David Kenik (a.k.a., the rabbi) (courtesy The Truth About Guns

Matt in FL recently emailed me a question: “If we admit (and we have to admit) that, unless you’re involved in certain lifestyles, a self-defense scenario where you fire even one shot is statistically unlikely, then that puts a scenario where you need three guns somewhere in the realm between ‘really damn unlikely’ and ‘me in a three way with Doutzen Kroes and Kelly Brook,’ doesn’t it?  What exactly is he planning for? I know, the flippant answer is, ‘I don’t know, but I mean to survive it,’ but seriously, he doesn’t seem like the guy to do things on a whim, so that leads me to believe he put some thought into this. What course of rational thought ends with him feeling the need to carry three guns every day of his normal, average, everyday, suburban upper-middle-class non-criminal life? Do you have any idea?” I do . . .

First of all, let’s be clear: the rabbi is a law-abiding, tax-paying American. In an article following this one, the gun guru will explain why his backup gun has a backup gun. But he’s under no obligation to do so. In a country where a state feels free to regulate the number of bullets in a magazine this is not the time to get hung-up on the number of firearms an individual carries.

It must also be said that the rabbi is a generous soul. His politics are right of Attila the Hun (he views liberalism as a disease) but he trains anyone and everyone who wants to learn The Way of the Gun regardless of their religious or political beliefs. He’s happy to discuss his methodology. His psychology, not so much. But that’s where we’re going with this one . . .

The rabbi and I share a common bond: our fathers were Holocaust survivors. Their ordeal, their unfathomable loss and psychological trauma, informed our upbringing in ways we couldn’t begin to understand at the time, that defy easy explanation to this day. This inheritance continues to influence our lives, and the lives of our children, for good and for ill.

While I can’t (and won’t) speak to the rabbi’s childhood, the following excerpt from about.com’s The Effect of the Holocaust on the Children of Survivors resonates with my own experience and raises some possible points of commonality:

Survivor-parents have also shown a tendency to be over involved in their children’s lives, even to the point of suffocation. Some researchers suggested that the reason for this over-involvement is the survivors’ feeling that their children exist to replace what was so traumatically lost. This over-involvement may exhibit itself in feeling overly sensitive and anxious about their children’s behavior, forcing their children to fulfill certain roles or pushing their children to be high achievers.

Similarly, many survivor-parents were over-protective of their children, and they transmitted their distrust of the external environment to their children. Consequently, some Second Gens have found it difficult to become autonomous and to trust people outside their family.

Like most psychological profiles, this one reads like a combination of astrology, psycho-babble and a fortune cookie. But it’s certainly true that the rabbi and I feel pushed, driven to succeed. We’ve been involved in multiple causes and businesses, endlessly searching for paths to personal excellence and financial achievement – hampered by our inability to trust anyone. It’s no surprise that we both upped stakes and moved last year, to places where we knew no one.

On the positive side, if I may be so bold, this analysis also applies: “Resilient traits – such as adaptability, initiative, and tenacity – that enabled survivor-parents to survive the Holocaust may have been passed on to their children.” I would not want to face the rabbi in any kind of fight: rhetorical, political or physical. He will not yield, ever. By the same token, the rabbi’s armed self-defense business (armedresponsetraining.com) and this website were created from nothing, against well-established players, through sheer force of will.

Like our fathers before us, the rabbi and I are survivors, born and bred.

As such, the rabbi and I exercise our natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. In this realm, the differences between us are only a matter of degree. I train to a basic level of competence. The rabbi trains to the highest possible standard and teaches others to do the same. I do a pretty good job of situational awareness, frequently lapsing into smartphoneland. The rabbi rarely leaves Jeff Cooper’s Condition Orange. “If you are attacked in condition orange,” Richard Fairburn writes at policeone.com, “you should be expecting the attack.”

And there, finally, is your answer. The rabbi expects an attack, whereas you and I plan for it as a remote possibility. Does that make us “sensible” and the rabbi “paranoid”? Given Mr. Kenik’s family history, given the history of our people, I say no. “Never again” isn’t just a public declaration by a Jew that he or she won’t to surrender to the forces of evil without a fight. It’s also a grim reminder: the fight is coming. I may not share the rabbi’s level of preparation but I share his fatalistic belief that peace is only a temporary condition. Especially for a Jew.

