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Old March 2, 2013, 10:16 AM   #66
Frank Ettin
Join Date: November 23, 2005
Location: California - San Francisco
Posts: 8,701
I carry a gun whenever I legally can. I always carry with a round in the chamber -- either a 1911 in condition 1 or an H&K P7M8. That's the way I've been trained.

Some thoughts --
  • The safest way to carry a gun is unloaded, disassembled and in a locked case. The best compromise between safe and tactically sound, assuming a modern, properly designed firearm in a good holster, is with a round in the chamber.

  • Safety is primarily a matter of training, practice and experience. Whether or not you have an ND is entirely within your control. If you have an ND it's because you did something wrong. If you want to avoid an ND, don't do anything wrong -- and train and practice enough so you know how to not do anything wrong and have the skills to do things correctly.

  • And while your safety with a gun is within your control, the circumstances in which you might need to use your gun are not. Those circumstances will be determined at least in part by the guy who decides to attack you.

    So there is no way that you can count on having both hands free to rack the slide and make your gun ready. Maybe you will and maybe you won't.

    • And it's always possible you will have only one hand available with which to use your gun. For example, see the New York City Police Department Firearm Discharge Report for 2009.

      On page 8 (page 32 of the pdf, there's a long introduction), it is noted (emphasis added):

      ...Utilizing a two‐handed grip, standing, and lining up a target using the firearm’s sights is the preferred method of discharging a firearm, but it is not always practical during an adversarial conflict. Of officers reporting their shooting techniques, 62 percent gripped the firearm with two hands,...
      Therefore, 38% of the officers reporting their shooting technique used in the adversarial conflict (apparently the NYPD term for "gun fight") fired their gun one-handed.

    • To be sure, this is a small and particular sample. But it is at least strongly suggestive that in defensive uses of a pistol, firing the gun with one-handed is not that uncommon.

  • You might feel safer with a gun in your pocket, but the mere possession of a gun doesn't make you safer. One's incremental increase in safety, if there is any real increase in safety, will come from being able to effectively use his gun in self defense in the unlikely event he needs to in order to prevent immediate death or grave bodily injury. A gun is not a magic amulet that offers protection by its mere presence on one's person.

    A number of things can facilitate one's ability to effectively use a gun in self defense, such as --

    • Knowing and understanding the legal issues -- when the use of lethal force would be legally justified, when it would not be, and how to tell the difference. Understanding how to handle the legal aftermath of a violent encounter.

    • Knowing about levels of alertness and mental preparedness to take action. Understanding how to assess situations and make difficult decisions quickly under stress. Knowing about the various stress induced physiological and psychological effects that one might face during and after a violent encounter.

    • Good practical proficiency with one's gun. That includes practical marksmanship, i. e., being able to deploy one's gun and get good hits quickly at various distances. It also includes skills such as moving and shooting, use of cover and concealment, reloading quickly, clearing malfunctions, and moving safely with a loaded gun.

    • Having a reliable gun one can manage properly accessible and available to be put into use quickly if necessary.

  • In the event of an emergency, you can't know ahead of time how fast you will have to be to prevail. There is no way you can count on having the time to make the gun ready. Maybe you will and maybe you won't.

    It's a question of how long it can take us to perceive the threat, determine the need to fire, deploy our gun and engage the threat with accurate fire, having made the decision that shooting is warranted.

    So how much time will we have in which to do all of that? I have no idea and neither do you. It's going to all depend on what happens and how it happens. We might have lots of time, or we might have very little. We simply can't know in advance.

  • If we can't get done what we need to do in the time circumstances allow us, we will not be happy with the outcome. So if there's something I can do to save time, any time, that's a good thing. And the better trained and prepared you are, the luckier you will be.
"It is long been a principle of ours that one is no more armed because he has possession of a firearm than he is a musician because he owns a piano. There is no point in having a gun if you are not capable of using it skillfully." -- Jeff Cooper

Last edited by Frank Ettin; March 2, 2013 at 10:33 AM.
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