USA –-(Ammoland.com)-Here’s a question to make your brain hurt. Are more myths and rumors passed along at the local gun store counter or on the internet? I know, it’s an impossible question. While both sources can provide valuable and reputable information, they are also the leading cause of self-defense and concealed carry trainer angst, frustration, and early onset of male pattern baldness.
Carrying a Gun Will Protect You
Perhaps the most dangerous concealed carry myth is that false sense of security that comes with carrying a personal defense firearm. Just as a fire extinguisher in the laundry room won’t help much with a surprise natural gas explosion, merely having a gun on your person won’t necessarily help you in a surprise self-defense encounter.
If you’re standing at an ATM putting fresh twenties into your wallet when you feel a gun muzzle jammed into the back of your neck, the fact you have a gun hidden away will not help you much. Unless you’re starring in one of those Hollywood movies staffed by gun-wizard actors who can’t wait to take yours, if that’s the case, you’ll execute a baker’s dozen Krav Maga moves, draw your gun, rack the slide a few times for dramatic effect, and shoot your way out of the situation. In the real world, you’ll be at the mercy of that creep who got the drop on you while you were focused on retrieving your money.
Here’s the point. Concealed carry doesn’t make you safer, at least on its own. Without all the supporting skill-building and training for things like improved awareness, verbal judo, close quarters defense, and defensive shooting (not plinking) you’re not going to be much better off than you were before. A gun and associated skills will improve your odds in some, but not all situations. For example, if you saw that ATM robber from 30 feet away, you’d have had much better odds of success.
This myth just won’t die. If you use a .45 ACP a single shot will down an attacker that Elizabeth Warrens' DNA testing service has proven to contain 43% Wooly Mammoth blood. A 9mm or .380 ACP will require 19 shots after an initial shock from an MK-19 Automatic Grenade Launcher.
Sure, it’s easy to believe heavier, more massive, and more powerful bullets might perform incrementally better than puny slow ones. But it’s important to put those performance differences into perspective.
Training guru and student of the gun Greg Ellifritz did a study of thousands of street shooting over ten years, recording and analyzing data points like caliber, shots fired, number of shots to incapacitate, and so on. Guess what? There wasn’t much terminal result variance for calibers ranging from .22LR to .45 ACP.
|Caliber||Rounds to Incapacitate||% of People Not Incapacitated||One-shot Stops|
|.357 Magnum and .357 Sig||1.7||9%||44%|
I suspect Greg would be the first to tell you that these numbers aren’t the definitive rule on caliber performance. There are far too many variables at play. However, what the study does NOT show is that some calibers are magic fight stoppers while others are useless.
This is just a sampling of Greg’s data collection effort. Check out the full report at BuckeyeFirearms.org.
Shooting Competition Skills Will Get You Killed on the Street!
Using competition as practice for defensive shooting skill development will surely get you killed, right? Well, not necessarily.
USPSA isn’t exactly built (nor is it intended to be) for defensive shooting training. Most of us don’t go to the mall with speed-draw holsters mounted 18 inches to the side at just the right angle. Nor do we walk around in public with magazines protruding from every part of our body like some type of nuclear holocaust aftermath mutant porcupine.
Even though IDPA was designed to be closer to real-life defensive shooting simulation, it’s still a game. Sure, some of the scenarios that enterprising match directors concoct can be realistic, but it’s also supposed to be fun. That’s why everyone laughs when the director issues instructions for the hostage rescue stage. “You open your front door and hear your mother in law scream from the back of the house… Take whatever actions you deem appropriate!”
However, most any type of action shooting competition can teach and reinforce life-saving skills. The run and gun USPSA match will give you great practice on shooting fundamentals like trigger press, rapid-fire shooting, recoil control, and malfunction clearance. The clock doesn’t stop, nor does the peanut gallery give you a pass when your gun clicks instead of bangs in the middle of a stage. It’s up to you to deal with it – right then and with no excuses. The bottom line is obvious. While shooting sports won’t train you in tactics, they do provide a great (not to mention fun) opportunity to improve your gun handling skills.
You’re Too Small to Conceal a Pistol
Hogwash. I hear this one all the time. What this myth means is “I’m too small to effortlessly conceal a pistol making no changes to my wardrobe of form-fitting skinny jeans and a tucked in a nylon muscle shirt.” OK, so maybe that’s an exaggeration, but as the saying goes, concealed carry is intended to be comforting, not comfortable. Not that it can’t be comfortable. Just sayin’.
I know 5’1” women that tip the scales at 105 pounds who carry a full-sized 1911 pistol with no problem. The point is that you’ll have to make some adjustments to your wardrobe and choose the right gear. IWB carry isn’t easy for everyone. While it does a stellar job of hiding about two-thirds of a pistol inside your pants or skirt, you still have to account for covering the exposed grip. Yes, you’ll have to use a style that doesn’t require tucking or wear some sort of outer garment like a sports coat. There are plenty of other carry options as long as you open your mind to the fact you will have to develop concealment around your gun, not find a gun that conceals in your existing fashion sense.
Presence of a Concealed Carrier Will Make a Situation More Dangerous
I love this one. You’ve heard many variations on the theme.
“If someone with a carry permit shoots back, then everyone is caught in a crossfire!” “Every time someone with a CCW gets mad, gunfire will result!” “You want to reduce crime and shootings with MORE guns???”
What these delusions have in common is lack of supporting data. The data overwhelmingly supports the opposite points of view. Do you know of a single case where a “crossfire” made a mass shooting worse? I don’t — not a single one. You already know the declining crime versus an increase in gun ownership and carry permit stats. Look at data, not hypothetically-fueled emotion.
Like most myths, these are easy to test and debunk. Far too much “information” gets passed along via gun store counters and internet forums without challenge. Fortunately, most are easy to validate, either by looking at the data or testing yourself. A little bit of critical thinking goes a long way.
About Tom McHale
Tom McHale is the author of the Practical Guides book series that guides new and experienced shooters alike in a fun, approachable, and practical way. His books are available in print and eBook format on Amazon. You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.