Fight or Flight: The CC Dilemma

It’s a question that many who carry a gun daily think about. “What do I do if “X” happens? Do I fight or flee? How do I factor event Y into this?” Unfortunately, it’s a question with no definitive answer since nearly any situation that involves a gun and a hostile encounter can vary wildly. From contrived /k/ fantasies to horror shows many would think impossible, there are just too many variables to make a step-by-step on how to act when confronted. What I hope to do here is to simply provide some points to consider for private reflection. In no way is this a guide to be strictly followed. You will also need to refer to your local and state laws for more information regarding self-defense, as this article is not taking the restrictions of 2A and self-defense unfriendly areas into account. Here is a site that can assist in finding out more about how your state handles self-defense. The best defense if you live in an area that doesn’t like you defending yourself is to move out. Looking at you, New York. I’m not forgetting about what happened in 2012.

Anyway, let’s get started. By far, the easiest and most effective way to stay out of trouble is to just not be where troublesome things are going down. This is overlooked so often that it physically hurts me. Can you reasonably avoid what looks like a confrontation that could turn violent? If yes, it might be best to err on the side of caution and not venture further, or better yet, find a way around the issue.

This may seem passive, but playing it smart and cautious is often the best way to go if you’re trying for a long and healthy life. If you can’t avoid it, just be calm, alert, and ready to act. The worst thing you can do is go in expecting and/or looking for a fight. The mentality could very well lead you to act rashly and land yourself and others in trouble with the law, in the hospital, or worst of all, the morgue. Don’t unnecessarily endanger yourself, you twit. If you can’t avoid it, then talk it out.

Diplomacy is a powerful tool. If things start to get dicey with someone who has a problem with you, just play it cool. The other person(s) will likely calm down if you don’t get agitated like them. Try to identify the source of the problem and offer a reasonable solution to the other party if they can be reasoned with. Showing empathy, apologizing if you were in the wrong, and validating the feelings of the other person(s) are all good ways to tone down an argument. Ninety-nine percent of the time, being calm and talking is all you need to put out a heated situation. A wise man once said, “As a man with a gun, you have a duty to lose every argument.”

In an ideal world, dodging bad situations would be easy, but we don’t live in that world and it sucks. In a situation where danger in the form of an unreasonable person is present, it might be better to flee depending on your priorities. You need to carefully weigh the pros and cons of such an action. Things to consider are the attacker’s estimated ability to catch you, how easily you can break line of sight, the presence of any weapons, and where your escape route leads. No sense in running if you just get shot in the back or corner yourself. That leaves one more option

You were aware of it, you couldn’t avoid it, and you couldn’t get away. It might literally be do-or-die now. This is the point you should think about most heavily before performing. Something to keep in mind is that to normal people the sight of a gun is frightening and that can make an attacker back down from sight alone if they themselves are not armed. Many /k/ommandos seem to forget that not everyone fondles their guns every day, or even owns guns for that matter, so an armed defender is actually a daunting thing. However, this doesn’t mean you should pull your CC every time you get into an argument. Far from it. A good rule of thumb that you’ll hopefully never need to use is the gun comes out only if you see yourself hurt or dead within the next minute or two. I shouldn’t have to explain this, but the number of people I’ve talked to who unironically think that pulling a gun in a common argument is okay is alarming.

The gun is ideally the last resort when you know your life is in danger

Moving on, if the guy who was trying to end you didn’t immediately throw himself to the ground or run like hell was on his heels, you’re left with two choices. Either wait and see how they respond or pull the trigger. Both have their own risks, and it’s up to you to decide. Do not choose lightly, as both will have repercussions. I think it goes without saying that if you someway, somehow, against the recommendation of both myself and actual experts manage to train your CC on a gun wielding aggressor, there is really only one course of action, and you know what it is.

Realize that this is probably going to be a low point in your life for a considerable time either way. Get in contact with a lawyer after all is said and done, and be truthful if you speak to police, because the law is going to get involved whether you want it to or not. It’s not the end of the world if you did your due diligence and were forced to save yourself.

This is going to sound callous, but I do not recommend going out of your way to save someone else with lethal force. If a self-defense shooting is a process and a half, then coming to someone else’s aid is a royal clusterf*ck. Many people who carry, not just /k/ommandos, have thoughts of playing a hero who rushes in and stops a crime by killing the bad guy. Hell, I’ve had idle thoughts like that.

If it’s a violent crime happening right in front of you, then few will fault you for helping the victim, but purposely moving towards an ugly situation? Don’t. When you get other people involved, you just add more variables that you cannot control. Who’s to say that the person you saved doesn’t turn on you and claim you gave them PTSD with your gun? That may be a tad unrealistic, but it’s still plenty possible in today’s world. Do yourself a favor and look out for number one first.  

I’ll end this by saying once again that this is not a definitive guide or a guide at all, really. These are simply points that the defense-minded man may want to mull over. Fortunately, you’ll likely never have to pull a gun on someone. The statistics for defensive gun use vary greatly since surveyors all tend for define defensive use differently, but it’s safe to say the average person will not be forced into such a choice. There is no surefire correct way to defend yourself, but there are plenty of incorrect ways, so I hope any readers who see this take the time to think and plan.

The event may be unlikely, but any level of preparation beats nothing a thousand times over.


An editor who sometimes does an article or two with a love of poverty-level firearms.

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