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Old July 18, 2011, 01:31 AM   #1
anonimoose
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we're over-thinking certain aspects of CCW

Thesis:

The civilian CCW community overthinks, overanalyzes and overemphasizes the specifics of calibers, ammunition selection, make/model/type and other firearms minutiae with regard to defensive firearms. Responsibly carrying a firearm -- any firearm -- is 99% of the battle.


Caveat:

This post focuses purely on the use of firearms for personal defense and not for law enforcement, military, sport, hunting and/or recreation.


Background:

Two statements prompted this post -- the first from an individual on an unmentioned forum who wrote (I'm paraphrasing here) that he prepares each day as if he will get into a gun fight. The second from multiple individuals who habitually throw out the worst case hypothetical (again, I'm paraphrasing here) -- what if you get jumped by a small group of drugged-up crazies? Is your 7-shot non-4x caliber gun gonna be enough gun then?


Discussion:

Let's take a look at some numbers. If we take Dr. Gary Keck's (pro-CCW) research to heart, we learn that in those cases where civilians used their firearms in response to a violent attack, less than 47% actually pointed their firearms at the criminal -- a verbal warning or brandishing of the firearm was enough to stop the crime over half the time. In less than a quarter (22%) of the cases did the civilian defendants actually fire their firearms and of that number, just two thirds fired intending to hit their attackers (i.e., they weren't just warning shots). All told, in just 8% of all cases did the caliber of the firearm actually "matter" in that the civilian gun owners hit their targets and wounded or killed the attackers.

Now, let's take a look at the FBI's national crime statistics: there were 1,318,398 violent crimes in 2009 (out of a national population of 307,006,550). Let's assume for a moment that every single one of those victims had a firearm (if only that were true). Taking into account Dr. Keck's research and making some statistical assumptions (8% of 1,318,398 of 307,006,550), you come to the rough analysis/conclusion that in 2009, caliber "mattered" (or would have mattered) for only 0.0343% of all Americans. Of course, this isn't even taking demographics into account. Are you male or female? How old are you? Are you a member of a minority group? What is your socioeconomic status? Do you live in an urban, suburban, or rural area? Your chances of encountering violent crime dramatically increases (or drops) depending on who you are, where you live and what you do.

Thus, I would argue that in the average calendar year, for the average American CCW permit-holder who doesn't go looking for trouble, the chances of getting a gun fight with a group of drugged-up crazies in which the caliber of your weapon actually matters is even smaller than that 0.03%. (And I say that if you prepare each day as if you're going to get into a gun fight, you need to find a new job or bring a rifle with you...!) And yet we obsess over that 0.03%. We argue about the sufficiency of this caliber or that and we nit/henpeck every single little detail and we (often) bash each others' choices. A vocal minority even scoffs at those who aren't willing to radically alter their dress, budget and lifestyles in order to accommodate large caliber, high capacity concealed firearms. After all, those lazy gun-owners who buy a mouse gun and then "fire a little, carry a lot [in the pocket]" are really no better than the rest of the sheep flock, aren't they?

But wait -- there's more. In 2005, there were 6,420,000 auto accidents in which 2,900,000 Americans were injured and another 42,636 killed. Can we agree that it's far, far, far more likely that the average CCW permit-holder will get into a car accident tonight than will engage in a gun fight in which rounds impact on target? Well then why aren't these responsible gun owners preparing every day as if they're going to get into a car accident that may injure or kill them just as violent crime would? Why aren't they being equally vocal and zealous about changing their lifestyle and consistently driving under 70mph, since the stopping distance at that speed is roughly 194 feet and the average illumination distance for headlights is only 180 feet? Why aren't they obsessing about crash test ratings and consumer safety reports? Why aren't they meticulous about keeping the internal cabin of the vehicle free of any non-secured heavy objects like books, tools, bags, dogs!, etc (all of which can fly around in an accident and cause trauma)? Do they preach the gospel of only driving large capacity, heavily constructed trucks because you never know when you're going to round the bend on some random country highway and accidently run into a bunch of drug-crazed deer in the middle of the road? (God knows that you wouldn't survive if you were driving that tiny little import!) Shall we take a look at the statistics for other life-threatening scenarios? Fires? Disaster/emergency preparedness? Heck, heart disease?


