Lending A Helping Hand

Newcomers to the world of concealed carry need the best possible information, which can be hard to find at times.

posted on July 22, 2022
Sheriff Jim Wilson

We’ve all seen it happen, either in person or on social media... the concerned citizen comments that maybe it is time that he/she bought a defensive gun. Then, like a flash from some superhero, a firearm aficionado jumps in with a one hour (minimum) dissertation on all things that go bang.  You can just see the concerned citizen’s eyes glaze over as they search for the nearest exit.

Now, being a firearm hobbyist is great even if our sharing sometimes becomes a little bit over enthusiastic. But, the fact is that this citizen is seeking ways to make his life safer; he is not necessarily seeking a degree in Triggernometry, nor does he need one.

One of the ways that I can help my friend is in the selection of the personal defense gun. Instead of pushing him towards a certain type of handgun, coincidentally the type that I happen to prefer, I should let him choose for himself. My role is to make sure that he has a good variety of guns to choose from and that the guns are all well-made, good quality pieces. He should also understand that, as his knowledge and training grows, he may change his mind and go with another type of handgun that is more suited to his needs. We’ve all done it and he probably will, too.

One thing that I believe is very important is that, whenever possible, every trained member of the family ought to have their own personal firearm. They don’t need to know all about firearms, but they do need to know how their particular gun works, loading and unloading, and how to disassemble for cleaning and, of course, safe handling procedures relative to that particular type of handgun. It is their personal defense gun and no one else in the family handles or uses it without permission.

Another way that we can help the new shooter is to stress the importance of good defensive training.  The first response is often remarking on how expensive good training is. So, instead, they settle for going out to the local gravel pit with the next door neighbor whose dad used to be a reserve policeman back in the ‘60s. They need to understand that good training is worth every penny that they spend.  It will give them the benefit of the experience of actual gunfighters and lead them to shortcuts in skill development. The student who successfully completes a week-long professional training school is generally better trained than the average police officer.

Most of us are happy to help the new defensive shooter. We just need to keep in mind that he or she probably won’t benefit all that much from our dazzling and amazing knowledge of firearms and gunfighting. We need to remind ourselves to put all of that aside and focus helping our friend get the live-saving tools and skills needed to make him or her a harder target in the eyes of the criminals. Then maybe one day, they will become a firearms hobbyist and aficionado and bore of all of their new friends as well!

Y’all stay safe! 


man with firearm sitting in a chair
man with firearm sitting in a chair

What’s Your Position?

I really enjoy seeing some of the debates and arguments over whether the Isosceles stance or the Weaver stance is the best, so let’s look at reality.

First Look: Vaultek DS2i Smart Station

A full-featured compact safe to securely store your valuables.

Does Birdshot Overpenetrate?

Home defenders sometimes opt for birdshot, thinking it won’t overpenetrate. We put this concept to the test.

First Look: Rival Arms X1 Red Dot Sight

A new optic from a company known for their pistol upgrades.

Review: Safariland GLS Pro-Fit IWB Holster

A new concealed carry holster with built-in Level 2 retention.

First Look: Shadow Systems CR920P Pistol

A subcompact 9mm pistol with a removable compensator, which doesn't have a threaded barrel.


Get the best of Shooting Illustrated delivered to your inbox.