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Are You Prepared?

As the title of this article says, are you prepared? When I say you I’m talking to everyone that has made the conscious decision to carry a firearm.  I have asked this question to numerous people I encounter that have decided to carry a concealed weapon.  The responses I get vary but they typically fall in the area of “Hell yea I’m prepared!” and they follow up with how they are carrying the latest and greatest in concealed carry gear with the spare magazines loaded with the flavor of the month hollow point ammo.  When I tell them that’s not the kind of prepared I am talking about they usually give me a puzzled look and ask me what kind of prepared I am talking about.  They do this because the concealed carry class they took mostly covered laws and safety and not what could happen in a self defense situation.

Some of you have already figured out what kind of prepared I am talking about and for those of you who have not I am talking about being mentally prepared to use your weapon to stop a threat.  Or to put it in simpler terms are you prepared to kill another human being if you had to?  Surprisingly, this is something that a lot of people don’t think about when they decide to carry a concealed weapon.  I’ve had responses from people that range from “Well I’m not sure” to “I’ve never thought about it that way” and one even flat out told me “No” and followed it up with “I always assumed that if I ever had to point it at someone that would be enough to scare them.”  If you are still reading this and you fall into that “No” category I strongly urge you to re-consider carrying a weapon and go rejoin the flock.  If you are in the “Not sure” group that’s ok because at you are thinking about it and you are not alone.  I know police officers who would probably answer the same way because they have not prepared mentally for the day that they have to use their weapon.  Carrying the gun will always be the easy part and does not require much thought.  It’s actually really simple, you put your gun on and go about your business.  It’s that rare occasion of actually having to use your weapon that requires the most thought, and it’s not something you should think about when the wolf is knocking on your door.

Legendary coach Bear Bryant once said, “It’s not the will to win but the willingness to prepare to win that makes the difference.” While I am sure Coach Bryant was talking about football when he said this there are a lot of applications that it can apply to in life. Carrying a concealed weapon is one of them.

The first thing I think is important when it comes to mental preparation is to be honest and ask yourself is, “Could I pull the trigger if my life or my loved ones lives depended on it?” If you have no problem answering yes, then you have already overcome one of the biggest mental hurdles when it comes to carrying a weapon.

Second, don’t play the “what if” game and worry about potential consequences of having to use deadly force. Doing so can get you killed! It can lead to hesitation and in a life-or-death situation that hesitation could be the difference between a win for the good guys, or one for the bad guys. Violent criminals don’t think about the consequences of their actions and if you give them an extra second of hesitation they will take advantage of it. Know the laws of your state when it comes to using deadly force, be confident in your abilities and if the hypothetical becomes the actual, it won’t be a problem.

Third, mentally prepare for the fight before it actually happens.  Just like the “what if” game, failing to prepare before the fight can cause you to hesitate. Walk yourself through various scenarios in the places and situations you are commonly in. Think about what you would do if you are at the local fast food restaurant with your family and some psycho walks in and starts shooting people. Or if you are home and wake up to the sound of someone kicking in your backdoor. I do this with every new place I walk into. A word of caution: if you tell people what you are doing they may call you paranoid, but I’ve always thought being a little paranoid was a lot better than being dead.

Finally, DON’T EVER GIVE UP! I can’t stress enough how important this mental preparation is.  In a self-defense situation there is no such thing as a tie.  You are there to win and you must win at all costs.  There are no rules to this game and to quote Clint Smith, “The two most important things in a gun fight are: always cheat and always win.” Failing to win could mean death for you, a loved one, or another innocent person.  If you get hurt or injured it does not mean you are dead. You must tell yourself that you always fight until you take your last breath or the person who is trying to harm you takes theirs.  If your primary weapon malfunctions beyond repair or you run out of ammo, find another weapon. Remember there are no rules to this game!

Taking the time to make these mental commitments and preparations now can be the difference between surviving a deadly encounter or not.  This is not something that I can program into you in one short article.  You have to be willing to commit to the mental preparation yourself.  There are countless other articles and books written on this topic from people with a lot more expertise in this area than me.  I encourage you to seek them out and read them as well.  Lt. Colonel Dave Grossman is probably one of the foremost experts in this area and for years has trained law enforcement and military on this very subject.  He recently started speaking to the general public with his “Bullet Proof Mind for the Armed Citizen” presentation.  If this class is anything like his law enforcement programs it will be top notch with a lot of useful information and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is serious about carrying a weapon.


Join me in welcoming Robbie as a new contributor here on Monderno. Robbie is a second generation police officer with nine years experience. He currently holds  certifications as a police officer and deputy sheriff, holds the rank of detective, and is an AR-15, Glock, Remington 870 & 700 armorer. He specializes in active shooter topics and also serves as a sniper within his department.


7 Responses to Are You Prepared?

  1. Brad Fairbanks March 14, 2013 at 9:23 pm #

    Great post. Even as VERY new to carrying citizen, my thoughts on protecting myself and family/friends has always been a very easy decision to me. I will do everything and anything to protect the people that matter to me. I will use all tools available to me, making this fight were I have a unfair advantage over the person looking to do harm. Awesome post and website, and welcome Robbie.

  2. TK March 14, 2013 at 9:35 pm #

    Awesome article, definitely something to think about, whether you’re new to concealed carry or you’ve been carry for decades.

  3. gary March 14, 2013 at 10:00 pm #

    I agree great post. I have thought about that for a long time, A few weeks ago I found out. While going to the dollar store for some cleaning supplies. Walking into the store there were a few people outside, a young girl asked me for change I didnt have any. After getting what I needed I ask the cashier to give me $10 back (5&5 singles) to give the youg girl a few bucks. leaving store the girl was no longer there so walking to my car I see this guy and girl talking and looking around he starts watching me and begins to walk towards me. Believe me I am no wuss and I am not paraniod, this guy wanted to rob me. I never took my eyes off the 2 of them. I get to my car unlock the door and get inside this guy is trying to decide if he wants to make a move or not. Never took my gun out but did have my hand on it once in the car and whould have had no problem useing it if I had to. He made a very wise choice that night for both of us. But I now know that I am prepared.

  4. Frank Sharpe March 15, 2013 at 1:28 am #

    Great job, Robbie!

  5. shawn March 15, 2013 at 7:20 am #

    The thought of being mentally prepared is something I think about every night after kissing my son goodnight. Im a single father and for the past four years its just been my son and I. I always tell myself I would do anything to protect him from anyone or anything that wants to harm him. The day after he was born was the day that I took the class to get my concealed carry permit. It was also the day that I got an attorney that specializes in self defense cases if I ever find myself in that situation. Am I mentally prepared? I would like to think so. By the way, great article to wake up to this morning Robbie and welcome to TL.

  6. Gary Stanley March 15, 2013 at 10:45 am #

    Good article. I’ve ran the senerio through my head a million times just to make sure I could pull the trigger. It’s easy to say yes, I just hope that I’m not fooling myself. Now when I go to a restaurant, I always request that my back is towards the wall. My wife used to think I was just being paranoid because how often does a nice restaurant get robbed. Now she just knows that I’m going to read my surroundings and that will determine where I sit, whom I watch and where the exits are. Situational awareness.

  7. Rugrash March 15, 2013 at 2:37 pm #

    Here’s a great video by someone who has actually been on the two-way range and knows what he’s talking about when it comes to having to make life and death decisions. It’s important to go over scenarios in your head beforehand, so that if the time comes, where you need to use your weapon, you will not hesitate.