The Armed Self Defense Mindset – Do You Have It?

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Reader Kyle in Texas writes:

I’ve had my CHL for several years now, but only in the last several months have I started carrying every day. To be honest, I was a little tentative at the idea. It was uncomfortable. I was worried about revealing and printing, being able to practice and, most of all. I wasn’t convinced I was ready to do what was necessary in the event I actually needed to defend myself, a loved one or someone who cannot or chooses not to defend themselves. One of those SHTF moments . . .

What changed? My mindset. My determination to change my lifestyle.

Early on I started carrying in my house, but only with the idea to get comfortable with carrying. I got a new (expensive) belt, a better holster, better fitting pants…that’s a work in progress still. I’ve invested in practice. Because it’s not feasible to think that I can just buy a gun and be a proficient shooter. And it’s an investment; an investment in time, money, energy and the lifestyle. I’ve had a few friends poke fun at the fact that I carry. So what. I’m ready.

Recently, however, my thinking turned from occasional carry for comfort and confidence, to everyday carry for a purpose. I continue to see articles like this and this, encouraging everyday carry even at home. Even more eye opening? Articles like this and the It Should Have Been a Defensive Gun Use series show the importance of always being armed, everywhere.

Research like the CDC’s Priorities for Research to Reduce the Threat of Firearm-Related Violence offers in depth and far reaching looks into firearm violence. Go download the CDC’s PDF, it’s free and there is a lot of information in it. Read it. Jump to conclusions. Your mileage may vary.

But the most disconcerting news story so far is one I heard in the past few days. The Dallas Police Department is having trouble responding to emergency calls.

Under fire over out-of-control police response times, Dallas Police Chief David Brown ordered that more than 100 officers be returned to patrol to help answer calls through the end of October, News 8 has learned.
Records obtained by News 8 show that top-priority calls, such as murders and shootings, are taking more than 10 minutes on average to answer. The goal is eight minutes.

The next-highest priority calls are taking an average of nearly 30 minutes. The goal is 12 minutes.

The chief attributed rising response times to new policies that direct officers to slow down, wait for cover, and to de-escalate situations, which requires them to take more time on calls. He also said the department has fewer officers than it did five years ago, as well as half the overtime money.

More than slightly unnerving. I’m sure Dallas isn’t alone, but it’s where I live. Eight, 10, 30 minutes? Granted certain ongoing events across the Metroplex have all police forces spread thin right now, but a lot can happen in that time. In my own “secured” apartment complex, two apartment B&E’s and one vehicle break-in have happened in the past 30 days. Luckily no one was hurt. But now, like Sara Tipton, I carry all the time. I sleep with my firearm next to my bed. Unfortunately my place of work doesn’t allow carry of any kind, even though there are no signs saying so. That’s a work in progress, too.

Armed self defense is a mindset and an enormous personal decision. You have to make the investment and decide that you’ll be willing to do what is necessary to stop the threat, make the right decisions based on your situation (fight or flight) and live with those decisions for the rest of your life.

As has been said again and again, when seconds count, help is only minutes away. How long will you wait for help when your life is on the line?

I’ve made my decision.

comments

  1. avatar actionphysicalman says:

    “I’ve had a few friends poke fun at the fact that I carry.”

    I didn’t tell anyone when I started carrying. Not even my wife. I couldn’t think of more good than bad that could come from others knowing. Two friends that also carry could infer it from our gun conversations though.

    1. avatar Rokurota says:

      Tell your wife. You need her to know what’s going down if it happens. And she will get used to it.

      1. avatar actionphysicalman says:

        She knew I got the permit and she noticed it after three weeks. Considering that it is a full sized with a 6″ barrel in an OWB it was kind of a test how noticeable it was. I am not much of a hugger, but that was how she finally noticed.

