But it shouldn’t be your default option.
Now if you think that you should be carrying a round in the chamber with your pistol in a custom molded kydex holster inside the waistband with a tourniquet on your tactical belt with your low profile body armor keeping you safe while your backup revolver is in your ankle holster…. This post isn’t for you. If you’ve gone full tactical ‘tard where you pay money to roll around on someone’s range dirt while others toss gravel at you (cause that there’s REAL training!) then drive on with your bad self.
To everyone still reading, your first option is the controlling the things that you can control. Your awareness and your posture. Things like your level of fitness, and level of sleep, are actually less under your absolute control than we’d like.
I had a self defense instructor who invariably got this question, “well what would you do if someone snuck up behind you and smacked you in the head with a pipe?!?!!” and his answer was, “fall over into a coma and die in the hospital three days later, next question.”
Now if you are carring a pistol (and a backup pistol) and wearing body armor, and packing a super hero utility belt worth of first aid and gadgetry, odds are low that “Sumdood Lo-Life” will take you for an easy mark. Especially not if you devout hours of your day doing crossfit and replacing two of three meals with byproduct of kale farming.
But you’re not that guy. Pat Tillman was that guy (although way too cool for the kale diet), and he died from friendly fire. Chris Kyle was that guy, and he died from a deranged lunatic on a gun range.
Where did they go wrong in training? Pat Tillman got separated from the rest of his fire team and got schwacked because of it. Chris Kyle put too much trust in a complete stranger who turned out to be nuttier than a shithouse squirrel. There was no lack of training in each of those cases, there was a lack of judgement. I don’t mean to speak ill of the dead, only to point out that mistakes were made, and we should learn from them so that we don’t repeat them.
In my personal life, I extend trust way too easy. I’m a big guy, I don’t fear other people as a routine course of my life. But I know a bunch of little dudes who could end me, quickly, should they decide to take advantage of that trust. A sociopath will do their damndest to appear normal, until they don’t have to appear normal anymore (hey brother, got a light?).
And if you let a malign actor inside your reaction zone, having a round chambered, even in an outside the waistband holster, doesn’t do you any statistical good (based on FBI LEO death statistics of close range attacks).
Lastly, Tillman died in war, and the FBI data on LEO deaths from short range ambushes is also “in the line of duty.” Unless you are a Soldier or a Cop those data points are pretty meaningless to you. But despite the tactical situations being different, the point of being aware of the spaces around you, and giving yourself options, helps avoid the need to apply violence as a problem solver.
Keep your heads up.