On any given day, you can find several dozen (or more) articles about Every Day Carry weapons, accessories, strategies, methods of carry and more. Just as likely is your ability to search the Internet for specifics of a “perfect defensive handgun” and get about a million hits. The recommendations would span a large variety of weapons and calibers, function types, barrel lengths and more. You’d probably find a wide variety of advice on what kind of holster you should use and what kind of sights are best. Beyond what caliber you should be carrying you’ll also find specific recommendations on the best cartridge to use for self-defense to include bullet type, metallurgy and more other info than you can ever assimilate unless you’re a professional shootist who lives for this exactly type of trivia.
In all reality, as one wise sage so eloquently puts it, “The best defensive handgun in the world is the one you have with you when you need it, and not the one that is so perfect, according to everyone else’s standards, that you’ve left it in your car’s glove compartment.” That’s just common sense. There are people who carry a small .25ACP in their pocket day in and day out and there are others who have a Glock Model 17 with extended magazine capacities, optics and lights mounted, and they somehow manage to carry it all using an In-The-Waistband (IWB) holster. Both are carrying what they feel necessary and they are both carrying guns someone will criticize – whether it’s too little or too much. Of course, in today’s gun world, the criticism could be limited to which light or which optic is chosen… or even the holster used. There are differences of opinion about literally everything and everyone’s opinion is equally valid.
One would hope that if you are carrying a weapon for defense day in and day out, you’ve gotten the proper education, training and experience; that you’d carry a handgun you’re competent with, comfortable with and confident in. In this case, “confident” means your belief that, if used properly, the weapon/caliber combination will stop an attacker efficiently. What often isn’t considered, even though it does play a role in weapon and gear selection, is personality. The choices made are impacted by how we perceive ourselves and/or by how we want others to perceive us. Everyone has these thoughts of image impact their decisions, even if only subconsciously. The question that has to be answered, if you are being honest with yourself, is, “What image are you trying to project?”
Are you the guy who sees himself as a modern world mercenary? Are you the man who thinks himself better suited as a deputy or sheriff in the old west? Are you the science fiction off-world marshal fighting alone? Are you the inner-city cop who obeys all the rules but wants to be ready for everything? Are you the survivalist just waiting for the zombie apocalypse? How do you perceive yourself and do you project your image in your defensive weapon(s) selection?
Your weapon selection isn’t the only thing that projects your image and, in fact, since no one should ever see your weapon unless you’re at the range, it shouldn’t be projecting your image at all. But, that aside, your holster selection, material and accessories also impact your image. Have you made conscious decisions about these things? Or are you unaware of your own subconscious image desires?
The good news is that you can mix and match perceived image with functional necessity. You might wish you were Wyatt Earp but understand that a single action revolver isn’t really going to meet today’s defensive needs. You might wish you were James Bond but aren’t sure that .380ACP is sufficient caliber for your defensive purposes. You might wish you were any one of today’s most popular television show police officers/detectives but aren’t a fan of carrying a full size semi-auto. What’s all that combine to mean? It means you can view yourself as a modern day Wyatt Earp but also carry a compact .40S&W semi-automatic pistol. You can view yourself as James Bond but carry a Glock Model 43 9mm instead of a Walther PPK/S. It means you can view yourself as a contemporary inner-city detective and still carry a Commander sized 1911 style handgun chambered for .45ACP. Consider carefully, though, the holster you select to carry that weapon, no matter what image you carry in your mind, as it will determine just how efficiently you can conceal the weapon.
Additionally, the weapon and holster aren’t the only things that project image. How many magazines are you carrying? What kind of knife? Have you carefully crafted your entire image? Or have you not even considered it? Is your image projection one of intent? Or do you simply carry what is authorized?
Of course, in the end, all these questions are rhetorical. The purpose of this piece is to get you to consider what you carry and why. The purpose of the piece is to get your image projection to the forefront of your mind so you can fully appreciate your weapon selection and purpose. The purpose is always very clear: self-defense, justified and within all legal restrictions. Above all else, make sure your image is in agreement with that.