        1. avatar PeterW says:

          Do you not ever hug? Nothing personal, just I know my wife would make me within the first hour I carried around her, unless it was a pocket pistol, and even then within the day. It’s not that I’m such a hugger either, but she is…

  2. avatar ThomasR says:

    I only started to carry after a predator tried to mug me.

    So I got teligion, the self-defense mindset, beaten into me, literally.

    So carrying a weaoon 24/7, where I can legally do so, especially at home, has been my S.O.P. for over eighteen years. The ladt eight of those years has been OC with out the need of a license, which has been very edifying.

    1. avatar AnyMouse says:

      In my jurisdiction, and surrounding territory, open carry is allowed, but…..anyone who feels threatened by the sight of a firearm can force a stop and arrest for menacing, disorderly conduct, threat by firearm, brandishing, and just about any other thing the officials can think of to charge. We do not have laws that prevent separate trials for each and every charge. There have not been reported very many incidents of “swatting”, but the potential is always a factor in deciding which way to carry.

  3. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    Good for you Kyle. Congratulations on making the plunge. As they say, better to have it and not need it … than need it and not have it.

    Here’s hoping that we never need it.

    1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

      I’ll second all of that.

  4. avatar Ethan says:

    Average response time in Akron, OH to burglary in progress: 1.5 hours.
    I know – we had to call twice and then listen as our neighbors apartment was ransacked.

    1. avatar Steve in TX says:

      A year and half ago in Lewisville TX north of Dallas a cop finally showed up 3 hours later after two drunk men fired a couple of pistols in an apartment parking lot and chased a couple and their infant. When the cop finally showed up he seemed pissed that we actually bothered to call it in.

  5. avatar Curtis in IL says:

    Whether police response time is one minute or one hour, it wouldn’t affect my decision to carry. Either way, someone’s gonna be dead when they show up.

  6. avatar Dave says:

    I began carrying everyday, everywhere after I got a credible death threat. That’s a really bad feeling, believe me. The guy was a lunatic, too. The only time I won’t bring my gun with me is if I’m heading out with friends to have some beers. Beer and firearms are two of my favorite things, but I don’t think they play together well. Some may disagree, to each his own.

    Be careful out there everyone, and be ready.

  7. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    “Unfortunately my place of work doesn’t allow carry of any kind, even though there are no signs saying so. That’s a work in progress, too.”

    You could ask your workplace to change their policy. But there is a down side to this. If they refuse, they will know that you want to carry at work and may very well scrutinize you much more closely than otherwise. If you say nothing, the idea of carrying at work will never cross their minds and no one will give you a second thought — or glance.

    Unless your workplace requires changing clothes in the open or involves people putting their hands on you, there is a way to carry concealed such that no one will ever know. Depending on your work attire and the nature of your work, you may have to compromise somewhat on what you carry and how you carry it, but there is always a way to carry something.

    For example, say that your everyday carry is a full-size 1911 pistol, outside-the-waste band, under an untucked shirt, at the 3 O’Clock position (on your right hip). However, your work requires casual business attire with tucked shirts and no sport jackets. That means you cannot carry anything outside or inside-the-waste band. (Even the most discreet inside-the-waste band holsters which allow you to tuck a shirt in your pants still have a visible clip that could tip someone off.) Possible solutions:
    (a) You can carry a subcompact pistol in a pocket holster in your front pants pocket. You could even carry a second subcompact pistol in a pocket holster in the other front pocket if you felt undergunned!
    (b) You can carry a compact pistol in a SmartCarry deep concealment holster or a belly band type holster.
    (c) You can carry a compact pistol in an ankle holster.
    (d) You can carry any of the above AND keep a full size handgun in a briefcase, backpack, lunch carrier, a locked desk drawer, a locker, or any other secured off-body location.

    Your imagination is the limit … don’t let it limit you.

    1. avatar Gunr says:

      The little NAA 22 magnum is in my pocket 24/7! A good choice for when absolute concealment is a muse!

