Too soon or too long — this is a predicament every concealed carrier in a real life scenario has to face.
It’s incredibly difficult to know when a threat has finally presented itself in such a way that deadly force is the only acceptable choice. Drawing too soon can potentially get you charged with brandishing. Wait too long and you could be pushing up daisies.
When is the right time to draw your concealed carry handgun?
The answer to this is revealed through training and practice. The biggest point of failure in a defensive gun use situation is you. The gun can fail, the rounds can squib, all sorts of things can go wrong — but if you have the right defensive mentality, these are not going to be the things that get you hurt or killed. You will.
Sounds heavy? Reality can be pretty heavy at times.
When drawing your concealed carry handgun, these questions ought to have already been answered:
- Is your life being directly threatened?
- Can you leave the situation without any loss of life?
- Do you know what is directly in front of and behind your opponent?
- Is deadly force acceptable in this situation?
Deadly force is generally authorized when you feel your life is under an immediate, inescapable threat. For states that have “Stand Your Ground” and “Castle Doctrine” laws on the books, you are given a pretty broad allowance to determine what constitutes a serious threat to your life. Namely, you do not have a duty to retreat when confronted by force or the threat of force.
This puts the ball safely on your side of the court but it’s up to you to determine how best to serve that proverbial ball back.
Even though you may live in a state that allows you to intercede on behalf of a victim of a violent felony (Arizona, Texas), it may not be in your best interest to do so. You are not altogether obliged to place your life at severe risk for the benefit of someone else. That is a decision. And if you make that decision, there will be consequences — legal and otherwise.
This also brings us to a very important point: you need an attorney on speed dial.
If you are ever placed into a situation where you need to use your gun to protect your life, your property, or the lives of people around you, you need to be able to consult an attorney quickly. You don’t have to get a pre-paid legal service or any special kind of CCW insurance — though both exist and have their advantages and disadvantages. You just need to ensure you have appropriate legal counsel in the event you need to deal with the aftermath.
Brandishing Versus Self-Defense: What’s The Difference?
When confronting a potentially hostile situation, you may feel compelled to draw your handgun to hopefully dissuade your attackers from pressing on. That could be a very costly mistake. The biggest advantage of being a concealed carrier is that no one knows you are armed with a handgun. If those fools are dumb enough to press their luck on you, why communicate that you have the means of neutralizing them? That’s a trump card in your back pocket.
Your job is to do everything in your power to de-escalate the scenario before it comes to that point. If that means leaving or getting someone else to leave, do it.
When you pull your handgun, you are instantly able to be charged with brandishing a weapon. Different districts and state laws apply and even if the situation ends amicably with all parties going their separate directions, you could still be charged. Moreover, if you’re facing off against someone else who is also legally armed, he or she can interpret that action as justifiable use of force on his behalf.
Don’t feed fuel to the fire. Keep your gun holstered until you have every intention of using it — and not a single moment before.