Conclusion:

If you're consistent about taking measures to protect your own life and others, kudos to you. But I gotta say, if you're that CCW permit-holder who's got the Sig 226 in a custom OWB holster (with a spare mag and the Sig 238 as a bug) because dammit, your life is worth the extra dollars...and yet you drive like a maniac, drink like a fish, smoke like a chimney, think radon is a type of laser gun, eat fries like you're trying to deprive every Frenchman in the world, think donating blood is for do-gooders only and have no absolutely no qualms about going to the ATM after dark -- maybe you should rethink the focused application of your time, money and energy on the 0.03% likelihood that your 155gr Speer Gold Dot JHP will actually hit someone tonight. Maybe you shouldn't bash the decision-making of others who are proactively taking steps to safeguard life -- in a real, wholistic sense -- which includes but is not limited to responsible firearm ownership/usage. Maybe that consistently reliable gun owner who fires a little but always (ALWAYS) pocket carries the LCP or PF-9 because he takes CCW seriously has got 99% of it -- make that 99.9657% of it -- figured out.

Last edited by anonimoose; July 18, 2011 at 06:10 PM.
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Old July 18, 2011, 02:42 AM   #2
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Maybe they do obsess about their auto or dietary safety etc. They just post about it on another board. Seriously though, yes some folks do seem to go overboard but I liken it to the "kid in a candy store" syndrome. After a while the rush goes away and a new obsession takes over.
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Old July 18, 2011, 05:59 AM   #3
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Your points are well-taken... You're sort of like the Marshall McLuhan of firearms forums... "The medium is the message"... Beyond all the minutiae, by far, the hugely most important factor for firearms enthusiasts is... TO HAVE A GUN... The rest is mostly just "somethin' to do"... It's so true.

Now that we have that out of the way... What do you carry?

Steve Lee's "I Like Guns" on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-TC2xTCb_GU
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Old July 18, 2011, 08:12 AM   #4
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Hi anonimoose,

Thanks. That has been my view for a long time.

It has been a puzzle to me that there are those who refuse to go where they cannot carry. They claim that they want to protect their families. So they will not go to a mall where they cannot carry. BUT, their wives and families go to that same mall, and without the one who carries a gun. That one does not want to go shopping with his wife (I understand that). But if her safety is so important, and the place so dangerous he won't go without a gun, then why will he not sacrifice and go with her when reasonably possible??

I would submit that the CHL holder is more worried about himself.

I also wonder if some do not enjoy some good meals and fellowship because at a certain time in a certain restaurant they can't sit with their backs to the wall.

Oh well, so it goes.
Thanks again,
Jerry
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Old July 18, 2011, 08:49 AM   #5
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OP makes a valid point. There are two considerations that increase the posturing, I think. The first is that guns are a hobby for a lot of people, and the SD aspects are a reason or excuse for indulging the hobby and maintaining a presence of the hobby with them during the day. The second is that there is more than a bit of reactionism to antigun rhetoric. "Gun culture" has become a negative phrase, but there is an element of cultural significance to firearms in the US that is linked to the high value that Americans place on self reliance.

But, yeah, a guy who is 30 pounds overweight and a heavy smoker isn't really carrying a pistol for his health.
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Old July 18, 2011, 09:25 AM   #6
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Quote:
Conclusion:
You make assumptions about how ccw carriers live and yet casting such a wide net is more an exercise in frustration than practicality. It all comes down to freedom of choice in individual decisions.