Think of it this way: if you knew you were going to be attacked how many guns would you carry?

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[NOTE: Click here for the rabbi’s post giving the practical reasons why he carries three guns.]

69 Responses to Why The Rabbi Carries Three Guns, And I Carry One

  1. Why does the reason need to be rational?

    Why do people need a new car and not a used one?

    Guns are cool. I personally have never carried more than 2 guns at once, but I’m not going to judge those who carry more.

    And for the record, when I carried two, it was so I could take off the 9mm IWB if I needed to bend over a lot but I’d still have the .22 magnum mousegun in my pocket.

        • They’re a pain to learn to shoot (seriously – it is not an intuitive grip) but they are SUPER convenient and a lot of power for something the size of a staple remover.

    • I carry two every day: subcompact 9mm IWB and an even smaller .380 in back pocket wallet holster. This article is timely for me as lately I’ve been considering adding a .22lr pistol to my daily carry, perhaps in an ankle holster.

      My concern is being caught unawares during a restaurant robbery, frisked, disarmed, and corralled into a store room, to what end I shudder to think. This is a near weekly occurrence somewhere in Houston. I’d like to have that one last extra-concealed back up gun just in case.

    • I was dating a girl and the topic of a threesome came up (in a purely hypothetical context, I assure you the possibility of it actually happening was nil, and she brought it up, not me.) She asked, “why do men fantasize about that?” I answered “would you rather have one bag of jellybeans or two bags of jellybeans?” Seems to apply here.

  2. Interesting post. In my e-interaction with Rabbi, he has been unfailingly pleasant.

    I still only carry one gun. With no extra mag. When I feel like it. No I don’t ever expect trouble.

  3. Carrying 3 guns is NOT ABOUT needing 3 guns. It is about having ONE gun when you need it, in as many situations/positions/circumstances you may happen to find yourself in. One assumes here that each gun is being carried in a different location, so as to broaden the applications or possibilities of bringing a single gun to bear in a given situation.

    Therefore the likelihood of needing a gun in a “normal, average, everyday, suburban upper-middle-class non-criminal life” is the same for any given individual, regardless of how many they actually carry.

    Ask yourself this – how many forms of payment do you carry in your wallet, and why? I bet most have some cash, a debit card, and 2 or more credit cards. Why would anyone need this many forms of payment when most merchants will likely accept any one of them. Answer: Flexibility of application.

    • The analogy doesn’t work, because we spend money relatively frequently.Im not wealthy, but I use my debit card almost every other day.

      I’ve yet to get into a gunfight three times a week.Even Chicago PD doesn’t waste bad guys THAT often.

      I don’t own three cars, carry three wallets, or have three spare car keys.To modify a certain saying, fear of losing a gunfight won’t help you win one no matter how much hardware you carry.

    • “… Flexibility of application.”

      ^ This.

      I always like to carry a full size handgun. And yet there are situations where that full size handgun might be relatively slow to access due to the carry/concealment method. In those situations a smaller handgun is very nice to have. For example you could have a snubnose revolver in a coat pocket in addition to carrying a full size on your hip under your coat. If someone questionable approached, you could have your hand on your snubnose revolver in your coat pocket without even having to present it. In other words your reaction time to a sudden attack is no more than your brain’s reaction time to recognize the attack and direct your finger to squeeze. That eliminates the additional 1.0 to 1.5 seconds it takes to move a garment out of the way, draw, and aim. While 1.0 to 1.5 seconds doesn’t sound like much, it can make a huge difference in the outcome of a sudden assault.

  4. Thanks for the insight Robt and reminder of the resource : lots of useful free info at the rabbi ‘s site in addition to books and dvds from three experienced trainers.

  5. magazines do fail, so even if you are carrying just one, you had better have a spare mag, and I am of the school that you can never have too much ammo on your person.

    • It is better to have too much ammunition when you need ammunition than to have too little ammunition when you need it. In the first instance one may say: “Damn I fired a lot of ammo. In the latter instance someone may be looking at your corpse and remarking: It looks like he fired all the ammo he had.”

