I was walking to my car in a darkened area recently when I was approached by a largely-built white teenager in a hoody, carrying a skateboard.
“Hey, can you give me a ride to the Oxford Square Apartments?”
To anyone with any common sense, this seems like an overture to no good, and I was immediately suspicious. I told him I could not, but that I would call someone if that would help.
What this subject did not see is that I turned my left hip away from him and placed my left hand on my sidearm. I have no desire to shoot anyone, but I have even less desire to be robbed or murdered, which is why I carry in the first place.
Turning away from the subject serves several purposes: it adds to the concealment of the weapon, it helps in retaining the weapon, it adds distance between the weapon and the potential assailant, and it allows me the option to ward off a weapon were he to brandish one.
I made a quick phone call for him with my right hand, using Siri to voice dial, and my eyes never left him, watching for any sign of aggression. Had there been any sign, the first and best option, of course, would be de-escalation and deterrence. The next would be to attempt to get to cover, getting something like my car between him and me. Brandishing my weapon is, of course, a last resort, but I was ready to do it to save my own life.
I sent him on his way after leaving a quick message with his mother, and I was glad there was no incident. It’s entirely possible that my manner and my attitude discouraged him from seeing me as a potential mark.
I was glad I was carrying a weapon, and glad I felt ready to do what it took to defend myself.
A lot of webizens will tell you that you should carry a bigger gun with a more powerful caliber. They like to cite .40 or .45 as the self-defense round of choice. My feeling, though, is that if you can’t defend yourself with a 9mm or a .380 or a .32 or even .22lr, you have no business carrying a gun at all.