We all hope to never use the gun we carry. Most of us understand that if we have to use the gun, we are looking at shades of gray losing the fight. We may have to explain ourselves to the police, or a prosecutor or a jury. We may have our judgment called into question. We may inflame an already volatile situation. We hope that the mere presence of the gun will be the end of the attack or threat.
Interestingly enough, there is some data to suggest that the presence of a gun is enough to deter crime in some instances. John Lott, author of More Guns, Less Crime, has done research that has borne out this very truth. Many criminals see the gun as a line they will not cross. And why would they? At that point the risks outweigh the benefit of what they are doing.
What we have to remember is that saying all "criminals" is like all "police officers". Yes they have some common characteristics, but they are different is many ways. Some criminals are just starting out and are easily scared. Some only take things, some only hurt people. Some are very process driven and only take so many risks. But the truly frightening ones, the ones that are the real reason we carry a firearm, have often had this stimulus before.
Think about that for a second. A criminal that is now quite violent, that grew up in a violent home, who has engaged in gang activity, is going to be afraid when a gun is pointed at them. Hmm... maybe? How many times has someone living this type of life had a gun stuck in their face by a rival gang member or someone ripping off them for drugs or money? Just because it would be a new experience for us does not mean that it is a new experience for your attacker.
Understand your potential opponent. Read Varg Freebornes books. Look at William Aprills research. Try to understand what you might have to do if the day ever comes that you must draw and point a gun. And if you ever have to draw, you have to mean it.