If there were one piece of advice I could give to everyone who keeps a gun around for self-defense, it would be this:
GUARD YOUR MINDSET.
Teach yourself how to think about self-defense and personal protection.
Study good sources and learn from smart, experienced people.
Ask questions. Ask lots of questions. Ask stupid questions, ask questions to which you think (but are not sure) you already know the answer, ask questions that you can’t even think of a possible answer for.
Listen to the answers — then ask more questions.
Be sure you understand the law: what you’re legally allowed to do, what you’re legally required to do, what the law forbids you to do.
Think (hard!) about your own moral code, and think especially hard about the tough questions and the grey areas. Are you willing to defend your own life, or the lives of people you love, even at the expense of someone else’s life?
Once you’ve taught yourself how to think about these topics, guard your good thinking.
Don’t let yourself fall into sloppy or angry or fear-driven fantasies, even when you feel very strongly about something. Keep your mind focused on what you are truly willing to do, what you are physically and emotionally and practically able to do, what you will do if it comes to it.
Don’t engage in wishful thinking or mindless idealism.
Don’t post expletive-filled rants on social media and don’t even let yourself think those rants. Not because they’re “bad” and someone will punish you for badthought, but because you care about the way your mind works, and you want to stay fully grounded in reality.
Guard your mindset.