Everyone that carries concealed (or open carries for that matter) chooses to do so for different reasons and everyone needs to decide for themselves what those reasons are.
At the beginning of most concealed carry classes the instructor will ask “Why are you here?” and the responses will likely included…
- “I don’t want to be a victim.” – Most Common
- “I want to be able to protect my family.”
- “I there has been an increase in crime in my area.”
- “I want to feel safe when I <<do something>>.”
- “I want exercise my right.”
Alternatively stated there is almost always some stimulus that increased their awareness of a threat and they decided that they wanted to take action to protect themselves or others from that threat… or because they can.
For me it was a combination of all of the above.
Why I carry concealed.
My father is a retired police officer, and a fairly assertive one. He was well known for aggressively pursuing the most dangerous criminals in the city and even many police officers refused to mess with him. I was taught early that there was bad in the world and that I needed to be prepared to deal with it.
In high school, I didn’t worry too much about being liked and didn’t rely on others much. I kept my car stocked with what would be called a “Get Home Bag,” water, road flares, jumper cables, proper tire changing gear, changes of clothes to be prepared… but I also had a locking gas cap to keep the tank from being tampered with and a demolition bar at reach for protection. Until I had kids I thought that was enough and that I could deal with anything threat I might face.
Since I focused on being self-sufficient and hadn’t worked to develop close friendships, I had never considered the impact that my death would have on others. Whoops.
Once I had a wife and children I began to consider how I would feel if something happened to them. How angry I would be that they would be deprived of a long life and how I would be deprived of spending time with them and watching my children grow. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks…
If I were killed they would be deprived of a loving husband, a loving father and I would still be be deprived of spending time with them and watching my children grow.
Still that wasn’t enough to cause me to act.
My wife is a pediatrician and was VERY anti-gun and we had small children. I should have pressed it, but I didn’t.
Then in November 2008 an event occurred that I perceived to be the biggest threat to our liberties in my life time (I was 17 in 1994 so the AWB didn’t affect me) and I wanted to do something to be counted as showing my support for the constitution and applied for my CCW.
Still I wan’t a shooter and actually borrow a Ruger 22/45 from the instructor to take my test… but it was a step.
As I thought about my new rights I decided that I needed to learn more about the responsibilities that went with them. I began talking with my father, reading forums, and blogs and buying every book I could find on the topic.
As I read I began to identify risks that I had never considered, I became more aware of the crime in my neighborhood, I began locking my doors more, I started looking for exits and I started noticing people… All of those people have families and loved ones, and kids… Those kids had smiling faces… and that made me smile. At the park someone could be hiding around that tree… Hey look there is a tree, I hadn’t noticed that… or the squirrel that lived in the tree.
As I became more aware of my surroundings I began to notice all of the great things I had always taken for granted and ignored. Whoops.
At this point I wanted to learn to shoot, but I still had a very anti-gun wife which took some time, discussion and an attempted break-in to convince her. [Read Introducing your reluctant wife to shooting and self protection for more on this topic]
From there I purchased a safe, a 1911 and a Milt Sparks holster for carry… before adding my 1st Glock 19 and an MTAC which I found easier to carry and it developed into this site here.
Sometimes people that carry concealed take for granted the reasons the carry. They focus on gear and tactics and ignore the reasons that made them decide to carry in the 1st place. This may make people that are just considering carrying feel that they aren’t ready or that they aren’t like “them.”
Obviously this is wrong, the experienced carrier is just clear on their why so they don’t talk about it much. It also shows some vulnerability that isn’t “cool” on the tactical forums. I think it does a disservice.
Take a moment to consider your “Why?” and if you are willing share it in the comments below. Hopefully it will show other that they have the same fears and reasons for carrying.