On to 2017! We hope all Carry Lifers had a fine Christmas (or Hanukkah, or holiday) and are into a happy, healthy, hopeful New Year. Certainly, the thought of four years without a Sword of Damocles hanging over the Second Amendment is a very welcome prospect for the coming months at least.
We reveled in some great traditions through our holiday, and now invoke, or at least recommend, another—some resolutions for the New Year, vis a vis the Carry Life.
The first is not merely a reprise or compassionate ideal, but a moral imperative: Resolve to sharpen your abilities and instincts for the avoidance of, or disengagement from, aggression. Don’t confuse this with cowardice or appeasement, but mark it as wisdom and the none-too-soon demise of wishful thinking. Personal security only comes with expedients for varied eventualities, and the more you have a plan for, the better. Resolve to sharpen your abilities and instincts for the avoidance of, or disengagement from, aggression.
With that in mind, any measures you can cultivate that make actual self-defense unnecessary are especially worthwhile. If the Color Codes of Awareness aren’t part of your repertoire, they probably ought to be. Existing cultural knowledge helps a lot, naturally, but the Color Codes add a method to systematically process inputs from your surroundings: Cues for safety, beauty, fun—and danger—will all be assessed more quickly and accurately.
But would we stop there? Heck no: Read a book—or books—from some real danger “pros.” Verbal Judo, 400 Things Cops Know and What Every Body Is Saying are examples that we all-but-guarantee will change your thinking about many aspects of day-to-day life, and not just in terms of how you go about protections for your family. The crucial essence is the same no matter what, however: Stop living head-down, earbuds on, lost in your smart device or other distractions. A small but irreducible percentage of human beings are simply predators, and the inattentive are their natural prey. Learn how to not play on their sick turf.
Which gets to our second suggested resolution: Don’t figure you’re done learning with such anticipation and avoidance techniques/mindsets, or even measurably excellent shooting (or other defensive) skills. Pick something new to learn.
Our recommendation here is particularly straightforward. Most Carry Lifers don’t get enough opportunity to develop and practice “getting off the ‘X’” skills. Forcing knuckleheads to alter their plan is often enough to entirely dissuade them from confrontation. The alternative, however unprovocative and sincere, has another name—incompetence. It will not seem a victory, moral or otherwise, if someone you love gets hurt because you have no plan when the ugliness finds you.
So find a moving-while-shooting-oriented course, and take it. An important corollary here: After you learn to move and shoot, make sure you have a place to practice those skills. As much as we love our indoor club, the two don’t mix very well. Find something that does. We think competition is a natural fit here—one with many other benefits as well (here and here, for instance). So find a moving-while-shooting-oriented course, and take it.
Our last suggested resolution is not only fun, but will save you money and put you in the driver’s seat to an extent most shooters simply can’t imagine (until they do it): Start reloading. There are a lot of misconceptions about reloading, and over the next few months we’ll try to deconstruct them for you as we take a look at some of the options, equipment-wise. But the short version is simple: If you want your rifle, shotgun or handgun to run with tuned-to-you precision for virtually every one of your shooting tasks, it’s tough—or just very lucky—to beat reloading.
Factory ammo is great, mind you, and we shoot a bunch of it, too. (No, we don’t get anywhere near all of it for free, despite what you may imagine or have heard/read.) However, there are many problems factory ammo isn’t designed to solve, but that reloading can. Before a wise (and perfectly natural) skepticism overtakes you, consider: This is why most ammunition manufacturers also sell their components. They know better than anyone how nigh-unto-impossible it is to make cartridges that run every firearm at its individual best.