The differences in caliber performance are many regardless of the use of ultra-premium high end +p+ ammo or any other variation. You can take a 9mm and shoot a brick wall on a shooting range and it takes significantly less of the brick out per shot than a 4X (41, 44, 45, 460 etc.) caliber round. Physics says equally fast and heavy has more energy and destructive potential than lighter and equally fast. (As we know most but not all 4X rounds are considerably slower than 9mm)

And yet for all the differences in performance between calibers it really doesn’t matter that a 4X whatever will destroy a brick wall in a relative few shots compared to a 9 mm or whatever other small caliber. People aren’t brick walls and as has been brought around and around again shot placement and what vitals (CNS, etc.) get hit matter more than any other factor in downing a BG that you successfully hit.

If your happy with what you carry its all that matters because in the end its ultimately you that have to carry it and its you it has to be able to defend if that ultimate moment ever comes with a BG. The truth is your much more likely to get struck by lightning that end up in a engagement on the street but people still get struck by lightning and they end up facing BGs.

You might also want to take in consideration that the people you find in these types of forums aren’t your casual enthusiast, your generally talking hard core people that take a lot of time and pride in what they choose and its almost like a religion.

In the end its only important that you enjoy the firearms you have chosen.
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Old July 18, 2011, 09:30 AM   #7
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TLR, but what's the problem with preparing for the worst case scenario? Sure you MIGHT be able to just brandish your LCP, but what if you happen to rearend a car full of Teed off Samoans or something? Prep for the worst. Hope may be a campaign slogan it aint a strategy.
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Old July 18, 2011, 09:33 AM   #8
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Quote:
the SD aspects are a reason or excuse for indulging the hobby and maintaining a presence of the hobby with them during the day.
Guns may be a hobby but CCW is a lifestyle and not a hobby. I dont just carry when its fun and sometime it can be darn uncomfortable and hot to carry. I view carry as an obligation that every lawful citizen should seek to undertake as a responsibility of citizenship.

I dont pretend for one second that I am some sort of law enforcement it gives me no special powers or abilities but it does provide for my defense and that of my loved ones.
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Old July 18, 2011, 10:12 AM   #9
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I quibble about the car I am about to purchase as much as I do about the handgun I intend on CC'ing. All for very good reason. Due diligence is no one's responsiblity but mine.
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I think that one of the notions common to the anti-gunner is the idea that being a victim is 'noble'; as if it is better to be noble in your suffering than disruptive in your own defense.
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Old July 18, 2011, 10:13 AM   #10
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Although I think we all agree that it is prudent to be cautious and prepared to the degree practical, I am convinced that many focus their lives around their guns.
For me a gun is just a tool, and I am not uncomfortable when I cannot carry or choose to not carry in some places. I do not worry about being attacked in areas where the odds are about like getting struck by lightening. Again, nothing wrong with being prepared, but there is a limit past which I won't go.

If one's life revolves around his guns and personal safety he will have different attitudes regarding the things discussed in the OP.

Regards,
Jerry
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Old July 18, 2011, 10:15 AM   #11
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I would not for one moment base any decision upon annual statistics. Rather, it is the lifetime probability that matters, as Kleck has pointed out.

Yes, where you live and work will have an awful lot to do with it. But if you do go places, go into malls, use ATMs, hike on trails, or refuel you car at night, it is the mobility of the criminal element and its propensity to look for victims on whom to prey that presents the danger, and your income level will not enter into the risk equation.

Of course, the likelihood of being attacked by one or more violent criminal actors is quite low for most people-- probably "remote". It is the severity of the potential consequences that makes risk mitigation a better idea than accepting the risk unmitigated for most people who have that choice.

Does caliber matter? Probably not much, but if one is attacked by a determined assailant, and if said assailant is not deterred by the presentation of a weapon, it may well make a very big difference whether one is carrying a .25 ACP pocket pistol or a larger weapon. One has to consider conditional probability.

Do some people over think the equipment aspect? Sure. It is likely not going to matter much whether one uses 115 grain or 124 grain bullets if one is attacked, but some people do spend time thinking about it. Just like those who spend a lot of time worrying about which brand of synthetic motor oil to use in their motorcycles.

Are people concerned about car safety statistics? I am. Bt you won't read about it here.

