De-escalation Of Force For Concealed Carriers


When someone presents themselves as a clear threat to your life, that of your family members, or your property – you have an obligation to defend yourself.  But reality is full of nuance.  Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether a conflict is imminent or if it can be averted.

When should a concealed carrier attempt to de-escalate a conflict?

The only time de-escalation is a great idea is if deadly force is not an appropriate response.  For instance, if a concealed carrier is part of a verbal altercation that seems to be escalating, it’s certainly in both parties’ interest to calm the situation.  That’s where it takes a mature, responsible adult to know the limit.


Someone who is scared or feels he must act is more likely to act impulsively.  If you’re able to talk someone back from a brash or violent action, you’re helping.  If you’re able to establish a dialogue, you’re one step closer to walking everyone out of a potentially dangerous situation.

Attempt To Leave

If you have the power to leave a potential conflict before it starts, you’re in control of the situation.  And if you’re in control of the situation and it escalates to deadly force – that’s horrible.  “Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.”

You’re an adult.  And part of being an adult is keeping the peace.  Who cares if somebody has dumb ideas or is calling you names?  You can be the bigger man and leave.


If it’s someone you know who’s in the verbal altercation and things could get out of hand, if you’re able to get him or her out – that’s great.  Sometimes we all can get a little carried away but being brought back to reality and out of a potential conflict can be a life-saving measure.

Attempt To Contact Authorities

If someone is acting erratic or disruptive but may not constitute a direct threat to anyone (yet), call the police.  Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who may seem erratic or violent but constitute very little threat to bystanders.  It’s definitely hard to know if you’re unfamiliar with the person.  Police often times know people in the community who suffer from mental illness and can attempt to get them help.  This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t continue to maintain observation.  You are attempting to keep yourself and bystanders safe without prompting confrontation.

Know The Limit

Trying to de-escalate a potential conflict is a tricky situation.  People can act extremely erratic and unpredictable.  One moment you may think things are moving smoothly and the next they just fall apart.  Keep yourself and your family a safe distance to where if you need to react – you can.

If a person swings, kicks, pulls a knife or a gun or an improvised weapon, tosses an object, or advances upon you or your family in a threatening manner – that could constitute a clear and present threat to your life and if it does, you’re free to act accordingly.

Don’t take chances but on the same token, be open to consider more peaceful options if they present themselves prior to deadly force being necessary.

Categories: General
About G. Halek | View all posts by G. Halek

GH is a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and has served as a defense contractor in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. His daily concealed carry handgun…

GH is a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and has served as a defense contractor in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. His daily concealed carry handgun is a Glock 26 in a Lenwood Holsters Specter IWB or his Sig Sauer SP2022 in a Dara Holsters Appendix IWB holster.

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  • Jonathan

    My Navy training included responding to propulsion system mechanical failures of varying degrees, examining the circumstances, the data and responding appropriately. Still, to this day, I go through scenarios, mentally think through responses to different situations, As an adult, I’ve always tended to be the one to mediate a situation, to defuse it rather than stoke it and let it escalate. As I began concealed carry not so long ago, it has changed the way that I analyse and respond to situations around me. It has sobered me up even more knowing that I not only carry the ability to bring deadly force to bear but that I also have the responsibility to use it judiciously, wisely.

  • OneOfTheGoodGuys

    Patrick Kilcherman makes an excellent point in his training videos. He says that if you carry a concealed weapon, you must become almost impossible to offend. He’s right. It’s better to appear to be a coward to everyone than to go to jail for murder. De-escalation is essential. Additionally, like Jeff says below, distance is premium.

  • Mark McCormack

    I agree 100%, but I also want to add: Carry a small can of fogging OC spray. There are situations where shooting someone may be legally defensible, but something less could also work. If someone is out of control and escalating to violence but not an imminent deadly threat, that can give them 30-45 minutes to think it over and talk it over (with law enforcement) while they recover. In my opinion, having an option between retreat and deadly force is necessary if you’re going to carry a firearm.

  • Arturo

    Correction: de-escalation when possible is ALWAYS a good idea. It’s unfortunate the author presents de-escalation instead of deadly force as the last resort.