This is a tough question to answer. On one hand, we face the very real life and death conditions of an actual defensive gun use situation and on the other, we definitely are statistically at an increased risk by carrying a gun in the first place. So which is it — healthy or unhealthy?
For the gun community, we think we’ve all decided that the risks to our health are things that can be mitigated by:
- Better training
- The right safety equipment
- The right defensive mindset
- Honesty, integrity, and accountability
Those are all factors that are controllable by each one of us every single day. Additionally, the right defensive mindset is a reinforcing principle with gun owners that we will actively pay attention to our surroundings, be aware and present in the moment, and always look to de-escalate a potential conflict before it rolls over onto us.
All of those thoughts could send a spike of anxiety up some folks but that’s why we train for reality. Training should reflect real life situations that we expect to encounter and situations that we’ve statistically and anecdotally become connected with.
Reducing Anxiety By Roleplaying Through Concealed Carry Situations
There’s an element in training called roleplay. It involves acting out a particular situation that causes anxiety within us. Roleplay is a tool law enforcement often use to deal with difficult scenarios and get officers to visualize how training applies to the real world.
The biggest source of anxiety for any concealed carrier probably revolves how he or she would react given an actual situation. As we’ve seen from reporting, concealed carry defensive gun use can occur in the middle of a gas station, inside a grocery store, or even outside the home.
A good strategy is for a concealed carrier to write down a list of the top ten places he thinks he may be exposed to violence. For example, if you get out of work late at night and walk through a poorly lit parking lot to your car — is this a source of anxiety or fear for you?
Get together with some similarly minded friends or go to a training class that specifically addresses defensive techniques relating to this type of scenario. There are usually advanced and intermediate classes available that offer a portion where the instructor allows students to work through particular situations.
Being able to see how you will react given a certain set of circumstances is the first step to overcoming a source of fear or anxiety. This will inevitably result in you feeling more confident in your ability to spot or respond to an immediate threat.
Eliminating Negligent Discharges By Practicing Safety
The next biggest threat to concealed carriers are negligent discharges. A negligent discharge is any time a pistol is discharged improperly. It could be an accident or it could be a poor split-second decision. The best way to alleviate this is by using the right holster and reinforcing the basic principles of firearm safety.
For a concealed carrier who regularly practices and fights off complacency, many of the stress points associated with carrying everyday can be alleviated almost entirely.