Sunday, October 27th, after an enjoyable day in the classroom with Illinois Gun Pro's knowledgeable and thankfully convivial and entertaining instructor Mike Bius, my fellow classmates and I headed to Article II Gun Range for our shooting qualifications, the final word in the 16 hour course work for an Illinois Concealed Carry License.
And I passed.
The people in my class of 30 ran the gamut of men and women, young and old, those new to concealed carry and those who have spent their whole lives with guns, and each and every one had the same concern... protecting themselves, family and innocents should the worst scenario you can envision come knocking at your door. Its been a long, enjoyable and, in many ways, an eye opening journey to reach this particular end and I look forward to continuing my education on the concealed carry lifestyle... it's not an end, really, but a new beginning.
I am fascinated by the mindset, the tactics and the gear that goes along with concealed carry, the little things and the big. The more I learn, the more I know I must learn - and I believe that most of those involved with the lifestyle, those that I've talked with, feel the same way.
For the uniformed, there is so much more than just totin' a gun where prying eyes won't see it. From rules of engagement such as Jeopardy / Opportunity / Ability - to the First Law of Concealed Carry - A life long commitment to De-escalation, deterrence and avoidance. These may be just words to you, but to me and most of my brethren, its a way of life, or more importantly, a way to stay alive.
Beyond continuing education and practice, many things change, like buying a different wardrobe than you might usually wear or routine physical actions such as how you hug someone, which arm you use to reach a can of corn on the top shelf of the grocery, how you swing your arms when you walk or how you hold them when you are standing in a line - just a brief start a very long list.
I'm looking forward to attending a tactical school in the coming year. Forty hours of intense training, learning not only about the gun itself and how to use it, but the tactics used to defend yourself in a myriad of circumstances. You learn what to expect in these situations, how to protect yourself and others, threat management, movement, cover, mindset, legal issues, aftermath management. These courses teach practical defense of the home, place of business or how to defend yourself when you are just out for a walk with your spouse. They teach defensive handgun under extreme stress, drawing from concealment, shooting from cover, and overall emphasis on
fast, accurate shot placement.
I am still on the bottom of the learning curve, but I practice regularly, dry fire and live. I read everything I can get my hands on. From magazines like US Concealed Carry and Combat Handgun to anything by Massad Ayoob, each one shining a light into a world that most of the public at large have no idea about, a world many choose to ignore, a world where many more have decided that with no way out, they will not be a victim.
To those who abhor the thought of people walking around armed, all I can tell you is this. Learn. Educate yourself on the subject. Not from a fact and statistical view, where arguments are born, but from the view of those who carry concealed. It's so easy for both sides of the Second Amendment issue to get into name calling and stereotypes, I myself have poked fun at those on the Left, but the reality is, if someone asks me an honest question about guns, concealed carry, or just... why? I'm happy to give them an honest and sincere answer and I find most gun owners, like the regular, everyday people in this video, are happy to do the same.
Fear and emotion are a powerful duo and when used as the reason for change, they can be like an F-5 tornado, destroying everything in its path, laying waste to good and bad, with indifference, and that's a sad way to run a world.
Soon, I will carry concealed... And I hope you know the last thing I ever want to do in this life, is to find myself in a situation where I have to defend myself with my gun... but I will if I have to.
Godspeed and stay safe and Carry responsibly,