  8. avatar tdiinva (Now in Wisconsin) says:

    For me the probability of being the target of an an attack is very low but it is much higher than someone flying a 757 into my place of work.

  9. avatar Roscoe says:

    Dallas Police Chief David Brown: “…top-priority calls, such as murders and shootings, are taking more than 10 minutes on average to answer. The goal is eight minutes.”

    Be prepared. In a deadly confrontation eight minutes is a lifetime, maybe yours or a loved one’s. But delay is hardly a new phenomenon even with big city North Eastern cities with 4 to 6 cops per thousand population. So many variables can hinder response starting with the initial trouble call.

    One should practice regularly at a level that gives one confidence and competence with ones carry choice, ones draw, and ones shooting mechanics. Having a daily mindset that focuses on ultimate defense to an imminent deadly assault leaving no choice but to act is key to triggering an appropriate response if and when the time comes.

    The goal is always self defense and stopping a bad actor’s assault, or deterring the threat from developing. One should run through the possible risks every day while going about one’s routine. That keeps one’s mindset sharp.

    Situational awareness.

    1. avatar Juanito ''Johnnie'' Ibañez says:

      Remember this: per Dallas Police Chief David Brown, “When the end of your life is measured in seconds, Dallas PD is only EIGHT MINUTES away!”

      😐

  10. avatar Accur81 says:

    Those are typical big-city police response times. If somebody is trying to murder me, I’d rather not wait 8-12 minutes for an armed response. Add another 30-60 seconds for the 911 to be completed and processed, although those times can vary as well. Yep, 911 sometimes gives busy signals. Contrast that to a draw and fire with 3 rounds on target in 1.5 seconds. Maybe add a few seconds to get a gun from a speedsafe or night stand. There’s no contest.

  11. avatar MarkPA says:

    Why worry about “printing”? If you have a CWP and aren’t going to GFZs, what difference does it make? If you DO go to GFZs then you need to be careful not to get caught. Someone in the GFZ might be LOOKING for printing. Outside a GFZ, nobody is apt to be looking. Moreover, if someone perceives you to be printing, what are they going to do? Ask you? Tell them it’s your colostomy bag. Point at you and scream: “He’s gotta GUN!!!”? It’s a fantasy.

    I advocate “virtual CC”; i.e., carry concealed and wear a t-shirt that leave very little doubt that you are a concealed-carrier. What are the hoplophobes going to do about it? Scream: “He’s gotta GUN!!!”? Whatever they do they are more likely to embarrass themselves than to embarrass me.

    1. avatar tdiinva (Now in Wisconsin) says:

      It depends on where you are carrying. If you are in a non open carry state printing can be considered a violation of no open carry laws.

      1. avatar MarkPA says:

        Is that really true? If so, where? What are the statutory texts?

        If so, then these should be obvious targets for our opposition in the courts for being unconstitutionally vague. How is it that one can violate the law by “printing”? How can anyone know what kinds of stuff I have inside my pocket by looking at the bulges in my jeans? Is this a new form of Phrenology?

        At least the practitioner of that discredited art/science would actually have to feel the bumps on my head to diagnose my character. Now, the hoplophobes can Divine the content of my pocket by simply observing its bumps?

        1. avatar tdiinva (Now in Wisconsin) says:

          Until a couple of years ago Texas. I believe it gets you in trouble in Florida as well. You need to look at each state where open carry is not legal.

        2. avatar Matt in TX says:

          Yup, Texas fixed it. All it took was a windy west Texas day and you could be a felon.

  12. avatar mark s. says:

    I started conceal carrying years ago , about a year or two before 9/11 . I carried open off and on since I was about 25 , being a resident of WV but I started CC around 1999 because I had a strong gut feeling that we were about ready to have a SHTF moment and have carried everyday since . I still strongly feel and more so today than ever that we are going to have that SHTF moment and it is primarily due to our slide away from God and our turning our backs on our promise to Him as a Nation . Our founding fathers made a covenant with the God of Abraham to always follow His law and God has blessed us for honoring that promise until now . I believe Gods blessing has been removed and He has removed His divine protection and soon SWHTF .

