The Defensive Mindset – Daily Habits

Written by Isaac Chase

July 24, 2022

I talk about Mindset often in our Free Concealed Carry Classes. Mindset is a pretty broad term, and it can be hard to narrow it down to something concrete and useful. In fact, I find it frustrating that I am so limited in our classes on how much time I can spend on it. I want to take the chance here to dwell on one concrete example that I find to be useful for several applications.

I have been carrying a gun daily for more than 15 years. I can say without equivocation that carrying a gun is a habit I have solidified through thousands of repetitions. When a habit becomes that ingrained, it can be easy to take it for granted. When I get dressed in the morning (or really, afternoon, because WFH has changed much of our daily routines), the steps are hygiene, pants, shirt, wallet, gun, knife, flashlight, keys. Strapping on weapons without a second thought is very easy to do. But holstering a deadly weapon without consideration beyond the basic habit can be a bad thing.

The responsibility of carrying a deadly weapon is immense and should not be taken lightly. The mental preparation for a deadly force encounter should not be taken lightly either. When the holstered gun is carefully placed inside my waistband, it is an opportunity to reflect on exactly what I am accepting in my life at that moment. It takes only a few seconds, but they are important seconds.

I accept that the peace and security I enjoy are not promised to me. I am not owed a life of ease. At any moment, someone may try to take my peace and security by force. It is my responsibility to be as ready as I can be for that moment if it comes. There are evil people in the world, and they don’t respect and value the same things I do.

I accept that if I ever do have to defend my life or the lives of people I care about, nothing about the aftermath is promised to me either. I am not guaranteed to win the fight. I am not guaranteed to get everything right legally, morally, or tactically. I am not guaranteed to stay out of jail just because I tried to do the right thing.
I accept that today is the day I could be forced to take another person’s life. It would not be my intention to kill someone, but my actions in defense of myself or my family could very well end someone’s life. That someone will be someone else’s father, child, sister, grandparent.

All of these considerations as I put the gun on should be motivations for me on a daily basis to stay current with my practice, to be a good student of the law, to control my emotions, to check in with my sanity, to hug my wife and kids and to appreciate what I have. These are all aspects of mindset that help me fulfill my responsibilities as a gun owner, a father, a member of my community, and so on.

As you take on this responsibility, take time to consider what you are doing on a daily basis. Build good habits and let those habits help drive more good habits. Let your decisions and behavior reflect the heavy responsibility that you have accepted.

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