I’m having a little fun with the title. Having rules is a lot like saying always or never. This is not all-inclusive but an ongoing list.
Before I write about particular situations such as when in the vehicle or in a parking lot, I would like to talk about guidelines I use with my person, no matter where I am and no matter what I’m doing.
Always have a pistol and spare magazine on me.
As I progressed through my training I tried to fit the pistol into my life from the time I woke up until the time I went to sleep. I wake up in the morning and after a shower put on the day’s clothes. I take the pistol from my bedside and wear it until I place it on my bedside table and go to sleep.
Obviously if you work in a no gun environment you will have to complicate your plan and do something different.
This negates having a plan to run to a pistol in case something happens at home. (Home invasion, trespass, etc.) I just need to use the same draw as I do when in public, thus simplifying my plan.
This also negates dealing with safety. If on your person the children can’t find the pistol and a tragedy happen. A quality pistol, belt, holster and concealment garment can keep the kids away from a deadly accident.
Have less lethal on me when in public.
Not every problem requires a pistol. In fact very few of them do. Sometimes the problem requires less than lethal. As an officer I hated pepper spray because in the end I had to arrest the contaminated subject. As a civilian I love it. I can deploy the spray and continue to move away from the problem. I use a Spitfire on my key ring.
Having or using pepper spray does not keep me from using fists, elbows, knees and feet if needed. But having fractured a few bones in each hand I have learned to try something else first.
Have only one concealment garment over your pistol and magazine at any time.
It doesn’t take much training time to find out that if you are trying to draw a pistol from concealment under stress and have to move a jacket and shirt one of them will eventually not get cleared.
How you do this depends on your lifestyle. I will go to the garage on a cold winters day (often in the single digits) with a tucked shirt and only a coat concealing my pistol. After warming up the vehicle I untuck the shirt and take off my coat, placing the coat in the car for emergencies.
If I know I am going into a public building where I will remove my coat I will leave the coat in the car. I rarely have to walk more than ten to fifteen seconds in the cold with my long-sleeved shirt cover garment.
You will have to think about your lifestyle and make your plan. I do think this is a good idea for everyone to work towards.
When possible, if in public with someone you are responsible for, stay with them.
Keeping your spouse or older kids in sight is sometimes not convenient. It takes more time to get things done versus splitting up. Will you be there if something happens to them or might have to fight your way to them? This can limit your options during an emergency, such as a full retreat.
If in public with an adult family member use the modified concept of contact/cover to interact with persons close to our personal space. You need to keep track of the loved one but have them not be in your way if you have to react.
I understand that getting your family involved with personal defense is sometimes difficult. Bringing these things up in the same context of a fire drill or a natural disaster will bring them into the conversation. If you start by talking about a possible gunfight at the mall it might just close their minds.