  13. avatar Rokurota says:

    After I “got into” guns, I bought a pocket .380 and started carrying every day. The mindset soon followed, enabled in part by TTAG and like sites. I started carrying other tools (knife, light, etc.), then moved up to larger guns, studied martial arts, worked to increase my physical endurance and strength, and try to be generally aware. So for me, carrying begat the mindset.

    The mindset of self-reliance has been good for my family, too. If dad can-do, then the kids are more inclined to try. Wife, although she doesn’t carry, makes a mental exit plan wherever we go. I have an 8th grader who had to write about an idea in the Declaration of Independence. He chose “the right of people to alter or abolish their government.” I can’t wait to see the teacher’s comments!

  14. avatar pres stone says:

    my guess is i won’t really be able to confirm my mindset until it happens. for all i know i could curl up into a ball screaming like a child.

    1. avatar Rokurota says:

      I like your honesty!

      “Mindset” is partly about planning in advance what you will do. How many times has someone fainted or been injured in your midst? The only people who run to help are trained in first aid. Everyone else stands there frozen.

  15. avatar Claymore says:

    I have to wear a suit everyday. It would be uncomfortable and notably strange to keep my jacket on all day, so any kind of waistband carry is out. I carry a G 43 on my ankle. Since “experts” always say that “ankle carry is tactically unsound,” I also carry a Kahr CW 380 in my pocket. This sorta “New York Reload” gives me a quick pocket gun and a slower but harder hitting 9mm.

  16. avatar C.Rogers says:

    This seems to be more about the decision to carry than a defensive mindset.
    I’m not referring to all the bugle-oil about how “my situational awareness is 360 degrees out to the horizon 24 hours a day” (an impossibility as both eyes are on the front of the head), and such, i mean putting thought into how you’re going to deal with that defensive situation is more important that the tool you carry to deal with it. Not the “Collateral”-style Mozambique you’ll of course flawlessly perform, but whether after a lifetime of “never point a gun at another person”, can you kill a threat.
    The military and law enforcement folks have a better grasp of that than most, but its something you have to have honest discourse with yourself about.
    I know I guy who can’t watch violent movies, has never aimed a firearm at anything other than a paper or steel target, has never hunted or anything like that but he carries. One has to wonder if he’s had that conversation with himself.

    1. avatar Bob in Calif says:

      after a lifetime of “never point a gun at another person”, can you kill a threat.

      I had this happen to me while going through training in the military. The first time out I hesitated and it got me “KILLED”. Second time and thereafter I had no trouble staying alive. If it comes down to a them or me situation, I will depend on my training to be the one that walks away. A split second could be life or death.

  17. avatar TX Gun Gal says:

    Self defense mindset? As someone raised in a family as the only girl in household of two older, bigger brothers, and both parents working, I had to develop self defense mindset by the time I entered 1st. grade. Over the years I’ve had some close calls but have arrived unscathed to my 60’s. Only difference between then and now, is a more effective tool than teeth & nails. I have ED carried since the day my CHL arrived, including pocket carry. No one, including my husband knows I have a weapon on me. It’s a need to know thing, and hoping no one ever has to know.

  18. avatar DaveC says:

    I once had a neighbor who had been robbed twice. The first time he was actually home and took the burglar down because he did have a loaded weapon at the ready. When his wife called 911 and told them they were being burglarized the dispatcher said it would be more than 30 mins. for someone to respond. Then something really interesting happened; the wife told the dispatcher that the husband had a gun on said burglar. The dispatcher had an officer there inside of 10 mins. Figure that one out. Unfortunately, the 2nd time they were burglarized there was no armed resident there to stop it. Any guesses on how long it took the police to come to the house and write it up? 2 days. It’s not like TV; they come and look at all the evidence and dust for finger prints and don’t allow anyone into the crime scene for fear of contaminating it. Reality is, if you are NOT of the mind set of taking care of yourself and your loved ones then the mind set that you ARE in is to be a victim. A lot of things are uncomfortable at first. And I bet you talk to anyone who has been the victim of a crime, especially a violent one, and they will tell it was definitely uncomfortable.You form habits over time, usually 28 – 30 days. You want to get comfortable with being a victim or with being prepared? Carry that weapon for the next month every chance you get. You will get comfortable with it. Then you will feel naked without it.

