Take this lesson to heart

As I write this we have just finished Thanksgiving and Christmas is a few short weeks away.  As the year comes to a close here at Gunsite I wanted to take the opportunity to offer a very sincere and heartfelt thank you to all of you. To our clients, thank you for continuing to support Gunsite.  We deeply appreciate your business, your input and your continued friendship.  To the Gunsite staff, thank you for your professionalism, commitment, hard work, extra hours and sacrifice.  You help save people’s lives every day.  What we do here is important to many, many people, in many, many ways.  And, with that thanks, I hope all of you have a wonderful holiday season.  Merry Christmas!

In one of Jeff Cooper’s newsletters some years ago he said that if you didn’t have your pistol within reach as you were reading, you hadn’t learned the lessons we teach at Gunsite.  If you hadn’t read that before, I think you need to take this lesson to heart.  Pistols are a defensive tool we can have conveniently at hand all of the time.  Certainly, if we knew we were going to be in a fight, we would choose a rifle or shotgun and lots of similarly armed friends.  We carry pistols because we know the world might be a dangerous place and we cannot anticipate when we might need a defensive firearm.  So, given that pistols are convenient to have around, how do we go about making sure we are armed all of the time?

The first step is one of mindset.  Once having made up our minds that it is a good idea to be armed at all times we need to commit ourselves to being armed.  Don’t waver on this and don’t give in to thinking you can get away with not being armed.  After all, you’re going somewhere safe, right?  Remember, being armed and alert is a state of mind.  It’s not paranoia, it’s a realistic understanding that the world might be a dangerous place and we may have to defend ourselves, our family, our friends or our community.

Once having taken this first critical step in mental attitude, it is necessary to adjust everything, from where we go and who we associate with to what we wear.  If you are armed, it’s probably not a good idea to hang out in a biker saloon on Saturday night.  Avoidance of potentially dangerous situations, places or people is always a good idea, but especially so if you are armed and don’t want to be blamed for starting the fight because you knew you had a weapon.  Once you are armed, as a private citizen, you need to be able to show that you did everything you could to avoid a lethal confrontation and that using your firearm was, indeed, a last resort.

You will probably find that you need to adjust your wardrobe and dress in a way that offers the best concealment for your firearm.  Selection of holsters and firearms is too big a topic to cover here, but, in general, you need to make sure the firearm you choose to carry will get the job done if it is needed.  I am a big believer in wearing the pistol in the same place all of the time.  You might find you are causing yourself some difficulty if you wear a hip holster one day, a shoulder holster the next and an ankle holster after that.  Pick one location and stick to it.  For example, I know many people who use an inside the waistband (IWB) holster every day.  They carry that way and use the same holster, and shoot from concealment, even when they attend training.  And, although an IWB holster may not be right for you, the lesson here is to use as close to the same rig for training as you do for daily carry.

Don’t carry cheap handguns, with the assumption that your weapon will be taken by the police if you have to use it to defend yourself.  I would propose that, at the moment someone is trying to take your life, you would give everything you have, or are ever going to have, to stay alive.  What is your life worth to you?  Wouldn’t you, at that critical moment, rather have the perfect tool and the training necessary to preserve your life?  You can waste money on many things, but a high quality handgun is not one of them.

Finally, since Christmas is fast approaching, we are having a pretty good sale here in the ProShop.  Check the website (www.gunsite.com) for information.  And, remember, sign up for 2010 classes now and get 2009 pricing.

MERRY CHRISTMAS

DVC,

Ed

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Ed Head
Ed Head has been a regular on Shooting Gallery, Gun Stories and Down Range TV. He has worked for almost 30 years in law enforcement, first in the United States Air Force and then with the United States Border Patrol, retiring as a Field Operations Supervisor. During his Border Patrol career, Ed worked in a variety of patrol, investigative and training capacities. Ed has an extensive background as a firearms instructor, having trained thousands, ranging from beginners to police, military and special operations personnel. Having taught at Gunsite for 20 years, Ed first trained there under the world famous shooting school’s founder, Jeff Cooper, then later ran the school as the operations manager for more than five years. Ed lives in Chino Valley, Arizona, where he continues to teach and write.

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