All you have is all you have

by Drew Beatty

When it comes to a deadly force encounter, a perfect response isn’t among your menu choices. You will likely have very few choices at all in anything that happens, because if you are being attacked you are already behind the curve and are reacting rather than acting. So the choices you’ve made beforehand had better count.

If you are ever unfortunate enough to need to use a firearm for self-defense, the life or death encounter will happen incredibly fast - faster than you can even comprehend. When the time comes, it is far more likely than not that all you have on your person or within your immediate reach at that instant is all you will have to defend yourself.

If that happens to be a six-shot revolver, that’s it. There’s no 7th shot. If you have a 15-round magazine and expend all 15 rounds, you may not have a second magazine within reach.

How many of us sleep wearing a battle belt stocked with extra magazines? Probably no one. If the violence wakes you up from your bed, you’ll likely be fighting for your life in underwear or less. You may not be able to carry an extra magazine or a second pistol. All you will have is what you have in your hand.

For that reason, God gave us imagination and planning. It’s important that we use it.

What can you control.

In your home, car, and out among the general public it’s important that you study and assess what you can control and how you can best respond in a violent encounter. For instance, you can control your level of perception, and how early you can detect a threat. You can control what your attention level is. You can also control how many rounds you have available to you at any time, and if they are immediately accessible or not.

If you carry concealed in public, I strongly urge you to have at least one spare magazine or speed loader on you, carried in a proper magazine carrier, not in a pocket. When you train, practice speed reloads.

If you are at home in bed, it may be beneficial to have an extended magazine loaded in the pistol since you will likely be unable to carry spare magazines to address a threat. This could be the difference between life and death. You may also consider having a second or third magazine accessible elsewhere in the house that you can fight your way to.

Or, better yet, an additional firearm such as a second pistol or shotgun would be a sound choice. A quality LED flashlight within your reach on the bedside table can be a life saver. Have a telephone near you at all times as well so that you would be able to call 911 to summon help. These and many other simple choices, planned out in advance, could be vital assets in a critical moment.

It’s important to take the time to make an honest evaluation of what you can control and can’t regarding self-defense, wherever you may be. Be honest with yourself, make the analysis and take steps to ensure you are as prepared as you can be for a deadly encounter regardless of where or when it might occur.

Drew Beatty is a 52-year-old lifetime resident of the great state of Colorado. He is a long-time firearms enthusiast as well as a strong advocate for The Second Amendment.