When it comes to self-defense, a gun is “an” answer, not “the” answer. In fact, it’s best to look at a self-defense firearm as the last answer to the question “How do I defend my life?” There are plenty of reasons for de-prioritizing armed self-defense, from moral concerns to practical considerations. Do I really want to kill a human being if I don’t have to? Do I have time to get my weapon out and use it effectively? I posed the latter question in my post Chamber Schmamber. It’s Too Late to Draw Your Gun. And yet, the majority of commentators didn’t get it. At all. So let me make one thing perfectly clear: you can’t always shoot what you want.
In the second running of her demo, when limalife was able to draw and fire two shots, her mock assailant stabbed her twice. That’s initially. Lest we forget, the attack only stopped because the actors stopped.
In real life, that would have been just the beginning of the attack. Even if limelife scored a brace of direct hits on the perp’s chest, chances are he’d have plenty of time to stab her some more. Lots more. And BOY would he be pissed.
You’d think the results of this demo would be enough to convince limalife that it’s best to try something else to defend against an attacker at less than five feet, and then, maybe, draw and fire. But no . . . That’s not her point:
Many people feel uncomfortable carrying a round in the chamber when they first start carrying in public.
I understand the concern and the lack of comfort and I will not tell someone they cannot carry that way.
I will, however, warn them that carrying a firearm without a round in the chamber means the probability of not being able to immediately use it in self defense. One may have to fight via some other means in order to gain time and access to his or her firearm and by then it may be too late.
Great landing, wrong airport. Or great abs, wrong absolute. While it is absolutely true that you should always carry a round in the chamber in your self-defense gun to reduce the amount of time needed to respond to an imminent threat to life and limb, it is also true that the last part of the above statement is standalone, and doesn’t quite go far enough.
In other words, with an assailant within five feet, you MUST fight via some other means in order to gain time and access to your firearm. Common sense, the Tueller Drill and the results of limalife’s demo (where she was clearly ready for the attack and still lost) says that you don’t have enough time to draw your weapon.
Even when you are prepared for lethal trouble, and I mean literally standing there waiting for it, drawing a firearm and bringing it to bear is hardly a slam dunk. Watch this video to the end.
See what happens when the bad guy forgets to come straight at you? Real world assaults are fast, messy, chaotic events. Assuming you will know exactly when to draw, that you won’t mess up your draw, and that you will fire your weapon with deadly accuracy is seriously, dangerously perhaps fatally delusional.
Speaking of which, did I refer to a five-foot personal perimeter? Conventional wisdom says the distance required to respond to a deadly threat by drawing your weapon is about 20 feet. But seriously, who’s ready for action at 20 feet? How often do you see an attack coming from that far away? Excuse me miss, do you know the time? And what about the predators that hide in the bushes or around a corner and then pounce?
I’ll go further: you may not want to use your firearm at all, anyway. In the video above, the participants were living in a box. No cover. No concealment. No bystanders. No way out. Oh wait! There’s a door in the background. Anyone looking to survive this threat should run for that portal immediately. Well, after dealing with the initial threat.
Faced with a knife-wielding assailant, you could block the blade whilst launching a direct physical attack, get some distance, and THEN pull your gun out and shoot the bastard. Or you could charge the guy with the knife and knock him off kilter. And THEN pull your gun out and shoot the bastard.
But what if you can’t shoot? What if there are children or a crowd of civilians in the immediate vicinity? What if there are other potential attackers about to shoot YOU? What if you knock the assailant’s weapon out of his hand and he stands there, dumbfounded. What if he goes down and he stays down?
Should you shoot first, run second? Run first, shoot second? Run and not shoot? Run, draw, seek cover and then decide whether or not to shoot? Should you warn him off, then shoot? Shoot without warning?
In any real world self-defense scenario, there are a lot of variables in play. Thankfully, there are also a lot of self-defense options: screaming, running, hiding, blocking, pepper spray, hand skills, using a nearby object, etc. The earlier you get in the game, by avoiding threats in general and identifying specific problems early, the more non-firearms possibilities you have.
A man’s gotta know his limitations. (Women too.) A gun is a self-defense tool. It’s not a solution to an attack in and off itself. If you fixate on your firearm as “the” answer to an assault, you run the very real risk of using the tool inappropriately and, thus, losing the fight. Where’s the fun in that?
I’m a big fan of concealed carry. I feel better wearing a big gun with lots of bullets. But when the XD slots in the holster, I pray to God I never have to use it. I can use it. I will if I have to. But I will do whatever I can to avoid having to de-holster my gun, understanding that there are times when drawing a gun could be the worst possible course of action.