Things To Consider

What's on your hip isn't as important as important as what's inside your head.

posted on August 5, 2023
Sheriff Jim Wilson

Too often, when we think about personal defense, our minds go directly to guns, ammo and other gear. Some get all excited when they acquire the latest handgun with those fancy new sights, while the poor guy who is still packing the 1911 gets labeled as a “Fudd,” and nobody really knows what to call the poor soul who is still relying on a double-action revolver ... bless his heart. But I would remind you that defensive firearms are just one factor to be considered in the overall personal-defense package.

Regarding the firearm, it is good to be reminded that what we carry is not nearly as important as what we can do with it. Our legal system and social standards may prevent us from firing the first shot, but a greater fight stopper would be to get the first center hit to the vital zone, which is within the realm of our ability if we are willing to get good training and then practice what we have been taught.

Also, akin to getting that first fight-stopping hit is the ability to stay cool enough to focus on the task at hand ... sight picture and trigger press. Controlling your emotions is a great defensive tool. Realistically considering how you respond to emergencies and giving thought to improving that response is a great benefit. Through prior planning, study and professional training we can reach a point where we can honestly say we knew that might happen and we know just what to do about it.

Just about everyone is familiar with the gunfight at the OK Corral. But I suspect that very few are aware of Billy Claiborne. Well, Mr. Claiborne was standing right there beside the other outlaws when the Earps arrived. The difference between Claiborne and his outlaw buddies was that Claiborne saw what was about to happen and got out of there before the shooting started. While Billy Clairborne’s lifestyle is not to be admired, he gets points for being alert and taking remedial action. A quick exit is often a really good, if not the best, option.

So, I would just suggest to you that we always try to look at the big picture when thinking about personal defense. That can help us recognize the difference between a time to fight and a time to leave. It can also help us formulate plans for dealing with events when we are in a place where carrying our gun is not an option. This sort of thing reminds us that what you have on your hip is not nearly as important as what you have between your ears.


Crossbreed outrider
Crossbreed outrider

Review: CrossBreed OutRider MultiFit Modular Holster and Magazine Pouch

A leather outside the waistband holster from a company known for making hybrid holsters.

First Look: Taurus GX4 Carry 9 mm Pistol

Taurus expands the GX4 family with an even bigger brother to the GX4XL.

First Look: Burris BTS V2 Thermal Optic

Packed with features, including streaming, multiple reticle ad color palette options and a nifty QD mount.

Honoring Our Veterans

Two separate industry events honor those who serve.

Winchester USA Ready Defense

Winchester’s USA Ready Defense ammunition looks to be a reliable and effective option for use in self-defense handguns.

Review: Taurus Judge Executive Grade

By now, you’d have to be living in a cave (digital or otherwise) to not know about the Taurus Judge revolver.


Get the best of Shooting Illustrated delivered to your inbox.