See Rule Number 1:

Quote:
All Topics and Posts must be related to firearms, accessories or civil liberties issues.
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Old July 18, 2011, 10:21 AM   #12
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I think there is more to the scenario spinning than preparedness. It has some psychological importance to the people who engage in it the most. I knew guys who would play Dungeons and Dragons and it was an escape for them – they lived in this fantasy world while they were playing.

Some of the scenarios presented on TFL are educational, I’m not disputing that. But there do seem to be some people that seem fixated on “scenarios”, it’s almost like Dungeons and Dragons or a type of role play… I don’t know totally how to describe it but I get that vibe from some of the people who do the most scenario posting.
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Old July 18, 2011, 10:41 AM   #13
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Quote:
The first is that guns are a hobby for a lot of people, and the SD aspects are a reason or excuse for indulging the hobby and maintaining a presence of the hobby with them during the day.
This is a key point I think... and I never really thought of this before. I'll admit I am a gun nut, I love going shooting, I love the equipment. For anyone who hasn't seen Rich Lucibella's Browning - to me - that is a work of art:

http://thefiringline.com/forums/show...&highlight=np3

But it's an expensive hobby. If I tried to tell my wife that I really need to spend $2,000 / year on toy trains - there's no way that's gonna fly. But if I convince her that it's a really dangerous world out there and we need to be prepared... the pistol becomes more like home owner's insurance - or like spending an extra $2,000 on a car to buy a Volvo because it's safer than the Chevy which is $2,000 less

So far I only ran into 1 situation in my life where I wished I'd had a pistol - but I got through it without needing a pistol so I can say that so far I've needed a firearm for 0% of my lifetime.

On the other hand I've gotten into 4 car crashes.

I think my only need for a firearm would be a super accurate pistol to shoot cell phones and PDAs out of the hands of drivers who are screwing around with them instead of paying attention to the road.

My last accident I looked in my rear view mirror just in time to see a lady look up from her cell phone as she was barreling down on me. Her car was nose down, smoke coming off the front tires in a full skid - shocked expression on her face as she held her cell phone in her right hand - BAM.
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Old July 18, 2011, 10:49 AM   #14
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Overthinking vs. a bit of forethought

The first rule of a gunfight: Have a gun. On you. Not in your car, or at home, or in a locker at the range. Either you have it NOW, or you don't have it available. Most folks who buy full size guns don't carry them much.....

That said, you should have a gun that you are intimately familiar with. That is the problem with all these tiny .380's that are all the rage lately: they are not fun or economical to shoot, so most of the people carrying them don't shoot them much, if at all. At Crunch Time, it is foreign to them. It ain't a Talisman to ward off evil spirits, it's tool. A tool is only useful if you have some measure of skill with it and when time is short and the pressure is on, that is not the time to be learning......

To that end, picking a gun that is small enough to carry, yet comfortable to shoot often, and is economical to feed ...... that requires a bit of forethought.
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Old July 18, 2011, 11:14 AM   #15
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^ I agree with what you're saying.

I think that also makes me wonder about people who have a "rotation" of carry guns. I can understand having a few - summer, winter, maybe a different model for business attire vs casual dress, a model you take with you camping. But my own opinion is that most people who have a "rotation" - like 6+ guns that they choose between are not doing it out of practicality - they're doing it for the coolness factor or something. Just my opinion. And I know that there are people who say they practice with all of their firearms and that they're training on 6 different pistols doesn't lessen the effectiveness of their training with any one of the firearms. I'm willing to concede that in some cases that might be true - there are people out there who are able to train on equipment with different MOA and not have any negative effects from that type of training.

The more I look at the Tex Grebner shooting, the more I think that training was a factor. Its called retrogresive learning, and it's a fact. It happens to people when they go from driving stick to an auto, or even when they go from driving a car with the shifter on the stearing wheel to one between the seats. I think when you start training with a different pistol or holster - you're unlearning what you learned with whatever previous equipment you worked on...
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Old July 18, 2011, 11:22 AM   #16
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Countzero said:
Quote:
I think there is more to the scenario spinning than preparedness. It has some psychological importance to the people who engage in it the most. I knew guys who would play Dungeons and Dragons and it was an escape for them – they lived in this fantasy world while they were playing.

