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ASK THE USCCA
A QUESTION OF READINESS
ADDRESSING THE ‘MOMENT OF TRUTH’
As a former member of [Security Forces] in the USAF, I have encountered too many people who purchase/carry firearms and are either unable or unwilling to fire at someone else, believing it to work like a magic wand in making others obey their commands. I believe this topic is worth discussing, as their producing firearms they’re unwilling to use escalates those situations and potentially gives the criminals [their] weapons to use against [them] and possibly others.
Michael, via email
We’ll have to handle this one in two parts, Michael.
As for the “unable” side of your comment, that’s why
Concealed Carry Magazine
was founded almost 20 years ago: to ensure that responsibly armed Americans become just that — responsibly armed. From the information in these pages to the content we offer free of charge to anyone with an internet connection, we are in the training business. We do not like the idea of a person with a gun who doesn’t know how to use it any more than you do, I can promise you that. And everyone from USCCA President and Founder Tim Schmidt to Executive Editor Kevin Michalowski to me to every last individual who has a hand in producing this magazine is dedicated to turning people with guns who don’t know how to use them safely and effectively into people who do.
As for the “unwilling” side of your comment, we spend most of our time and efforts on the realities of armed self-defense, yet rarely do we ask the straightforward question, “Are you ready to take a human life?”
This is for several very important reasons.
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WE SPEND MOST OF OUR TIME AND EFFORTS ON THE REALITIES OF ARMED SELF-DEFENSE, YET RARELY DO WE ASK THE STRAIGHTFORWARD QUESTION, ‘ARE YOU READY TO TAKE A HUMAN LIFE?’ THIS IS FOR SEVERAL VERY IMPORTANT REASONS.
First, it would be fair to surmise that a great number of persons who would subscribe to a magazine dedicated to concealed carry and self-defense would have already made the concrete decision that they are, in fact, prepared to use the firearms they carry. To belabor the point of their readiness to employ a deadly weapon in defense of themselves or others would become tiresome at best and bizarre at worst.
But even more importantly, this publication dwells neither in the military nor the law enforcement worlds. This is strictly a private-citizen publication — at least as far as our core demographic goes. Though some of our members are active-duty military and on-the-job law enforcement officers, the self-defense liability insurance policies offered through USCCA Membership do not apply if a member is, at the time of the incident, on the clock as a law enforcement officer or security professional (let alone acting under orders in a military capacity). We’re not addressing and training fellow officers or service members in private but rather addressing and training private citizens in public. As such, any talk about “if you’re not ready to kill somebody, you’re in the wrong place” like I heard in the police academy and you heard in your military law enforcement training has to be communicated very carefully (and entirely differently).
As I am certain you can imagine, ours is a business with powerful enemies in high places. Persons whose life’s work is to eliminate entities that advocate for the armed private citizen who would dare to defend himself or herself from criminal violence. And the closer to the “if you’re not ready to kill somebody, you’re in the wrong place” line we get in our materials, the higher on those powerful enemies’ radar we ping. I want our message to get to those who need to hear it. I do not want a sentence I write or edit for publication to “go viral” out of context and get every last rabidly anti-gun nutjob throwing Molotov cocktails at our headquarters.
We do, however, warn people against treating a firearm as a magic talisman of sorts. We stress that a firearm should be drawn only when you are reacting to an imminent, unavoidable threat of death or great bodily harm and that a firearm is considered deadly force, period — no matter what it’s loaded with. We stress that the time to think about how you would handle a deadly force situation is now, while there’s plenty of time for hemming and hawing and “what-iffing” your way through violent scenarios that can end with people getting killed. And we do all of this while stressing that you never, under any circumstances, “shoot to kill” but rather “shoot to stop.” Is it likely that doing so will result in your attacker’s death? Possibly, but you’re never shooting to kill anyone. You’re simply shooting to stop an imminent, unavoidable threat of death or great bodily harm.
And through stressing all of that, we communicate a very specific, very unified message: In the self-defense context, a firearm isn’t for anything other than preventing death or great bodily harm. You don’t draw a firearm to make someone “reconsider his or her decisions” or “change his or her plans” or any of the other juvenile euphemisms you hear people bandy about. If a firearm gets drawn, deadly force is in play. And sometimes, when someone has no choice but to employ deadly force, he or she ends another human life while doing so.
If a steady diet of that kind of content doesn’t bring a naive member around to the realities of carrying a concealed firearm for defense of self or others, I’m not sure any of the training you or I have ever received would either.
