In a perfect world, we would get to train with our guns every day. Sadly, the world is not perfect. Come to think of it, if the world were perfect, we wouldn’t need guns. But I should not let my mind drift to the thought of Utopia.

Until that magical day of utopian perfection, let us assume that we have to train and prepare to face any number of emergencies. One of those emergencies might require the use of a defensive firearm to stop an attacker. At that moment, you will be required to do EVERYTHING correctly in order to stay alive and out of jail.

That’s right … you have multiple battles to fight when defending yourself with a gun. First, you have to stop the threat. You must prevail in the fight. I am suggesting that you do not plan to simply survive the fight. You can survive and still lose the fight. You must plan to prevail.

The Legal and Psychological Burdens of Self-Defense

Once that is done, you will be dealing with the legal system. Though your encounter with the legal system will come after the fight, all the questions asked will be about what you did before and during the fight. As a result, you must think about your actions before they occur. You must also know the legal implications of those actions. My suggestion when it comes to such things is this: Know the laws. Be proficient with your defensive tools. Avoid every fight you can.

Assuming you have done all that you can to prepare for and then avoid the fight but have somehow been forced into action, you will have still more battles. The aftermath of being involved in a deadly force incident does not stop on the steps of the courthouse. And be advised, making it to those courthouse steps could drag on for years. While the gears of the legal system are slowly grinding up everything in their path, you will also be forced to deal with the emotional and psychological issues surrounding your event.

Without doing substantial research, I believe something like 50 percent of police officers who have been involved in a shooting leave law enforcement within a few years of that event. This is not Hollywood, and people do not simply rebound from a critical incident without a second thought. If you have not thought about this, you have not adequately prepared for what self-defense really means.

Take Self-Protection Seriously

Self-defense is not simply a gun on your hip and a proclaimed willingness to use it. So much more goes into the decisions you make and the decisions you might be forced to make in your effort to protect yourself and the ones you love.

Nothing about concealed carry is easy. No portion of this lifestyle should be taken lightly. Every answer leads to more questions, and the ugly truth is that the worst moment of your life could conceivably go on for years.

But please don’t let the words above discourage you from carrying a gun every day and in every place legally allowed. All the work, all the training, all the headaches are worth it when you remember that you are not only protecting yourself and your loved ones but also protecting the rights we hold dear in this country.

Never stop learning, improving and focusing your attention on your personal protection plan. It is a significant investment, but the reward you receive through peace of mind is fantastic. The battles may never end, but every bit of it is worth the fight.