I just started carrying my pistol this past weekend. It is just a little different from what I had envisioned. I got the Texas CHL card in the mail on Thursday and was packing by Friday morning. Dad and I went down to Venice, La. for our bi-annual fishing trip with several other friends. I was real worried that pops would see the print through my shirt and give me hell. Turns out that he never noticed. I don't even know if he really would have cared.
My first true test came when we rolled into Lafayette for lunch. We found a nice restuarant just off the interstate and waited for the rest of the group to arrive. Not only did the staff not notice, my friends didn't either. Self-conscious or not, I felt like my fly was open the whole time. It took a great deal of self control not to knowingly grab or check the gun. The gun was pretty comfortable in its IWB holster and I rarely felt discomfort during the eight hour road trip.
Of course, stupid is as stupid does. I did make the mistake of not bringing my pistol with me during our dinner outing Saturday night. Each time we have gone to dinner over the years there has always been cause for concern when someone in the group has a gun. Bad things start to happen only when someone forgets to carry. Dad and I pulled into the local eatery and were waiting on the rest of the guys to make it in from the marina when I noticed some thugalicious punk in a wife beater and droopy drawers shouting and throwing pebbles at cars from across the street. What caught my attention was the fact that a small caliber handgun was printing through the beater shirt and the muzzle was pointing at his "family legacy." The first thought out of my mind was, "Oh, shit! I forgot my gun!" I left it locked in the hotel room like a dumbass. Luckily, he was no threat to us and went on his merry way back to the trailer park.
The last time that happened was over four years ago. We were all convoying to this same restuarant and pulled over at a 'stop-n-rob' to ask for directions. There were a bunch of locals loitering and drinking beer in the parking lot. Two of these 'dudes' get into a shouting match and the one dressed in leather vest/no shirt and black denim whips out this humongus Crocodile Dundee Bowie knife and waves it around. Our jaws dropped and one of the guys in our group asked if any of us had protection. We all looked around dumbfounded that no one brought a gun with them. Thankfully, the Cajun Crocodile Dundee was too drunk and stupid to notice ten white guys sans guns in the cars parked in front of him.
Lessons were learned last Saturday that reinforce the need for personal protection. I know I obviously didn't need to carry on the boat in the middle of the Mississippi River, but having it ready in my waistband going to dinner is a definite must. There will be plenty of opportunities for me to carry over the course of my daily life. I just have to remain vigilant about carrying and as Instructor Greg says, "Train as I fight!" so that I may not be caught in this situation again.
Unfortunately, I cannot carry at work. I am barred by company policy from carrying a weapon on company premises. That may cause some problems as I work at different offices around town from time to time. Right now, I just keep the Kimber Pro Carry II in a valaise in my truck. It is locked up tight and in a very secure spot. I don't worry about the truck being broken into, but I hope there is enough junk in there to keep prying hands away from that gun.
As I grow into this new role as a CHL licensee, I am constantly aware and ever vigilant. I DO NOT look forward to the day when I may have to employ deadly force. I do, however, hope to learn and be more comfortable in my new role. I don't know what to expect from those that know me and are close to me. I also pray that they understand my need to carry. Having said that, I am off to the range for another night of Tac Tuesday. That report will be forthcoming.