Ed Combs Senior Editor
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
ALL OVER THE BOARD
I am puzzled about tactical flashlights and what would work best for me. I see lumens from 200 to 2,000. For home defense or in town late at night, what would be best? I am on a budget so I don’t want to spend more than $100.
The most important factor in selecting a flashlight is whether you will actually carry it with you. Inside the home, you can go with whatever you like size-wise; that light will spend most of its time sitting on a nightstand. A light for everyday carry can be a lot more difficult to choose since it can so quickly become so large that carrying it becomes unreasonable.
I’ve had wonderful luck with the Streamlight MacroStream and MicroStream. They retail for about $30 and $50, both offer more than enough light for self-defense use, they recharge like a cellphone, and — most importantly — they’re small enough that they drop very easily into a pocket.
I specifically like these models because they are operated with tailcap buttons, which means I can easily turn them on and off with my thumb. You can go with a larger unit for the nightstand, or you can simply keep either of these handy at bedtime.
Ed Combs Senior Editor
If someone were to attempt to enter my vehicle while I am at a stoplight or in the parking garage, can you suggest what I should or should not do?
Steve, via internet
This is always a tough one, Steve.
Step 1 will be to keep all doors and hatches locked at all times. Do not open them for anyone other than uniformed law enforcement. This prevents a great deal of carjackings.
If someone does approach your vehicle, the best tactic is to concentrate on safely driving away. Most carjackers count on the doors being unlocked; even with someone trying to open your locked car door, you’ve almost always got time to make a safe right turn on red or otherwise get moving within the vehicles at the light. This is also why it’s important — especially in a traffic jam — to leave enough room between you and the vehicle in front of you to maneuver. About a half a vehicle length should be enough.
As for a firearm, all of the normal rules apply when you are behind the wheel: You’re only reaching for that sidearm if you are facing an imminent, unavoidable threat of death or great bodily harm. If you are attacked inside or outside of your vehicle and are forced to shoot or even just draw or display a firearm to stop an unavoidable, imminent threat of death or great bodily harm, you’ll want to call 911 as soon as you are in a safe location and then call the number on your USCCA Membership card to get the USCCA’s Critical Response Team involved.
Ed Combs Senior Editor
I read your answer about the .410 round and the Taurus Judge (Pages 12 to 13, February/March 2022) and want to add the following. I have a Judge, and — if [employed] as a multi-use weapon — it can be very reliable for home defense.
During the day when I am working outside, I carry the Judge loaded with No. 7 shot. It is an acceptable deterrent for snakes, skunks and even [dangerous] dogs. I also keep 00 buckshot and slugs handy [in case] a feral hog wanders my way. In the evening, I use it as a backup home-defense weapon, loaded with Critical Defense rounds from Hornady. The .45 Long Colt option is just that — an option. It is a fun round to shoot.
I do agree that as a primary home-defense weapon, the five-shot Judge is lacking. But do not dismiss the .410 round as not adequate.
Jerry, via email
Thank you for reaching out, Jerry. It sounds like you’ve got your combination yard/house gun arrangement pretty much nailed.
As to your request that no one “dismiss the .410 round as not adequate,” I would direct you to the second-to-last paragraph of my answer to which your email refers: “Fortunately, there exists a wide array of defense-specific .410 rounds put out by basically every major American ammunition manufacturer, and they are all more than up to the task of effectively stopping deadly threats. As long as you stay within the ‘defense-specific’ realm or opt for a few boxes of plain old slugs, I don’t think you’ll have any issues with lack of power.”
Ed Combs Senior Editor
At Concealed Carry Magazine, we pride ourselves on not letting a single mistake — no matter how big or small — slip into our publication. Unfortunately, however, we recently did not live up to our own high standards. We misidentified a gun in both the February/March 2022 and April 2022 issues.
On Page 26 of the February/March 2022 issue, we mistakenly used an image of the FN 509 Tactical FDE instead of the FN 509 Compact MRD that the Bench Report department featured.
In About the Cover on Page 10 of the April 2022 issue, we misidentified the Kimber K6S DASA .357 Magnum on the cover as an Ithaca 1911. A previous version of the cover did feature the Ithaca 1911 as described, but last-minute design changes led to the revolver replacing the semi-auto, and we failed to reflect that change in the About the Cover information.
We apologize for these mistakes and promise to double-down on our efforts to ensure that everything in every issue of Concealed Carry Magazine meets our and our readers’ high standards.
Jared Blohm Managing Editor