Once again I came across a comment in a gun forum that’s got me scratching my head.
This time around, the question is about whether or not other people shoot their carry gun. The guy posting the comment was buying a new-used carry pistol, and was informed by the seller that he had never shot it a single time, even though he carried it on a daily basis.
So, this time around, let’s answer the following question:
Should I shoot my carry gun?
Yes. You should shoot your carry gun because you have no idea how it shoots, if it cycles your chosen carry ammo, or even if you can hit the broad side of a barn with it if you ever need to defend yourself.
Remember, the reason why you carry a gun to begin with is so you can protect yourself against serious bodily threat from an aggressive actor. But if you’ve never shot your carry gun you may not be able to do that.
We’ve already covered a similar topic about why you should shoot your chosen hollow points in your EDC gun, which you can find by pushing on that link.
In the same vein, we’ll now discuss the ins and outs of shooting your carry gun, to prove why it’s so very important.
Does the gun work?
How will you know if the gun itself functions properly if you’ve never shot it? I’ve bought guns before that I would never consider carrying for self-defense because they do NOT work anywhere near as reliably as I’d need for them to.
Like this one.
Remember, the reason why you’re carrying a gun to begin with, which is self-defense. Would you carry a gun that didn’t work? I doubt it. How will you know if it works if you don’t shoot it?
Shoot your carry gun.
Is the gun accurate?
Most firearms are accurate right out of the box. The keyword there is “most.” Not all guns share this accuracy right out of the box, and need to be coaxed into accurate shooting.
I’ve had a revolver come in from a big name brand gun maker with a front sight that nearly fell off. As I was shooting it my shots drifted further and further to the side, until I finally took a closer look at it and saw the front sight was about to fall off.
In that case, the gun was not accurate. That revolver is now my bear gun after reattaching the front sight to LocTite.
In the same vein, I was in a combat pistol class once with a guy who had a gun that was really inaccurate. I remember watching as our world-class shooting instructor took the pistol, and moved up in 3 yard increments until he was able to hit the target.
Think about it, this guy spent hundreds of dollars to get into the class, hundreds of dollars on ammunition, and brought a gun with him that shot off target past the five yard mark.
He eventually borrowed someone else’s backup gun to finish the class.
That guy had clearly never fired his gun before, or he’d have known that he literally couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn with it.
Does the gun cycle your defense ammo
Hopefully you have hollow points that you prefer to carry after doing a proper amount of research. If not, you can read our article about what I (and many others) consider to be the best self-defense ammo.
But you must carry ammunition that works as it’s supposed to, that also cycles in your gun. I have a friend who, a while back, carried hollow points in his carry pistol that he never verified. And, lo and behold, they didn’t cycle in his pistol.
I’ve told this story a lot of times, and thankfully he never needed to defend himself, because it would have been really bad.
The old way of thinking about only shooting your target ammo is dead. You need to shoot at least a magazine from each box of carry ammo you have, or you don’t know for certain if it cycles.
Is it more expensive? Well, yeah. Is it cheaper than your life? Well, yeah.
Can you handle it properly?
Finally, we have the simple fact that guns recoil, and some people cannot shoot accurate follow up shots because of it. In other words, they cannot handle their firearm.
There are plenty of people who carry guns that they can’t handle. And many people who carry guns chambered in the bigger calibers (or the shorter grips) won’t be effective at stopping a threat because they’ve never shot their gun under stress.
They walk around thinking that they can shoot their gun because they have shot it before at a static target, but things change during the critical incident, which is why I try to recommend guns that produce less recoil for some defenders.
Not everyone needs to carry a more manageable firearm, but I come from the frame of thought that you should stack as many wins on your side as possible, before you ever even need to defend your life.
The easiest way to add stress to your shooting is to add a holster draw and time yourself with a shot timer.
Chances are excellent that if you haven’t drawn from a holster, presented to target, and fired a few shots off — you’re going to suck at it.
It may come as a surprise to some, but if you ever need to defend yourself with your gun, you won’t be able to just pick it up off the table, chamber a round, and then poke holes in your target.
It’ll be a sloppy draw from the holster where you do your best to form your combat grip, line up your sights to the best of your nervous ability, and forget to breath until the entire thing is over.
Get to the range and do some training because you’re nowhere near as good as your ego tells you.
Should you shoot your carry gun? Yes, you should shoot your carry gun. You should also shoot your carry ammo, and make sure you can shoot all of it well, while under stress.