The fact is that we are more likely to be injured or killed in an automobile accident than in a shooting. Yet almost everyone can get a driver's license, and can use that license anywhere in the country.

I drive more than 50,000 miles per year, and I train in defensive driving. Because of some of the areas in which I drive and because of my view of the state of society I choose to also carry personal self-defense equipment.

I train on the proper use of this equipment just as I train on the proper use of an automobile.

I would suggest that anyone who seriously contemplates carrying a gun for self-defense not only read the texts cited but also view some of the videos available on self-defense weapons. When you see what happens when a knife-weilding assailant runs at you, you will better understand the above advice about moving and shooting.

Running and shooting at targets in an IDPA course is a start, but if you're going to carry you REALLY need to attend combat courses. And you need to do the courses for each type of weapon you own - pistols, rifles and shotguns. You need to know not only how to use the weapon but how to load it. There's a big difference in what a 40grain soft-point and a heavier jacketed round will do in your AR15, and where it will go if you don't hit your target. Home defense can quickly become an accidental shooting of a neighbor when a round goes out through a wall.

The first question is the critical one, and should not be answered emotionally. When you're looking at a real face in the middle of your sight picture in a real situation, you don't have time for second thoughts. And when that bullet leaves the barrel, you can't take it back - you can't change your mind. I've made my decision, and I train frequently to find ways to avoid that level of confrontation. Ducking and running can be an art form. Pulling the trigger has to be a last resort, and you HAVE to have made the decision that you would do this LONG before any situation actually occurs.

I train as often as possible, with formal training classes when I can and at lease once or twice a week on my own. Drawing a pistol and acquiring a sight picture is not an instinctive action. Just as playing a piano takes practice to develop the specific muscle movements required to play a Beethoven Concerto, drawing a pistol needs frequent repetition to get it down right. I've heard that it takes 2500 repetitions of a movement to make it "instinctive" - that is, to make it so that you can do it precisely without thinking about it. So at a minimum, I will spend some time almost every day practicing some aspect, such as draw, sight picture, trigger squeeze, reholster.

If I'm going to carry, I'm going to carry all the time. The only time I don't is when I'm someplace where I'm not legally entitled to do so.

I carry a full-size 1911 right side behind the hip, but canted forward. A bit difficult seated in the car, but much more comfortable for me the rest of the time. And yes, I do practice drawing when seated in the car, when seated in a chair and so on.

Locked up when not in use.

My family is not trained. My wife has gone from absolute terror of firearms to reluctant acceptance of their possible necessity in some situations. Eventually I hope that she will come around and take some formal training. My daughter is not aware that there are firearms around, even though she owns a single-shot .22 that she hasn't seen yet. She will start learning next year.

Thanks for this thread. I wish all discussions of this topic could be this way.
Knowing where you're going is NOT the same as knowing how to get there.