Those who have concealed carry weapons and carry on a daily basis often develop methods to handle unwanted contacts. They make plans for how to protect themselves should one of those contacts turn out to be an attempted robbery or worse. However, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic lockdown changes how, when and where people come in contact with each other. So practicing concealed carry during the coronavirus lockdown brings unique challenges.
Concealed Carry During Coronavirus Lockdown
Why change up your concealed carry practices during coronavirus? We’ll get there. Shortages of important items like sanitizers, paper goods and other grocery items make it more likely that people will come into conflict over these goods or over the money to buy them, especially if the supply chain is further compromised.
Additionally, the early release of incarcerated individuals in some jurisdictions puts more criminals back on the street. This comes as some law enforcement departments experience higher than normal rates of absenteeism due to illness. Therefore, people need to start rethinking their risk profiles and how they will use their concealed carry gear in light of these changes in their environment.
Crime is initially down because fewer people are on the street right now, especially after dark. On the other hand, several criminologists express concern that if economic conditions worsen and high unemployment continues, there may be an increase in both strong-arm and armed robbery near food stores and banks. Robbery attempts may also increase in and around homes where people keep cash and supplies. Prior to the pandemic, most robberies occurred between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. They took place on the street or in and around homes.
Robberies in residential areas will likely still take place during darkness. However, a considerable number of robberies on the street may shift to daylight hours. Many of the remaining open businesses have reduced their hours and now close earlier. Also, it’s plausible that those who commit robberies could be infected with COVID-19. Criminals could potentially have multiple close-range contacts with victims and other criminals like fences and black marketeers. Both of these environmental changes will require law abiding citizens who carry concealed to modify the way they use carry gear.
Same Old Gear, Updated Tactics
The most important tactical update involves modifying our mindsets. Most people who carry regularly know to avoid places where crimes often occur, especially in hours of darkness. They also practice situational awareness by staying in “Condition Yellow” when away from home. Being in Condition Yellow involves dressing to blend with the crowd; standing up straight; looking around in a frequent but casual manner; walking deliberately at a moderate speed; refraining from walking near places where robbers might hide; and being civil, but not overly friendly toward strangers.
But given that the COVID-19 virus is so easily transmitted, it’s important to increase situational awareness to “Condition Orange.” This requires expanding the “personal space bubble” around us from the usual two or three feet to at least six feet. Keep a heightened awareness of others in our vicinity. Finally, be extra careful to avoid enclosed areas where people come into close contact.
The ease with which this virus spreads also influences how people use their carry gear. Many people who have had defensive training usually carry a variety of gear like a LED light of at least 600 lumens, some pepper spray, a whistle, a locking folding knife, a smart phone and a handgun with two reloads. This gives them a good deal of flexibility in responding to unwanted contacts, based on a reasonable assessment of the contact’s behavior toward them. However, the need to maintain a larger personal space bubble means that those who carry will now have to begin thinking sooner about how to respond when strangers initiate unwanted contacts.
Distance Is Your Friend
In a way, this is an advantage because it affords greater time to make a decision, but the COVID-19 lockdown also requires that we use carry gear differently. For example, during lockdown there are fewer people on the street or in the store; this makes using a whistle less effective because there may not be anyone to hear it. The pandemic also vastly reduces the usefulness of a knife and hand-to-hand techniques, because using close-range skills places a defender at extreme risk of exposure to the virus. Additionally, the phone can be a deterrent, but only if the contact fears the consequences of his or her actions and the police are quite near, which is not likely under current conditions. Therefore, the 600 lumen light, the pepper spray and the handgun are the more effective carry gear in a pandemic.
When it’s dark, a powerful light can stun an assailant long enough to allow your escape. But lights aren’t very effective during the day. Pepper spray is effective at keeping people at least six feet away. So it’s a good choice if a person is aware of conditions and keeps the wind at their back. Also, the unwanted contact needs to not appear to be armed. When used skillfully, handguns are very reliable under a broad set of circumstances for deterring and responding to violent assaults. Outfit your carry gun with lights, lasers or night sights. But it’s not legal to brandish a firearm without a clear indication that you are being threatened with deadly force. Few unwanted contacts behave in ways that justify being shot, even in a “Stand Your Ground” jurisdiction.
Mind Over Mugger
In the end, all of this brings us back to mindset. Concealed carry during the coronavirus lockdown presents unusual challenges. But then again, life is full of such challenges, and our minds are incredibly efficient tools for adapting. Analyze how COVID-19 has changed your daily life. Understand the potential threats you might face and pre-plan responses. Stay alert, be mobile, look ordinary, and display a civil attitude. If that does not work, then choose the most appropriate response with the gear you have at hand.
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