When I first started carrying (actually before) I studied a lot of theory about situational awareness, conflict avoidance, and group dynamics. A preparedness psychology goes well beyond what is required to simply use a weapon. In theory, the better prepared we are, the less we may find ourselves in a shooting situation. When I got my license, there was a difference in the way I watched things in public. It was kind of like when I first started driving a motorcycle...constantly scanning, looking at things I normally wouldnt....trying to imagine what possibilities might exist based on possible outcomes of potential actions.....always contemplating the what if's with everything I saw. After a while, it becomes second nature...the behaviour stays the same, but its much less stressful and more just a function of who I was. Lately (tonight in particular) I got to thinking that with time I have sort of changed my default behaviours without trying to. I carry a lot of the time, but not all. I work over the border in unfriendly territory, and as a result, have just me and my benchmade. While it is a responsibility and a requirement to be vigilant while carrying a weapon...before I ever did, I didnt think much about conflict avoidance or study my surroundings when I was out and about. These days, those things just never get turned off. whether I am armed or not, I take in the environment as though my life depends on it.....because in the grand scheme of things, it does. That not to say I obsess about who is doing what, but I still notice that now, even when i dont have a weapon, I do the same things that I would be doing if I did. The behaviour has become the norm.
I have always heard the stories about training taking over when the 'flight or fight' mechanism kicks in. I cant suggest strongly enough the importance of studying some basic psychology to gain some understanding of common correlations between actions. The more we know, and the more we train, the less likely it is that we would fail in a pressure situation.
Have any of you noticed a change in your attitude and demeanor after carrying a weapon for a few years? How have you changed? In what ways?
CCW has made me a more responsible and more aware person.
It has actually been a great motivator for me to take myself to the next level in a lot of things.
I did a lot of soul searching before I first carried a weapon in public...I needed to make sure I was ready to use it if needed.....anything less turns me into a liability. All in all, carrying has changed who I am, forever, in some great ways that I wouldnt have thought when I first decided to fill out the form to get the license.
Congratulations. It's a good feeling, isn't it? Lots of folks have commented on this epiphany--this isn't something that we normally talk about in idle office chat, so you don't hear about it often, but you're definately not the only person to notice this change.
Now, it's up to you to continue this personal growth. Get more training, spend more time at the range, and practice, practice, practice. Now that you know more about your obligations (safety, right/wrong actions, ect) it's up to you alone to ensure you're ready if the time comes to use that training. We don't rise to the ocaision---we default to the level of our training.