The “Do’s” and “Don’ts” of Open Carry Part II

By Roger Phillips, Owner and Operator of Fight Focused Concepts

The Mental Aspect of the Fight

Some people may want to call this “mindset” but that term is very vague and does not do justice to the things that you should really know when it comes to open carry. If we can all agree that there are risks to carrying handguns (open or concealed) and that there is a certain responsibility attached to that decision, then it is clear that we need to “get our head right” about what we are doing, why we are doing it, and how to do it best. If you are open carrying for the reasons mention in the first part of this article, then you need to understand that the mind is the ultimate weapon and the handgun is just the tool that the mind uses to be as efficient and effective as you can possibly be inside of the limitations of “just walking through life.” In other words, it is the mind that turns the talisman into a devastating weapon. Without the mind it is just a chunk of metal, wood, and plastic.

I think that we can all agree that the very best life threatening confrontation is the one that you can avoid. If you don’t feel this way, let me warn you “be very careful what you wish for.” Being a hero is not all that it is cracked up to be. It can be alright (that is the extent of it, that is why almost all hero’s say “I just did what anyone else would do”) or it could be absolutely devastating.

“If you spend your life hunting monsters, be very careful to not become one yourself. Because, when you stare into the abyss, the abyss will eventually stare back into you.”

When it comes down to avoidance, awareness is our number one tool. When you are open carrying, you need to learn the difference between people looking at you and thinking “hey that guy has a gun” and looking at you and thinking “hey that guy has a gun, I bet he thinks he is a bad @$$. I could so take that gun if I wanted to.” Do not make the mistake that people do not ever ponder this. I am a certified good guy and I have pondered it. There are times that I have wanted to teach a lesson or two. But of course being a certified good guy, I did not do it………. but oh was it tempting! To think that people will not take your gun “just because they can” is a huge mistake. That is why everyone that you do not know personally needs to be looked at with a critical eye. I am not saying to be paranoid, but use some common sense and good judgment. If you do not know the person……do not trust the person. We all need to be aware of the bad guys ploy of sending in a “friendly” to set the person up for what they want. If it seems too good to be true……guess what……it is too good to be true.

When you are open carrying, keep your head up and your radar on. Let people know that you see them, when they see you. A little eye contact is good……. too much is bad. A nod of acknowledgement is acceptable, but do not come across as being too friendly or too much of a hard @$$. You should not be striving to engage people, you should not be looking to “educate.” That leaves you open. You should be striving to do what you need to do, inside of your life, and then fulfill your mission and go home. One of the main stay ploys for a bad guy is to get you to stop and have a conversation, so they can close the distance. Once the distance has been closed, you are theirs! If you doubt this then you do not know about the OODA loop or “initiative deficit.” Allowing people to engage you in order “to educate” is playing into one of the most successful bad guy ploys that there is.

“Be polite, be professional, but have a plan that will allow you to dominate everyone that you meet.”

Situational awareness is all about profiling. This has nothing to do with race. We all know that bad guys come in all races, sizes, ages, and sex. You are profiling anything that is simply out of place or unusual. It can be as simple as a glance that is adverted quickly when eye contact is made. It can as simple as a certain type of car. Yes, we do profile cars……right? One of my favorite profiling games that I play is the “who is the most dangerous person in the general vicinity?” As long as the answer is a resounding “ME!” than I am safe. As soon as I begin to question that answer, then I know that I really need to be on my toes. Ego can never be part of this game, the truth is the truth and everything less is a lie. This question cannot be answered through target shooting. Fighting and target shooting have next to nothing to do with each other.

People think that mindset is just awareness and willingness. In my opinion that is less that 10% of the true mental aspect of the fight. Over half of my “Point Shooting Progressions” book is about the mental aspect of the fight.

  • Situational awareness
  • Willingness to fight
  • The will to win
  • The solidification of your mission
  • Know yourself
  • Know the adversary
  • Know the dynamics of a fight
  • Know the correct context of a fight
  • Know avoidance, deterrence, and de-escalation
  • Know that the situation is the dictating factor
  • Know the best strategies for your very personal mission
  • Know when to apply your wide range of tactics
  • Know which skill sets facilitate the best use of your tactics

Your tactics are worthless without having your head straight.

Your skill sets are worthless without having your head straight.

Your equipment is worthless without having your head straight.

  • Mindset
  • Tactics
  • Skill sets
  • Equipment

In that order!

The brain is the ultimate weapon….everything else is just a tool.

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