Blog Rewind: Evolution of a Defensive Firearms Owner

By: Joshua Gideon

Students who have been through my Basic Handgun courses have heard my speech on “the evolution of a defensive firearms owner.” The original point of the speech was to help comfort those new students who may never have been around firearms and are still trying to warm up to the idea of having them for self-protection. The more I presented this speech in my classes; I began realizing this was hitting everyone at some point. It’s helpful for us to know that we are all evolving and because of that we should be a little understanding of those that are not at our level.

The speech begins with me explaining a few ways in which people get firearms in their home. For some, it is an inherited or otherwise handed down firearm. Others, it’s a purchase of a cheaper firearm (many times used). You have no intention on carrying a firearm, but it does help to know you have one at the house. At some point you have paid attention to the news or what is going on in your town and you realized that you should probably have some kind of a deterrent in your house to fend off bad guys. You start out with having an unloaded gun in your home, likely locked in a case and difficult to get through. Your ammo (if you have any) is stored somewhere entirely different and may also be in a locked case that is difficult to access.

Over time you begin hearing about break ins and other crime near your home. You then begin to think through your process and realize that a gun that’s inaccessible is pretty much useless if you need it. So you evolve and begin keeping the ammo and gun in a locked case that is reasonably accessible.

One night, you are woken by a noise in your house. It turned out to be the wind blowing your screen door open, but it scares you and you begin thinking about how long it would take you to get to your gun and realize that loading it in that scared condition with your hands shaking so badly just isn’t going to happen. So, you decide to keep the gun loaded, secured, and somewhat accessible, but without a round in the chamber.

As your confidence grows and you continue evolving, you decide to take a training class. You take the basic class and eventually get more comfortable with having a round in the chamber. Besides, it’s one less step that you have to do when seconds count. Your gun goes into a quick access safe in the bedroom with a round in the chamber.

You then read a story about a mother who was attacked in front of her children in the living room of their home. You begin to think that maybe you should have a gun nearby a little more often. You contemplate on how to do this and eventually decide to stage a secure firearm in your living room. Again, time goes on and you evolve some more and begin thinking about being in other parts of your home or that trip to the mailbox, so you begin carrying in a holster (nothing concealed, just accessible) on your property.

After a little more time, you realize that when you are in your car or at the market, you feel like something is missing, your gun is not with you. Your evolution has taken you to this step and you decide to get your carry permit so you can just keep your gun in your car when you go to bad areas of town. You may even at this point be looking for a new gun, one that will work for both home and in your car. Your still not warmed up enough to carrying it on you, but having it at home and in your car makes you feel a little more secure.

In your daily travels you decide to stop at the grocery late one evening. As you are walking out of the grocery store you notice a couple men smoking and standing near your vehicle. For a second you pause and realize your best means of defense is sitting in a locked glove box in your vehicle. The men turn out to be harmless, but this shakes you up and you begin researching ways to carry a firearm and even purchase a holster or two in case you do decide you want to carry it.

Eventually you get the courage to try carrying it. It’s a bit stressful at first, but the more you carry it, the less worried you are that someone will notice or say something about you carrying a firearm. You quickly get over the fear that places you frequent will out you and ask you to never come back. As you continue to evolve, you try different holsters before settling on a particular one that fits your needs. Hopefully at this point you have taken a counter ambush based training class that has helped you develop the skills you need to carry comfortably.

The longer you carry a firearm and the more comfortable you get, you begin thinking about the worst-case scenario incidents. At this point, you start adding gear and accessories to your Every Day Carry (EDC). You start out with simple things like new sights, or maybe carrying an extra mag. Eventually that EDC grows to something that would rival a super hero’s gadget belt. Medical gear, knives, lights, multiple spare magazines, backup gun, mace, body armor, bazooka, hand grenades, etc. all part of a very elaborate daily kit. You are practicing frequently everything you have learned in training and can identify the areas in which you are weak. You begin searching out specific training for those areas.

As you continue to grow and evolve, you realize that you can’t always have a full load out kit with you every second of every day. In fact, you find out carrying all that stuff doesn’t work most days. You realize that it just is not practical to put on and carry 45 lbs. of gear just to get your mail. You even begin to realize that it’s a bit overkill to have that much gear to even jog around the block. So you begin learning to evaluate risk and identify threats. Maybe you take a threat awareness course that helps you identify and mitigate risk so it can be avoided. As you begin to learn how to identify threats and deal with risk, you begin to have several different EDC’s for different threats and risk levels.

Then the reality of efficiency hits your evolutionary progress. You finally see the benefits of streamlining your gear and broadening your knowledge so you have the most efficient options available to you. Yeah there are several ways to do things and by this point you’ve likely seen most of them, but you are now re-evaluating them to see which is most efficient. So much so, that you begin to become obsessed with efficiency and the simpler the gear the more it appeals to you. You are willing to pay double the cost for an item that is simple and will stand up to abuse without failing. By this point you are also beginning to seek out very specific specialized training. You are looking for training that drills down into very specific topics. You begin seeking out the critical thinkers of the industry and continue to evolve.

Although you may not follow this specific evolutionary path, I am sure you can identify with various stages. Whatever path you have taken or wherever you are now in the evolutionary process of a defensive firearms owner, understand that you are not alone. It’s a process that takes time. For those who think they have no more evolving to do, well, you might want to look around and reconsider. Although the speech ends in this writing, it does not end in the real world. As Evolved Defensive Firearms owners we must continue to train, practice, and look for ways to keep evolving. Keep evolving!

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