I got to thinking the other day about my concealed carry guns and the various rigs and methods I use to carry. I've got some options for concealed carry that make it extremely convenient to do so most of the time. Indeed, whenever I can, I do carry. Aside from work, I carry 99% of the time, even when at home.
The subject of concealed carry is obviously controversial, and I'm not going to get into the gun/anti-gun debate. By now, you know where I stand on that. What I want to discuss is a dilemma for those who have concealed pistol licenses (cpl).
Having a cpl is like kind of like having a driver's license. It's pretty useless if you don't use it. For the concealed carry licensee, the inconvenience of getting licensed, and the expense, makes using your cpl even more important. CPL's aren't like driver's licenses though. Any idiot with a few bucks can get a driver's license. To qualify for a cpl, you must subject yourself to an extensive background check, fingerprinting, a 30 day wait, and not to mention a much higher cost - $60 every 5 years for a cpl compared to just $25 every 5 years for a WA State driver's license.
Also, imagine the implication of a cpl versus other licenses. Carrying a concealed firearm is serious business. I don't take the responsibility of concealed carry lightly at all. I'm serious about concealed carry. That means I take the time to make sure my gun, my rig, and my clothing work together to keep my gun concealed. I also take time, at great expense, to practice with my various guns. I keep my skills sharp. I make the effort to research and always increase my knowledge on the subject and the psychology of concealed carry and killing. Do I want to kill? Absolutely not! But am I ready to kill? Well, I certainly hope I am ready to do whatever is needed to stop a threat to myself, my family, or innocent people.
Exactly what do I carry for? I don't carry to appear macho or to compensate for something. No, if I wanted to do that, I'd carry out in the open and have a big hand cannon to do it with. I don't carry to make a statement. I carry because of all the people I meet, and potentially will meet, there might be some dude who is ready to go off and do something that will make national headlines. The question is, should I find myself in a situation like Virginia Tech, or a Colorado church, or a mall in Utah, (notice the pattern?), I want to ensure that I have a choice between being a victim or a survivor. With a gun, I have the ability to save my life, and the lives of others around me. But if I am unarmed, I only have the option to run away or die. And I'd hope I can run fast enough, but that's unlikely because bullets run faster than anyone.
So, now the question is this: What do I carry? Well, some people know what I carry. But a lot of people have this mentality that if you carry anything with a caliber less than .45, you are an idiot for doing so. But I've always clung to the philosophy that a .380 in the waistband is better than a .45 in the truck. Face it, carrying guns large enough to be chambered in .45 can become uncomfortable most days of the year. In the summer, I wear nothing more than cargo shorts, sandals, and a t-shirt. Ever try hiding a 1911 .45 under a t-shirt? It's difficult to do and oftentimes mandates the use of an outer shell or jacket. But then you are either uncomfortable in the heat or look obvious.
The point of carrying something small and light is that a .380, or .38 is better than nothing. Yep, carrying a pocket-size handgun, ideal for concealed carry, 90% of the time, is much better than carrying a full-size .40 or .45 only 50% of the time. So, the question is: Are you carrying, and how much are you carrying? If you have a cpl and you aren't carrying your gun, then you are not using your responsibility wisely, if at all. You paid for that cpl, you subjected yourself to a background check, and you got yourself fingerprinted in the process. USE IT!
I would urge anyone who doesn't carry their firearm 90% of the time to get a pocket-sized handgun. In my opinion, a person carrying a pocket .380 is a person who is using their cpl. The person who leaves their gun in their truck is a sheep who is choosing to be subject the whims of a bad person even though they have a cpl.
You never know when you will need a gun. Some people don't carry because they think that they are just going to the mall, or the grocery store, or to church, or to the video store, or to the park, or the movie theater. There can't be any dangerous people there. Tell that to the students at Virginia Tech. Tell that to the churchgoers in CO who were shot. Tell that the the shoppers in SLC who became victims. Tell that to the average woman who winds up getting raped in the back parking lot of some store. And then, tell that to the millions of armed people a year who use their guns to protect their lives and the lives of others. 2 million people a year use their guns to protect life and property without even firing a shot! That is why I carry a gun. Even if there is only a 1 in 2 million chance that I will ever need it, I'm going to put my money on my weapon, my cpl, my training, and the fact that when seconds count, the police are minutes away.
Carry often, train often, and keep yourself smart.