Weapons can be force multipliers. As such, they can be effective in self-defense use. There is no doubt that a knife or a gun is more deadly in more circumstances than empty hands. There is no doubt that both types of weapons, especially firearms, can be used effectively in self-defense by people who otherwise would not be equipped to defend themselves, for example the aged or infirm. So weapons, in general, are a good thing. I'm for them. This is not an anti-weapons diatribe. However, carrying weapons, any kind of weapons, for self-defense, has some disadvantages as well. I think people don't always consider those before they decide to venture outside armed. A weapon, to be effective, must be practiced with. The user must become proficient. This is something that some people take seriously. Others, however, do not. They buy a gun or a knife or a stick or a can of pepper spray or a stunner and they test it once or twice, put it away or drop it in a pocket, purse, glovebox, or throw it under the seat of their car and forget about it. You can certainly get lucky deploying a weapon you haven't trained with, but it's probably more likely that you won't. Which brings me to my next point, which is that far too many people (in my opinion) think a weapon is a magic talisman. The idea in their mind is that they'll be attacked or confronted by a bad guy, they will casually unholster their concealed boom stick, wave it around a bit, and everything will magically get better. I'm here to tell you, typically it will not. After brandishing a weapon, if it goes to the next step, you had better be prepared and trained to use it as it was intended; there goes the magic wand effect. Weapons, to be effective, not only have to be trained with to the point of proficiency, but they must be with you when you need them. This brings me to my next point, which involves carry. If you're going to carry, carry. In my opinion, despite the fact that a whole bunch of people will respond to this thread and say they carry every day in every way, most people who are licensed to carry seldom do. They carry infrequently, in my opinion. I've never seen a study done, so this is just one man's opinion, but I know quite a few people with concealed carry permits and they have nearly all told me that there are times when they just decide not to carry. They are making a 'quick trip' to the gas station, or church, or it's hot and they're wearing light summer clothing, or they are going to church or the beach or a bar and they don't want to leave their weapon in the car, or (and I hear this one a lot) the gun is too heavy and prints through their clothes, or they just don't think they're going to need it wherever they happen to be going. Whatever. The point is, people licensed to carry often do not carry. That is when you're going to need it - when you don't have it. I read comments from people who would have us believe that they carry everywhere, including the shower and bed and when making sweet sweet love, and furthermore, they generally have several guns with them at all times. I call BS. Just saying. In addition to actually obtaining a carry permit and becoming proficient and actually carrying, one must also become more than slightly familiar with the laws where they live concerning self-defense and the use of deadly force. Not having a thorough understanding of when you can and cannot employ your weapon is of vital importance if you wish to remain out of prison and not have your life's work taken away by a civil lawsuit. One must become familiar with ancillary laws such as where you can carry, how you can legally transport, duty to notify others and/or law enforcement, and so on. Finally, one must remember this. Any weapon you choose to use is also a weapon against you if it is taken away by the bad guy. So you must become proficient in weapon retention as well as learning to use the weapon. If you draw a knife in a confrontation and the bad guy takes it from you, you have a real problem on your hands. Moreover, depending on what kind of weapon you're using, you now have to defend the weapon with one hand, because the other hand is busy holding the weapon itself. Congratulations, you just voluntarily made yourself a one-armed person. Even if you haven't drawn your weapon but are carrying it on your person, now you have to defend it from being taken from you; it's like you are now defending yourself and another person, and believe me, that's harder than simply defending yourself. Finally, when a weapon is introduced into a violent situation, the chances that the situation will now end up involving deadly force is much higher. Once a knife or a gun is brought into the equation, the chances are much higher that someone is going to be shot, stabbed, or sliced. Consider that the situation may well not call for such an outcome. I'm not suggesting that a person should not defend their own lives with deadly force if need be, but that it's important to remember that a standard fistfight between a couple of drunks usually doesn't result in death (it can of course, but it usually doesn't). Somebody draws a pistol and starts firing, and now it's a massacre instead of a drunken brawl. In conclusion, again, I say I am not against weapons. They are effective force-multipliers when used properly. But they are not magic wands, and there is a tuition to be paid and risks to be taken when one chooses to go about armed. Consider that before deciding to carry.