Some of the scenarios presented on TFL are educational, I’m not disputing that. But there do seem to be some people that seem fixated on “scenarios”, it’s almost like Dungeons and Dragons or a type of role play… I don’t know totally how to describe it but I get that vibe from some of the people who do the most scenario posting.
Come on Count... you know it was you that played D&D. I did and I am not ashamed.

OT: I have been robbed at gunpoint 3 times in my life so statistics go out the window for me. I am not a drug runner, a criminal or looking for trouble. Trouble just seems to find me. I carry 2 guns now, everywhere I go. When I am sitting in my living room watching TV I carry, when I take a shower I have a gun 1 foot away, when I do whatever yard work I can I carry, when I go to the store I carry, when I go to my parents or in-laws I carry, etc... I don't ever expect to robbed again, nor will I probably ever need my guns anywhere but at the range, but I will always have them cocked and locked in condition 1 ready for that unlucky BG that crosses my path.
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Old July 18, 2011, 11:29 AM   #17
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to the OP: sooooo .... what you're trying to say is that just having a gun, regardless of caliber, is 99% the name of the game. The other 1% is all fluff ... caliber wars, carrying a BUG, etc.

Fair enough, I agree with your statement. Although you didn't need to be so wordy about it!
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Old July 18, 2011, 11:32 AM   #18
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Quote:
But my own opinion is that most people who have a "rotation" - like 6+ guns that they choose between are not doing it out of practicality - they're doing it for the coolness factor or something.
Don't forget, gun owning and shooting is a hobby. That's really why they do it. They like their guns, just like a nice lady likes her shoe collection.
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Old July 18, 2011, 11:32 AM   #19
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Quote:
The more I look at the Tex Grebner shooting, the more I think that training was a factor. Its called retrogresive learning, and it's a fact. It happens to people when they go from driving stick to an auto, or even when they go from driving a car with the shifter on the stearing wheel to one between the seats. I think when you start training with a different pistol or holster - you're unlearning what you learned with whatever previous equipment you worked on...
Yep.

For those of us on a budget and a tight schedule, keeping the training simple and confined to a single system is pretty good planning ....... for me, it's a 1911 of whatever size, IWB at 4o'clock. Same holster, different sizes. KISS rule.
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Old July 18, 2011, 11:50 AM   #20
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Very interesting and well documented original post, as well as good responses so far.

IMO, all too often we forget the most important personal defense any of can have is a double dose of common sense. I.e. deciding where and when we go somewhere, if I feel the need to carry a full sized battle revolver, a reload, a backup, and a reload for my back up I have to ask myself do I really need to go there. As the O.P. asked do I really need to use an ATM located in an isolated location after dark, or any of the myriad of other places where we may be inviting unnecessary danger?
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“It all comes down to freedom of choice in individual decisions.”
Yes it does but at what point does freedom of choice become paranoia, or override common sense

Keeping all of the above in mind I must admit I carry a revolver 95% of the time, and with one seldom carried exception, it’s a .357 Magnum revolver all of which are loaded with .357 Magnum ammo.
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Old July 18, 2011, 12:26 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TailGator
.... guns are a hobby for a lot of people, and the SD aspects are a reason or excuse for indulging the hobby and maintaining a presence of the hobby with them during the day.
Thanks for making this point. I've thought about this quite a bit, and I do think that for many people, the interest in guns is primary, and a focus on self-defense can be a good way to justify the time and money they put into it.

The following is lifted from something I wrote a while ago, in one of those threads on how much "stuff" a person needs to carry... as my opinion hasn't changed, I'll just repost it here:
..........

