As the old saying goes, if you’re fighting fair when defending yourself, your tactics suck!
But cheating isn’t right, is it? It’s kind of slimy, and the Knights of the Round Table never did it. Politicians do it all the time, and that’s reason enough to drive the rest of us away from a cheating mentality. But when push comes to shove, whether “cheating” will get you expelled from the Augusta National Golf Club or save your life depends on the circumstance.
If most of your life competitions involve polo, dressage, or lawn croquet, then cheating would certainly be considered poor form and you would easily qualify as a Bond movie villain. If your competition is a fight for your life, or that of your loved ones, then cheat like the classic 1960s rough and raw James Bond. You remember that scene in Goldfinger in which Sean Connery scooped up Goldfinger’s lost golf ball, right? Technically he was cheating, but I think it was okay, as he was saving the world in the process.
So when it comes to concealed carry, don’t commit the deadly sin of thinking you have to compete fairly, like dueling patricians or jousting knights. In a self-defense contest, the winners get all the blue chips. The second-place finisher not only fails to get a consolation prize, they don’t even get a certificate of participation. So disregard “fair-fight etiquette.”
So how do you become a better cheater? Off the top of my head, I can think of at least four ways you can stack the concealed carry deck in your favor.
The addition of a laser to your carry gun can make a dramatic difference in your ability to put shots on target quickly and accurately in low-light conditions, thereby giving you a potential advantage in a self defense situation. Lasers don’t make you a better shot, but they provide two benefits:
- Effectively aim your gun while your eyes are focused on the threat.
- Effectively aim your gun from non-traditional firing positions.
When looking for threats, your eyes are focused exactly on that—the potential dangers nearby. As human eyes can only focus on one plane at a time, your eyes will not be focused on the front sight while you’re busy searching. You’ll need to transition to a front-sight focused picture when a threat is identified. One more thing to note: when your gun is in a proper shooting position, it’s obstructing much of your forward view. Use of a laser, with practice, allows you to aim and shoot, even while your gun is in a low ready position.
I always thought that a firearm-mounted light was a good thing, but my eyes were opened to their real value in a dramatic way when I competed in the Crimson Trace Midnight 3 Gun Invitational Event. Moving, identifying targets, and shooting fast in the pitch dark is a whole new experience—not at all like plinking at soda cans or paper targets in broad daylight and from a stationary position.
Between that competition and subsequent training events in the dark, I’ve learned that if you have the option of using a gun-mounted light, you should take it. Being able to quickly identify your target, see your standard sights in the dark, and maneuver are all benefits with no appreciable downsides. With new products like the Crimson Trace Lightguard, you can now have a firearm-mounted light on your concealed carry gun. The only consideration is choice of holster. A year ago, it was hard to find holsters for carry guns with lights. Now, it’s easy. So for the cost of a light and new holster, your concealed carry gun can be light-equipped. If you have an opportunity to stack the self-defense deck in your favor for less than $150, why wouldn’t you? It’s your life, after all.
Train your butt off
Okay, unless you’re a full-time operator, it’s not feasible to train your butt off, but you can gain far more training than the vast majority of street thugs who might be behind an attack on your or your loved ones. For about the same price as your gun, you can get a multi-day training class at a quality facility near you. There are far too many good training classes to mention here, so search the web for ones near you. Then, and most importantly, carefully check the student reviews of the class. Make sure to read reviews from a broad representation of previous students—men, women, families, and new and experienced shooters alike.
I think the best part of a good training class is the aftershock. More likely than not, you’ll have a number of life-changing epiphanies during your class. This will help you understand which skills need the most practice once the class is finished. Practicing at home is good. Knowing what to practice at home as a result of professional instruction is great.
Be a wimp
The best way to win a life and death contest with your concealed carry gun is to forfeit. By this I mean don’t compete. Do anything and everything in your power to avoid a conflict in the first place. You’ll hear lots of web commandos talking trash about their future gun fights. “I hope such and such comes in my house!” and other such nonsense. No way. You really, really, really don’t want to pull your trigger in self-defense if there is any way you can avoid it. Is following through on a macho threat worth ruining your life and draining your bank account? I don’t think so. You can be right and ruined.
Cheat by always being aware of your surroundings. If you feel uncomfortable, leave. Don’t go to high-risk places at high-risk times. Avoid engagement with irritable strangers. You know the drill. Swallow some pride if that helps you avoid drawing your gun.
Images by Tom McHale