I carry nearly every day and I make it a point not to rely on that pistol in a way that would cause me to go places I wouldn’t go if unarmed.
From the very introduction to my Covert Carry Class, I stress as a mindset for a civilian CCW carrier the following three escalation steps:
Avoid – bad places or people whenever possible (do you really need that snack at the circle-K at 2330 in a sketchy part of town?)
Evade – bad situations and people once identified (there’s no law that states you must stay in a place you don’t feel safe or if someone feels the need to lose their temper on the road just drive away.)
Defend – when the first two courses of action are no longer viable and you are in fear for your life or the lives of others.
*Be mindful not to get yourself into avoidable situations with a gun that you can’t get out of without a gun.*
You’re conduct day to day should reflect an aware and cautious professional. Being genuinely talented with a firearm and having good situational awareness are crucial to your own safety but not a guarantee. The better you are, the more confident you become, and the more likely you are to go to riskier places, because you’ve got “good situational awareness and a pistol.” Every skill should be used to benefit you. Live a confident life as a responsible and self-reliant citizen. One cautionary note; don’t let that confidence overextend your posture so much so that you can’t respond effectively or successfully, if something does go wrong or catches you off-guard.
Don’t go places or take chances that you wouldn’t without a gun just because you have one. You may very well be smart and fast and aware and talented, but it’s just you and maybe a friend or your family, not a 6 man assault team. Any mistakes can make for a really bad day for everyone, so judgment is king.
Be smart before you have to be hard. Trust me, it makes the “being hard” part a lot easier!