The biggest mistake a concealed carrier can make: dying at the hands of an aggressor. Only not really. Let’s be honest. You could do everything right in an attack and still be killed. By the same token, you could do everything wrong and live. Concealed carry is a game of playing the odds. The better prepared you are, the greater your chances of emerging victorious. Just how much thought and training you put into carrying is up to you. But here are three common mistakes that can get you killed . . .


1. Not carrying your gun

The first rule of winning a gunfight: have a gun. I know plenty of people who have a concealed carry permit (a Constitutional infringement but don’t get me started) who only carry occasionally. They tool-up when they’re going downtown. Or when they’re carrying large amounts of money. Or when they’re with their family.

One simple thing to keep in mind: it’s not up to you when a bad guy attacks. It’s up to them. And they don’t make appointments. While bump-in-the-night scenarios get a lot of attention — and generate lots of shotgun sales — many assaults happen in broad daylight in “safe places” like . . . Walgreen’s.

The obvious solution: carry your gun from the moment you wake up until the moment you go to sleep. That’s right, home carry too.

If that seems like too much of a PITA, chances are you’re carrying the wrong gun. Or wearing the wrong holster. The easiest solution to concealed carry reticence (at least for men): pocket carry a small, thin, light firearm. They’re not ideal for self-defense but they satisfy the aforementioned first rule of gunfighting.

2. Not practicing drawing your weapon

The People of the Gun tend to focus on the gun. Why not? Guns are fascinating. Cool. Sexy. But when it comes to armed self-defense, your ability to quickly and efficiently present your gun to the bad guy or guys is more important than the type of firearm you carry.

Plenty of gun gurus who will tell you that the shooter who hits first is the most likely to win. Which makes the speed of presentation more important than the speed of firing. Think of it this way: the faster you get the gun out, the more time you have to aim and shoot. The more accurate you’ll be.

First, make sure you have a holster that enables a quick draw. Yes, I just recommended pocket carry. Yes, that’s not the best holstering system. Truth be told, concealed carry is a compromise. But no matter which holster type and gun you carry, practice drawing.

ALWAYS unload your gun, safety check it and put the ammo outside the room when you practice. I practice twice a day, at least ten draws. If you can’t be bothered, do it less. But do it. Often and for the rest of your life.

3. Talking too much to the cops after a defensive gun use

If you’re involved in a defensive gun use, the police will pump you for information. How many shots did you fire? Where were you standing? How did you know he was trying to attack you? Did you give a verbal warning?

As you know, you have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. Use that right. Remain silent. That said, there is some information you should provide to second responders . . .

Before you say anything, say this: “I was in fear for my life.” Get that out there immediately, before you answer any questions or provide any info. “Are you OK?” the cops asks. “I was in fear for my life,” you reply. Those seven words form your defense. Period.

Then tell them your name. Point out any witnesses or evidence they might miss. Describe the felon or felons that have fled. Other than that, say “I’ll be glad to provide a full statement after I speak with my lawyer. I want to speak with my lawyer.” Then say NOTHING.

Again, there’s a whole lot you can do to prepare for an armed confrontation, from adjusting your situational awareness to learning how to shoot and move. But avoid these three common mistakes and you’ll dramatically increase your odds of survival; before, during and after a defensive gun use.

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34 Responses to The Three Biggest Mistakes Made by Concealed Carry Gun Owners: Guns for Beginners

  1. —If that seems like too much of a PITA, chances are you’re carrying the wrong gun. Or wearing the wrong holster. —

    Or work in a courthouse.

    • Or have a mortgage and/or little ones that necessitate a consistent source of revenue.

      I’m wary of pocket or off body carry and IWB just presents too many employment risks. Plus, we do maintain an armed cop on site 24/7 and have 30.06/07 signs posted.

    • Exactly. George Zimmerman is a free man because he cooperated with the police. If he had clamed up he would be in jail.

    • Most of the cases that Ayoob is discussing are far different than the strategy Farago is describing. There’s a huge difference between fleeing a scene and simply saying you’ll make a statement later. In fact, in cases five,six and seven the shooters got themselves in trouble because they misspoke in the heat of the moment. Ayoob says “Don’t attempt to answer detailed questions in the short-term aftermath.”

      In fact, Ayoob’s advice at the end is quite similar to the advice Farago offers. If Ayoob suggests offering slightly more information, that’s a minor quibble. You can always add more information when you make your official statement. You can’t ever take back anything you’ve said.

  2. “If he didn’t have an ice cream craving, this probably would have never happened.”

    Ban Ice cream!

    • We we typing at the same time, with similar thoughts. And yeah, the ice cream is the real problem! 😉

    • Nobody *needs* ice cream. Ice cream can contribute to obesity and heart disease, which kill thousands of Americans each year. You could get in a crash driving to get more ice cream. Or get shot. If it saves just one life, isn’t it worth it to ban ice cream?

      /sarc

  3. Did the reporter say that the Good Samaritan said if he hadn’t had a craving for ice cream “this would have never happened?” I get that he feels anguish for taking a life, but whether he had been there or not, the bad guy would have robbed the place with his sawed-off shotgun, and maybe killed some innocent people. Or maybe not this time, but who knows when & who?

    Plus, why is the GS going on camera & letting his name be splashed all over the news? Maybe that should be part of #3 in this article – don’t talk to reporters or go on camera.

    • I don’t think I would have thanked the mother for forgiving me. I would have said you should be apologizing to me for your POS son putting my life and the lives of others in danger. And the father saying that the Good Samaritan did not need to shoot him that many times or with that caliber of gun? Just what did he expect? That the good Samaritan go out and buy something a little more appropriate? Let’s see, what does a man of breeding bring to a gun fight with someone with a shotgun? I’d bring all I could get!
      That POS was robbing the store because the POS parents never taught him that it was wrong.