  19. avatar Anon says:

    Depending on the state, lawyers can and will get into your postings and Facebook stuff.

    I work for lawyers part time.. . they are not as bad as you think and they do have some ethics, at least the low flying ones.

    They have always advised me not to post anything. For Curtis in IL, you did not mean dead, you meant neutralize.

    Our niece lost a lot of money in a lawsuit against a hospital for malpractice as her claim was she was injured but her Facebook postings showed a partyer, which the other side got ahold of. The judge called them all in for a discussion, pointed out the median income in the county and recommended they settle for a lot less, which they did. She is still quite sick but still parties.

    Love can be for 5 minutes, a few hours, days, weeks, years or a lifetime. Postings and emails are forever.

    1. avatar Gunr says:

      So, RF, have you ever had a court order to divulge the name of one of us who post on this site? What do you do to keep our identities hidden?

  20. avatar Ralph says:

    The instinct to fight and survive is innate. Most people have it, and it comes out when it needs to. That’s why sweet little old ladies with guns can defend themselves effectively when bad men break into their homes.

    Mindset is different. People do not need a combat mindset to defend themselves, but it may make them more effective.

    1. avatar Rokurota says:

      If what you say is true, why do so many people cower in the face of violence? In this latest shooting, one person rushed the shooter and fought back. Except on airplanes, I don’t see many people fighting for survival.

      1. avatar Matt in TX says:

        That was also my thought. They just stood around and waited to be shot. Nobody fought back at all. (well just the one guy and he survived.)

  21. avatar onezero says:

    Living in an apartment, I had not been home carrying, gun in every room & door always locked. I recently moved into a small house. Had the stereo blasting, front door open as I opened boxes in kitchen. There was a knock on the screen door and a male calling out. And my first thought was F***! Handgun on couch, one in bedroom, I was 11 steps away from each & hadn’t opened the box with the butcher knives yet. It was just a guy from insurance company. Got my heart racing & a change in attitude.

  22. avatar Mikial says:

    I always carry an EDC with an extra mag, and if it is a trip more than a couple of miles from home, I carry a BUG with an extra mag. My wife and I always have a gun close in whatever room we’re in at home. T night if i go downstairs to the kitchen or into the garage, I carry. I also carry if I’m outside mowing the lawn, rolling the trash cans up to the road, or BBQing. We practice regularly and would have zero hesitation in defending ourselves.

    Why get a CC permit if you are not going to carry all the time? There is no way to predict when something might happen. Carry, train, and be prepared to do what you need to in order to protect yourself.

  23. avatar jwm says:

    Armed has nothing to do with it. You’re either a predator or prey. If you look, think and act like mutton, guess what you’re going to be mistaken for.

  24. avatar Joe says:

    Started carrying and quickly found out that a small .380 beats my full size .40 for ease of carry. The thing disappears in a good IWB holster don’t even need a cover garment.

    Also found that losing 15 lbs made carry much more comfortable. Besides that… You get what you train for. Take a class and practice draw, flash sight picture, and dry fire on a regular basis if you aren’t getting to the range every week. Hell, take a class even if you are getting to the range once a week.

  25. I just think that we should all open carry to drive the antis crazy. The dirtbags would know that everyone is carrying and they have NO WHERE TO GO. No double standards put DC politicians on Obamacare and SS.Thanks for your support and vote.Pass the word. mrpresident2016.com

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