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Myths & Misconceptions of Concealed Carry - Training Series

 

Beretta Tomcat for conceal carryThere are many myths and misconceptions regarding concealed carry in the United States. Some are related to efficiency of equipment like handgun selection, holster selection, defensive ammunition and tools for training. Others are connected to gender stereotypes and socio-economic norms. Personal responsibility, a commitment to relevant training and legal considerations are other areas that we all should continue to be mindful of. Physical strength and the strength of the human will to survive are additional topics for discussion. There are many areas that we will explore together through this series. In this segment, I would like to establish a baseline grounded in truth and focused on choices.

Beretta Nano in holster

The commitment to conceal carry is a very big decision and one not to be taken lightly. It is a lifestyle choice similar to your commitment to health, exercise, working hard in your job or to support your household. It is a willful choice that must be made with careful consideration before you begin. Unlike many of life’s learning opportunities, drawing your firearm to stop a life threatening situation, or failing to, is not something that you want to look back on with regret realizing that you were not really prepared. This is one aspect of your lifestyle that requires research, knowledge, mental preparation as well as the cultivation of the physical skill set necessary to optimize your ability to navigate a critical dynamic incident. This decision demands your full attention on the front end because without due diligence, you may not have an opportunity to look back and evaluate what you could have or should have done differently. There may not be a tomorrow for experience to lend itself to. Some decisions are final.

My father always taught me to “begin with the end in mind and think it all the way through.” This has proven to be worthy advice in many areas of my life.  It was and continues to be applicable to my daily decision to carry my firearm for the protection of myself and others. The everyday choices we make in life directly impact the quality of it. How you choose to protect your life and those you love is one of the most important factors to consider. Choices require an analysis of the pros and cons. Some require research and the counsel of those who are subject matter authorities. There are in addition moral considerations and matters of responsibility for our actions that come into play. Choices have consequences both positive and negative and our goal should be to position ourselves as advantageously as possible for a successful outcome. Though there are no guarantees and we cannot control everything, we each have a responsibility to ourselves and those that depend on us to give the time and attention to detail where personal safety and well-being are concerned.

A common misconception about the choice to conceal carry is that having a firearm is enough. There is a serious differentiator that needs to be addressed.  Checking the box on simply buying a gun and carrying it with you every day is a dangerous place to stop in the process. Unfortunately, many people take a required class or just simply fill out the necessary paperwork required to legally carry and stop there. An overview of these decisions can be found in one our most successful white papers: The 10 Most Important Things to Know About Conceal Carry.

Many don’t realize that there is so much more that goes into this choice. Getting the permit and the tools are just a part of the process. If you were going to build your own home for the first time, would you just apply for the building permit and then buy the tools and supplies without really understanding all aspects of how to build successfully? That’s a simple example, but in reality concealed carry is much more than a simple concept or a perceived easy solution to making you feel safer. Feeling safe just because you have a gun is a serious misconception. I always tell the men women and families that I train a simple key phrase: “Feelings are not Facts. Just because you feel safe, does not mean that you are safe.” This applies to many aspects of personal protection, but with regard to concealed carry, there is an important differentiator here. Before you make the decision to carry a gun there is work to be done on the front end that has nothing to do with the actual gun itself.

Your mind is your primary weapon. Your ability to navigate a critical dynamic incident is directly impacted with the pre-loading of your decision making paradigm. The boundaries that you predetermine include proximity to a threat, how many verbal warnings will you give if any, the legalities involved, if you are alone versus if you have a family member with you, how many threats versus how many rounds of ammo do you have, how to determine the greatest threat if there are multiples or if a person that you know or love become the threat to you. These are just a few examples of things to think through and train through while preloading your decision making paradigm. Taking yourself through the mental preparation of “what to do if” and “if this then that” is a fundamental means of preparing to navigate those situations more successfully.

Realistically none of us can prepare for every possible scenario. But what we can do is prepare our minds with informed, pre-loaded decisions about what choices we are willing to live with. Being as prepared as we can be in advance helps to minimize the negative after effects or potentially fatal effects of not being ready.