  6. If the rabbi is a Rabbi, does his good work sometimes put him in more risky places than some of us would typically venture? That might be a good reason to be better prepared than the average suburbanite. But at the bottom of it all, who am I to question someone else’s definition of prepared?

  7. I have carried at least 3 guns before, esp when it is my turn on security at church (our pastor has received death threats). The fun is wearing a tailored suit and making sure no one can tell. . . . 🙂

  8. Its about risk assessment/risk tolerance and cost benefit analysis. Just like car insurance/life insurance/safety equipment. Odds of having a fire in my house, low, odds that will be a major fire, lower still, odds that it will occur in a place preventing egress down the single flight of stairs, even lower. Risk if it occurs- loss of life or serious injury jumping out the top floor windows. Mitigation- fire extinguishers, alarms, and a portable rope escape ladder on the top floor. Plus time/effort in training kids to use the tools. Is the investment worth the risk/odds/possible costs?

    Same thing with firearms, it comes down to an individual risk decision on likelihood, consequences, costs of preparation.

  9. If I knew I was being attacked today, I’d move somewhere else.

    Life is short.Time with your family is a gift, not a right.Seeing your parents, your spouse, and your kids behind a lexan glass on Visitation Day because the criminal you shot belonged to the wrong voting block and the DA used your multiple guns approach as justification for a bogus trial isn’t a victory.

    Everyewhere we look there are people teaching how to carry guns, how to shoot guns, how to shoot on the move in a yoga position and every other one under the sun.

    There are precious few instructors who teach people to avoid the fight to start with.The goal isn’t to kill the bad guy.The goal is to avoid drawing the gun to begin with.If you have to shoot someone, it’s not “Mission Accomplished “-it’s “Mission Failed”.I don’t say that to trivialize surviving a fight, I say that because the goal of a self defense incident is to have a life worth living.If the bad guy runs away because you were prepared to handle business, mission accomplished.You get to go back to your life without The Government in your business.

    Hauling around three guns when one is unlikely to be used if you’re paying attention to your surroundings crosses that line, in my estimation.It also suggests-no disrespect to the Rabbi-extreme situation thinking .If you use one gun, the others will be seized after the cops show up.If you encounter three or more trained thugs and they’re dedicated to ruining your day, they will succeed unless your last name is Leatham,and your first name is Robbie.In Hollywood, the bad guys are poor shots.In real life, criminals practice .Three drawn guns firing against one means everyone gets a ride on the ambulance, no matter how many guns you strap onto the belt.

    Again:these are just my thoughts.Not gun dogma.Let no man ever say “HIS WAY” is “THE” way to carry.We need to celebrate our perspectives and respect them.

    • I’m going to disagree with one point. The bad guys don’t practice. Time and again we see bad guys with guns they have no idea how to use or if they even work.

      It’s a hollywood myth, amongst others, that the bad guys are good with thier guns. Another is the well trained and equipped team of bad guys taking out the good guy. Unless the good guy is blind sided the bad guys un-ass the place at the first sign of resistence.

      Which is all the more reason to question Rabbi’s need for 3 guns. Has the Rabbi ever been in a gun fight?

        • We know this because they accidently shoot each other and that tax payer funded equipment often enough. Sorta the keystone cops meets the 3 stooges.

  10. It makes sense. If I remember right he said that two of those guns were in ankle holsters. If you go to the ground a `la Zimmerman, you might not be able to reach your waist because it’s under you, but going for an ankle rig might still be an option.
    The bottom line is Murphy is a wily bastard, and no matter how libertarian your politics are, we all answer to his law

  11. How many fire extinguishers are in your house?

    1? 3? 7?

    Full on sprinkler system?

    I think it comes down to risk. How much are you willing to put yourself out to ensure you can put out a fire in your house, or can deal with a certain size of fire?

    Multiple carry guns are the same.

    I may not make the same choice as you, and think your choice is crazy…and that’s the great thing about living in a relatively free country, you make a choice, I make a choice, I stay out of your business, you stay out of mine..

  12. If I knew I was going to be attacked I would be carrying an AR with at least 180 rnds and a pistol for backup and I would bring help. Get there the firstest with the mostest.

