Over the past year, I have met many people who have told me they own a firearm for the self-defense purposes. The firearms consist of rifles, shotguns and handguns. Some of those individuals have even sadly expressed they are neither proficient with their firearm nor have they ever fired the weapon. There are so many issues here I almost don’t know where to begin.
If you own firearms, you should be very familiar with each and every weapon and how the weapon functions. First and foremost is the safety aspect. You need to know how to render the weapon safe. While always pointing the muzzle of the weapon in a safe direction and your finger is not anywhere inside the trigger guard, know how to safely remove all of the ammunition from the weapon. There are many differences in certain types of weapons, some weapons may have a round that may need to be removed from inside the chamber before the weapon is totally devoid of live ammunition.
Make sure you know all the safety features of the weapon. If there is a safety of any kind, know how to activate and deactivate the safety. Know how to load the weapon, ensuring the muzzle of the weapon is once again pointed in a safe direction and your finger is not anywhere inside the trigger guard.
If you are in any way not comfortable in the safe handling of any weapon, seek professional advice first before attempting to learn on your own. This is not a situation where you want to learn by trial and error! Doing the wrong thing could result in the loss of life. Professionals who handle weapons are usually found at civilian pistol and rifle ranges. You may only need to let your fingers do the walking to determine the locations of such places.
I have also met one too many people who have said they either have yet to apply for a Concealed Weapons permit, they had one in the past and allowed it to lapse, or they have a permit but neglect to carry their weapon with them. Too many of them have admitted they are not even proficient or comfortable with their firearms. And lastly, some people do carry their firearms, but leave it inside their vehicle. To these issues I would offer the following advice: If you live in a jurisdiction that allows you to obtain a concealed weapons permit, apply for the permit and never let it lapse. Secondly, become and maintain proficiency with the firearms you may carry or use for personal protection. Thirdly, never leave your weapon at home while you think you are just going to run a quick errand. No police officer ever leaves their house knowing for sure that day will be the day they will have to use their firearm to save their life. When you leave your firearm inside your vehicle, the time that you may need it might be when you away from your vehicle. I do not believe that any criminal will put their crime on pause while you retrieve your firearm from your vehicle. We practice and become proficient, to prepare for the worst case scenario and hope for the best that society has to offer. However, in the event that you may have to use your firearm you will want to ensure you have the best chance at survival. You do not want to be in second place!