I encourage each of you to think about where you are in your mental preparation for defending your life. Your firearm is a tool to be used as an extension of the decisions and preparations you make in advance. If you believe that in your hour of need or moment of truth that somehow the skills and fortitude to act without hesitation will somehow miracle themselves into your brain and body, you are taking a big risk with your life and those you intend to protect. Are you willing to accept the consequences of that decision? We will discuss more on this topic in future posts and will explore this topic in more depth. For now, think about how much time you have dedicated to mental preparation. How seriously do you take your physical training regimen? What changes need to be made? Are you really ready?

This series is designed to address some of the common misconceptions surrounding concealed carry that pertain to both men and women. Each topic presented is done so with hopes to stimulate your mindset, perceptions, training habits, purchasing considerations and overall belief system surrounding this life preserving commitment to your personal safety. Whether you are a seasoned concealed carrier, or just starting to consider it as an option for personal defense, my goal is to bring you relevant perspectives to lend insight into this all important aspect of your life.

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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

Shooting: One-Eyed or Two? - Firearms Practice

 

When responding to a stimulus, 80% of sensory input derives from the visual sense. This process requires the use of both sides of the brain in order function. Both the left and right hemispheres of the brain share the information acquired through visual input. When shooting one-eyed, shooters don’t get the full picture. As a matter of fact, without the use of both eyes, many visual functions are limited. Many shooters initially learn to shoot with one eye and it is a habit that is hard to break. The benefits of shooting two-eyed, however, make learning this skill worthwhile.

Drawbacks of Shooting One-Eyed

Should I shoot with one eye or two eyes?

There are many disadvantages to shooting with one eye. For those who carry concealed, they do so for self-defense or defense of others. Closing one eye negatively impacts the visual system. Visual acuity decreases, as does depth perception, balance, and spatial orientation. These are important tasks that must not be sacrificed during serious situations.

Shooting with one eye will decrease the speed and efficiency of information processing. This means that it takes longer for the brain to process the information needed to react. In critical situations, our brain cycles through a process known as the OODA loop(Observe, Orient, Decide, Act).

Shooting with two eyes is a hard habit to break.
Photo by: Sara Ahrens

This is important for threat assessment and reaction time. In addition, after addressing a target, the shooter needs to determine the effectiveness of their actions, and identify the existence of other threats.

Benefits of Shooting Two-Eyed

Shooting with both eyes openShooting with both eyes aids survival. Research has found that both eyes will remain open during a shooting. This is instinctive and cannot be controlled. Therefore, it would be advantageous to learn to shoot with both eyes before being faced with a deadly force situation.

 

 

Shooting with both eyes open has many benefits.
Photo by: Michael Ahrens

Even though it’s instinctive, practicing the skill increases success rates. The eyes are complicated organs. They are offset, each interpreting visual stimuli from a slightly different perspective. Each eye takes in visual stimulus, and the information from each eye is transmitted from separate sides of the brain to the other. Field of vision occurs when both eyes converge. This convergence allows us to see in three dimensions, determine distances and speed, allow for spatial orientation, and assists with balance.

Our visual sensitivity and hand-eye coordination increases when binocular vision is employed. Visual sensitivity is the ability to respond to physiological changes. This sensitivity provides the shooter with the ability to respond to changes in the environment. It is more than twice as great using both eyes (duh, right?). The shooter will experience an increase in efficiency in hand-eye coordination, also known as visual-motor task.

When addressing a target less than three feet it is virtually impossible to determine distance. So determining distances up to 25 during a shooting situation can be extremely difficult, if not impossible. Distances beyond three feet can be judged only by visual cues, which require moving the head back and forth. Individuals with monocular vision are often unable to drive because of being unable to determine distances, they are seven times as likely to be involved in accidents than other motorists.

The use of two eyes in low light situations can increase one’s success when addressing a target. Many shooting situations occur in low light situations. The eye contains cones and rods. The rods are dominant in bright lighting conditions, where as rods are dominant in low light conditions. The rods are what allow the eye to see detail. The more lighting decreases, the more prominent the cones are in the eyes. This diminishes details that may be necessary for determining whether or not an object presents a threat. Using two eyes while shooting or even assessing a threat, allows for more light to enter the eye. This additional lighting increases our ability to see more details, thus decreasing the OODA loop.

