Sheep Dog or Reactive Defender

This was edited on December 2, 2015 to read Reactive Defender instead of Reactionary, following some readers pointing out the word reactionary has a distinct political connotation.

I want to take a moment and discuss a subject and undertone that is present in a lot of concealed carry conversation. One that delves into what it really means to walk around with a firearm on our person, as civilians.

If you hear, read or watch anything related to concealed carry you will eventually hear the term “sheep dog.” Sheep dog is a rather innocuous term. It draws to mind a shaggy dog, maybe with hair in its eyes, overseeing a flock of sheep with the farmer nearby.

Unfortunately some have decided that carrying a concealed handgun makes them something akin to that docile canine overseeing the flock; except in their minds they are overseeing a flock of sheeple.

From Wikipedia: Sheeple (a portmanteau of “sheep” and “people”) is a derogatory term that highlights the herd behavior of people by likening them to sheep, a herd animal. The term is used to describe those who voluntarily acquiesce to a suggestion without critical analysis or research.)

I believe the sheep dog mentality is dangerous and even leads to bad habits. Why? Simply put, upon receiving my Texas CHL, I was not sworn to protect anyone or anything. I don’t carry a badge; I don’t have the weight of law behind me. I am an average guy that carries a firearm virtually everywhere I go. I do so to protect my family and those I love. If I happen to be somewhere and a bad situation develops in front of me and I can safely intervene to reduce the risk of injury, casualty or death, then I have the option; that does not grant me the latitude to go seek out criminal elements.

The civilian with a firearm carries it for defensive use. Law Enforcement, Military; they carry to protect themselves AND enter into harm’s way and hunt evil doers. That use by definition is both defensive and offensive. They are First Responders.

If I decide to start chasing down criminals without the legal authority to do so, I have become a vigilante.

So what do I consider those who chose the CCW/CHL lifestyle? Reactive Defender.
I can and will defend my life and those around me within my means. Carrying a gun is serious business and it should be treated as such. It is not a joke, it should not make you feel like Rambo, or cool, or anything else. It should be as mundane as carrying your wallet or a flashlight (you do carry a flashlight, right?), both of which you will use 99.99% more often than a firearm, gun range notwithstanding.

Reactive Defender. A term that I feel better aligns with why we actually carry and sounds less arrogant to those on the fence about gun control.

Give Thanks what you have, work for what you want and nourish what is important – family and friends.

About the hack author –
After hounding Caleb for over a year, I finally got a chance to write for Gun Nuts Media. I am an helicopter mechanic turn manager by trade and hot rodder/car nut by birth. In addition to wasting money on hot rods I have always been a gun nut, have had a CCW for about 10 years and recently started competition shooting. I am an avid concealed carrier, but I don’t consider myself a Timmy.  I like mechanical things, going fast, making noise and fabricating things with my hand. I fix stuff. I may explore some different subjects here, if Caleb lets me. Being of a mechanic background, I am not a writer by trade or training. You may find my post to be incoherent and poorly written or you may embrace them, rejoicing in the uniqueness and quality they add to your life. Either way, I had fun writing them and I am happy to be here.


  1. Thanks for your observations, with which I agree. I would take issue with your adoption of the term Reactionary Defender though. The term “reactionary” is commonly interpreted as indicating an extreme, hard-right response to so-called progressive politics. It’s just not a term I would use or recommend others using, especially in the context of 2nd Amendment rights.

    1. To be totally honest, I never checked the term Reactionary against a dictionary. We use the word in aviation when describing potential pilot responses in an incident. Rookie mistake. I think it should be Reactive.

  2. Agree with [email protected] above. Google thinks it means this:

    (of a person or a set of views) opposing political or social liberalization or reform.
    synonyms: right-wing, conservative, rightist

    “Reactionary Defender” sounds like the name of a conservative superhero, who runs around it tights and fights evil MSNBC employees. “Reactive Defender” might be a little better(still has superhero ring to it). I think “Responsible Armed Citizen” is good, but doesn’t have enough of a special snowflake connotation attached to it for some people.

    1. As I told [email protected]. I didn’t even check that. I think Reactive is more in line, but to be honest, it is more about how we think of ourselves. I hate the sheep dog concept and always have thought it was dangerous. You are right about the “special snowflake” connotation, but that is the cruix issue isn’t it? Carrying a gun shouldn’t make you special, yet some people think it does and they feel the need to have a title associated with it. For a individual title, how about – responsible law abiding citizen.

      1. I guess I just don’t mind people THINKING of themselves as sheepdogs. Is it silly? Sure. So what? If they think of themselves as special because they carry a gun, and that makes them feel good, who am I to rain on parades? Many of us don’t have a whole lot to feel special about. If it makes them happy, and they’re “switched on” because: Sheepdog, more power to them. The second amendment IS a pretty special thing, after all!

        I think the important thing that articles like this can drive across is that, feelings aside, if you try to physically go out dogging sheep, you’re liable to get yourself Zimmerman’d, or worse. Telling people they shouldn’t feel unique or special, about the very thing that may be most special to them, pisses them off.

  3. Your entire premise is based on the false pretense that sheepdogs (the shaggy-haired variety) seek out and hunt wolves before they are able to do harm to the flock. On the contrary, they sit on the wings and are prepared physically and mentally to protect and defend the flock (i.e., their extended family/local community) from would-be harm. How is this any different than the civilian who puts on his/her gun every day-even while conducting the most routine of errands? Because its not the civilian’s job? I disagree. I believe that ALL men and women who are physically capable of protecting the innocent and/or weak have a moral and societal duty to do so. Do you disagree? Would you stand idly by while a man physically and verbally abuses his girlfriend/wife in line at Walmart? What about a child? Taking the necessary steps to defend others against a violent criminal who wishes to do them harm is absolutely no different.

    However, I really have to wonder where these articles on Gun Nuts come from? Are they based on internet bravado or real-life encounters with those people who concealed carry on a DAILY basis. And I’m not talking about the 300 pound guy who claims that he ALWAYS carries his 5″ 1911; I promise you that he’s NOT carrying it while wearing those super awesome sweatpants that they always seem to have on…

    The people who are the genuine sheepdogs are those who legitimately carry their pistol (a fighting gun, not a pocket .380 that they’ve never tried to actually draw from their pocket and shoot) every day, whether they are going to all the way to Disney World (yes, I know it’s a gun-free zone….yes, I still carry there) or just making a 5 minute trip down the road to hit the Chick-fil-a drive though. The sad part is that, in my experience, VERY few people can actually say that they carry a fighting pistol every day.

    At the end of the day, being a sheepdog is a mindset. They are saying to themselves that they are willing to put their life on the line to protect someone that they do not know. That is the most noble and righteous of causes. Again, if you disagree, tell that to the woman being assaulted by her significant other in line at Walmart while you SHEEPISHLY stand by and try not to make eye contact.

    Am I worried about offending those people “on the fence about gun control?” No, I’m not. Why? Because if I know that they are for gun control, or are unsure about guns in general, then I invite them to the range and teach them how to shoot and in a safe and professional manner. If they refuse to go, then I politely accept their refusal and try again another time. If they are part of the select few that are truly lost and brainwashed to believe that ALL guns are evil and that the government should just take them all away (through the use of force, of course), then they literally aren’t worth the air it takes to try explaining reality to them and I keep moving through life. As for the blowhard anti-gunners on FB and other social media, I learned a long time ago that arguing with them “to convince the other people reading” is a supreme waste of my time as well.

    Oh, and as it relates to the previous article, the use of a single case such as the try-hard, police officer wannabe, neighborhood watch captain Zimmerman is a very Liberal thing to do. Shall we play the other side of the coin and point to the countless legitimate sheepdogs who use their daily carry gun to prevent crimes all over the country? Its tit for tat, and nothing more than mental masturbation.

    Speaking of Chick-fil-a, that sounds amazing. I’m going to put on my G19 and grab a classic chicken sandwich and a lemonade…

    1. Neither of your Walmart examples foretell a deadly force encounter. A man berating or physically abusing a woman or child is a coward and in my experience will back down when confronted. My article is solidly based in deadly force encounters and/or actions.

