My motto at Ranger Focus – Defense Firearms is “It is not just the occasional trip to the range; it is a lifestyle!” And you should develop a carry lifestyle.
I am often asked why I make that claim. Anybody who carries probably gets it right away. One must strap that gear around the waist or pick up that extra heavy purse, change one’s attitude about what is always going on around them, constantly being safety conscious. . . Well, that’s the idea isn’t it. And I’ve just presented most of the reasons why carrying a firearm regularly becomes just too difficult.
The actual experience is not what it appeared in the casual conversation with some friends (none of them carry) or family (all petrified that you might follow through). But you make the decision and try to figure out which firearm is best, which holster (purse) to use, belts become an issue, and choice of clothing, where and how to safely store the thing and so on.
Then there is the training and practice. There are instructors of every stripe to fill every niche, from the strict fundamentals of firearms use and couple of trips a year to the range. While at the other end of the spectrum: the tactical instructor who served in some special operations unit in the military suggesting night vision goggles, and body armor!
Neither of those options are the reality of everyday carry (EDC). The lifestyle is the mundane use of a tool for self-protection when on the off chance it is needed. The lifestyle is understanding the law that pertains to the use of this tool in that emergency, because those of us who carry will be held to a higher standard under the law.
Developing the Carry Lifestyle
That gets me to responsibility. That too is a part of the lifestyle because we have taken on the responsibility of the potential use of force in our self-defense. Which means we better have embraced the responsibility to learn about what the law says about that use of deadly force.
We must be responsible for children – and I mean on the safety side, keeping firearms secured, out of their reach – and neighbors, and the many others you may meet. You must be responsible for your actions: behind the wheel of our automobile; at work; at play; always. You must be responsible for your state of mind, keep a clear presence of mind not hampered by alcohol or drugs. The carry lifestyle requires that you are responsible for the proper handling of that tool that you carry with you every day.
The carry lifestyle also bears the responsibility that you train and practice frequently. As I mentioned above, the choice of a good instructor that fits your personality is very important, but I suggest that you not pay for more than you need. (How often will you be in body armor!?)
Most sports physiologists suggest that an action in sport must be practiced between 2,500 and 5,000 times to become automatic. This is the level of training that a person in the carry lifestyle ought to be practicing toward. Drawing from a holster or purse (off-body-carry bag), magazine changes, malfunctions are all important manipulations required to present a firearm in self-defense and prevail. And the great thing is that most of this type of practice can be done off range, at home, no rounds fired.
This might be the best part of the carry lifestyle, realizing that a large portion of your defense firearms practice is readily available at very little cost to you. When rounds are still running near fifty cents apiece, dry fire exercises safely done at the house can be very helpful for developing the “muscle memory” required to carry with confidence. Then I suggest keeping that great instructor as your coach to work technique and insure that you are sticking to best practices and then creating the next level challenge for you to continue growing your confidence.
Confidence: Merriam-Webster defines confidence as “a feeling or belief that someone or something is good or has the ability to succeed at something.” For those of us who maintain the carry lifestyle, this is a key term. To prevail in a gunfight, you must be confident! You have practiced your draw hundreds of times, and magazine changes and clearing malfunctions.
The “muscle memory” (no memory in muscles – really) you developed at your house with your pistol in hundreds of draws is now done automatically and your brain may stay focused on the rational decision making that will keep you in the right state of mind to prevail in the fight. Because you will be held to a higher standard than your peers. And you had a few seconds to make decisions where everyone else will get to second guess you for hours or days or more. . .
You may have decided to carry a firearm for self-defense, but did you decide to join the ranks of responsible citizens and make it a Carry Lifestyle!?