  4. I just took my dog for a walk without my gun. It is not that it is uncomfortable, it is that it is very comfortable. I almost always home carry, but this morning I didn’t take it into the bathroom with me when I took a shower as is my usual routine. Not having it on my clothes to remind me, I forgot to holster it. It is very light and the holster comfortable. I didn’t notice it’s absence until I my arm brushed against the holster empty outside. I need to work on my routines.

  5. I happen to work in a place that sayeth “no firearms on premises.” Can’t risk my shirt coming up and someone seeing the hardware and losing my job with a wifey and two little ones at home. That having been said, I take the 5th on where the piece is during my work day. 🙂

    • AnarchoCatholic,

      Depending on your work environment, you could keep a full-size semi-auto pistol (with an empty chamber) and spare magazines in a brief case or other discreet location that no one will ever access. Then it would be available within 5 to 10 seconds in case of a “workplace violence” attack or similar.

      You could also keep a “micro” or sub-compact semi-auto pistol in a pocket holster or SmartCarry holster on your person for immediate access. Of course a “micro” or sub-compact semi-auto pistol is far from ideal for self-defense … nevertheless it sure beats having nothing at all.

  6. “many assaults happen in broad daylight in “safe places” like Walgreens”

    It’s true. Anything can happen any time, any place, of course, but you’re generally at your greatest vulnerability when you’re in transition or in transit. This goes for just general safety, as well as exposure to crime.

    Just as another example from this past weekend, a father went with his small child to MacDonald’s for lunch in League City, Tx (suburb south of Houston).

    2:30 in the afternoon, as they sat in their car in the drive though with however many other people around on a typical Sat. afternoon, an armed assailant walked up to the driver and attempted to rob him.

    The driver, licensed to carry, produced his own self defense side arm and delivered what was reported as “multiple shots” to the robber’s chest. The robber was transported to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced….cured of his urge ever to commit another crime.

    Fellow Texans may be aware that League City holds the distinction of having the highest per capita rate of licensed carriers in the entire state.

    • Broad day light on sunny, Saturday afternoon in Dallas, for me. But, just going for my gun was enough to make the BG rethink his situation.

      One of those DGU that will never make the stats because nothing actually happened.

  7. The reason this happened wasn’t the urge for ice cream, it was the kid with a sawed off shotgun committing a crime. Oh, and dad, if your son wasn’t planning on murder, why was he robbing a Walgreens, and why did he have a gun? It’s an unfortunate situation, but your son made a fatal bad choice. Luckily no one else was hurt.

  8. “But when it comes to armed self-defense, your ability to quickly and efficiently present your gun to the bad guy or guys is more important than the type of firearm you carry.”

    “Get your first shot off fast – this disconcerts your opponent and allows you to make the second shot count.” – Robert A. Heinlein.

    • Better yet, get a laser cartridge and learn to shot from the hip, Once you are good at that, practice at the range.

  9. Once again, we hear the armed assailant described as being “church going”, though descriptions from relatives in other cases sometimes mention the criminal being a student, a father, in the process of turning his life around, or just in general not having deserved to be killed over [fill in relevant violent or property crime here].

    That’s all B.S. spin. The black community makes endless excuses for the monsters it produces.

    • Amen. Brother. Amen. However, it is not the “black community” that produces those monsters but rather the lack of any family structure. Just listen to the twisted logic of the father at the beginning of the video.

  10. Hold on. Wait a minute. There is no way this story really happened because they are telling us that the criminal had a sawed-off shotgun … which is impossible because sawed-off shotguns are illegal. /end_sarcasm

  11. 1. Every day when I pull it out of the holster to put it away, I practice my draw and aim in a safe direction. Finger off the trigger obviously.

    2. I have a bone to pick with “I was in fear for my life.” Fear is an emotion that may have not been present. Fear is the realization that danger exists and feel that you can’t handle it. Instead of fight or flight, fear causes you to freeze. If you have the proper training, equipment, and attitude, you are in control and confident you can handle it and have no fear. I would rather tell the cop “I sensed my life was in danger.” A subtle but important difference.

    • >> “I sensed my life was in danger.”<<

      No need to use the word "sensed", which is subjective. And show immediacy. So the phrase would be "My life was in immediate danger".

      But it's best not to say anything at all until one has found a *competent* attorney. The attorney in the video put his client on tape saying "it was just an unfortunate accident". Really? You caused an accident? You accidentally pulled the trigger when your intention was not to do that?

  12. the mother of the robber “forgives” the good Samaritan?

    f I were the good Samaritan I would have said on air, thanks,
    BUT THERE IS NOTHING TO FORGIVE.

  13. Once again, Robert Farago comes through for us. What he says here is reliably true and worth knowing. Details vary and I don’t think they’re important enough to quibble over. One thing I think deserves emphasizing is this: We live in a society where the majority of people are largely ignorant of things having to do with owning, using and carrying a guns. And remember: that often includes police, prosecutors and especially juries. IGNORANCE is your greatest enemy, for yourself and on the part of others. What you don’t know can not only kill you, it can put you in a place where you’ll wish you were dead – for years and years. Fortunately, those who have curiosity about themselves (“what makes me tick?)and the world around them (what makes the world tick?) have the advantage because, for them, it’s a pleasure to always paying attention to their surroundings. Cheers, everyone. Carry on.

  14. Let’s not forget about the so called “race to the court house”! If possible and as soon as the situation is safe, be the first to call 911 after being involved in a defensive gun use.

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