In poking around the web today, I note that many bloggers have reviewed some of their most read articles. In line with that observation, the third most read post on this blog for 2016 was my article on necessities of every day carry. Top honors go to Robert’s Glock 19 article, but in this first post of the new year, I want to return to the priorities that I laid out in my EDC post. Many people make New Year’s resolutions that are soon forgotten or sidelined. Humans are creatures of habit, and will often choose the easy over the hard. With the world we live in as I type this on January 1st, 2017, I think it may be time to ingrain some new habits. Choose the hard over the easy and become stronger and more capable as a human being and part of society.
Let’s look at the five priorities I identified in my original article.
- My first priority was actually carrying your gun. If you have a concealed carry permit, resolve to carry your gun every day, everywhere you legally can. Is it easy? Not always. You may have to sacrifice in terms of dress, alcohol consumption, or where you shop, but resolve to carry your gun concealed every day for 30 days. Cold weather is the perfect time to start carrying with the benefits of bulkier clothing that will more easily allow you to conceal a handgun. This should feel more natural after a full month and won’t be such a big deal to continue in the months ahead if you make it a habit. And once it is a habit, the considerations of carrying concealed in the warmer months may indeed seem less insurmountable. While I realize that many of us may be in a period of financial recovery after the holidays, you should invest in a solid belt and good holster as part of the complete concealed carry package. Both Robert and I have written about several good options in this regard. If you’re going to commit to carrying a gun, you need to train with it. Train the draw stroke and presentation of your pistol daily for this first month. As your cover garment changes day to day and season to season, always ensure that you can reliably and realistically access your concealed weapon. In his Covert Carry class, Mike Pannone advises practicing ten draws every day before walking out the door. Good advice! If you don’t yet have your permit, there’s no time like the present.
- Next, a common New Year’s resolution is getting in shape. Physical fitness is important for too many reasons to list here, but think about a physical altercation with a hardened criminal that has decided you look like prey or rapid egress from a suddenly dangerous environment, and take stock of what you’re capable of today. Is it where you want to be or need to be? If not, start with small steps. The hardest step is the first one. Again, make a new habit. Improve your diet first, then commit to a level of exercise that you can realistically accomplish three times per week. Do this with a partner or make your intentions public on social media to keep you motivated and accountable. Physical fitness has many benefits beyond being able to fight, including improved health, better resistance to disease and injury, and greater self-confidence and self-image. Start small, but go big!
- Third, if your mind isn’t right, it’s time to make it so. Cultivate a self-reliant, situationally aware, confident mindset. This is a habit that you can work on daily. Might as well start or continue today! Never give up! Surround yourself with positive influences, try to learn from peers and mentors, and get out of toxic relationships that poison your mindset and outlook. As has been said by many in many different ways, courage isn’t the absence of fear, it’s facing fear. Of all the points in this post, this one perhaps has the biggest potential impact on all the others.
- Fourth, if you don’t know how to control bleeding or how to perform CPR, that needs to change this year. If you carry a gun, this is virtually mandatory. Even if you don’t or can’t carry a gun, first aid knowledge is a requisite life skill of any responsible adult. Think of the medical emergencies you’ve witnessed in your daily life… how many people either walked away or stood frozen because they didn’t even know where to begin? Don’t be that person! Especially when the injured party may be yourself or a loved one! You don’t have to become an EMT, but get some basic knowledge through a first aid class or a more tactically oriented class. With the current offerings in this regard, not having this knowledge is inexcusable.
- Finally, commit to taking at least one training class this year, whether it’s your first class or your 100th. Basic fundamentals require constant practice and even the most seasoned operator can always learn something new from a new class. Or repeat a previous class and pick up something you may have missed the first time around. Taking classes requires a commitment of both time and money, but is important to maintain your skills, learn new skills, and to build a legally defensible training resume. Again, if you’re looking for suggestions or resources, there is no shortage of AARs available on the internet, with this blog being but one source of such information.
With that, I’ll step off my soapbox and wish all of our readers a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year! Please share this blog with your friends and family and stay tuned for more great content as Robert and I continue to train and push ourselves to new levels of skill and knowledge. And in everything you do, as I plan to do, strive to be a better person and ensure the safety of yourself, your family and friends, and your community. Learn as much as you can and teach when you are able. To borrow an old adage from medicine, see one, do one, teach one. Start now!
Happy New Year!