      Do I think we should stand up for the weak? Of course, especially children. Is it my societal duty to charge into danger and be a hero? No! If that is how you feel, try being a LEO or fire fighter. My “duties” are to my kids and wife, in that order. I can’t take care of my family from a casket, but your suggestion that I would allow a woman or child be assaulted in front of me while I “SHEEPISHLY stand by and try not to make eye contact” is an arrogance that is most unbecoming.

      A concealed weapon is the last resort; the gravest extreme. A bigger hand gun is always better, but ultimately it is a defensive weapon. I carry a 9mm Shield or a P-07, depending on dress and time of the year. I never feel under gunned. I never recommend a .380.

      We squarely agree on the classic chicken sandwich and lemonade, we’ll have to agree to disagree on the rest.

      Thanks for the comment and for reading.

      1. I would agree that, like the abusive husband, most criminals (and nearly all active shooters…except for the religious zealot variety) are cowards who will back down at the first hint of a confrontation. However, there are some men who will get in someone’s face because they didn’t “mind their own business;” it’s something that I’ve experienced personally. That particular instance ended somewhat peacefully when the loss prevention officer stepped in, but on a different day, it could have easily escalated to violence if the scum had moved things into that realm. I simply refuse to allow others to be victims when I have the opportunity and capability to stand in front of them. But I never condoned “charging into danger and being a hero.” The use of strategy, maneuvering, and then-lastly-firing are the answer instead of blindly charging in. Additionally, everyone needs to know their limitations and if they are outgunned. If the Mumbai shootings happened in America and I was in the hotel lobby with a G19 and spare mag vs numerous assaulters carrying rifles, I’m taking cover and waiting it out…looking for potential opportunities to stop the threats if they occur; I DEFINITELY wouldn’t rush the first guy that I saw and try to take him out. However, I still believe that if you have the opportunity to stop a threat again your fellow man, then it is your duty to do so. That’s why we were, and still are, considered to be part of the militia.

        Perhaps we are envisioning different scenarios, which is causing the disagreement. When we start talking about sheepdogs, my thoughts go immediately to “what if someone had a gun in the Aurora theater or Virginia Tech?” Or, more likely (although still HIGHLY unlikely) is the thug (or two) that tries to rob the gas station, grocery store, or fast food joint while I am there. Yes, the person carrying a pistol and intercedes to protect the lives of others in any of these situations is being reactive and a defender, so I do not think that your terminology is inaccurate. However, to me, the term Sheepdog applies to those individuals for whom the the decision to act in these scenarios was made many months or years ago.

        My final point is that although a concealed pistol is a tool to be used in self-defense situations, I would contend that the moment the decision has been made to use it, it becomes an offensive weapon to stop the threat. Perhaps it’s semantics, but I see the distinction as an important part of the mindset that acknowledges the required level of violence to definitively end a confrontation once you have been put in that situation to protect you and yours. Put another way, when you are confronted with violence, you are your own First Responder.

        Caveat: I have been in the military for 15 years, and I come from a line of LEOs in my family, so I will concede that my views are undoubtedly skewed. However, all of my previous comments were based on the aforementioned civilian CCW permit holder according to my personal beliefs.

  4. Very true. We are not all peace officers. In many states we may even have the duty to retreat. However, some people may refer to Sheep dog mindset as one who on guard and always aware of their surroundings. Like me as I type this gazing into my iPhone; oblivious to the waitesses who want me to leave this restaurant already, but I digress. Not always the case of the wanna be Barney Fife who’s looking for the chance to save the day..
    My CPL instructor posed a very good question to our class. Who would you go to prison for? Would you defend a stranger on the chance you might end up doing time?

