Martial Arts vs Concealed Carry: Getting a Concealed Permit for Self-Defense

Getting a Concealed Carry Permit for Self Defense

In the United States, citizens have the right to carry a firearm on their person as a means of self
defense, providing they are able to take a concealed carry course and pass the accompanying test.
According to one report, concealed carry is a right that 1 in 20 adults in the USA take advantage
of. In this final article in our series comparing martial arts to concealed carry for self defense, we
wanted to look at how carrying a firearm stacks up to Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Adequate Defense with Less Training

No one’s saying that effectively using a firearm doesn’t require training. However, it is true that
learning to defend yourself with a firearm is going to take far less time and dedication than
learning to defend yourself using martial arts or, for that matter, most any other weapon. This is
especially true if your attacker is up close and personal – distances where they are difficult to
miss and using a firearm doesn’t even require effective aiming.

Range and Lethality

When it comes to sheer effectiveness, firearms have two big advantages over martial arts: range
and lethality. Depending on the exact weapon, firearms allow you to engage targets anywhere
from inches away to miles away. If your attacker has a firearm as well and is shooting at you
from a distance, this range can be lifesaving. Likewise, if your situation calls for the use of lethal
force, firearms can certainly deliver. Of course not all self defense situations necessitate lethal
force, and since there’s no “stun” setting on a handgun, concealed carry permit holders are often
left with no good options.

Equal Protection

There’s an adage from the old West that says, “God made men. Sam Colt made them equal”.
Indeed, firearms do allow people of all physical abilities to be able to equally defend themselves.
A 110 pound woman with a Glock is just as effective as a 200 pound man with a Glock. Take
their weapons away, though, and the odds shift dramatically. Sure, martial arts can overcome a
lot of these physical differences. In fact, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was actually designed to allow
smaller fighters to defeat much larger opponents. However, it can only do so much. A large male
is always going to have a huge physical advantage over a small woman, no matter how much
training she has. Likewise, if a person is elderly or physically disabled in any way, the odds are
going to be against them in a physical confrontation. For these people, the equal protection
provided by firearms may be desirable.

Advantages of Concealed Carry for Self Defense

So let’s assume that you are an able-bodied individual fully capable of defending yourself using
martial arts if you had enough training. Why would you then go ahead and decide to carry a
pistol for self defense instead? One of the main reasons is the chance that the other person is
going to have a gun as well. The best martial arts instructors (or at least the ones who are the
most honest) will tell you that if you go up against someone who has a gun, chances are high
you’re going to get shot. Likewise, if you go up against someone with a knife, chances are high
you are going to get cut or stabbed. Having a firearm, though, helps level the playing field.
Range and lethality are two concepts we’ve already discussed, but they are also two big
advantages of carrying a firearm for self defense. The ability to incapacitate an attacker from any
distance with a single motion of the finger is something that no martial art can replicate.
One final advantage of concealed carry is the intimidation factor. Studies show that most people
who carry a weapon are able to stop a situation from escalating without ever firing a shot. As
soon as they pull out their weapon and start waving it around, attackers think twice. However,
unless you walk around wearing your gi, no one is going to know you’re a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
black belt. There is no using intimidation to deescalate a situation; you’re going to have to deal
with attackers the hard way.

Disadvantages of Concealed Carry for Self Defense

In spite of all the advantages, there are some compelling disadvantages of concealed carry for
self defense as well. For one, relying on a weapon for self defense requires that you always have
that weapon available and it always be functional. If you leave it at home, if it jams, or if it runs
out of ammo, you are defenseless. With martial arts, so long as you’re still conscious, you’re still
able to defend yourself. People who rely solely on their weapon don’t have this luxury. Second,
as already mentioned, lethality isn’t always desirable in self defense scenarios. If you’re dragged
into a bar fight or dealing with a belligerent yet unarmed individual, drawing your weapon and
dropping bodies is not an appropriate response and will likely land you in prison. Still, these
types of situations do call for self defense – the less than lethal kind that martial arts provides.
One final disadvantage of concealed carry is that the closer your attacker is, the less
advantageous it becomes. Sure, hitting a target is easier at close distance, but attackers are able to
close distances of several yards before you would be able to draw your weapon. Drawing your
weapon on an attacker that is already up close and personal with you also presents the risk of
them wrestling it away from you and using it against you. For this reason, being trained in
martial arts is actually more effective for extremely close encounters than carrying a weapon.


For most every situation that having a firearm is desirable, martial arts comes up short. Yet for
self defense situations where firearms are not an effective option, martial arts excels. For this
reason, perhaps the best approach for someone wanting to cover all their bases would be to get a
concealed carry permit as well as learn a martial art. Either way, it’s important to realize both the
strengths and shortcomings of both concealed carry and martial arts when it comes to self
defense. No method is foolproof, and only by realizing this will a person be able to best guard
themselves against the dangers that exist.

If you have not read the other articles in this series check them out here: