I carry nearly every day and I make it a point not to rely on that pistol in a way that would cause me to go places I wouldn’t go if unarmed.
From the very introduction to my Covert Carry Class, I stress as a mindset for a civilian CCW carrier the following three escalation steps:
Avoid – bad places or people whenever possible (do you really need that snack at the circle-K at 2330 in a sketchy part of town?)
Evade – bad situations and people once identified (there’s no law that states you must stay in a place you don’t feel safe or if someone feels the need to lose their temper on the road just drive away.)
Defend – when the first two courses of action are no longer viable and you are in fear for your life or the lives of others.
*Be mindful not to get yourself into avoidable situations with a gun that you can’t get out of without a gun.*
You’re conduct day to day should reflect an aware and cautious professional. Being genuinely talented with a firearm and having good situational awareness are crucial to your own safety but not a guarantee. The better you are, the more confident you become, and the more likely you are to go to riskier places, because you’ve got “good situational awareness and a pistol.” Every skill should be used to benefit you. Live a confident life as a responsible and self-reliant citizen. One cautionary note; don’t let that confidence overextend your posture so much so that you can’t respond effectively or successfully, if something does go wrong or catches you off-guard.
Don’t go places or take chances that you wouldn’t without a gun just because you have one. You may very well be smart and fast and aware and talented, but it’s just you and maybe a friend or your family, not a 6 man assault team. Any mistakes can make for a really bad day for everyone, so judgment is king.
Be smart before you have to be hard. Trust me, it makes the “being hard” part a lot easier!
- Mike Pannone
Mike Pannone retired from the Army’s premier assault force (1st SFOD-D) after an explosive breaching injury. A year after his retirement America was attacked on 9/11 and he returned to help serve his country as the head marksmanship instructor at the Federal Air Marshals training course and then moved to help stand up the FAMS Seattle field office. In 2003 he left the FAMS to serve as a PSD detail member and then a detail leader for the State Department during 2003 and 2004 in Baghdad and Tikrit.
In 2005 he served as a ground combat advisor of the Joint Counter IED Task Force and participated on combat operations with various units in Al Anbar province. Upon returning he gave IED awareness briefings to departing units and helped stand up a pre-Iraq surge rifle course with the Asymmetric Warfare Group as a lead instructor. With that experience as well as a career of special operations service in Marine Reconnaissance, Army Special Forces and JSOC to draw from he moved to the private sector teaching planning, leadership, marksmanship and tactics as well as authoring and co-authoring several books such as The M4 Handbook, AK Handbook and Tactical Pistol shooting. Mike also consults for several major rifle and accessory manufacturers to help them field the best possible equipment to the warfighter, law enforcement officer and upstanding civilian end user. He is considered a subject matter expert on the AR based Stoner platform in all its derivatives.
Gunfighter Moment is a weekly feature brought to you by Alias Training & Security Services. Each week Alias brings us a different Trainer and in turn they offer some words of wisdom.