Supplement your on-range training with some written insights from Jeff Copper and others.
Believe it or not, there is a lot to be said about being book smart about firearms. Firearms might be more of an active participation event, but they also provide a good bit of practical advice. As a concealed carrier, I constantly strive to improve, and between range trips, classes, and practice, I often find my nose stuck in a book. With that said, here are my five favorite books for concealed carriers.
Principles of Self-Defense – Jeff Cooper
For a book suggested for concealed carry, it almost has nothing to do with guns, not at first glance. This is about mindset and could apply to a firearm as much as it could apply to a swordsman fighting a Viking. Some things are universal, and the defensive mindset is one of them.
In this short tome, Jeff Cooper explains the seven principles of self-defense, which include:
This book won’t tell you what gun is best or provide you with drills for self-defense but simply lays out the principles of self-defense in a short and easy-to-read little booklet. These are principles you apply to your life and the way you train. While the book is old, the principles are timeless.
In the Gravest Extreme: The Role of the Firearm In Personal Protection – Massad Ayoob
I’ll go ahead and say this book is decades old, and the advice regarding firearms and ammunition is out of date. It could use an update, but other advice found throughout the book is golden. Ayoob writes about firearms and tactics through the eyes of a law enforcement officer and expert witness.
Mas is an expert on self-defense and the law surrounding it. It’s a brutally honest book that lacks the surgical terms you’d find in police and military manuals. It tells it like it is and pulls no punches on using a firearm to defend yourself. What I love most is that it doesn’t pump you up to be Rambo but rather forces you to focus on the reality of armed self-defense.
It’s not always pretty, but it’s a solid book for a realistic look at self-defense, the law, and what one can expect when the two cross paths.
Violence of Mind – Varg Freeborn
Varg Freeborn has one of the most fascinating stories in the self-defense area I’ve ever read. It’s heartbreaking, violent, and downright brutal. Varg defended his life and was sent to prison for five years for it. In prison, he learned a lot about self-defense, and after his sentence, he was granted full restoration of his rights.
Violence of Mind is a not-so-PG look into self-defense, violence, and the criminal mindset. He’s a man who has lived it and mastered it. Here he’s teaching the mentality necessary to be violent and be successful in a self-defense encounter.
This book serves as a great wake-up call to what to expect in a violent situation and the potential legal aftermath. By the end, you’ll realize why avoidance is often the best route to take.
Dryfire Reloaded – Ben Stoeger
We’ve gone down some dark paths, so let’s talk a little bit about practical shooting and shooting skills. In Dry Fire Reloaded, ben Stoeger walks us through one of the best valuable aspects of training. We often ignore Dry Fire. Dry fire Reloaded gives you a plan.
It’s not just snapping in on a light switch or target on your wall. We get drills, an illustrated plan, and even a logbook. Ben takes his time to explain the Five Ws and the H. Well, maybe not all five, but close enough that the information is easy to digest.
Dry fire is immensely valuable for defensive firearms training, concealed carry, home defense, competition, and so much more. Not only does this book help teach you to dry fire, but it helps make a boring event entertaining.
Your Defensive Handgun Training Program – Michael Seeklander
Have you ever sat around wondering exactly how you should train? What should you focus on at home and at the range? Well, Michael Seeklander spells it out in Your Defensive Handgun Training Program. This massive book of information gives you insights, drills, advice, practical application, and so much more.
It’s literally a plan for you to get off the couch and get training. Seeklander breaks down a variety of concepts and serves you bite-size pieces that are easily understandable and practical. This guide to training and practice is methodical and easily trackable.
If you can’t make it to a class, this book can help fill the gaps in your training. The advice might not wow experts, but for beginners and moderately trained, it’s rock-solid advice. It’s a plan, and having a plan is the first step to being successful.
Digesting a few firearms-related books between the latest Reacher novel can be a great way to up your defensive knowledge. Books won’t replace a class but supplement your training and keep you on the road to improvement. I only have so much time to read, so I know I’ve left off some great books.
Let me know below what book you think every concealed carrier should read.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record-setting 11 months at sea. Travis has trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines, and the Afghan National Army.
He serves as an NRA-certified pistol instructor and pursues a variety of firearms-based hobbies.
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