Good afternoon fellow biker Patriots! I trust you had a great Thanksgiving. If you are like me, you avoided anything to do with shopping today – which just happens to be Black Friday. But if you did happen to go shopping, with all the crazy people trying to get their gifts, you had an above average chance of running into someone who has lost their damn mind and could pose a threat to you. If that were to happen, it would be a good idea to understand force multiplication.
I read an interesting statistic the other day. Over 16 million citizens have a concealed carry permit. Over ½ of these permit holders are women. I was a bit surprised that there were more women permit holders than men. But perhaps I shouldn’t have been. If you look at the overall United States population, there are slightly more women than men. I find it interesting that when I go to my local gun shop these days, there are a lot of women shopping for guns. It wasn’t always this way. When I first started building my gun collection, I very seldom saw the fairer sex in gun stores. There is a reason for this – force multiplication. Women are taking their personal defense seriously and they recognize that an attack will probably come from the opposite sex and that men are typically larger and stronger than they are. There are of course exceptions to this general rule.
What is Force Multiplication?
The United States Department of Defense defines force multiplication as, “A capability that, when added to and employed by a combat force, significantly increases the combat potential of that force and thus enhances the probability of a successful mission accomplishment.”
These same factors hold true for an individual in a self-defense scenario. I would define it a bit differently than the DoD: “the use of a tool to multiply force and successfully fend off an attack by a more capable, determined assailant.” A simple lever is a force multiplier as it can move a heavy object with less force than required without the lever. In self-defense, the force multiplier could be many different items: pepper spray, a personal defense taser, knife, baton or a pistol.
What many women have come to recognize is that the pistol is the most effective of all these tools. It levels the playing field in most any scenario and gives her a fighting chance against a determined attacker. And of course, force multiplication is just as important for a man who takes the defense of himself, friends and family seriously.
This whole concept is important to me as I have been having a discussion with a close female family member who is in her 20s and considering getting her handgun carry permit. She lives on her own and is often alone when driving to and from work and school. But we are approaching this cautiously and we have agreed that she needs training, a pistol she is comfortable with and will have to practice a lot before she can start carrying. (Not to mention going through HCP training.)
As a certified range safety officer (RSO), I encourage anyone who is concerned with their personal safety to consider a handgun. Seek out recommendations from knowledgeable people before you decide on which gun to purchase. Go to the gun range and rent as many as possible before you make a decision on which gun is best for you. Do not get caught up in the “larger is better caliber” debate. While I can easily handle my .357 SIG chambered pistols, and often carry .45 ACP pistols, they are not for everyone. These heavy calibers produce a large blast when shooting and have a stout recoil. A well placed first shot, and the ability to quickly, and accurately, place follow up shots, is more important than the size and speed of the projectile. If you are more comfortable shooting a .380 semi-auto, or a 9mm, that is what you should be carry. If you are not able to quickly clear a malfunction in a semi-automatic pistol, a 38 special revolver may be your better choice as you can continue to pull the trigger without worrying about a failure-to-eject of failure-to-feed making your pistol inoperable. Lastly, keep in mind the size of the handgun you are considering. Full sized models inherently absorb recoil better than small guns. But if you are of smaller stature, concealing a larger framed gun in a waist holster will be more difficult.
Do not be overly concerned about the caliber of your carry pistol. Try plenty of different gun makes, models and calibers. If you are a lady, determine whether you want to carry on your waist, ankle or in a concealment purse. Try different handguns out in these rigs to find the one which works best for you. And most importantly, remember that the most appropriate force multiplier is not always going to be a handgun. The tool you use in any given self-defense situation has to be proportional to the force your attacker is using against you. For this reason, carry less lethal force multiplier defensive tools too. Watch the GreyBeardBiker.com for an upcoming article on proportionality.