  13. I’m cool with my gun, spare mag, flashlight, and knife. While I could carry a gun on an ankle or behind the hip since I carry appendix, for me its over the top. Most of what I already carry is not likely to be used, save for the knife and flashlight for utility purposes. Nevertheless, whatever makes this guy feel comfortable in life is entirely his right. I just personally don’t see the point, but its not my place to say he is doing it wrong.

    Now if I was in law enforcement that would be a different story. Or lived somewhere where crime was happening in front of my face.

  14. I carry one. When I can get a NAA micro revolver, I will carry two. And when I travel overnight, I always carry at least one extra for the trip.

  15. It’s nice of the rabbi to reveal his carry setup, and it is interesting, but he certainly doesn’t need to justify it. It isn’t my place to ask why a person carries multiple guns. To me, that’s akin to this irritating question: “Why do you need to carry a gun in [a grocery store, a mall, a library, your home, etc.]?”

    • You misunderstand the question, at least as I’m asking it. I suppose you could say I’m asking him to justify it, but only so I can better understand his thought process, not so I can denigrate it.

      • As Soccerchainsaw asked earlier: What difference does it make? Darn good question. I’m glad we got some insight, though.

  16. Thanks for the responses. And while I realize no one has to justify their needs or desires to anyone else, all of go through a calculus of what we’re likely to “need,” and act accordingly. Obviously by my question, you can tell that my calculus of need doesn’t work out to three guns. I’m not going to tell anyone else they don’t “need” three, because that’s their call. But I am interested in the calculus that got them to that decision. That’s how you learn things. Maybe what they told me would make me reexamine my own conclusions.

  17. The first is for yourself. The second is in case of non-clearing jams or a NY reload. The third is to hand to your buddy who, for whatever reason, needs it. 😉

  18. You’re not crazy for carrying only one gun, nor for carrying more than one, the only people who are crazy are the people who live in places where neither are options.

  19. carrying any amount of guns is a persons own decision. i however don’t see the practicality of carrying much more than a semi auto iwb and a spare mag + a .38 snub nose on the ankle or in a pocket. if you need more than that, you better have an ak in your vehicle or close proximity.

  20. With the Rabbi’s somewhat Jerry-esque physique, he can get away with carrying that much hardware.

    With my far slimmer build, I’d be getting slapped across the face by nearly every woman I met if I tried to lug that much iron around with me.

  21. Sometimes I carry 3 guns. A 9mm behind my hip, a .380 in my briefcase, and, in the winter, my 9mm car gun goes into my coat’s pocket. The problem in winter is that you can’t get to your waistband dressed for bitter cold.

    It just works out that way sometimes.

  22. ” I share his fatalistic belief that peace is only a temporary condition. Especially for a Jew.”

    Never again, indeed. I am not a Jew, but I grew up amongst Jews. Honest, kind, hard working folks. When that temporary condition falters, I will be the first to grab a rifle. The diseased theory that Jews are evil is espoused only by complete douche bags who have never known Jews.

  23. Great post, Robert, frankly, one of the best you’ve ever posted, and I mean that as high praise.

    I take a certain delight in owning a “Hebrew Hammer” the IWI Tavor SAR.

    • I agree, this is one of my favorite posts by RF and also one of my favorite posts on all of TTAG. It touches on my most fundamental reasoning for firearms ownership. Evil will come again to harm us, as it always has (very frequently in the case of my ancestors) and the commitment to prepare to destroy it is virtuous. At significant personal cost, men like Robert and the Rabbi have courageously made a moral choice that they will not abide violent acts of evil. They are hated for it by many of the very people they are prepared to save from destruction.

      “When the world is at peace, a gentleman sleeps with a sword by his side.” -Wu Qi

    • I second or 3rd or ??! One of the best pieces Robert ever wrote!

      I get to meet a lot of folks and quite a high percentage come from another country. Most are very successful in business and have a resolve to do things correctly and thoroughly. Nearly every one of them are very Right Wing in their view on how government effects our lives and most are very pro 2ND Amendment!

