What’s In Your Kit? Concealed Carry Means More Than Just a Gun

I think it was famed firearms trainer Clint Smith who coined the phrase, “Carrying a gun is not supposed to be comfortable; it is supposed to be comforting.”

I’ve met Smith a couple times; and while I am sure he doesn’t remember me, he certainly made a great impression with his no-nonsense and straightforward ideas about self-defense.

The first thing you need to remember is that self-defense is about fighting back. You have to be willing to fight back, or all the self-defense tools in the world will not protect you. Once you have made the choice to no longer be a victim, you need to get training and walk the path of continued training. Skills are perishable. If you don’t use them, you lose them.

Now we can talk about concealed carry gear. What you carry every day is important. Sure, many of you strap on a pistol and call it good. And that is good, insofar as it is better than nothing.

The next item I would suggest you carry regularly is a small, high-intensity flashlight. Bad things happen in the dark. Predators lurk in the shadows waiting to strike. Illuminate those shadows, and you take away the element of surprise. Time is incredibly valuable when you are the second person to know you are in a fight. The more time you give yourself to respond, the better off you will be.

The choice to carry spare ammo is a personal one. Good, solid arguments can be made on both sides of the topic, but remember this: No one who has survived a gunfight has ever said, “I wish I’d had fewer bullets.” This is not Hollywood. There are very few one-shot stops. We all know that predators often hunt in packs. Consider this: You are already preparing for the possibility, not the probability, that you will be attacked. So why not prepare for the possibility that you will need more ammo?

Next up on my list is good quality pepper spray. If the only tool in your toolbox is a hammer, every problem starts to look like a nail. There will be cases where you can’t draw your weapon, but you need some extra help. Pepper spray will not solve every problem, but it can adjust the attitude of a potentially violent person and give you a chance to escape. Remember, police are allowed to pepper spray against “active resistance or its threat.” Check your local laws; but in many cases, you don’t have to let someone throw a punch before you arm yourself with pepper spray. You have to reasonably believe the aggressor posed an imminent threat. If someone says, “I’m gonna kick your ass!” believe them and act accordingly.

Your cellular phone is a tool you likely take with you everywhere you go anyway. If you have resisted cellular technology for any reason, it is time to reconsider that lifestyle choice. Communication is a key element of self-defense and being without a means to call for help is akin to being without a means to defend yourself.

There are plenty of other potential additions to this list. I am by no means suggesting this to be comprehensive. This is a starting point. Your self-defense choices are very personal and individual. All I want you to do is start thinking about them and act on those thoughts.

Kevin Michalowski


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Kevin Michalowski