By John Cylc
Published on Newsmax on February 1, 2022
January 25, 2022
I drew my gun from its holster today. I have never had to do that before. It was not to show off, practice, clean or put my firearm away in a safe. It was done to protect myself from bodily harm or death. This action showed me a few things that I wanted to share.
I live in Tennessee and have a concealed weapon license. I have had it since I moved here from Florida over 11 years ago. Before that, I maintained my Sunshine State carry permit also. I have been handling firearms since I was 16. My dad bought us a .22LR to kill vermin in our garden. At 18, I joined the US Army and have been using different types of firearms for protection and self-defense ever since.
My wife and I do practice, but not near enough as ammo prices have risen, and availability is intermittent at best.
This morning I decided to go for a long walk, as I try to do a few times a week. I put on a sweatshirt, sneakers, and gloves, as it was cold today. After popping in my air pods to listen to the new Joe Rogan podcast, I set out down my driveway to start my exercise. About ¼ mile into the route, I realized that I forgot to grab my gun. After a moment’s hesitation, this realization made me return to the house. I normally carry a Rock Island Armory 1911 .45acp. The holster sits inside my belt on my back right hip. It was concealed by the sweatshirt. Tennessee does allow open carry of a handgun, but I believe that concealment offers safety and does not make me a primary target to any would-be shooter. After retrieving the pistol, I continued my afternoon walk.
Rural Tennessee is a mix of people. You could drive through many parts and pass half-million-dollar homes that are right across the road from an old rusted single-wide mobile home. Along my chosen route this day, there are a few trailers that I pass. The place of the title incident was a rundown trailer with 4 dogs chained up outside. I always watch to make sure none of the dogs get loose. This day, as I neared the home, the front door opened, and two dogs ran out unleashed towards one of the yards dogs further away. I anticipated that something might happen and removed the glove from my right hand.
I carry in “Condition One”. That means that a round is chambered, and the hammer is cocked back. The safety is engaged, but merely requires my thumb to push it down to ready the gun to fire.
The resident of the house came out and did not see me until the loose dogs started towards me, ignoring her calls. They ran full speed, barking the whole way. They were @80-90 pound dogs. One appeared to be a pit bull. Without hesitation, I pulled my firearm and braced for any attack. I maintained composure but was ready to act. Never did I raise the pistol, and my thumb rested on the safety.
The dogs got very close and continued barking at me as they started circling me. I yelled at the woman to get control of her dogs and get them away from me. She insisted that the were just puppies and did not bite. As a Post Office employee, I know that ALL dogs bite. Any notion otherwise is foolish. I continued to point the gun straight at the ground. I did not want to endanger the woman, nor her dogs, unless they attacked.
Eventually, the dogs were removed from my immediate vicinity, and I continued on my way. I kept watch on my rearview. After getting out of harm’s way, I eventually called my county sheriff’s non-emergency number to report the incident. I am glad I did because later a deputy drove up to me to get the full story, as the dog owner called to report a “man with a gun”.
This entire situation could have gone bad quickly. As I continued my walk, I performed my own “After Action Review”. The US Army taught me to immediately look at any occurrence and evaluate it in a professional manner. The first thing that occurred to me is that I almost left my gun at the house because it was a small effort to go and retrieve it. Second, I only had 8 rounds, with no spare magazine. Third, I should have called the sheriff immediately after I was safe and out of the situation. Overall, I was satisfied with my recognition, response, draw and calmness.
After arriving home, I started putting this article together. Here are a few points that ran through my mind. Hopefully my fellow gun owners and carriers to will learn something from my experience.
-Stay alert. Anticipate problems and mentally have a course of action ready.
-ALWAYS keep your firearm on you wherever allowed. Do not get complacent or think “this is just a quick trip”. If firearms are not allowed somewhere, go elsewhere. Ensure that you have an adequate amount of reliable ammunition with you. Getting caught unarmed or under-armed might literally be your final regret.
-Train as you would act if not training. Safely practice drawing from your holster, or however else you carry. Wear what you would normally wear. Do not use or put on your “range gear” to practice. Stress yourself while training to make it more realistic.
-Always be training, then train some more. Make your actions and reactions damn near automatic. Ensure that you know your equipment’s capabilities and limitations, as well as your own.
-Carry a firearm that is ready to fire. If legally allowed in your state, keep a round chambered. You are NOT an Israeli commando that practices drawing your firearm and chambering a round immediately thousands of times to ensure smoothness. The delay of chambering a round could literally cost your life, or that of a loved one.
-If you must act, stay calm and take charge of the situation. Do not put others in danger. Ensure others around you know what might be happening. Someone may not know and could consider you the “bad guy” or aggressor. Remove yourself from the danger as soon as safely possible. Continue to stay alert.
-Inform the police after any incident in which you act, especially with your firearm in a defensive use. Follow their instructions if provided.
Our Right to Keep and Bear Arms comes with much responsibility. When we carry, we have the capability to injure or kill another human. We must respect that and take it very seriously.
Be safe. Be prepared. Be trained. These are all a part of what is most important-