      Many came from places the average American, you and I, cannot imagine. IMHO our strength as a nation is derived directly from these LEGAL immigrants! Most of them appreciate the US more than us natural born citizens. They work HARD! Families remain INTACT! No OPPORTUNITY wasted! They look within their own communities for answers and help if needed and DO NOT go crying to the government if there is trouble or want.

      They are an example of the greatness of this nation….just Like Robert and the Rabbi! Thankyou!

  24. I try not to second guess what other people feel they need , usualy that have reasons that I didn’t consider. If the Rabbi thinks that is best, Who am I to judge?
    If things start jumpin ugly, he would be the guy to have arround.

  25. Doutzen Kroes and Kelly Brook, don’t know who they are, and no pictures to keep TTAG from being Neandertal.
    Damn

  26. This morning in Wisconsin with temps at 17 below, My morning exit strategy concentrated on hats and gloves and for the first time in over 365 days I forgot to slip my Infidel/Shield into my pants on my way out the door.
    Reading this article, I realy feel naked.
    3 is more than 1
    2 is 1
    1 is Zero
    -17 was also Zero

  27. I respect the Rabbi’s decision, and that of RF as well. There is no debt of explanation. We carry what we carry because it is our choice based upon our circumstances, experience, training, and lifestyle.

    I don’t usually carry a backup because I don’t have a convenient configuration to do so. I’m still considering a Bodyguard .380’or Ruger LC9 as a backup gun, but I’m not in any particular hurry. I still carry a handgun whilst hunting, rifle, or shotgun shooting.

    I got a sweet ZT 0301 for Christmas which I carry in my left pocket. Not as effective as a firearm, but a formidable knife nonetheless. It’s more than I need, but exactly what I wanted.

    • “I’m still considering a Bodyguard .380′or Ruger LC9 as a backup gun”

      I think those come with free tampons.

  28. That security guard can have three flashlights, two cell phones and four pairs of handcuffs on his belt but that doesn’t mean he’s not a ‘mall-ninja.’ Same thing applies here.

  29. I ask one question, and it comes free, and free of any advocacy: do you have more than one fire extinguisher in your car?

  30. Years ago I sat in a class that the Rabbi put on and he pulled many guns out concealed places. I almost never carry more than one gun. I just carry one that I like a lot that I’m really comfortable with.

  31. When it’s all said and done, it’s much better to be caught with a gun (or two or three) than to be caught without one.

  32. Robert and the Rabbi,

    I really appreciate hearing your stories. It is fascinating to hear stories of other Jews that have parents that survived the holocaust and the impact it has had on them. In a little more than 24 hours I will finally be able to submit my application for my CCP in Illinois. A small miracle if you ask me. Never again means many things to me, one of which is having the means to protect myself and my family from future threats, what ever they may be.

    I am here today because my grandfather and grandmother had the ‘resilient traits’ to survive and the willingness to protect their family by any means necessary. My grandparents, may their memory be for a blessing, ran from the nazis, hid in barns, practiced Catholicism, bribed and gave up everything to survive. They also knew when to kill and taught my father and two aunts as well. They were survivors and I believe the instinct to survive has been passed down to me as I make sure I have the means to protect my own.

    Thanks for sharing your stories!

    Ps…Rabbi, I would love to take one of your course some day. Where do you run them?

  33. If liberalism is a disease and survival of a Holocaust manufactures conservativism, then why do so many Jews have the disease? Just askin’.

    • Not many Jews survived the Holocaust. Most Jews died, and most of the Jews who lived had been lucky enough to avoid it. There were about 11 million Jews globally and about 6 million were murdered in the Holocaust during World War II. Anyway, there’s plenty of political diversity among any large group of people, Jews included. Sure Dianne Feinstein and Chuck Schumer are Jewish, but so are Robert Farago, David Kenik, and Adam Koresh. Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (JPFO.org) is the most pro-RKBA (right to keep and bear arms) organization I know. Armed Citizens United was founded a few months ago as a completely secular organization and they’re also strongly for gun rights. ACU calls for the abolition of the NFA (National Firearms Act), but JPFO has long called for abolition of the BATFE (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms) itself! I’m a proud member of both organizations (no, you don’t have to be Jewish, just a supporter of the individual right to keep and bear arms).

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