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Shoot, Survival / November 13, 2015

Are You Prepared to Defend Yourself with CHL?

Written by: Kevin Linderman

Like many of us, I believe in the right to defend myself and my family. But in the event that an actual situation occurs, am I ready to do what it takes? Let’s take concealed carry as an example. I’ve shot guns of all shapes and sizes my entire life, but I’ve never carried one for self-protection. With all of the random acts of violence beginning to stack up over the years, I’ve felt compelled to be prepared in case that randomness happens to find me one day.

First step was achieving the Concealed Handgun Licensing (CHL). I signed up and was fortunate to be taught by one of our good friends, Jeff Kyle, because who better to learn from than the expert! The physical execution of the target shooting was no issue. Then we started in on the laws and the information required to pass the test. The more time that passed and the more legal information that I poured over, the more I started to question whether I was truly ready to not only carry, but to act if necessary. Not to mention, endure the consequences of my actions, however those might unfold.

Let’s step back for a second. I am not ex-military. I am not trained in self-defense. I am a husband and a dad of three kids that feels the need to be mentally and physically strong and trained in order to defend myself and my family. From my perspective, if you break down the entire cycle of what it means to conceal carry into three parts it might look like this:

1) The weapon – the right weapon to carry, for you, that you can handle, get to, maneuver and more or less shoot accurately.

2) The action – the ability to understand the situation, to assess the risks, to access the weapon, and to pull the trigger.

3) The post mortem – dealing with law enforcement, being arrested potentially, knowing what to say and not to say, who to call, interacting with family and friends, living with the fact that you took a life.


After completing my CHL, it was evident that I had not really considered the true meaning of carrying a handgun all the way through to the end. I was told that conceal carry is truly a lifestyle, but I didn’t know what that really meant. As a husband and a dad of three, here’s what it means to me…my skinny jeans no longer are relevant if I want to carry. In fact, none of my existing clothing or belts are adequate for conceal carry. Safe storage at all times is of the essence, too. But the storage can’t be so prohibitive that I can’t get to the weapon if I need to. How do I solve this? How can I find time to practice, practice, practice to better prepare myself for “the moment”? If I do shoot someone in self-defense and my kids are there, how does this change their perspective of me? If I kill someone, as much as that person may have been threatening myself or my family, how does that change me from that day forward? Am I comfortable with the thought that I may be arrested, and I may be sued, and I may be convicted?

We live in a safe neighborhood but like any place, people still try to steal, hurt and otherwise take advantage of the unsuspecting flock. Recently, the wife of one of my neighbors was pursued in the alley by a man with a gun. She smartly ran out of the alley towards a busy intersection. The man realized he did not have the jump on her at that point, got in his car and sped away. Within minutes the police surrounded the area but the man escaped in time.

I run through this scenario in my mind all the time. What if it was me in the alley with my kids as we approached our house? Me getting out to put something in the trash and suddenly a man with gun approaches. Could I or would I turn and fearing for myself and my family draw my weapon and drop the perpetrator? Let’s say I can and did. In my mind I see the still-frames of my kids’ faces screaming, crying and in shock. I see the man lying in the alley, lifeless, a pool of blood forming on the cement. I hear the police sirens. I see the empty casings on the ground. My ears are ringing from shots. I’m on my knees in a state of shock as the cops arrive. What next? Where do we go from here?

If you are considering CHL, and just think it will be cool to carry a gun, you are sorely mistaken. This truly is a lifestyle change and ultimately a choice a between life and death. It’s important that you do not stop at the CHL step because you are not ready. You need situational training. You need practice getting to your weapon under duress. You need practice at knowing what to say and how to respond to law enforcement. You need to understand what happens leading up to, during and after you pull the trigger. If you take the time and energy to consider all of this then by all means defend yourself, your family and others. If not, I would suggest letting someone else do it instead.

about the author

Kevin Linderman

Kevin Linderman is the founder and Chief Adventure Officer for Shoulders of Giants. Kevin has spent his entire professional career in and around the field of information technology, but has always been an avid outdoor enthusiast and a seeker of knowledge.

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