I did not expect my Smith & Wesson compact SW99 to protect me the first week that I owned it. I was playing in a recording session that ran a little after hours. I was on my way to my car, which was parked on the street. I had my vintage ’73 Gibson Les Paul on my back, and I was slightly on the lookout when walking with that baby.

I saw some shadows and heard some noises, but wasn’t too worried. They started coming closer; I started moving faster, knowing that my car was now only 50 feet away. They are now closer to me than I was to my car. I’m still trying to play it cool, not knowing if the threat is really dangerous. It is; there were four of them and it was easy to see that they wanted what was on my back.

I feel a tug on the strap on my shoulder. One of the guys has a hand on the guitar and now I’m tugging my way to my car, struggling to get the trunk open; I’m losing the battle with the guitar, but they are unaware of my secret. I have to choose now—keep tugging on the guitar and eventually lose it, or abandon it for my SW99 compact, which is in the trunk. At this time I am getting hassled and punched. I choose the obvious. The guitar is no longer in my hands, but the compact is near. I reach for it, one of them sees and yells to his accomplices. They freak out and run like hell. And do you think the one with my Les Paul was stupid enough to run with it? Certainly not! The first thing he did was drop it. I go get my guitar, get in my car and drive home. The funny part is, my SW99 wasn’t even loaded!

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I did not expect my Smith & Wesson compact SW99 to protect me the…