Since I got my PHLster Enigma, I’ve been carrying my gun a lot more. Between the pandemic and working from home, I don’t leave the house a whole lot, so the entire concept of putting on pants and gearing up sometimes gets left by the wayside, especially when I’m only heading out for a quick errand. Popping a fixed-blade knife onto my waistband and a pepper spray into a jacket pocket wasn’t so bad, so I usually had at least that, but more? Not so much until it got so easy and comfortable to carry my gear all the time, no matter what I was wearing. But this isn’t a plug for the Enigma so much as a reflection on the idea that carrying the tools of self-defense is work.
For perfectly understandable and sympathetic reasons, it’s not just work, it’s work that we don’t want to do and don’t feel we need to do. Most of us live in relatively safe environments and even though we know the risks and potential negatives are high if we are caught without our tools, the odds are low that we’ll need them. It’s just so much easier to not have to add extra weight to your belt, shove things into non-existent pockets, and not have to worry if our clothes fully conceal our weapons. Not having to manage the “what’s legal/permissible here” game is also often a relief.
That’s one reason why it’s so important to build your defensive options around how you actually live. It’s true that it’s easier to shoot a full-size gun accurately and effectively, and that having multiple tools on hand gives you the ability to respond differently to different types of situations. Just like it’s true that the bigger the purse you drag around, filled with every random thing you can think of, the more likely you are to have exactly what you need to respond to all of the minor emergencies you run across from ripped seams to an early period. For those times when the giant bag and full load-out of defensive gear are inconvenient or undesirable though, you have to make some compromises.
It might mean choosing less capable weapons or weapons you are less capable with. It might mean giving up some measure of comfort. It might mean slowly turning your wardrobe around so that crop tops aren’t a part of it anymore. It might mean you do bring a purse with you all the time. It might mean getting a wallet case for your cell phone instead of the cute and super-low-profile one that fits in your back pocket.
Here’s the key, though: they still have to be things that are so easy to bring along that you don’t feel like they’re just another measure of work. Maybe it’s a matter of picking a gun and carry method that are so light and easy to conceal that you don’t feel like you have to check the mirror fourteen times before you leave the house. Maybe it’s picking a purse or a cell phone case in your favorite color. Maybe it’s spending a little extra to get your flashlight in your favorite color, or engraved with a favorite phrase. Whether it’s emotional attachment or simple physical convenience, one of the tricks of actually bringing something along is to make it almost harder to not bring it.
Or in other words, acknowledge that sometimes you don’t wanna, that’s okay not to wanna, and find a way to make you not wanna less.