One Eye Or Two? Survey Says...TWO!

Learning to shoot with two eyes has many benefits

Shooting with both eyes open is a skill worthy of learning
Photo by: Michael Ahrens

Clearly the research indicates that the benefits of learning to shoot with two eyes have a significant positive impact during shooting situations. Shooting with two eyes will improve hand-eye coordination; allow shooters to determine speed and distance of a threat. It allows for spatial orientation and allows us to maintain balance. In addition, it increases our field of vision and shortens our OODA loop in low light situations. Since it has been proven that shooters will leave their eyes open in a shooting situation it is best to practice the skill before it is needed. And although this was probably not the intent of an old adage - it certainly applies; two eyes are better than one.

 

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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

Eat Your Vegetables

 

by Carrie Lightfoot - Guest Contributor


“I don't want any vegetables, thank you. I paid for the cow to eat them for me.” Doug Coupland 




 

"Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon."  Doug Larson




I have noticed something very interesting. I post a photo on Facebook of a cat wielding a machine gun or a Mae West quote about being a bad girl and within hours - over 500 shares, even more LIKEs and tons of great comments. I post a photo of an attractive woman brandishing a firearm and BINGO thousands of shares and likes and hundreds of comments. (Yes, there are tons of MALE Well Armed Women fans.)  I post a link to a phenomenal article loaded with potentially life saving tips and/or spot on marksmanship tips and..... Maybe 10 shares, 100 likes and only 5-10 comments. 
So what is that? 

That is human nature. We love something quick, fun and satisfying but don’t really like to take the time to take care of our “firearm health”. There are a few areas in our lives, where this probably really doesn’t matter much. Then there are the few that really do matter, like our health, our relationships, our careers and yes, our skills as an armed personal defense shooter. But of course as Booker T. Washington said “Nothing ever comes to one, that is worth having, except as a result of hard work.” 

This is where the Broccoli comes in. 
It really is like eating vegetables. We know they are good for us, very good for us. We don’t even question it and yet some of us still avoid them like the plague. So What can we do to get over the barrier of “if it is good for me, than no thank you”? What can we do to make these “vegetables” taste better besides wrap them in bacon? 
We know that regarding one’s physical health, if they have an illness or are diagnosed with a serious medical issue, they will make the dietary and lifestyle changes necessary. They WILL begin to eat their vegetables. The fear becomes the motivator. 
Now, none of us should have to, or needs to go through the trauma of a close call or an attempted attack to create the fear to get us to change our ways, should we? Of course not.  It takes the mental commitment and belief that we each could REALLY be in this type of horrifying situation to create the fear that will cause us to change our ways and do the reading, training and practicing necessary.
So the moral of the story is: enjoy the simple things and the things that make you laugh, but also invest in your firearm health. Read, train, practice and grow in your knowledge of what just might keep you alive if the horrific and unexpected happens. Oh and yes, eat your vegetables, too!

Carrie Lightfoot is owner of The Well Armed Woman and quest contributor for the Beretta Blog. Join the dynamic group of women shooters on Facebook or Twitter or on her website.
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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.


Make sure you follow Beretta on FacebookTwitter or YouTube

 

