Keeping The Proper Perspective

A firearm is only part of the defensive lifestyle.

posted on April 22, 2024
Sheriff Jim Wilson

I sometimes think that, when it comes to personal defense, we spend too much time focused on guns. You see all sorts of discussions as to why you should carry a revolver or a semi-automatic and how much ammo you’ll need. And then there is the “big caliber/big gun” crowd who take issue with the “small caliber/little gun” group, and on the sideline are the folks who also feel the need to carry several knives. While all of those arguments are interesting, I sometimes think we might be failing to look at the big picture.

The average crook does not go out hoping to get into a gunfight. He wants to steal, rob or whatever with the least amount of effort and danger to himself. When he goes up against an armed citizen, especially when that fact comes as a surprise to him, mister crook is looking for an easy way out of a bad situation. And I think that this is true when his potential victim is armed with any kind of gun. I doubt that the crook is ever going to say, “Oh, that’s just an old break-top .32 from the 1920s. Nothing to worry about here.”

Just as important to the armed citizen might be the admonition: “Don’t go to stupid places, with stupid people and do stupid things.” All of which is another way of saying that we should be aware of our surroundings and our judgment and choices for where we go and what we do.

It is critical to observe potential problems (Condition Orange) as quickly as possible, while we still have a number of options for dealing with them. The better we are at that, the less likely we are to have to draw that gun, regardless of what kind it is or how much ammo it holds.

But, just as important as awareness is having some idea of what to do about it when we see it. That is why we should train ourselves to continually look for exits, alternate routes of travel, cover or anything else that will spoil the crook’s plan. When you can out-think them, you may not have to worry about out-shooting them.

So, yes, we should carry a gun and we should train and practice with it for those worst-case scenarios, and because we aren’t always as alert as we should be. But, it is important to never forget that our mind is the greatest defensive tool we possess.


S&W M&P-15 22
S&W M&P-15 22

Review: Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22 SMU Rifle

The feel of shooting an AR-15 with the ammo costs of .22LR.

First Look: Nebo Luxtreme Flashlight

A tough flashlight designed for everyday carry in everyday situations.

Review: Canik METE SF Pistol

A fully featured handgun for less than 5 bills.

First Look: SIG Sauer MCX Rattler LT .300BLK Upper

A 6.5 inch barrel means it's easy to handle in tight spaces.

Essential Concealed Carry Accessories

There's more to protecting yourself than just carrying a gun.


Get the best of Shooting Illustrated delivered to your inbox.