I haven't posted a lot here in terms of my personal opinions, but this topic is one I've pondered lately myself. Most of my experience with guns is target shooting, with some plinking and varmint hunting. Safety was ingrained in me by my grandfather who taught me to shoot, and safety has been the central theme for me in terms of every aspect of how I've handled guns.
For me, my reasons for looking at carrying are due to changing times, different social dynamics, etc. - many of which cause me to feel that the places I travel, visit, vacation, eat, etc. aren't as "safe" as they were.
I've never been in a face-to-face situation where I felt my life was threatened, but in a few where things could have gone differently. As I watch the news, see what goes on even in my own neighborhood, etc. I find that the predictability of my world is in doubt.
So, for me, the whole point is to be ready for something unexpected, and when I prepare for the unexpected I think in terms of worst possible scenario. Loaded, ready to fire with one finger.
In taking the CCW class, I found a completely different perspective on how to prepare to carry, why one would carry, what comes first when carrying. If you feel the need to carry, you should feel the need to be as ready as possible to use it when necessary to defend life. Defending life isn't safe.
My lesson was: not ready to defend life to the fullest, don't carry.
Again, just my opinion.