A friend of mine (henceforth referred to as Dave) confided in me yesterday that he and his wife are wanting to get their concealed carry permits. They have been toying with the idea for some time but have not actually done so. Just this week, thieves kicked in their neighbor's door in the middle of the day. They live in a fairly nice neighborhood, and it was a wake-up call for them. I'm happy that they are choosing to protect themselves, but I wanted to make sure they did so intelligently and in a way that fit their lifestyle.
The most important thing to remember is that you need training. The firearm is not a magic talisman that will ward off evil. A good defensive firearms class is worth its weight in gold. It is an accepted axiom in self-defense circles that you will default to your highest level of training. When the adrenalin is flowing, you want to have something to fall back on. GET TRAINING.
Second, you need to define your requirements. Are you planning to carry at work? At home? (Don't laugh. Their neighbor's door was kicked in, and a gun in the safe upstairs isn't really helping much if you're in the living room downstairs. We spend a lot of time in our houses, so it's worthy of consideration.) Are you willing to dress around the gun?
Dave has a small child and another on the way. Because of this, Dave's wife is worried about safety (and rightfully so). Therefore, she is not planning on carrying a gun very often. Dave then went on to say that he would probably get her a small gun. I asked him why, reminding him of Newton's Third Law. Little guns are cute, but if they're chambered in a decent caliber, they kick hard. Since she isn't even planning to carry, I would get her at least a full-size 9mm for the house and preferably a shotgun.
Dave has a lot to think about, and I hope he proceeds with his plan. If you are considering adding a defensive firearm to your life, get some sound advice, preferably from multiple sources. Beware of the know-it-all or the one-size fits all solution. If you are a shooter, be a good ambassador to those who are interested in getting their feet wet.