For anyone who isn't required to carry a gun on the job [ETA: or facing a known, specific threat], having an interest in guns is a hobby, or a lifestyle choice, if you will. Some people are interested in large-caliber rifles and big game hunting, some people in shotguns and upland game hunting, and some are interested in handguns and self-defense (and shotguns and SD, etc., etc. ). Some people just like to have guns, whether or not they call it "collecting," and don't actually shoot them all that much. Some people are interested in a combination of those things, or some other aspect of the sport. All of these are fine.

Some folks have a very high level of interest in self-defense: they do a lot of research and spend a lot of money on the best possible tools and training, they travel most weekends to attend workshops or participate in defensive shooting competitions. They do all this because they like it. They enjoy it. It's fun.

And that's great. But they also need to justify the time and money they spend on what is basically a leisure activity. This is especially true in our rather puritanical culture, in which the whole idea of leisure, of doing things just because we enjoy them, is still morally suspect.

Believing that it's important to be prepared is a great rationale, not least because it happens to be true.

If you're spending a lot of time and money on self-defense, it's useful to believe that you're doing so because it's necessary in order to protect you and yours from real danger. But the odds that the average person will ever need a firearm are rather low, and the chances of being present at a riot, rampage shooting, or other event involving multiple shots or several assailants are... well, vanishingly small.

So there's a lot of potential for cognitive dissonance here: why spend so much time and money preparing for something so unlikely?

People resolve this in a couple of ways: some resolve it by perceiving more risk than there actually is, which is easy when we live in a media culture in which fear sells, and we're deluged with information about these statistically unlikely events whenever they do occur. For these people, a high level of perceived risk allows them to justify what they're doing.

Other people... assess the risk more accurately, but put more emphasis on the consequences of not being prepared for any eventuality: they know this is life-and-death stuff, so the time and money they spend is a good investment, and they like the feeling of preparedness that comes with carrying a gun, spare magazines, a backup, a knife or two, and a flashlight.

For a great many other gun owners, for whom self-defense isn't a primary interest, it still makes sense to carry a gun for protection, and/or keep one or two ready for home defense. They're entirely happy just to carry a five-shot revolver, which they know they'll probably never need. They're just not that into it, and that's fine.
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Old July 18, 2011, 12:28 PM   #22
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It should also be remembered that CHL'rs who are posting are a self selected group, with substantially higher interest in the topic. You're average CHLer is not going to be vocal, and not so "high tech" focused. For example, my wife doesn't have a $2,000 heavily modified gun that would scare Patton. She has an inexpensive firearm that she knows how to use and practices with.

Besides, its her driving you have to really be afraid of...
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Old July 18, 2011, 12:57 PM   #23
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I admit I played Dungeons & Dragons

What would you do?

Scenario: You are the last of your party to leave the pub, the rest of your comrades are already asleep in their beds at the inn when you notice three cloaked figures behind you, two cloaked figures in the shadows up ahead to the left and one cloaked figure in the shadows up ahead to the right...

You have a +3/+3 long sword (+4 against trolls), + 2 leather armor, and a magic missle wand...

what would you do ?
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Old July 18, 2011, 01:18 PM   #24
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I suspect that we over-intellectualize a lot of things. It isn't that those things aren't important, it's that we're going about it the wrong way. We end up treating firearms as gadgets, fashion accessories (that's the BBQ gun), or collector's items. And we fail to internalize what it's all about.

That's a difficult idea to get across with our talking the subject to death, which would be contrary to the point I'm trying to make. It happens in other areas of our lives, too, if there is another area besides guns. We learn the letter but not the spirit of the thing. It may be helpful to have a spiritual director, in a manner of speaking and after all, Jeff Cooper was sometimes referred to as a guru. But that's just a starting point and the rest is up to us.
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Old July 18, 2011, 01:28 PM   #25
oneounceload
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Quote:
Some of the scenarios presented on TFL are educational, I’m not disputing that. But there do seem to be some people that seem fixated on “scenarios”, it’s almost like Dungeons and Dragons or a type of role play… I don’t know totally how to describe it but I get that vibe from some of the people who do the most scenario posting.
I call them Video Game Commandos
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