait while the gun racks.

    • #26
    • September 25, 2020, at 4:23 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  27. Flicker Coolidge

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):

    Kay of MT (View Comment):

    I carried for a long time, but now my hands are too arthritic to handle a gun properly.

    My wife has the same issue. I have thought of getting a shotgun for home but concealed carry is obviously not an issue.

    How peculiar that semi-automatic handguns that don’t require much hand strength to use are not readily available. It seems:

    • it would be a trivial engineering challenge
    • it would not add more than 15% to the cost of goods sold
    • there would be a big enough market at a competitive ROI for the first-to-market to justify the investment

    If all three of these guesses are true, what is stopping the innovations? There has to be an explanation.

    I suspect it might be perverse gun regulations. A gun that could be racked by CO2 from a cartridge might remind an ignorant politician of an automatic weapon, for example. The other obvious engineering approach would be to keep the idea of manual racking, but allow “X” strokes of low force (from an arthritic, weak hand), instead of the current approach of a single stroke with very high (too high, for many potential customers) force.

    Battery-powered electro-mechanical racking could take either the high force/fast racking approach, or the philosophy car power seat adjustment: low force, long wait. Waiting a long time for a low power, low force motor to rack the gun is not as unreasonable as it seems. If your wife is home alone at night and hears a sound that warrants getting ready to shoot, she has many seconds to wait while the gun racks.

    How about a variable force spring: easy as far back as it takes to chamber a round, then firmer to stop the slides backward momentum?

    • #27
    • September 25, 2020, at 4:58 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  28. Mark Camp Member

    Flicker (View Comment):

    How about a variable force spring: easy as far back as it takes to chamber a round, then firmer to stop the slides backward momentum?

    This may be one of the feasible engineering approaches to the problem which I have speculated must exist.

    But I don’t understand it technically.

    (Note: Here is my understanding of the problem of racking. Racking does two things. Puts a round in the chamber (and other mechanical conditions in the triggering and firing mechanisms), and cocks the gun: loads a spring to provide energy to the firing mechanism.)

     

    • #28
    • September 25, 2020, at 5:12 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  29. Flicker Coolidge

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    How about a variable force spring: easy as far back as it takes to chamber a round, then firmer to stop the slides backward momentum?

    This may be one of the feasible engineering approaches to the problem which I have speculated must exist.

    But I don’t understand it technically.

    (Note: Here is my understanding of the problem of racking. Racking does two things. Puts a round in the chamber (and other mechanical conditions in the triggering and firing mechanisms), and cocks the gun: loads a spring to provide energy to the firing mechanism.)

    Well, a variable force spring is, I think, harder to make, but two slide springs are standard on some pistols. But the spring does several things. While the backward force of the slide ejects a round and cocks the mechanism, the spring first slows the slide’s backward movement so that it doesn’t hit its fully open limit steel on steel at full force, and then the spring provides a forward motion to the slide to chamber the next round.

    With two coaxial springs, for example, only the first softer spring could engage for racking the slide, and the second shorter, stiffer spring would stop the slide’s backward motion. I don’t know if the S&W EZ works this way or not, because I’ve never handled one, but I doubt it.

    Update: I checked and it has a single spring. By my brother has one and he says it’s remarkably easy to rack.

    • #29
    • September 25, 2020, at 5:28 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  30. Mark Camp Member

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    How about a variable force spring: easy as far back as it takes to chamber a round, then firmer to stop the slides backward momentum?

    This may be one of the feasible engineering approaches to the problem which I have speculated must exist.

    But I don’t understand it technically.

    (Note: Here is my understanding of the problem of racking. Racking does two things. Puts a round in the chamber (and other mechanical conditions in the triggering and firing mechanisms), and cocks the gun: loads a spring to provide energy to the firing mechanism.)

    Well, a variable force spring is, I think, harder to make, but two slide springs are standard on some pistols. But the spring does several things. While the backward force of the slide ejects a round and cocks the mechanism, the spring first slows the slide’s backward movement so that it doesn’t hit its fully open limit steel on steel at full force, and then the spring provides a forward motion to the slide to chamber the next round.

    With two coaxial springs, for example, only the first softer spring could engage for racking the slide, and the second shorter, stiffer spring would stop the slide’s backward motion. I don’t know if the S&W EZ works this way or not, because I’ve never handled one, but I doubt it.

    Update: I checked and it has a single spring. By my brother has one and he says it’s remarkably easy to rack.

    This Comment has been received by Evening Me and forwarded to Morning Me for further processing.

    • #30
    • September 25, 2020, at 5:58 PM PDT
    • 3 likes