This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

Hello, Texas? You can have your star back…

 
by Phil Mcnaughton- Guest Contributor
This is a Texas Star target. 
It is a common array at practical and steel shooting events.  The 5 plates at the points of the star are the actual targets.  Shoot a plate, it falls to the ground. 
I know, it sounds pretty simple.  Until you factor in the axle.  Yes, an axle, in the center of the star.  With all the plates in place, the star is balanced.  Knock one plate off, the balance is gone, and the star spins, eventually swinging back and forth like a pendulum until all the plates are down.    
It’s typically shot with pistols or shotguns, the latter being a little easier on the nerves if you have the right shot pattern.  Although I have personally never seen it, I suppose you could use rifles on it, if the distance was far enough, and the steel was rated for rifle rounds, although the very thought of trying to clear this thing with a rifle, at distance, gives me nightmares.
There are some wicked variations of the star.  I’ve seen paper targets in place of the steel, with weights added to keep the star in constant motion.  Adding strategically-placed no-shoot targets (the ones you don’t want to put holes in), anywhere near the star tends to result in no-shoots with a lot of holes in them.  Even better: let’s put 2 stars together on the same axle.  We’ll put paper or steel targets on one star, and no-shoots on the other.  Then we’ll make them spin in opposite directions!
Good grief, who thinks of this stuff?
There are some “tricks” to clearing the star.  Start at the top, work your way down.  This keeps the center of gravity near the bottom, which limits the swinging.  It also helps to pick a spot and wait for the plate.  When it passes, hose it.  A good place to hold your sight is the point where the plates pause to change direction.  This works well, unless a devious match director has hidden that magical spot behind a steel wall, or a no-shoot.  Yes, it happens.
I don’t recommend chasing the moving plates with bullets.  That’s a surefire way to burn up rounds.  The crowd will get a good laugh, but in the end you may be left standing there with an empty gun, as those little plates mock you, merrily swinging along, untouched. 
“Ok, but bad guys don’t move like that.”  I’ve heard folks say that the star doesn’t represent any sort of “real world” target, whatever that is.  I view any challenge on the range as something that will make me a better shooter.  Hopefully none of us ever have to use our shooting skills off the range, but if we do, experience with targets like the star might just give us the edge we need to get home that day.
I really don’t know why it’s called a Texas Star.  It is a big star, after all, and Texas is big on stars.  Maybe its origins can be traced to the Lone Star State?  Sometimes I want to send it back to wherever it came from, but deep down I’m glad someone made this thing.  It’s made me a better shooter. 
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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent those of Beretta.

Make sure you follow Beretta on FacebookTwitter or YouTube

 

This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

Love is a many splendored thing...

 
by Carrie Lightfoot - Guest Contributor

Ahh, a new relationship. The excitement, the long talks, spending as much time together as you possibly can. These things are all part of any new significant relationship. You explore each other, learn everything you can about the other and eventually know everything there is to know.  People begin to say the two of you look alike, act alike, talk alike and, as years pass, even dress alike! I know you know what I am talking about: you have seen couples wearing basically the same outfits, most of them don’t even know they have done it. It just happens. They have grown so much together that they seem to meld into one. 
Yes.... I know I am writing a gun blog and am sure you are wondering “what does this have to do with guns”

Many women and perhaps men, purchase a firearm for self-protection. They want to feel safe and have the means to protect themselves and those they love. So they make the purchase, perhaps even glance through the owner's manual, load it with ammunition and put it in a safe place. Only to be left there, until the day they need it. The honeymoon is over, and so is the relationship.

What’s missing here? Yes: the romance. Every relationship needs attention and some quality time spent together. For a relationship to work, this is required on a regular basis. Otherwise, you will grow apart and become like strangers. 


(photo courtesy of Bouf.com)
 Romance with my gun? you ask. Well, sort of.  

Spending some quality time with your firearm is one of the most important things you can do, not only when you first purchase your gun, but on an ongoing basis. This firearm is extremely important to you: this piece of metal (or plastic, in some cases) will become a part of your body. Heaven forbid the time comes when you must rely on it to save your life, you need to know it, really know it. You need to know how to get it to do what you need it to do, under incredible stress I might add. The level with which you and your firearm are “one” in a life threatening situation will seriously contribute to the outcome. 

Hold it, wear it and work it. (UNLOADED OF COURSE). Regular safe dry-fire practice is a great way to get acquainted and stay acquainted. Take your firearm on a date - go to the range and spend some quality time together. Owning a gun is a long term and committed relationship, one you must actively spend time on and invest yourself in. The rewards? A long, healthy happily-ever-after life together.
I expect you will have some interesting comments on this one! In the meantime, I will leave you with some famous love song lyrics. 

“And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.” - The Beatles, The End

“The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is to love and be loved in return.” - Nat King Cole, Nature Boy

Carrie Lightfoot is owner of The Well Armed Woman and guest contributor for the Beretta Blog. She can be reached on Facebook orTwitter    

Make sure you follow Beretta on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube

This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent those of Beretta.

Make sure you follow Beretta on FacebookTwitter or YouTube

 

This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

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