  5. I celebrate your ability to publish your thoughts and beliefs in this venue but are you aware that were it not for internet 1st Amendment Sheepdogs you would be severely limited in what you could say on the internet without it being closely scrutinized by the Obama Regime? Indeed, are you even aware that virtually all firearm blogs would be eliminated by an Obama EO if it were not for the constant Push Back of the vigilant American citizens who are still under attack by Obama’s IRS?
    As to this this Mr Zimmerman you cite; he was not a Sheepdog, he was a duly trained and constituted member of a Neighborhood Watch unit, a federally recognized and supported anti-crime program who was attacked by a young criminal in drug induced state of aggressive paranoia. Mr Zimmerman had a state authorized, through a Federal Background Check concealed firearm that saved his life. Consequentially his life was ruined by the Fasict/Racist Obama regime just as dozens of other innocent American’s lives have been ruined and for the same reason, he stood for Rule Of Law.
    Now I ask you, who would you rather have standing behind you with a gun in his pocket, Trayvon Martin or your so called Sheep Dog, Mr Zimmerman?

  6. I posted the following on a previous article and I would argue that it holds true
    I would argue that the problem with the analogy is that if you look at actual sheepdogs, that’s actually a lot of ground to cover. a great pyrenees, a border collie, and a Belgian Malinois are all classified as sheepdogs, they also all have different different approaches to how they protect their flock. A pyrenees will live among the sheep, a collie will guide them, and a malinois shreds anything it looks at.

    so does this make the analogy inapplicable? I would argue no as long as you understand a few points.
    1) know the size of your flock. A member of the armed forces takes on the responsibility over a nation’s worth of sheep. Your average ccw owner is responsible for the safety of his family. the issue becomes when one mixes up responsibility with the other. Know your lane of fire and stick to it.
    2) sheepdogs and wolfhounds are two separate breeds. To ward against evil and to actively seek it out are two different jobs. with many herding breeds, the most they ever do is bark loud, bark mean, and act as a deterrent. There’s no shame in that, but when the same dog goes into the woods, (as it could be argued Zimmerman did in the night in question, ) that’s where the issue arises.
    3) know who your shepherd is. If you’re going to take up responsibility for others, take up a moral code to go with it. I don’t care if it is legal, secular or religious, pick a set of guiding principles and stick with them.

  7. Welcome Charles and thank you for your article. I enjoyed it very much, and as you can see you inspired some spirited conversation.
    Don’t stress yourself out trying to answer all the commentators, especially the negatives.

    Plus 100 to defensor fortismo on knowing your Shepherd. The single most important thing that you can do with your life.

  8. Duh Mr Daniel do you have any experience with real sheep dogs that work sheep? Ever worked sheep with your dog or any dog? Obviously not from from your misinformed screed where you dragged sheepdogs into your BS. First off there are sheepdogs ie Rough Collies, Smooth Collies, Border Collies, Australian Shepherds etc that move sheep. Then you have Livestock Guardian Dogs(LGDs) Great Pyrs, Komondors, Kuvaczs, Tatras which guard the flock from predators coyotes, feral dogs, neighborhood dogs, wolfs, and mountain lions. My two collies are just barely reformed sheep killers they us the threat of death or injury to move sheep where they want them to go. Sheep are not docile creatures that you see in the movie babe or on TV. A sheep will go through you without giving damn if it wants to get somewhere and it will do serious damage big boy. My collie girl can either use her grip ie bite or a a NHL style cross check to get sheep to go where she wants them to go or the threat of a grip or check. Its her call to get the job done moving a hundred or more sheep or just three. If moving sheep was easy then humans could do it. Why not give it try Chuck I put you in a 100″x300″ foot arena field with 5 sheep to move through some obstacles and then you have to pen the sheep. You got 10 minutes, son. Before you spout off about something read up on it and get some experience with it. You know like driving an E30325/M3 on a wet skidpad! A sheepdog is not an “innocuous term” except when misused by fools who dont have a clue about what they are talking about. I take five sheep and put them in a 3 acre feed and you and four of your friends(you are all unarmed) with a couple hungry mountain lions overnight. No you have to stay in the field for 5 days. I am betting we will have 5 sheep and maybe 2 humans. Do you think you will survive?

  9. And this my friends is what’s known as drunk posting. Someone had a rough night with their sheep…or sheepdog. Not sure which…

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